NetHackWiki:Style guide

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NetHackWiki has no formal style guide as of yet, but there are a few conventions in use. The following is a list of them. Changes should be discussed on the talk page.

NetHackWiki versus Wikihack

Please refer to this wiki as NetHackWiki. "Wikihack" is the name it was founded under.


Although NetHackWiki is a guide in addition to being an encyclopedia, articles in the main namespace should nonetheless be written in a largely encyclopedic tone. That means clearly separating facts from comments, by putting strategy tips in their own section, and comments on the talk page. Spelling and grammar should follow Americanized language rules.

Make sentences short.

Article names

Try to be consistent with existing articles:

The first time the article name appears in the main text, it should be bolded. This includes the titles of any redirects redirecting to the article. Example: "Gauntlets of power, sometimes abbreviated to GoP, ..."


When creating a new article, redirect variations on that name to it, to avoid someone duplicating the article under a slightly different title.

For in-game messages, redirect the message (e.g. The golden haze around you disappears) to the article about the thing that caused it. If the message can have multiple causes, create a disambiguation page (e.g. Your skin feels warm for a moment).

The syntax for a redirect is as follows:

#REDIRECT [[spellbook of protection]]

See metawikimedia:Help:Redirect for help creating redirects.

New articles

Do not create empty new articles or new articles that contain nothing but the {{stub}} message just in hopes of seeing someone add more content to them. Add the content yourself! A "{{stub}}"-only page is somewhat like applying a magic marker to write a blank scroll. If you don't know about the subject, learn about it or ask politely at the Community Portal for someone to create the article.


In general, if the game or the source code capitalizes something, it should be capitalized on this wiki. "Archon", "Book of the Dead", and "Moloch's Sanctum" are examples of this. Note that Archon is not a proper noun, but it should still be capitalized because NetHack always capitalizes it. Always use "Luck" when referring to the in-game attribute; use "luck" to refer to good RNG or other "out-of-game" luck.

Conversely, do not capitalize things that the game does not capitalize and treats like common nouns (most monsters and objects fall into this category). Examples include "potion of hallucination", "tiger", and "rust trap".


The highest header level that should be used is ==This==. Do not use =These=, they are reserved for the article main title only.

Each article should begin with a brief introduction before going into specifics. This introduction (also known as the "lede" in Wikipedia jargon) should not have a header, because its function is obvious and because when you omit the header, the introduction appears before the table of contents as it is supposed to.

Section names

Some sections are common to many articles. Try to use one of these for the section header rather than a variant like "Messages given", "Behavior in previous versions", or "External Links". Known standard sections are:

  • Generation
  • Map(s)
  • Messages
  • Strategy
  • Variants
  • Mythology
  • History
  • Encyclopedia entry
  • See also
  • References
  • External links

Generation should explain where and how the thing can be found or created.

The History section can contain information on how the subject was different in earlier versions of NetHack. Other kinds of history should go in Mythology. If the thing is based on a real-life model, Origin may be a better heading.

The Encyclopedia entry should give the text of the subject's entry in the NetHack encyclopedia, enclosed in an {{encyclopedia}} template. The template displays whitespace characters literally (like the HTML <pre> tag), so remove unwanted hard line breaks and whitespace at the beginning of lines. Browser window widths vary widely! Don't otherwise edit the contents: the encyclopedia entries are hard-coded in the game.


Each new article should have at least one category assigned to it; read the category tree to find an appropriate one. Remember to update that tree if you create a new category.


Many of our tables are pretty tables; the prettytable class from MediaWiki:Common.css can be used like this:

!Header 1
!Header 2
|Cell 1
|Cell 2
|Cell 3
|Cell 4

to make this:

Header 1 Header 2
Cell 1 Cell 2
Cell 3 Cell 4

It's also possible to use "striped" and/or "sortable" in addition to "prettytable".

Colored NetHack glyphs

For example: A, n, D

Use the 16-color function templates for displaying individual symbols. For monsters you should usually use {{monsym}}, or {{monsymlink}}.

To make colored ASCII screenshots, wrap the function templates in <div class="ttymap"></div>, or use User:Paxed/ReplaceCharsBlock with ruleset {{ttymap}} to allow easier editing.

While editing an article, it's possible to have a "popup" window where you can select the colored symbols with mouse; Just click the "Color symbols" link at the bottom of the page.

Item pages

Put the appropriate template out of Template:scroll, Template:potion, Template:ring, Template:wand, Template:spellbook, Template:weapon, Template:armor, Template:comestible, Template:amulet, Template:artifact, Template:artifact weapon and Template:tool at the top of the item page, or Template:item for any other type of item.

Each item page should also list the effects of the item, and any messages that item can generate. Tips and strategy relating to that item should go next, and if there is an entry from the NetHack encyclopedia, that can go at the bottom. Use potion of object detection, scroll of amnesia and scroll of genocide as guides.


There are a plethora of NetHack variants, and they often change something in vanilla which should get documented on the vanilla page. This is fine, but in order to keep things organized, follow these guidelines:

  1. Only put variant information on a page if it is a substantial change to the topic of the page which has an impact on strategy. If it's a change to something else but which still has an impact on strategy, it's probably too tangential to be put on the page.
  2. All variant information should go in a level-two ==Variants== section near the bottom of the page but above the encyclopedia entry. Each variant then gets a level-three subsection within the Variants section.
  3. The sole exception to the above rule is if there's only one variant worth writing about. In this case, it is okay to have that variant occupy a level-two ==VariantName== section, and no ==Variants== section. But if another variant is added later, then the first variant and the new variant should become level-three sections under a level-two Variants section.
  4. Avoid putting paragraphs, sentences, parentheticals, or asides referencing a variant outside of its section.
  5. Avoid further subdividing a single variant's section into more subsections; if you're adding level-four section breaks then it's probably a better idea to move that text into its own page.
  6. Variant articles that do have their own pages can be (they don't have to be) linked with a single line in the top of the Variants section. Don't create a subsection just to provide a link to the main article.
  7. Never add variant categories to a vanilla article. Use them only for pages which are entirely about variant(s).

Regarding SLASH'EM's name, prefer "SLASH'EM" to "Slash'EM". There is no consensus on which one is "official", but we need a convention, and SLASH'EM is clearly an acronym. For capitalization of other variant names, consult the variant's main page.

Source code

When writing a piece of factual information, you may wish to document it by linking to the source code like this:

The vibrating square level is not eligible to leave bones files.{{refsrc|src/bones.c|36|nethack=3.6.0|comment=vibrating square does not leave bones}}

which looks like this:

The vibrating square level is not eligible to leave bones files.[1]

If the reference is placed after a word with a punctuation mark, don't insert it between the word and the punctuation mark; put it after both.

You must include the <references/> tag at the bottom of the page like this:


That will create a list of footnotes:

  1. src/bones.c in NetHack 3.6.0, line 36: vibrating square does not leave bones

The templates {{refsrc}}, {{reffunc}}, {{sourcecode}}, and {{function}} are designed for use in source code references.

Other useful templates

Main article: NetHackWiki:Templates

{{DOD}} should go at the bottom of every page which is based on a spoiler by Dylan O'Donnell.

{{disambig}} should go at the bottom of every disambiguation page, e.g. Fire. A disambiguation page is a list of links to articles all associated with the same title.

{{stub}} can be used on a page to plea for someone to expand it. From time to time, some editors will look over Category:Stubs for articles to expand. It can take no parameters, or it can take an optional parameter explaining what needs to be expanded:

{{stub|What's the best strategy for killing the Wizard of Yendor?}}

{{merge}} is a plea for someone to merge a page with another, or several others. You should give details of which other page you mean in the parameter:

{{merge|Some of this information belongs in [[this article]].}}

{{otheruses}} is for a page whose title has multiple meanings, like Izchak. In many cases, a disambiguation page may be more appropriate, but where one meaning dominates the others, it deserves the page title. Also see the {{for}}, {{for2}} and {{distinguish}} templates.

{{main}} can be used to link to the main article for a topic, per this section:


{{upcoming}} is for changes that have been made in an unreleased future version of NetHack. Since the development version is subject to change, it would be premature to try and document new features in the regular page text, so use this instead.


Anything to do with NetHack belongs in the main article space. Anything to do with NetHackWiki belongs in the NetHackWiki namespace.

User pages

You can create a vanity page in the main namespace if you want to, but unless you are famous or otherwise notable it would be a better idea to create a NetHackWiki account and put personal information on your own User page.

Sign your posts

When writing on articles'/users' talk-pages or on certain community pages, sign your posts with four tildes, ~~~~. That will automatically expand to your signature with timestamp, as in "ZeroOne 17:57, 15 August 2006 (UTC)".

Dealing with unsigned comments

The templates {{unsigned}} and {{unsigned2}} can be used at the end of an unsigned comment to attach the username or IP to the comment. None of these templates automatically populate (fill in) the name or IP of the poster and the time of the post. That information is best copied from the history page and pasted into the following templates. Note: All of the unsigned templates must be substituted.

Wikimarkup Resulting code Resulting display
{{subst:unsigned|user name or IP}} {{subst:unsigned|Example}} — Preceding unsigned comment added by Example (talkcontribs)
{{subst:unsigned|user name or IP|date}} {{subst:unsigned|Example|11:15, 1 June 2005 (UTC)}} — Preceding unsigned comment added by Example (talkcontribs) 11:15, 1 June 2005 (UTC)

The template {{unsigned2}} does almost the same thing as {{unsigned}} when used with two parameters, but the ordering of the parameters is reversed. The resulting display is the same. This template may be useful when copying and pasting from the edit history, where the timestamp appears before the username.

Wikimarkup Resulting code Resulting display
{{subst:unsigned2|date|user name or ip}} {{subst:unsigned2|11:15, 1 June 2005 (UTC)|Example}} — Preceding unsigned comment added by Example (talkcontribs) 11:15, 1 June 2005 (UTC)

General principles

English syntax

Many NetHackers are not native English speakers -- that's great; everybody comes into the game with their own characteristics and intrinsics. This wiki is therefore written in eclectic, somewhat international English. But if you are writing on a public wiki, here are some things you should know about English syntax:

  • "chance of doing" versus "chance to do": One refers to probability; the other to opportunity. "You have a chance to do X" means "you have an opportunity to do X"; e.g., you get a turn to move or you get asked to confirm a choice. "You have a chance of doing X" means "there is a certain probability that you will do X", e.g. you have a 70% probability of turning into a newt when the witch curses you.
  • There's more than one way to say it — and some ways get to the point a lot faster. For example, you can always replace "due to the fact that" with "because". Have a read through to catch such wordy bits before you click on Save Changes.
  • ...