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conserve capitals

This is a [[wiki best practice]] on the [[list of process terms]] applicable to both public and private sector use.

To 'conserve capitals' is an important rule in all [[large public wiki]]s in English. Allowing use of capitals in anything other than a proper name is a mistake in English, though an extremely common one.

In wikis the problems are actually considerably worse since it becomes impossible to remember the improper or idiosyncratic capitalization, and [[mediawiki]] is case-sensitive after the first letter of any title - articles which exist with improper names will not be found when links to them are created. In the end, as the wiki becomes more complete, a great many phrases will have become capitalized and this will create a great deal of trouble in linking.

Whenever creating a link or referring a new concept, you should ask:

  1. . Does it already have a widely-used and widely-agreed name? See [[GFDL corpus namespace]] for the most widely use source of concept names on the Internet
  2. . When you use this phrase embedded in an ordinary sentence, in ordinary writing, is it capitalized?

If the answer to both questions is no, only then is it reasonable to consider creating a new phrase - and it is never reasonable to capitalize every word.

[[command verb]]s

Sometimes [[command verb]]s (like [[edit]] or [[discuss]]) are capitalized in the user interface. This is a [[usability]] problem, and should always be reported as a mistake or bug. The most widely used [[large public wiki]]s, e.g. [[Wikipedia]], [[seedwiki]], etc., do not capitalize command verbs in the user interface. As with any other [[verb phrase]] this makes it possible to use them in a sentence with no need to use [[avoid anchor text|anchor text]] which introduces many other problems and also should be avoided.

A [[reflexive intranet]] is one where the commands and the content are documented and learned in exactly the same way. Capitalizing one and not the other creates an artificial distinction that raises learning barriers - why is that capitalized? Does it mean something special? In a [[wiki]] the way one signals that something is special, is to make it a link, even if that must begin as an [[open link]].

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