Writing Style Guide
At Open Labs we strive to create a decentralized environment where every member is empowered and encouraged to help shape experiences for the whole community, that means that often every member has the same access privileges to our communication channels. While this creates a sustainable process of collaborating within a community, it can also lead to inconsistency in ways we communicate, frame documentation or generally percept things within the community. For this reason, we have started creating a Style Guide for the Writing components of the communication channels Open Labs is present on. This includes (but is not limited to) event names, blog post titles and social media content.
Titles should be straightforward and unbiased with no subjective tone (until necessary). Filler words should be avoided and the less the better, so try to cut down on words and distill the title of your content to how little possible.
For any titles (including Menus, Wiki pages, Blog post titles and Event Names) we use Title Case. In general, the following capitalization rules apply across the four styles in title case:
- Capitalize the first word in the title
- Capitalize the last word in the title
- Capitalize the important words in the title
Important words in that last bullet generally refer to:
- Adjectives (tiny, large, etc.)
- Adverbs (quietly, smoothly, etc.)
- Nouns (tablet, kitchen, book)
- Pronouns (they, she, he)
- Subordinating conjunctions (as, so, that)
- Verbs (write, type, create)
While the above words are generally capitalized in titles regardless of style, there are some words that are generally not capitalized when using title case. These include short words and conjunctions:
Articles (a, an, the) Coordinating Conjunctions (and, but, for) Short (less than 5 letters) Prepositions (at, by, from)
WRONG: Open Labs members meeting - January CORRECT: Open Labs Members Meeting - January
In Titles, we generally prefer to use the symbol & instead of the equivalent word "and".
WRONG: LibreOffice Month 2017 - Collabora Online and Nextcloud CORRECT: LibreOffice Month 2017 - Collabora Online & Nextcloud
To allow for better visual scanning, it is preferred to start the title with the name of the topic/project it is about. The type of activity or other details related to the former, should come afterwards.
WRONG: Workshop about Quad9 CORRECT: Quad9 Workshop
Note: Exceptions can be made and rules can be bent here. Consult with other members if unsure or just go with your gut feeling.
Often, especially for events, we numerize the edition of the event to indicate the event number. In the past we have been using inconsistent ways for this, ranging from "Nr1 to nr 1 and #". The correct way to indicate editions is Nr.1 however. As it is Title Case friendly and # doesn't work on MediaWiki, it is the most suitable choice.
WRONG: Red Hat Career Day #2 CORRECT: Red Hat Career Day Nr.2