Policy 12 Quality and Consistency of Articles

Issued 4 July 2013

(It should be understood that, while the primary language of the History is English, the requirements below shall also apply to other languages, where the History is translated into other languages.)

For the purposes of this Policy, an "edit" or "entry" shall be defined as a full article, an edit of an existing article, or any subset thereof (as in a section of a larger article).

Entries should be written in conversational, not excessively formal, nor excessively colloquial English. It shall be the duty of the editors to ensure that proper English is used in all entries. This includes proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. In addition, entries should be written in such a way that their sentence structure is proper and the resultant meaning would be clear to the average reader. Where "proper English" would make the content harder to understand, more "conversational" English should be substituted. An example of this would be the stricture that a sentence not end in a preposition. But in all cases, the meaning should be clear and obvious.

There are three types of edit:

  1. An article where the original source material is paraphrased or restated with essentially the same meaning as the source material. If feasible, the original text submission shall be saved as reference material. In this case, the language can be fully controlled and conform with the above requirements
  2. An article where the original source material is entered as originally written. In this case, where proper English has not been followed, the editor may make parenthetic edits to the material while maintaining the original text. Edits made in this way should be noted as originating from the editor.
  3. An article which directly quotes original information from some source. This is differentiated from the second category above by being surrounded by quotation marks. In this case, if necessary to ensure proper understanding, the editor may comment outside the quotes as to the intended meaning.
Where or if it becomes necessary, the Board or CIO may specify a single standard of reference for determining "proper" English. Such a standard, for example, might be the AP Manual of Style (though since newspapers are notoriously poorly written and governed by political correctness, news organization stylebooks should be avoided).

The most important issue in edits is that the meaning remains clear. Whether usage is consistent throughout the History is entirely secondary. The determination of a central "standard" for usage should only become important if repeated conflicts or complaints arise on this issue.

It is also understood that, where possible, the ideal reference for grammar, punctuation or usage would be anything L. Ron Hubbard has written on the subject, such as the reference material for the Key To Life Course.

Paul M. Foster
for the
Board of Directors

BOD:PMF