The Signpost

Manual of Style



  • Inverted pyramid / Don't bury the lead – start the article with the most attention-grabbing or most important fact to the reader
  • BLUF ("Bottom Line Up Front") – similar to above, even more terse. Maybe applicable in our technical sections?
  • Make good use of bullets and bolded topics


  • Abbreviations: If using shortcuts to refer to Wikipedia policies and guidelines, either define them first, or prefix them with WP: and link them. This help external readers understand that they are seeing a Wikipedia abbreviation/acronym (WP:FAC), instead of a well-known acronym (FAC).
    • Example: The request for adminship (RfA) is one of the most contentious on Wikipedia. During the last 17 RfAs, ...
    • Example: According to WP:WEIGHT, one should not give undue prominence to unusual viewpoints. WP:WEIGHT further states ...
  • Footnotes: Use sparingly for long clarifications or technical details which are not relevant to the main thesis of the piece and disrupt the flow of the article, but which would be of interest to a niche audience. Short clarifications can normally be done inline, or in parenthesis.
  • Full stops (periods): Blurbs have them; titles and picture bylines don't.
  • References: Only in Recent Research and certain special columns. Use inline links in regular pieces, much like you would see in most online journalism.
  • User links: Use the {{U|User}} format.
    • Example: These developments came about in 2014, triggered by a call for help by Example at ...
  • Wikilinks: Signpost articles are not Wikipedia articles. Limit linking to the main concepts when they would help a non-expert reader understand more about a topic, or identify the people and parties involved. Wikilinking to common words and concepts should be avoided.


WikiProject Report[edit]

  • Interviews should be checked for questionable or interesting facts. These can be explained by adding an (Editor's note: ...).
  • Interview answers should be attributed by using <small>—Name</small>.

Book review guidelines[edit]

  • Readership. Reviews should be written with The Signpost audience in mind—Wikipedians and others with an active interest in Wikipedia and similar projects—but should be accessible to general readers as well. For books not directly related to Wikipedia, show how the subject is relevant to Signpost readers by drawing connections between the topic and the perspectives of its author, on the one hand, and the concerns of Wikipedians, on the other.
  • Writing style. This is a matter for individual writers. Naturally, our readers enjoy a crisp, direct, engaging style. A good review typically presents both commentary and a summary of the book's content, and does not necessarily give equal attention to all parts of the book. Most reviews clarify the reviewer's attitude to the book at or soon after the start. Readers like either tension or enthusiasm, as long as there is enough formality in the review to build its authority.
  • Genre. A book review is a different genre from a Wikipedia article, and indeed from the rest of The Signpost. There is less emphasis on citations (usually there are no page references), and as an opinion piece it is less bound to the project's policies on neutrality, verification and original research. Nevertheless, please remember that the review will be very public, and should be in good faith even when manifestly critical of the subject.
  • Word length. Reviewers should use their judgment. While there is no set length, between 600 and 1200 words is a rule of thumb. A review much shorter than 600 words risks not seriously engaging with the book beyond a mere summary; a text much longer than 1200 words may not hold readers' attention.
  • Opening format. "Book review" is already included in the template, so it is best to avoid the words "Book review" or "Review of" in your own title. Beneath this, please include the publisher's name (short or long version), the number of pages, the ISBN, and the month and year of publication (e.g., "University of Chicago Press, 203 pp., ISBN 944-0-7558-9809-7, May 2010").
  • Images. Book-cover images are almost always copyrighted, and because The Signpost is in WP space, fair use media are not permitted. The judicious use of free media is encouraged.


See Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Newsroom/Formatting#Author_metadata_and_bylines.


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