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How to state a fact

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Forum Index > Wiki Tutorials > How to state a fact
Posted by 452 on 2015-01-29 13:14:31

Writing on this wiki should be an exercise in brevity, not waffling. Facts should be concise, not vague. You do not need to pad your sentences with redundant words in order to reach a certain word count.

I have a script which highlights redundant words while I'm editing, so I can reword them. I'm going to share some of the words on that list, and explain why they're unnecessary. Many of these are already covered in this wiki's Manual of Style, but I'm going to expand a little further.

No one is going to get "in trouble" for using these words, but I will reword them when I see them, and encourage others to do the same.

The sky is blue.[1] Perfect!
The only way this fact could possibly be improved is by adding an image reference to prove it. Done!
It should be noted that the sky is blue.
Notably, the sky is blue.
It is already noted by adding it. The fact that you are adding it to the wiki shows that you think it should be noted, so you don't need to note that the reason you are adding it is that it should be noted.

We could start every single sentence on this wiki with "It should be noted..."

The sky will be blue. ...when? Current tense should always be used on this wiki. Unless you're talking about the sky changing to blue, then saying "will be" is confusing.
The sky was blue. ...so it's not blue any more? If it happens in the game, use present tense. If it happened before the game, use past tense.
If the player looks up, the sky is blue.
While looking up, it can be found that the sky is blue.
You will find that the sky is blue.
It can be seen that the sky is blue.
A quartet of similarly redundant statements.
Let's skip the philosophical debates about whether things exist when you can't seem them: the sky is always blue, whether or not you look at it. The fact that you need to observe the sky in order to determine the colour of it is a given.

It is, of course, possible that when you are not looking at the sky, it is not rendered, but that is irrelevant, as that is true of many things in the game.

We could start every single sentence on this wiki with "When you look at it...", "You will find", or "It can be seen".

The sky seems to be blue.
The sky appears to be blue.
The sky should be blue.
Don't beat around the bush - it either it is, or it isn't. If you're not sure, just say that it is anyway - if it's wrong, someone else will fix it. If you still don't want to make a commitment, why not try "The sky is a bluish colour".

We could add "seems" to every single sentence on this wiki.

The sky is blue, shown by the fact that
The sky is blue, confirmed by
The sky is blue, further confirmed by
I don't even know how to end that hypothetical sentence, but sentences should never be worded that way.
All of these indicate that the next words are a fact, so either all of the words up to this point are redundant, or the fact should be used as a reference.
Additionally, the words "further confirmed" indicate that there is some other confirmation already, which there usually isn't - so these words together are a big red flag.
Interestingly, the sky is blue.
Basically, the sky is blue.
Obviously, the sky is blue.
Ironically, the sky is blue.
Strangely, the sky is blue.
Surprisingly, the sky is blue.
That fact that you find it interesting, etc, is an opinion, the fact that you are adding it to the wiki shows that you think it is interesting, so you do not need to state that you find it interesting.

We could start every single sentence on this wiki with "Interestingly...".

Apparently, the sky is blue.
Presumably, the sky is blue.
The sky is probably blue.
The sky is possibly blue.
All of these indicate assumption, speculation, or at the very least being unsure.
Up in the air, some things are blue. Although this is a terrible example which no-one would say: Being vague doesn't help anyone.


A better example is "Some vehicles are convertible". It's 100% true, but 99% useless.

The sky is blue, indicating... Slow down, hotshot. The words after indicating are a conclusion, and conclusions are often speculation.
State facts, not conclusions.
It is rumoured that the sky is blue. Rumours, and people who spread rumours, are stupid. Rumours are not permitted on this wiki. Anyone can make up a rumour, and this wiki will not perpetuate them. If you hear a rumour, feel free to research it and confirm it, if you confirm it, then add proof to the wiki - or instructions to reliably reproduce it. Similarly, if you see instructions on the wiki that you cannot reliably reproduce, either remove it, or ask a question about it so it can be improved.
According to my friend's mother, the sky is blue. Are you unable to confirm this yourself?
  • If you have played the game yourself and confirmed this fact, then the fact that your friend's mother told you about it is irrelevant.
  • If you have not confirmed it yourself, then you probably shouldn't be adding it.

Using references are a different story, if a fact requires a source, then it should be a reference, not stated in-line. However, if you add {{ref|'''Source''': My friend's mother}} you will be blocked from the wiki for trolling.
In any case, the only time "According to" is valid in prose is if it is something one of the characters claims which is not demonstrated in the game - although in most cases, their word can be taken as fact until proven otherwise.

Obviously, there are exceptions.

References
  1. Image:
    The sky is blue

    The sky is blue

452 - 2015-01-29 13:14:31

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