Tolkien Gateway

Tolkien Gateway:Manual of Style

Revision as of 14:48, 22 November 2011 by Morgan (Talk | contribs)

This Manual of Style is a standard that should be across all of Tolkien Gateway.

See also: Help:Contents


General rules


Main article: Canon


  • The Lord of the Rings is not a trilogy, and is arguably (and according to Tolkien himself) not a novel either. Use the words "legendarium" (for the story as a whole), "book", "books" (both for LotR, its volumes and the 6 books — but make clear which you are referring to), "volume", "volumes" (for the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings).
  • Abbreviations of names of books, movies, series, people, etc. should not be used in articles or lists (e.g. write out The Lord of the Rings, not LotR).
  • Take note of correct spellings, including diacritical marks, e.g. Éomer, not Eomer. Accents are not optional and if you are unsure of the alt code to insert the character just click the proper character below the editing box. An easy way to verify the correct accents is to type the non-accented version of the word into the search box and you will be redirected to the correct term, which you can then copy and paste.
  • Take note of correct singular and plural forms of terms: e.g. an Uruk or one of the Uruk-hai, not an Uruk-hai; "Uruk-hai" means "Orc-folk")
  • Italicize non-English terms for objects and creatures (e.g. palantír, crebain), but not for peoples (e.g. Eldar). In general, follow the books.
  • When referring to adaptations, label them clearly as to avoid confusion with works of the same name (e.g. "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" to refer to Peter Jackson's movie rather than just "The Two Towers").
  • Avoid adaptation-derived terms to describe the original versions of characters, concepts, etc. Only use those terms to refer to their counterparts in adaptations, and point out that the terms are original to the adaptation (e.g. use "Oathbreakers" or "Dead Men of Dunharrow" properly; "Army of the Dead" should only be used in an adaptation context).
  • Use capital letters when writing about the races of Middle-earth, but lower-case when writing about individuals or groups of individuals i.e. Elves, Dwarves, Men, Hobbits, Orcs, Istari, Valar, etc. (e.g. "the hobbits walked down the road", "Hobbits have hairy feet", "the hobbit jumped over the fence", "the Elf lord bowed before them", "the orcs were running over the plain").
  • Do not use "human" or "humans" when describing a concept inside the legendarium; instead write "Men" or "men", "Man"/"man", or "Mannish" (for usage of capital vs. lower-case letters, see above).

Dates and Years

  • For dates, always used Date Month and not Month Date, i.e. "4 March" and not "March 4".
  • Use [[Third Age 3019|T.A. 3019]] when linking to years. There are templates that automate this: {{TA|3019}} gives T.A. 3019, {{TA|3019|n}} gives 3019.
  • For articles with only a few dates (or only a few differing from the stated standard reckoning for the article) it is easiest to just spell out the reckoning period in full; 'Fourth Age 6'.


  • Before creating a category, please check to see if there is a same existing category or subcategory.
  • Generally, do not use supercategories (e.g. Since Category:Dúnedain is the parent category of Category:Dúnedain of the North, only the latter should be used in the Aragorn II article). However, if two or more categories from different sub-branches apply, then it would be proper to use both.


  • Always use italics for titles of books, series, movies, game, etc. (e.g. The Silmarillion, The Lord of the Rings, etc.)
  • Use italics for "isolated words and phrases in other languages". In terms of Tolkien-related articles, this would include anything in the Languages(e.g. Quenya, Sindarin, Rohirric, Khuzdul, etc.) as well as Old English (e.g. "a rope made of hithlain").


  • For quotations, use "double quotes" and 'single quotes' for nesting quotations; thus "quotations 'within' quotations".
  • Write formally. Avoid using contractions such as don't, can't, won't, would've, they'd,.
  • Avoid using slashes to join words. Instead, spell it out.


  • All articles that cover in-universe material must be in past tense.


  • Create links ONLY if they are relevant to the context.
  • Generally, there should not be duplicates of the same links. However, if you have made a link in captions or the infobox, it is a good idea to make the same link in the article.
  • The following should be linked: dates, places, people that have a major connection with the subject, technical terms, etc.
  • Make sure you link to the intended article rather than the disambiguation page; there are more than one "Minas Tirith", "Aragorn" and "Faramir". See also: Tolkien Gateway: Disambiguation

Article layout


  • Most article titles are plural, e.g. Elves, unless a plural is disputed (e.g. Balrog, Mallorn)
  • Avoid overusing parentheses in titles of articles, unless there is disambiguation.
  • Avoid the definite article ("the") and the indefinite article ("a"/"an") unless addressing the titles of books, series, movies, etc.
  • Avoid introducing names poetically, e.g. use just "in Minas Anor" instead of "in a city known as Minas Anor"; use just "Oromë" instead of "the Vala the Elves called Oromë".


  • The first occurrence of the [name of the] subject of the article at first mention must be bolded, preferably in the first sentence in the article.
  • The lead section should be about one to three paragraphs long, dependent on the overall size of the article. Often, a single sentence suffices.
  • Ideally, the lead section should be a synopsis of the topic's history, role and significance.


  • The "History" section is to represent a chronological, in-universe history of the subject. In-universe means that the topic should be treated as actual history/mythology, and not as a subject of literature and fiction. Phrases like "later in the chapter...", "in the second book...", "in one earlier version of the text...", and even the name "Tolkien" should be avoided in the narration.
  • The "Etymology" section is written either in or out of universe (or both if needs be), and should be well sourced. Avoid the generic term "Elvish". If the etymology is not covered in another source, {{or}} must be used.
  • In the "Inspiration" section, elements which have or may have influenced Tolkien in the forming of the character or event can be placed. Again, {{or}} must be used when proper.
  • For the "Genealogy" section, use the familytree-template.
  • "Other Versions of the Legendarium" is a section for information about differences that appear in Tolkien's drafts, changes made during writing, elements that didn't pass into the published texts, and generally for matters of questionable canonicity.
  • "Portrayal in Adaptations" is a section for out-of-universe information about the subject. See Tolkien Gateway:Projects/Adaptations for a list.
  • Some articles may contain a section for "In popular usage" to highlight how a word or inspiration by Tolkien passed into the later fantasy literature. For example the article on Hobbits mentions the "Halflings" of Role-Playing Games, inspired from Tolkien's Hobbits.
  • "See Also" is a section where the reader can be pointed at related articles, or a gallery of images of the subject.


Main article: Help:References
  • For all articles, notes and references/sources are combined under the same subsection: References. For this, simply type {{references}} at the bottom.
  • Do not cite secondary sources or tertiary sources UNLESS there are valid conclusions drawn based on primary sources; this includes the Encyclopedia of Arda, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth and The Atlas of Middle-earth, among others. Instead, use primary sources (reliable sources) such as published texts by Tolkien or secondary sources of The History of Middle-earth edited by Christopher Tolkien.

External links

  • Remember that the External links serves as further reading, not advertisement. Tolkien Gateway is not a link farm nor a web directory. Do not link to ten or more sites. There are exceptions to this case, but a vast quantity of external links are usually frowned upon. Three to four links are usually enough.
  • The following sites should be linked: Official sites (that majorly relate to the topic), articles about the subject of article on other encyclopedias or vast resources (e.g. Encyclopedia of Arda, The Thain's Book, Wikipedia, and sites that contain neutral and accurate information that has not been mentioned in the article. On controversial articles that contain multiple points of view, have at least equal amount of sites presenting each POV with a detailed explanation.
  • The following sites that are occasionally acceptable: professional reviews reviewing books, movies, etc. (e.g. IMDb), ONE very informative fansite about the subject of article, web directory full of informative fansites.
  • The following should be avoided and are generally not acceptable: fanlistings (because they are not generally informative), multiple fansites, web directories (for exceptions, see above).
  • The following should not be linked on articles under any circumstance: sites with unverified original research, any form of advertising (whether it's a site or a product), any social networking sites, etc.


Main article: Help:Images
  • Uploaded images must be related to J.R.R. Tolkien and his works, the one exception being if you want to upload an image for your userpage, usually of yourself, that is acceptable.
  • We are currently fairly lenient on the file size of images. If the image is above our maximum file size limit (you will see this after clicking the upload button) simply click save anyway. Keep in mind there is no need for extensive quality as our images are used primarily in articles. However we would prefer too high of quality opposed to too low of quality as we can always reduce the quality later.
  • Always tag the image you're uploading with image copyright tags. If you are not sure of the copyright, then it is best not to upload it.
  • Always include a description of the image: where the image came from, what it is, etc.
  • If available, place book illustrations first in the article, especially in infoboxes. Screenshots and other images from adaptations properly belong in an Adaptations section.
  • Do not change the images in the Infoboxes without discussing it on the talk page.
  • If the image is of an illustration, attempt to find the artist's title of the image and upload it as "Artist Name - Title of Illustration.jpg"
  • Categorize the image properly. These include "Category:Images by (artist's name)", and categories for all characters, objects and events.
  • If you're an artist yourself and you like your work featured on this website, it's advisable to upload images of minor characters only. We have sufficient pictures of Aragorn II, but NONE of Aragorn I.