Help:Naming conventions

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To make Heroes Wiki more consistent and make articles clearer and easier to understand, naming conventions should be followed when adding new articles.

When deciding on a name for a new article, the primary goals are clarity, precision, and accuracy. A clear name helps readers understand what content the article describes, a specific name helps readers distinguish similar articles from one another, and an accurate name insures that the article's name reflects rather than contradicts canon sources.

Please Note: If you want to try out or practice wiki markup or other formatting, please use the Sandbox, not an actual article.

General Naming Conventions

To make your article easier for other editors to find, you should follow standard naming conventions. The basic rule is that the article title should appear however it would if it were used in the middle of a sentence (bearing in mind that the Wiki software will automatically capitalize the first letter, but that links ignore the capitalization of the first letter).

To test whether your article title is appropriate, simply use it in a sentence, ignoring the capitalization of the first letter. If it looks good, then you have the right title. For example, if you are writing an article about Peter's bangs, trying the sentence "Peter's Bangs look preposterous" reveals that a better title is "Peter's bangs".

Some basic guidelines:

  • Do not capitalize the second or subsequent words of the article's title unless they are proper nouns. Titles (whether of episodes, books, graphic novels, films or what have you) should be capitalized as they normally would be: the first and last word should be capitalized, as should every important word in between, excluding articles, short prepositions, and the like.
  • Use singular nouns whenever possible. Only if the article explicitly refers to multiple subjects (e.g. Linderman's thugs) should it be plural. If a word is frequently used both singularly and plurally, use the singular form. Links to articles may be easily pluralized by simply adding the plural suffix outside the link (e.g. [[symbol]]s).
  • Adjectives should redirect to their noun form. For example, do not add an article called "Angry". Instead, add an article called "Anger" and redirect "Angry" to "Anger".
  • If your article title is a verb, it should be added in the gerund form. For example, Help:Editing is correctly labeled "Editing", not "Edit", "Edits", or "To Edit".
  • Use the common names of persons and things. For example, Nathan's younger son is "Monty Petrelli", not "Montgomery Petrelli". See below for more on character names.
  • Be precise. If an article's title will lead to ambiguity, you should consider adding a disambiguation page. For example, since there are several tapes in the series, "Claire's tape" is preferable to "tape".
  • Prefer spelled out phrases to acronyms.
  • Avoid special characters in article titles. In particular, ampersands (&) tend to break links. Use "and" instead, even if it means altering a title.
  • Avoid any characters used for emphasis, such as quotation marks, exclamation points, or asterisks, unless they are part of a proper noun as it appears in the show ("9th Wonders!" is correct, "*-*OMG PETER ROXXORZ <_< !!1!" is not.)
  • Avoid using definite or indefinite articles ("the", "a", "an") in the article's name unless they are used as part of a proper name or title. "The Haitian" and "The Company" are fine, since those names are used like titles. "Explosion" and "Train wreck" are better choices than "The Explosion" and "The Train wreck" because they provide more flexibility in using the article's title in a sentence as a link ("Isaac predicts an [[explosion]]" instead of "Isaac predicts an [[The Explosion|explosion]]").

Character Names

The following criteria should be considered in order when deciding the name for a character's article:

  • Names given in canon sources: Characters can generally be divided into two groups: named characters and unnamed characters. If a character is at least partially named, then that name should be used for the character's article. If only a last name is given, precede the name with an appropriate title (Mr. Claremont, Mr. Thompson). If only a first name is given, use that name (Stanley, Rufus).
  • Names given in near-canon or secondary sources: If a character is named only in Heroes Evolutions or interviews with creators, use that name (Reginald Stanley).
  • Names given in episode credits: Unnamed characters should generally be named as they are listed in the episode's closing credits (Jumpsuit). Please note that names given in canon sources prevail over names listed in the credits. For example, Jeff Tracy is credited as "detective", but tells Isaac his name. Officer Ramsford and Beth Lindall's names appear on their nametags.
  • Descriptive names: If a character is not listed in the closing credits and is unnamed, a simple description will suffice (Lady with a purse).

Special Considerations

  • Assumed names: When a character has assumed a name other than their actual given name, the name most commonly used for the character should be used. For example, Gabriel Gray is Sylar and Sarah Ellis is Eden McCain. On the other hand, Claire Bennet has used the aliases "Vivian Lewis" and "Claire Butler", but should be listed under her original name. It's usually a good idea to add a redirect for any aliases a character uses (or for the character's formal name if the character generally uses an alias).
  • Conflicting descriptions: For unnamed characters, it's likely that a simple description, including one listed in the closing credits, may not be specific enough to distinguish the character from others. This is particularly the case with police officers, federal agents, medical personnel, agents of The Company, and the like. Such simple descriptions should be amended as much as is necessary to distinguish the character from others. For example, characters can be differentiated by their gender (Male fan, Female fan), their hair color (Black-haired social worker, Redhead social worker), or by the title of the episode, graphic novel, webisode, or iStory they appear in (Primatech agent (Blackout)). As a last resort, characters can be numbered (Linderman's guard, Linderman's guard (II)). Aside from the numbering method, using a combination of these differentiation techniques is generally not recommended.
  • Nicknames and full names: Characters should be listed by the name they use regularly. Formal names can be noted in the infobox. Examples include "Niki Sanders" (not "Nicole Sanders") and "Ted Sprague" (not "Theodore Sprague"). One exception is characters who regularly use only their surname; they should still list their first name if it is known (Daniel Linderman).

Location and Place Names

The names for locations (cities, states, countries) and places (buildings and other sites) should follow a similar standard:

  • Names given in canon sources: This includes not only names as spoken by the characters, but the on-screen text at the beginning of scenes.
  • Names given in near-canon or secondary sources: If a place is not named in an episode, names used in graphic novels, Heroes Evolutions, or interviews may be used.
  • Real-world names: If a location or place is not named in any source, but is a real-life location that is easily recognizable, use the real-world name, provided there is reason to believe the location is correct. For example, if the episode text notes that the characters are in Paris and the Eiffel Tower is visible, it would be appropriate to add an article for the Eiffel Tower. If the episode text noted the characters were in Las Vegas and the Eiffel Tower was visible, it would not be appropriate to name the article "Eiffel Tower".
  • Descriptive names: If no other name is available, a descriptive name is acceptable.

Special Considerations

  • A few types of location/place articles have standard names.
    • Apartments are "(OCCUPANT)'s apartment".
    • Family homes are "The (FAMILY NAME)s' home".
    • Cities in the United States are "(CITY), (ST)". Use the two-letter state abbreviation, and add a redirect for the city name alone.
    • Cities outside the United States are "(CITY), (COUNTRY)". Use the full name of the country, and add a redirect for the city name alone.
  • Capitalize business names as titles (Gray and Sons, Copy Kingdom). Do not capitalize mere descriptions (Mexican shop, gravel plant).
  • Note that names from canon, near-canon, and secondary sources should be used before real-world names. In the real world, the University in Chennai, India is "The University of Madras at Chennai". In Heroes, it's "Chennai University".

Ability Names

The following criteria should be considered in order when deciding the name for a new ability:

  • Names derived from Heroes sources:
    • Names given in canon sources: If a name is given for a ability in a canon source, that name should be used, regardless of whether it is the best description or not.
    • Names given in near-canon sources: If the ability is unnamed in canon sources but is named in a graphic novel or in Heroes Evolutions, that name should be used.
    • Names given in secondary sources: If the ability is unnamed in near-canon sources but is named in an episode commentary or interviews with show creators, that name should be used.
  • Names not derived from Heroes sources:
    • Names in common use in other works: Common names for abilities which are not explicitly named should be used if they are wide-spread and readily understandable. Names from comic books, other television shows and films, and from parapsychology are all good candidates. Uncommon names, particularly those which do not appear in most dictionaries or which are creations of fans of other works, are probably best avoided.
    • Descriptive names: If the ability has not been named and a common name for it does not exist, a descriptive name of the ability is appropriate, so long as it does not lend to speculation. A consensus must be attained for this level.
    • Holder's name: If an ability has been displayed on-screen, but its effects, limitations, causes, mechanisms, or nature cannot be determined with any certainty, making a non-speculative descriptive name impossible, the ability should simply be named for the person who displayed it. Such a name serves as a placeholder until a non-speculative descriptive name can be determined, or until a name is given in a canon, near-canon, or official secondary source.

Guidelines for names derived from Heroes sources

  • Names from canon, near-canon, or secondary sources should be used whenever possible because they are the most readily recognizable name and because they respect the primacy of canon and near-canon information. They may not necessarily be the "best" names possible; they are instead the names used within the world of Heroes and should be treated accordingly.
  • Names derived from a canon or near-canon description (invisibility from "Nobody sees me! I'm invisible!", flight from "I think I can fly!") should be treated as though the name is from a canon or near-canon source.
  • When a possible name for an ability appears in a canon, near-canon, or secondary source, it is important to consider whether the name describes the ability itself or merely one or more of its effects or applications:
    • Some abilities allow for multiple effects; for example, Hiro's ability allows him to manipulate space-time, with separate effects of teleportation, time-travel, and chronokinesis. While all of these names have appeared in various sources (teleportation and time travel in canon sources, chronokinesis in a secondary source), each describes only an aspect of his ability. Therefore, none of the three can be considered a canon source name for his ability as a whole.
    • As a general rule, for a possible name to be considered the name of an ability, it should include at least all aspects of the ability which have been displayed; otherwise, it is considered to be the name of an aspect or effect of the ability.
    • Such a name may also include or imply aspects of the ability which have not yet been seen. This differs from a descriptive name, which should not imply aspects of the ability which have not been seen. So long as the name provided includes all that is known, it can be assumed to be a canon, near-canon, or secondary source name, and should be treated accordingly.

Guidelines for descriptive ability names

  • Avoid speculation: A descriptive name should avoid speculating as to the effects, limitations, causes, mechanisms, or nature of the ability. Use only information confirmed by a canon source. Don't make assumptions.
  • Breadth: Try to find a name that is neither over- or under-broad. If a name would include effects we haven't seen a character perform, it's probably too broad. If a name doesn't cover all of the effects we've seen a character perform, then it's probably underbroad. Again, a name should support what has been seen in canon sources without either speculatively expanding or erroneously restricting.
  • Simplicity: A primary goal of naming articles is clarity. The most impressive or technical name for a ability is usually not the clearest. A simple, descriptive name will make it easier for readers to find and understand the article. Avoid names derived from foreign roots and suffixes, except for those which are already commonly used as descriptions of abilities. A name with a Latin or Greek neologism is generally going to be hotly disputed and difficult to remember and understand, and frequently will misuse the underlying foreign words. In particular, it is almost never appropriate to simply append "-kinesis" to a Latin or Greek root. "-Kinesis" implies motion or control; it is not merely a suffix which denotes "cool ability to do {thing x}". And even in cases where motion or control is appropriate, it's still much better to use a simple English description. Again, the goal is clarity, precision, and accuracy, not creating the "best sounding" name.

Sources for existing ability names

For a list of the sources of names for existing ability articles, see Heroes Wiki:Ability name origination. The source for each ability's name is also summarized in the sidebar of that ability's discussion page.