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Terraria Wiki:Style guide

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This is a guide to editing the Terraria Wiki in accordance with the established style. It describes accepted and established practices at the Terraria Wiki, which are governed by precedent. Editors are advised to follow these guidelines closely in order to prevent their edits from being reverted.

The style guide was originated to ensure cross-page consistency, a very important attribute of a wiki, and has been expanded over the entire lifetime of the Terraria Wiki. Modifications may be suggested at the editcopy, but bear in mind that the style guide merely lists practices that are widely in use. It is not a means to impose extensive policies or even personal preferences.

Regardless, not all pages may follow the style guide entirely. While that may be due to good reason (which should then, in non-obvious cases, be marked, e.g. with a comment), it is often caused by the sheer number of pages, some of which have not been touched in a long time. All editors are encouraged to rectify such deviations.

General guidelines

  • Be sure to read the page before editing. Editors frequently add notes, tips, and trivia items that duplicate information already contained in the article's paragraphs above.
  • Keep the scope of the respective article that is being edited in mind. Do not add information that has little to do with its actual topic – there are very often other pages which already include this information. For example, stating on The Destroyer page that the boss can be summoned with a Mechanical Worm is entirely sufficient, whereas elaborating that the worm can only be dropped in Hardmode, which is activated once the Wall of Flesh is defeated, which can be summoned with a Guide Voodoo Doll, which is dropped by Voodoo Demons etc., or explaining how the worm can be crafted and how to acquire its ingredients and crafting station would be inappropriate information.
  • Proofread the edit before saving it to make sure it fits with the rest of the article's style. Neglecting spelling or grammar, repeating information, writing vaguely, or not following any other of the style guide's guidelines may result in the edit being modified or undone by other editors. (If desiring assistance with grammar or formatting, say so in the edit summary, and other editors can help fixing it.)
  • Before saving an edit, the changes should briefly be explained in the edit summary field. This helps other editors understand the intentions, avoids conflict over controversial modifications, and facilitates searching for a certain change in the page history.

Language

  • Use American English. This is in keeping the same language, style, and spelling as used in-game.
  • Use standard, formal English and proper grammar and spelling. Do not use contracted forms (such as don't, there's – use do not, there is instead), colloquialisms, or slang.
  • Ensure a neutral, "encyclopedia" tone:
    • Do not include first or second person perspectives. Do not address the reader as "you", such as in "You can use weapons for fighting enemies". Alternatively, use "the player" (e.g. "The player can use weapons for fighting enemies"). Another option to resort to is the passive voice (e.g. "Weapons can be used for fighting enemies"), but do not overuse it. In that vein, phrases like "It is recommended to ..." should be avoided, because it is unclear who recommends it and why. A preferable alternative would be "Players should ...", although even then, reasons should be provided. Furthermore, refrain from using over-generalizing phrases like "Most players ..." – there are a lot of players with widely varying play styles.
    • Adhere to facts – do not include opinions or personal bias. This refers to, for instance, comments about the beauty or ugliness of a sprite. Likewise, statements like "This is the best weapon" or "This boss is difficult" should not appear unless they are obviously justifiable by game considerations (damage/speed values, etc). The same applies to the validity of certain damage types, or one or the other evil biome.
    • Never leave visible comments that are not meant for every reader, like things to do, "Help me format this", or "Please verify this" (see also {{verify}}). Hide this in HTML comments or put it in the edit summary.

Capitalization

  • All entity names should be capitalized as in-game (e.g. Iron Broadsword, Roman candle), groups of entities should be lower-cased (e.g. bars, bullet, enemies, critter).
    • Groups of entities that have the same name as the plural of the eponymous base entity are exempt from that, however. For instance, Work Benches refers to multiple of the standard, wooden Work Bench and to the group of all variants of that wooden Work Bench (including the Boreal Wood Work Bench, Martian Work Bench, etc.). In this case, always follow the capitalization of the base entity's plural – even if referring to the entity group. Other examples include many furniture groups, like Bookcases, Chests, etc.
      • Beware of certain edge cases where the name of an entity group is the same as the plural of an unrelated entity's name, e.g. Seeds (refers to multiple of the Seed ammunition item) vs. seeds (refers to the group of items that are to be planted in the ground).
  • Page titles and section headings should be in sentence case, as long as that does not interfere with the rules above.
  • Generally, do not capitalize the word the in mid-sentence: "Throughout the Desert, ..." instead of "Throughout The Desert, ...". Exceptions include proper names (e.g. The Destroyer, The Corruption), which may or may not be capitalized: "When fighting The Destroyer, ..." or "When fighting the Destroyer, ..." are both acceptable.
  • Template calls should be lower-cased (i.e. {{item}} instead of {{Item}}). Navigational templates, however, are to be called upper-cased (i.e. {{Biomes}} instead of {{biomes}}). This facilitates distinguishing these two types of templates in the source code. Another exception are copyright templates (i.e. {{Copyright Re-Logic}} instead of {{copyright Re-Logic}}), which the MediaWiki software includes in upper case by default when uploading a file.

Plural in page titles

  • The name of the page should be singular if it is about only one entity.
  • It should be plural if it is about a set of entities which are named differently (e.g. Work Benches: there exist a Marble Work Bench and a Martian Work Bench, which are named differently but share a page).
  • The name of the page should be singular if it is about a set of entities which have the same name (e.g. Zombie: all Zombie variants share the same name, and all of them share a page).

Formatting guidelines

See also: Article format and sections below
  • The first instance of an entity name on a page should always be linked. This does not apply to the page title (which should be in proper bold instead; see below). Further mentions of the same entity should generally not be linked, though multiple identical links can exist if they occur far from each other and would be helpful to readers. An example might be one link in the introductory section along with an identical link in a section, table, or template occurring further down. Duplicate links may be especially helpful on larger pages that would require scrolling to find an entity's first mention.
  • The first instance of the page title should be bold. This should usually be in the first sentence of the article. No other instance of the page title should be bold. Bold print should usually be avoided for emphasis on other words.
    • The first mention of a weapon's best modifier is in bold as well to facilitate quickly recognizing it. This does not mean other mentions of any modifier should also be in bold.
  • Italic print is to be used in the following cases:
    • Emphasis, in great favor of boldface. Be sure not to overuse emphasis since that diminished its effect; consider rewriting instead.
    • Titles of major works. Note that this includes Terraria!
    • Mentioning a character, word, or short string of words (e.g. "The term lunatic is nowadays usually used as an informal synonym for insane, mentally ill, etc."). When mentioned in conjunction with a whole sentence, double quotation marks may be used for consistency. A closely related use of italics is when introducing or distinguishing terms.
    • Foreign words and phrases that are not common in everyday English.
Italics are not to be used for titles of minor works (which are to be enclosed in double quotation marks instead), proper names (such as place names) in other languages, and terms in non-Latin scripts like Japanese.
  • Underlining, s p a c i n g within words, colors within words, ALL CAPS, and small caps styling is to be avoided at all times.
  • Times of day are to be formatted as in-game, i.e., in a 12-hour clock hh:mm{{nbsp}}AM/PM format. Hours do not have a leading zero.
  • When displaying factors, dimensions, multiplication in formulas, etc., the multiplication sign × is the proper operator. The letter x is not correct.
  • The {{item}} template is a very convenient tool, but it should not be overused. Icon clutter can easily get out of hand, and the larger images (especially for the NPCs) interfere with line spacing. More often than not, a regular link or an {{exclusive icon link}} is entirely sufficient.

Coding guidelines

  • The syntax provided by MediaWiki is preferred over HTML, e.g. '''bold''' instead of <b>bold</b> and {| instead of <table>. Nonetheless, in some cases the HTML syntax may be more beneficial for code readability or even necessary to avoid errors, such as in templates.
  • Section titles, lists, and indentations should include spaces for readability, i.e.:
    • == Section == instead of ==Section==
    • * bullet point and # enumerated item instead of *bullet point and #enumerated item
    • : indented text instead of :indented text
Section titles should be immediately followed by the section text or the following subsection title, without an empty line in between.
Section titles should always be preceded by an empty line, unless this interferes with the rule above or creates an empty paragraph.

Article format and sections

Different article types require different formats and sections:

However, the sections below should exist on almost every page. Exceptions where this is not possible for obvious reasons include articles like Terraria or Game platform, and listings like List of weapons. Other article pages with special guidelines are disambiguations and Guides.

Any section that is not listed here or on the specific page format pages should be given careful consideration. Often, the content of such an inconsistent section fits into one of the consistent, standard sections without problems.

Note that the bullet lists with questions in the following sections are not meant to be exhaustive guides but merely examples.

Intro

This section is located at the very top of the page, above everything else, generally including the table of contents.

This section has no heading. At the very beginning of the page, appropriate banner templates (usually {{exclusive}}, {{expert mode only}}, {{master mode only}}, {{unobtainium}}, etc.), followed by one or several infoboxes (usually {{item infobox}} or {{npc infobox}}), are placed. Below that, above the article text, is the place for redirection and link templates (e.g. {{dablink}}, {{for}}, {{distinguish}}, etc.) and finally, certain decorations like {{quotation}} or {{flavor text}}.

The first paragraph should contain the article's topic and alternative names in bold when first used. A classification should be made in the first one or two sentences:

Next, information about how it is encountered should be added:

  • Where and when does the enemy spawn (at night, in Caverns, during a Frost Moon)?
  • What enemy/boss drops this item, and how often?
  • What biomes does this block come from?
  • What Chests can this accessory be found in?

Finally, the behavior or function of the entity should be described in basic terms:

  • What makes Meteor Shots different than others? (They bounce.)
  • How does a Hoplite attack the player? (It throws Javelins.)
  • What does an Ancient Chisel do when equipped? (It provides +25% mining speed.)

Do not include obscure or rare behavior, complicated math, or anything else that is not required to gain a basic, general overview.

Notes

This section can be omitted if there is nothing to note beyond the intro.

This section of the page should have a bulleted list of facts about the subject. Useful information about the subject that has not made it into the intro section should go here. It should be limited to crucial gameplay information (i.e., info that players need in order to understand how the entity works) and other noteworthy facts – always make sure to differentiate Notes from Tips and Trivia.

If they are acceptable under the bug policy, bugs may be listed here as well. Historical bugs or bugs with very little impact on gameplay belong in History or Trivia.

Tips

This section can be omitted if there are no particular tips for players.

This section of the page should have a bulleted list of advice regarding effective practices and what to avoid that might be helpful to players. It could include how certain facts and circumstances can be utilized in clever, non-obvious ways, or comparisons to related entities – if that is relevant for gameplay decisions. The section should not include very obvious tips (e.g. "The enemy takes more damage when hit with a stronger weapon") or tips that are based on the characteristics of an entire group of entities that the article's entity is part of (e.g. "The Adamantite Pickaxe has a slight advantage over the Adamantite Drill because it can deflect projectiles due to its swinging motion" – this applies to all pickaxes, and has nothing to do with the Adamantite one in particular).

Trivia

This section can be omitted if there is nothing notable.

This section of the page should have a bulleted list of facts that are related to the article topic but have no bearing on gameplay in any way. Examples of trivia are explanations of the etymology of the name of the entity, explanations of why this content was added to the game, some developer quotes on the topic, etc.

Trivia content is subject to strict rules. One notable rule is not to include possible references.

History

This section should always be included, and should consist only of {{history}} instances.

This section of the page should list changes to the article topic from various game updates, with each item using the {{history}} template. A history section should always be included, with at least one item stating which update introduced the game element. It should furthermore be the only location acknowledging game updates that have caused introductions or modifications of page content.

This section should generally follow the official changelog, but sometimes there are undocumented changes introduced in updates. In those cases, the information should be based on testing and on the Terraria source code.

References

This section should be omitted if {{reflist}} does not produce an output (anymore), perhaps because the last reference was removed later on.

This section of the page lists the references and footnotes used in the article text. Its only content should be {{reflist}}, which will produce a list of references and footnotes, if there are any of those on the page. See Template:Reflist for the documentation on references. The title of this section may be changed to "Footnotes" if there is no actual reference (i.e. link to a source) among the <ref>s.


A See also section in front of History may also be added if necessary. It can include a bulleted list of links to other, related pages, which have not been linked to in article text before. It should be used sparingly.

Either the References section or the History section is the last section of the page. Appropriate navigational templates should be placed at the end, followed by categories and templates that solely cause categorizations (such as {{all versions}} – though note that that template is mostly unnecessary).

The bottom of the page consists of an alphabetically sorted list of interwiki links and, at the very last, {{translation projects}}, which should always be included in every article.

Files

  • For wiki maintenance reasons, all files should be categorized in at least one category. Category:Terraria files and Category:Wiki files are the two parent file categories.
  • Demonstrative GIFs should follow certain guidelines: They should have a high frame rate, bear no distractions, use the default character if necessary, and should concisely convey the entity's functionality. See Help:Creating animated GIFs for details and assistance on how to create GIFs that meet these criteria.

Naming

Templates

  • It is crucial to read the documentation of a template before changing its parameters on a page. The documentation should be available at the template's base page (e.g. Template:Item for {{item}}), with links to related information if necessary. If there is no documentation, the original creator (who can be determined via the page history of the template) should be urged to create one.
  • Template documentation usually consists of a short intro, a Usage section, and an Examples section. However, due to the highly varying effects of templates on the Terraria Wiki, this structure is not always sensible.
  • Parameters are usually referred to by a dollar sign and their name, and are wrapped in {{code}}, e.g. {{code|$name}}. The unnamed, positional parameters are either named after their position ($1, $2, ..., $n) or are called "first unnamed parameter", "second unnamed parameter", etc.

Categories

  • Category pages are not articles. They should not contain more than a few explanatory sentences. If it feels necessary to add information, create a new article and categorize it with the blank sortkey (such as Melee weapons in Category:Melee weapons).
  • The blank sortkey is reserved for pages that share the category's name or are in another way very closely related to the category.
  • Pages that are related to the category in some way, but are not regular members (perhaps because they deal with a broader, subordinated topic; e.g. Traps in Category:Mechanism items), should get the asterisk sortkey.

Disambiguations

Guides

  • Guides can cover a wide array of subject matter, so a single blanket template cannot be applied to all of them. Nevertheless, do see Terraria Wiki:Rules § Guides for guidelines concerning these pages.