Wikipedia:WikiProject Animation/Style guide

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The style guide of WikiProject Animation helps editors to improve quality of Animation-related articles. Please discuss them on the talk page if you have ideas or questions. General guidance is given in the Wikipedia:Manual of Style which should be followed in all cases in though in some cases may ether argument or replace a guideline. Pages related in this project are Writing better articles and Writing about fiction.

All articles should have a lead section including a lead sentence that provides a full lead title. If you are new to editing Wikipedia, visit the welcome page to become familiar with the guidelines.

Neutral point of view

Make sure to write from a neutral point of view. Wikipedia is not the place for writing reviews. If you can provide factual records of opinions, that is of course excellent. Press reviews, awards (even if for nominations) and quotes from show directors and creators such as blogs can and should be used - those carry weight on their own. If there is more than one take on the subject, make sure to include all and to treat all as potentially true. For these, be sure to clarify that they are opinions, not incontrovertible facts.

Watch out for overly general and vague statements, such as "there are many who think This show is great" or "the movie is great". Such weasel words are not particularly factual and usually nothing but the author's opinions in disguise. Try to provide more specific information, and back the statement up with references to magazines, websites, etc. In addition, avoid peacock terms; these pieces of fluff actually lower the prose to an unprofessional level.


Essential content

Each animation related article should include a minimum set of standard elements:

  • An infobox, completed correctly and appropriately which usually consists of the animated television series name; creator, animator, director, actors, voice actors; seasons and episode count; first and final air dates if a series has finished. A title card (sometimes referred to as an intertitle or title screen) of the series should be uploaded with a proper fair use rationale.
  • An infobox, completed correctly and appropriately which usually consists of the film; directors, writers, actors, song composers. A film poster which completed correctly and appropriately which usually consists of the films, with a proper fair use rationale. See WP:FILMMOS for more information.
  • An infobox, completed correctly and appropriately which is an animator; director, writer, voice actor, and storyboard artist. A photograph which completed correctly and appropriately which usually for biographically articles, with a proper free use image. See WP:MOSBIO for more information.
  • The {{WikiProject Animation}} template placed on the article's Talk page. This lets others know that the article is part of this project.

If these essential pieces of information cannot be found in reliable sources, then it may not be admissible within the article itself and removed.

Articles and related lists

All animated television series, films or people which have an article will fall into a basic framework of three articles consisting of a main series or film article, a character list and an episode list, the latter of which should only be created if the main article becomes excessively long. Sufficient leeway is given that this is not set in stone, but the basic idea should apply across all articles.

Main series and film article

All main articles should follow this basic layout.

The intro paragraph. Also known as the head or lead, it will be the very first text which readers will scan and should be able to concisely communicate what the show is about. Introduce the name of the show in bold (three tickmarks), explicitly mentioning that it airs on any networks, and any other associated networks or relay stations. The creator should be wikilinked, if there is an applicable link. If the creator does not currently have an article, do not link it. Redlinks in the intro will be removed. Mention and link any associated or prior work for the creator. For animated films, series, and characters, the producer will be any animation studios and need not be explicitly mentioned. For co-productions, the production house should be mentioned and linked if possible. Give the air dates of premiere and if production has finished, the final airdate. Dates should not be wikilinked, as per WP:MOSNUM. A brief (one or two sentence) overview of the show can be incorporated into the introductory paragraph. Awards which are cited to the primary source (the awards organization) may be mentioned in the lead. Awards which are unable to be cited to the primary source (such as the day-time Emmys, which does not appear to maintain an archive), should not be mentioned in the lead, but may be mentioned in the body with a cite to a secondary source. Nominations should not be mentioned in the lead, but may be mentioned in the body, with the same citation stipulations.

The main text should give as much real-world information as possible, before any in-universe discussion. If known, a premise should be given. A premise is not the in-universe description, but the ideas which the creator had in mind whilst developing the show.

Production details should follow the premise. Mention or link to any external production houses used, as in co-productions, or a third-party house to help with non-animated elements (i.e., Toy Story, The Simpsons and South Park).

The internally parsed table-of-contents (TOC) can be modified to suit. If the article is addressing a newly launched show, the information may currently be slim, and a full TOC may be distracting. TOC's can be limited to level two, level three, etc., headings, to aid in presentation. See {{TOC}} for further details.


Ideally there should be some WP:V references. Refer to WP:RS. Primary sources are acceptable only if the primary source offers core information about the subject i.e. Rocko is a Wallaby. A primary source should not offer interpretation.

Inappropriate content

Below is a list of content that is generally considered beyond the scope of information of Wikipedia articles on animation topics.

  1. Non-notable articles and spinouts: Avoid creating new articles on non-notable topics. A notable topic must receive significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject. A smaller article should only be split from a larger topic if the new article would itself be notable, notability is not inherited and the notability of the parent does not apply to the child article.
    Based on: Wikipedia's general notability guideline, and Wikipedia's guideline to avoiding unnecessary splits
  2. Numerous short articles: One large article usually provides better organization and context for a topic. Don't create multiple small articles when one larger compilation will do. The ideal article is neither too large nor too small.
    Based on: Wikipedia's guideline on article size
  3. Detailed in-universe explanations: Documenting a characters history can be helpful to understand their personality but avoid explaining minute elements of their personality which only appear once.
  4. Excessive fictional details: A concise plot summary is appropriate to cover a notable character or setting in an animated film or series. Information beyond that is unnecessary and should be removed, as articles should focus on the real-world elements of a topic, such as creation and reception.
    Based on: Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information: Plot summaries, and Wikipedia's policy on undue weight
  5. Lists of minor events, media releases or characters. Specific lists of locations, villains for a given show and so on are considered inappropriate. Sometimes a concise summary is appropriate if it is essential to understanding the show.
    Based on: Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information: Plot summaries and Wikipedia's policy on undue weight
  6. Rumors and speculation: Speculation about future episodes, films or spinoff series should not be included.
    Based on: Wikipedia is not a crystal ball, Wikipedia is not a repository of original research or original thought

These standards have been developed in accordance with fundamental Wikipedia policies and guidelines and reflect the consensus of the community. All editors should understand and follow these standards, though they should be treated with common sense and the occasional exception.


This is an encyclopedia, and articles should be written formally, not like fansites or blogs. In addition to the Manual of Style, keep these style tips in mind:

  • Do not use second-person pronouns ("you"). In addition to being ambiguous, informal, and unencyclopedic, we cannot assume that the reader is familiar with the show. Use proper nouns for character names. See also Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Avoid second-person pronouns.
  • When writing about a show be sure to keep a real-world perspective. Simply put, do not describe fiction as fact. For example: "Homer Simpson is a main fictional character in the animated television series The Simpsons." This sentence talks about fiction from a perspective within its world. This sentence talks about fiction from the perspective outside of its world.
  • Avoid confusing abbreviations.
  • Substandard and fluffy prose are unacceptable, even in underdeveloped articles. Ask for copyeditors to help enhance your article's prose, even if you are a solid writer. Avoid redundancies and misplaced formality, such as "in order to" and "upon". You may wish to read "How to satisfy Criterion 1a".

Verb tense

  • When describing a show which has finished production, use present tense. The verb in this usage modifies the genre of the show: these are, and will remain, animated shows, and will not cease to exist even when production has finished.
  • However, when describing a specific event related to a show, such as production, advertising, reviews, etc., use a tense appropriate for the time period in which the event occurred. Be careful to avoid phrasing that may confuse past and present tense.
  • Avoid relative time terms like "currently". Relative time ages fast, and offers no context to the reader. If a show is actively airing at the time of your edit, the omission of a finale date should be sufficient.
  • Similarly, use the present tense for describing things happening in the shows, not the past tense. This is logical; even if a series was aired in the 70's, 80's, 90's, it is animated the same today as it was when it first aired. Plots should always be written in present tense, as they happen over the show's run and have not happened. An exception is when describing events that take place prior to the events of the show. For example,

Article titles

Articles should follow a familiar title:

  • Series name (or series name (TV series), (year TV series) or (Animated series) if disambiguation is needed)
  • Film name (or film name (film), (year film) or (animated film) if disambiguation is needed)
  • List of series name (TV series) or (Animated series) episodes
  • List of series name (TV series) or (Animated series) characters
  • List of film name (film) or (Animated film) characters
  • Person name (or Person name (animator) or (animation director) if disambiguation is needed)
  • Character name (or Character name (character) or (TV series character) if disambiguation is needed)

Each article should contain contextual links to each other, titles such as List of Series name characters or Episodes of Series name will be changed to the accepted convention for the relevant type of article.


  • Images - Make sure all animation-related images contain copyright tags and are categorized with this category: [[Category:Animation images]], [[Category:Animated series images]], [[Category:Animated series screenshots]], [[Category:Animated character images]], [[Category:Animated film images]], [[Category:Animated film screenshots]], [[Category:Animated film posters]]
  • Categorization - Make sure all animation-related articles are categorized.
  • Moving Pages - When moving a page, if the page is already created, please do not copy and paste. Please fill out a form at Wikipedia:Requested moves.
  • Tags - If you see any tags on any animation article, (i.e. cleanup, wikify, etc.) please notify the WikiProject here. This will make it easier for project members to fix whatever problem there may be.
  • Trivia - Per WP:TRIVIA, trivia is not recommended. Please try to incorporate relevant trivia into the rest of the article.
  • When describing something, please do not use words like "you will notice" or "if you..." etc. Also see Wikipedia:Avoid weasel words.
  • When writing a new article or making changes to an existing one, please adhere to the manual of style. For example, formal writing on Wikipedia is preferred. Therefore, the use of contractions should be avoided.
  • Writing about fiction - In-universe perspective should not be used when writing about fiction. In-universe perspective includes plots framed as biographies and the birth and death dates of fictional characters. Instead, use perspective of the real world.

Article criteria

This WikiProject spans several subjects that overlap, therefore we have restricted our following:

Article subjects that are within the WikiProject's scope

  • Animation
  • Animation by country
  • Animated television series and animated television episodes
  • Animated films
  • Animated shorts
  • Computer animation and other animation techniques
  • Animated characters
  • Animators, animation directors
  • History
  • Voice actors of Animated films, shorts and television series

Article subjects that do not fit within the WikiProject's scope

Article construction

For information on what should be included in an article, please view:

Naming conventions

For clarification in specific instances, please view:

Notability, guidelines, layouts and advice

For notability, guidelines, layouts and advice, please view:


Acceptable categories are:


Articles related to animation must follow the requirements for verification and use appropriate reliable sources with inline citations to support the article.

There are several considerations for animation-related articles in regards to sourcing:

  • Using sites like and IMDb as reliable sources for animated series and films should be carefully considered. While such sites are not considered to be reliable sources today, prior to around the turn of the century, they did possess this credibility. Most animated series and films pre-dating should include content from print journals or digital archives for information released during that time.
  • Similarly, plot sections should also be sourced; again, the user's manual and reviews may help here, but one may also find sufficient information contained within strategy guides or FAQs.


Here are a few ideas for how to organize articles. These do not necessarily have to correspond to the actual section headers and divisions, and they are no more than suggestions. Do not try to conform to them if they are not helping to improve the article.

For main animated television series and film articles:

  • Lead section: The name of the show in bold italics, first air date, film release, production studio(s) and other identifying information go first. Then, a brief summary of the article. Finally, why the show is notable and important; this is the key part of the lead section, because it establishes the main idea that will be carried throughout the article.
  • Infobox: see below for more information.
  • Concept: going over the significant parts of how the show. Remember not to include intricate minor details regarding locations or non-speaking characters.
  • History: discuss development, airing, film date, impact, critical response, etc. This can easily be several different sections.
  • Trivia: Such information should be integrated into appropriate areas of the article.
  • External links and references. Cite sources! If you are unsure what to include for references, reviews, interviews and development blogs are all good candidates.

For character lists:

  • A brief intro paragraph linking back to the main article
  • Main characters. As above, give as much concrete and immutable information as possible. Name, age, gender, if known. Roles, jobs or careers may also be explicit. Link to the voice actor.
  • Secondary characters. Also as above, only recurring characters which meet appearance requirements.

For episode lists:

  • A brief intro paragraph linking back to the main article
  • Break down the episodes into seasons and the dates spanned.
  • Use the template {{Episode list}}

External links

External links in show articles should follow the same convention for external links on Wikipedia in general. Certain links are recommended for these articles, while other links should be avoided. Specifically, external links should provide information that, barring copyright and technical restrictions, would be part of a Featured Article on Wikipedia. Restricting the type of external links to be added to articles helps to avoid the section from becoming a link farm. Additionally, Wikipedia is not a TV guide or your website or blog - external links should not be added to include material that explicitly defines certain aspects of the show or its characters.

Appropriate external links - These links should be present if possible in an article

  • The show's official home page. Only the English version of the page should be included if there are multiple languages. If no English version exists, then the official page in the language of the country of first airing should be provided, but indicate that the site is in a foreign language. If on a co-produced show, animation studio and an outside studio each offer a different site, include both.
  • If the page contains substantial information that is relevant but not necessarily encyclopedic in nature, a animated television series or film page at, the Internet Movie Database, Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes may be added on a case by case basis.

Inappropriate external links - These links should be avoided in articles, though if determined by consensus to be valuable, they may be included:

  • Fan-based sites or fan created websites which include MySpace pages and blogs - These tend to be self-published venues and are not appropriate for verifiability within Wikipedia.
  • Forums, even if official forums provided by fan sites or forums - Again, these are self-published forums and are not appropriate

Unacceptable external links - Links to sites that offer complete downloads, films, TV series of episodes, seasons, or other copyright-infringing works. These links are never allowed in articles and should be deleted without discussion if found


For main project templates, see the templates page for WikiProject Animation.