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Forums: Index > Wiki proposal votes > Vote: Basic reference formatting guidelines


As it stands, our guidelines lack specific information on referencing source material. References are of exceptional importance in keeping our articles and the information within both accurate and verifiable. After having several discussions regarding these guidelines, a new draft has been created, and I wish to call a vote.

With this proposal, we can solidify our referencing standards by way of adopting a set of basic formatting guidelines for the most commonly used media, aligned with currently utilized formats.


This proposal includes referencing guidelines for:

  • Dialogue
  • Holodisks, notes, and terminal entries
  • Images
  • Game guides
  • Adding reference sections

This proposal does not include guidelines for:

  • External links
  • Link rot/archiving
  • Technical pages
  • Use of tooltips
  • Reference relevance

Any media not covered under this policy can/will be revisited by way of amendments in future discussions and votes.


The draft for the guidelines can be found here.

The drafted guidelines were adapted from Ant2242’s work (itself stemming from the policies of the Vault) with an emphasis on what are largely accepted on our wiki as unspoken standards. To address past concerns of such guidelines being too unwieldy, the draft uses bullet points to explicitly state the format for each medium. Further, the format is presented in a table including both the final product and markup/code to produce the shown format. Real-wiki examples are also displayed as a means to exemplify practical applications of the guidelines.

It should be noted, too, that admin kdarrow has successfully adapted the basics of this draft into the referencing section of their Vault Academy curriculum. They have also contributed to this proposal and aspects of the draft, for which I cannot entirely take credit for.

-CamelChip (talk) 17:00, 28 November 2020 (UTC)



  1. Yes But only if the draft from CamelChip’s version as it is now, is what is used. Great Mara (talk) 18:12, 28 November 2020 (UTC)
  2. Yes Strong yes from me. This is an excellent and well-written policy that will only serve to create a stronger and more polished wiki as a whole. -kdarrow Pickman heart.png take her for a spin! 20:56, 28 November 2020 (UTC)
  3. Yes That'll be a yes from me. -Eckserah User Eckserah.png Head Dataminer 21:21, 28 November 2020 (UTC)
  4. Yes - The Appalachian (talk) 11:04, 29 November 2020 (UTC)
  5. Yes - New California Ahoy Bear of the North Star lapel pin.png FO76 Red star pin.png "Who are you, that do not know their history?" 19:19, 29 November 2020 (UTC)
  6. Yes Aya42 (talk) 10:59, 30 November 2020 (UTC)
  7. Yes 寧靜 Fox.png 11:03, 30 November 2020 (UTC)
  8. Yes WAP
    Axed Scribe-Howard (waster93) (talk) 07:15, 2 December 2020 (UTC)
  9. Yes Hard yes, no reason not standardize this. Devastating DaveZIP ZAP RAP 17:06, 2 December 2020 (UTC)
  10. Yes intrepid359FO76NW Overseer.png7/4/22 [12:35am]
  11. Yes --FindabairMini-JSPnP Logo.pngThe benefit of the doubt is often doubtful. 08:03, 5 December 2020 (UTC)
  12. =Yes! --FDSMDP (talk) 20:03, 5 December 2020 (UTC)
  13. Yes I had hoped to see Ant's opinion on this, but here we go – before voting stops. -- UserCCCSig.png -- You talkin' to me? -- cCContributions --
  14. Yes Whoops, almost forgot to vote. -CamelChip (talk) 16:56, 8 December 2020 (UTC)


  1. No I don't think dialogue excerpts should appear inside references. Instead, references should contain links to the relevant lines of dialogue. (See also discussion below.) - FDekker (talk)


  1. Neutral Branebriar1930 (talk) 19:46, 30 November 2020 (UTC)


Just to clarify, since I just noticed this: "When referencing an NPC conversation, the full prompt and response must be retained to keep the reference in context." This doesn't mean slapping in extra sentences that are irrelevant to what is being cited, correct? Great Mara (talk) 01:16, 29 November 2020 (UTC)

With this, the prompt means the one line before from the character (i.e. Courier) and then NPC. Not several lines before and after or anything. But I can help to reword it better to make sure it is more clear. Thank you for pointing it out :) -kdarrow Pickman heart.png take her for a spin! 07:07, 30 November 2020 (UTC)

Why do we want to include the quote if we can just refer to the dialogue? I don't like duplicating information. We should focus on making it possible to link to specific lines in the dialogue files using anchors (the # part of the URL that makes you jump to a specific part of the page). Same goes for terminal entries. We can just link to the right section on the page. This would save us a lot of effort on the quotation side and would make the references section a lot more compact. - FDekker (talk) 11:46, 30 November 2020 (UTC)

I can see where you're coming from, but our current dialogue pages can be a mess and terribly convoluted, especially with regards to event flow. I think, to the average user, it'd be far easier to simply hover over a reference and immediately see the relevant quote (in the order presented in-game) instead of slogging over to a dialogue file and trying to piece together the segmented, choice-driven dialogue fragments. Such is the issue with displaying trees in array-like structures.
Furthermore, linking directly to specific terminal entries is actually included in the draft, under the "terminal entries" section for holodisks, notes, and terminal entries. This is the standard way of linking to terminal entries. Unlike dialogue, portions of a text source are emphasized to be used only when very specific portions of the source are of value. This is due to the fact that text sources are often far simpler in structure compared to dialogue, and as such rarely require text sequences to be explicitly provided to users. Originally, I believe the text portions were primarily intended for longer holodisks and notes that didn't have individual sections like that of terminals. -CamelChip (talk) 22:18, 30 November 2020 (UTC)
I agree that average users may find it difficult to read dialogue pages. But in that case, shouldn't the solution be to create a new (standardised) format for dialogue pages rather than moving this responsibility to the references? I think that might be easier and/or better.

As for terminal entries, clearly I didn't read the whole thing. But I like the solution: Only include dialogue when necessary for emphasis. - FDekker (talk) 09:31, 1 December 2020 (UTC)
Late to the party, but given that dialog files are incompatible with mobile browsing, mobile browsing is the #1 method of web browsing today, mobile browsing is growing in popularity... including the dialog excerpt makes sense. If mobile users won't even be able to find the dialog due to the lack of mobile support we offer, I think we're obligated to include the dialog excerpt on the page itself. intrepid359FO76NW Overseer.png7/4/22 [12:35am]
I understand that our current dialogue files may be unusable on mobile devices, but that only strengthens my point that we should focus on improving the dialogue files instead of duplicating information in the references. - FDekker (talk) 13:12, 6 December 2020 (UTC)

I think a good addition to the guide would be to add quest events to the reference guide, which I've been using a lot for 76 articles since most quests only have a single outcome. See SODUS or Orwell Orchards for examples. Of course this should be very limited to quests that only have a single outcome, which most 76 quests do. Like if a character dies in quest regardless of the player's choices, than that death should be taken as fact. Devastating DaveZIP ZAP RAP 17:11, 2 December 2020 (UTC)

Clarifying what not to do

Had intended to place this after kdarrow's reply to Mara, but it would be a huge pain for anyone else commenting above. This may be what yall meant by the proposal does not cover reference relevance, but if the tools to reference are being standardized (which is a good thing) it would be useful to have some examples of the tools being used incorrectly. There are also several, several mentions of specific portions being taken from the source if practical, though, and really this is what I am wanting to see expanded just a little bit. Right now it does an excellent job of showing the tools in action and when all is done right, but there needs to be a little more emphasis on what does and probably more importantly, does not need to be pulled into the reference, before it is no longer "specific". One line before is great for dialogue, maybe that's the goal to have it applied to other sorts of references, but really it just needs a section focused more or less on "do not do this" plainly spelled out.

We have something similar already in the editing guidelines with things like capitalization to show case right and wrong and explain why. Basically take something like this:

  • Incorrect: A Raider killed a Super Mutant with an Assault Rifle.
  • Correct: A raider killed a super mutant with an assault rifle.

And then apply this to referencing. This may be a bit of an extreme example, but effectively something like this to showcase what the goal should be and very much what it should not be.

Correct Incorrect
"Greg was this guy I met on the road in Virginia. Old RobCo technician, back before the bombs fell. Used to work on Protectron units, going out to corporate customers and doing on-site maintenance, fixing broken motivators and that kind of thing." "Figured I'd start a journal while I'm out here. Being alone in a place like this, a guy starts talking to himself anyway, so I guess I might as well write some of it down. Something to look back on when this is all finished, maybe.

I was out looking for scrap when I picked up the signal. It was so faint. Just a crackle of static at first, but then a few words came through here and there.

I couldn't understand it until it had repeated a few times. The Brotherhood of Steel was coming back to West Virginia! It seemed impossible, but in between the hissing and pops, those words were real. I don't know what's bringing them back, or why they waited so long to send someone from out west, but as soon as I understood what was happening I packed what I had and came out to ATLAS. This is where they're coming, so this is where I have to be.

I've been thinking about Dad a lot while I've been doing all this. Everything I set up here, I ask myself how he would've done it. I can still picture the house we lived in after the bombs fell, all the repairs he'd made, the extension he added so he could put in the water purifier, the greenhouse...

I think he'd approve of what I'm building here. I wish he could've lived to see it. Not sure I'd have ever come out here if he had, though.

Still miss him.

Greg, wherever you are, thanks again.

Greg was this guy I met on the road in Virginia. Old RobCo technician, back before the bombs fell. Used to work on Protectron units, going out to corporate customers and doing on-site maintenance, fixing broken motivators and that kind of thing.

When I met him, he had this Protectron that followed him around. He called it Clanks, and he'd glued a ragged old top hat onto its head. Made it carry his stuff as he traveled.

We were camping one night and he made Clanks do a little "dance" routine, reciting a silly song in that mechanical voice they all have. Worst singing you've ever heard, but it made us laugh.

He explained to me how he'd found the unit in an old shopping center, still running but with busted leg servos, and refurbished it. He opened up Clanks and showed me how you could hotwire their motherboards, activating maintenance circuits to override their command systems.

It's funny. I never thought that would be all that useful. Then I showed up here. It's not easy, luring a Protectron into a position where you can crack open their service panel and do some jury-rigging, but the good news is if you get one it's a lot easier to get more.

This place was a wreck when I got here. Nothing but wrecked vehicles, junk, and insane robots patrolling it all. Barely got away when they first attacked me.

I don't know what they were doing here, back in the day, or why an observatory would have security robots. But I'm glad they did, even if they almost blasted me at first. If they weren't here, none of this would've been possible. Without the 'bots to do so much of the lifting and welding and all the other heavy construction, I'd barely have some sandbags in place here.

Instead, we've cleared out the rubble, started on walls...heck, we've even got a landing pad on the go. I'm not even sure the Brotherhood has any fliers, but I had the space, so why not?

Still not sure what's inside the place, though. I could hear more robots clanking around in there, and when I peeked inside it seemed like a wreck. I just boarded up the exits so whatever's in there stays in there until the Brotherhood shows up. They'll know what to do better than I would, and the outside's enough work as is.

Haven't had much time to spare to write here - The Brotherhood's back! I thought things were busy here when it was just me and the bots getting ready, but now things have really kicked into gear.

I have to admit, I was surprised when it was just three of them. I figured a whole platoon or troop or whatever you call it was on the way, but it was just the Paladin, Knight, and Scribe. They had a bunch more folks with them, but only those three were actually Brotherhood, it turned out.

Everyone else were just would-be members they'd picked up along the way. Like me, I guess. I'm the real deal now, though! Brotherhood Initiate Dorsey! They looked at everything I'd gotten ready for them here and swore me in almost on the spot. I nearly thought it was a joke, but, uh, Knight Shin's not really the joking type.

I still wake up some mornings thinking it was all a dream, but it's real. I'm truly part of something now. I hope, somehow, Dad sees what I've done, and he's proud.

All right, Initiate Me, get back to work."

It's one thing to equip people with the tools and the basics of how reference something works, but if its a little less clear how or when to apply those tools, it might mean the code is uniform with guidelines but the actual information selected is not. Just me thinking out loud. The example would be better served by a less dramatic pairing of texts, but it's been a busy morning. Hopefully it gets the idea across, anyway. The Dyre Wolf (talk) 16:15, 2 December 2020 (UTC)

I like your idea a great deal. I strongly believe in the merits of introducing what is both correct and incorrect. In Vault Academy, I teach editors that it is equally important to know how to edit correctly as it is to identify when something needs to be corrected. Oh and my examples are over the top, too. No shame. -kdarrow Pickman heart.png take her for a spin! 14:12, 6 December 2020 (UTC)


Vote passes, the draft has been well paid attention to, and can now become the guideline for referencing. I trust CamelChip and/or Kate put it into format for our wiki. Jspoelstra (talk) 21:18, 9 December 2020 (UTC)

Policy vote forum overview
GuidelineReference formatting guideline
Proposal discussionDraft: Reference guidelines
Proposal voteVote: Basic reference formatting guidelines
Date and result8 December 2020 · 14-1-1
Amendment 1Developer statements · Discussion · Vote · 10 November 2021 · 12-0-0
Amendment 2Publications and dialogue · Discussion · Vote · 10 February 2022 · 11-1-0
Amendment 3External links · Discussion · Vote · 22 March 2022 · 10-0-0
Related topicsDeveloper statements · Dialogue · Holotapes and notes · Publications · Terminals and images