Forum:Numbers in the Wiki's Style Guide

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This thread was archived on 25 January 2022 by Isobel.

For non-lore RS wiki pages, and especially pages that players access for data/gameplay knowledge, natural numbers should always be expressed in actual #s, not one-ten.

Players use RS Wiki to gather data and enhance their gameplay. By having actual #s for strategies, XP/hr improving methods, etc. expressed in actual #s and not words, humans are able to quickly pinpoint (with their eyes), the more important aspects of the gameplay and quickly get back to their gaming session.

I propose that the rule: Natural numbers less than ten should always be expressed in words (e.g. "one", "two", "three").

Shall only apply to lore pages, and especially not any page that has strategies/methods on best improving XP/hr, #s/hr, or any variation of improving efficiency/#s. Players should NOT have to read paragraphs of content to find out what's important. Having the #s expressed as #s and not as words will let us humans quickly sift through what could be pages of information and get back to RS.

Kags (talk) 09:31, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

Discussion

Comment - Can you give a few examples of pages where this happens? Seers headband 2 chathead.png Elessar2 (talk) 09:33, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

Now this is just one small example, but very recent.
Dundee's Crocodile Upgrades
You can access the Dundee's Crocodile Upgrades reward store with Dundee on the north-west corner of Het's Oasis. These upgrades assist you while hunting for scarabs. Scarabs can be obtained at a rate of approximately 1,000 per hour. Actively clicking scarabs is similar to two-tick methods, as your croc goes for a scarab you can quickly click on other scarabs to catch them instantly (up to three others); this method works better when stack upgrade is unlocked (up to five others).
This is in the Het's Oasis page, and it is only 1 example of countless in the RS Wiki, but for us players trying to find the most important info/#s (as quickly as possible), our eyes would have been more quickly attracted (aka not skip over), if it was written as:
You can access the Dundee's Crocodile Upgrades reward store with Dundee on the north-west corner of Het's Oasis. These upgrades assist you while hunting for scarabs. Scarabs can be obtained at a rate of approximately 1,000 per hour. Actively clicking scarabs is similar to 2-tick methods, as your croc goes for a scarab you can quickly click on other scarabs to catch them instantly (up to 3 others); this method works better when stack upgrade is unlocked (up to 5 others).
Sure it is a minor improvement, but keep in mind that RS Wiki has many extreme long pages, and the quicker the people can grasp their needed information, the faster they can get back to playing RS. There have already been numerous times where I glazed over important info on long pages, aka efficiency #s, because they were written as one-ten on pages/paragraphs that are suppose to provide players with info/#s efficiently as possible. A minor change over thousands of pages that relate to improving XP/hr, efficiency/hr, etc. will help all of our eyes - as well as the volume of crucial info that we gather from RS Wiki, while also shortening the time spent on the wiki. Kags (talk) 09:44, 12 January 2022 (UTC)


Comment - Question, how does the ability to scan and locate numerals in text allow for better usability when the number in isolation means nothing and the surrounding context has to be read anyway? I'm not sure I agree that this is useful and feel surpringly strong about this. Elaine (talk) 10:33, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

Yes, that's exactly my point. In some of these very long info pages, our eyes would only see those specific sentences in the first place because there are #s. Then you read the sentence for context/analysis. Too many times I have rapidly skimmed/glazed over/scrolled down for information, only to skip sentences/paragraphs because they were full of words while I'm looking for efficiency #s. We use RS Wiki for efficiency in the first place, if it takes too long, then some of just give up and assume it's not written - or in this case, written effectively. Kags (talk) 10:50, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

Oppose - I think a better solution would be to just take the numbers out of prose and put them in a table on the page for emphasis. The base issue is that some people aren't finding certain numeric information quickly enough while skimming - rather than throwing out the standard used in nearly every professional writing style for English (MLA, APA, Chicago etc), why not just segregate the relevant info into specific section to enhance visibility? Smithing.pngHephaestus talkCrafting.png 18:33, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

Comment - The relevant part of the style guide is RuneScape:Style guide#Numbers (for reference). It does already have the caveat of "generally, in paragraph text" for use of words rather than numerals for number 1-10. I would tend to agree with other people that in the example for crocodile hunting you would need to read the whole paragraph for context anyway. Are there any other examples where you think this would be an improvement? I gather that this is an ongoing dispute that you and another user have had. Magic logs detail.pngIsobelTalk page 10:51, 13 January 2022 (UTC)

Oppose - Readability should be improved in other ways as mentioned above, e.g. creating tables to ease comparisons. The style guide on numbers that we have in place follows very widely used style guides, and gives enough freedom to use numerals whenever there is good reason to do so. (Any paragraph text is not a good reason just because an editor happens to prefer numerals.) I find the readability argument rather weak; if it were a strong one, what would it mean for our other long-standing style guidelines about abbreviations and emphasis for instance? I find it best to obey our current style guides and improve readability in other ways that are actually improvements. Thingummywut (talk) 17:07, 13 January 2022 (UTC)

Comment - I might be biased as I'm used to reading normal text. For instance when you replace the word "numbers" with "#s", I find it really difficult to understand what I'm reading at a glance, and really need to focus making the appropriate replacements. Maybe you're just used to reading differently and actually find it easier if there are symbols in place of words (# instead of number, 3 instead of three). I'd be willing to change my mind if you can provide good background for your arguments; so far it just looks like personal preference, and I find it surprising if there is much data to back it up as I'd imagine widely used style guides have chosen to spell out numbers for a good reason. Thingummywut (talk) 17:13, 13 January 2022 (UTC)

Oppose - As per others. If there is some super important info burried within prose, it could be moved out into a databox for easy consumption. Lava hawk.png BlackHawk (Talk)    11:44, 24 January 2022 (UTC)

Closed - there isn't consensus to change this part of the style guide. It is based on commonly used standards for professional writing in English and the consensus is that having numbers written out numerically does increase readability. However, this part of the guide relates to numbers in paragraph text and it has been pointed out that other formats such as tables/databox can be used to display key information if this would be helpful. Magic logs detail.pngIsobelTalk page 11:45, 25 January 2022 (UTC)