Motorway Services Online

Retrieved from "http://motorwayservicesonline.co.uk/Help:Style_guide"

Style Guide

This guide has been created so that, when we go back and review our content, we have something to check it against. Although we should encourage everybody to follow it, we wouldn't hold it against new members with information to add; it is more about regular users having something to reference.

Writing Style

Pages should be written in an objective style, free from bias or speculation. There is nothing wrong with including some personality in the writing, although be careful that one person's "funny" is another person's "cringeworthy".

Even on a website like this which deals with a niche subject, and even though this is the internet and there's no character limit, we need to be wary of offering too much detail. For example, it's OK to say that a car park is full of potholes, but we wouldn't want to list the location and diameter of each individual one.

Text should be written in third person, or first-person plural if that would look odd.

Paragraphs should rarely be more than three sentences long, except when dealing with detailed history.

Photos, user pages and talk pages are allowed to include the author's opinion, but we need to be careful that it doesn't look like that is the website's opinion, especially with photos which may be included on the home page (unless it is in Category:Miscellaneous Pictures).

Technical Terms

Abbreviations such as MSA should always be written out in full, unless the text is aimed only at professionals or enthusiasts who would understand it, or if it is a brand page infobox where the full term would take up too much space.

Other technical terms should be used sparingly, and include a link to the explanatory page.

Specific Issues

When describing a particular services, the word should be treated as a singular, such as "this is a great services". In other cases the tense may be varied to fit.

"A-roads" should be used in lower case. N-roads should normally be referred to as "national roads", with care that the sentence doesn't duplicate motorways.

"Outlet" refers to a small shop or restaurant, but not a small, portable stand. More precise words should be used if possible. 'Restaurants' have a dedicated takeaway area.

"Forecourt" refers to the part of a filling station (colloquially a 'petrol station') where vehicles move, but it is not a big deal. The building is a "sales shop" (or similar), as opposed to the services's "amenity building".

Brand Names

All brand names should be written as they appear in the Brands section, which should itself reflect the name as it is written by the respective brand (with a capital letter at the start).

When talking about history, it's acceptable to use an old stylised version of the brand name as it would have been at the time. 'Roadchef' is currently stylised like that but used to have two capitals.

If a brand name is stylised with an ampersand (&) or a full stop (.), it may be necessary to work around this to stop it breaking the website. What they call M&S Simply Food we sometimes have to call Marks and Spencer Simply Food - this is OK.

Ireland

This website is not interested in politics, so shouldn't have an implied preference for Northern Ireland's political status. Where a decision is required, Northern Irish services should be filed with the UK.

There is no country called Republic of Ireland. "Ireland" alone should be used, qualified by "(Republic of)" or "(island)" if clarification is required.

Units

Units should generally be given in imperial for UK pages, and metric for Irish pages, with a conversion provided where appropriate. This is not necessary if you're quoting an old document.

Font Style

Bold text and italics should be used sparingly to draw attention to important key words.

Links should be included where a new topic is introduced, or where further information is likely to be useful. The link title should be relevant and helpful, and contain the full noun referred to (for example, if the sentence said "Stafford services southbound", the whole item should be part of the link).

When introducing a small business, Template:Website is the tidiest way to link to their website. If it is a large company, standard wikicode may read better.

Pages should be broken up with headings. Two headings next to each other should be avoided wherever possible. The use of capitals in headings should be appropriate and consistent across the page.

Database Pages

It's important to strike a balance between consistency and tidiness. All pages in each category should be in a similar style, for instance, all the motorway service area pages should have the same headings in the same order (Facilities, Parking Prices, Trivia and Design, Survey Results, Alternatives, Visitor Feedback), with additional map and gallery pages.

When dealing with smaller services, it would look ridiculous if there were lots of sections and each one had no content. In this case, it is acceptable to omit the empty sections, and to move the headings around to fit (for instance moving the trivia to the introduction). One empty section for the sake of consistency is OK.

Every page should have an introduction, a photo which uses {{#setmainphoto: and either Category:UK only or Category:Ireland, assuming it's not in both. Be aware that many templates assign these automatically. 'Set main image' (normally the infobox image) should be a photo which summarises the page; where possible it should be clear, distinctive and interesting.

All pages should have relevant pictures floating to the right, normally size 250px with a caption and alternative text, although they may be resized to fit.

Services

The heading "Trivia" can be varied to reflect what is actually contained within it, but it must not repeat another heading on the page. Long trivia sections may be annexed to another page.

There is no point leaving space for ratings and reviews if nobody is going to use it. But equally, people won't use it if it's not there. To decide what should be included means looking at other pages of a similar importance, and the page views.

Facilities

A detailed guide to the phrases used in the facilities section can be found at Help:Facilities.

Alternative Services

Alternative services should be included if they are less than 70 miles or 100km away, and are the nearest services along that route which meet that criteria. "M1" should be included if you'd need to join a new road; "M1 west" if you'd need to pick a direction; and "westbound" if it is on one side of the road only.

"none nearby" can be given, as well as "start of road" or "end of road" and "none".

Proposed Services

We used to list all proposed services as |type = planned, but due to the number of new services being proposed, we now tend to use the unbuilt services template instead, combined with Category:Still Proposed.

Once it looks likely to be built, we then carry it over.

Compass-Directions

Most roads clearly run north-to-south or west-to-east. Where there is confusion, such as the M6 between Catthorpe and Walsall, both should be given wherever possible to create north-westbound.

In the case of the M25, M42 and M60, directions should be given relative to that particular section.

Maps and Directions

On the main services infobox, coordinates should point to the main amenity building, or in between if there are two.

On the directions page, coordinates should point to each entry slip road.

When listing "nearby locations", each place should usually get more significant as you get further away, starting with the nearest settlement and ending no more than 70 miles or 100km. Distances are measured by road from any exit point.

Brand Pages

In general, brand pages are only interested in that company/brand's appearance at motorway services. It may be worth breaking away from this to introduce the company, and if they are a roadside brand it would be sensible to mention that they've branched out to sites away from services, but mostly this should be avoided as we are, after all, a site about service stations.

On a brand page, the 'introduction' may be broken in to headings to tell the full story, so long as it is relevant to services. It is then followed by a list of locations.

The list of locations (titled "Locations") should start with a brief summary, such as "This brand can be found at most Moto services". Where available, a map should be linked to, but this is only needed if there are a number of sites. An alphabetised list of bullet points then follows.

Brand lists may be broken up by headings in an appropriate order, but there is no point using a heading with only one item under it. There's nothing wrong with one TRSA being included in an MSA list. Each heading should be followed by a summary, especially for a-road services, where people are prone to thinking branches which aren't part of a signposted TRSA will be included.

For operators, there should be a heading for proposed and unbuilt services, however not for brands where it is a big deal. That information can be included in the narrative if necessary.

Every location should be followed by all trunk roads served by the services, such as "(M1/A14)". If either the services or facility are only on one side of the road, the annotation "(eastbound only)" (in italics) should be used.

Some brands give all their branches different names. We only give the 'official' name that we use on the site.

Additional information may be included next to one of the listed services, so long as this is only done once or twice.

"Operator" is defined here. Anything not covered is a "Brand". In Ireland, "Brands" and "Operators" are happily mixed, as there are so few operators.

Former Locations

If the brand isn't at any services any more, the introduction should make it clear that it "used to be found at". There is no need to change the heading title. The appropriate category should be used too.

If the services have since changed name, the name used at the time may be given. Alternatively, the name used by the restaurant or hotel chain may be given, so long as a link to the "real" services page is included.

There is no need to clarify whether it is "(eastbound only)" or not - it doesn't matter if it's not there any more. If you do want to specify, edit the link text.

Ratings and Reviews

If the brand is the operator of the services being listed, the bullet point should be followed by the rating, if available.

Current operators may have a star-rating in the infobox, and both operators and brands may have reviews included at the bottom. In both cases, it depends on whether the page is likely to attract many comments or ratings.

Names

We always use the name that is used on the road signs.

If this isn't available, we take a best guess, using information from the operator or facility providers.

Stafford and Sedgemoor

Stafford and Sedgemoor are listed twice on this site, because the two sides are physically different (unlike Tebay where the two sides are apart but effectively similar).

Wherever possible, links must point to the side of the services you are referring to, but the link content may be varied depending on the context. It can say either Stafford (North), Stafford northbound or Stafford (northbound only).

If the brand is at both the northbound and southbound side, two links should be provided, titled Stafford (North) and Stafford (South). There is no need to mark them as north and southbound only.