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Thelemapedia:Article Basics

From Thelemapedia

Thelemapedia Article Basics is an annotated, working example of some of the basics of laying out an article.

Table of contents

Introductory material

The subject of the article should be mentioned in bold text at a natural place in the first sentence, or at least the first paragraph. The name of the subject may appear slightly different from the title of the page, or may include variations, but normally it is identical to the page title.

If the article is long enough to contain several paragraphs, then the first paragraph should be short and to the point, with a clear explanation of what the subject of the page is. If further introductory material is needed before the first header, then this can be given in additional paragraphs. It is very rarely useful to put ==Introduction== as the first header because the first paragraph, above the first header, should be the introduction to the article.

Structure of the article

Paragraphs should be relatively short, as the eye gets tired of following solid text for too many lines. Similarly, articles themselves should be kept relatively short.

Headers also help make an article clearer and determine the table of contents. Since headers are hierarchical, and some people set their user preferences to number them, you should start with ==Header== and follow it with ===Subheader===, ====Subsubheader====, and so forth. This aids people using browsers which can highlight (or show only-) headings; blind people and others whose text readers can skip from heading to heading, search spiders such as Google's, and robots which may be used to automatically re-style Thelemapedia in the future.

The degree to which subtopics should be kept on a single page or given their own pages is a matter of judgment.

Standardized appendices

Certain optional standardized sections go at the bottom of the article, as you see below.


Under this header, list any memorable quotations that are appropriate to the subject.

Related topics

Put here, in a bulleted list, other articles in the Thelemapedia that are related to this one.


In the text of an article, cite references parenthetically as "(Author-Last-Name, Year)". If necessary, add chapters ("chap. 3") or pages ("p. 15" or "pp. 12–23") after the year (+ comma), e.g. if the information is hard to find in a large book. When a reference is used as a noun, put the year in parentheses, e.g. "Milton (1653) says..." For two authors, use (Author1 & Author2, year); for more authors, use (Author1 et al., Year).

Put under this header, again in a bulleted list, any books, articles, web pages, etcetera that you used in constructing the article and/or recommend as sources of further information to readers.

The most important thing is to include the complete citation information, just as you would for any other bibliography; the precise formatting is still debatable and can be fixed later.

External links

Put here, in list form, any web sites that you have used or recommend for readers of the article. Describe it if possible.

Its code is:
* [ Yale Style Manual for web pages]

Advice on writing content

Be bold. When you edit a page, do not worry about making bold changes. As long as everyone follows basic standards of good manners, it will all work out. Everyone who writes an article here knows that there is a good chance that work will be altered, perhaps significantly. Remember the big picture: to make Thelemapedia the best and most comprehensive source of information regarding Thelema.

Be thoughtful. Yes, be bold, but also use your head. Don't make sweeping changes that you know will cause ire (like deleting and rewriting large, complex articles, like O.T.O. or Thelema.) In many such cases, the text as you find it has come into being after long and arduous negotiations between Thelemapedians of diverse points of view. An incautious edit to such an article can be akin to stirring up a hornet's nest, and other users who are involved in the page may react angrily.

If you encounter an article on a controversial subject that you would like to edit, first read the comments on the talk page and view the Page history to get a sense of how the article came into being and what its current status is. Then, if you want to change or delete anything substantial in the text, you should either (1) move it to the Talk page, if it is a sentence or so, and list your objections, or (2) only list your objections to the section on the Talk page if it is longer. Then, wait a bit for responses. If no one objects, proceed. But always move large deletions to Talk and list your objections to the text so that other people will understand your changes and will be able to follow the history of the page.

But don't let that scare you off! With the vast majority of articles, feel free to dive right in and make sweeping changes as you see fit. It's only with a few very sensitive subjects that caution is the better approach, and you'll recognize those right away.

Keep the article in an encyclopedic style. Be objective: avoid personal comments (or turn them into general statements, but only when they coincide), don't use personal forms (I found that...). Entries should not sound like a journal, news item, personal letter, or dictionary. Read some articles at ( for some great examples of the writing style we are looking for.

Explain jargon when you use it. Remember that the person reading your article might not know as much as you. Don't assume knowledge in your readers. The Wiki format allows you to do this more easily than could be done on paper. You can simply make your jargon terms links to articles explaining them; you can then link to that same explanation from many places. The aim is to hyperlink all jargon to explain it, and then explain all the jargon you use to explain that, until you've reached terms that ordinary educated people should understand.

Define or summarize. If its subject is amenable to definition, an article should give a concise, conceptually sound definition in its opening sentence and then proceed with a description. If the article is long (more than one page), the remainder of the opening paragraph should summarize it.


If the article can be illustrated with pictures, find an appropriate place to position these images. For more information, see the Wikipedia Picture tutorial (

Where to go from here


Retrieved from ""

This page has been accessed 6556 times. This page was last modified 06:08, 8 Nov 2004. Content is available under GNU Free Documentation License 1.2.

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