Cultural clashes over grammar, spelling, and capitalisation/capitalization have been a common experience on Wikipedia, so Wikia is adopting the guidelines that Wikipedia has formulated to deal with this problem. These guidelines basically say that any mainstream usage of English is acceptable, so there is no requirement to use only American or British spelling.
- Possessives of singular nouns ending in "s" may be formed with or without an additional s. Either form is generally acceptable within Wikia. However, if either form is much more common for a particular word or phrase, follow that form, such as with Achilles' heel.
- Scholarly abbreviations of Latin terms like i.e., e.g., or n.b. should be avoided and English terms such as such as, for example, or note used instead.
- If a word or phrase is generally regarded as correct, then prefer it to any other word or phrase that might be regarded as incorrect. For example, "other meaning" should be used instead of "alternate meaning" or "alternative meaning", because not all English speakers regard "alternate" and "alternative" as meaning the same. The American Heritage Dictionary "Usage Note" at alternative says: "Alternative should not be confused with alternate." Alternative commonly suggests "non-traditional" or "out-of-the-mainstream" to an American-English speaker. Some traditional usage experts (especially Latin scholars) consider alternative to be appropriate only when there are exactly two alternatives.
National varieties of English
Remember that millions of people were taught to use a different form of English from yours, including different spellings, grammatical constructions, and punctuation. For the English language Wikia, there is no preference among the major national varieties of English. However, there is a certain etiquette generally accepted on the site:
- Proper names should retain their original spellings. For example, United States Department of Defense and Australian Defence Force.
- Each article should have uniform spelling and not a haphazard mix of different spellings, which can be jarring to the reader. For example, do not use center in one place and centre in another on the same page.
- Articles that focus on a topic specific to a particular English-speaking country should generally conform to the spelling of that country. For example:
- article on the American Civil War: U.S. usage and spelling
- article on Tolkien's Lord of the Rings: UK usage and spelling
- article on Ayers Rock: Australian usage and spelling
- article on the city of Montréal: Canadian usage and spelling
- If the spelling appears in an article name, you should make a redirect page to accommodate the other variant, as with Artefact and Artifact, to help searchers.
- Reducing use of words with multiple spellings: In choosing words or expressions, there may be value in selecting one that does not have multiple spellings, if there are synonyms that are otherwise equally suitable; if possible and reasonable, a neutral word might be chosen as with Glasses, perhaps with redirects from both synonyms.
- If an article is predominantly written in one type of English, aim to conform to that type rather than provoking conflict by changing to another. (Sometimes, this can happen quite innocently, so please don't be too quick to make accusations!)
- Consult Wikipedia articles such as English plural and American and British English differences.
- If all else fails, consider following the spelling style preferred by the first major contributor (that is, not a stub) to the article.
- When referring to the United States, please use "U.S."; that is the more common style in that country, is easier to search for automatically, and we want one uniform style on this. When referring to the United States in a long abbreviation (USA, USN, USAF), periods should not be used.
Capitalisation/capitalization/use of capitals
Wikipedia style is to use "Sentence case" in page names and in headings: the only capitals are the very first letter plus the initials of proper nouns. The boldness of the headings makes them stand out more than enough without the extra capitals that tend towards what is described in email etiquette as "shouting".