SmashWiki:Manual of Style/Words to Watch

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SmashWiki is not censored, but certain expressions and phrases should still be avoided, as they may introduce bias to an article or a viewpoint, or cause information to become unclear or inarticulate. This addendum to our manual of style is intended to help users to avoid using improper words that can introduce inadvertent bias to pages, as part of SmashWiki:Neutral Point of View, or lead to imprecise information that is vague.

Note that words that are not featured on this page may still be problematic in certain contexts; similarly, some words on this page may still be usable in articles with no ill effects if the context calls for it, whether by giving appropriate attribution or facts.

Words that may introduce bias[edit]

Puffery[edit]

See also: SmashWiki:Neutral Point of View

Also known as "peacock terms", puffery refers to the use of words that overly promote or disparage a subject without summarising verifiable information. Terms that promote puffery, such as great, fantastic, awesome, incredible, landmark, best, worst, horrible, dreadful, appalling, awful, or gimmicky should ideally be given either facts or attribution to demonstrate a point. For instance, simply stating Cloud has a horrible recovery is unacceptable; stating Cloud's recovery is poor as a result of several "blind spots" in Climhazzard's ledge sweetspots and its low vertical and horizontal distances would be acceptable.

Unsupported attributions[edit]

So-called "weasel words" are words and phrases that attempt to claim that something specific and meaningful has been said, when in reality, such claims may only have been given ambiguously. A common example would be using vague attribution, such as using phases like "some say" or "it is widely thought". For example, saying the Official Custom Moveset Project was criticised by some smashers for creating degenerate gameplay is not preferred; saying that it was criticised by Mew2King, however, lends more credibility. Ideally, a specific individual or source should be given for attribution where possible.

Editorialising[edit]

The use of certain adverbs is discouraged in many situations, as such terms can inadvertently give undue focus to a point, such as "notably", "unusually", and "interestingly". Phrases can also introduce such inadvertent focus, such as "it should be noted" or "of particular note", and they should be used sparingly. SmashWiki should also not attempt to presume too much about the reader's perspective, and editors should avoid the use of words such as "obviously", "naturally", "clearly", and "of course". As NPoV also states SmashWiki should describe disputes, but not engage in them, SmashWiki should not take a view as to whether an event was "fortunate" or "thankful".

A particularly subtle case of editorialising can occur through the use of words that link two sentences together, such as "but", "despite", "however" and "though"; the linkage of two sentences may imply a relationship where none exists.

Words that may lack precision[edit]

Clichés and idioms[edit]

Clichés, idioms, and similar phrases should generally be avoided in preference of direct, literal expressions. The phrases "double-edged sword", "mixed bag", and "jack of all trades", for instance, should be avoided. Outside of idioms potentially misrepresenting the scale of a viewpoint, readers unused to the idiom or who do not speak English as a first language may misconstrue the meaning or scale of a statement.

Relative time references[edit]

Absolute specifications of time are preferred over relative constructions, such as "recently", "currently", and "to date", as this can lead to statements becoming outdated and can prevent readers from getting an appropriate frame of reference for older events. Specific ages should also be avoided where possible, as phrases such as "17 years old" or "2 years ago" will require constant updating to remain accurate.

Unspecified places or events[edit]

Similar to the previous section, specific statements should be used over general ones, with specific terminology instead of vague terms such as "at some point", "sometimes" or "somehow".

Neologisms and new compounds[edit]

Avoid adding prefixes onto existing terms as to create new compounds, such as anti-, pro-, post-, and -like. Neologisms such as these may grant undue weight to a certain viewpoint; the neologism "anti-tier", for instance, can imply that such a movement is considered a significant part of the community. Furthermore, neologisms may have definitions that are vague or unstable; the term "anti-tier", for instance, may imply either an opposition to tier lists or simply someone who uses a character considered low-tier.

Vulgarities, obscenities, and profanities[edit]

SmashWiki is not censored, and as a result, a number of words considered offensive may be used in the mainspace, such as in the terms Rapetent, Motherfucking Leaker or Death by Rape. Outside of direct contexts, however, offensive language is generally seen by readers as unprofessional, and should not be used, unless removing such vulgarities causes information to become less relevant or accurate.