LIMSWiki:Style guide

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This is a collection of guidance concerning the purpose, style, and use of LIMSwiki.

Grammar and spelling

With the exception of articles transcluded from other wikis, which are largely out of content developer control, all new content in the wiki should follow a consistent grammar and spelling (i.e., style). Consistency throughout the wiki is important, and style is no exception to this. The following basic style rules guide content development on the wiki:

  • The Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago) is the base guide used for style guidance. If in doubt, confirm a rule with Chicago.
  • By extension, the Merriam-Webster dictionary is used for spelling clarification, found here. Note that American English spellings are preferred in all but proper nouns; if the proper noun has a British spelling, don't change it.

Highlights of these two rules, plus additional clarifications follow:

1. Establish acronyms, initialisms, and abbreviations on first use, e.g., “laboratory information management system (LIMS).” Subsequent usage should then depend on the shortened form within the same document.
2. In most cases, terms like “laboratory information management system,” “laboratory manager,” “customer agreement,” and “application programming interface” are not capitalized. The exception would be if the term is popularized as being capitalized, e.g., “Extensible Markup Language,” or there is a formal, legal context associated with it, e.g., “the Google Terms of Service.”
3. The main title of an article in the encyclopedic namespace (i.e., mainspace) should follow Wikipedia naming conventions, as addressed on this wiki in 2011 and on Wikipedia. The 2011 posting of the title naming conventions for the mainspace are the most concise. Note that this extends to headers and sub-headers of the article itself; for example, a sub-header detailing early medieval history of a topic would be "Early medieval history," not "Early Medieval History."
4. The main title of an article in LIMSwiki namespaces with guides, books, etc. (e.g., the LII namespace) should capitalize words based on Chicago styling. (If in doubt, here’s a handy tool.) Subsequent headers and subheaders within the guide, book, or otherwise short document should only capitalize the first word and any proper nouns.
5. Chicago dictates use of the Oxford comma.
6. No double spacing after a period.
7. As a general rule of thumb, words and terms shouldn’t be underlined, italicized, and bolded strictly as a means to emphasize importance. In exceedingly rare instances, it may be useful to italicize a word of phrase for emphasis; however, it is better to reorganize the sentence, paragraph, or other element to provide the emphasis. (For example, the first sentence of a paragraph ordinarily emphasizes the content that follows, so use that to your advantage.)
8. When giving examples—particularly within parentheses—use “e.g.” and “i.e.” to precede the words. The term “e.g.” means “for example,” whereas “i.e.” means “in other words.” You can remember this by noting the “i” begins both “i.e.” and “in other words.” Also, use periods and commas, per Chicago:
• The decorations (e.g., party streamers, confetti, paper flowers) should be set out by 3:00 p.m. tomorrow.
• The primary regulatory mechanism in a LIMS (i.e., the audit trail) is critical to the lab and its efforts to maintain regulatory compliance.
9. Standards with a catalog number or identifier plus a textual title should italicize the textual title alone. For example: ASTM E1578-18 Standard Guide for Laboratory Informatics.
10. Use parallelism in sentences and bulleted items. What is parallelism? Here’s a quick guide.
11. Spell out “percent” instead of using “%” unless the content is solely focused on scientific or statistical context. Also, use the Chicago alternate rule of spelling out zero through nine but using numerals otherwise. The exception to both may be in tabular data. Similarly, spell out centuries rather than using numbers, e.g., "in the sixteenth century" rather than "in the 16th century."
12. References are listed in order of appearance, not alphabetically, by design. For help on making citations properly, see the help documentation.

Advertising, promotion, advocacy, and opinion

LIMSwiki is not a soapbox, a battleground, or a vehicle for propaganda, advertising, and showcasing. This applies to articles, categories, templates, talk page discussions, and user pages ... essentially all pages on this wiki. Therefore, content hosted in LIMSwiki is not for:

  1. advocacy, propaganda, or recruitment of any kind: Commercial, political, religious, national, sports-related, or otherwise. An article can report objectively about such things, as long as an attempt is made to describe the topic from a neutral point of view. You might wish to start a blog or visit a forum if you want to convince people of the merits of your opinions.
  2. opinion pieces: Although some topics, particularly those concerning politics and specific vendors, may stir passions and tempt people to "climb soapboxes" (for example, passionately advocate their pet point of view), LIMSwiki is not the medium for this. Articles must be balanced to put entries, especially for vendor and product pages, in a reasonable perspective, and represent a neutral point of view. Furthermore, LIMSwiki authors should strive to write articles that will not quickly become obsolete.
  3. scandal mongering: LIMSwiki is not for promoting things "heard through the grapevine" or gossiping. Articles and content about people and businesses are required to meet an especially high standard, as they may otherwise be libellous or infringe the subjects' right to privacy. Articles should not be written purely to attack the reputation of another person or business.
  4. self-promotion: It can be tempting to write about yourself, your business, or projects in which you have a strong personal involvement. However, remember the standards for encyclopedic articles apply to such pages just like any other. This includes the requirement to maintain a neutral point of view, which can be difficult when writing about yourself or about projects close to you. Creating overly abundant links and references to autobiographical sources is unacceptable.
  5. advertising, marketing or public relations: Information about companies and products must be written in an objective and unbiased style, free of puffery. All article topics must be verifiable with independent, third-party sources (unless absolutely no other option is available). External links to commercial organizations are acceptable if they identify notable organizations which are the topic of the article. LIMSwiki neither endorses organizations nor runs affiliate programs. Those promoting causes or events, or issuing public service announcements, even if noncommercial, should use a forum other than LIMSwiki to do so.

Non-disruptive statements of opinion on internal LIMSwiki policies and guidelines may be made on user pages and within the "LIMSWiki" namespace, as they are relevant to the current and future operation of the project. However, "[a]rticle talk pages should not be used by editors as platforms for their personal views on a subject."


Chronological items

Avoid statements that date quickly, except on pages like current events that are updated regularly. Avoid words such as now, soon or in modern times (unless their intended meaning is clear), currently and recently (except on rare occasions where they are not redundant), or phrases such as the sixties. Instead, when writing about past events use more precise phrases such as during the 1990s or in August 1969. For future and current events, use phrases such as as of July 2024 or since the beginning of 2010 that indicate the time-dependence of the information to the reader. Relative time words are acceptable when very long periods, such as geological epochs, are considered: Our ancestors are believed to have diverged from the other great apes long ago, but only recently developed the use of fire.

To help editors keep information up to date, statements about current and future events may be used with the as of technique using the {{as of}} template to tag information that may become dated quickly: {{as of|2024}} produces the text As of 2024 and categorises the article appropriately. This technique is not an alternative to using precise language. For instance, one should not replace since the start of 2005 with {{as of|2005}} because some information (the start of 2005) would be lost; instead, use either the plain text or a more advanced feature of {{as of}} such as {{as of|2005|alt=since the start of 2005}}.

Before saving an edited passage, it is useful to re-read that passage from the perspective of a reader five years in the future.


Redirects

A redirect is a page which has no content itself, but sends the reader to another article, section of an article, or page, usually from an alternative title. For example, if you type "LIMS" in the search box, or follow the wikilink LIMS, you will be taken to the article laboratory information management system, with a note at the top of the page: "(Redirected from UK)". This is because the page LIMS contains the wikitext #REDIRECT [[laboratory information management system]], which defines it as a redirect page and indicates the target article. It is also possible to redirect to a specific section of the target page, using the #REDIRECT [[Page name#Section title]] syntax.

Reasons for creating and maintaining redirects include:

  • alternative names
  • plurals
  • closely related words
  • adjectives/adverbs point to noun forms
  • less specific forms of names, for which the article subject is still the primary topic
  • more specific forms of names
  • abbreviations and initialisms
  • alternative spellings or punctuation
  • punctuation issues: titles containing dashes should have redirects using hyphens
  • representations using ASCII characters, that is, common transliterations
  • likely misspellings
  • likely alternative capitalizations
  • sub-topics or other topics which are described or listed within a wider article
  • redirects to disambiguation pages which do not contain "(disambiguation)" in the title

To create a basic redirect manually, set #REDIRECT [[target page name here]] as the only body text of the page. For instance, if you were redirecting from "LIMS" to "Laboratory information management system", this would be the entire body of the "LIMS" page:

#REDIRECT [[Laboratory information management system]]

Redirects can also be automatically created when you move (rename) an existing page.

See also