Battlestar Wiki:Standards and Conventions/Prose

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This page serves to coordinate discussion on a particular aspect of this Wiki. The formal recommendations of a project may be treated as policies.

Battlestar Wiki's Standards and Conventions
Standards for...

... Page Formatting
... Article Prose and Grammar
... Cast and Crew Biographies
... Episode Guides
... Disambiguations
... Quote of the Day pages

This part of the standards and conventions series deals with spelling, numbers, and how to deal with subjects in articles.

Spelling and Numbers

Please use the American English spellings of words as much as possible in the English version of Battlestar Wiki. This is arbitrary, but a call had to be made for standardization. If you are British, please feel free to add your contributions in the "Queen's English" if this makes it initially easier for you to contribute. However, please do not re-edit correctly spelled American English edits (including edits to your own contributions) to their British counterparts unless you are rewriting whole paragraphs, sections, or articles.

Ranks are only capitalized when used as title, i.e. "Adama talks to Lieutenant Thrace," but "Thrace is promoted to captain."

Use "the Twelve Colonies" rather than "the 12 Colonies" as it is the name of a sovereign government like "the United States." Likewise, "Colonial" should always be capitalized, although "colony" or "colonies" remains uncapitalized for the same reason we do not capitalize "state" or "states" when referring to one of the United States.

Numbers should use a period (.) for decimal places and a comma (,) for marking every three digits (e.g. 3,600 or 54,345,277). For ease of reading, such use of commas is encouraged. Numbers less than 15 should generally be written out long hand (i.e. seven, not 7).

Use an apostrophe-S ('s) for all possessives, unless the noun is plural:

  • "Pegasus's fuel reserves are low." (singular possessive)
  • "The Vipers' ammunition would not fire." (plural possessive)

Character Names

Characters should be introduced with both first and last name the first time they are mentioned in an article. Subsequent referrals may abbreviate to the last name. Never use only the first name when the last name is known (ie, "Kara Thrace" or "Thrace", but never "Kara").

There are several currently active characters who share the same last name. These characters include the Adamas, the Tighs, the Tyrols, and the Agathons, but also extend into the human aliases of the various humanoid Cylon, particularly the Sharon Valeriis. It is often tempting to refer to the supporting characters by their first names, and (William) Adama and (Saul) Tigh by their last. On Battlestar Wiki, we find this somewhat condescending.

Where necessary, characters sharing the same last name should both be introduced using full names, and may subsequently be referred to with first names. For example, in a single article or section where the characters interact with each other, characters such as Ellen Tigh and Saul Tigh should be introduced by their full names. The character's first names may be used to differentiate in article sections and topics where the characters interact directly with each other in the course of an event. If Saul and Ellen appear in the same article but are not interacting directly, the full names or titles should be used to differentiate.

An exception to the "last names only" convention is on a character's biography article. The character's last name may have precedence over all other characters of the same name. All others with the same last name may be referred to by their first name in biography articles. (For example, "Adama asks his son, Lee, to fix the sink.")

Other acceptable means for disambiguation include rank (Admiral Adama vs. Captain Adama) and callsign (Adama vs. "Apollo"). Callsigns are appropriate for summaries and military data, but not for biographies. For Re-imagined Series characters, it is a good rule of thumb to use their callsign in articles where story events place the character in actual flight in a fighter.

Character Titles

Re-imagined Series characters in the Quorum of Twelve should be referred to as delegates, not representatives. Although the show uses both terms, the "delegate" appears to be the formal title.


Ship names should always be italicized (e.g. Galactica). Italicization of ship names should not include the possessive marker and other endings added to a ship's name (e.g. Galactica's, not Galactica's), nor articles.

Note: To avoid any Wiki code rendering issues, encase the apostrophe S in <nowiki> tags, like so: <nowiki>'s</nowiki>.

Military ships generally receive no article (i.e. "Galactica" not "the Galactica") and civilian ships generally do receive an article (i.e. "the Rising Star" not "Rising Star"). There are some exceptions to this (e.g. Colonial One, Cloud 9). Usually, ship names ending in a number do not receive an article.

It is usually unnecessary to use the modifier "battlestar" (as in "battlestar Galactica") more than once in an article for the same reason it is unnecessary to say "starship Enterprise" or "battleship Yamato" throughout any text. Using the ship's classification repetitively in this fashion is distracting and also adds unnecessarily to the size of an article. Using "the battlestar Galactica" is acceptable in this case, as the article does not directly refer to the ship's name.

Typically, ships are treated as feminine objects. The use of "she" and "her" in referring to a ship by pronoun is encouraged, though not mandated.

When discussing Vipers, use of either "Mark" or "Mk." is acceptable, though "mk." is just sloppy. Also, Roman numerals are preferred. Thus, "Viper Mark II" or "Viper Mk. VII" but not "Viper mk. 2."

The words "battlestar" and "basestar" are not capitalized, as they are general ship types and not class names like "Mercury class", "Viper" or "Raptor". See also: Proper BSG nouns

(Note: Many of these guidelines are inspired by, modified from, or stolen directly from the US Navy's Style Guide.)

Episode, TV, and Movie Title Formats

See also: Formatting: Links to episodes

When citing the title of a television episode within a sentence, place the title in quotes. Contrary to standard American punctuation rules, place commas and periods after the quotation mark in this case:

In the episode "Valley of Darkness", Centurions board Galactica.

When citing a film, theatrical works such as a stage plays or television show in any article, place the title in italics. Book titles or similar publications, such as comics, are also placed in italics. Other merchandise is generally put into quotation marks:

"The new Battlestar Galactica series is dark and dismal compared to the Original Series, and is a far cry from the utopian view in Star Trek."
The new book Battlestar Galactica: The Official Companion, tells more about the series, but lovers of collectibles might like the "Hasbro Titanium Collection".

When citing an article from a larger publication such as a magazine or newspaper, place the article name in quotes, but place the publication in italics:

The citation was found in the article "Battlestar Rocks", from the newspaper The Indianapolis Star.

Verb Tense

In almost every case, the present tense should be used when relating events occurring in an episode (e.g. Baltar shoots Crashdown in the back in order to save Cally's life), and also for analyzing these events. This is in line with the traditional style used to discuss literary works of fiction. The reasons it is employed for those kinds of articles entirely apply here on Battlestar Wiki.

The past tense is used for "historical" events, where present tense can impede narrative flow. For Battlestar Wiki's purposes, a historical event involves situations that occur prior to the Miniseries. With the exception of "Razor", flashback scenes in episodes should be treated as historical events. "Thrace cried at Zak's funeral" is appropriate since this event occurs two years before the Miniseries, although the event is shown in a flashback scene in "Act of Contrition".

For the Original Series, similar rules apply to events prior and after the Fall of the Colonies.

For Galactica 1980, similar rules apply to events prior to and and after "Galactica Discovers Earth, Part I". The only notable exception to this is "The Return of Starbuck" that, while a "flashback" episode, has a majority of its articles (like Starbuck (1980), Angela and Cyrus) written in the present tense.

The "Caprica" Exception

The exception to this is the spinoff series Caprica, which takes place approximately 50 years before the Re-imagined Series. In keeping with the style used for the Re-imagined Series, the present tense is used for episode articles and articles dealing exclusively with Caprica. However, when integrating information from Caprica into existing articles about the Re-imagined Series, the past tense should generally be used, as from the point of view of that article, these events lie in the past. This mirrors the Miniseries watershed described above. There may be some cases, such as general facts about the Twelve Colonies, for which the present tense is appropriate, but the above rule covers most articles, especially when dealing with events instead of established facts.

Short rule of thumb:

  • If an article is exclusively about Caprica, then it should be written in present tense. The same applies for articles exclusively about the Re-imagined Series.
  • If an article spans from Caprica to the Re-imagined Series, then:
    1. Events occurring before the Miniseries (timeline-wise) should be written in the past tense.
    2. Events occurring during and after the Miniseries (timeline-wise) should be written in the present tense.

Signing Your Work and Other In-Article Commentary

Don't. Battlestar Wiki is a collaboration of many writers. Be proud of your contributions, but do not take ownership of articles. Signatures, discussions, editing notes or editorials will be removed without debate. For more information on this policy, see our policy on ownership of articles and how to deal with contributors who appear to become "primary editors" of an article.