Uncyclopedia:Style Guide

From Uncyclopedia, the content-free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Whoops! Maybe you were looking for UnNews:Style?
Blue check.svg This page is considered a policy on Uncyclopedia.

It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that everyone should follow, unless they don't want to, in which case they are free to ignore it so long as they're not being a dick. Please make use of the standing on one knee position to propose to this policy.

A stylish person.

Uncyclopedia Style is the rules we all follow when creating pages. Uncyclopedia is not just a blog for original comedy creations; it's a group editing project to produce a website that looks like Wikipedia at a casual glance, but when the reader digs in, isn't quite right.

Style concerns the use of italics, boldfacing, dividing an article into sections, and other aspects of the way the page looks. Because of the goal of resembling Wikipedia, our usual guidance is just to do things exactly the way Wikipedia does.

This guidance is not absolute, for the following reasons:

  • We've decided that a handful of Wikipedia style rules are just ugly.
  • We enjoy breaking rules — when doing so makes a funny point and isn't simply random.


Page name[edit]

If you are editing an existing page, the page's name is not an issue: Your edits won't change the name.

If you are creating a new page (see Uncyclopedia:Requested articles for ideas), the best approach is to give it exactly the name of the Wikipedia article. After all, that's the name the reader will be typing. If you have a comedy strategy that includes making a pun of the name, do not use the pun as the page name; that will force your reader to guess the pun and type it in to see if there's an article with exactly that comedy strategy.

Beginner's Guide
Basic mechanics of a wiki

How pages work
Your userspace
How talk pages work
How to edit pages
How to search the wiki

Good writing

How to be funny
(Funny images)
(Funny choice of words)

Style

Style Guide
Writing Lists
Quotations
Grammar and spelling

Good behavior

Be civil
Don't do cyberbullying
Coexist with the Admins

See also...

Help Contents
What Uncyclopedia is not

In other words, play it straight — Wikipedia-straight — to get your reader to your page. Crack wise only once the reader arrives.

One firm rule on Wikipedia and Uncyclopedia is no excess capitals in the page name. If there is a rule of grammar calling for capital letters, use them (such as in proper names). Otherwise, don't use them. You may have seen this done the opposite way in headlines in many newspapers. That's their style; but our goal is not to imitate your newspaper, but to imitate Wikipedia.

Like Wikipedia, the first reference to the page name is in boldface. Most Uncyclopedia articles start with a definition of the thing, with its name in boldface. References after that are neither bold nor links; just use plain text.

Page title[edit]

Uncyclopedia displays the page title automatically at the top of every page. There are ways you can affect this; for example, {{Title}} if you want the article to display a pun as the title, and {{Logo}} if you want to play with the potato logo in the upper-left corner. However, if you have a way to do page titles that you think is better than the automatic one, please don't; you will mostly create an Uncyclopedia article that doesn't look like any of the others, baffling the reader before you start to amuse him.

Headings[edit]

An Uncyclopedia article is broken into sections. A line that starts and ends with equal signs gets converted into a section heading. (See Help:HowTo § Section organization for coding help.) For example, this is in the section named Headings, which was produced with the wikicode == Headings ==.

Wikipedia's rule against excess capital letters in page names (mentioned above) also applies to section headings, and we use it at Uncyclopedia too. Capitalize proper names and other words where English grammar requires capitals; otherwise, use lowercase.

Unlike page names, puns are fine in section headings (because they don't keep the reader from digging in). Section headings might or might not be complete sentences. However, even if they are, don't end them with punctuation.

Avoid repeating the page name in the section headings. The page Liberia doesn't want a section History of Liberia (just History will do fine) or Liberia in the future.

Intro[edit]

The text before the first section heading is the article's introduction, or Intro. As in Wikipedia, every article ought to have an Intro. In Wikipedia, an Intro gives an overview of the article's contents, which may summarize material spelled out in more detail later on.

In Uncyclopedia, the Intro has a more important function: to convince the reader that reading the article is going to be fun! It should be fun to read the Intro, with hints of more fun to come. This means the Intro should hint at the comedy strategy you are going to use in the article.

The Intro should not include trite and stupid things, such as long lists of synonyms for the thing you're writing about or also-known-as names for the person. It should not include nonsense numbers, impossible dates, strikethrough, or overuse of typography. The message that will convey is: This article is just too stupid for the reader to waste time on!

Hierarchy[edit]

Sections can contain subsections. And sub-sub-sections, and so on; but please don't go crazy. A subsection is a separate class of information that fits within the class of the main section. For example, this is a subsection on Hierarchy (using the wikicode === Hierarchy ===). It describes Hierarchy (the arrangement of subsections inside sections) but is part of Sections, and that is why it is a subsection.

Anytime you have a section that logically is part of another section, you should make it a subsection. For example, if you have a section on History and another section on The era of eating worms, the second should be a subsection of the first.

Additional do's[edit]

You can make the wikicode of a section heading more standard and readable if you will do the following:

  • Type a blank line before the section heading.
  • Type a single space after the initial equal signs.
  • Type a single space before the final equal signs.
  • Don't type a blank line after the section heading.
  • If you have a photo (with [[File:...]]), type that, on a line by itself, right after the section heading, then start paragraph text on the line after that.

Additional don'ts[edit]

Don't get fancy with section heading, such as trying to include images and templates. It will be equally funny and less offputting if you put them alongside the text of the section.

Examples[edit]

Bad

==  How To Make A Bad Section Heading. ==

(Paragraph)

Good

== How to make a good section heading ==
(Paragraph)

Body of the article[edit]

Type the paragraphs of the article normally. Do not indent the first line, as a paragraph starting with a space has a special effect. (Try it and find out.) Lines that start with unusual characters have special effects too; these include:

  • * for bulleted lists
  • # for numbered lists (Don't number them manually!)
  • : for an indented paragraph

Don't press ENTER to break your text into lines; the edit box will wrap automatically, and when someone edits the text, unneeded "hard line breaks" will become visible and seem unnatural.

Separate your paragraphs by pressing ENTER twice. Don't use HTML, such as <BR> or <P>. Don't press ENTER more than twice. A single blank line between paragraphs produces the standard amount of vertical space. Additional blank lines will produce more vertical space, and will make your article look different from all the others in the encyclopedia for no reason. Don't put blank lines at the start or the end of the article.

Spaces[edit]

Separate your sentences with one or more spaces. People who grew up in the computer era tend to type one space, whereas people who learned with typewriters and paper use two spaces. This makes no difference in how the page looks.

There are cases where a colon (:) is not followed by a space: Uncyclopedia namespaces and MS-DOS device names. In Uncyclopedia text, always follow the colon with a space.

Emphasis[edit]

AVOID SCREAMING CASE!!!

The most effective parody of Wikipedia looks exactly like it. The humor is in the content, not in the typography. Uncyclopedia articles that contain SCREAMING CASE, underline, boldface text, exclamation points!!!!!!!!, and f@#$!*% profanities fail to imitate Wikipedia. Uncyclopedia articles that specialize in them are called rants. Assuming a rant contains actual comedy, the excessive emphasis is a distraction.

No Wikipedia.png
UncyclopediaWikipedia. They do it like WP:MOS:BADEMPHASIS. We're a bit different, so take note.

Emphasis may be warranted by the situation — usually in the style of that person‎ or in the style of fans of that subject‎. Examples of these kind of exceptions include: frequent swearing in Samuel L. Jackson, fannish language in Star Wars, and deliberately poor writing in I maed a yuky doody to capture the mannerisms of a small child.

Italics

See the grammar refresher below for situations that call for italics. Italicize text with wikicode, preceding and following it with double apostrophes like this: ''Italics'' In an Uncyclopedia page, this is translated to HTML with the <I> tag. Don't code the HTML tag yourself.

Boldface

Use boldface sparingly for emphasis. Create bold text with wikicode, preceding and following it with triple apostrophes like this: '''Bold''' Again, don't do this with the HTML tag <B>.

Dashes[edit]

Modern computers have several types of dash:

  • The - (hyphen) key on your keyboard
  • The – character, an "en-dash" (a dash the width of the letter n)
  • The — character, an "em-dash" (a dash the width of the letter m: a long dash)

So here are the rules:

  • For a hyphenated word or phrase (like cul-de-sac), just use the - key on your keyboard; don't make this fancy.
  • For ranges of numbers (such as between a historical person's birth date and death date), Wikipedia uses the en-dash. It doesn't look much different from the keyboard - character, but if you want to spend time converting them, that's fine.
No Wikipedia.png
UncyclopediaWikipedia. We do things differently here because we're not total copycats.
  • As the punctuation that indicates a digression in a train of thought — Did I mention my aching knee? — Uncyclopedia prefers the em-dash, as in this sentence. (Wikipedia accepts either en-dash or em-dash. Moreover, Wikipedia calls for spaces before and after the en-dash, but not the em-dash. However, Uncyclopedia Admins have failing eyesight and decided that the em-dash, with spaces before and after it, would look least like hyphens.
  • UnNews datelines — after the reporter's location and before the start of the article text — use double hyphen, preceded and followed by a space ( -- ). We used to have a casting service that looked for this exact sequence. Don't use double hyphens anywhere else instead of the em-dash, even if you learned to type with typewriter and paper.

Creating them[edit]

Avoid using HTML code for dashes (such as (& ndash; for the en-dash and & mdash; for the em-dash). If you used Preferences to enable the button palette around the edit box, there are buttons to generate these dashes. Otherwise, use another method. For example, users of old Windows systems can use an app like charmap and cut and paste dashes into the edit box.

Footnotes[edit]

Footnotes are a way to hide a remark that is a digression from the main point you're making. Also an abject contradiction of the point you're making. Footnotes consist of a superscript number (assigned by the software), in the text of the article, that points to a statement in a table of footnotes.[1]

  1. Just like this.

In the text of the article, you type the entire text of the footnote:

<ref>Just like this.</ref>

Then at the bottom of the page, you type a section to hold this and any other footnotes:

==References==
 {{Reflist}}

If the user clicks on [1], MediaWiki takes him to the footnote. If the user clicks on ^ in the footnote, he's taken back to the main text that referenced the footnote.

There are three technical points to make:

No Wikipedia.png
UncyclopediaWikipedia. We do things differently here because we're not total copycats.
  1. We prefer {{Reflist}} over the HTML tag <references>. Reflist results in a <references> tag, so it does almost the same thing, but it also lets us impose any footnote style we want to use across the encyclopedia.
  2. It might seem to you that forcing the reader to scan down to the References section to read your digression or contradiction will spoil the joke. Some authors have put a {{Reflist}} at the bottom of the same section that calls for the footnote — so the reader can put the two together more easily — and that's fine with us.
  3. Footnotes can follow a word, or can follow a period or comma. Do not code footnotes between a word and the punctuation that follows that word. That's felony ugly!
No Wikipedia.png
UncyclopediaWikipedia. We do things differently here because we're not total copycats.

There is also a style point to make. Wikipedia uses dozens of footnotes, because it demands that each of its dodgiest assertions be justified by some "credible" medium. (That means CNN, doesn't it?) We use footnotes sparingly and don't require that our articles imitate Wikipedia in number of footnotes. Excessive footnotes is subject to the same rule as excessive emphasis, noted above: It has to be done so cleverly, and add so much value to your article, that it doesn't come across as merely a case of bad writing.

Lists[edit]

Avoid lists:

  1. Lists are inherently repetitive because they are designed with a single theme that each entry must follow. If the joke is contained in the list's theme and not in its entries, you're just telling the same joke over and over.
  2. If there is no funny way to get from point A to point B, use the shortest way, which is usually a list. If there are funny ways to get from point A to point B, use the funniest way, which is usually not a list.

Poetry[edit]

Main article: Help:HowTo#Poetry

This applies to long poetry, haiku, and limericks. To format a poem, use <poem>…</poem>. The formatting is handled automatically without needing to resort to the old way of :''line1''<br>:''line2''<br>…

<poem>According to Uncyclopedia
(The only reliable media)
Some limericks are pure
But those ones are fewer;
The others are quite a lot seedier.</poem>

According to Uncyclopedia
(The only reliable media)
Some limericks are pure
But those ones are fewer;
The others are quite a lot seedier.

Quotations[edit]

Quotations in Uncyclopedia should be used sparingly, if at all. Wikipedia articles don't start with a quotation, and Uncyclopedia articles shouldn't, either, unless they are really funny; the start of an Uncyclopedia article has a duty to coax the reader to jump in. If a quotation isn't crucial to telling a joke, think about how you might simply work it into the prose instead. If a quotation isn't funny at all, don't add it just because you think that's how an Uncyclopedia article is supposed to look. The following tend not to be funny:

  • Quotations with no relevance to the article
  • Bickering quotations — where a subsequent quotation "hears" an earlier quotation and talks back
  • Clichés
    • Oscar Wilde (unless there is some clever relevance to his life story, such as a double entendre playing off his homosexuality)
    • Russian Reversals (except when the phrase, after reversal, is clever or fits well in the article)
    • Captains: Captain Obvious, Captain Oblivious, …
    • Memes: Chuck Norris, Samuel L. Jackson, …
  • More than a couple quotations, or lengthy quotations.
How to type them

For short quotations, and when it really fits at the start of an article or section, use the {{Q}} template, not the other templates used in the past, which look inexplicably different. For longer quotations in the body of a section, use {{Cquote}}.

Use "logical quotations" when necessary. For example, put exclamation points and question marks inside the quotations when it is the person being quoted who is exclaiming or questioning; outside when it is the encyclopedia writer doing so. Also use logical quotations when providing text to be typed literally, so that putting punctuation inside the quotes would change the text.

No Wikipedia.png
UncyclopediaWikipedia. They do it like MOS:LQUOTE. We're a bit different, so take note.

Otherwise, the world outside Wikipedia tends to think period and comma look better before the closing quotation mark and larger punctuation looks better after. Whether to look better or look identical to Wikipedia are competing values, neither being particularly better than the other.

Grammar[edit]