Discussion: ERE: Manual of Style

Headings and titles

Capitalization in entry titles and headings need to be standardized. Picking a good standard might be tricky though, as there isn’t one overall standard for the English language, or even J2O.

Here’s a comparison of the two options:

Big Words Caps Sentence style caps
Jazz Jackrabbit 2 * Jazz Jackrabbit 2 *
Capture the Flag * Capture the flag
Treasure Hunt * Treasure hunt
List Servers List servers *

Community History Community history *
Article Introduction Article introduction *
Point of View and Addressment of Readers Point of view and addressment of readers
External Links * External links

(Items marked with a * indicate what’s currently used.)

Both styles are being used right now throughout the ERE, so it would be good to standardize this as soon as possible to limit the amount of renaming that needs to be done.

I can’t really say I have a personal recommendation for which style to use. As I mentioned, J2O doesn’t seem consistant itself, but the big word caps style seems to be more common. Big word caps seems to be common in American English, but I’ve heard from FQuist that sentence style caps are common in European English. Sentence style caps are also used over at Wikipedia.

One other thing would be the use of short names or acronyms for titles. I think article titles should always go by their long name, and if there’s a common short name, that should simply be a redirect entry. Examples: JJ2 should redirect to the real entry at Jazz Jackrabbit 2. JDC should redirect to the real entry at Jazz Duelist’s Challange.

~Monolith

I’d suggest using Title Case (Big Words Caps), except when there’s a good reason not to (e.g. JCS event name, website, username). So something like “jcsREF” shouldn’t be spelt as “JcsREF” or “Jcsref”, but something like “multiplayer games” should always be spelt as “Multiplayer Games”. ~BoggyB

Being European, I prefer Sentence-style caps since I’m used to those and those make more sense to me intuitively, but I’m fine either way. My weak argument for sentence-style capitalisation would be that it is something “extra” to capitalise the first letters of all words, something that is aesthetically not necessary, while both work. Another weak argument is an appeal to authority: Wikipedia uses the Sentence-style capitalisation style. I’m a J2O admin but you may regard this opinion as a regular user’s opinion that is non-final. ~Fquist

Just to throw in that I’m English, and I was taught to use Title-Style Caps :P Anyway I think whatever style gets eventually chosen it should be used consistently throught ERE. ~BoggyB

(BoggyB’s attempt at democracy:)
Votes for Big/Title Caps: ~BoggyB, ~Monolith, ~BlurredD ~Fquist
Votes for sentence caps: ~Fl@$h aka BlewMeUp
Note: all visitors are invited to take part in this discussion and/or vote

Should voting not not ensue until more responses have been in? Don’t walk over one night’s ice, stuff like that. ~Fquist

I don’t know what would be the appropriate way to decided something like this as it has been hard for me to find any sort of real answer or even a strong consensus. It might just have to go by personal opinion. ~Monolith

I decided to put the voting in as a) it makes it easier to track the realtive popularity of Title Caps/sentence caps, and b) it also invites people to take part. I’ve added a little note to it.
Also, could you explain “don’t walk over one night’s ice” to me? It’s not a term I’ve heard before. ~BoggyB

I went on a search to try to get a better idea of what is more common, particularly around standards organizations. Title caps seem to be more common as I found it used in MLA, RFC, IETF, W3C, and NIST. However I did find sentence style caps used by ISO and IEEE. That’s just from a brief search though. ~Monolith

Proper nouns, such as Jazz Jackrabbit 2 or any gametype, ought to be capitalized. Things such as list servers are not proper nouns, and thus do not need capitalization. This is standard English grammar. ~Sciz CT

I found this summary on the same topic in the context of what’s found to be commonly proper in more than just the US. While it does admit that there are a variety of modern styles, the general title caps style seemed to be cited most often. ~Monolith

It does mostly quote US-based manuals of style, though.. not sure how they incorporated the international thing besides the company from Germany. It seems to further show how opinions differ on this topic. I’ve checked wikipedia if I could find any reasoning for their choice, haven’t found anything so far apart from one argument: Wikipedia has case sensitive titles and not having article titles capitalised (apart from the first letter) unless it’s a name makes it so that links do not look like “there are Communists that are using Time Bombs“. This wiki has no case sensitivity so for us this is no proper argument to choose for a style.

Trying to deepen this discussion: besides appeals to the standards present where we live, what further arguments are there for the different styles?

One thing that seems to me is (but might come from my bias) that Big Words Caps are something extra, generally most english uses sentence-style capitalisation, and Big Words Caps use additional capitalisation. To have titles and headings be distinct from the rest of the article apparently. But with bold headings like now, and a title with a large font, is this seperate extra distinction necessary? What is the bonus? ~Fquist

The current usage of ‘big words caps’ and ‘sentence style caps’ seems to follow a pattern, in that more technical terms like ‘Capture the Flag’ and ‘Game Types’ use big words caps and standard terms like ‘community history’ do not. I wouldn’t call ‘External Links’ a technical term and ‘list servers’ does not use big words caps, but ERE doesn’t have a pre-decided pattern: things just ended up being named like they are now. It can sometimes be difficult to determine what is a technical term and what is not, but I don’t want to see everything in big words caps, nor do I want to see everything look, well, un-emphasized and ordinary, so I think we should get a mix between the two styles of headings/titles. Keep the big word caps to the things that have to do with the JJ games, and make the rest use sentence style caps.

Apart from than marking the difference between technical and generic titles, I have no other excuses for using either style of heading. Oh, and while we’re at it with American and European English, are we going to have a discussion about setting a standard for the type of English used in all of ERE, or are we just going to write in whatever English the entry was originally written in (which hasn’t actually happened for some entries)? ~White Rabbit.

When I look over the titles and headings in the ERE, I really do thing that title caps are nicer than sentence caps. I know that’s a personal opinion, but I don’t know what else we can bring into this. Title caps do have extra weight to them, and that’s good. Extra weigth by making them bigger and bolder is good too, and I don’t see that as an excuse to drop title caps. Not all headings I’ve seen would look particularly good in title caps though, but I think that could be fixed by how they are presented in words. For example: The source code and future developments I think could look better and more fitting as Source Code and Future Developments. I don’t know… ~Monolith

I do agree on some titles it looks bad, sentence caps. I checked a few entries and do really think “Jazz Jackrabbit 2 file types“ is ugly. So I might even agree there. I don’t know if title caps look better on section headings though. ~Fquist

I think in most cases, I would prefer title caps for both article titles and headings. ~Monolith

Voting on this seems to have kinda stopped, and voting is almost unanimous. I’ll consider this to be policy if noone objects within the week. ~Fquist

Event names

I think one thing we might all be able to agree on is to have titles for events copy the exact name of the event. Just like this encyclopedia currently jcs.ini has no capitalisation standard and sentence-style and title caps capitalisation are both used. To be very clear however me might just want to copy the exact event name to entry titles about that event. Anyone? ~Fquist

Yep, for events we should use the names given in the original jcs.ini files. It makes it easier for someone who’s looking for an event in JCS based on what’s here. ~BoggyB

There are only 14 or so names that aren’t in title caps, so it wouldn’t be a big effect if they were forced to title caps. I don’t think it’s that important, just so long as the same name is used. But another thing, might it be better to prefix all the events with “Event: “? Seeing an entry named Event: Hurt would make a little more sense than an entry just named Hurt. ~Monolith

Using full names for entries

This is an issue that has been raised a few times (example). For entry titles, the full name should be used in my opinion. Examples of entries that are now linked to as acronyms: JDC (Jazz Duelist’s Challenge) and JCF (JazzJackrabbit Community Forums. Other entries use full names: Lori Central (LC), Tileset Creation 101 (TC101). For consistency, one naming convention should be adapted: everything should either be linked by acronym, or by full name. At least for some categories, like sites (entries named “JMMB” do make more sense than “JJ2”), I think acronyms makes no sense, only full name. Acronyms and short names could be redirected to the real entry. Subtitles as in “The Adventures of Skitch” in “Possum: The Adventures of Skitch” should be not included in the entry title. Who agrees? ~Fquist

Again, I agree with this. I think however that only the first mention of a topic in an article has to use the full name, and it’s ok to use ancronyms/abbreviations for later entries as long as they’re either obvious or explained. In my opinion JJ2 is obvious and doesn’t need explanation (except in the Jazz Jackrabbit 2 article of course), while TC101 or CC should always be explained, especially if there’s a risk of ambiguity. ~BoggyB

Ofcourse. After all, acronyms are just shortenings, and entries should be about the subject called by its full name: acronyms can be used as redirects. ~Fl@$h aka BlewMeUp

I agree that content entries should use the full name for the title, and abbreviation and short name entries should also exist but simply redirect to the full name entries. I’m not sure about the issues of subtitles, but at least I don’t have a strong opposing opinion to it. ~Monolith

Another example of an entry that uses an abbreviation for title is MCE.. but somehow it seems to make sense for that to not use the full name, which is barely ever used.. this seems like a bad exception, but that’s how it feels.. ~Fquist

I agree that there are a few things such as MCE that are better known by their short name than full name, but I think things should be kept consistant. ~Monolith

Consistency couldn’t hurt if redirect will be used. I don’t see a problem of using this convention everywhere, even with clan names. ~BlurredD

(FQuist the ripoff’s attempt at democracy:)
Votes for Agree: ~Fquist, ~BoggyB, ~Fl@$h aka BlewMeUp, ~BlurredD
Votes for Disagree:
Note: all visitors are invited to take part in this discussion and/or vote

Introduction headers

Moved to here from Discussion: Jazz Jackrabbit Advance

Should introductions have their own header? Generally the TOC is either besides the introduction or below it.. and wikipedia doesn’t seem to do it either. Most newspaper/magazine articles also lack a header for their introduction. It’s something to think about.. maybe it’s a good idea but it looks awkward to me. ~Fquist

In my opinion headers are not just there to make sections show up in the TOC, but also to give a very brief overview of the content of the section it belongs to. Though the first section of a wiki entry is virtually always an introduction, it’s a good idea to remain consistent and put a header above every section – and it adds to the structure of an entry. ~Fl@$h aka BlewMeUp

I don’t think it adds anything to the structure of the entry. It seems to me that it’s very visible already that it’s the introduction without a header being put there. It’s a general style convention that seems to be accepted by almost everyone (magazines, newspapers, wikipedia, articles on sites). Because mostly everyone understands and feels that something is the introduction, an extra header looks redundant and out of place to me. But others might think otherwise, or maybe I’m talking out of my butt (<./disclaimer to not sound like I’ve totally made up my mind already>) . ~Fquist

Well, mostly everyone will understand a closing paragraph with links is a paragraph with “Related content outside this wiki” as subject, and yet we’re always giving it that header. If we’re headering other “standard” sections, I think we should give this one a header too – but it sounds like you made up your mind already ;) ~Fl@$h aka BlewMeUp

Related content outside this wiki is not a general style convention in most media, though, unlike the introduction. And it’s not a standard section as it’s both not always there, and sometimes instead there’s a “See also” list for links to other wiki entries. I don’t think either one of us will convince the other about this, maybe someone else has got some suggestions. ~Fquist

I’m rather lacking in suggestions here, but I agree with FQuist that short introductions should not have headers. As FQUist said, it is a general style convention used not just in wikis, and to my eye it just seems like a waste of space. ~BoggyB

If by the introduction you mean the short paragraph at the very beginning of an entry that sort of acts as a brief description or abstract for the entry, I think that should not have a header. It’s kind of like the external description for the entry — external as in it’s not really part of it. To help seperate it from the entry, I like to put below that first paragraph. ~Monolith

That was what was meant. ~Fquist

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