PathfinderWiki:Manual of style

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This page is an official policy on the PathfinderWiki.
It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that all users should follow.

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The Manual of Style, often abbreviated MoS or MOS, is a style guide for PathfinderWiki articles. This article contains basic principles. This guide has been adapted from the extensive MoS located on Wikipedia.

If the Manual of Style does not specify a preferred usage, discuss your issues on the talk page of this article.

Contents

General principles

Internal consistency

An overriding principle is that style and formatting should be consistent within a PathfinderWiki article, though not necessarily throughout PathfinderWiki as a whole. One way of presenting information may be as good as another is, but consistency within an article promotes clarity and cohesion. Therefore, even where the Manual of Style permits alternative usages, be consistent within an article.

Stability of articles

Editors should not change an article from one guideline-defined style to another without a substantial reason unrelated to mere choice of style. Revert-warring over optional styles is unacceptable.

Where there is disagreement over which style to use in an article, defer to the style used by the first major contributor. If the first major contributor used styles inconsistently, or the first contributions cannot be determined, consistently apply the most commonly used styles.

Follow the sources

Many points of usage, such as the treatment of proper names, can be decided by seeing what other writers do about the problem. Unless there is some clear reason to do otherwise, it is generally a good idea to follow the usage of reliable secondary sources in English on the subject; the sources for the article itself should be reliable. If the sources for the article can be shown to be unrepresentative of current English usage as a whole, follow current English usage instead — and consult more sources.

Article titles, headings, and sections

Article titles

This guidance applies to the titles of PathfinderWiki articles, not to the titles of external articles that are cited.

  • Conform to PathfinderWiki's naming conventions, including "Use lower case".
  • Use nouns or noun phrases. Use (Languages of the Great Beyond, not About languages of the Great Beyond).
  • Write short titles, preferably fewer than ten words.
  • Capitalize the initial letter of a title. Otherwise, only capitalize words where they would be used in a normal sentence. Use (Gnoll tribes of the Brazen Peaks and surroundings, not Gnoll Tribes of the Brazen Peaks and Surroundings).
  • A, an, and the are normally avoided as the first word. Use (Geography of Varisia, not The geography of Varisia), unless part of a proper noun (such as a real-world title: The Great Beyond: A Guide to the Multiverse).
  • Avoid special characters such as the slash (/), plus sign (+), braces ({ }), and square brackets ([ ]). Use and instead of an ampersand unless it is part of a formal name, such as (Dungeons & Dragons). Use commas instead of colons, such as in Andoran, Spirit of Liberty.
  • Title real-world articles, such as product pages, with as complete a title as possible while maintaining the above guidelines. For example, Princes of Darkness, Book of the Damned, Volume 1.
This guidance also applies to Section headings, below.

Section headings

See also the guidance in Article titles immediately above, which applies to both article titles and section headings.

A section heading provides an overview and link for the section in the table of contents and helps readers navigate an article's text.

  • Change a heading only after careful consideration, because this breaks section links to it within the same article and from other articles. If changing a heading, try to locate and fix broken links.
  • Gives sections unique names within a page, including subsections. Duplicate headings can cause problems, such as:
    • After editing, the article may load at the wrong section.
    • The automatic edit summary generated when editing a same-named section is ambiguous.
    • Links to a same-named section might not point to the expected article section.
  • Avoid adding links to section headings, especially ones that link only part of the heading; they will cause accessibility problems.
  • Avoid explicitly referring to the article's subject or higher-level headings unless doing so is shorter or clearer. Headings can be assumed to be about the subject unless otherwise indicated. For example, PathfinderWiki prefers Early life as a heading name over Aroden's early life when Aroden is the article's subject.
  • Capitalize the first letter of the first word and any proper nouns in headings, but leave the rest in lower case. Thus, use Habitat and ecology, not Habitat and Ecology.
  • Headings in wikitext use unspaced multiple equal signs: == H2 ==. The number of equal signs used to set off a heading determines the heading's level. Do not boldface heading text with three apostrophes (''').
  • Nest headings as follows:
    • The automatically generated top-level heading of a page is H1, which gives the article title.
    • Primary article headings are then == H2 ==, followed by === H3 ===, ==== H4 ====, and so on.
    • Spaces between the == and the heading text are optional. For example, ==H2== and == H2 == are both valid headings. These extra spaces do not affect the heading's appearance in the article, but do aid in both reading the heading's text and determining its level in wikitext.
  • Blank lines above and below a heading's wikitext are optional. Only two or more blank lines above or below a heading will change the public appearance of the page by adding more white space. For wikitext readability, PathfinderWiki generally prefers adding a blank line before, though not after, headings; whichever style you use, it is best to apply it consistently across an article.

Main article link

If a section is covered in a dedicated article, this should be marked by inserting {{Main|Article name}} directly beneath the section heading.

Section management

When creating new sections or editing existing ones, you can help other chroniclers by following a few conventions.

  • When linking to a section, it is courteous to leave an editor's note in the destination article's section to remind others that you have linked to that section. List any linking articles' names so that if the title is altered, others can fix the links without having to perform exhaustive searches. For example:
== Founding of Absalom == <!-- This section is linked from [[Aroden]] and [[Starstone]] -->
  • When changing a section's heading, also consider inserting an {{Anchor}} template into the heading tag with the heading's old name. This prevents existing links from breaking. For example:
== New section name {{Anchor | Founding of Absalom}} ==<!-- This section is linked from [[Aroden]] and [[Starstone]] -->
  • When referring to a section from an article's body without linking, italicize the section name. For example, the current section is called Section management. (Italicize the actual section name only if it otherwise requires italics, such as the title of a book.)
  • Certain sections, such as the == References == section, might apply special rules beyond the style guide. See the relevant Help pages for more information.

Capital letters

There are differences between the major varieties of English in the use of capitals (uppercase letters). Where this is an issue, the rules of the cultural and linguistic context apply. As for spelling, consistency is maintained within an article.

Capitals are not used for emphasis on PathfinderWiki. Where wording cannot provide the emphasis, use italics.

Incorrect:    Contrary to popular belief, ankhegs are Not the same as giant monstrous ants.
Incorrect: Contrary to popular belief, ankhegs are NOT the same as giant monstrous ants.
Correct: Contrary to popular belief, ankhegs are not the same as giant monstrous ants.

Use of "the" mid-sentence

The definite article is not normally capitalized in the middle of a sentence. However, there are idiomatic exceptions—including most titles of works of art—which should be quoted exactly. Follow common on a case-by-case basis. As usual, it is a good idea to consult the article's sources.

Incorrect  (generic):    Ezren applied to The Arcanimirium in Absalom.
Correct (generic): Ezren applied to the Arcanimirium in Absalom.
Incorrect  (title):    No single author is credited with writing the Legends of Lucky Farouq.
Correct (title): No single author is credited with writing The Legends of Lucky Farouq.
Correct (title): Asmodeus's sacred text is the Asmodean Disciplines.
Incorrect (exception): Only the poorest of citizens live in the Puddles.
Correct (exception): Only the poorest of citizens live in The Puddles.

Titles of people

Many characters in the Pathfinder campaign setting have titles, ranging from regal to heraldic to slang. Their use and function in a sentence often determines their style.

  • When used generically, lowercase titles such as governor, baron, and king: Markwin Teldas is a Molthunian governor and Utilinus is a Sargavan baron. Similarly: Three lords attended the tournament.
  • When referring to the formal name of an office, capitalize it as a proper noun: The Ruby Prince of Osirion is Khemet III, Markwin Teldas is Imperial Governor of Molthune and Kharswan is Thakur of Jalmeray (where Imperial Governor and Thakur of Jalmeray are titles).
  • When used as parts of a title, capitalize them: Governor Teldas, not governor Teldas.
  • Capitalize royal styles: Her Majesty and His Highness. Exceptions might apply for particular offices.

Religions, deities, philosophies, doctrines, and their adherents

  • Capitalize religions, sects, and churches and their followers, in noun or adjective form. Generally, the is not capitalized before such names; use (the Desnans, not The Desnans).
  • Religious texts and scriptures are capitalized and italicized. For example, use the Parables of Erastil, the Gorumskagat, and the Skull of Mashag). Do not capitalize the definite article "the" unless it is canonically part of the work's title, such as The Acts of Iomedae; follow the source material in this regard.
  • Capitalize honorifics for deities, including proper nouns and titles. For example, use (Master of the First Vault, Old Deadeye, the Inheritor, the Savored Sting, Lady of Graves, the Rough Beast, the Dawnflower). Do not capitalize the definite article "the" unless it is formally a part of the deity's name.
    • The same is true when referring to major religious figures and figures from mythology by titles or terms of respect. Common nouns denoting deities or religious figures are not capitalized; thus the Azlanti worshiped many gods, many Chelaxians worshiped the god Asmodeus, Aroden and Norgorber are both ascended gods, and her husband was her muse (but the nine Muses).
  • Do not capitalize pronouns and possessives referring to figures of veneration in original text within PathfinderWiki articles, even when they traditionally are capitalized in a religion's scriptures. However, leave them capitalized when directly quoting texts that capitalize them.
  • Do not capitalize broad categories of extra-planar or legendary creatures. Use (archon, demon, devil, deva, angel). Names or titles of unique individual creatures are capitalized, such as (the Lawgiver and the Tarrasque), as are organizations of creatures whose name and membership are fixed, such as (the Dukes of Hell). As with terms for deities, generalized references are not capitalized: (demonic, elemental).
  • Capitalize spiritual or religious events only when referring to specific incidents or periods. Use (Taxfest and the Swallowtail Release for the annual events, but also use annual tax collection for Abadar and a Desnan festival concerning swallowtails when referring to them generically.
  • Do not capitalize philosophies, theories, and doctrines unless the name derives from a proper noun (lowercase "rule of law" versus uppercase Laws of Man) or has become a proper noun (lowercase democracy refers to rule by popular vote; uppercase Common Rule refers to the specific system of government in Andoran). Doctrinal topics or canonical religious ideas (as distinguished from specific events) are given in lower case in PathfinderWiki, such as ascendance.
  • Platonic or transcendent ideals, including the canonical alignments of good, evil, chaos, law, and neutrality, are lowercase. Personifications represented in art, such as a statue of the figure Justice, are capitalized.

Calendar items

  • Months, days of the week, and holidays start with a capital letter: Desnus, Oathday, the Fifth of Neth (when referring to the Galtan Independence Day, otherwise 5 Neth). See also Absalom Reckoning and the Canon Policy on dates.
  • Seasons, in almost all instances, are lowercase: This summer was very hot; The winter solstice occurs about Kuthona 22; I have spring fever. When personified, season names may function as proper nouns, and they should then be capitalized: I think Spring is showing her colors; Old Man Winter.

Animals, plants, and other organisms

Common (vernacular) names of flora and fauna should be written in lower case. For example, use oak or lion. Where the common name contains a proper noun, such as the name of a person or place, that proper noun should be capitalized: (The Azlanti chariot beetle can be found near ancient tombs throughout the former Azlanti Empire.

When an alternate capitalization is used in article title, create a redirect to the canonical capitalization.

Celestial bodies

  • Do not capitalize sun, earth, and moon in general use: The moon rises over the Mindspin Mountains, The sun beats down on the caravan, and Farmers work the earth before planting. Golarion is the Pathfinder campaign setting's primary world, and its moon's proper name is Somal. However, capitalize them when mentioning astronomical bodies that take capitals: Golarion orbits the Sun, but the distant world Earth also orbits a sun-like star.
  • Names of planets, moons, asteroids, comets, stars, constellations, galaxies, and planes are proper nouns and start with a capital letter: The planet Castrovel can be seen in the western sky in the late winter, Never vacation in the Negative Energy Plane or the Plane of Fire. When a name has more than one word, treat it like other proper nouns with each first letter capitalized: Dark Tapestry, not Dark tapestry; the Lantern Bearer, not the lantern bearer.
  • Lowercase solar system in all uses. Refer to the other planets around Golarion's sun as Golarion's solar system.

Directions and regions

  • Do not capitalize directions such as north unless they are part of a proper name. The same is true for their related forms: someone might call the northern tip of a city the northern point, compared to the North Point district.
  • Composite directions can be hyphenated depending on the general style adopted in the article: (Southeast Avistan and northwest in American English, but South-East Avistan and north-west in British English.
  • Regions that are proper nouns, including widely known expressions such as Western Ravage, start with a capital letter.

Institutions

  • Capitalize names of institutions that are proper nouns, such as the Acadamae, Kitharodian Academy, and Rhapsodic College, but generally not the definite article "the" at the start of a title (a degree from the Acadamae).
  • Do not capitalize generic words for institutions: (university, college, hospital, abbey).
Incorrect  (generic):    The College offers programs in arts and sciences.
Correct (generic): The college offers...
Correct (title): The Rhapsodic College offers...
  • Bodies of government, such as settlements, counties, and countries, follow the same rules: the names of specific polities are capitalized proper nouns, but generic words for types of government bodies are not. Sometimes, the full official name of a body is not needed.
Incorrect  (generic):    The City has a population of 55,967.
Correct (generic): The city has...
Correct (title): The City of Oregent has...
Correct (skip type): Oregent has...

Acronyms and abbreviations

In general, follow publication point of view unless a specific source uses an acronym or abbreviation in-world.

Avoid abbreviations when they would be confusing to the reader, interrupt the flow, or appear informal or lazy. For example, do not use approx. for approximate or approximately unless you must to maintain the width of an infobox or table of data.

When using an abbreviation or acronym, write out the full version and follow it with the abbreviation in parentheses at its first occurrence within an article. For example, The Pathfinder Society Adventure Card Guild (PFSACG) was founded ... Paizo regularly publishes new PFSACG scenarios.

If the full term is already in parentheses, use a comma (,) and or to indicate the abbreviation. For example: Each set of scenarios comes with a Chronicle Sheet (for the Pathfinder Society Adventure Card Guild, or PFSACG).

Plural and possessive forms

Acronyms and initialisms, like other nouns, become plurals by adding -s or -es: They produced three RPGs in the first year; The Pathfinder RPG was officially supported by three dozen 3PPs in 2009. As with other nouns, do not add an apostrophe unless the form is a possessive.

Periods (full stops) and spaces

Acronyms and initialisms are generally not separated by full stops (periods) or blank spaces: (PFRPG, PFS, LLC). Periods and spaces that were traditionally required have now dropped out of usage; (PhD is now preferred over Ph.D. and Ph. D.). Full stops (periods) are not used in units of measurement.

Do not invent abbreviations or acronyms

Avoid creating new abbreviations or acronyms that might only see use on PathfinderWiki.

Italics

Emphasis

Use italics sparingly to emphasize words in sentences, and avoid ever using boldface for this purpose. Generally, the more highlighting in an article, the less the effect of each instance.

Titles

Italics are used for the titles of works of literature and art, such as books, paintings, films (feature-length), television series, and musical albums. The titles of articles, chapters, songs, television episodes, short films, and other short works are not italicized, but are enclosed in double quotation marks. This applies equally to in-setting and real-world uses.

Do not italicize major revered real-world religious works, such as the Bible, the Qur'an, and the Talmud). However, you should italicize in-world religious works as you would any other book.

Words as words

Italics are used when mentioning a word or letter, or a string of words up to a full sentence: The most commonly used letter in English is e.

For a whole sentence, you can use quotation marks instead: The preposition in She sat on the chair is on, or The preposition in "She sat on the chair" is "on".

Mentioning—to discuss such features as grammar, wording, and punctuation—is different from quoting, in which something is usually expressed on behalf of a quoted source.

Foreign words

PathfinderWiki prefers italics for phrases in other languages and for isolated foreign words that are not commonly used in everyday English (or Taldane, for articles written in the in-world POV.) For example, the native Shoanti called the river Mashkapikki.

Italics and quotations

For quotations, use only quotation marks for short quotations or block quoting for long ones. Do not manually apply italics; short quotations should not be italicized, and the Quote template automatically italicizes its contents. (See Quotations below.)

Italics within quotations

Italics are used within quotations if they are already in the source material, or are added by a chronicler to emphasize to some words. If the latter, an editorial note [emphasis added] should appear at the end of the quotation:
"Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince: And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest" [emphasis added].

If the source uses italics for emphasis, and it is desirable to stress that PathfinderWiki has not added the italics, the editorial note [emphasis in original] should appear after the quote.

Effect on nearby punctuation

Italicization is restricted to what should properly be affected by italics, and not the punctuation that is part of the surrounding sentence.

Incorrect:    What are we to make of that?
Correct: What are we to make of that?
      (Note the difference between ? and ?. The question mark applies to the whole sentence, not just to the emphasized that.)
Correct: Three of Ailson Kindler's most famous novels are Bleak Heart, Galdyce's Guest: Feast of the Nosferatu, and In the Council of Corpses.
(The commas, period, and and are not italicized.)

Italicized links

You cannot place italics markup inside a link's markup or the link will not work. However, you can apply internal italicization in piped links.

Incorrect:    The novel [[''In the Council of Corpses'']] is her best.
Correct: The novel ''[[In the Council of Corpses]]'' is her best.
Correct: The [[Burnt Saffron|''Burnt Saffron'']] is a slave galley.

Non-breaking spaces

A non-breaking space (also known as a hard space) is recommended to prevent the end-of-line displacement of elements that could be awkward at the beginning of a new line:

  • In many compound expressions in which figures and abbreviations or symbols are separated by a space: (17 ft., 565 AR, 2:50 p.m.).
  • In other places where displacement might be disruptive to the reader or within the titles of works, such as 11 billion gold, create water, or Ultimate Magic, or within elements in an infobox or content template.
  • A hard space can be produced with the HTML code &nbsp; instead of the space bar: 17&nbsp;ft. yields a non-breaking 17 ft..
  • Unlike normal spaces, multiple hard spaces are not compressed by browsers into a single space.

Quotations

See also: Italics and quotations and Quotation marks

Minimal change

Wherever reasonable, preserve the quote's original style, spelling, and punctuation. Where there is a good reason not to do so, insert an editorial explanation of the changes, usually within square brackets (e.g., [for example]). If there is an error in the original statement, use [Wikipedia:sic] to show that the error was not made in transcription.

Allowable changes

Though the requirement for minimal change is strict, you should alter a few merely typographical elements of the quoted text to conform to PathfinderWiki conventions, and can do so without comment. Such a practice is universal in all publishing. Such alterations include:

  • Styling dashes: Use the style chosen for the article: unspaced em dash or spaced en dash; see Dashes, below.
  • Styling apostrophes and quotes: They should all be straight, not curly; see Quotation marks, below. Typographical elements as guillemets (« » in quoted French, Portuguese, and other foreign-language material should be altered to their English-language equivalents (guillemets become standard straight quote marks, for example).
  • Spaces before periods, colons, semicolons, and the like: Remove them, since they are merely typographical and unused in wikitext, or in English-language publishing in general.
  • Some text styling: PathfinderWiki's software automatically applies default typefaces to all content, but you should preserve and convert bold, underlining, and italics per our standards. See Italics, above.
  • Ellipses: Use whenever parts of a quotation are skipped, for instance to remove extraneous, irrelevant, or parenthetical words or skip over unintelligible or guttural speech: umm, ahhs, and hmms, for example. Take care not to use ellipses to remove context or selectively quote to change the meaning of the quote, as is sometimes seen in advertisements that selectively quote critical reviews to make them appear more favorable.

Quotations within quotations

When a quotation includes another quotation, start with double quote marks outermost, and working inward, alternate single with double quote marks.

The following example has three levels of quotation: "She disputed his statement that 'Voltaire never said "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."'"

Attribution

The author of a quote of a full sentence or more should be named; this is done in the main text and not in a footnote. However, attribution is unnecessary for quotations from the subject of the article or section. To attribute a quote in a {{Quote}} block quotation template, use the speaker parameter.

Block quotations

Format a long quote of more than four lines (or more than one paragraph, regardless of number of lines) as a block quotation using the {{Quote}} template. Do not enclose block quotations with quotation marks.

{{Quote
| quote = Order is everything, at any cost.
| speaker = ''[[Ultimate Campaign]]'', page 136
}}
Order is everything, at any cost.
  — Ultimate Campaign, page 136

Punctuation

Apostrophes

  • Consistent use of the straight (or typewriter) apostrophe ( ' ) is recommended, as opposed to the curly (or typographic) apostrophe (  ). For details and reasons, see Quotation marks, below.
  • For the possessive apostrophe, see the summary of usage issues at Possessives, below.

Quotation marks

See also: Quotations

The term quotation in the material below also includes other uses of quotation marks, such as those for titles of songs, chapters, and episodes; unattributable aphorisms; "scare-quoted" passages; and constructed examples.

Double or single

Quotations are enclosed within double quotes (e.g., Cayden said, "Valeros! You haven't drunk enough this morning.").

Quotations within quotations are enclosed within single quotes (e.g., Kyra said, "Did you pretend to be Cayden Cailean and tell Valeros, 'You haven't drunk enough' before breakfast?).

Inside or outside

Punctuation marks are placed inside the quotation marks only if the sense of the punctuation is part of the quotation. This practice is referred to as logical quotation; it is used by PathfinderWiki both because of the principle of minimal change, and also because the method is less prone to misquotation, ambiguity, and the introduction of errors in subsequent editing.

Correct: Ezren said, "Valeros is deplorable and unacceptable."
(The period is part of the quoted text.)
Correct: Ezren said Valeros was "deplorable".
(The period is not part of the quoted text.)
Correct: Merisiel asked, "Are you leaving?"
(The question mark belongs inside because the quoted text itself was a question.)
Correct: Did Merisiel say, "Get out"?
(The very quote is being questioned, so the question mark belongs outside; any punctuation at the end of the original quote is omitted.)

When quoting a sentence fragment that ends in a period, some judgment is required: if the fragment communicates a complete sentence, the period can be placed inside. The period should be omitted if the quotation is in the middle of a sentence.

Correct: Merisiel said, "Go away", and they did.

If the sequence of juxtaposed punctuation marks seems distracting or untidy, try to obviate it.

Correct: Merisiel said, "Go away" (and they did).

Article openings

When the title of an article appearing in the lead paragraph requires quotation marks (for example, the title of a song or poem), do not boldface the quotation marks, as they are not part of the title:

Correct: "Crisis of Faith" is a short story by Michael J. Martinez.

Block quotes

As already noted above, we use quotation marks or block quotes (not both) to distinguish long quotations from other text. Multi-paragraph quotations are always block-quoted. The quotations must be precise and exactly as in the source, and the source should be cited clearly and precisely to help readers find the text that supports the article content in question.

Quotation characters

The following types of quoting should not be used:

  • Grave and acute accents or backticks (`text´) are neither quotation marks nor apostrophes, and must not be used in their place.
  • There have traditionally been two styles concerning the look of the quotation marks (that is, the glyph):
  • Typewriter or straight style: "text", 'text'. Recommended.
  • Typographic or curly style: text, text. Not recommended.

PathfinderWiki recommends exclusively using straight quotes and apostrophes (see preceding section), which are easier to type and edit. Mixed use interferes with some searches, such as those using the browser's search facility (a search for Droskar's Crucible could fail to find Droskar’s Crucible, and vice versa).

When quotation marks or apostrophes appear in article titles, you can make a redirect from the same title using the alternative glyphs.

Other matters

  • A quotation is not italicized simply because it is a quotation.
  • If an entire sentence is quoted in such a way that it becomes a grammatical part of the larger sentence, the first letter loses its capitalization: It turned out to be true that "a copper saved is a copper earned".

Brackets and parentheses

These rules apply to both round brackets ( ( ) ), often called parentheses, and square brackets ( [ ] ).

If a sentence contains a bracketed phrase, place the sentence punctuation outside the brackets (as shown here). However, where one or more sentences are wholly inside brackets, place their punctuation inside the brackets (see Sentences and brackets below). There should be no space next to a bracket's inner side. An opening bracket should be preceded by a space except in unusual cases; for example, when it is preceded by:

  • An opening quotation mark:
    He rose to address the meeting: "(Ahem) ... Ladies and gentlemen, welcome!"
  • Another opening bracket:
    Only the royal characters in the play ([Prince] Hamlet and his family) habitually speak in blank verse.
  • A portion of a word:
    We journeyed on the Inter[continental].

There should be a space after a closing bracket, except where another punctuation mark (other than an apostrophe or a dash) follows, and in unusual cases similar to those listed for opening brackets.

If sets of brackets are nested, use different types for adjacent levels of nesting; for two levels, it is customary to have square brackets appear within round brackets. This is often a sign of excessively convoluted expression, and it is often better to recast, linking the thoughts with commas, semicolons, colons, or dashes.

Avoid adjacent sets of brackets. Either put the parenthetic phrases in one set separated by commas, or rewrite the sentence. For example:

Incorrect:    Zenobia (Zena) Zenderholm (Senior arbiter) (also known as the "Hanging Judge" of the Varisian city of Korvosa) is of House Zenderholm.
Correct: Senior arbiter Zenobia "Zena" Zenderholm, of House Zenderholm, is also known as the "Hanging Judge" of the Varisian city of Korvosa.
Correct: Senior arbiter Zenobia "Zena" Zenderholm, also known as the "Hanging Judge" of the Varisian city of Korvosa, is of House Zenderholm.

Square brackets are used to indicate editorial replacements and insertions within quotations. They serve three main purposes:

  • To clarify. ("She attended [secondary] school"—where this was the intended meaning, but the type of school was unstated by the original speaker.)
  • To reduce the size of a quotation. If a source says, "X contains Y, and under certain circumstances, X may contain Z as well", it is acceptable to reduce this to "X contains Y [and sometimes Z]", without ellipsis. When an ellipsis (...; see below) is used to indicate material removed from a direct quotation, it should not normally be bracketed.
  • To make the grammar work: She said that "[she] would not allow this"—where her original statement was "I would not allow this". (Generally, though, it is better to begin the quotation after the problematic word: She said that she "would not allow this.")

The use of square-bracketed wording should never alter the intended meaning of a quotation.

Sentences and brackets

If any sentence includes material that is enclosed in square or round brackets, it still must end—either with a period, question mark, or exclamation mark—after those brackets. This principle applies no matter what punctuation is used within the brackets.

However, if the entire sentence is within brackets, the closing punctuation falls within the brackets. This does not apply to matter that is added (or modified editorially) at the beginning of a sentence for clarity, which is usually in square brackets: "[Venture-Captain Dreng] already told me that", he objected in preference to the potentially more ambiguous "He already told me that", he objected.

A sentence that occurs within brackets in the course of another sentence does not generally have its first word capitalized just because it starts a sentence. The enclosed sentence may have a question mark or exclamation mark added, but not a period: Taldor then conquered (who would have believed it?) most of the known world; Kyra demanded that he attack (she knew he hated fighting) in the coliseum. It is often clearer to separate the thoughts into separate sentences or clauses: Taldor then conquered most of the known world. Who would have believed it? or Kyra demanded that he fight in the coliseum; she knew he hated fighting.

Ellipses

An ellipsis (plural ellipses) is an omission of material, often used in a printed record of conversation. The ellipsis is represented by ellipsis points: a set of three dots.

Style

Ellipsis points, or ellipses, have traditionally been implemented in three ways:

  • Three unspaced periods (...). This is the easiest way, and gives a predictable appearance in HTML. Recommended.
  • Pre-composed ellipsis character (); generated with the &hellip; character entity, or as a literal "…". This is harder to input and edit, and too small in some fonts. Not recommended, but used in some places (such as "Did you know" lists) to save space.
  • Three spaced periods (. . .). This is an older style that is unnecessarily wide and requires non-breaking spaces to keep it from breaking at the end of a line. Not recommended.

Function and implementation

Use an ellipsis if material is omitted in the course of a quotation, unless square brackets are used to gloss the quotation (see above, and points below).

  • Put a space on each side of an ellipsis, except that there should be no space between an ellipsis and:
    • a quotation mark, where the ellipsis is on the inside.
    • a parenthesis or a bracket, where the ellipsis is on the inside.
    • sentence-final punctuation, or a colon, semicolon, or comma (all rare), following the ellipsis.
  • Sentence-final punctuation after an ellipsis is shown only if it is textually important (as is often the case with exclamation points and question marks, and rarely with periods).
  • Use non-breaking spaces (&nbsp;) only as needed to prevent improper line breaks, e.g.:
    • To keep a quotation mark from being separated from the start of the quotation: "...&nbsp;we are still worried."
    • To keep the ellipsis from wrapping to the next line: "Andoran, Taldor,&nbsp;... and Osirion but not Cheliax."

Three periods (loosely also called ellipsis points) can represent a pause in or suspense of speech, in which case the punctuation is retained in its original form (Merisiel's startled reply was: "Could he ...? No, I cannot believe it!"). Avoid this usage except in direct quotations.

With square brackets

An ellipsis does not need square brackets around it, since its function is usually obvious—especially if the guidelines above are followed. Square brackets, however, can optionally clarify that the ellipsis is not itself quoted; this is usually only necessary if the quoted passage also uses three periods in it to indicate a pause or suspension. The ellipsis should follow exactly the principles given above, but with square brackets inserted immediately before and after it. (Her long rant continued: "How do I feel? How do you think I ... look, this has gone far enough! [...] I want to go home!")

Commas

Commas are the most frequently used punctuation marks, but also the most difficult to use well. Some important points are made at Semicolons, below. Other points include these:

A pair of commas is often used for parenthetic material, and it interrupts the sentence less than parentheses (brackets) or dashes. Sometimes other punctuation can mask the need for a comma, especially for the second in such a pair when parentheses are also used.

Incorrect: The Pathfinders, fed by local goblins (on fireworks, and fish) survived for a few hours.
Correct:    The Pathfinders, fed by local goblins (on fireworks, and fish), survived for a few hours.

A comma is very rarely correct immediately before an opening parenthesis.

Modern practice avoids excessive comma use. You can often simplify a sentence to use fewer commas.

Awkward: Valeros was, along with the Dalsines, both Colson and Gaspar, and also Harsk, one of Lubor's heroes.
Much better:    Lubor's heroes included Valeros, Harsk, and Colsoen and Gaspar Dalsine.

Serial commas

A serial comma (also known as an Oxford comma or Harvard comma) is a comma used immediately before a conjunction in a list of three or more items: the phrase ham, chips, and eggs contains a serial comma, while the variant ham, chips and eggs omits it.

Both styles are acceptable in PathfinderWiki as long as one is consistently used within an article. However, whenever including or omitting the comma clarifies the meaning of the sentence, that solution should be adopted.

Sometimes omitting the comma can lead to an ambiguous sentence, as in this example:

The author thanked her parents, Sister Bethany and Mayor Camden, which may list either four people (the two parents and the two people named) or two people (Bethany and Camden, who are the parents).

Including the comma can also cause ambiguity, as in:

The author thanked her mother, Sister Bethany, and Mayor Camden, which may list either two people (Bethany, who is the mother, and Camden) or three people (the first being the mother, the second Bethany, and the third Camden).

In such cases of ambiguity, there are three ways to clarify:

  • Use or omit the serial comma to avoid ambiguity.
  • Recast the sentence.
  • Format the list, perhaps with paragraph breaks and numbered paragraphs.

Recasting example one:

  • To list four people: The author thanked Mayor Camden, Sister Bethany, and her parents.
  • To list two people (the commas here set off non-restrictive appositives): The author thanked her father, Mayor Camden, and her mother, Sister Bethany.

Recasting example two:

  • To list two people: The author thanked Mayor Camden and her mother, Sister Bethany.
  • To list three people: The author thanked her mother, Mayor Camden, and Sister Bethany

Note that the last example's being clear depends on the reader knowing that Mayor Camden is male and cannot be a mother. If we change the example slightly, we are back to an ambiguous statement: The author thanked her mother, Governor Mary Maldris, and Sister Bethany.

Recasting again:

  • To list three people: The author thanked Governor Mary Maldris, Sister Bethany, and her mother.

Colons

A colon (:) informs the reader that what comes after it proves, explains, or modifies what has come before, or leads a list of items. You can separate the items in such a list with commas. If list items are more complex and perhaps themselves contain commas, the items should be separated by semicolons:

We toured several buildings around the town: the Glassworks, which was far hotter than I imagined; the theater; The Hagfish, where I tried a mug of Norah's tank water; and so many more.

A colon can also introduce direct speech enclosed within quotation marks (see above).

A colon should normally have a complete grammatical sentence before it, except sometimes when it introduces items set off in new lines like the very next colon here. For instance:

Correct: He attempted it in two years: 4681 AR and 4683 AR.
Incorrect:    The years he attempted it included: 4681 AR and 4683 AR.
Correct (special case):    Boggard, Shoanti, Chelaxian: these are but a few of the languages you might hear on your travels through Varisia.

Sometimes, more in American than British usage, the word following a colon is capitalized if that word effectively begins a new grammatical sentence, and especially if the colon serves to introduce more than one sentence:

The argument is easily stated: We have been given only three tickets. There are four of us here: you, the twins, and me. The twins are inseparable. Therefore, you or I will have to stay home.

No sentence should contain more than one colon.

Semicolons

A semicolon (;) is sometimes an alternative to a full stop (period), enabling related material to be kept in the same sentence; it marks a more decisive division in a sentence than a comma. If it separates clauses, they are usually independent; often, only a comma or only a semicolon will be correct in a given sentence.

Correct: Though he had been here before, I did not recognize him.
Incorrect:    Though he had been here before; I did not recognize him.
Correct: Efreet are aligned with elemental fire; djinn are classified as air.
Incorrect:    Efreet are aligned with elemental fire, djinn are classified as air.

In very rare cases, a comma may be used where a semicolon would seem to be called for:

Accepted: "Life is short, art is long." (citing a brief aphorism)
Accepted: "I have studied it, you have not." (reporting brisk conversation)

A semicolon does not force a capital letter in the word that follows it.

A sentence can contain several semicolons, especially when the clauses are parallel. Multiple unrelated semicolons are often signs that the sentence should be divided into shorter sentences, or otherwise refashioned.

Unwieldy: Efreet are aligned with elemental fire; djinn are classified as air; shaitan are said to be of earth; these classifications are fundamental to their natures.
One better way:    Efreet are aligned with elemental fire, djinn are air, and shaitan are earth; these classifications are fundamental to their natures.

Hyphens

Hyphens (-) indicate conjunction. There are three main uses:

  • To distinguish between homographs. Re-dress means dress again, but redress means remedy or set right.
  • To link certain prefixes with their main word. Non-linear, sub-section, super-achiever.
    • There is a clear trend to join both elements in all varieties of English (subsection, nonlinear), particularly in American English. British English tends to hyphenate when the letters brought into contact are the same (non-negotiable, sub-basement) or are vowels (pre-industrial), or where a word is uncommon (co-proposed, re-target) or may be misread (sub-era, not subera). American English reflects the same factors, but tends to close up without a hyphen when possible. Consult a good dictionary.
  • To link related terms in compound adjectives and adverbs:
    • A hyphen can help with ease of reading (face-to-face discussion, hard-boiled egg); a hyphen is particularly useful in long nominal groups where non-experts are part of the readership.
    • A hyphen can help to disambiguate (little-celebrated paintings, not a reference to little paintings).
    • Many compound adjectives that are hyphenated when used attributively (before the noun they qualify—a light-blue handbag), are not hyphenated when used predicatively (after the noun—the handbag was light blue); this attributive hyphenation also occurs in proper names, such as Great Black-backed Gull. Where there would be a loss of clarity, the hyphen may be used in the predicative case too (hand-fed turkeys, the turkeys were hand-fed).
    • A hyphen is not used after a standard -ly adverb (a newly available home, a wholly owned subsidiary) unless part of a larger compound (a slowly-but-surely strategy). Some words ending in -ly function as both adverbs and adjectives (a friendly-looking butcher, the natives used us friendly and with kindness). Some such dual-purpose words (like early, only, northerly) are not standard -ly adverbs, since they are not formed by addition of -ly to an independent current-English adjective. These need careful treatment: Early flowering plants evolved along with sexual reproduction, but Early-flowering plants risk damage from winter frosts; northerly-situated islands.
    • A hyphen is normally used when the adverb well precedes a participle used attributively (a well-meaning gesture; but normally a very well managed shop, since well itself is modified); and even predicatively, if well is necessary to, or alters, the sense of the adjective rather than simply intensifying it (the gesture was well-meaning, the child was well-behaved, but the floor was well polished).
    • A hanging hyphen is used when two compound adjectives are separated (two- and three-digit numbers, a ten-camel or -mule convoy, sloping right- or leftward, but better is sloping rightward or leftward).
    • Values and units used as compound adjectives are hyphenated only where the unit is given as a whole word. Where hyphens are not used, values and units are always separated by a non-breaking space (&nbsp;).
Incorrect: 9-in. gap
Correct: 9 in. gap (entered as 9&nbsp;in. gap)
Incorrect:    9 inch gap
Correct: 9-inch gap
Correct: 12-hour shift
Correct: 12 h shift
Multi-hyphenated items
It is often possible to avoid multi-word hyphenated adjectives by rewording (a three-headed dog may be easier to read as a dog with three heads). This is particularly important where converted units are involved (the 6-hectare-limit (14.8-acre-limit) rule might be possible as the rule imposing a limit of 6 hectares (14.8 acres), and the ungainly 4.9-mile (7.9 km) -long tributary as simply 4.9-mile (7.9 km) tributary).
Spacing
A hyphen is never followed or preceded by a space, except when hanging (see above) or when used to display parts of words independently, such as the prefix sub- and the suffix -less.
Minus signs
Do not use a hyphen (-) as a minus sign (), except in code (see below).
Image filenames and redirects
A hyphen is used only to mark conjunction, not disjunction (for which en dashes are used: see below). An exception is in image filenames, where the ability to type the URL becomes more important (see Dashes below). Article titles with dashes should have a corresponding redirect from the title with hyphens: for example, Michelson-Morley experiment redirects to Michelson–Morley experiment, as the latter title, while correct, is harder to search for.

Hyphenation involves many subtleties that cannot be covered here; the rules and examples presented above illustrate the broad principles that inform current usage.

Dashes

PathfinderWiki uses two kinds of dashes: en dashes and em dashes. The article on dashes shows common input methods for these.

Dashes should never be used in image and media filenames; use hyphens instead. If used in an article's title, there should be a redirect from the version with a hyphen.

En dashes

En dashes () have three distinct roles:

  1. To indicate disjunction. In this role, there are two main applications.
    • To convey the sense of to or through, particularly in ranges (pp. 211–19, 64–75%, Desnus–Rova) and where movement is involved (Sandpoint–Magnimar route). The word to, rather than an en dash, is used when a number range involves a negative value or might be misconstrued as a subtraction (−3 to 1, not −3–1). This is also the case when the nearby wording demands it, e.g., he served from 4682 AR to 4685 AR and not he served from 4682–4685, in which from and to are complementary and should both be spelled out.
    • As a substitute for some uses of and, to, or versus for marking a relationship involving independent elements in certain compound expressions (Osirion–Katapesh border, the quillions mark the hilt-blade transition, 3–2 win in the jousting final, male–female ratio, 3–2 majority verdict)
      • Spacing: All disjunctive en dashes are unspaced, except when there is a space within either one or both of the items (the Mwangi Expanse – Osiron trade route; Desnus 3, 4682 – Rova 18, 4685, but Desnus–Rova 4682).
  2. As a stylistic alternative to em dashes (see below).
Minus signs

Do not use an en dash for negative signs and subtraction operators: use the correct Unicode character for the minus sign (&minus;). Negative signs (−8 °F) are unspaced; subtraction operators (42 − 4 = 38) are spaced. Note that this is in opposition to Paizo style, which uses en dashes for minus signs.

Due to the large number of articles on years which begin with hyphens instead of minus signs, use hyphens when referring to years.

Em dashes

Em dashes () indicate interruption in a sentence. They should not be spaced.

Em dashes fill two roles:

  1. Parenthetical (PathfinderWiki—one of the most popular Pathfinder fan web sites—has the information you need). A pair of em dashes for such interpolations is more arresting than a pair of commas, and less disruptive than parentheses (round brackets).
  2. As a sharp break in the flow of a sentence—sharper than is provided by a colon or a semicolon.

In both roles, em dashes are useful where there are already several commas. Em dashes can clarify the structure, sometimes removing ambiguity.

Use em dashes sparingly. They are visually striking, so using no more than two in a paragraph is often a good limit. Avoid two "sharp break" em dashes in a sentence, since they are readily mistaken for a parenthetic pair. Do not use more than two em dashes in a single sentence: which two (if any) make a parenthetic pair?

Do not use an em dash for a minus sign. (See Minus signs.)

Spaced en dashes as an alternative to em dashes

Spaced en dashes – such as here – can be used instead of unspaced em dashes in all of the ways discussed above. Spaced en dashes are used by several major publishers, to the complete exclusion of em dashes. Whichever style you choose, use it consistently throughout an article.

Other dashes

PathfinderWiki avoids using other types of dashes, especially two consecutive hyphens (--).

Slashes

Avoid joining two words by a slash, also known as a forward slash ( / ). It suggests that the two are related, but does not specify how. It is often also unclear how the construct would be read aloud. Replace the structure with clearer wording.

Incorrect: The soldier/healer must be present at all times.
Correct: The soldier and healer must be present at all times. (If two people.)
Correct: The soldier-healer must be present at all times. (If one person.)
Correct: The soldier who also tends their wounds must always be present. (If one person.)

In circumstances involving a distinction or disjunction, the en dash (see above) is usually preferable to the slash, e.g., the cleric–inquisitor distinction.

Never use the backslash character ( \ ) in place of a slash.

And/or

The term and/or is awkward. In general, where it is important to mark an inclusive or, use x or y, or both, rather than x and/or y. For an exclusive or, use either x or y, and optionally add but not both if it is necessary to stress the exclusivity.

Where more than two possibilities are presented, from which a combination is to be selected, it is even less desirable to use and/or. With two possibilities the intention is clear, but with more than two it may not be. Instead of x, y, and/or z, use an appropriate alternative, such as one or more of x, y, and z; some or all of x, y, and z.

Sometimes or is ambiguous in another way: Wild dogs, or dingoes, inhabit this stretch of land. Are wild dogs and dingoes the same or different? For one case write: wild dogs (dingoes) inhabit ... (meaning dingoes are wild dogs); for the other case write: either wild dogs or dingoes inhabit ....

Punctuation at the end of a sentence

Periods (referred to as full stops by most non-US English speakers), question marks, and exclamation marks are the three sentence-enders: the only punctuation marks used to end sentences. In some contexts, no sentence-ender should be used; in such cases, the sentence often does not start with a capital letter. See Quotations, Quotation marks and Sentences and brackets, above.

For the use of three periods in succession, see Ellipses, above.

Clusters of question marks, exclamation marks, or a combination of them (such as the interrobang) are highly informal, and inappropriate in PathfinderWiki articles.

Use exclamation marks with restraint. It is an expression of surprise or emotion that is generally unsuited to an encyclopedic register.

Question marks and exclamation marks can sometimes be used in the middle of a sentence:

  • Why me? she wondered.
  • The question is not Did Paizo write the errata? but How did the errata come into being?, as we have now come to realize.
  • The door flew open with a BANG! that made them jump. [Not encyclopedic, but acceptable in transcription from audio, or of course in direct quotation.]

Along with commas, semicolons, and colons, sentence-enders are never preceded by a space in normal prose.

There is no guideline on whether to use one space or two after the end of a sentence, but the issue is not important because the difference is visible only in edit boxes; that is, it is ignored by browsers when displaying the article. For consistency, PathfinderWiki prefers one space after sentence-ending punctuation.

Punctuation and inline citations

Place inline citations after any punctuation, such as a comma or period, with no intervening space:

... are venomous.<ref>{{Cite book/Bestiary 4|123}}</ref>

This yields ... are venomous.[1]

See Citing sources for general guidelines about referencing.

Geographical items

See also: PathfinderWiki:Naming conventions

Refer to places consistently using the same name as in the title of their article. In general, this should also be consistent with the source material.

Chronological items

Precise language

Avoid statements that age quickly, like recently, soon, and now, unless their meaning is fixed by the context. Avoid relative terms like currently (usually redundant), in modern times, is now considered, and is soon to be superseded. Instead, use either:

  • more precise and absolute expressions (since the start of 2005; during the 4710s; is expected to be superseded by 2008); or
  • an as of phrase (as of August 2007), which signals the time-dependence of the statement and alerts later editors to update the statement.; or
  • simply use at instead: The population was over 21,000,000 (at December 2008).

Dates

PathfinderWiki does not use ordinal suffixes or articles. This applies to both publication and in-world points of view. For real-world dates, do not put a comma between the month and year.

Incorrect:    February 14th, the 14th of February
Correct: February 14
Incorrect: October, 1976; October of 1976
Correct: October 1976
Incorrect:    14th Kuthona, the 14th of Kuthona
Correct: 14 Kuthona
Incorrect: Kuthona 4715; Kuthona of 4715
Correct: Kuthona, 4715
  • Rarely, a night can be expressed in terms of the two contiguous dates using a slash (the night of December 13/14, 2005).

Real-world dates

Because Pathfinder is published by Paizo, which is based in the United States, PathfinderWiki maintains United States standards for date format. Thus, month should always precede real-world dates.

  • Dates are not normally linked.
  • Date ranges are preferably given with minimal repetition, using an unspaced en dash where the range involves numerals alone (January 5–7, 2002) or a spaced en dash where opening and/or closing dates have internal spaces (January 5 – February 18, 1979).
  • Yearless dates (March 5) are inappropriate unless the year is obvious from the context, such as a repeating event.
  • ISO 8601 dates (like 1976-05-13) are uncommon in English prose and are generally not used in PathfinderWiki. However, they may be useful in long lists and tables for conciseness and ease of comparison.

In-world dates

Absalom Reckoning and Imperial Calendar dates follow a different format than real-world dates: the day of the week followed by a comma, then the numeric date and month, a comma, and the year suffixed with AR or IC, respectively. For example:

Correct:    Moonday, 29 Abadius, 4717 AR
Correct: 29 Abadius, 4717 AR
Correct: Kuthona, 4715 AR

Longer periods

Write months as whole words (February, not 2). Use abbreviations such as Feb only where space is extremely limited, such as in tables and infoboxes. Do not insert of between a month and a year (April 2000, not April of 2000).

Because seasons differ on location and context, prefer neutral wording (in early 1990, in the second quarter of 2003, around September) over "seasonal" references (Summer 1918, Spring 1995). Even when the season reference is unambiguous in context, a date or month may be preferable to a season name unless there is a logical connection (the autumn harvest).

Season names are preferable, however, when they refer to a time of the year rather than as a substitute for a date or range of dates (migration to higher latitudes typically starts in mid spring). Lowercase season names in this context.

Years

Years are normally expressed in digits; a comma is not used in four-digit years (1988, not 1,988). Avoid inserting the words the year before the digits (1995, not the year 1995), unless the meaning would otherwise be unclear.

In-world years are always counted using Absalom Reckoning. Each year's article name will include AR in its title and should be wikilinked in this fashion. Include a visible AR in the wikilink of the first date per article. All subsequent articles can be piped such that only the year appears 4707 AR|4707

Absalom Reckoning should remain the only system in use unless an article's context makes it clear that a year is provided by a different reckoning, such as the Imperial Calendar.

Year ranges, like all ranges, are separated by an en dash: do not use a hyphen or slash (2005–08, not 2005-08 or 2005/08). A closing positive AR year (greater than 1 AR) is normally written with two digits (1881–86) unless it is in a different century from that of the opening year (1881–1986). The full closing year is acceptable, but abbreviating it to a single digit (1881–6) or three digits (1881–886) is not.

A closing negative AR year (a year before 1 AR) is given in full (-2590–2550 AR). While one era signifier at the end of a date range still requires an unspaced en dash (12–5 AR), a spaced en dash is required when a signifier is used after the opening and closing years (-5 AR – 29 AR).

To indicate around, approximately, or about, the abbreviations c. and ca. are preferred over circa, approximately or approx., and are spaced (c. 1291 AR) and italicized. If you are calculating an in-world date based on its source's publication date, note so in the reference (see the canon policy).

Use a question mark instead (1291?) only if the date is in fact questioned rather than approximate. (The question mark may mistakenly be understood as a sign that editors have simply not checked the date.

Decades contain no apostrophe (the 1980s, not the 1980's); the two-digit form is used only where the century is clear (the '80s or the 80s).

Centuries and millennia are written using ordinal numbers, without superscripts or Roman numerals: the second millennium, the 19th century, a 46th-century book (see also Numbers as figures or words below).

Numbers

Numbers as figures or words

As a general rule, in the body of an article, single-digit whole numbers from zero to nine are spelled out in words; numbers greater than nine are commonly rendered in numerals, or may be rendered in words if they are expressed in one or two words (16 or sixteen, 84 or eighty‑four, 200 or two hundred, but 3.75, 544, 21 million). This applies to ordinal numbers as well as cardinal numbers. However there are frequent exceptions to these rules.

  • Numerals are used in tables and infoboxes, and in places where space is limited. Numbers within a table's explanatory text and comments should be consistent with the general rule.
  • Comparable quantities should be all spelled out or all figures: we may write either 5 cats and 32 dogs or five cats and thirty‑two dogs, not five cats and 32 dogs.
  • Adjacent quantities that are not comparable should usually be in different formats: thirty‑six 6.4‑inch rifled guns is more readable than 36 6.4‑inch rifled guns.
  • Numbers that begin a sentence are spelled out, although it is often better to recast the sentence if simply changing format would produce other problems.
  • The numerical elements of dates and times are not normally spelled out, except where customary in historical references such as First of Rova Massacre.
  • Centuries are named in figures: (the 5th century AR; 19th‑century warship); when the adjective is hyphenated, consider nineteenth‑century warship, but not when contrasted with warships of the 20th century.
  • Simple fractions are normally spelled out; use the fraction form if they occur in a percentage or with an abbreviated unit (⅛ mm or an eighth of a millimeter) or if they are mixed with whole numbers. Decimal fractions are not spelled out.
  • The use of words rather than figures may be preferred when expressing approximate numbers.
  • Proper names, idioms, and formal numerical designations comply with common usage (Chanel No. 5, 4 Main Street, 1‑Naphthylamine, Channel 6). This is the case even where it causes a numeral to open a sentence, although this is usually avoided by rewording.
  • Most proper names containing numbers spell them out (e.g. Fourth Amendment, Seventeenth Judicial District, Seven Years' War); the proper names of military units do not.

Large numbers

  • Commas are used to break the sequence every three places: 2,900,000.
  • Large rounded numbers are generally assumed to be approximations; only where the approximation could be misleading is it necessary to qualify with about or a similar term.
  • Where values in the millions occur a number of times through an article, upper-case M may be used for million, unspaced, after using the full word at the first occurrence.

Decimal points

  • A decimal point is used between the integral and the fractional parts of a decimal; a comma is never used in this role (6.57, not 6,57).
  • Numbers between minus one and plus one require a leading zero (0.02, not .02).

Percentages

  • Percent is commonly used to indicate percentages in the body of an article. The symbol % may be more common in complex listings.
  • The symbol is unspaced (71%, not 71 %).
  • In tables and infoboxes, the symbol is used, not the word percent.
  • Ranges are preferably formatted with one rather than two percentage signifiers (22–28%, not 22%–28%).

Units of measurement

See also: Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_(dates_and_numbers)#Units_of_measurement

The use of units of measurement is based on the following principles:

  • Avoid ambiguity: Aim to write so you cannot be misunderstood.
  • Familiarity: The less one has to look up definitions, the easier it is to be understood.
  • International scope: PathfinderWiki is not country-specific; it is, however, based around a campaign setting (and game) which consistently provides US-based units of measurement.

Which units to use

In general, prefer units provided in the source material, which will almost always be in imperial units. For this reason, unlike wikipedia and other international wikis, imperial units are preferred over other units, so 22 lb (10 kg) rather than 10 kg (22 lb).

Unit conversions

  • Generally, conversions to and from metric units and US or imperial units should be provided, except where inserting a conversion would make a common expression awkward (The four-minute mile).
  • In the main text, give the main units as words and use unit symbols or abbreviations for conversions in parentheses; for example, a pipe 4 inches (100 mm) in diameter and 16 kilometres (10 mi) long or a pipe 4 inches (100 mm) in diameter and 10 miles (16 km) long. However, where there is consensus to do so, the main units may also be abbreviated in the main text after the first occurrence.
  • Converted values should use a level of precision similar to that of the source value, so the Moon is 380,000 kilometres (240,000 mi) from Earth, not (236,121 mi). However, small numbers may need to be converted to a greater level of precision where rounding would cause a significant distortion, so one mile (1.6 km), not one mile (2 km).

Unit symbols and abbreviations

  • Non-breaking spaces are used between values and units; see the Non-breaking spaces section above.
  • Standard abbreviations and symbols for units are undotted (do not carry periods). For example, m for metre/meter and kg for kilogram (not m. or kg.), in for inch (not in.,  or ), ft for foot (not ft., or ) and lb for pound (not lb. or #).
  • Do not append an s for the plurals of unit symbols (kg, km, in, lb, not kgs, kms, ins, lbs). A lowercase s is the SI symbol for second; thus, kgs can be confused with kg s, which means "kilogram-second".
  • In tables and infoboxes, use symbols and abbreviations for units, not words.
  • Ranges are preferably formatted with one rather than two unit signifiers (5.9–6.3 kg, not 5.9 kg – 6.3 kg).

Currencies

Real world

Since Paizo Inc. and most other companies producing official support for the Pathfinder campaign setting are located in the United States, the American dollar $ should be the standard currency used on PathfinderWiki. If it is necessary to break from this convention for any reason, provide only published (non-converted) amounts in other currencies.

Include two decimal places in all currency listings $5.00 not $5.

In world

When in-world POV references to monetary values are required, the following rules should be used:

  • When general units of currency are used, the unit, in singular, should follow space after the value, and should not contain periods.
Incorrect:    15 cps
Incorrect: 25sp
Incorrect: 35 g.p.
Correct: 45 pp
  • When known, a specific currency name should be used (15 Korvosan Gold Sails instead of 15 gp). If the nationality of a currency is clear in the context it is used, the national adjective may be omitted (In Korvosa, a decent blade can be purchased for 15 Gold Sails).

Simple tabulation

Lines that start with blank spaces in the editing window are displayed boxed and in a fixed-width font, for simple tabulation. Lines that contain only a blank space insert a blank line into the table. For a complete guide to constructing tables, see Wikipedia:Meta:Help:Table.

Grammar

Possessives

For thorough treatment of the English possessive see Apostrophe. See also Apostrophes, above.
  • It's is the short form of it is or it has (as in it's a nice day, it's been a nice day); the possessive its (as in the dog chased its tail) has no apostrophe, nor do hers, ours, yours, theirs, and whose.
  • The possessive of a singular noun is formed by adding 's (as in my daughter's achievement, the boss's wife, Glass's books, Illinois's legislature). For a singular noun ending in one s, there are two widely accepted forms:
  • Add 's: James's house, Euripides's plays, Moses's early life, Brahms's music. This style is more common for modern names and common nouns.
  • Add just an apostrophe: James' house, Euripides' plays, Moses' early life, Brahms' music. This style is more common for biblical and classical names (Socrates' wife; Moses' ascent of Sinai; Jesus' last words).
Either of those forms may be acceptable in PathfinderWiki articles, as long as consistency is maintained within a given article. It should be noted, however, that Paizo adheres to the former of these rules in their in-house manual of style.
  • The possessive of a plural noun ending in s is formed by adding just the apostrophe (my daughters' husbands). The possessive of a plural noun not ending in s is formed by adding 's (women's careers, children's toys).
  • Official names (of companies, organizations, or places) should be made to conform to a specific style. For instance St Thomas's Hospital, being the official designation, should not be rendered as St Thomas' Hospital.

First-person pronouns

PathfinderWiki articles must not be based on one person's opinions or experiences; thus, the pronoun I is never used, except when it appears in a quotation. For similar reasons, avoid the pronoun we; a sentence such as We should note that some critics have argued in favor of the proposal sounds more personal than encyclopedic.

Second-person pronouns

Use of the second person (you), which is often ambiguous and contrary to the tone of an encyclopedia, is discouraged. Instead, refer to the subject of the sentence or use the passive voice—for example:

Use:
When a player moves past "Go", that player collects $200.
Use:
Players passing "Go" collect $200.
Use:
$200 is collected when passing "Go".
Do not use:
When you move past "Go", you collect $200.

This guideline does not apply to quoted text, which should be quoted exactly.

Contested vocabulary

Words and phrases like thusly, overly, whilst, amongst, as per, refute in the sense of dispute, along with several others, should be avoided because they are not widely accepted—at least in some of their applications. Some are regional, so unsuitable in an international encyclopedia (see National varieties of English below). Some give an impression of "straining for formality", and therefore of an insecure grasp of English. See List of English words with disputed usage, Words to avoid, and List of commonly misused English words; see also Identity and Gender-neutral language below.

Contractions

In general, the use of contractions—such as don't, can't, won't, they'd, should've, it's—is informal and should be avoided; however, contractions should be left unchanged when they occur in a quotation.

Instructional and presumptuous language

Avoid such phrases as remember that and note that, which address readers directly in an unencyclopedic tone. Similarly, phrases such as of course, naturally, obviously, clearly and actually make presumptions about readers' knowledge, and call into question the reason for including the related information in the first place. See {{|Wikipedia:Words to avoid#Of course, naturally, obviously, clearly, actually|Wikipedia:Words to avoid}}.

Subset terms

A subset term identifies a set of members of a larger class. Common subset terms are including, among, and et cetera (etc.). Do not use two subset terms ("Among the most well-known members of the fraternity include ...", "The elements in stars include hydrogen, helium and iron, etc."). Do not use including to introduce a complete list, where comprising, consisting of, or composed of would be correct.

Plurals

Use the appropriate plural; allow for cases like oblast, or octopus, when a foreign word has been assimilated into English and normally takes an s or es plural, not its original plural. A number of words, like army, company, crowd, fleet, government, majority, mess, number, pack, and party may refer either to a single entity or the members of the set that compose it. In British English, they are normally treated as singular or plural according to context; names of towns and countries take plural verbs when they refer to sports teams but singular verbs when they refer to the actual place (or to the club as a business enterprise): England are playing Germany tonight refers to a football team, but England is the most populous country of the United Kingdom refers to the country.

In North American English, these words (and the United States, for historical reasons) are invariably treated as singular.

Ampersand

The ampersand (&) is a symbol representing the word and. In running prose, and should mainly be used instead as it is more formal. If it appears in the titles of businesses, works, or in a quotation, the use of an ampersand is justified (as in "Dungeons & Dragons"). The ampersand may also be used in tables, infoboxes, and other places where space is limited.

National varieties of English

See also: PathfinderWiki:Manual of Style (spelling)

PathfinderWiki does not prefer any major national variety of the language. No variety is more correct than another. Editors should recognize that the differences between the varieties are superficial. Cultural clashes over spelling and grammar are avoided by using the following three guidelines. (The accepted style of punctuation is covered in the punctuation section.)

Consistency within articles

See also Internal consistency

Each article should consistently use the same conventions of spelling, grammar, and punctuation. For example, these should not be used in the same article: center and centre; insofar and in so far; em dash and spaced en dash (see above). The exceptions are:

  • quotations (the original variety is retained; though the precise styling of punctuation marks such as dashes, ellipses, apostrophes, and quotation marks should be made consistent with the surrounding article);
  • proper names (the original spelling is used, for example United States Department of Defense and Australian Defence Force);
  • book titles (again, use the original spelling—if there are multiple editions which spell a given title differently, use the one consulted); and
  • explicit comparisons of varieties of English.

Retaining the existing variety

If an article has evolved using predominantly one variety, the whole article should conform to that variety, unless there are reasons for changing it based on strong national ties to the topic. In the early stages of writing an article, the variety chosen by the first major contributor to the article should be used. Where an article that is not a stub shows no signs of which variety it is written in, the first person to make an edit that disambiguates the variety is equivalent to the first major contributor.

Opportunities for commonality

PathfinderWiki tries to find words that are common to all varieties of English.

  • In choosing words or expressions, especially for article titles, there may be value in making choices that avoid varying spellings, where possible. In extreme cases of conflicting names, a common substitute (such as fixed-wing aircraft) is preferred to national varieties (fixed-wing aeroplanes [British English], and fixed-wing airplanes [American English]).
  • If a variable spelling appears in an article name, redirect pages are made to accommodate the other variants, as with Artefact and Artifact, so that they can always be found in searches and linked to from either spelling.
  • Sensitivity to terms that may be used differently between different varieties of English allows for wider readability; this may include glossing terms and providing alternative terms where confusion may arise. Insisting on a single term or a single usage as the only correct option does not serve well the purposes of an international encyclopedia.
  • Use an unambiguous word or phrase in preference to one that is ambiguous because of national differences. For example, use alternative route (or even other route) rather than alternate route, since alternate may mean only "alternating" to a British English speaker.

Articles such as English plural and American and British English differences provide information on the differences between the major varieties of the language.

Foreign terms

See also: Wikipedia:Interlanguage links

Foreign words should be used sparingly.

No common usage in English
Use italics for phrases in other languages and for isolated foreign words that are not current in English.
Common usage in English
Loanwords and borrowed phrases that have common usage in English—Gestapo, samurai, vice versa, esprit de corps—do not require italics. A rule of thumb is not to italicize words that appear unitalicized in major English-language dictionaries.
Spelling and transliteration

Gender-neutral language

Use gender-neutral language where this can be done with clarity and precision. This does not apply to direct quotations or the titles of works (The Ascent of Man), or where all referents are of one gender, such as in an all-female school (if any student broke that rule, she was severely punished).

Images

  • Start an article with a right-aligned lead image or InfoBox.
  • Images should be inside the section they belong to (after the heading and after any links to other articles), and not above the heading.
  • Avoid sandwiching text between two images that face each other.
  • Use captions to explain the relevance of the image to the article (see Captions, below).
  • See this tutorial for how to group images and avoid "stack-ups".
  • It is often preferable to place images of faces so that the face or eyes look toward the text. Multiple images in the same article can be staggered right-and-left (for example: Timpani). However, images should not be reversed simply to resolve a conflict between these guidelines; doing so misinforms the reader for the sake of our layout preferences. If an image is reversed or otherwise substantially altered, there should be a clear advantage to the reader in doing so (for example, cropping a work of art to focus on a detail that is the subject of commentary), and the alteration must be noted in the caption.
  • Do not place left-aligned images directly below a subsection-level heading (=== or lower), as this sometimes disconnects the heading from the text that follows it. This can often be avoided by shifting left-aligned images down a paragraph or two.
  • Most pictures should be between 100 and 400 pixels wide. Generally, use the thumbnail option ("thumb"), which is available in the image markup. This results in a default width of 180 pixels (140 pixels if the "upright" option is used as well), although logged-in users can set a different default in their user preferences. As a rule, images should not be set to another size (that is, one that overrides the default). Where it is appropriate to select a particular size, images should generally be no more than 300 pixels wide, so that they can be comfortably displayed on 800x600 monitors. Where appropriate, the {{Wide image}} template can be used to fit an image into the width of the browser window. Examples where size-forcing may be appropriate include:
  • Images with aspect ratios that are extreme or that otherwise distort or obscure the image
  • Detailed maps, diagrams, or charts
  • Images containing a lot of detail, if the detail is important to the article
  • Images in which a small region is relevant, but cropping to that region would reduce the coherence of the image
  • Lead images, which should usually be no larger than 300 pixels
  • The use of galleries should be in keeping with PathfinderWiki's image use policy.
  • Editors are encouraged to add alt text to all images for which it seems reasonable. Alternative text describes the image for readers who cannot see the image, such as visually impaired readers or those using web-browsers that do not download images.
    • Instructions on adding alt text to images can be found here. A script for checking whether an article's images have alt text is given here.
    • Alt text is not the same as captions: alt text describes the image for those who cannot see it, whereas captions are intended to explain or supplement an image that is visible. Therefore, alt text should not be redundant with the caption or the main text of the article. The guideline on this subject notes that images need not have alt text; editors should ask themselves how much sighted readers would lose if the picture were blanked, and how far that is describable in words. By default, no alt text is defined in images, provided that the thumb or frame parameter is included.

Avoid entering textual information as images

Textual information should be entered as text rather than as an image. Text in images is not searchable, and can be slow to download; the image is unlikely to be read as text by devices for the visually impaired. Text may be colored and decorated with CSS tags and templates. Even if the problems can be worked around, as by including a caption or internal information, editors should still consider whether fancy text really adds anything useful.

Captions

Usage

Photographs and other graphics should always have captions, unless they are "self-captioning" (such as reproductions of book covers) or when they are unambiguous depictions of the subject of the article. For example, in a biography article, a caption is not mandatory for a portrait of the subject pictured alone, but might contain the name of the subject and additional information relevant to the image, such as the year or the subject's age. Images included in infobox templates should never include captions.

Formatting

  • Captions normally start with a capital letter.
  • Most captions are not complete sentences, but merely sentence fragments that should not end with a period. If a complete sentence occurs in a caption, that sentence and any sentence fragments in that caption should end with a period.
  • Captions should not be italicized, except for words that are conventionally italicized.
  • Captions should be succinct; more information about the image can be included on its description page, or in the main text.

Bulleted and numbered lists

See also: Help:List and Wikipedia:Lists

Do not use lists if a passage reads easily using plain paragraphs.

  • Do not leave blank lines between items in a bulleted or numbered list unless there is a reason to do so, since this causes the Wiki software to interpret each list item as an individual list.
  • Use numbers rather than bullets only if:
    • there is a need to refer to the elements by number;
    • the sequence of the items is critical; or
    • the numbering has value of its own, for example in a chapter listing.
  • Use the same grammatical form for all elements in a list where possible, and do not mix the use of sentences and sentence fragments as elements.
    • When the elements are complete sentences, they are formatted using sentence case and a final period.
    • When the elements are sentence fragments, they are typically introduced by a lead fragment ending with a colon. When these elements are titles of works, they retain the original capitalization of the title. Other elements are formatted consistently in either sentence or lower case. Final punctuation for these elements can be omitted entirely, or should otherwise be a period for the terminating element with each of its preceding elements having a final semicolon.
  • Alphabetize unordered bulleted lists unless a more logical organization is possible.

Categories

Categories are used on the PathfinderWiki to collate similar information: they act as a classification of entries and a simple way of locating information. Every article should be in one or more categories, and there is no limit to the number of categories that a single article can be in. There is significant help about adding categories and setting up category pages in the help pages, which should also be used to solve most questions about style associated with categories: Help:Categories & Help:Creating category pages. The box to the right of these help pages has links to further help pages providing guidance for adding categories to various types of common articles.

One point of style should be noted here: Within the Category:Races category tree, all races and ethnicities are used in their singular form. For instance, we use Category:Red dragon and Category:Red dragon/Inhabitants, rather than Category:Red dragons and Category:Red dragons/Inhabitants.

Links

Wikilinks

Make links only where they are relevant to the context: It is not useful and can be very distracting to mark all possible words as hyperlinks. Links should add to the user's experience; they should not detract from it by making the article harder to read. A high density of links can draw attention away from the high-value links that you would like your readers to follow up.

Eliminate redundancies: Redundant links clutter the page and make future maintenance harder. Link only once to any secondary article within the body of an article. Links within templates (such as infoboxes or navigation bars) and in Main article and See also redirects are the only links which should be duplicated within a single article.

Check links: After linking, ensure that the destination is the intended one; many words lead to disambiguation pages and not to complete articles on a concept, or to real-world articles that share the same name as an in-world object or person. An anchor into a targeted page—the label after a pound/hash sign (#) in a URL—will get readers to the relevant area within that page.

Initial capitalization: PathfinderWiki's MediaWiki software does not require that wikilinks begin with an upper-case character. Only capitalize the first letter where this is naturally called for, or when specifically referring to the linked article by its name: Vermin are often venomous, but magical beasts only rarely (see Poison).

External links

Articles can include an external links section at the end to list links to websites outside PathfinderWiki that contain further information, as opposed to citing sources. The standard format is a primary heading named == External links == followed by a bulleted list of links. External links should identify the link and briefly indicate its relevance to the article subject. For example:

*[http://history.nih.gov/exhibits/history/index.html History of NIH]
*[http://www.nih.gov/ National Institutes of Health homepage]

These will appear as:

Avoid listing an excessive number of external links; PathfinderWiki is not a link repository.

Miscellaneous

Keep markup simple

Use the simplest markup to display information in a useful and comprehensible way. Markup may appear differently in different browsers. Use HTML and CSS markup sparingly and only with good reason. Minimizing markup in entries allows easier editing.

In particular, do not use the CSS float or line-height properties because they break rendering on some browsers when large fonts are used.

Formatting issues

Formatting issues such as font size, blank space and color are issues for the wiki's site-wide style sheet and should not be specified in articles except in special cases. If you absolutely must specify a font size, use a relative size like font-size: 80%, not an absolute size like font-size: 8pt. It is also almost never a good idea to use other style changes, such as font family or color.

Typically, the use of custom font styles will:

  • reduce consistency—the text will no longer look uniform;
  • reduce usability—it will likely be impossible for people with custom stylesheets (for accessibility reasons, for example) to override it, and it might clash with a different skin as well as bother people with color blindness; and
  • increase arguments—other wiki users may disagree aesthetically with the choice of style.

Color coding

Using color alone to convey information (color coding) should not be done. It is certainly desirable to use color as an aid for those who can see it, but the information should still be accessible without it.

Scrolling lists

Scrolling lists and boxes that toggle text display between hide and show are acceptable in infoboxes and navigation boxes, but should never be used in the article prose or references, because of issues with readability, accessibility, and printing.

Invisible comments

Editors use invisible comments to communicate with each other in the body of the text of an article. These comments are visible only in the wiki source (that is, in edit mode), not in read mode.

Invisible comments are useful for flagging an issue or leaving instructions about part of the text, where this is more convenient than raising the matter on the talk page. They should be used judiciously, because they can clutter the wiki source for other editors. Check that your invisible comment does not change the formatting, such as introducing unwanted white space in read mode.

To leave an invisible comment, enclose the text you intend to be read only by editors within <!-- and -->. For example: <!--If you change this section title, please also change the links to it on the pages ...-->

Pronunciation

Pronunciation in PathfinderWiki is indicated using English pronunciation respelling. In general, if an official pronunciation has not been published or a source can not be provided for a pronunciation, do not include it in the article. You can find a pronunciation respelling key on Wikipedia.