Using WikiNorthia

WikiNorthia is an interactive wiki which allows users to add, comment and share content collectively by pinning an article to a map.

Contributions to the site are welcome from any individual or group with a story to tell relating to life in the Northern suburbs of Melbourne, particularly Moreland, Darebin, Whittlesea, Nillumbik and Banyule municipalities.

To become a contributor you need to create an account. This only takes a few minutes to set up and it is free.

Do this by using the ”’Log in/Register” link on the top middle of the home page. You have a choice of registering via social media; Facebook, Twitter or your Google account or via your email address and choosing a user name. If you choose this option, an automatically generated email will be sent to you confirming your account.

If you would like more information about WikiNorthia or require further assistance please email us at localhistorygene@yprl.vic.gov.au

Adding an article

If you are preparing an article to WikiNorthia, make sure you have followed the checklist


I am familiar with the Style Manual

I have read the section of the Style Manual on quality

I have checked and verified all the facts in my article

I have included a list of sources for my article

I have provided details of specific references

I have uploaded relevant photographs (optional) and checked that they are displaying as required

I have provided a list of related web links (optional) and checked that these are working

If my article is over 300 words long I have used the “Add row” feature to break up my article for easier reading

I have added “tags” to my article or descriptive words

I have clicked on the button “Preview” and checked my work before clicking on the “Publish” button

I have shared my article via the social media gadgets

My fantastic and reliable article is now available for the world to see, comment and share

Style Manual

Parts of this manual are based on the Wikipedia Manual of Style http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style

The aim of the Style Manual is to promote consistency in WikiNorthia articles. An overriding principle is that style and formatting should be applied consistently throughout an article, unless there is a good reason to do otherwise.

Quality Content

This article is part of the WikiNorthia Style manual and is based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style.

WikiNorthia is a site trusted by users and therefore the quality of the content must be consistently good. The content should be accurate and verifiable. Copyrighted material should not be misused and other people’s work should not be reproduced or plagiarised.

WikiNorthia will be accessed by people from all over the world. It is important to remember that while the content and focus is local, articles should be written with an awareness that many who read them will have little or no local knowledge.

Local events can include reference to the wider context. Where articles deal with large events from a local perspective it may be helpful to provide links to reliable items dealing with the event from a broader perspective.

For instance if an article dealt with local celebrations for Federation in 1901 it might also include a link to a reputable site giving a wider description of Federation in Australia.

Perfect article

Based on Wikipedia The perfect article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:PERFECT

A perfect WikiNorthia article…

fills a gap; search for existing or related articles on the topic first.

has a meaningful title that concisely describes the content.

starts with a clear description of the subject; the first paragraph should introduce and explain the subject and its significance clearly and accurately, without going into excessive detail.

is understandable; it is clearly expressed for both experts and non-experts in appropriate detail, and thoroughly explores and explains the subject.

is nearly self-contained; it includes essential information and terminology, and is comprehensible by itself, without requiring significant reading of other articles.

acknowledges and explores all aspects of the subject; i.e., it covers every encyclopedic angle of the subject.

is completely neutral and unbiased; it has a neutral point of view, presenting competing views on controversies logically and fairly. The most factual and accepted views are emphasized, and minority views are given a lower priority; sufficient information and references are provided so that readers can learn more about particular views.

is of an appropriate length; it is long enough to provide sufficient information, depth, and analysis on its subject, without including unnecessary detail or information that would be more suitable in related articles, or sister projects.

reflects expert knowledge; it is grounded in fact and on sound scholarly and logical principles.

is precise and explicit; it is free of vague generalities and half-truths that may arise from an imperfect grasp of the subject.

is well-documented; all facts are cited from reputable sources, preferably sources that are accessible and up-to-date.

is clear; it is written to avoid ambiguity and misunderstanding, using logical structure, and plain, clear prose; it is free of redundant language.

is engaging; the language is descriptive and has an interesting, encyclopedic tone.

follows standard writing conventions of modern English, including correct grammar, punctuation and spelling.

avoids over long paragraphs; remember people are reading this online. Help them by presenting an article in paragraphs that rarely exceed 6 lines.

is objective; be objective and not subjective.

common sense; apply liberally to any content decisions you make.

An example of quite a good article on a controversial person from Wikipedia is: Floyd Landis. It includes good footnotes and presents information from both sides of a controversial argument.


The length of an article is often dictated by the event etc. being described. However contributors should avoid excessive length. For instance if an account of a State Government decision relevant to the local area is included in an article it may not be necessary to reproduce or paraphrase the entire parliamentary debate. The Hansard reference could be footnoted and the debate briefly described and the decision included. This will be a matter of judgement, but contributors need to think about how much detail is required to adequately represent the event etc. being described.

Sometimes a large amount of information is available and relevant. Where an article is likely to exceed 4 pages the contributors should consider breaking the information into several self contained but linked articles describing different aspects of an event, history or issue etc.

Neutrality / Bias

It is important for the integrity of WikiNorthia that information is free of bias and is approached from a neutral point of view, concentrating on verifiable facts from legitimate sources. Conclusions can only be drawn where the facts support such a conclusion.

This is particularly important with accounts of issues that have been controversial within the local or wider community.

The aim of each article is to reliably inform users of WikiNorthia. It is not a place to push personal opinions or beliefs.


WikiNorthia uses accepted Australian / English spelling. If you are unsure of a word, check it in the Macquarie Dictionary. When editing an article you may choose to do so using the Mozilla Firefox browser which will underline incorrect spelling in red. But it uses American spellings, so use your own judgement when it identifies a mispelt word. For example it will highlight recognise as misspelt because the American spelling ends in ize

Reliable and verifiable content

Any information you include in an article will have come from somewhere. It might be a date, a description of an event etc. The source of your material needs to be acknowledged. The source might be a newspaper report, another publication, a government document, an interview with an eyewitness etc.

Some articles may rely on personal observation – if you are writing about a contemporary building for instance. Your description of the building does not need to be referenced, if you quote somebody else’s description it should be referenced.

In general the articles should be based on verifiable fact rather than opinion. Where there are conflicting reports of the same event, they should be represented to the extent that the evidence supports either view. For instance different sources might describe an event as occurring in different locations. The author should present the evidence for both conclusions where the evidence is sufficient.

If an article does not offer hard evidence then any speculative opinion should be based on reasonable assessment from the available facts. If there is no supporting evidence or facts, then there would be no expressed or guessed opinion.

Personal Reminiscence

Personal stories are a great source of local history. Resident’s memories enrich any account of particular events or places. It is important to clearly identify personal reminiscence. If the personal reminiscence is from a third party it is important, and courteous, to gain permission to use such reminiscences.

For instance if you are writing about a particular event using a range of sources, if one of those sources is the reminiscence of a resident who observed it this can be footnoted and directly quoted ie Mr T Citizen local resident 1951-2007 or included in the Sources list if it is used generally. [When quoting private citizens, never include their full personal address]

If the entire article is a person’s (or several persons) reminiscences then this should be clearly explained in the opening paragraph. For instance “This article is based on an interview with Tom Citizen and Gladys Citizen who were residents of Northcote during the Great Depression. These are personal reminiscences.”

As far as possible facts should also be verified as memory can sometimes get facts wrong.

For instance ‘Tom’ might recall a particular event as occurring on a specific date or in a specific place. If research indicates that this may be incorrect then that should be included in the text. So if Tom said the date was 21 September 1933 but a newspaper report states otherwise, a reference could be added.


References should be used when a specific piece of information from another source is directly quoted or paraphrased. Immediately following the quotation or paraphrased text in the body of the article identify the source by including the author’s surname and relevant page number in brackets. Full details of the publication would also be included in the sources area at the bottom of the article.

An example of a reference within the body of the text is Mr Smith played truant from school often when he was young (Smith p 27) The full details of the publication would then be included in the sources list, as per Example of Citations hereunder.


Articles should contain a list of sources that were used to verify the content. This list would include details of sources that have been directly quoted as well as sources used as background for the article.

Items should be expressed as per Example of Citations with author (surname first), title, publisher, place and date of publication.

If journal articles are used the citation should include the author, the title of the article, followed by the name of the journal, the volume, number (if applicable), date and page range.

If the source is a website it should include the date of retrieval. Remember, ‘information’ is not reliable merely by its presence online. Ensure cited websites are reliable.

Examples of citations

Note these items are used for example only, some are fictional publications.

Abruzzi, Duke of (Luigi Amedeo di Savoia).. On the Polar Star in the Arctic sea. 2 vols. London: Hutchinson & Co., 1903.

Amundsen, R. The South Pole: an account of the Norwegian Antarctic expedition in the ‘Fram’, 1910– 1912. London: John Murray, 1912.

Ansoff, I.. Corporate strategy. London: Penguin Books, 1987.

Arctowski, H. The Antarctic voyage of the Belgica during the years 1897, 1898, and 1899. Geographical Journal 18(4),1901: pp 353–394.

Doe, John The Meaning of meaning, The Online News, 10 October 2007. Retrieved on 13 October 2007. [The citation template will allow you to enter the url for the item cited, so the title links to the site]

Smith, John My Life, Melbourne, Smith publications, 1899

Using the internet for research

To assess the reliability of information accessed via the internet ask yourself some questions.

What is the site’s domain? Is it a .gov .edu .com .org .net? The .gov and .edu domains are more likely to be reliable but remember that government websites will reflect the views and the aims of the incumbent government and may contain some bias.

Is there an About Us or equivalent link on the site? If not, do not use the site, if there is does it tell you enough about the site to trust it?

Are there contact details on the site?

Are items on the site dated? Is that date recent? Does the site indicate when it was updated?

Is the content really opinion masquerading as fact?

Can you verify the information from another source?

Is there an author attributed? If so Google them and see if you can find anything more about them.

Do you recognise the organisation running the site? For instance you can judge the reliability of The Age; or the UN; or the BBC, but what about the ASQIR, or the Citizens for Truth League?

Does the information read well? Is it well organised? Does it contain references? Can you verify any of the material in the site?

What is the purpose of the site?

Does the site have links to external sites? Are those links still active? If not it indicates the site is not well maintained. If the links are active do the sites linked to appear to be reliable and relevant? Does the site try and direct you to a range of commercial sites? If so, is the purpose legitimate?

What degree of commercialism is evident on the site? A commercial site may well have good quality, reliable information on it, but the primary purpose may not be the provision of reliable information, but rather information that sells a product.

As with any research try and verify things from several sources particularly if you are not completely confident of some sources.

WikiNothia aims to be a trusted information site and as such it is the responsibility of every contributor to ensure, to as great an extent as possible, that good quality resources are used. A WikiNorthia contributor will ensure that the good is used, the bad and the ugly is ignored, and everything is verified.

Article Structure

This article is part of the WikiNorthia Style manual and is based on Wikipedia Manual of Style.

Article titles

If possible, the article’s title is the subject of the first sentence of the article, for example, “The Style Manual is a style guide” instead of “This style guide is known as …” If the article title is an important term, it appears as early as possible.

Headings and subheading

the title should be short (more than 5 words is usually too many);

articles (a, an, the) and pronouns (you, they) are typically avoided unless part of a formal name;

the wording is, where possible, not identical to that of any other heading or subheading in the article.

Section management

Use the “Add rows” feature to allow readers to navigate through the text more easily, when there is more than about 300 words per article.


Make only links relevant to the context. It is not useful and can be very distracting to mark all possible words as hyperlinks. Links should add to the user’s experience; they should not detract from it by making the article harder to read. A high density of links can draw attention away from the high-value links that you would like your readers to follow up. Redundant links clutter up the page and make future maintenance harder. A link is the equivalent of a footnote in a print medium. Imagine if every second word in an encyclopedia article were followed by “(see:)”. Hence, the links should not be so numerous as to make the article harder to read.

Check links after they are activated to make sure they direct to the correct concept.


This article is part of the WikiNorthia Style manual and is based on Wikipedia Manual of Style.

Capital letters

Used at the beginning of sentences or for proper nouns (places, people, organisations etc).


When used as titles (that is, followed by a name), items such as premier, king and prime minister start with a capital letter: Prime Minister Hawke, not prime minister Hawke.

The formal name of an office is treated as a proper noun: “Charles is the Prince of Wales”. Royal styles are capitalized: Her Majesty and His Highness; exceptions may apply for particular offices.

When used generically, such items are in lower case: “John Cain was the Victorian premier” and “George V was the English king.”

Religions, sects, churches and their followers (in noun or adjective form) start with a capital letter. Generally the is not capitalized before such names (the Shī‘a, not The Shī‘a).

Scriptures are capitalized (Qur’an, the Granth Sahib, the Bible). When the is used, it is not capitalized or italicized.

Honorifics for deities, when used alone in reference to a specific figure of veneration, start with a capital letter (God, Allah, the Lord, the Supreme Being, the Great Spirit); the is not capitalized. The same is true when referring to major religious figures and figures from mythology by terms of respect (the Prophet, the Messiah, the Virgin, a Muse). When used generically, descriptively or metaphorically, such descriptive terms are not capitalized; thus ‘some people worship many gods’

Philosophies, theories and doctrines do not begin with a capital letter unless the name derives from a proper noun (capitalism versus Marxism) or has become a proper noun (lowercase liberal refers to a system of political thought; uppercase Liberal refers to a specific political party).

Physical and natural laws and parodies of them are capitalized (the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the Theory of Special Relativity, Murphy’s Law).

Calendar items

Months, days and holidays start with a capital letter: June, Monday, Cup Day. Seasons, in almost all instances, are lowercase: “This summer was very hot”; “The winter solstice occurs about December 22”. When personified, season names may function as proper nouns, where they should be capitalized: “Old Man Winter”.

Animals, plants, and other organisms

Scientific names for genera and species are italicized, with a capital initial letter for the genus but no capital for the species. For example, the tulip tree is Liriodendron tulipifera, and humans are Homo sapiens. Taxonomic groups higher than genus are given with an initial capital and are not in italics; for example, gulls are in the family Laridae, and we are in the family Hominidae.

Common (vernacular) names of flora and fauna should be written in lower case-—for example, “oak” or “kangaroo”. There are a limited number of exceptions to this: where the common name contains a proper noun, such as the name of a person or place, that proper noun should be capitalised; for example, “the Tasmanian tiger.”

Official common names of birds are normally capitalised.

Celestial bodies

Sun, earth, and moon are proper nouns in an astronomical context, but not elsewhere. Thus, “The Sun is a main sequence star, with a spectral class of G2”; but “The sun was peeking over the mountain top”. These terms are proper nouns only when they refer to specific celestial bodies (our Sun, Earth and Moon): so “The Moon orbits the Earth”, but “Pluto’s moon Charon”.

Other planets and stars are proper nouns and start with a capital letter: “The planet Mars can be seen tonight in the constellation Gemini, near the star Pollux.” Where a name has multiple words, it is treated like other proper nouns where each leading letter is capitalized: Alpha Centauri and not Alpha centauri.

Directions and regions

Directions such as north are not proper nouns and are therefore lowercase. The same is true for their related forms: someone might call a road that leads north a northern road, compared with the Great North Road. Composite directions may or may not be hyphenated (northeast and north-east, Southeast Asia and South-East Asia). Regions that are proper nouns, including widely known expressions such as Western District, start with a capital letter. Regions of uncertain proper-noun status are assumed not to have attained it.


Proper names of institutions (for example, the University of Melbourne), are proper nouns and require capitalization. Where a title starts with the, it typically starts with lowercase t when the title occurs in the middle of a sentence (“a degree from the University of Melbourne”). Generic words for institutions (university, college, hospital, high school) require no capitalization: Incorrect (generic): The University offers programs in arts and sciences. Correct (generic): The university offers … Correct (title): The University of Sydney offers …

Acronyms and abbreviations

Readers are not necessarily familiar with particular acronyms, such as ASIO (pronounced as a word) or initialisms, such as SBS (pronounced by spelling it out). The standard practice is to spell out the item on its first occurrence, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses. For example, “In the election the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) won the seat of ….”

Initial capitals are not used in a spelled out item just because capitals are used in the abbreviation: Incorrect (not a title): We used Digital Scanning (DS) technology Correct: We used digital scanning (DS) technology Correct (title): produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

Plural forms

Acronyms and initialisms are pluralized by adding -s or -es. For example, “They produced three CD-ROMs in the first year”.

Full stops and spaces

Many full stops and spaces that were traditionally required have now dropped out of usage. For example, PhD is preferred to Ph.D. and Ph. D.. Full stops are retained in abbreviations that cannot otherwise be clearly identified.


Italics are used sparingly to emphasize words in sentences (bolding is normally not used at all for this purpose). Generally, the more highlighting in an article, the less the effect of each instance.


Wherever reasonable, preserve the original style and spelling of the text. Where there is a good reason not to do so, insert an editorial explanation of the changes, usually within square brackets (e.g., [for example]).


The author of a quote should always be attributed through a footnote. Depending on the style of the sentence the name of the author and the work might be included in the text. (For instance – ‘As John Citizen stated ….’ 1 )

Quotations within quotations

When a quotation includes another quotation (and so on), start with double-quotes outermost and working inward, alternate single-quotes with double-quotes. For example, the following three-level quotation: “She disputed his statement that ‘Voltaire never said “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” ’.

Block quotations

A long quote (more than four lines, or consisting of more than one paragraph, regardless of number of lines) is formatted as a block quotation. Block quotes are not enclosed in quotation marks.

The result appears indented and in a smaller font.

Quotation marks

–Double or single

Quotations are enclosed within “double quotes”. Quotations within quotations are enclosed within ‘single quotes’.

  • Inside or outside

Punctuation marks are placed inside the quote marks only if the sense of the punctuation is part of the quotation (this system is referred to as logical quotation). Correct: Arthur said that the situation is “deplorable”. (When a sentence fragment is quoted, the full stop is outside.) Correct: Arthur said, “The situation is deplorable.” (The full stop is part of the quoted text.) Incorrect: Martha asked, “Are you coming”? (When quoting a question, the question mark belongs inside because the quoted text itself was a question.) Correct: Did Martha say, “Come with me”? (The very quote is being questioned, so here, the question mark is correctly outside; the full stop in the original quote is omitted.)

  • Other matters

An entire quotation is not italicized solely because it is a quotation. The sentence-initial letter of a quotation may be lower-cased if the quotation starts in the middle of a sentence and the quoted material is a natural part of that sentence. Where this occurs, it is unnecessary to indicate this change with square brackets. (For example, “It turned out to be true that ‘a penny saved is a penny earned.’”)

Brackets, parentheses, punctuation

A bracketed phrase is enclosed by the punctuation of a sentence (as shown here). If there are one or more sentences wholly inside brackets, though, their punctuation comes inside the brackets.

Avoid adjacent sets of brackets—-either put the parenthetic phrases in one set separated by commas or rewrite the sentence. For example, this sentence:

Incorrect: Nikifor Grigoriev (c. 1885–1919) (also known as Matviy Hryhoriyiv) was a Ukrainian insurgent leader. Correct: Nikifor Grigoriev (c. 1885–1919), also known as Matviy Hryhoriyiv, was a Ukrainian insurgent leader.

Square brackets are used to indicate editorial replacements and insertions of text.

They are used: for clarification (“She attended [secondary] school”—where this was the intended meaning, but the type of school was unstated in the original sentence);

The use of square-bracketed wording should never alter the intended meaning of a quotation.


Colons (:) should not have spaces before them:

Correct: He attempted it in two years: 1941 and 1943 Incorrect: He attempted it in two years : 1941 and 1943

Colons should have complete sentences before them:

Correct: He attempted it in two years: 1941 and 1943 Incorrect: The years he attempted it included: 1941 and 1943


Hyphens (-) indicate conjunction. There are three main uses:

To distinguish between homographs (re-dress = dress again, but redress = remedy or set right); To link certain prefixes with their main word (non-linear, sub-section, super-achiever); The hyphen is more likely to be used when the letters brought into contact are vowels, especially the same vowel (co-opt, pre-existing), or where a word is unusual or less expected in the context (co-proposed, re-target).

Sometimes the hyphen helps with disambiguation (little-used car, not a reference to the size of a used car). Many compound adjectives that are hyphenated when used attributively (before the noun they qualify—a light-blue handbag), are not hyphenated when used predicatively (after the noun—the handbag was light blue). Where there would be a loss of clarity, the hyphen may also be used in the predicative case (hand-fed turkeys, “the turkeys were hand-fed”). Hyphens are often not used after -ly adverbs (wholly owned subsidiary), unless part of larger compounds (a slowly-but-surely strategy). A hyphen is normally used when the adverb well precedes a participle used attributively (a well-meaning gesture; but normally a very well managed firm, since well itself is modified); and even predicatively, if well is necessary to, or alters, the sense of the adjective rather than simply intensifying it (“the gesture was well-meaning”, “the child was well-behaved”, but “the floor was well polished”). A hanging hyphen is used when two compound adjectives are separated (two- and three-digit numbers, a ten-car or -truck convoy).

Hyphens are never followed or preceded by a space, except when hanging or when used to display parts of words independently, such as the prefix sub- and the suffix -less.

Hyphens are used only to mark conjunctions.

Hyphenation involves many subtleties that cannot be covered here; but the rules and examples presented above illustrate the sorts of broad principles that inform current usage.


En Dashes (–) have four distinct roles:

To indicate disjunction: In this role there are two main applications: To convey the sense of to or through, particularly in ranges (pp. 211–19, 64–75%, the 1939–45 war, May–November); and where movement is involved (Dublin–Belfast route);

The word to, rather than an en dash, is used when a number range involves a negative value or might be misconstrued as a subtraction (−3 to 1, not −3–1), or when the nearby wording demands it (“he served from 1939 to 1941”, not “he served from 1939–1941”); As a substitute for some uses of and, to or versus for marking a relationship involving independent elements in certain compound expressions (Victoria-New South Wales border, blood–brain barrier, time–altitude graph, 4–3 win in the opening game, male–female ratio, 3–2 majority verdict; and

Spacing: All disjunctive en dashes are unspaced, except when there is a space within either or both of the items (the Melbourne – Sydney flight, the Northcote – Coburg grand final, 1932).

Em dashes

Em dashes (—) indicate interruption. They are used in the following two roles.


In general, formal writing is preferred; therefore, the use of contractions, such as “don’t”, “can’t” and “won’t”, is avoided unless they occur in a quotation.


Avoid joining two words by a slash, as it suggests that the two are related, but does not specify how. It is often also unclear how the construct would be read aloud. Consider replacing a slash with an explanation, or adding one in a footnote. Where possible, spell things out to avoid uncertainties.

An example: “The parent/instructor must be present at all times.” Must both be present? (Then write “the parent and the instructor”.) Must at least one be present? (Then write “the parent or the instructor”.) Are they the same person? (Use a hyphen: “the parent–instructor”.)

In circumstances involving a distinction or disjunction, the en dash is usually preferable to the slash, e.g., “the novel–novella distinction”.

A slash may be used:

to separate run-in lines of poetry (“To be or not to be: that is the question: / Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer / The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”); to show pronunciations (“ribald is pronounced /ri-bəld/”); to separate the numerator and denominator in a fraction (“7⁄8”); to indicate regular defined yearly periods that do not coincide with calendar years (see Years).


The construct and/or is usually awkward. In general, where it is important to mark an inclusive or, use “x or y, or both”, rather than “x and/or y”. For an exclusive or, use “either x or y”, and optionally add “but not both”, if it is necessary to stress the exclusivity.

Where more than two possibilities are presented, from which a combination is to be selected, it is even less desirable to use and/or. With two possibilities, at least the intention is clear; but with more than two it may not be. Instead of “x, y, and/or z”, use an appropriate alternative, such as “one or more of x, y, and z”; “some or all of x, y, and z”.


An ellipsis is a series of three dots indicating omitted text. Ellipses are useful for reducing the size of quotations so that only the relevant parts appear.

The precomposed ellipsis character may be used; it displays three dots (…). Ensure that the omission does not subvert the intended meaning of the quotation. A space is inserted either side of the ellipsis, except where the first portion of text itself ends with a full stop; in this case, four dots rather than three typically follow the last word, without an intervening space.

Where ellipses are used to indicate material elided from a direct quotation, they should not be square-bracketed.

Question marks and exclamation marks

Question and exclamation marks are never preceded by a space. The exclamation mark is used with restraint: it is an expression of surprise or emotion that is generally unsuited to a scholarly or encyclopedic register. Clusters of question marks, exclamation marks, or a combination of them are inappropriate in WikiNorthia articles.

Chronological items

Avoid statements that will date quickly, except on pages that are regularly updated, such as those that cover current events. Avoid such items as recently and soon (unless their meaning is clear in a storyline), currently (except on rare occasions when it is not redundant), in modern times, is now considered and is soon to be superseded. Instead, use either: more precise items (since the start of 2005; during the 1990s; is expected to be superseded by 2008); or an as of phrase (as of August 2007), which is a signal to readers of the time-dependence of the statement, and to later editors of the need to update the statement.


Context determines whether the 12- or 24-hour clock is used; in both, colons separate hours, minutes and seconds (1:38:09 pm and 13:38:09).

12-hour clock times end with dotted or undotted lower-case am or pm, which are spaced (2:30 pm, not 2:30pm). Noon and midnight are used rather than 12 pm and 12 am; whether midnight refers to the start or the end of a date will need to be specified unless this is clear from the context. 24-hour clock times have no am, pm, noon or midnight suffix. Discretion may be used as to whether the hour has a leading zero (08:15 or 8:15). 00:00 refers to midnight at the start of a date, 12:00 to noon, and 24:00 to midnight at the end of a date.


WikiNorthia does not use ordinal suffixes or articles, or put a comma between month and year. Incorrect: June 25th, 25th June, the 25th of June Correct: 14 February, February 14 Incorrect: October, 1976 Correct: October 1976

Date ranges are preferably given with minimal repetition (5–7 January 1979; September 21–29, 2002), using an unspaced en dash. Rarely, a night may be expressed in terms of the two contiguous dates using a slash (the bombing raids of the night of 30/31 May 1942).

Longer periods

Months are expressed as whole words (February, not 2). Do not insert of between a month and a year (April 2000, not April of 2000).


Because the seasons are reversed in each hemisphere (and areas near the equator tend to have just wet and dry seasons), neutral wording is used to describe times of the year (“in early 1990”, “in the second quarter of 2003”, “around September”). Use a date or month rather than a season, unless there is a need to do so (the autumn harvest). Seasons are normally spelled with a lower-case initial.


Years are normally expressed in digits. Avoid inserting the words the year before the digits (1995, not the year 1995), unless the meaning would otherwise be unclear. Either CE and BCE or AD and BC can be used to specify the era; these abbreviations should be spaced, undotted (without full stop) and upper-case. Be consistent within the article. AD appears before or after a year (AD 1066, 1066 AD); the other abbreviations appear after (1066 CE, 3700 BCE, 3700 BC). The absence of such an abbreviation indicates the default, CE or AD.

Year ranges, like all ranges, are separated by an en dash (do not use a hyphen or slash: 2005–08, not 2005-08 or 2005/08). A closing CE/AD year is normally written with two digits (1881–86) unless it is in a different century from that of the opening year (1881–1986). The full closing year is acceptable. A closing BCE or BC year is given in full (2590–2550 BCE). While one era signifier at the end of a date range still requires an unspaced en dash (12–5 BC), a spaced en dash is required when a signifier is used after the opening and closing years (5 BC – 29 AD). A slash may be used to indicate regular defined yearly periods that do not coincide with calendar years (the financial year 1993/4). Abbreviations indicating long periods of time ago — such as BP (before present), Ma and mya (million years ago), and Ga (billion years ago) — are spelled out on first occurrence. To indicate about, ca. is preferred to circa or a question mark; this abbreviations is followed by a space (ca. 1291). Decades contain no apostrophe (the 1980s, not the 1980’s); the two-digit form is used only where the century is clear (the ’80s or the 80s).

Centuries and millennia

There was no year 0. Thus, the first century CE was 1–100 AD, the 18th century AD was 1701–1800 CE, and the second millennium AD/CE was 1001–2000; the third millennium commenced on 1 January 2001


- Spelling out numbers

In the body of an article, single-digit whole numbers (from zero to nine) are spelled out; numbers of more than one digit are generally rendered as digits, but may be spelled out if they are expressed in one or two words (sixteen, eighty-four, two hundred, but 3.75, 544, 21 million).

  • Exceptions

The numerical elements of dates and times are never spelled out (that is, never the seventh of January or twelve forty-five p.m.; but specific references such as Daniel Webster’s Seventh of March speech, should follow standard usage for the topic). Numbers that open a sentence are spelled out; alternatively, the sentence can be recast so that the number is not in first position.

In tables and infoboxes, all numbers are expressed as numerals. Within a context or a list, style should be consistent (either “There were 5 cats and 32 dogs” or “There were five cats and thirty-two dogs”, not “There were five cats and 32 dogs”).

On rare occasions when digits may cause confusion, spell out the number (thirty-six 6.4-inch rifled guns, not 36 6.4-inch rifled guns). Fractions are spelled out unless they occur in a percentage or with an abbreviated unit (⅛ mm, but never an eighth of a mm), or are mixed with whole numerals. Ordinal numbers are spelled out using the same rules as for cardinal numbers. The exception is single-digit ordinals for centuries, which may be expressed in digits (the 5th century CE). The ordinal suffix (e.g., th) is not superscripted (23rd and 496th, not 23rd and 496th ).

Proper names and formal numerical designations comply with common usage (Chanel No. 5, 4 Main Street, Channel 6). This is the case even where it causes a numeral to open a sentence, although this is usually avoided by rewording.


Spelled-out two-word numbers from 21 to 99 are hyphenated (fifty-six), as are fractions (seven-eighths). Do not hyphenate other multi-word numbers (five hundred, not five-hundred).

Large numbers

Commas are used to break the sequence every three places (2,900,000). Large rounded numbers are generally assumed to be approximations; only where the approximation could be misleading is it necessary to qualify with about or a similar term.

Avoid overly precise values where they are unlikely to be stable or accurate, or where the precision is unnecessary in the context (“The speed of light in a vacuum is 299,792,458 metres per second” is probably appropriate, but “The population of Australia is 21,099,422” would usually not be, because the value is unstable at that level of precision, and readers are unlikely to care in the context.) Scientific notation (5.8 × 107) is preferred in scientific contexts. Where values in the millions occur a number of times through an article, upper-case M may be used for million, unspaced, after spelling out the first occurrence. (“She bequeathed her fortune of £100 million unequally: her eldest daughter received £70M, her husband £18M, and her three sons each just £4M each.”) After the first occurrence in an article, billion may be abbreviated to unspaced bn ($35bn).

Decimal points

A decimal point is used between the integral and the fractional parts of a decimal; a comma is never used in this role (6.57, not 6,57). The number of decimal places should be consistent within a list or context (“The response rates were 41.0 and 47.4 percent, respectively”, not “The response rates were 41 and 47.4 percent, respectively”), except in the unusual instances where the items were measured with unequal precision. Numbers between minus one and plus one require a leading zero (0.02, not .02); exceptions are performance averages in sports where a leading zero is not commonly used, and commonly used terms such as .22 caliber.


Percent or per cent are commonly used to indicate percentages in the body of an article. The symbol ‘% may be more common in scientific or technical articles, or in complex listings. The symbol is unspaced (71%, not 71 %). In tables and infoboxes, the symbol is used, not the spelled-out percent or per cent. Ranges are preferably formatted with one rather than two percentage signifiers (22–28%, not 22%–28%).

Units of measurement

The main units are metric.


Conversions to and from metric and imperial units can be provided where the weights or measures relate to Australia’s pre-metric period. Metrics were introduced over a long period from the 1960s to the 1980s so contributor’s can use their discretion. If unsure, include both measurements. Usually this would be expressed as metric only or imperial measurement with metric conversion in brackets. For example 5 miles (8 km)

Unit symbols and abbreviations

Standard abbreviations and symbols for units are undotted (do not carry full stops). For example, m for meter and kg for kilogram (not m. or kg.). The degree symbol is °.

Do not append an s for the plurals of unit symbols (kg, km, in, lb, not kgs, kms, ins, lbs).

Temperatures are always accompanied by °C for Celsius, °F for Fahrenheit, or K for Kelvin (35 °C, 62 °F, and 5,000 K, not 5,000 °K); these three terms are always spelled with an upper-case initial.

Values and unit symbols are spaced (25 kg, not 25kg). The exceptions are degrees, minutes and seconds for angles and coordinates (“the coordinate is 5° 24′ 21.12″ N”, “the pathways are at a 180° angle”, but “the average temperature is 18 °C”).

Squared and cubic metric-symbols are always expressed with a superscript exponent (5 km2, 2 cm3); squared imperial-unit abbreviations are rendered with sq, and cubic with cu (15 sq mi, 3 cu ft). A superscript exponent indicates that the unit is squared, not the unit and the quantity (3 meters squared is 9 square meters, or 9 m2; 8 miles squared is 64 square miles).

Unnecessary vagueness

Use accurate measurements whenever possible.

Vague: The wallaby is small. Precise: The average male wallaby is 1.6 metres from head to tail. Vague: The large herd of dugong stretched a long way down the coast. Precise: The dugong swam down the coast in a herd five kilometres (3 mi) long and 300 metres (1000 ft) wide.


Where there can be confusion about national currencies that share names, country codes should precede the currency symbol. Australian dollars are expressed as AU$, United States dollars are expressed as US$.

Where possible conversions to Australian dollars, at that times value, should be included. For instance: ‘In 2004 it was sold at auction for US$70,000 (AU$100,000)’.

Common mathematical symbols

The following signs are spaced on both sides: plus, minus, plus or minus (as operators): + − ± multiplication and division: × ÷ equals, does not equal, equals approximately: = ≠ ≈ is less than, is less than or equal to, is greater than, is greater than or equal to: < ≤ > ≥

Usage and spelling


Possessives of singular nouns ending in s should generally maintain the additional s after the apostrophe. However, if a form without an s after the apostrophe is much more common for a particular word or phrase, follow that form, such as with “Achilles’ heel”.

Abbreviations of Latin terms like i.e., e.g., or n.b., or use of the Latin terms in full, such as “nota bene”, or “vide infra”, should be left as the original author wrote them. However, articles intended for a general audience will be more widely understood if English terms such as “that is”, “for example” or “note” are used instead.

Use an unambiguous word or phrase in preference to an ambiguous one. For example, use “other meaning” rather than “alternate meaning” or “alternative meaning”, since alternate means “alternating” and alternative suggests “nontraditional” or “out-of-the-mainstream”.

Avoid first-person pronouns

Most articles will be based on verifiable facts. Expressing information in the first person (‘I’, ‘we’) should only be included when an article, or a section of an article, is clearly a personal reminiscence.

- Avoid second-person pronouns

Use of the second person (you), which is often ambiguous and contrary to the tone of an encyclopedia, is discouraged. Instead, refer to the subject of the sentence or use the passive voice, for example:

Use: Players passing “Go” collect $200. Do not use: When you move past “Go”, you collect $200.

This guideline does not apply to quoted text, which should be quoted exactly.


Photos and other graphics always have captions, and should include brief information giving the most accurate information available. This can be updated as more information becomes available. Where permission was required to use photographs, acknowledgement of the permission should be clearly stated. For instance – Used with Permission of the Northcote Historical Society. The institution or individual granting permission can stipulate the credit required although this should be in similar form to the above and should not exceed one brief sentence.

Images included with articles should be low resolution. If there is a source for higher resolution reproductions or additional photographs, the associated article could include link to that source.


Captions always start with a capital letter. Most captions are not complete sentences, but merely an extended phrase which should not finish with a full stop. Complete sentences in captions always end in a full stop. Captions are not italicized, except for words that are normally italicized. Captions are succinct; more information on the file can be included in the image or media description page.

Bulleted and numbered lists

Do not use lists if the passage reads easily using plain paragraphs or indented paragraphs. If every paragraph in a section uses bulleted or numbered lists, it is likely that none should.

Do not mix grammatical styles in a list — either use all complete sentences or use all sentence fragments. Elements within a list should use parallel grammatical form. Begin each item with a capital letter, even if it is a sentence fragment.

When using complete sentences, provide a full stop at the end of each. When using sentence fragments, do not provide a full stop at the end.

Use numbered rather than bulleted lists only if the article will refer back to items by number, or the sequence of the items is critical (for example, if one is explaining step 1, step 2, etc. of a multi-step process).


This is perhaps an area where flexibility and plurality are an asset, and where we would not want all pages to look exactly alike. WikiNorthia’s neutral point of view always take precedence. However, here are some nonbinding guidelines that may help.

Where known, use terminology that subjects use for themselves (self-identification). This can mean using the term an individual uses for himself or herself, or using the term a group most widely uses for itself. This includes referring to transgender individuals according to the names and pronouns they use to identify themselves. Use specific terminology: People from Ethiopia (a country in Africa) should be described as Ethiopian, not African.

Do not assume that any one term is the most inclusive or accurate.

If possible, terms used to describe people should be given in such a way that they qualify other nouns. Thus, black people, not blacks; gay people, not gays; and so forth.

Also note: The term Arab refers to people and things of ethnic Arab origin. The term Arabic refers to the Arabic language or writing system (and related concepts). For example, “Not all Arab people write or converse in Arabic, but nearly all are familiar with Arabic numerals.”

In a direct quotation, use the original text, even if the originator does not conform with the above guidelines.

Gender-neutral language

Please consider the use of gender-neutral language where this can be achieved in tidy wording and without loss of precision. This recommendation does not apply to direct quotations, the titles of works (e.g. The Ascent of Man), or where all referents are of one gender, such as in an all-female school (e.g. “If any student broke that rule, she was severely punished.”)