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OverWiki:Manual of Style

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This article pertains to Combine OverWiki.
This page is fully protected. Click for more information.

Please don't let this wiki become a hopeless wasteland.
Work smart, work safe. The future of the wiki depends on it!

This Manual of Style for the Combine OverWiki is a guide for editors on how to properly format articles.

In the interests of keeping the articles as clean, concise and professional as possible, all wiki contributors should strive for consistency of content. That is, articles of a similar type should follow a similar layout in order to be consistent.

As any experienced editor can tell you, some things can be written dozens of different (and, arguably, correct) ways. Inevitably, everyone has a different opinion on which way is best. Without some kind of established policy on these issues, wiki articles quickly become untidy and inconsistent as each contributor chooses to do things their way, and this may also give rise to arguments between contributors about which way is best.

The Manual of Style - a collection of guidelines and policies - is an effort to overcome these problems by providing an itemized list of examples of the right way to write articles. All of the below guidelines can be assumed to be officially sanctioned unless otherwise stated. Opinions and feedback on these guidelines is welcome in this article's talk page.

Please learn how a wiki works before starting editing here, that will help us a lot!


Please register before adding anything. It's simple, fast and free, and it is so much easier to communicate with you that way. It is not mandatory, but heavily advised.


  • Please categorize articles and insert navigational templates appropriately to ensure that the OverWiki is a more orderly compendium of Half-Life knowledge.
  • Please do not insert a heading, such as ==Overview==, if there is only a single heading within the article. Just don't put a heading until you feel the need to insert two, and then you may create two.
  • Always insert pictures in "thumb" format, such as [[File:Random.jpg|thumb|left]] (but not if the picture is in an infobox). When doing so, be sure to add a proper caption like [[File:Random.jpg|thumb|left|Caption goes here.]].
  • Refer to the Half-Life and Portal universe from an in-universe perspective. Always use third-person writing.
  • Never use the second person singular (therefore "you" or other expressions) in the main namespace. Even if most of the people reading this wiki are players, an encyclopedia does not directly talk to its reader. So prefer "the player" or the playable character name (e.g. "Gordon Freeman", "Freeman" or "Gordon") or any other relevant adjective or other phrasing (such as the passive voice, "The Headcrabs must be quickly killed" being better than "The player must quickly kill the Headcrabs"). A sentence does not require to feature the word "you" to be in the second person singular, so be careful how you phrase things.
  • Refrain from using slashes whenever possible. Instead, work the word "or" into the sentence, or figure out some other way of stating it.
  • Quoting relevant game dialogue at the top of an article is common, but please avoid adding any quote that mentions the subject without first considering if it will in fact add to the article in question; it is not that every single article should feature a quote. For example, various characters exclaim "Grenade!" during the course of the games, but such a quote is meaningless in the context of an article about grenades. A good quote should add meaning to the article. It should sum up the topic at hand or at least strongly refer to it.
  • Don't leave a redlink behind you, we have a no redlink policy - we actually are one of the few (if not the only) wiki to have no redlinks. If the page where the link is supposed to lead to exists, it should be beige. Double-check your spelling and don't go away from the page until the link is beige.
  • Don't overuse capitalization in subtitles. ==Behind the scenes== or ==See also== instead of ==Behind the Scenes== or ==See Also==.
  • Before adding any trivia-like facts to an article, consider if the fact is both useful to know and fully informative or a complete thought. If it is not, try to work it properly into the article somewhere or do not add it.


This wiki is not a place for fanon. Speculation and fan-made information will be deleted. If you think that the info you added is canon, please provide a reliable source.


  • Add only canon image, not screenshots from customized/tweaked canon games or mods.
  • Avoid uploading pictures you don't have a purpose for unless they can add to a subject gallery. Before uploading, read all the instructions given on Special:Upload.
  • See Help:Images for more information on image use.

Article layouts

Main article: OverWiki:Layout Guide

"Notes and references"

  • List all references inside the article text, by using <ref>Text</ref>. It will automatically show at the end of the article if the template {{Reflist}} is already included under the subtitle "Notes and references".
  • There is therefore nothing to write under this title, it's only there for the template to automatically display the notes and references put into the text. If you want to write something there, it will definitely better fit under "Behind the scenes" or "Trivia".
  • More info on the references subject can be found on Wikipedia, even though we don't closely follow the same guidelines.


  • Please name all character articles by their full known name, not their title/rank as well. Doctor Gordon Freeman's article is titled Gordon Freeman, not "Doctor Gordon Freeman".
  • Any game and chapter title must be written in italics.


  • Then when filling the weapon infobox with useful information, one should carefully consider what each field means, and how it is relevant to the game and/or the real-life weapon. For example:
    • Most of the time, "Manufacturer", "Price", and "Model" fields will remain blank. The template was copied from another wiki, and these subjects are irrelevant here.
    • Effective range is what it sounds like. It is the range at which a player of average skill can engage an enemy and reasonably expect to hit. It may be possible to 'snipe' (sic) a Combine Soldier across a long distance with the pistol occasionally, but to reliably do so is impossible, therefore the pistol's effective range is medium.
    • Faction means who 'issues' the weapon, not who uses it, so the OSIPR would be affiliated with the Combine: even though it is used by both sides, the Resistance does not produce it, they use examples captured from the Combine. The Gravity Gun however is definitely affiliated to the Resistance.
    • Every other weapon in the game should not be listed as a 'counter-weapon'. A weapon is only considered a 'counter-weapon' to another if it has a clearly definable defensive use against the weapon in question. A possible example might include the Gravity Gun used to catch an Energy Ball.

Past or present tense?

When writing an article, it is often hard to know which tense is most suitable. However the wiki's guideline is simple: always use the present tense, except in some cases, such as, for instance when the part of an article relates to an event set in the past, for instance when an Episode Two event for Gordon Freeman refers to the Half-Life events. The Black Mesa Research Facility or the Citadel use present tense, since they are seen intact in one or more games. Overall, as long as a subject is seen alive or intact in one or more games, it must be referred to in present tense.

Infobox title abbreviations

The following table lists common abbreviations that are typically used when writing game titles in infobox templates. This list is not exhaustive, and there may be instances where it's more appropriate to write out the full title in an infobox.

See also

  • Canon - what is canon and what is not in this encyclopedia