Not to fear! The style guide should merely serve as a point of reference for the novice and a basic framework for the wiki platform that may come to be inhabited by generations of editors, like ourselves. Putting forth a foundation should only assist in shaping the wiki; not in actually shaping it with such ridged structure, that deviation would cause disarray. Consistency in writing carries with it, benefits in understanding. 

This Communications Style Guide might also serve as a great resource (or the AP Stylebook). No single style is absolute; as long as we are consistent, we are in good shape.

What should I name my page?

In creating a new page, selecting a title is important. If the page is a page that reviews an eatery with a 'formal/ proper' name, then it would be best to use that name. i.e., Brown's Brewery is often referred to as simply "Brown's" however, the page name should ultimately be "Brown's Brewery" because 'Brown's Brewery is the official name of the business. When you link your page to Brown's, you can/should link to it with whatever name you want, be it Brown's, Brown's Brewery, or the Best Beer Hall in Troy. Otherwise, if you are creating a page for anything without a universal name, just use standard linguistic rules for grammar and capitalization.

If it is not clear what the proper name of the topic (e.g. new eatery that hasn't yet opened, event without a web page) you're making a page for should be, make a call as to what the page name should be, and note any alternative possibilities in the page itself. Making reference to other possible names using tags, allows people to search (and hopefully find) your page using a variety of possible names. A tag can be simply a reference to any other possible names anywhere in the page, which will allow anyone to locate it in a search. In addition, you could also create a redirect (by using the line #redirect The name of the page).  This will allow any other other names (in the redirect prompt to be used without issue — users will simply redirect to your page, whatever you happen to name it.

General naming rules

  • Street names should be spelled out completely. e.g. Fulton Street or Hudson Boulevard. (redirects to the abbreviated street name can always be used in cases where there are multiple streets with the same name in a given location and are distinguished by abbreviation. In this case, use the redirect prompt to redirect the user who will always use that abbreviated title in a search). 
  • The word "Troy" can be omitted from most page names unless it is formally included in the name of that particular outfit. This is the Troy wiki, assumably pages are Troy-centric. e.g. rather than "Troy Eateries", just call the page Eateries. If an eatery in Albany is being reviewed, we will have a separate page distinguishing Albany outfits from that of our own so to speak.. 

A note on names for people

If you want to make a page about someone, you should probably name that page "First_Last" (note the space). If on the other hand you are First Last you could create a page for yourself with the name "Users/First Last". The page that start with "Users/" is going to be the page associated with a particular wiki user. A link to this page is in their upper right hand corner all the time and is automatically linked when they make an edit or comment, so this page is tied to the wiki user in a special way.

Think of it this way: the username page (starts with "Users/") is the page for that person to use. The page without the "Users" in front is the page where historical information about the person might go.

Simple rule

Pages that start with "Users/" are pages for people on the wiki to use. Pages without the "Users" in front are just like normal wiki pages, etiquette-wise, which means they are pages from a more biographical standpoint. Generally, people put highly-personal or wiki-centric information on their own page. If they're a public figure, then other people are expected to control the content of the biographical page.


When we're making pages for public figures who have an initial in their name, use periods if that seems to be  the consensus in historical reference. EO Wilson v  Edward O. Wilson

Renaming pages & Redirecting pages

Sometimes, for whatever reason, it's a good idea to change the title of a page. Using the "Rename" feature will cause the old page to redirect to the new page, and thus all old links do not need to be updated. This old page is said to be a "redirect" to the new page. Redirects can be made manually, by inserting #redirect Page Name into the first line of a page.

It's important to keep the wiki clean, and thus many useless pages are eventually deleted. Redirecting pages are sometimes seen as useless when no other pages within the wiki link to them. Here are some things to consider before deleting a redirecting page:

  1. Does the redirecting page aid the user in finding the content by providing an alternative title for the material?

  2. Do resources outside the wiki link to the redirecting page?

(1) is usually easy enough to figure out, but (2) is harder to know because even good search engines cannot index everything.


Searching is very important! Before you make a page you should do a search for it and similar items to make sure the page doesn't already exist. If the page already exists, add to it! If it exists but has (as you feel) the incorrect name, then feel free to Rename it (by going into Edit and pressing "Rename" down under the edit area) — be sure to state your reason. After renaming the page you should change the old links to the old name to the new name — again, by doing a search :) (search for the old page name) — note: you don't have to do this, as the old page name will automatically redirect to the new page name, but it's good style, and good style is sexy.

Be kind and courteous!


Layout Stuff

Order of Lists

Generally, when listing a bunch of links or just making a list in an article, they should be organized alphabetically, unless there is a good reason to do otherwise.

Conversations and Comments

Often times the conversations or comments inside of a page contribute a lot to the page's worth. If possible, integrate and re-structure the page to reflect the important information contained in comments. If a comment is directed at you and it's hardly valuable to anyone else after you've read it, then removing it un-clutters the page. Leaving the subjective/experience-based portions of comments attributed to those who make them keeps (more) subjective knowledge around.

Simple conventions

  • Avoid use of the words "I" or "me" unless you are attributing text to yourself.
  • Want a fact checked? Write [[Include(FactCheck)]] next to something you want checked. Want a photo taken? Write [[Include(PhotoRequest)]] next to something you want a photo of. Doing this will allow for determined folks to easily search for the phrases please check and Photo Requests to find things to do.
  • Names of books and movies are italicized rather than underlined. Underlining is reserved for writing things by hand or by typewriter when italics are impossible. Names of smaller, shorter works such as articles or songs within an album are surrounded by "double quotes." Also, punctuation marks always go inside the quotes unless you are posing a question which contains a quote. Ex: Did he really say "you're a floozy"?
  • Avoid the use of "click here" or "go here" for link names. Descriptive and integrated names are best. Imagine that the page you're writing on is printed on a piece of paper. Would all the text still make sense?
  • Capitalize in a standard English style on all pages which you expect to be useful. (Do as you like on your personal page.)
  • When captioning a photo, be informative instead of interpretive. For example, it is better to say where the picture was taken or who the subject is instead of making a joke. Overall, be mild, explicit, and not flippant.
  • Numbers larger than ten should be represented by figures. Don't start a sentence with a figure.

Example: Bob has two bikes. Alice has 11 bikes.

Dating (Date) Conventions

In the U.S. people usually write dates as MM-DD-YY. The two-digit years caused the Y2K panic. Incredibly, people seemed to learn nothing from that and still write MM-DD-YY. This is especially confusing with low years, as they can be confused with month or day numbers. For example, when is 01-05-11? Parts of Europe use DD-MM-YY, other places uses YY-MM-DD, it can be ambiguous. Imagine looking back from 2050 and needing to determine when a document dated 01-05-11 was written.

The International standard for dates (ISO-8601) was developed by the International Organization for Standardization. Simply put, it is YYYY-MM-DD. It was determined not by political means, but by scientific (rational) means. It has these advantages:

  • Putting Most-middle-least significant order means dates can be easily sorted, especially if the dates begin the line.
  • Using dashes instead of slashes avoids confusion with 1's in handwritten dates, i.e. 11/1/11.
  • Using four digit years removes century ambiguity.
  • Having fixed field widths (always -02- never just -2-) facilitates sorting and has other advantages.

As such we will try to move forward with this standard of documenting dates.

See also: Wiki EthicsTroy Wiki Guide and Good Style.