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Hrm. Sooooo. This is a huge undertaking. I think we can do it but we should go over a few priorities first.

Do we really need everything outlining all the grammar rules? Same applies for things like currencies, mathematical symbols, etc. Only those items which directly apply to Pathfinder canon are really relevant, and stylistic rules about extremely general stuff might also not be needed.

My suggestion is to take it one section at a time, denoting with <!-- --> tags or in the comments which subsection(s) were edited. Once we have them all covered, we can do overall passes to ensure consistency within the sections and to determine if they're all necessary in the first place. Another way to make it a bit more manageable is to hide sections that we aren't sure of, which will keep the page mostly clean and allow us to fine tune more troublesome sections without holding up the MoS on the whole.

That said, I'm now realizing that we have said a lot of this stuff in the help section, namely in the style guides for individual types of pages. It's a much larger project, but combining and/or streamlining this MoS with those pages should be on the agenda, at least for some point in the future. -- yoda8myhead 02:28, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Our initial run-through of the MoS is complete and specific headers and subheaders have been marked in invisible notes by the chronicler who handled it. I am going to compile in-text discussion into an additional section here for discussion in an easy-to-find location. We should have it all wrapped up in the next day or so. I am also removing the WIP template from the top of the article, as visible signs of the work in progress should no longer exist. -- yoda8myhead 15:17, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Links to specific style guides

The original document links quite a bit to specific style guides on wikipedia, which is understandable since it's from that wiki. Should we also link to these, or should we decide which subpages are most useful and relevant here and recreate them on this site? I like the latter idea, because the last thing I want is to send someone interested in editing this wiki away from the site, though it is more work. -- yoda8myhead 16:54, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Style infobox/navigation bar

The original wikipedia MoS has a nice navigation infobox along the right side of the screen opposite the TOC. I would like to do something similar, as we have set this precedent in many of our Help pages. That said, it's a huge project to create these resources and have them all remain internally consistent. It really needs to be a tightly run project within the wiki. Additioinally, I think we need to distinguish what constitutes style and what belongs in a help page. But that's a different topic, I guess—a product of the scope of this endeavor is the inability to tackle one thing at a time. -- yoda8myhead 16:54, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Shortcuts and other wikipedia templates

There are a number of templates, including shortcuts, that are still included (albeit hidden) in this document. We should assess their usefulness to this project and whether it is worth it for us to adapt them to our needs or if we should just delete them. Part of me feels that we should keep everything as simple as possible and add them in later should the project grow to a size where they would be needed. At that time, we would have enough editors to tackle the extra work, while we don't really have that at the moment. -- yoda8myhead 15:32, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

I agree that we should keep it simple. I didn't realize when I suggested we use the Wikipedia MoS as a starting point that it would be such a huge task. I think we should put this one to bed for the time being. I know the shine has started to wear off for me, and I wouldn't be surprised if you were feelin the same. Like you said, we can always come back and add to it later (once we've had a little holiday from it). --Aeakett 15:44, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Categories: Singular or Plural

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Changes Accepted
This section contains a discussion about changes to this policy that have been accepted.

It occurred to me today that we have a mixture of singular and and plural categories existing within this project; Category:Races, Category:Humanoids, Category:Gnome, Category:Dwarf, etc. Does anyone else feels it's worthwhile to choose one of the two and add it to the manual of style? I think the greatest task would be changing all of the existing categories to reflect the decided upon method; I'm not too familiar with the capabilities of bots, but wouldn't it be possible to send one of our automated helpers to handle this task? -- Heaven's Agent 19:39, February 20, 2010 (UTC)

It's well within the capability of the bots and the primary task I've had them on since we first unleashed them. As for which of the two we should go with and whether or not we need uniformity, I'll need to think a bit more about it. But whatever we decide, YodaBot can get it done.—yoda8myhead 23:15, February 20, 2010 (UTC)
Upon further reflection, I think it does make sense to standardize the plurality of categories. I prefer the plural, as Category:Elves sounds more logical than Category:Elf. We should consider, however, that changing these will also affect subcategories, so Category:Human/Inhabitants will become Category:Humans/Inhabitants and Category:Dwarf/Settlements will become Category:Dwarves/Settlements, both of which seem a little less intuitive for whatever reason. —yoda8myhead 08:02, February 21, 2010 (UTC)
I prefer plural as well. The subcategories may end up being a tad more difficult to remember in the short term, but ultimately I think it'll make things easier. -- Heaven's Agent 08:26, February 21, 2010 (UTC)
Plurals... definitely. —aeakett 21:34, February 21, 2010 (UTC)
So despite the discussion and decision to go with plurals, we now have a pretty robust category tree using singular naming conventions. How does that affect this still-open discussion of a change of policy from 2 years ago? —Paizo Publishing, LLC.png Yoda8myhead (talk) 08:24, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
We formally include the change in the Manual of style, make sure new categories conform to the policy decision, and alter existing categories over time. Not ideal, perhaps, but then again going with a singular structure would require alterations as well. And ultimately, consistency in this is needed. -- Heaven's Agent (talk) 16:32, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm in agreement with Heaven's Agent. Now that they're consistent, I'd say that's good enough. If we don't have to do the work, then let's move on to more pressing issues. On the other hand, I'd entertain a good argument to change them, but I think would probably be a pretty hard sell. Unless there is a good argument, I say we fast-track this and get the issue settled. —Aeakett (talk) 22:27, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Hey look... not only is Andrew's writing sub-par, his reading comprehension is sub-par too (<mutter>stupid science education</mutter>). As it turns out, I disagree with Heaven's Agent. Let's just leave the current category structure and make sure the MoS agrees... it just seems like less work. —Aeakett (talk) 22:33, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
This has probably lingered long enough (longer than me being here) and, for various reasons, a category structure based on the singular has been adopted and is consistent throughout the wiki. So this policy has been de facto accepted and accepted by editors above—albeit not in the way some wanted it, unfortunately. I am now going to tidy up 'paperwork' to reduce the burden of things to do. I shall add a comment to the MoS but, actually, I wonder whether the MoS is a place to discuss categories. Please check this editors. --Fleanetha (talk) 09:06, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

Section headings

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Changes Rejected
This section contains a discussion about changes to this policy that have been rejected.

It is suggested that the Manual of Style (MoS) be changed to recommend the use of 'Title Case' rather than 'sentence case' for section headings. Here is the text that would be used, which also gives an explanation of title case:

  • Use title case in headings. Thus, use Habitat and Ecology, not Habitat and ecology.
    • Capitalize the first and the last word.
    • Capitalize nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinate conjunctions.
    • Lowercase articles (a, an, the), coordinating conjunctions (such as and, but, or), and prepositions (such as at, around, with).
    • Lowercase the "to" in an infinitive.

and here is the existing text that would be replaced:

  • 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.

The debate was started in this Forum article: Forum:Style?? Guide and should now continue here. --Fleanetha (talk) 22:32, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

Adding Fleanetha's first two posts from the forums thread below, for context. -Oznogon (talk) 02:04, 3 September 2015 (UTC)

Is it only me that thinks section headings within an article should be capitalized and the style guide is a bit unstylish in this area? Just saying before we go mad and then decide to change back. I appreciate, as with apostrophes, that there may be a technical reason that forces this compromise, but I cannot see that immediately. -Fleanetha (talk) 10:37, 20 November 2014 (UTC)
With some amusement I am bumping this. In reviewing the daily updates I see User:Oznogon removing capitalization from section headings understandably and legitimately as per the style guide and User:Brandingopportunity putting them back in again, presumably for the same aesthetic principles to which I adhere.
Since I wrote the post above, I have noted that Wikipedia consistently adopts the style guide principle we currently have published but I still do not know why:
"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."
I still prefer the 'Habitat and Ecology' form.
I have a suggestion - we change the style guide. Then we are all happy? -Fleanetha (talk) 11:07, 31 August 2015 (UTC) (budding UN Peacekeeper)


Thanks for putting this discussion here, Fleanetha.
My primary concern with changing the MoS, and by extension the thousands of articles we maintain as part of the project, is the effects such changes will have on many wikilinks, both inter- and intra-article. The first bullet point in this style rule warns of the implications of changing a section header, and I think we should consider this when deciding to change how all multi-word section headers work in all articles on the entire site. Is there a way to look aat all instances of links-to-headers on the site? Knowing how many would need to be changed would go a long way to determining the impact of this decision.—Paizo Publishing, LLC.png Yoda8myhead (talk) 22:52, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
I'm -1 to the proposal: I prefer sentence case far more than title case. There are only two legitimate rationales that I've seen people offer: a) namely, so many people have done it wrong we should "make wrong the new right", and b) Paizo uses title case for its headings in its books. I think a) can be ignored: the people who chose to ignore (deliberately or not) the existing MoS should not be rewarded for their lack of diligence. Regarding b), Paizo's usage is a strong indication that, *by itself*, title case would be a healthy thing to standardize upon: the source (PFWiki) follows the source (Paizo). But, this would be at the "cost" of non-standardization within the wiki itself: title case would be used for headlines (but not titles) and sentence case would be used for page titles and links (but not headlines). And *links* are the most important thing in this web, the sole reason why this wiki can exist and operate in a form often considered superior to the printed form. And I know I'd be driven nuts if I had to remember the utterly odd "List_of_poisons#Habitat_and_Ecology" conflagration of differing styles. --Morbus Iff (talk) 23:07, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
I'll be honest, I thought the policy WAS title case; that's my bad. I'm happy to go with either style, but now feel that there is no overwhelming reason to change our policy to title case. I did a quick perusal of the wiki, and out of approximately 100 random articles I checked, only 27 had sub-headings with multiple words that weren't proper nouns (4 or 5 more had ones with proper nouns). Of those 27, 15 used sentence case and 12 used title case. That's obviously a very small sample size, but it shows that the wiki is already pretty divided on this. My suggestion would be just to restate our policy, stick with sentence case, and change the sub-headings that are in title case as we come across them during editing. I always try to put a <!-- The article [[buffalo]] links here --> next to any sub-heading I link to. Sorry for the confusion I have been causing for the last seven years. --Brandingopportunity (talk) 23:37, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
There are 462 non-redirect pages that use section links. At least three-quarters of them are unaffected by the case discussion because they point to single-word section headings or to section headings of proper nouns that would not change in title case. A handful (mostly in or to individual alcoholic beverages) are already in title case in violation of our MoS. Many of the remaining sentence-case links are to Poisons of Golarion, but to {{Anchor}} tags instead of headings, so they technically wouldn't fall under this policy. (Methodology: Searching an XML dump of all wiki text.)
There's an additional 343 redirects that point to sections. The makeup is similar here; most are to proper nouns or single words unaffected by title or sentence case. All redirects to Alcoholic beverages use title case, and all redirects to Poisons of Golarion's {{Anchor}} tags use sentence case. The rest are inconsistent, with a slimmer preference for title case than in active links. For example, there are redirects to title-cased Dire Crocodile and Dire Shark, but sentence-cased Dire tiger. All redirects to Shoanti clans use title case. Most creature and familiar redirects are sentence case, but all variant creature redirects (Variant Devilfish, Variant Dream Spiders, Variant Giant Flies, Variant Giant Geckos) are title case. There's one redirect each to sentence-cased Curse_of_the_Lady's_Light#Web Supplement and title-cased Isles_of_the_Shackles#Web supplement. (Methodology: Searching the mw_redirect table of the wiki's database.)
In pages, title case is used far more frequently in headings than sentence case. For example, title-cased "Habitat & Ecology" and variations appear 150 times, versus 48 appearances of sentence-cased "Habitat and ecology" and variations. Title-cased "Temple and Shrines" appears 23 times, sentence-cased 3 times. Title-cased "City Districts" appears 10 times, sentence-cased 4 times. Title-cased "Appearance and ..." headings for deities appear 8 times, sentence-cased 5 times. Title-cased "Society and Culture" appears 5 times, sentence-cased 3 times. (Methodology: Searching through an XML dump of all wiki text.)
Navbox headings almost universally use title case. (Methodology: Searching through an XML dump of all wiki text.)
One exception to title case's dominance in usage is the adventure/scenario overview/summary/synopsis headings, which are at this point almost all sentence-case (353), changed from title-case (20) as I've gone through modernizing templates. (Methodology: Searching through an XML dump of all wiki text.)
As such, any decision we make will require sweeping changes across the wiki to enforce consistently. If we leave the existing policy, much of the wiki is already in violation of it. If we change the policy, much of the wiki will not conform to it.
As I've held throughout, I have no strong opinion on which policy is in use, as long as we pick one and apply it consistently. We currently do not. I've been editing what I come across to conform to the current sentence-case MoS. Whichever way we rule on this, I'd recommend modifying headings as we encounter them and either finding and correcting section links to the previous heading or adding {{Anchor}} tags with the previous heading text. --Oznogon (talk) 05:54, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
As much as I prefer the visuals of title case, I've read the above arguments and don't think that changing away from the current MoS is in the wiki's best interest. --FoiledAgain (talk) 01:28, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
Dear all, this change policy has now run for over a fortnight, so I hope everybody with an opinion feels they have been heard. It is pretty clear the majority view is for the status quo, therefore, I am formally rejecting this proposal change today. As I started this process, I would also like to personally apologize to any that have been frustrated, annoyed or feel they have wasted their time during this period; this I hope you'll understand was never my intention, but I know it did happen. --Fleanetha (talk) 11:14, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

Class names used as generic terms

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Changes Accepted
This section contains a discussion about changes to this policy that have been accepted.

As noted by 77stephen on Talk:Precipice Quarter:

I noted that beldrin is referred to as an "arcanist" small a. as pathfinder expands the class list towards 3 digit numbers and beyond (38 classes, 90+ prestige classes + archetypes) it may be unavoidable, but I wonder if the use could be confused with the Arcanist capital A

Many of the generic uses of arcanist on the wiki predate the class, in both the source materials and in our articles, but the point remains relevant: the relatively new ambiguity can be confusing, especially to new readers unfamiliar with the distinction.

We've had a note for a while at the top of arcanist stating that the term can be used both generically to refer to arcane magic users and to members of the arcanist class, but as new classes continue to join the canon, and in light of a few other collisions between class names and generic terms (like Category:Hunters vs. Category:Hunters (profession)), I propose that we suggest in the MoS that editors use specific, unambiguous terms instead of class names when they potentially collide. This should be a suggestion, not a hard-and-fast rule, as collisions are inevitable. However, I don't think we should use terms like arcanist generically going forward, even if they sound or read better that a more specific alternative.

When a collision is unavoidable, I propose that we suggest in the MoS that editors provide sufficient context to disambiguate the term's use. This might result in what might be unnecessary content or less elegant writing (hypothetically, "John is a hunter" could be written as "John hunts animals") in favor of unambiguous meaning, and clarity is closer to the encyclopedic tone and goals of the wiki than style.

I also propose that we suggest in the MoS that editors link to specific pages that disambiguate the subject when sufficient context cannot be added, such as in lists or tables. This might result in pages or redirects for otherwise unremarkable topics, like Hunter (profession), but it also uses tools native to the wiki to relieve some of the confusion by directing readers to a specific meaning.

Specifically, I propose:

  • adding an H2-level section after Chronological items for Classes.
  • incorporating the first two proposals above into this section.
  • adding an item to the Wikilinks section explicitly allowing for using links to clarify ambiguous terms. -Oznogon (talk) 01:15, 26 October 2015 (UTC)
Bumping this three-year-old proposal. If there's no interest, please feel free to close it out as rejected. -Oznogon (talk) 02:34, 16 January 2019 (UTC)
I confess I cannot remember this being raised, but it all sounds good and sensible to me as a worthy change to the MoS. For the third point, we also now have the categories PaizoClassName (occupation), which we could co-opt to help here. --Fleanetha (talk) 15:39, 16 January 2019 (UTC)

Four years is probably sufficient to have this agreed, so will formally do so in a week's time - what's another week? Maybe just worth considering 2E, though, in that week in case there are any newly discovered points to make regarding the new edition? 19 December is the deadline now then. --Fleanetha (talk) 16:11, 12 December 2019 (UTC)

Accepted and updated text in two places (new Classes section and addition to Wikilinks section) based on the above - might be worth a proof read please. Thanks again to Oznogon for leading this. --Fleanetha (talk) 11:48, 20 December 2019 (UTC)

Avoid "It is known"/"known to be"

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Changes Accepted
This section contains a discussion about changes to this policy that have been accepted.

While following on to edits and new articles, I see phrases like this very often:

  • "It is known that dragons lair in caves..."
  • "These creatures are known to live in the Mindspin Mountains..."
  • "Goblins have been known to carry dogslicers into battle..."

I propose instructing chroniclers to avoid those phrases. Including these phrases introduces doubt into the text—is it known but untrue? how widely known is it?—which is often not reflected in the source and not in line with our point of view (emphasis in the policy):

While in theory these things are not known to anyone within the Pathfinder universe, PathfinderWiki's POV is all-knowing, just like a Game Master or reader of Pathfinder fiction.

In all of the above contrived examples, the phrase can be removed without losing any context—those facts "are known" because an authoritative source definitively stated it. Even if there is an in-universe controversy about a fact, that controversy can be explained in more explicit terms than these. -Oznogon (talk) 02:34, 16 January 2019 (UTC)

Well, I am probably guilty of this, but it's a good prompt with a rationale and so I agree to its inclusion. --Fleanetha (talk) 15:41, 16 January 2019 (UTC)
I'm sure i'm another guilty of this, sometimes it is just the simplest way to reword a one sentence fact from a source. I can see it either way, personally its not something that bothers me enough to be a documented rule, but I'll abide to it either way I Abstain to this vote. -- Cpt kirstov (talk) 16:35, 16 January 2019 (UTC)
I agree. Tighter, more efficient language is always preferred over wheel-spinning. If a sentence can only be included by changing it in this way, then it's probably a simple enough sentence or basic enough fact to not count as plagiarism to include it verbatim.—Paizo Publishing, LLC.png Yoda8myhead (talk) 23:33, 16 January 2019 (UTC)

Another change with no dissension we can tidy - setting the clock for a week and we can formally accept this change. Any new comments please? --Fleanetha (talk) 16:05, 12 December 2019 (UTC)

I don't think we need to set clocks to accept changes that have already attained consensus. These changes have been categorized as open for years; if someone wanted to chime in on them, they've had their chance.—Paizo Publishing, LLC.png Yoda8myhead (talk) 01:45, 13 December 2019 (UTC)
It is known that I have accepted and updated the MoS text by adding a subsection to 'General principles' based on the above text - again it might be worth a proof read please. Thanks yet again to Oznogon for leading this. --Fleanetha (talk) 12:22, 20 December 2019 (UTC)