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The DC Database Manual of Style is a writing guide for editors to keep the database running at a consistent standard of quality. Editors should strive to keep a homogeneous writing style, as if the entire site was written by one person. This means keeping everything as professional as possible, and living up to the values that we hold ourselves to as a site. Users should also work to correct existing articles as of the formation of this constitution so that they adhere to its code. Suggestions for things that should be added can be discussed on the talk page. If you're in doubt about anything on this page, don't hesitate to ask an administrator for assistance.

Basic layout

We use Page Templates. They're big, they're old and they're held together by duct tape, bubble gum and dark magic. The templates give a standardized look across wikis and create necessary categories, and you cannot create any pages without it. Most pages will have some infobox information and a powers section.

But please do not create pages without Overview and/or HistoryText. How are readers supposed to know what the page is about if there's nothing on the page? (Not just readers - Google doesn't understand it either). An infobox is a brief summary, but it doesn't replace actual content. We've been lax about this in the past, but now we have to be more strict. A new page without either a lede or a history section is considered an empty page and can be deleted.

Note that any Prime Earth page for a character that appeared in a previous continuity needs a {{PEthing}} and {{PEBoilerplate}}. See DC Database:Prime Earth Project.

Cite everything

This should be self-explanatory. Nothing is taken for granted here. This is very strict... it's not enough just to mention that something happened, you have to mention where it happened. No matter how "true" you say it is, if it's unsourced, it can be reverted. One of the great strengths of our site is the way that we seamlessly integrate character histories and comics, with each one complementing the other. Everything is connected. This is important because it makes everything verifiable, makes information easier to track down, and provides a more complete perspective of the DC Universe. Citations are quick, easy, essential, and they save you the work of writing up a complete itinerary of what happened in every issue by letting you summarize and link to the rest.

  • Bad example: There was a story written in the fifties where Joe Chill's murder of Bruce Wayne's parents was shown to be a mob hit ordered by a gangster named Lew Moxon.
  • Good example: Joe Chill's murder of Bruce Wayne's parents was a mob hit ordered by a gangster named Lew Moxon.<ref>{{c|Detective Comics #235}}</ref>

Conciseness

Conciseness

"Dammit, Bruce..."

The best writing on this site is whatever gives the most relevant information while using the least words. Remember the audience that you're writing for, and always keep significance in mind. On character pages, try to only write things that are relevant to the complete history of the character, and do your best to keep out trivial minutia... clutter and mess do not make good articles. Always summarize to the best of your ability. If the article is nothing more than a compilation of complete unedited synopses for every appearance in chronological order, then it's not a good article. That's the place for comics' pages, where people go to read every single thing that happened in a comic that's been mentioned. You are directly responsible for not wasting people's time.

  • Bad example: Batman knew he had to stop the Joker, who had just escaped from Arkham. In his search for clues, he turned to the Clown Prince of Crime's fellow inmates. His first target was Two-Face; the former DA angrily flipped his coin and said he had not seen anyone. Poison Ivy was next. Sulking in a corner with a plant to keep her company, she did not utter a single word. The third interviewee was Killer Croc. The mutated monster only chuckled at every word, not intent on sharing anything, but Batman knew he knew more. He pressed his foe and still he would not budge, so he used a very strong taser. Exhausted from repeated shocks, Killer Croc finally revealed that he had seen a new doctor open the cell of the Harlequin of Hate. Batman knew he had to act quick, so he turned to Dr. Jeremiah Arkham, the administrator of the facility, for the files of newly hired psychologists. Arkham was keen to share, hoping to avoid the bad publicity that would come from a second "Harley Quinn" scenario.
  • Good example: Batman investigated the Joker's escape by interrogating the other inmates.

This also extends to what you should and should not include. If it's unknown, there's no need to say it is.

  • Bad example: Not much is known about his early life at this time. The man that would later be known as Four-Eyes was born in in the 1920s to unnamed parents somewhere in the United States, and enlisted in the Army during or before World War II. He was assigned to Easy Company under the command of Sgt. Rock. He earned his nicknames because of all the soldiers in the company, he was the only one with glasses. His poor eyesight did not mean he was a bad shot; in fact, he was the unit's best sharpshooter. Whether he survived the war and his exploits after, if any, are unrecorded.
  • Good example: Four-Eyes was a member of Easy Company during World War II. His nickname stemmed from his glasses; he was the only one in Easy Company that had to use them. Nevertheless, he was the unit's best sharp-shooter.

Don't make assumptions about the reader

Don't assume that every reader has an inherent basic understanding of the character that you're talking about or why they're important. We have a lot of casual readers who come here to learn about characters they've heard of but don't know anything about. Do not exclude them as an audience. Character pages ideally should start with a general overview of the character, their significance in the DCU and why anyone should care before launching into their chronology. An article about Hal Jordan that starts off with a lengthy explanation of what life was like for him in the air force does absolutely no good to a new reader, who presumably has to read the entire lengthy article and put the pieces together for themselves instead of reading a simple intro paragraph. This is not to say you should exclude more experienced readers by over-simplifying everything either, but if written correctly, you can easily appeal to both demographics. Character bios should include a short intro, detailing things like aliases, team membership and powers/character traits, which should be put in the Overview field rather than the HistoryText.

Good spelling and grammar

This is self-explanatory. Here at the DC Database, we pride ourselves on having at least a rudimentary grasp of the English language. Please help us keep this standard up. If your edits are laden with spelling errors, they will be reverted. We hate going through and constantly having to fix other people's spelling mistakes. Everybody makes a typo or two now and again, we're not perfect creatures; but we should be able to tell the difference between your contributions to the site and your cat accidentally walking over the keyboard then clicking save while you're out of the room making hot cocoa.

Image policy

 
Main article: Image Policy

Officially in regular articles we only use images that are officially published by DC Comics, that means no fan art (no matter how good you are). Make sure your images are relevant and serve a purpose... whether it's a good view of the character in question, their costumed persona, their civilian identity, a dramatic moment important to the history of the character or maybe even something that was particularly funny.

The main image should reflect the character's appearance in their most iconic look. This is vague and subjective and obviously subject to discussion. We prefer the iconic look over what they look like in comics this week. Some characters change costumes so often, it's difficult to keep track of. If you disagree with an image, discuss it on the page's talk page, don't change it yourself.

In-universe perspective

The histories of characters and events are generally supposed to be written as if you were an omniscient historian living in the DC Universe, not just some random guy. Try to write everything from an in-universe perspective and describe things as in-universe as you're capable of doing. This is not required where you directly need to talk about publication information.

Naming conventions

 
Main article: Naming Conventions

Our naming conventions are a well-designed system to keep everything on our site consistent. Having everything connected through complicated templating means that the pagenames we use are very important and the site mechanics break down if there are incongruities. The system seems slightly complicated at first, but is very necessary and makes a lot more sense when you get used to it. Before creating new character articles, make sure you're following these conventions and the page hasn't already been created.

Neutral point of view

The Neutral Point of View is a philosophy that can be best described as reporting data objectively without bias so that the reader can make an impartial decision of their own based on the facts presented. "Without bias" is a myth, but please try.

For controversial topics and obscure cases, there are often more versions of the story. This could pertain to a character's name, religion, addresses, birthday, hair color and/or costume. Later information does not always cancel out the earlier version; there is a difference between a retcon, having no knowledge of the earlier version, and just making a mistake. Since characters, especially the bigger ones, have dozens of different writers, it's inevitable they sometimes give conflicting information. In such cases, we list all versions (or rather, all versions we've found so far), for historical perspective and neutral point of view.

No fact is too small

Everything has a place here. If it happened, it's probably worth mentioning. There are lots of examples in comics of seemingly meaningless characters coming back to play larger roles, and minor plot elements being expanded into something greater. In the pursuit of ultimate completion, we really do try to mention every single thing that happens... and illustrate them as we go along, also. We pride ourselves on keeping track of the little things... like the ingredients in Green Arrow's Chili, or the food that Alfred feeds the bats in the Batcave (free-range corn-fed chicken goujons, gently fried in extra virgin olive oil, with chives).

  • Corollary: This does not mean that Batman's page needs to include a blow-by-blow report of every single fight he's ever been in... that would be ridiculous, excessive, and make for shitty articles that no one would want to read. However, the individual comics that you're citing and referencing when you mention fights that he's been in can include as much detailed information as you want them to. This is like having our cake and eating it too.

Plagiarism

 
Main article: Plagiarism

Don't steal shit from other sites... it makes us look bad. If you notice that something posted here is taken from another site, please report that oversight to us. Mistakes have been made in the past without malicious intent, and the early days of the site from several years ago saw some shameless Wikipedia cribbing that nobody is proud of (before we became an entity in our own right). This should all be gotten rid of and replaced with original content. Nobody likes a cheater.

Statistics policy

 
Main article: Statistics Policy

It is extremely rare for comics to publish exact numerical figures about the characters because generally most things like that tend to vary depending on the creative team. Characters usually don't have exact limits on how much they can lift or how fast they can run, because they're as strong or as fast as the story needs them to be for the plot to work. Ages are almost never mentioned because everything is on a sliding timescale... that's how the DCU has been around for over 75 years and nobody's aged more than twenty during that time. Heights and weights are given in handbook, but every artist draws the character differently. We do list these figures, but as more of a guide to information put out by the company than a concrete guide to the definitive fictional laws of reality. If you're going to change a numerical statistic on the site, you need to explain where you're getting your information from. You can't just change something because it doesn't seem right to you or because in some random issue you saw from the nineties one character looked several inches taller than he's supposed to be. Leave those numbers alone unless you have good reason.

Alignment

Aside from the aforementioned images and statistics, there's one more hot topic that's bound to attract differing viewpoints, and as such, should not be changed without a discussion on the talk page. That... is alignment.e biggest one of these is alignment. We've got three options, Bad, Neutral and Good, but also acknowledge they might not cover everything. Plenty of villains are the hero of their own story. Does that make them good? Or score them at least enough brownie points to make them neutral? It's a topic of some debate. Debate you're going to have to start again if you disagree with the current choice.

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