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Wikiafripedia:Manual of Style/Layout

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An article with a table of contents block and an image near the start, then several sections
Sample article layout (click on image for larger view)

This guide presents the typical layout of Wikiafripedia articles, which includes the sections an article usually has, ordering of sections, and formatting styles for various elements of an article. For advice on the use of wiki markup, see Help:Editing; and for guidance on writing style, see Manual of Style.

Order of article elements

A simple article should have at least a lead section and references. As editors add complexity where required, the elements (such as sections and templates) that are used typically appear in the following order, although they would not all appear in the same article at the same time:

  1. Before the lead section
    1. Short description
    2. Hatnotes
    3. Deletion/Protection tags (CSD, PROD, AFD, PP notices)
    4. Maintenance / dispute tags
    5. English variety and date style
    6. Infoboxes
    7. Foreign character warning boxes
    8. Images
    9. Navigational boxes (header navboxes)
  2. Body
    1. Lead section (also called the introduction)
    2. Table of contents
    3. Content
  3. Appendices[1]
    1. Works or publications (for biographies only)
    2. See also
    3. Notes and references (this can be two sections in some citation systems)
    4. Further reading
    5. External links[2]
  4. Bottom matter
    1. Succession boxes and geography boxes
    2. Other navigation templates (footer navboxes)[3] (navbars above {{Portal bar}})
    3. Geographical coordinates (if not in Infobox) or {{coord missing}}
    4. Authority control templates (taxonbar above Authority control)
    5. {{Featured list}}, {{Featured article}} and {{Good article}} (where appropriate for article status)
    6. Defaultsort
    7. Categories[4]
    8. Stub templates

Body sections

For further information, see Help:Section
File:Wikiafripedia layout sample bodies.png
Body sections appear after the lead and table of contents (click on image for larger view).

Articles longer than a stub are generally divided into sections, and sections over a certain length are generally divided into paragraphs; these divisions enhance the readability of the article. The names and orders of section headings are often determined by the relevant WikiProject, although articles should still follow good organizational and writing principles regarding sections and paragraphs.

Headings and sections

For further information, see Wikiafripedia:Manual of Style#Section headings

Headings introduce sections and subsections, clarify articles by breaking up text, organize content, and populate the table of contents. Very short or very long sections and subsections in an article look cluttered and inhibit the flow of the prose. Short paragraphs and single sentences generally do not warrant their own subheading.

Headings follow a six-level hierarchy, starting at 1 and ending at 6. The level of the heading is defined by the number of equal signs on either side of the title. Heading 1 (=Heading 1=) is automatically generated as the title of the article, and is never appropriate within the body of articles. Sections start at the second level (==Heading 2==), with subsections at the third level (===Heading 3===), and additional levels of subsections at the fourth level (====Heading 4====), fifth level, and sixth level. Sections should be consecutive, such that they do not skip levels from sections to sub-subsections; the exact methodology is part of the Accessibility guideline.[5] Between sections, there should be a single blank line; multiple blank lines in the edit window create too much white space in the article. There is no need to include a blank line between a heading and sub-heading. When changing or removing a heading, consider adding an anchor template with the original heading name to provide for incoming external links and wikilinks (preferably using {{subst:anchor}} rather than using {{anchor}} directly—see MOS:HEADINGS).

Names and orders for section headings

Because of the diversity of subjects it covers, Wikiafripedia has no general standard or guideline regarding the names or order of section headings within the body of an article. The usual practice is to name and order sections based on the precedent of similar articles. Contributors should follow the consensus model to establish an order.

If a section is named inappropriately you may also use the {{Rename section}} template.

Certain Manual of Style topic pages have advice for the layout of an article, including:

Some WikiProjects have developed their own style advice pages which include section naming and ordering recommendations. See Category:WikiProject style advice.

Section templates and summary style

When a section is a summary of another article that provides a full exposition of the section, a link to that article should appear immediately under the section heading. You can use the {{Main}} template to generate a "Main article" link, in Wikiafripedia's "hatnote" style.

If one or more articles provide further information or additional details (rather than a full exposition, see above), references to such articles may be placed immediately after the section heading for that section, provided this does not duplicate a wikilink in the text. These additional references should be grouped along with the {{Main}} template (if there is one), or at the foot of the section that introduces the material for which these templates provide additional information. You can use one of the following templates to generate these links:

  • {{Further}} – this generates a "Further information" link
  • {{See also}} – this generates a "See also" link

For example, to generate a "See also" link to the article on Wikiafripedia:How to edit a page, type {{See also|Wikiafripedia:How to edit a page}}, which will generate:


Sections usually consist of paragraphs of running prose. Between paragraphs—as between sections—there should be only a single blank line. First lines are not indented. Bullet points should not be used in the lead of an article, and should not be used in the body unless for breaking up a mass of text, particularly if the topic requires significant effort to comprehend. However, bulleted lists are typical in the reference and further-reading sections towards the end of the article. Bullet points are usually not separated by blank lines, as that causes an accessibility issue