This page is an official policy on Understanding Chemistry Wiki. It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that all users should follow. When editing this page, please ensure that your revision reflects consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page. Template:Shortcut

The below are guidelines attempting to describe the style with which articles and article content should be made. For a more general guide to editing and interacting on Understanding Chemistry Wiki, see the UCW:General usage guide.

New article titles Edit

If the information merits a new article, following existing convention is a good rule of thumb:

Singular vs plural Edit

  • When an object or theme occurs once, leave the article in the singular form.
  • To link to Molecule, for example, one can use [[Molecule]]s or [[Molecule|molecules]]. If the article name was plural, one would have to use [[Common cations|cation]] to edit for correctness.
  • Category names should always be plural.

Capitalization Edit

  • Use lower-case, except for titles and proper names, for which a capital letter should be used. Like singular names, this reflects the most common way one would use the term in a sentence; for example - Einstein wrote an equation that defined energy.
    • There are exceptions to this; mainly acronyms. IUPAC is an acronym, for example.

A/An/The in page titles Edit

  • Avoid using A/An in page titles, except for proper names when you should use a "The"
    • Use "The" only if that is part of the proper name of the item. For example, use Theory of relativity, as opposed to The theory of relatively.
    • Very short words confuse the search engine as well: see UCW:Searching for tips on making the most of the search engine on Understanding Chemistry Wiki.

Proper names (people) Edit

  • Whenever possible, use the full name of the person.
  • Use only last names only as a last resort, or when a name is repeated several times in a single article.
  • Add a redirect by the last name, and a disambiguation page for several people with the same last name as well (see below).


  • Wikitext does not read symbols well--whenever possible, spell these titles out.
    • For example: Instead of "&" (an ampersand), use "and".

Simplify Edit

  • Generally, the simpler the title, the better. For example, rather than "List of common organic molecules", the title Organic molecules says it all and is easier to find on doing a search. Exclude unnecessary words such as "List of", "Types of", etc. for this reason. If the specific purpose or significance of an article needs further explanation, go into detail in the body of the article. Make sure the topic requires its own article.

Conventions within articles Edit

Headings Edit

  • All headings should use the same capitalization rules used for article titles.
  • Italics, bold, and links should be avoided in headings. Links in particular may be difficult for some users to see within headings.

=== Use bold or italics for emphasis

  • Create bold text by wrapping the title in three single quotes; i.e. '''hyper-''' results in hyper-.
  • Create italicized text by wrapping the title in two single quotes; i.e. ''hypo-'' will result in hypo-.

Links Edit

  • Wikify text where appropriate; i.e [[Atom]] will result in Atom.
  • Not every word in an article needs to be wikified; it is fine just to wikify the first mention of a word in that section of the article.

Use existing conventions Edit

  • When referring to a specific title of a book, film, or other such major work, it is good practice to use italics. For example, ''[[A Brief History of Time]]'' (double apostrophes, not quotation marks) becomes A Brief History of Time.
  • A shortcut that works for all words is {{link|WORD(S) HERE}}. This will automatically wikify, add quotes or italics where dictated by this guide; otherwise, it will link to the Wikipedia article, when there is none on Understanding Chemistry Wiki.

Categorize Edit

Please place the article in any of our categories with the following line of code: [[Category:Topic]] at the very end of the article. For the complete list of categories, see UCW:Categories. Be as specific as you can with the categories. Remember that sometimes articles will fit into more than one category. Do not categorize user blog posts or discussion tab articles.

  • If you are unsure what category your article fits in, you can leave it uncategorized. Sysops and others can use a special page for uncategorized pages to see a list of pages that have no category. The goal is to keep this list empty.

Never sign your contributions to articles Edit

The wiki concept is not single authorship, but rather a collaborative effort. You might be extra proud of your article, but it will be read and edited by the rest of us. Signatures found in the articles are to be deleted. (For any questions of authorship, refer to the Creative Commons license.)

Always sign your contributions to talk pagesEdit

While there is a log entry left for your edit, please sign comments on a talk or discussion page using the signature button on the edit toolbar, or with four tildes:~~~~

Linking to wikipediaEdit

It's easy to link to wikipedia articles if information is beyond the scope of an article, using the syntax [[wikipedia:article|Title]].

Present versus past tense Edit

  • Except for descriptions of historical events, articles should be written in the present tense.
  • Article biographies of living people should begin in the present tense; biographies of deceased ones should begin in the past tense.
  • Picture captions should be written in the present tense, and should end with periods if they constitute complete sentences.

No personal pronouns Edit

The second person pronoun "you", and the first person pronouns "I" and "we" as well as "one" should not be used in articles. The implicit second person pronoun "you" should not be used in imperative sentences. Examples:

  • Incorrect: You should review the following articles prior to reading this article.
  • Correct: A student should be familiar with the following concepts before reading this article.

Spelling and grammar Edit

Before submitting, use the Show preview button and read again what you wrote. You might find that you did not convey the subject matter as you wanted. Hit the preview button until you are happy and proud with your submission.

  • If you don't feel confident with your writing style, spelling and grammar, include the message "Proofread Me" in the edit summary, encouraging another active user to read and edit your contributions.
  • Utilize US English spellings. If British English spellings are used it is not a major priority to correct them but you may.
    • If the Understanding Chemistry Wiki becomes widely used by speakers of languages other than US English, this policy may change.

A picture is worth a thousand words. If you can, put an image in your article. An image helps clarify the subject at hand. Presentation goes a long way. Wikisyntax makes it very easy to edit and categorize information. One extremely useful tool is multiple, nested layers of headings.

Redirection and list conventionsEdit

Duplicate or redundant articles should not be created. A redirection page is one that automatically shunts a search for a particular keyword into another existing page; they can be created by typing only #REDIRECT [[Page name here]] in that article.

Do not create pages with just lists of article links that duplicate existing categories. These should be redirected to the category in question by typing #REDIRECT [[:Category:Name here]] (adding the first ":" is necessary to avoid categorizing the redirect page back into itself).

List articles should have some limited info aside from just listing links, however, they should not go into a huge amount of detail of each item, rather linking to the main page where necessary. Some portals are list pages (that are aesthetically arranged to help aid the viewer in navigation); see Ex. Portal:Locations. Small lists do not merit article pages, and may be added to the main topic article.

Disambiguation page conventionsEdit

The purpose of a disambiguation page is to assist a user who has searched with an ambiguous term in quickly finding the article actually being sought.

Begin a disambiguation page with the ambiguous term or terms in bold and a brief disambiguating phrase such as "may refer to" or "can mean", followed by a colon. This should be followed by a bulleted list of links to the various applicable unambiguous pages.

  • No bold should be found anywhere in the bulleted list.
  • Only one wikilink should appear in each item in the bulleted list. More than one wikilink per line defeats the purpose of disambiguation.
    • Exception: if the main link in the disambiguation line is a redlink (i.e., if an article has not been created for it yet), other items in the line may be wikilinked, in order to assist a user interested in initiating an article for the redlinked subject with starting points for his or her research.
  • Be succinct with each line, assisting in quick disambiguation. Do not place periods at the end of the lines. If a line needs a period because it has more than one sentence, be merciless in editing the line down until no period is required. A disambiguation page is not an encyclopedia article; its function is merely to provide a bridge to the encyclopedia article being sought by the user who searched for the ambiguous term.
  • Do not use crossref templates in the bulleted list; instead use wikilinks.

The {{disambig}} template tag should be placed at the top of the disambiguation page to categorize it as such.Template:Nav-Meta

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