Tolkien Gateway

Tolkien Gateway:Manual of Style

Revision as of 18:26, 15 March 2009 by (Talk)

This article contains standards used across all of Tolkien Gateway.


General rules


  1. 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).


  1. Always bold the topic of the article at first mention in the article. However it is not necessary to bold the title after that.

Capital letters

  1. 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").


  1. Before creating a category, please check to see if there is a same existing category or subcategory.
  2. Generally, do not categorize things twice (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.


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


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


  1. 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.
  2. It can be easy to misspell terms in Tolkien's languages as they are not found in an English dictionary. If you are ever unsure of the spelling just use Tolkien Gateway's search box and see what the title of the page you are directed to is. Please keep in mind Middle Earth, Middle-Earth, and Middle earth are all misspellings of "Middle-earth". Illuvatar is also one "L" too many and one accent too short of being correct.


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


  1. Create links ONLY if they are relevant to the context.
  2. 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.
  3. The following should be linked: dates, places, people that have a major connection with the subject, technical terms, etc.
  4. Make sure you link to the intended article rather than the disambiguation page; there are more than one "Minas Tirith", "Aragorn" and "Faramir". For a full list, see here.



  1. Most article titles are plural, e.g. Elves.
  2. Avoid overusing parenthesis in titles of articles, unless there is disambiguation
  3. Avoid the definite article ("the") and the indefinite article ("a"/"an") unless addressing the titles of a books, series, movies, etc.


  1. The [name of the] subject of the article at first mention must be bolded, preferably in the first sentence in the article.
  2. The lead section, which should be about one to three paragraphs long.


  1. For Tolkien-related articles and lists, notes and references/sources are combined under the same subsection: References.
  2. When citing books or papers, it is best to include page numbers to indicate where the specific content was referenced from.
  3. When citing include the book title and chapter, as well as (if possible publisher), imprint and edition information. Page numbers vary from issue to issue.
  4. 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, The Atlas of Middle-earth, and A Tolkien Bestiary. Instead, use primary sources (reliable sources) such as published texts by Tolkien or secondary source of The History of Middle-earth edited by Christopher Tolkien.

External links

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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, blogs, etc.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Always include a description of the image: where the image came from, what it is, etc.
  5. If available, place book illustrations first in the article, especially in infoboxes. Screenshots and other images from adaptations properly belong in an Adaptations section.
  6. Do not change the images in the Infoboxes without discussing it on the talk page.
  7. 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"
  8. Categorize the image properly. These include "Category:Images by (artist's name)", and categories for all characters, objects and events.
  9. 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.

Fair use

  1. Always include Template:fairuse if you are unsure the copyright status of the image.
  2. Generally, there should be no more than 4-6 illustrations or photographs from the same artist in an article, depending on the length and popularity of the subject of the article.



For many aspects of Middle-earth, earlier and later versions of the stories are available. Articles should not present a canon version of the legendarium, but should contain information about the different versions and history of the composition of the stories. One way to do this is to have a '==Other versions of the Legendarium==' section in the article. Please source such material to the posthumously published works, such as The History of Middle-earth series, as well as sourcing literary analysis of such material.


  1. Use [[Third Age 3019|T.A. 3019]] when linking to years.
  2. If an article contains several dates from the same reckoning period then include the sentence, "Dates are given in years of the [[Third Age]], unless otherwise noted." Subsequent references to this reckoning can then be simply numeric (e.g. '2918') with no identifying label. This system can also be used for article sub-sections which contain several dates from the same reckoning period.
  3. 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 37'.


  1. 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 LotR).
  2. Take note of correct spellings, including diacritical marks. (e.g. Éomer, not Eomer)
  3. 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")
  4. Italicize non-English terms for objects and creatures (e.g. palantír, crebain), but not for peoples (e.g. Eldar). In general, follow the books.
  5. When referring to adaptations, label them clearly as to avoid confusion with works of the same name (e.g. "Peter Jackson's The Two Towers" rather than just "The Two Towers", and "Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings" instead of "The Lord of the Rings films"), and label their creators when necessary. For films, mention the director, studio and date of release.
  6. 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. "Army of the Dead" should only be used in an adaptation context; use "Dead Men of Dunharrow" elsewhere).