Japari Library:Manual of Style

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Charlotte - Head Librarian
This guide is currently in progress. We highly encourage you to follow the tips and guidelines already listed while we continue to improve the article.

Japari Library's Manual of Style is a set of guidelines that exist to guide editors when creating and editing articles, assisting them with consistency and quality.

What the Manual of Style is for

The Manual of Style (hereafter referred to as the MoS) is not a set of strictly enforced rules; rather, it is a reference material filled with "best practices" that have been proven to result in well-crafted articles. Edits made while keeping in mind the guidelines found in the MoS typically feel more professional, well-written and, most importantly, more trustworthy. Edits that feel poorly written, regardless of whether or not the writing is poor, give the impression that the information is perhaps false or poorly researched. The MoS guidelines encourage users to edit in an authoritative style that feels inherently trustworthy. For policies that are strictly enforced, you can visit our list of editing policies.

Professionalism

Just because an article does not meet the guidelines of the MoS does not mean it is a bad article - it does mean, however, that there may be room for improvement. Keep in mind that Japari Library, like all wikis, is collaborative. A page section may be written by someone who has a very different natural writing style than someone who wrote the previous. Let's take this scenario into account:

Alice writes an article. She has a weak grasp of English, but she is a trusted authority on the article topic. She contributes by beginning the article. After researching her chosen topic and spending a few days drafting and improving the article, she publishes it. Bob sees the article and decides to improve it, but isn't knowledgeable on the topic, so he makes the decision to only rewrite the sections he is confident in. Charlie sees this and has new information to add, so he writes a new paragraph without altering the rest of the page content. Dave reads the article and sees the inconsistent writing and poor English and doesn't finish reading the article, worrying the information is inaccurate.

In this scenario, none of the participants did anything wrong. Alice, Bob, and Charlie all made valuable and important contributions. Dave's issue wasn't the content - instead, the lack of professionalism in the page's style turned him away. This example illustrates how a lack of unified style, even from a chain of individually professional and benign edits, can harm the user experience. The guidelines in the MoS can be used to help all editors, regardless of goal, write articles that avoid this scenario.

Brevity and readability

Let's look at two examples of how to write a sentence.

Alice and Bob are a common set of two stand-in characters used as a representation of two generic individuals in a fictional or hypothetical scenario, with Alice as "Person A" and Bob as "Person B".

Alice and Bob are a set of fictional stand-in characters commonly used to represent two generic people in a fictional scenario.

Both sentences are correct and have roughly the same meaning, but the second example is easier to read and understand. The first sentence fails to adhere to two oft-connected pillars of a successful article: brevity and readability. You can summarize both of them with the statement of "Japari Library is not a scientific paper". For example, when summarizing a scene from the anime, we would not describe that a character turns left every time they turn left, or describe every time that character blinks. We must keep in mind that no matter how interesting something is, from the reader's perspective, they want to absorb as much information as possible by simply skimming the text. There are some exceptions to this; guidelines for brevity will be discussed further later on.

The other issue is readability. Notice how many words that just aren't important were in the first sentence, and how many words moved around, and how many repeated words were removed. The sentence sacrificed readability for specificity. If every sentence was written this way, many users would give up on reading the article entirely. While this may sound frightening as an editor, worry not - just like how readability and brevity fall together, they also rise together. Choosing your words carefully to keep sentences as short as possible without delving into complicated jargon can make sophisticated topics feel easy to comprehend. Some guidelines to help keep your articles accessible will be found further into the MoS.

What the Manual of Style is not for

Edit warring

The purpose of the MoS is not under any circumstances to start arguments. Some of the guidelines in the MoS may conflict with the contents of an objectively well-written article. Breaking the guidelines may be better for the health of the article, or it may be because a significant contribution to the article's quality was made by someone who wasn't aware of the MoS. The Manual of Style is a guideline, not a policy - that means it is a useful reference material, but it is not a rule. Even if the MoS is generally considered by consensus to be the best way to write an article, there is no reason to use it in an argument or dispute unless an editor is insistent upon something that is frowned upon, such as avoiding an encyclopedic tone. However, in such cases, this tends to overlap with official policy. Therefore, before using the MoS, please try to find a relevant policy. It is possible that a user is editing in good faith and has taken offense to the idea that the quality of their work is poor, so avoid using disparaging terms.

Remember that the MoS is not a weapon to be utilized during an edit war or disagreement. Printing out the Manual of Style, rolling it into a stick, and swinging it may result in...

Whacking someone over the head

The MoS is not intended to be used as a tool to admonish someone for poor editing skills, nor is it a bible of every possible detail someone can get wrong. If you were sent to this page solely to tell you that your edits are poor and you should feel bad, raise the issue to an admin immediately on their talk page. This is unacceptable under all circumstances. However, do not confuse good-faith suggestions with hostility. As a newcomer, or even a veteran, visiting the Manual of Style for a refresher may be genuinely useful as a way to improve your craft. It is not inconceivable that you may have written an article on a bad day, or that you felt the need to simply get something out. It is also not an uncommon practice to start an article using a rough draft with hopes that other editors will refine it further through continual edits; in fact, this is the thesis statement of the wiki system as a whole. While we appreciate articles being as thorough as possible the first time around, we also appreciate rough, weak articles that show a genuine desire to contribute something that wasn't there before.

For veterans, we ask that you study a relevant Wikipedia policy, Please do not bite the newcomers. When linking a user to the MoS, acknowledge that they may be new or inexperienced. Also note that accounts may be created long in advance of when frequent edits actually began - creating an account to fix a typo two years ago does not mean they are not a newcomer if they did not contribute regularly until recently.

Style Guide

Basic Guidelines

Before discussing individual style choices, it is always helpful to remember some of our most basic editing policies.

  • Usage of American English is heavily preferred. Defer to American English spellings when unsure which to use.
  • Treat your edit as if it is going to be read and treated as fact - because it is. Avoid including information you couldn't corroborate with a second source, and try to source information.
    • Including references goes a long way, but try not to go overboard. Try to find one very reliable source for your claim to use as a reference link, and only use it on claims that someone may dispute.
    • Additionally, avoid including excessive speculation as fact. "This is because Serval in the anime was reborn from the Nexon game." is not a verified statement, even if it is a popular headcanon and theory.
      • Discussion of theory and speculation, however, is not just allowed, but encouraged - provided you treat it as such. Make sure all theories and/or unverified information is labelled in some way. An easy way to do this is to start your paragraph with "A common fan theory is..." or "While not confirmed, this scene implies..."
  • Avoid jokes. While on some wikis, such as TFWiki, this is encouraged, notice how these jokes rarely intrude upon the encyclopedic content, and are often reserved for image captions that would otherwise be left blank. A little humor is well and good, but remember that too much comedy can violate the standard of professionalism the MoS is attempting to uphold.
  • When writing dates and times, write the date in the time zone it would have occurred in, or been most affected by. For example, if a livestream was in Japanese, use the date and time in JST to identify the time it occurred. If that same streamer went to an overseas event in a different time zone, refer to the event by the date and time in local time, and any streams in JST.
    • In the event that this causes confusion, speak on only one event at a time to reduce confusion. For example, wait until you have finished describing what the streamer did at the event, then describe their relevant livestream.

Following the Manual of Style only works when the page content itself is worth reading - these basic policies ensure that this is the case nearly all of the time.

Capital letters

When writing, even when writing article titles, try to use sentence case. This means avoiding the use of capital letters outside of proper nouns. Because of the nature of Kemono Friends, this may be confusing, so consider the following examples as reference:

  • Asian Small-Clawed Otter (the Friend) is a proper noun. It should always be written with capitalized letters for every word.
  • Asian small-clawed otter (the real-world animal) is not a proper noun, so only the proper noun in the name of the animal (Asian) should be capitalized.
  • "Asian Small-Clawed Otter is a Friend based on the Asian small-clawed otter."

In this example, we only write "Asian Small-Clawed Otter" as a proper noun when referring to the Friend, but because Asia is a proper noun, we must always capitalize that word. This means, when referring to an animal, we would write names such as "serval", "common raccoon" and "northern white-faced owl" without any capitalization.

Keep in mind that this applies to all forms of proper nouns, such as names (Commerson's dolphin, Mukku), corporations (Crunchyroll-hime), mythical or religious figures (Inugami Gyōbu), publications (Famitsu, The Japan Times), and celestial bodies (Jupiter, Andromeda, the Sun). Also note that there are exceptions for several of these - for example, tanuki is not a proper noun despite its roots in folklore because it is non-specific, sun bear would not be capitalized as it does not refer specifically to the Earth's sun, and the satanic is lower-case in "satanic leaf-tailed gecko" as it is an adjective. Particles such as "of" in Greater Bird-of-Paradise and no in Yamata-no-Orochi should also be lower-case.

  • Japari Bus is considered a proper noun. When referring to the bus, it should only be treated like a proper noun when the full name is spoken.
  • "The Japari Bus is a vehicle found in Japari Park. Unlike a normal bus, the Japari Bus features an animal design motif. There are many variants on the bus."

In this example, despite the fact that the "bus" in "there are many variants on the bus" refers exclusively to the Japari Bus, we do not treat it like a proper noun because it is not specific. Simply because it is a Japari Bus does not make it a proper noun in and of itself, much like how "street" is not a proper noun even if it is named "Street Street". When describing the specific object of a Japari Bus, or when describing a specific bus with a title, (i.e. Cat Bus), we may treat it as a proper noun; otherwise, it is to be written as if the vehicle is generic.

Images

Images are just as important and useful as text, especially when writing articles about topics that don't fit into a style of infobox, such as Japari Bun. While not required, and in some cases difficult, if not impossible to provide, at least one image is generally used on a quality article. However, there are some common pitfalls with images that must be avoided.

Using images to replace text is frowned upon. Instead of using an image to illustrate a line of dialogue or passage in a book, write out the text instead. The text can be reformatted or placed into a different section if future updates to content guides require it, but an image will need to be completely replaced. This also applies when describing errors in subtitles or reference books. Instead of taking a picture of the error, write out the text. If the text is in a language you do not speak, seek help with a translation of the error. Keep in mind that when describing a visual error, such as an incorrectly applied texture in a 3D video game, a coloring error in official art, or a misprinted keychain, an image should always be used as a supplement to the text.

When writing captions, keep brevity in mind. Captions should be a single sentence and should try to avoid being more than 20-40 words (depending on the image contents). Captions work best when they are a short and simple description of the image contents with no frivolous elements. Ergo, it is acceptable for captions to be a sentence fragment rather than a complete sentence. Avoid including image credits in the caption, instead, use the image's File: page. Additionally, make sure to follow editing policies regarding credit.

Avoid referring to an image's position in the article text. Different browsers, screen sizes, and platforms display images differently. What looks correct to you may be incorrect on another screen and confuse readers. Additionally, those using screen readers may be unable to identify the image's location. Avoid using terms such as "Fig. 1" to circumvent this.

While not a requirement, as the powers of description are not universal, using an image's alt text to identify the image contents for those using screen readers is highly encouraged. This can be done by utilizing the |alt= tag within a [[File:]] link. When writing alt text, try to be specific. "A deer" is not suitable alt text; "A Sika Deer grazing on a field" is good, and "A Sika Deer looking at the camera while grazing alone on a grassy field. The deer appears cautious and has grass covering its nose." is even better. Keep in mind that alt text is especially important for readers with visual impairments. Therefore, try to write alt text that encapsulates the energy of the image to the average reader, and emphasize the elements of the image that are most important to the article.

The reader and you

It may be tempting to think of the process of writing an article as you explaining something to the reader. This is true in the case of instructional pages such as this one, but for most articles, they should be written with a neutral, encyclopedic tone. This means writing articles so that they do not resemble persuasive essays, but factual dissertations. What does that mean? How does one accomplish this?

  • Avoid the phrases I, you, and we.
  • Avoid using instructional phrases such as note that and keep in mind.
  • Do not assume common knowledge; do not use wording such as obviously, of course, and naturally.
  • Do not assume reader reaction. When presenting a trivia point, avoid prefacing it with text such as interestingly, surprisingly, or notably.
    • Additionally, do not create implications. Linking two facts together with a turn of phrase such as however and furthermore may subtly influence the reader.
  • Avoid rhetorical questions. Overview is a preferable section header to What is Japari Park?.

Disambiguity

When writing an article, try to be specific. Removing ambiguity can help improve readability and neutrality. Let's look at some examples of phrases that are ambiguous.

  • Recently, a new species of duck was discovered. How recently?
  • The stream was held in October. Which October?
  • One of the aye-aye's fingers is longer than the others. Which finger?
  • It is currently the only known species in its genus. Is this still true?
  • With a healthy diet, this animal is known to live longer. How much longer? Is it significant, say, five or ten years, or minor, such as a year or two?
  • It is estimated to have lived 100MYA. What does MYA mean?
  • Researchers first noticed this behavior in summer 1995. The seasons are different in different parts of the planet, and the date range is therefore very ambiguous.

Now let's look at how to fix these issues.

  • A new species of duck was discovered in 2012. Clarifying the year allows us to understand how recent it was. The reader can infer for themselves if this event qualifies as recent or not - we don't decide for them!
  • The stream was held on October 21st, 2022. Not only does this clarify the year, but providing a specific date gives us even more specific information.
  • The aye-aye's middle fingers are longer and thinner than the others. Now we know which finger it is.
  • As of November 2023, it is the only known species in its genus. If the information becomes outdated, this statement will encourage research to verify the statement.
  • With a healthy diet, this animal is known to live for up to 7 years longer. With this clarification, we can see both the significance of these benefits and their results.
  • It is estimated to have lived 100 million years ago (MYA). By clarifying the acronym, we can then use it later in the article without needing to explain it.
  • Researchers first noticed this behavior in early 1995. Early 1995 isn't very specific, but it tells us that it had to have happened early in the year, instead of summer, where it could have been late in the year depending on the hemisphere.

If you ever feel unsure about whether or not a sentence is ambiguous, read it to yourself as if you are someone who is reading the article without having any knowledge on the topic. Do you feel like you understand what the person is saying? Are you confused about something? Do you feel like you haven't explained something well? In those cases, try rewriting your sentence to be more specific. Removing ambiguity can go a long way to improving an article. Sometimes, this one step can turn a weak article into an amazing one!

Article Sections

Trivia

Trivia should be kept as brief as possible, with 1-2 sentences per trivia point. Exceptions are allowed if the trivia in question requires more explanation than can be written into this limit, but only the bare minimum information required should be used. Trivia should be on-topic and relevant to either the animal or Kemono Friends itself; A Bengal tiger is the mascot of a famous cereal brand is not acceptable, but The Nexon Game version of Bearded Seal is based on a real individual named Tama-chan. is acceptable. Keep in mind that just because something does not fit trivia, it doesn't mean you can't add it - consider if it deserves a spot in another section!