Wikinews:Naming conventions

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This is an official policy on English Wikinews. It has wide acceptance and is considered a standard for all users to follow. Changes to this page must reflect consensus. If in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.

Naming conventions is a list of guidelines on how to appropriately create and name articles.

Generally, article naming should give priority to what the majority of English speakers would most easily recognize, with a reasonable minimum of ambiguity, while at the same time making linking to those articles easy and second nature.

Policies and Guidelines

Neutral point of view
Content guide
Style guide

Ignore all rules


For Wikipedians


Following consistent conventions in both naming and linking makes it more likely that links will lead to the right place. However, these are conventions, not rules written in stone. As Wikinews develops some conventions which once made sense may become outdated. Generally speaking, failure to follow a single convention by itself is not justification for moving or revert-moving articles without consensus on the article's talk page. But when in doubt, follow convention.

General conventions


Convention: Headlines should be written in downstyle capitalization, as our style guide says. In downstyle, only the initial word and proper nouns are capitalized. In upstyle headlines, or title case, all nouns and most other words with more than four letters are capitalized.

  • Downstyle: "Powell to lead U.S. delegation to Asian tsunami region".
  • Upstyle: "Powell to Lead U.S. Delegation to Asian Tsunami Region".

Downstyle (aka minimal) headlines are popular with most online and many print media publications.

According to a 2004/2005 poll about capitalization for headlines, downstyle emerged as the generally preferred method, but no consensus was reached.


Convention: Headlines are complete sentences without ending punctuation.


Convention: Headlines should be written with verbs and in the present tense.

Specifying location

Convention: Use geographical location in titles to disambiguate where necessary. Use the larger geographical entity which is most internationally recognizable. (U.S., not state or city except when state or city is more relevant — "California Legislature defies U.S. Congress".)

Do not use location where unnecessary. For example: President Bush faces some tough questioning, not U.S. President Bush faces some tough questioning. Pope John Paul II dies, not Pope John Paul II dies at the Vatican.

Dates in titles

Convention: Articles are not required to include a dateline in the title.

Dates of any form are not required in the title, neither are they prohibited from the title. The presence or lack of a date in the title is not justification for moving the article, nor for revert moving the article.

A poll to require dates for successful peer review failed to pass on Dec. 18, 2004.

Use active, not passive, voice

Convention: Use the active voice in article titles.

Try to attribute an action to someone: instead of "U.S. Troops shot by insurgents in North Baghdad" say "Insurgents shoot troops in North Baghdad, killing three".

Avoid the use of acronyms

Convention: Use the full name of countries and organizations, except when the acronym is more commonly known and/or when the length would be prohibitive.

Examples of the exception might be NASA, CIA, and AIDS.

Use English words

Convention: Name your article using English and place the other language transliteration on the first line of the article unless the other language form is more commonly used in English than the English form.

Use common names of persons and things

Convention: Use the most common name of a person or thing which does not conflict with the names of other people or things.

Be careful with special characters

Some special characters either cannot be used or can but cause problems. For example, you should not use a piping character (|), curly braces ({}), or square braces ([]) in a title.

Titles must not begin with an interlanguage or interwiki link code followed by a colon. For example a page with the title FR:example will be forwarded to the French Wikinews. wikipedia:example will go to Wikipedia.

In certain cases, {{displaytitle:title}} can be used to insert underscores and de-capitalize the first letter of the title.

See also Wikipedia's overview of restrictions on page title.

Other specific conventions

Focus Project

Building an article to track news articles focused on a specific topic, such as 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, are special Wikinews projects which require additional maintenance. There is no specific convention on naming such a project, however there are some suggestions for best practice:

  • If the topic is a specific event in time, include a reference to the date in the title.
  • Avoid overly-broad topics. "Betting Odds" could cover everything from all sporting events, to outcomes of political votes and celestial events. A narrower scope allows others to more easily determine if their work should be included or not. If possible, such a project should have a reasonably limited time frame, up to a few months, as well.
  • Discuss the project on the Wikinews:Water cooler, to gauge support for the project.