A Fifth Dimension's Guide to Layout is an in-depth description of the structure and organization of an article. Think of this as a guide for putting together a birdhouse and the Manual of Style as a guide for how to paint it.

To understand more about the format, style, and appearance rules, see Manual of Style for articles.

General details

Paragraph and sentence length

It is always a good idea to keep paragraphs as short as possible. Long paragraphs make it difficult for readers to skim the article and helps to keep one's eyes from glossing over.

Similarly, extremely long sentences should be avoided. As a general rule, articles on this wiki should use only the amount of writing necessary to thoroughly cover all of the relevant material; saying a lot without using a lot of words to do it. Keeping an article's length short is not always achievable because some articles will always require a lot of information to be provided, but being concise should be a relative goal in writing and editing articles.

Headers

Headers are a useful way to divide the content of an article into appropriate parts (see Section), and will create a Table of Contents for easy navigation after three headings are placed. While helpful, you should always consider whether the number of headers will clutter the article.

Also, one-sentence and one-paragraph section should be avoided when possible. See if the content of the section would just as well fit into another section instead or consider using a bullet list to illustrate brief points.

Article framework

Header flags

Certain templates can flag articles, in that they categorize and assist in immediate identification of an article type. These should be placed in the first line of the article—looking best when it appears on its own line in the markup—as needed.

  • Typical articles needing this flag will be those about cast, crew, and existing organizations, locations, and products.
  • Articles about stories, comic issues, and episodes will also require this flag because the majority of the page is written from a "real world" perspective and only the plot summary is written from an "in-universe" point of view.
  • Policy articles, although written from a "real world" POV, do not require the {{Realworld}} flag, because their status is defined by the policy template.
  • Any article wrote that contains documentation of policy articles should be flagged with the {{policy}} template. This, of course, should not be used on character, story, location, or any other type of article pages.
  • Extremely rarely, the {{spoiler}} flag may be added on articles about new and upcoming releases. Visit the template's page for details about use.

Structure

The following is the standard leveling system for article elements. With the exception of the lede, all sections should have their own headers.

Lede section

The lede serves as the article's introduction containing the subject of your text. If the article is several paragraphs long (or more), it's best to keep the first paragraph as short and succinct as possible, with a clear explanation of what the article is about.

This introductory text should not be titled with a header, but immediately follow the article title (except when certain flags are used, of course).

Primary section

This will be the bulk of the article. It should contain a thorough and concise overview of the article's subject. In episode articles, this would include a detailed plot summary and sub-sections for "Opening Narration" and "Closing Narration" but may also include other related sections such as "Intermission Narration" or "Preview of Next Week's Episode" or "Title Sequences" if applicable.

Background information

Further information about the subject, originating from interviews, episode guides, technical manuals, encyclopedias, novels, etc.. Trivia, when properly referenced, may be added but speculation should be avoided and saved for either the article's Talk page or the Forum.

References

If you used a resource outside of the stories (e.g., The Twilight Zone Companion) to help write your article, it should be cited, not only to provide credit for the information, but so that other readers may consult that resource if they wish to find more information. Use a basic bullet list layout, and try to include the ISBN number for books.

Example:

See also

This section is for articles that are related to the current one.

External links

If you know of any external websites that you believe are useful to the reader who is interested in more information on the subject, include them here in list form. You should describe external links whenever possible to give the reader some idea of why it might be useful.

Example:
  • The Twilight Zone Archives - Stewart Stanyard's website has a vast collection of rare behind-the-scenes photographs and information, interviews, episode guides, prop details, and more.

Exceptions

While the basic article layout provides a general "how-to" guide for laying out any article, some types of articles have their own layout variations. For information on these layouts, please see A Fifth Dimension:Article templates.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.