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This article is designed to be used as a template when creating new pages. It contains all the basic formatting and advice that you will need to produce a well written article, conforming to the Coastal Wiki guidelines. Simply click the 'edit' tab of this page and copy and paste the text into your new page. You will then be able to replace this guideline text with your own article text and have formatting examples and guidelines immediately to hand.

Please pay careful consideration to the title of your new page. The subject title and section headings should be as short as possible, containing the main keyword(s). "The", "a" and "an" should be omitted. Noun titles should usually be singular, for encyclopaedic style and for ease of internal linking. Capitalize only the first letter of the first word. Avoid links within headings, but put the appropriate link in the first sentence under the heading. Avoid using special characters in headings, such as an ampersand (&), a plus sign (+), slashes (/\), braces or brackets ([{}]) etc.


Each article should contain a concise lead section or introduction, clearly explaining the subject so that the reader is prepared for the greater level of detail that follows. The reader should be able to get a good overview by only reading the lead, which should be between one and four paragraphs long, depending on the length of the article. Remember that, while you will be familiar with the subject you are writing about, readers of the Coastal Wiki may not be, so it is important to establish the context of your article's subject early on.


Main headings such as the one above are called level 2 headlines (using two equals signs). Sub-headings can also be used, for example,

Level 3 headline

Level 4 headline

These are compiled by the wiki into a table of contents, for ease of navigation. As with titles, headings should be short and concise, with a capital first letter of the first word only, and no links or special characters.

Main text

The article should be written in an encyclopaedic style. Be objective: avoid personal comments and don't use personal forms (I found that...). If different people have different opinions about your topic, characterise that debate from a neutral point of view and don't be prescriptive. Note that the Coastal Wiki is not a place to publish new work.

Make your article as accessible and understandable for as many readers as possible. Assume readers are reading the article to learn. It is possible that the reader knows nothing about the subject: the article needs to fully explain the subject.

The text of any article consists of a sequence of related but distinct subtopics. The length of an article typically ranges between a few hundred and a few thousand words. Don't try to put too much into one article, as specific topics may require an article of their own! Avoid entering into details if good references and links to detailed information are already available within the Coastal Wiki. When there is enough text in a given subtopic to merit its own article, that text can be summarised, with an internal link pointing to the more detailed article. For example, see Tide and Theory of tides.

The most readable articles contain no irrelevant (nor only loosely relevant) information. While writing an article, you might find yourself digressing into a side subject. If you find yourself wandering off-topic, consider placing the additional information into a different article, where it will fit more closely with the topic. If you provide a link to the other article, readers who are interested in the side topic have the option of digging into it, but readers who are not interested will not be distracted by it.

Make sure that you provide lots of links within the text to other relevant Coastal Wiki articles (outlinks). Also, were appropriate, add links within other articles back to your own article (inlinks). Both inlinks and outlinks are important if users are to find your article within a growing Wiki network.

Many words have a particular ICZM definition (eg. wave means water wave and not electromagnetic wave, sound wave or wave goodbye) and as such need to be properly defined. To do this, simply use internal links to words within the definitions category. Note that all definitions should be singular. Plural words can be linked within a sentence by adding the 's' to an internal link eg. coasts. Please also add any definitions that are missing, citing them appropriately (use the definition template by copying the formatting from an existing definition).

Some definitions should ideally be expanded into a full article. Please expand the text while keeping the definition as part of the introduction.

To make sure your article is the best it can possibly be, you can run through the checkpoints in Wikipedia's page on The perfect article and ask other people to edit, improve and help work on your article wherever appropriate.

Internal linking

It is important to think of your article as part of a whole network, rather than a section in a book. See Figure 1. For a large network to work effectively, so that users can find what they want quickly, as well as spending time browsing through articles of interest, the internal links must be plentiful and well thought out. Items in Coastal Wiki articles can be linked to other Coastal Wiki articles that provide information that significantly adds to readers' understanding of the topic.

Wikipedia says "Linking is one of the most important features of Wikipedia. It binds the project together into an interconnected whole, and provides instant pathways to locations both within and outside the project that are likely to increase our readers' understanding of the topic at hand" [1].

When you are writing your article, please spend time searching for and reading related articles on the Wiki. Ideally, internal links should fit well into a sentence. This is why article titles should be kept as concise as possible. When this is not possible, consider simply adding the related article to the "See also" section.

Basic formatting examples

  • bullet one
  • bullet two
  1. number list
  2. number list
Left indent
Larger indent
put a box round it


Do not copy copyrighted work under any circumstance. In addition, direct copying of even a public-domain work is still plagiarism unless the original work is noted. See Wikipedia:Plagiarism

To be safe, do not copy more than a couple of sentences of text from anywhere, and document any references you do use.

Evaluating context

Here are some thought experiments, from Wikipedia to help you test whether you are setting enough context:

  • Does the article make sense if the reader gets to it as a random page?
  • Imagine yourself as a layman. Can you figure out what the article is about?
  • Can people tell what the article is about if the first page is printed out and passed around?
  • Would a reader want to follow some of the links?


Figure 1: Image of the Cornish coast from freefoto.com

Illustrate the article with good quality relevant images, tables or graphics. Every article should contain at least one figure of some kind.


Every article should contain a references section and all specific claims should be cited. For example, much of the material in this article has been taken from Guidelines Coastal Wiki. [2]

Make doubly sure that all your material is true: check your facts. Verifying your alleged facts is a crucial part of citing good sources: even if you think you know something, you have to provide references anyway, to prove to the reader that the fact is true. References are of paramount importance, as they are what will allow the Coastal Wiki to be the most trusted, reliable resource it can be.

End of article

Certain optional sections go at the bottom of the article. Common appendix sections (in the preferred order) are:

See also

  • A bulleted list of relevant internal links within the Coastal Wiki.


  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style_(links)
  2. Encora(2006). Guidelines Coastal Wiki. Encora Report Eds. A.J. Chadwick & J. Dronkers

Further reading

  • Related books or other publications that were not used as a source but provide further background or insight.

External links

Add related websites that were not used as a source (since these go in References) but provide further background. If there are good articles within Wikipedia, then cite them as an external link eg. Wikipedia. This will not detract from the Coastal Wiki, it will actually help to improve our rank in search engines. At the same time, you should alter the corresponding Wikipedia page(s) to include your Coastal Wiki page as an external link. Over time, this will significantly improve our Google PageRank and again result in higher listings.

Finally, you should claim your article and add it to the relevant categories. It is a major difference between Wikipedia and the Coastal Wiki that all articles should be claimed. However, this should not prevent other users from improving articles. It is extremely important to add your article to the relevant categories, so that people can find your article by browsing. You may also wish to add your article to some of the lists under Contents.

Article by

The main author of this article is Somerville, Tracy
Please note that others may also have edited the contents of this article.