Editing and Style Guide
While there are no hard and fast rules, we have established some standards and style suggestions to make the wiki easier to edit and easier to use. Join the page layout discussion on the Wiki Contributor's Forum
And remember, you don't have to make an article perfect. Just improve it a little bit with each edit and we'll be well on our way to perfection.
Creating Pages: Page Naming
- You can create a new page by searching for, or linking to, a non-existent term.
- Wiki is case-sensitive. "Warren Buffett" and "warren buffett" would be two distinct pages.
- Proper nouns should be capitalized, e.g., Peter Lynch, Warren Buffett, Microsoft
- Common nouns should be all lowercase, e.g., free cash flow, bear market. Wiki will automatically capitalize these terms if they're used at the beginning of a sentence.
- Spell out a term, rather using its abbreviation or acronym, unless it is rarely or never used. For example, use Generally accepted accounting principles and free cash flow instead of GAAP and FCF. You may want to refer to the acronym in the "Quick Definition" section. Some terms like P/E ratio will warrant just using the acronym. Just use your best judgment and the community can figure it out later. No work will be lost or destroyed if the content is moved so be bold, Fool!
Types of Articles
We're open to almost any type of investing article: people, publicly-traded and notable private companies, valuation terms, economic events, and sectors are all fair game as long as they are investing related. If you have a question as to whether or not you should write about a topic, take it to the community on the discussion boards. Just title the post something similar to: Should I create a ponies page?
Also feel free to conduct all pony-related experiments in the Sandbox.
Suggested Page Layout
Other than the quick definition, a truly excellent article could have all or none of the section suggestions below. We leave it to you to make these determinations on each article. There is an article template so you can easily copy/paste the headers into your new article.
Every term should have a quick definition. Ideally, this should be one or two sentences in length and should be completely objective. The goal of this is to allow users to find their answer immediately and get on with their lives. The term itself should be used in a definitive sentence and should be bolded. For example, the quick definition for cashtastic is:
Cashtastic is a made up word created by the Motley Fool for illustrative purposes.
If there's more to say after the quick definition, it can be said in the expanded definition area. While the quick definition is rigid and completely objective, the expanded definition is much more free form. This is where one may include examples, formulas, additional history, anecdotes, etc. This is really where your Foolish objectivity can shine. Each major point should be grouped together under a subheader similar to this page.
Related Fool Articles
This area contains links to the most relevant articles from Fool.com, and ideally a brief description of why each link is relevant.
Related Community Blogs
This area contains links to related community blogs from CAPS.
This area contains a list of relevant terms that may or may not have appeared in the main article.
Recent Mentions on Fool.com
For advanced editors, this area should have an RSS feed from Fool.com's search for that term. The code for adding the RSS feed is:
Wiki entries should be written an objective manner (i.e. 100% factually correct) with a Foolish bent, or what we're calling Foolishly Objective. While other dictionaries also strive for objectivity, the Motley Fool Investment Wiki strives for objectivity conveyed in an easy to read and humorous manner. We want to have fun and teach each other while being as accurate as possible.
At first glance, the Motley Fool Investing Wiki looks complete. But look closer and you will see that it's is like a river: Some branches are fully developed; others are not.
Some branches that need development include Retirement. We have started a 401(k) series and we have a few subterms like pre-tax and after-tax, but we lack Roth 401(k), 403(b) and 457 articles. And detail is lacking in 401(k)s. Matching, distributions, mandatory distributions, 72(t) distributions, etc. This series needs elaboration to be complete.
Estates, wills, and trust. We have some entries but lack will, living will, power of attorney, and most trust types.
Ideas for where to begin
- Pick an area you are comfortable writing about, review what is there, correct and expand it. Add subterms as appropriate and go ahead and define them. Use the article template for style. Any term that appears in red needs a definition.
- Select a category, see what is there, what is missing, and have at it. The category listings are not always complete. Some terms have no categories entered. Some terms are filled out, but need additional category assignments. (Don’t forget to search for the term first as it may be in another category and don’t get trapped by derivative terms: looking for retirement but its under retire, retiring, retired, or retires. Look out for plurals. They will be missed by search. Avoid plural term names if you can.)
- Check out the list of companies in a category. If you are an investor, you will note immediately that some company categories are complete, but others have major omissions. Add companies as you feel appropriate. To appear on the bottom of the category page, a company must have a term page in the company name and a category assignment statement. Note that category names are case sensitive and the plurals and derivatives problem applies.
- If all else fails, head for the terms wanted list. It lists all requested terms. But look out for plurals. Search first before adding a new definition.
- By all means read and edit what others have entered. Is it accurate? Is it complete? Does it explain well enough? Are subterms appropriate to expand the explanation? And don’t forget to amuse. Add a bit of humor if you have the talent.
Some quirks to watch out for
- The ampersand bug. If an ampersand appears in the term name, you will not be able to edit the term. Your entry will be lost if you try. So if an "&" appears in a term name like "S&P", substitute “and” as “S and P.”
- The caps problem. In terms, and search, the first letter of the first word is interchangeable upper and lower case. But multiword terms are case sensitive. Let’s try to enter them in lower case unless it’s a formal name.
- Plurals and derivatives as noted above are a problem. A careful search will usually find them, and they are best handled by redirecting the plural or derivative to the singular. Keep terms singular if you can. And watch out for plurals like “agency” to “agencies” and “plus” to “pluses.”
Have at it.
Fool on!! (And thanks for your help.)