Everyone has their own style bible, be it the Chicago Manual of Style or Strunk & Whites. You can choose to use the Oxford Comma or not, however, if someone else used it and you’re updating their page or post, please leave it alone. Our Style Guide is not an attempt to force you to write a specific way, but a series of guidelines to encourage consistency.
Above all, be positive and supportive. Don’t bash or attack. We’re trying to help representation, support queer content creators, and create a tone of positivity.
Quality Content Matters
Good content is important and so is search engine optimization (SEO). Without visitors, people won’t find our content. SEO allows search engines to index our content and make us discoverable. For example, we get an uptick in traffic when various actors are in the news because posts about them are search engine optimized well.
Make use of Yoast SEO Analysis (at the bottom of the page). That is the fastest way to get your head around what’s ‘good’ content for SEO. Remember that these are guidelines, and it’s okay to break them if you feel it’s important.
- Titles: A good title should be attention-grabbing, but not Buzzfeedy. Try to avoid “You won’t believe these characters are queer!”
- Custom Excerpts: They are strongly encouraged. These should be tweet length, and two or three good sentences about the content.
- Featured Images: These are the required hero images at the top of a post. If you need help making these images, please reach out on the #editors Slack channel.
- Spoiler Warnings: Always flag a post with a spoiler warning! (There’s a “Spoiler” block for this).
- Section Breaks: Use headers to make multiple sections on blog posts.
- Yoast SEO can help with this.
Tags and Categories
Categories are for large, widespread groups such as “News” or “Exclusives.” Limit usage to 2 per post whenever possible.
Tags are free form and for the minutia, like a show name, an actor name, and so on. Think of them as the hashtag. You’re trying to bring awareness to the topic.
- Tags should use capital letters (i.e. ‘Jane the Virgin’ and not ‘jane the virgin’)
- If a tag is missing, feel free to add it
- Be careful about spelling and the name of actors (we use Kat Barrell and not Katherine, for example)
Cross Linking is when you mention a show/character/actor on another page and link back to it. This is important, as it helps lower our bounce-rate and keep people clicking through the site. We’ve automated many links (shows link back to related blog posts and so on), but there are still some links you’ll need to do yourself.
The commonly accepted rule is that you should only link to TV Shows, actors, and characters the first time they appear in a post.
You should add links in blog posts. On show pages, you don’t need to link to characters (or their actors) who are listed on the page, because they are listed out already. If, however, you’re mentioning that Law & Order is in the same universe as The X Files, then you can link to each show from the other page.
TV Shows should be italicized. Example: “Watch CSI on CBS!”
When making a list of episodes use the following format:
- Season # Episode # “Episode Title” – Episode description.
Identity and Sexuality
However an actor or a character identifies their sexual and gender orientation, respect it and use it. If someone says they’re Non-Binary Trans-Male, then set their gender to that. If a sexual or gender orientation doesn’t exist, add it. It’s easy and it’s important to respect people’s identity.
This also means if an actor is not out (no matter how sure you are they’re queer) do not out them. If you can’t find any personal details on an actor, or they’re only on a web-series, it’s safe to use ‘Unknown.’ Everyone else, especially mainstream actors, should default to straight.
WHEN IN DOUBT, DO NOT OUT
- Actors: Cisgender Female, heterosexual
- Characters: Cisgender, homosexual
- Actors who are in web-series: Cisgender, Unknown
- Characters who have romantic relationships with other species (human/Klingon, etc): Pansexual
Spelling and Romanization
We write in American (or Canadian) English for the most part. This can cause a problem when adding foreign content, as even languages that use the Latin alphabet can include characters with diacritics, ligatures and others that are not commonly used in present-day English.
Use the characters they use. Zoë, Ægir, Erdös and so on. Use copy/paste if you don’t know how to add those manually. They’re safe to use in titles and tags, as WordPress will auto-correct for you in the URLs.
Also, remember to use the name order that the actor or character does. If they’re Asian and use the Patronym (last name) as the ‘first’ name, then do LASTNAME FIRSTNAME. Romanization may happen with some characters, but WordPress should be fine.
If you get an image from an official source, please use the “Attribution” field or include the content “Photo Credit NBC/Universal” in the Alt Text (Alternative Text) box.