User:Revanche/Article Layout

Dan: as a reminder, the origin of this help page is at [:], and is to be used for inspiration.

This Article Layout help page is a guide to laying out a typical BattleTechWiki basic article. Complicated articles may be best modeled on the layout of an existing article of appropriate structure.

Lead "section"[edit]

The lead section (located above the first section heading) may contain optional elements presented in the following order: disambiguation links, information or maintenance tags, infoboxes, images (generally associated with an infobox), navigational links (ex: Template:Main), introductory text, and the table of contents, before moving to the heading of the first section.

All but the shortest articles should start with introductory text (the "lead"). The lead should establish significance and be written in a way that makes readers want to know more. The appropriate length of the lead depends on that of the article, but should be no more than four paragraphs (usually only one for most BattleTechWiki articles). The lead itself has no heading and, on pages with more than three headings, automatically appears above the table of contents, if present.

As the formal starting part of the article, the lead should begin with a declarative sentence, answering two questions for the nonspecialist reader: "What (or who) is the subject?" and "Why is this subject notable?" Most commonly, the article's subject is stated as early as possible in the first sentence, and placed in boldface:

ex: Originally conceived during the Star League era, the Land-Air 'Mech, or LAM, is a hybrid military unit capable of transforming between BattleMech and Aerospace Fighter forms, an ability that conveys great speed and flexibility at the cost of power and protection.

Some 'rules' regarding leads:

  • Only the first occurrence of this word or term is placed in boldface.
  • Use as few links as possible before and in the bolded title. Thereafter, words used in a title may be linked to provide more detail.
  • Biographical articles start the lead with the subject's full name, followed by parenthesis around the years of the subject's life:
ex:Janos Ricard Thaddeus Marik (29573035, aged 78 years) was the eldest son of Captain-General Stephan Marik.
When either the year of birth or the year of death are unknown, a question mark (?) is placed in lieu of that year (ex: ? - 3025), (ex: 2798 - ?). When neither are known, do not use the parenthesis at all. If the character is still living (from the perspective of the Sarna Editor), leave the death year blank (ex: 2978 - ). Similarly, if the character is still alive, but the birth year is unknown, display only the question mark and the hyphen (ex: ? -).

Body sections[edit]

File:Wikipedia layout sample bodies.png
Body sections appear after the lead and table of contents (click on image for larger view).

Headings and sections[edit]

Sections and subsections are introduced by headings (ex: ===Headings and sections===). Very short or very long sections and subsections in an article look cluttered and inhibit the flow of the information. These headings clarify articles by breaking up text, organizing content, and populating the table of contents that users can choose to view by the default, to collapse by clicking hide, or not to view by changing their Preferences.

Headings follow a six-level hierarchy, starting at 1 and ending at 6. The level of the heading is defined by the number of equal signs on either side of the title. Heading 1 (=Heading 1=) is automatically generated as the title of the article, and is never appropriate within the body of articles. Sections start at the second level (==Heading 2==), with subsections at the third level (===Heading 3===), and additional levels of subsections at the fourth level (====Heading 4====), fifth level, and sixth level. Sections should be consecutive, such that they do not skip levels from sections to sub-subsections. For example, skipping heading levels, such as jumping from ==Heading 2== to ====Heading 4==== without ===Heading 3=== in the middle reduces usability for readers on screen readers who use heading levels to navigate pages.

One blank line should be placed between the lead 'section' and the first regular section (or one blank line after the bottom of an infobox template, if no lead section is present). Between sections, there should be a double blank line; multiple blank lines in excess of two in the edit window create too much white space in the article.

Section templates and summary style[edit]

Main article. When a section is a summary of another article that provides a full exposition of the section, a link to that article should appear immediately under the section heading. You can use the {{Main}} template to generate a Main article.

See also. Some articles are similar enough in content to warrant linking one to the other, rather than replicate the information through all articles. Similarly, another existing article may provide additional information (such as regarding a section's focus on a specific event) that may pertain to the interests of the reader, yet not warrant inclusion in the current article. In those cases, it is proper to link to the other article. While behaving similarly to the function of categories, the use of the {{seealso}} template is to recognize the direct relationship with an article of similar scope.


Sections usually consist of paragraphs of running prose. Bullet points should be minimized in the body of the article, if they are used at all; however, a bulleted list may be useful to break up what would otherwise be a large, grey mass of text, particularly if the topic requires significant effort on the part of readers. Bulleted lists are typical in the reference and reading sections at the bottom. Between paragraphs—as between sections—there should be only a single blank line; bullet points are not usually separated by a blank line.

The number of single-sentence paragraphs should be minimized, since they can inhibit the flow of the text; by the same token, paragraphs that exceed a certain length become hard to read. Short paragraphs and single sentences generally do not warrant their own subheading; in such circumstances, it may be preferable to use bullet points. See also Wikipedia:Writing better articles#Paragraphs.

Standard appendices and footersTemplate:Anchors[edit]


When certain optional standard appendix sections are used, they should appear at the bottom of an article, with ==level 2 headings==,[1] followed by the various footers. In the rare cases when it is useful to sub-divide these sections (for example, to separate a list of magazine articles from a list of books), most editors prefer to use either definition list headings (;Books) or bold-faced text ("Books") instead of level 3 headings (===Books===).

Order of optional appendices:[2]

  1. Works or Publications or Bibliography
  2. See also
  3. Notes and/or References
  4. Further reading
  5. External links (It is especially important that this section appears last[3])

Order of optional footers:

  1. Succession boxes
  2. Navigational templates (footer navboxes)
  3. Categories
  4. Stub templates (the first stub template should be preceded by two blank lines)
  5. Interlanguage links

Works or Publications or BibliographyTemplate:Anchor[edit]


Contents: A bulleted list, usually ordered chronologically, of the works created by the subject of the article.

Title: "Works" is preferred when the list includes items that are not written publications (e.g., music, films, paintings, choreography, or architectural designs). "Bibliography", "Discography", or "Filmography" are occasionally used where appropriate. "Works"/"Publications" should be plural, even if it lists only a single item.[4]

See also sectionTemplate:Anchor[edit]


Contents: A bulleted list, preferably alphabetized, of internal links (wikilinks) to related Wikipedia articles. A brief annotation may be necessary when the link's relevance is not immediately apparent, when the meaning of the term may not be generally known, or when the term is ambiguous. For example:

A reasonable number of relevant links that would be in the body of a hypothetical perfect article are suitable to add to the "See also" appendix of a less developed one. Links already integrated into the body of the text are generally not repeated in a "See also" section, and navigation boxes at the bottom of articles may substitute for many links (see the bottom of Pathology for example). However, whether a link belongs in the "See also" section is ultimately a matter of editorial judgment and common sense. Indeed, a good article might not require a "See also" section at all. Thus, although some links may not naturally fit into the body of text they may be excluded from the "See also" section due to article size constraints. Links that would be included if the article were not kept relatively short for other reasons may thus be appropriate, though should be used in moderation, as always. Links included in the "See also" section may be useful for readers seeking to read as much about a topic as possible, including subjects only peripherally related to the one in question. The "See also" section should not link to pages that do not exist (red links). {{Portal}} links are usually placed in this section.

Title: The most frequent choice for such sections is "See also"; others include "Related topics", "Related articles" and "Related pages".

Notes and References Template:Anchors[edit]

File:Wikipedia layout sample Notes References.png
Notes and References appear after See also (click on image for larger view).

Contents: These sections present (1) citations that verify the information in the article, and (2) explanatory notes that would be awkward in the body text. Some articles divide this type of information into two or more separate sections; others combine it into a single section. How to best organize and title the results when the footnotes are separate from the works cited proper is mostly unresolved.

Title: The most frequent choice is "References"; other articles use "Notes", "Footnotes", or "Works cited" (in diminishing order of popularity). Several alternate titles ("Sources", "Citations", "Bibliography") may also be used, although each is problematic: "Sources" may be confused with source code in computer related articles; "Citations" may be confused with official awards or a summons to court; "Bibliography" may be confused with a list of printed works by the subject of a biography. The heading should be plural, even if it lists only a single item.[4]

Further reading[edit]


Contents: A bulleted list, usually alphabetized, of a reasonable number of recommended publications that do not appear elsewhere in the article and were not used to verify article content. This section may be substituted by an External links section; editors will occasionally merge the two if both are very short. When an article contains both sections, some editors prefer to list websites and online publications under External links. Publications listed in Further reading are cited in the same reference style used by the rest of the article. See also Wikipedia:Manual of Style (lists of works).

External links[edit]

File:Wikipedia layout sample External links.png
External links section usually appears last (click on image for larger view).

Contents: A bulleted list of recommended relevant websites, each accompanied by a short description. These hyperlinks normally should not appear in the article's body text, nor should they appear in this section if they already appear in the References or Notes section. "External links" should be plural, even if it lists only a single item.[4] This section may be substituted by a "Further reading" section.

InterWikimedia links to other projects (except Wiktionary and Wikisource) should generally not appear outside this section. If placing such links in the External links section results in a long sequence of right-aligned boxes hanging off the bottom of the article, consider using the in-line versions: Template:Tlx. For further information, see Wikipedia:Wikimedia sister projects.



You should always be watchful not to overwhelm an article with images by adding more just because you can. Unless clearly better or more appropriate images are available, the existing images in the article should be left in place.

Images should ideally be spread evenly within the article, and relevant to the sections they are located in. All images should also have an explicative caption. An image that would otherwise overwhelm the available text space on a 800×600 window should be shrunk, or formatted as a panorama. It is a good idea to try to maintain visual coherence by aligning the sizes of images and templates on a given page.

When placing images, be careful not to stack too many of them within the lead, or within a single section to avoid bunching up several section edit links in some browsers. Generally, if there are so many images in a section that they strip down into the next section at 1024×768 screen resolution, that probably means either that the section is too short, or that there are too many images.

If an article has many images—so many, in fact, that they lengthen the page beyond the length of the text itself (this also applies if a template like {{taxobox}} or {{Judaism}} is already stretching the page)—you can use a gallery. Another solution might be to create a page or category combining all of them at Wikimedia Commons and use a relevant template ({{commons}}, {{commonscat}}, {{commons-inline}} or {{commonscat-inline}}) to link to it instead, so that further images are readily found and available when the article is expanded. Please see WP:IG for further information on the use of galleries.



As part of Wikifying articles,[5] two square brackets should be placed around important words or phrases relevant to the context of the first occurrence within a h2 section; if the phrase or word does not match the name of the article, you may place the exact name of the article followed by a pipe "|" (vertical bar, shift backward slash on some keyboards) followed by the phrase you wish to see in the context of the article you are editing. This creates a hyperlink linking to other Wikipedia articles:

Lennie and George came to a ranch near [[Soledad, California|Soledad]] southeast of [[Salinas, California]] to "work up a stake".

When saved, this produces:

Lennie and George came to a ranch near Soledad southeast of Salinas, California, to "work up a stake".

Horizontal ruleTemplate:Anchor[edit]

Horizontal rules — a series of hyphens (----), resulting in a straight line — are deprecated; that is, they are no longer used in articles. Rules were once employed to separate multiple meanings of a single article's name, but this task is now accomplished through disambiguation pages.

Rules can be used to provide separation inside certain templates (for example, {{politbox}} derivatives), within discussions, or when needed in some other formats.

See also[edit]



Template:Writing guides

Template:Style wide
  1. Syntax:

    == See also==
    * [[Wikipedia:How to edit a page]]
    * [[Wikipedia:Manual of Style]]

    Which produces:

    See also

  2. This sequence has been in place since at least 2003 (when "See also" was called "Related topics"). See, e.g., See also Wikipedia:Perennial proposals#Changes to standard appendices. The rationale is that, with the exception of Works, sections which contain material outside Wikipedia (including Further reading and External links) should come after sections that contain Wikipedia material (including See also) to help keep the distinction clear. The sections containing notes and references often contain both kinds of material and, consequently, appear after the See also section (if any) and before the Further reading section (if any).
  3. There are several reasons why this section should appear last. So many articles have the External links section at the end that many people expect that. Some External links and references sections are very long, and when the name of the section is not visible on the screen, it could cause problems if someone meant to delete an external link, and deleted a reference instead. Keeping the External links last is also helpful to editors who patrol external links.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 See, e.g., Wikipedia:External links#External links section.
  5. Wikipedia:What is an article states that the definition of an article used by the software that generates reports on article statistics, is that it contains at least one wiki link.