Major Crimes Division Wiki
Manual of Style
This short guide will help establish an editorial style for all content added to the Major Crimes Division Wiki. Up to now, the wiki has had no style manual, and has very little content, having been opened and abandoned by its founder on the same day. This guide is designed to offer editors some simple assistance with formatting of new content.
The Closer and Major Crimes are American shows. All entries here should follow grammar, spelling, syntax, semantics and punctuation rules for American English and use American English vocabulary. Non-American editors unsure about correct American form are encouraged to consult the Elements of Style (Strunk & White) or any good printed guide to American English grammar. All new edits will be reviewed for adherence to American English.
Correct spelling, capitalization and punctuation are particularly critical. Entries in the wiki should be correctly spelled, capitalized and punctuated to ease readability. Entries in “text English” may be removed in totality, or may be heavily edited to comply with this guide.
All entries should be written in present tense, unless an exception is needed to properly present content, such as with episode summaries. We are describing the characters in-universe, and that means in the moment. Only historical events should be described in past tense.
Episode titles should be presented in quotation marks (no bold face or italics), with two exceptions: when hyperlinked, and when in parenthesis.
Titles of television shows, plays and films, such as might be discussed in an actor’s biography, should be italicized.
Starting and Developing an Article
A wiki is, above all, a place to relax and have some fun. At the same time, a bit of structure and organization makes a wiki more fun, and accessible for everyone. This is particularly true when it comes to creating articles. A new article isn’t always the best place for something you want to add; often times the best contributions are the ones that build stubs into bigger articles, or keep good articles up-to-date. Before you start, think about where the content you want to add will be best showcased as well as where it will make the most important contribution to the wiki. Who knows – a small edit may turn into a satisfying project as you work on an article that needed development. Regardless, everyone has a contribution to make!
Starting an Article v. Adding to an Article
This is always a tough call. Fewer articles make content more connected, but may make it harder to find. Many articles fragments content and creates a disconnect between characters or episodes and related content such as locations, equipment or procedures used. Good editorial judgment is key: stop and think before you start a new article.
The best rule of thumb is to evaluate how substantial an article will be on its own. At present, there are numerous short articles, often no more than a couple sentences apiece, cast and characters that can be built into substantial articles.
As always, the administrative staff reserves the right to delete, edit, move or combine stub article content.
Linking Content in an Article
The impulse in wikis is to hyperlink important content every time it appears, such as with episode titles or character names. Such linking, however, can make narrative difficult to read. The general rules for linking are as follows:
- Link on the first mention. For example, the first time each character’s name appears in an article, it should be linked.
- Link more than once only if an article is lengthy. Use good judgment: long, content heavy articles may need more than one link to character names or other important elements of the show, with the second link coming at least halfway down the article. There are few articles at present where this will need to be done.
- Link names in an infobox only if there is an article to link to.
- Linking to common items, such as handcuffs, is not appropriate.
Red links are links to as yet unwritten articles. By putting in a red link, an editor makes a commitment to write the article to which the link will eventually lead. Red links that remain more than a couple weeks may be removed at the Admin’s discretion. Think carefully before red linking. Under no circumstances should red links be included in infoboxes.
Episode articles will be added with a specific layout, that capture the basic format of most The Closer/Major Crimes episodes. The headings below will be added, along with an infobox using (Template: infobox episode), to each article at the beginning of the season, under the episode production number (see Major Crimes #521 for example). As titles are announced, the episode articles will be renamed and linked in broadcast order.
The layout begins with a quote from the episode that captures the episode’s theme, and a brief summary of the episode. It also includes an infobox with basic episode details, linking to the previous and next episodes. The following major headings will be included in the template article.
- The Closer Episodes
- The Victim
- The Suspects
- Closing the Case
- Brenda’s Story
- Guest Cast
- Recurring Cast
- Episode Notes
- Episode Media
- Major Crimes Episodes
- The Victim
- The Suspects
- Closing the Case
- Guest Cast
- Recurring Cast
- Episode Notes
- Episode Media
The episode summary should be a paragraph-length overview of the key plot points. One sentence is too short; develop it a bit. A lengthier description of the episode is broken into three sections, designed to guide the reader through the elements of the case: victim, suspects, evidence and how the team closes the case.
Brenda’s Story is for description of Brenda’s character development and back story, in the articles for The Closer only. As Major Crimes develops, a parallel section may be added to its articles.
Locations can be included when they are important to understanding the episode; lists of locations, particularly well-known locations, should not be included. Locations can be moved to improve readability, as needed.
Episode Notes and Trivia
Episode notes and trivia can be fun, and the show DVD’s along with cast interviews and blogs are rich fodder for gathering notes and trivia. Be careful to add what you know, not what you think you know.
Which is which?
The line dividing the two can be fine; use best judgment. Plot points belong in episode narrative.
- Episode notes are behind-the-scenes information about an episode and information that helps the reader understand the episode. Notes should be sourced; DVD commentary, online or print articles and crew blog on the TNT website are good sources for notes.
- Episode trivia is small detail of interest regarding the episode itself.
At present, the Wiki is a work in progress, and has an abundance of short, “stub”, articles with little or no content. These articles need development! Everyone has a contribution to make, and you can help!
Although this is a fan wiki, it is hosted on a commercial website. Consequently, reproduction of copyrighted material, notably from articles or press releases, should be done with care, and on a limited basis only. Direct reproduction of copyrighted material should be designed to enhance or support an editor’s own writing, not replace the need to do so, and should be fully cited to the original source.
TNT provides episode summaries on periodic press releases, as do other sites (such as TV Guide or Futon Critic). The TNT summaries may be added to the episode pages, with attribution, until such time as more extensive episode synopses can be written after the episode is broadcast. The TNT and other such summaries are not suitable for the episode summary table both because they are copyrighted and because they are written for PR purposes (to attract viewers) rather than for the purposes of understanding an already-broadcast episode.
Addition of material from another source without quotation marks and full attribution is plagiarism. All plagiarized material added to the Wiki is subject to immediate removal. Direct quotes from secondary sources should be limited, and designed to place emphasis or enhance a key point an editor is making.
Sections of the articles that consist solely of lists, particularly bulleted lists, should be avoided. Lists are acceptable if they are a small part of a paragraph that provides context, or each element in the list includes substantive content. As an alternative to lists, editors should write narrative discussions of content such as a character’s skills, key events or similar content now presented in list form. Short lists of examples can then be included to support the narrative. New lists, or new additions to lists absent any explanatory content will be removed at the Admin’s discretion.
Given this is a fan site, not a more serious (if questionably scholarly) project such as the Wikipedia, sourcing is informal. External sources are not important unless they source details of upcoming programming or an edit is controversial. More important is sourcing to episodes when key events or characters are discussed in an article.
Sourcing to episodes should be done using episode names only, and linked the first time an episode is used as a source in an article. Notation such as S1E12 means nothing to a reader without a list of episodes. Linked episode names are more informative and allow the reader to read the episode summary if they desire.
Rumors and Spoilers
Rumors are the stuff of message boards, but don’t belong here. They tend to get people agitated, and more often than not, are not true. Rumors will be removed.
Spoilers can be included in articles as long as they are appropriately sourced to a reliable media source (such as TV Guide or Zap2it). Advance information about an episode, plot line or character is a spoiler only up to the first time an episode is broadcast in the Pacific time zone. After that, it’s up to individual editors to exercise a measure of personal responsibility and avoid reading articles about unseen episodes.
Use of “Notable”
Notability is subjective. Lists of notable episodes, guest stars or other content reflects the judgment of editors against individual, and personal, standards. What’s notable to one editor may be inconsequential to another. Use of notable should be done with care.
Rule of Thumb for Determining Notability: an episode that strongly features a character is not notable whereas an episode that includes significant character development or exposition is.
Fancruft and Tangental Informatio
Fancruft (content understood only by regular, strongly vested viewers) is a problem in every wiki. Lists of minutia or ephemeria associated with an episode or a character adds little to the article and are largely meaningless to a reader who has not seen the article.
One of the worst kind of fancruft are so-called “future”, “inside” and “external” references. Most are a product of an editor’s imagination or coincidental. It’s impossible to refer to the future, making “future references” absurd. Editors should avoid so-called "external" and "inside" references unless there is a substantive connection between two episodes. More often, it’s best to simply add a note where appropriate when two episodes or events are related in the episode articles’ notes section, and avoid pigeonholing such occurrences into a specific category of reference.