Kongming’s Archives: Presentation Standards

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Site Presentation Standards

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At Kongming’s Archives numerous standards have been set for the presentation of certain types of information.  By default certain changes are made to submitted work (with the absolute exception of game walkthroughs) in an effort to keep a level of consistency.  These details are listed below, and this page may be modified as changes are made or new actions worth noting are documented.


Kongming’s Archives is more than just my work on a Web site, the objective is and always has been to create a hub for the community to pool information, making it easily accessible to those who are interested. The contributing authors, translators, and compilers come from nationalities all around the world and speak different languages. This is apparent in the way they present their information (such as biographies), and is further complicated by common disagreements in our own English language.

The first rule of creating a comprehensive work is to make the reading consistent. The reader should know what to expect moving from document to document, and when this interest in consistency is broken, the viewer’s experience will be damaged as a result. For this reason, content submitted to the main areas of Kongming’s Archives is subjected to several Regular Expression queries to bring them up to the standards held here. These changes are applied to all biographies and inline submissions, but never to essays, walkthroughs, and rarely to fan fiction. Just what is changed? Well, that’s detailed below. Please keep in mind as a viewer that we are not saying there is a single correct way to present this information, this is merely how we handle it here in this project.

  1. AD is placed before dates, not after. Reason: AD, or anno domini, translates to ‘in the year of our Lord’. Thus, translated, your date will either be ‘in the year of our Lord, 222’, or ‘222, in the year of our Lord’. As the later makes no sense, we place it before hand, even though many professional writers do not follow suite. BC is always (properly) placed after the date. CE (Common Era) and BCE (Before Common Era), the religiously neutral equivalents of AD and BC, are not used here at Kongming’s Archives for accessibility related reasons (they are not understood by as wide an audience).
  2. Chinese text in Pinyin format, in some cases, is placed in italics. This excludes reign years and names. This is done instead of placing them in single quotes, but parenthesis are retained. For example, ‘li’ becomes li.
  3. Different ways of presenting names such as Xu Chu/Zhu and Liu Shan/Chan are found by those in the community. Occurrences of these names are changed to the common translation accepted here at the site, all of which are born of extensive research (i.e. Xu Zhu becomes Xu Chu, Liu Chan becomes Liu Shan).
  4. Style names are presented as a single word (Kongming) instead of as two words, or a single word with mid-capitalization (e.g. Kong Ming or KongMing). Again, we do not feel this is the only way to present it, but instead we change it only to remain consistent with site display. The same may take place with barbarian names (Shamoke instead of Shamo Ke) and book names (Sanguozhi or Sanguo yanyi instead of San Guo Zhi and San Guo Yan Yi).
  5. The first line of a biography will be frequently changed to ‘Officer Name, styled Officerstyle,’ in keeping with the standards found across the site. The style will be included here if it was not in the original text. There are numerous ways to handle this, and other alternatives to the word ‘style’, which we admit isn’t the best term for the officer’s zi, but this is the term we’ve settled on here at Kongming’s Archives.
  6. The general format of submitted works will be adapted to the site’s templates. If the Hanzi of an officer name are listed after their lifespan, for example, we will reverse it to fit with the site’s standard presentation.
  7. The site is presented in American English, and direct page content is always converted to American English. However, all submitted texts and guides (such as Lady Wu’s Wade-Gilles guide) are not modified to respect the different variations of English. Essentially, when you’re reading a biography and see a word like ‘valour’ instead of ‘valor’, this is the reason why. It is not a spelling error, it is an instance of International English.
  8. Note references and presentation are altered in all biographies to suite the standard used at this site. For example, if the original biography identifies a translator note with ‘<3>’, then lists the note at the bottom in the form of ‘<3> Translator Note:’ it will be changed to ‘(III)’ with ‘III:’ appearing in the next paragraph as found regularly in the current biography standard.
  9. Common grammar and spelling mistakes are corrected assuming the work isn’t rejected for this reason (e.g. ‘it’s’ when used as a possessive of ‘it’ is changed to ‘its’ because ‘it’s’ is only used for ‘it is’). Similarly, use of brackets ([]) and parenthesis will be corrected (parenthesis provide new information, brackets are used specifically for injecting information).

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March 7, 2014