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Radical political analysis, commentary and discussion in Wales
Dadansoddiad a thrafodaeth radicalaidd o wleidyddiaeth yng Nghymru
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Style Guide / Canllaw Arddull


As well as this short guide we ask all contributors to consult a more comprehensive style guide (such as the Guardian's). There are a large numbers of standardised ways of referring to people, places, companies and concepts - it's worth checking up if you're ever unsure.

This guide may explain why we might want to edit your article. We will not attempt to alter any meaning or misrepresent your line of argument. You will be given the chance to review and alter any edits before publishing. We will not publish anything you are not totally happy with.

We ask you maintain a consistent tone:
  • Serious - avoiding rhetoric and overly emotive language.
  • Clear - written using simple English, in short paragraphs, free from jargon.
  • Concise – trying to keep at 500 - 1,000 words per article (800 is ideal). Though in rare circumstances longer articles of original research may be accepted, anything longer belongs on paper, not a computer screen. You can always submit two or more articles.
  • Aimed at the intelligent layperson - not talking down to anyone, but explaining references and specialised vocabulary.
Title
Please make sure you've chosen a unique title, compare against the list in the archives tab on the right. Avoid anything overly long. Capitalise only the first word and any proper nouns.

Picture
A relevant picture is essential to every article. A less relevant one will have to suffice otherwise. Either way, no picture = not published. One 300pixel wide picture in the top left of each article. There are all sorts of places you can find photographs and other illustrations, but please do not infringe any copyrighted material.

Page break
The page break (the "Read more" button) goes at the start of the first paragraph after the end of the picture. Depending on the height of your picture only the first two or three paragraphes are visible on the front page. Please bear this in mind when presenting the substance of your article.

Tagging
At the end of your article please list between 2 and 10 keyword tags, separated with commas. In lower case, unless they are proper nouns. Use words that are likely to appear on a few articles, important things to include are:
  • If it's about a person, company or organisation, name them.
  • The place the story is in - city or town/village and county.
  • Identify as an interview, review or history
  • Use broad terms. If a march, rally or picket are featured add protest. For race or racism add race and fascism or anti-fascism add fascism.
  
  • More than anything match tags that have already been used. 
Please follow these rules when writing:

Acronyms - Don’t mention an acronym without referring first to the full name, and brief description – e.g. instead of “FWA”, first write “Free Wales Army (FWA), a nationalist republican paramilitary” before using just “FWA”.

Apostrophes - Apostrophes indicate possession or abbreviation. “Its” is the possessive form of it, so like “his” and “her” there is no apostrophe. The only time you need an apostrophe in “its” is when it is an abbreviation for “it is” or “it has” – e.g. “it’s cold” or “it’s got big teeth”. Acronyms do not require apostrophes in the plural form – i.e. “CDs and DVDs”, not “CD’s and DVD’s”.

Basically, Obviously, Unsurprisingly – Avoid. You are already putting it in clear English, no need to labour the fact.

Capitals - Capitalise only the first word and any proper nouns, both in body text and title.

Clichés, rhetoric and slang - Clichés are lazy writing and should only be used if you really can't think of anything else. Using “Bliar” instead of “Blair" is alienating to many potential readers and make a writer seem childish.

Deliberate misspellings - "Cos", "innit", etc. Trying to be more "street"? Avoid.

Don't Assume - Anything. Especially in terms of in-depth political knowledge, particularly with respect to small groups and historical events. Don’t refer in shorthand, like “Tryweryn”, instead say “the flooding of the village of Capel Celyn in the Tryweryn valley in Gwynedd in 1965" providing a relevant link if possible.

Exclamation marks - No, no, no, no! Avoid. They undermine a serious message.

Fascism/fascist - Only use when referring to actual ideological fascism. Its usage referring to non-fascist phenomena like the National Assembly makes the author sound silly.

Full stops - “USA” not “U.S.A.”. Use “etc.” “e.g.” and “i.e.” Don't abbreviate place names to St, Rd etc. Don't use Mr, Mrs or Ms at all. Don't abbreviate non-name words, “headquarters” not “HQ” because it means unnecessary capitals.

Links - Cross reference with relevant articles on this site or elsewhere, with books link to a complete online version if possible. Please anchor all links in the relevant text. i.e. "Radical Wales" not "http://radicalwales.org/" or "Radical Wales website here".

Money/Numbers - Million shortens to m (£1m), billion to bn. Trillion is written as is because it's rare. Per cent becomes %. One to nine are written as words, 10 and above as numbers. Weights and measures always use the shortened version, except metres and miles.

Plagiarism - Please format someone else's words as quotes. Apart from concerns about any possible copyright infringement claims, (unlikely given our subject matter) copying and pasting other people's work serves no useful purpose. If you haven't got anything original to say, go away and come back when you have.

Quotes - Welcome when relevant, they can distract if overused. Please put in blockquotes with inverted commas and attribute accordingly.

Shorter words - Make sure you don't use words which people might not understand unless you absolutely have to, and make sure you explain what it means if you do.

Subheadings - If you include subheadings, please use bold subheadings, with italic secondary subheadings. Don't leave a gap between body text and subheadings.

Swearing – Avoid or keep sparse as it can look immature and put readers off.

Z - Go easy on the zeds. Use UK English spellings, "organise" not "organize" etc.