Wikipedia:WikiProject Scouting/Style advice

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This guide aims to promote professionalism, simplicity and cohesion in Scouting-related Wikipedia articles. An overriding principle is that style and formatting should be applied consistently throughout articles and among series of articles.

When either of two styles is acceptable, it is inappropriate for an editor to change an article from one style to another unless there is substantial reasoning. Edit warring over optional styles is unacceptable. If an article has been stable in a given style, it should not be converted without a style-independent reason. When it is unclear whether an article has been stable, defer to the style used by the first major contributor.

Article names

The article name should be the full and current name of the person, organization, event, camp or award. Non-English names should use the processes outlined at Wikipedia:WikiProject Scouting/Article names.

The article title is subject to the same sourcing standards as the article content. Where there is a dispute over a name, editors should cite recognized authorities and organizations rather than conduct original research.

Redirect pages

Redirects should be created when an article may have an alternative or historical name, may use different capitalization or similar issues. Applicable templates should be applied to such redirects. Example: The historical name Girl Scouts of America redirects to Girl Scouts of the USA and uses the template {{R from former name}} to alert editors as to the reason for this redirect. Note that {{R from historic name}} is intended only for place names. --— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 14:38, 4 December 2007 (UTC)


When an article title would be the same as another title, then the disambiguation process must be applied. Where the article title would be very similar to another title, then a disambiguation page should be created or updated and the appropriate hatnote applied to the articles. Disambiguation should be applied only where needed.

Sections or divisions of Scouting associations often use names that are very similar with those of other associations; these should always be disambiguated with the parent association or country. Example: Venture is a disambiguation page listing five different Scouting sections with similar names including Venturer Scouts (Australia) and Venturing (Boy Scouts of America). Scouting should be used as a disambiguation term only where Scouting is highly significant to the subject of the article. Example: James E. West (Scouting).

Equal weight to associations

Multiple Scouting associations may exist within a geopolitical region. Example: The Scout Association and Girlguiding UK both exist within the UK. Article types such as "Scouting by country" or "Scouting by region" should have an overview of each association in the covered region. To maintain equal weight, individual association articles should not try to cover multiple associations.


Wikipedia is written for the general reader, it is not a comprehensive Scouting guide nor a how-to manual. Although Scouts will find much of interest, writing should not assume they are the target audience. Example: To many readers the term trading post used in some Scouting associations will evoke the image of a colonial building where pelts are traded for goods; in actuality it is simply a camp store.


In addition to standard style guides, formal style guides of the Scouting organization that is the subject of the article will be used.

Style guides

These formal guides are used by the Scouting WikiProject. Please refer to the appropriate formal guide(s) regarding appropriate capitalization, spelling, etc., when working on Scouting-related articles, portals, and so on. If you have any questions which are not specifically answered in them, please post a question to the project talk page.

For usage in other contexts not related to the Scouting Movement, refer to the Manual of Style for guidance.


When Scout, Scouting, Boy Scout, Girl Scout, Guide and Scouting-related award names, progression levels, age sections, other language equivalents (i.e. Second Class, Varsity Scout, Eagle Scout, Bronze Wolf) are used in articles in the context of the Scouting Movement, they are considered proper nouns and are always capitalized. Example: "a group of 50 Scouts", not "a group of 50 scouts". For usage in other contexts not related to the Scouting Movement, refer to the Manual of Style for guidance on capitalization.

Do not capitalize event names unless the reference is to a specific event. Examples: "pinewood derby" and "national Scout jamboree"; but "Valley District Pinewood Derby" and "2010 National Scout Jamboree."

Non-national articles

Editors often add articles on subjects of local or non-national interest, such as camps and units. These articles often begin as crufty stubs that do not meet notability guidelines and are soon deleted or merged. Managing articles of this nature takes up limited resources best used elsewhere and dealing with the merge and deletion of articles can be contentious.

Editors are encouraged to use a top-down approach; expanding high-level articles to the point where they can be split into smaller articles of good quality. Thus, a national article may beget a regional article that begets a camp article. Camp articles should be at least a Start class article with multiple sources. If the article cannot stand on its own, it should be merged into the Council article or regional article. Scout units such as troops, packs, groups or the like should not be included as separate articles or as sections within a regional article unless they truly meet notability standards.

The creation of redirects for potential local or non-national articles is encouraged; this alerts an editor who may be interested in creating such an article that there is a higher-level article to use as a springboard. Applicable templates should be applied to such redirects. Examples: Pipsico Scout Reservation redirects to Tidewater Council and Greater Pittsburgh Council redirects to Scouting in Pennsylvania. Both redirects use the {{r with possibilities}} tag to alert editors that this redirect exists because there is a possibility of creating a full article.

Information and navigation elements

Infoboxes are used to provide a consistent summary of the subject; navboxes help readers browse through related articles. The main infobox is {{Infobox WorldScouting}} and is used for organizations, events, awards and camps; a number of other specialized templates are available for use at Wikipedia:WikiProject Scouting/Templates. Non-free images used in infoboxes should be directly related to the subject; the use of generic logos is not recommended and usually constitutes a purely decorative use.

Navigation templates specific to Scouting can be found at Wikipedia:WikiProject Scouting/Templates. Non-free images should not be used in navboxes—this is considered a decorative use.

Article layouts

The following suggested layouts are intended to help structure a new article or when an existing article requires a substantial rewrite. Changing an established article simply to fit these guidelines should be discussed to gain consensus. The given order of sections is also encouraged but may be varied, particularly if that helps an article progressively develop concepts and avoid repetition. Suggested sections not applicable to the subject should not be included. Articles in a series should use a consistent layout. See also and External links sections should be avoided when possible by using wikilinks and references in the body of the article.



Articles on topics that have strong ties to a particular English-speaking nation should use the appropriate variety of English for that nation. In the handful of universal articles such as Scouting the project consensus is to use American English.


Avoid lists of trivia by working these bits of information into the main body text. Sections on history, impact or popular culture can help to structure such material. The main article for Scouting in the media is Scouting in popular culture.


Do not include:

  • Recipents, staff, alumni or other persons unless they really meet notability standards.
  • Detailed information presented in other articles; include a short synopsis with a wikilink to the proper article.
  • Non-notable details. Example: Do not include the number of fridges in the kitchen, construction of latrines and the like.
  • Individual campsite details within a larger camp; a short, common description is preferred.
  • Lyrics to camp specific songs or prayers not used at a national or regional level; see Wilderness Grace for a number of variations on this prayer.


Articles may include the requirements for an award or advancement but should not include verbatim copies of these requirements. Most requirement lists use second person tone, use jargon and usually include prerequisites or other requirements that are defined elsewhere. Requirements need to be summarized and prosified. The article should include only general details on how the requirements may be met, but there should be proper references to a site or document that does give details. Historical requirements should be in a separate section from the current requirements.

See also and External links

Links included in the See also and External links sections should be integrated into the body of the article whenever possible and used as references. Links that are already used in the body of the article or in an infobox should not be replicated in these sections.

These sections are often used as a quick and easy way to add material to an article. This is not necessarily bad, as a maintaining editor can see the worth of such a link and incorporate it in the body of the article as needed. Links must be examined as to their relationship to the context and scope of the article; if the link does not fit the context and scope, then the link should be redacted or moved to the proper article.


A best practice is to use citation templates to format external links. Web links should include the accessdate field; as these links age, they should be checked to see if they are still live or relevant and the accessdate updated. The proper use of templates also help to prevent titles and descriptions created by editors that may be exhibit POV and makes it easier for another editor to work a link in as a reference.

Sister projects

When there is applicable material on a sister project such as Wikiquote, Wikisource or Wikimedia Commons, then the appropriate project templates should be added to either See also or External links.


If the article does not have an infobox that includes the portal link, then {{Portal|Scouting}} can be added to the beginning of the See also section. Other WikiProject portals may also apply.

Unit links

A particular problem with Scouting articles is the addition of unit links to articles that are of a national or world-wide scope. Example: Troop web sites often get added to the article Boy Scouting (Boy Scouts of America); with over 42,000 troops in the BSA, even a small percentage of such links would be overwhelming.

A better practice is to link to an external web page that lists such units. The Open Directory Project contains many such links, for which the {{dmoz}} template is useful.


*{{dmoz|Recreation/Scouting/Organizations/Boy_Scouts_of_America/Troops|Boy Scouts of America: Troops}}

  • Boy Scouts of America: Troops at Curlie (based on DMOZ)


Lists should have criteria for inclusion and formatting guidelines clearly defined on the article talk page. Example: Talk:List of Eagle Scouts (Boy Scouts of America). The use of non-free media in lists usually fails the test for significance.

Citing sources

, Reliable sources in content review processes

Wikipedia has three systems for citing sources: embedded citations, author-date referencing (Harvard) and footnotes. These systems should not normally be mixed; converting an article from one system to another should be discussed before changes are applied.

The preferred method is to use footnotes formatted with citation templates to provide clear references in an article. This method is not mandatory, but is considered a best practice. Using citation templates also makes the references accessible to reference management software such as Zotero. A tutorial on how to use these systems together is available at Wikipedia:WikiProject Scouting/References.


Categories specific to Scouting articles are listed at Wikipedia:WikiProject Scouting/Categories.


Processes for images used in Scouting articles are available at Wikipedia:WikiProject Scouting/Images. These include a list of applicable Wikipedia polices and guidelines, quality guidelines and information on using images with project templates.

Article maintenance

Processes related to maintenance such as creating, merging, moving and deleting Scouting-related articles are outlined at Wikipedia:WikiProject Scouting/Article maintenance. These processes include the use of project templates and how to announce maintenance related issues to the project community.

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