Dispatches: Monthly updates of styleguide and policy changes

Don't get sore eyes hunting through styleguides and policy pages to keep up with the changes: go straight to the monthly update.

How on earth do featured-content nominators and reviewers keep abreast of changing guidelines and rules?

Even a brief reading of the criteria for Wikipedia's featured content reveals a host of links to pages that have a major bearing on tasks of both nominators and reviewers. For example, the featured article criteria presuppose a knowledge of the Manual of Style and its many subpages, other important styleguides, and policy pages such as those that regulate the use of non-free content, captions, verification, sources, and when to cite. In a user-generated environment, these styleguides and policy pages are subject to continual modification, which makes it hard to keep track of how they impact on the task of preparing, reviewing, promoting and maintaining our very best work.

At last, a solution!

FAC delegate SandyGeorgia and others came up with the idea of a centralised location at which all significant styleguide and policy changes are summarised periodically. This has been implemented recently in the form of a new service to the community: monthly updates of styleguide and policy changes. The changes are now published shortly after the start of each month, and are transcluded at the talk pages of the featured content candidate processes and the major styleguides. This enables all Wikipedians to keep abreast of what is happening, quickly and conveniently. Copy-editing and trivial changes are generally not included in these summaries, and when the monthly diffs boil down to substantive changes, the result is unexpectedly straightforward.

Some of the changes may sound fussy, but these details do help to make the project stylistically cohesive. Take, for example, a recent alteration to the Manual of Style in January, that a sentence fragment in a caption finish with a period if there's already a full sentence in the caption. An example is the caption for the image of Niccolò Machiavelli at the bottom – oops!

You can help

While we can't guarantee that all substantive changes are included in every monthly update, we try to cover a reasonably broad number of pages in our monthly surveys of diffs. But you can help to keep us on our toes. Contributors to styleguide and policy pages are asked to notify us of changes for each upcoming monthly summary by posting a brief note of substantive changes (with a diff) on the talk page.

At some time in the future, consideration will be given to moving the service into the Wikispace. The summaries for the past three months appear below.

March 2008

So many words to keep track of!

Manual of style, main page


FAC instructions

WP:Non-free content policy

February 2008

Manual of style, main page



FAC instructions

January 2008

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527) was the author of The Prince and a prototypical Renaissance man. Detail from a portrait by Santi di Tito

Manual of style, main page

FAC instructions

Non-free content policy

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    Reverse order ?

    Tony, January saw a change of numbers as words to zero to ten, and March brought it back to zero to nine. How about if you reverse the order of the entries (instead of Jan to March, use March to Jan), so the most recent is first? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:12, 19 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]

    Excellent idea. Tony (talk) 02:26, 19 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]

    Caption example

    "a sentence fragment in a caption finish with a period if there's already a full sentence in the caption. An example is the caption for the image of Niccolò Machiavelli at the bottom – oops!" I'm not sure I understand the example here: in the caption for the image of Machiavelli, there are no full sentences, but rather two fragments. (Should it have a period or not?) --jbmurray (talk|contribs) 08:37, 25 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]

    Fixed <blush> Tony (talk) 09:07, 25 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    Heh. No probs. --jbmurray (talk|contribs) 09:11, 25 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]

    BTW, excellent idea

    ...an excellent maintenance! — BQZip01 — talk 05:07, 1 May 2008 (UTC)[reply]


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