Style Guide

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Revision as of 00:37, 17 February 2009 by Jlg9n (Talk | contribs)

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MediaWiki markup

First, please familiarize yourself with MediaWiki's markup. Wikipedia's cheatsheet and page editing articles are useful introductory references.

Using subsections to auto-generate tables of contents

Medium to large articles should be broken into subsections using MediaWiki's section heading notation. In addition to establishing a consistent convention for organizing pieces of articles, it also allows for automatic generation of tables of contents - see PBS for an example. If you use section heading dividers in an article, a hyperlinked table of contents will show up automatically, which makes navigation much easier for the reader.

Bulleted and numbered lists

We often need to provide step-by-step instructions or item lists in our documentation. Use MediaWiki's bullet (*) and numbered list (#) notations to denote separate items. If ordering of the list is critical (first do A, then do B), use a numbered list; otherwise, use bullets.

Code blocks

Use code blocks when providing command-line examples or text file snippets. Prepend each line you want to appear in a text box with a space (this goes for blank lines too, if you want to embed a blank line within your code block).

Suspending MediaWiki markup

In the event that MediaWiki markup interferes with expressing your content, you can suspend it with tags - for example, if you wanted to enclose a string with sets of two single quotes, you could do so as follows: <nowiki><nowiki>''my text here''</nowiki>

General documentation guidelines

Article size

Avoid creating articles that are so long that the reader has to scroll through several screens worth of content - break them into smaller articles. Use your best judgment, though, Goldilocks! If an article consumes a small fraction of a screen, consider whether it could be lumped into another related article.

Graphics formats

For screenshots, PNG or GIF files are almost always preferable to JPG's, which are best reserved for photographs with lots of color detail.

Be concise

Favor short, bullet-point explanations over lengthy paragraphs. Where a complex issue is covered, consider breaking topics out into "Quick Start" and sections for more detailed/advanced topics.

Spam prevention

Avoid writing out email addresses in text, as they can be harvested by spammers' web bots.