The 'Shroom:Manual of Style

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The 'Shroom
Manual of Style
 

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The 'Shroom strives to welcome writers of all skill levels. Whether they are relatively inexperienced with writing or you make a living writing, we want The 'Shroom to serve as a medium through which all interested members of the community can share their passions and work to improve their writing skills. The newsletter must, however, maintain certain standards and expectations of quality. For this reason, we have to establish base standards for the content that appears in the newsletter.

To aid new writers in understanding the standards of quality expected of content featured in The 'Shroom, this Manual of Style lays out the base standards which writers should be familiar with and follow.

If you are unsure about anything concerning the newsletter or its guidelines, feel free to contact the 'Shroom Core Staff. We're more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Members of the Core Staff can assist you with editing your sections, can answer questions about the Wiki markup or content in your section, or can direct you to appropriate resources, so please be certain to contact them if you are unable to find an answer on your own.

Basic Formatting:

In order to ensure The 'Shroom has a certain degree of readability, writers are expected to exercise fundamental writing and formatting skills. Team directors will edit formatting errors and other mistakes, but you should not rely on them to catch every mistake in your section. Team directors are not obligated to accept and edit sections with numerous glaring errors in basic grammar, spelling, and formatting. Proofread your sections, and ask a Core Staff member for assistance when you need it. All writers are expected to do their best to maintain their own section quality before sending them in. To properly format your section to match The 'Shroom's standards, we advise you to:

  • Use appropriate grammar and spelling. Sections should be easy to follow and understand, so you should do your best to punctuate sentences, space out paragraphs, and spell words correctly. Double check your writing to ensure it flows properly.
    • If English is not your first language, feel free to ask your team Director or another staff member for advice or to ask them to edit your section. The 'Shroom welcomes writers of all backgrounds, and staff members are expected to make all reasonable endeavors to assist you.
  • For proper formatting, your section must use the Wiki's markup. We recommend you become as familiar with the Wiki's markup as possible; the better command of the Wiki markup you have, the more precise control over your section's formatting you will have. For detailed information regarding the Wiki markup, please consult this page.
    • For many sections, only the most basic of Wiki markup will be necessary. You can find examples on the linked page, but, for a quick reference:
      • Use empty newlines to start new paragraphs.
      • Use ''two apostrophes to'' italicize words.
      • Use '''three apostrophes to''' bold words.
        • When using apostrophes, take care to ensure that you use straight apostrophes. Curled apostrophes, which are the default on many word processors (but not in the Wiki editor) will not be recognized as formatting markup.
      • Use <h4>these heading tags</h4> to create headings and subheadings. Four is the smallest heading level, with heading level increasing as the number decreases.
      • Use <center>center tags</center> to center text. You can replace "center" with "left" or "right" in the tags to align your text with the left or right margin, as well.
      • Use [[two brackets]] to make an internal link to another page on the Wiki, such as the page for Mario. Use the format [[PAGE|DESIRED TEXT]] to create a link to a page using different text than the page title. Use single brackets, with the format [EXAMPLE.URL DESIRED TEXT] to link to an an external page.
      • The 'Shroom supports a small selection of typefaces and fonts besides the default typeface. These should be used sparingly and with good judgement. If you use an alternate font, you should be able to defend your decision by explaining how they enhance your section. Err on the side of caution. If there's any other way to achieve the effect you want or you can think of any argument for using the default typeface over an alternative, stick with the default. For more information on fonts, please see here.
  • Images you wish to include in a section must also be properly formatted using the Wiki markup. Place the appropriate Wiki markup where you wish to include an image in your section, following the guidelines laid out on this page.
    • At the minimum, you must include [[Filename:FILE.EXT]] where you wish to include an image. You should ensure the image is not excessively large by specifying the image's size by using [[Filename:FILE.EXT|###px]].
    • Images which already exist on the Wiki will appear where appropriate automatically, so long as the filename is correct. For images which do not already exist on the Wiki, you may choose an appropriate filename. You should not upload images which are not already on the Wiki yourself, unless you have good reason to do so for other Wiki projects. Instead, upload them to an external image hosting platform of your choice (Imgur, for example) or find another way to upload them and retrieve the URL (by embedding them in a message on Discord, for example). Send the links to the images to your team director when you submit your section. Be sure to indicate somehow which image goes with which filename, and they will upload them for you.
  • For more advanced formatting, such as tables, special links to YouTube, embedded videos, and templates, feel free to inspect the coding of past sections or reach out to a more experienced writer or staff member for assistance.

You can test out your formatting in the Sandbox. You may use the preview function to check the formatting of your entire section at once, but you should not publish an entire section in the Sandbox.

Numbers and Other Questions of Style:

The 'Shroom does not have an official style guide, nor does it endorse any existing style guides. On most questions of style, we encourage writers to use their best judgement and to prioritize readability and consistency. Nonetheless, there are a few recommendations we make in the interest of readability.

  • Numbers:
    • Single-digit numbers (one through nine) should be spelled out as words rather than as numerals. So instead of typing 4 or 8, you would type four or eight.
    • Any numbers that are mutually associated with a specific topic within the article should be written out consistently, e.g. “She had ten Super Mushrooms, then used one and was left with nine,” as opposed to “She had 10 Super Mushrooms, then used one and was left with 9.”
    • If two numbers are written next to each, one should be written as a word and the other as a numeral, e.g. “ten 10-year old dogs,” as opposed to “10 10-year old dogs.”
    • If a sentence begins with a number, that number should be written out as a word rather than as a numeral.

Section Size:

The 'Shroom does not set any minimum or maximum length for sections. Don't focus on an arbitrary minimum. What we're looking for are sections that feel complete and that make their point. The minimum length of your section should be however long it needs to be to fully develop your ideas. That will be shorter for some sections than others. Likewise, use good judgement and exercise good writing skills when thinking about the maximum length of your section. If your section is too long, continuing well after it has made its points, you'll lose the interest of readers. A key element to a good section is making it long enough to fully develop and complete your ideas and not much longer than that.

Coverage:

While the 'Shroom was originally focused solely on the Mario series and the MarioWiki, we have evolved over time and broadened our coverage. Currently, the 'Shroom accepts coverage of all subjects, with the exception of obscene, offensive, or otherwise unacceptable content that would not be allowed on the Wiki.

  • The 'Shroom remains neutral on all political ideologies, but we urge all writers to try to keep any discussion of politics relevant to the newsletter and to their section. A Critic Corner section discussing current events, for example, will be allowed more leeway for political discussion than a Fake News section about cooking fictional recipes. Keeping your section focused on its purpose, rather than meandering into tangents and unrelated topics, is simply an element of good writing.

Strong Content and Spoilers:

Strong Content is defined as any material seen as potentially offensive to any person or group of persons, such as swearing, crude humour, spoilers, sexual references, and other such terms. The 'Shroom is not against the use of strong content to a degree in the newsletter, but we have guidelines to ensure our writers don't go overboard.

  • We allow the usage of all swear words, but we insist all of our writers employ them in moderation. As what counts as "too much swearing" is a relative judgement, each section will be evaluated on an individual basis. As a rule of thumb your section sounds a little too obscene to you when you read it out, then you've probably overdone it.
    • Quotes, song lyrics, poetry and the like are exceptions to this rule.
  • Sexual references are acceptable within the same boundaries as swear words as illustrated above. Do not get overly graphic, as that will be deemed as borderline pornography.
  • Slurs of any kind will NOT be accepted in any way or form in this newsletter, and any submitted sections found to use any discriminatory labels or jokes will be rejected immediately. If you are unclear on what constitutes a slur, inquire with a staff member prior to submitting your section.
  • The 'Shroom makes no guarantees that its content will not include spoilers for media, including recently released media. Writers are encouraged but not required to include a spoiler warning at the start of their section using the appropriate template.
  • When including strong content or spoilers in your sections, please be sure to add {{ShroomStrongContent}}, indicating the type of content your section includes.



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Bulbanews Shroombull.png Metroid Recon Shroombull.png The Mushroom Kingdom