This document is not current, and is kept only for archival purposes. Please refer to Everything2 Help for all up-do-date help documents.

First, a word from Fearless Leader:

Put stuff where it goes

First thing - if your writeup is about 'X' then post it in the 'X' node. Don't create a new node titled 'X - It's really great' or 'X isn't all it's cracked up to be'. Don't let your writeup creep into your title.

When submitting a node to E2 think carefully upon your titling. If you're submitting a name please use the complete name--not just the last name. Capitalize all proper nouns and titles to lyrical or works of prose. A node about "Burroughs" should be William S. Burroughs. "Heinlein" should be Robert Heinlein. Use a period after the middle initial if the person's middle initial is usually mentioned. William S Burroughs (no period) was also, unfortunately, a node. Check the database first to see what nodes have already been created--if just the last name is there then add your writeup and submit the node to "edit this title". Work with what is already here.

This goes for more than just names, of course. Titles of films, songs, books and other works should also be capitalized and before you create a new node to express phrases/ideas/thoughts check first to see if a similar node title already exists--if so, fill in your writeup there. If you're noding lyrics or other poetic works drop the material under the exact title of the piece--this way, when future users come to take a look around the items will be easily found. Please do not sub-categorize your titles (Bruce Springsteen:Album:Song:Lyrics). Don't Namespace Your Lyrics. It not only looks bad--it doesn't work well. We're not writing code here--just words. The soft and hard links will take care of the referencing for you--no need to pollute the title. Keep it simple and to the point.

Finally, if you're noding "facts" about a certain subject simply place the writeup under the name of said subject. Don't phrase your node title in the form of a question. Trivia about New York City should not be placed in a node entitled "Where is the coolest stuff in New York?" or "Stuff I know about the Big Apple"...just add a writeup to New York City. That way, when people go to read about New York City they will actually see what you've written--instead of missing it completely.

A perfect example just rolled in ... a user created a new node titled "Uses of the word interesting". This should simply been a writeup in the "interesting" node.

Put stuff where it goes.

Now, what does all this mean?

The purpose of a node title is so that someone can find the node your writeup's in later.

By "someone" we mean the e2 search engine. The words in node titles are the keys to the search engine.

Let's use an analogy: If a node is equivalent to a book, a node title is equivalent to the book's entry in a library catalog. From a book, we expect riveting, scintillating commentary. From a card catalog, we expect to find the book we're looking for, without a lot of hassle.

Experience creating and searching for nodes reveals that for certain types of nodes, certain forms work best.

These forms are listed below. I was going to call them "canonical" until I realized every one of these rules has exceptions.

Not only that. many node titles already violate these rules.  Some of these I'd really like to have changed; others I don't feel it's worth fighting for.  Of course, a lot of this is my own opinion; I can't speak for everyone.

All of these suggestions aside, let common sense rule.  The goal is to allow other users to find the node using the search box.  If you think a different form will make finding the node easier, do it that way.  The editors may disapprove of your choice, but if you can make a case for it, they may change their minds.

General guidelines:

  • Create nodes from the search results window. Don't use Create a node; it's a relic of E1 that's no longer useful.

  • Picking titles carefully means that you have to structure your hard links correctly. Any hard link you create is likely to become the title of a node!

  • Use American spelling in titles. That is, "color" rather than "colour" and "pediatrician" rather than "paediatrician," even if doing so makes you want to commit ritual suicide at the gates of Oxford University. Company names, literary works, etc.. whose names and titles use UK spelling can and should retain that spelling.

Formatting conventions:

  • Short titles are preferable to long titles, as long as they identify the subject adequately, or as as WWWWolf has pointed out, Don't put the content in the node title. I can think of two cases where it's easy to trip yourself up:

    • A creative node title is equivalent to painting the Mona Lisa on the 3x5 card instead of the canvas. Such effort is better spent in the writeup itself.

      This is an ironclad rule for factual writeups. Clearly, the author has much more leeway with titling a creative writing exercise. Here, the title is more like the bow on a birthday present. But authors should give mind to prudence even here. You want to hook readers, but you want them dig in and unwrap the present, not stand around oohing and aahing over the beautiful ribbon. Are you compensating for a weak story by tying a fancy title around it? Or is your story so strong that people will rave over it if it's titled Story 37a? Consider what your book agent, or a magazine editor might do, when presented with two stories, one with a four-word title, one with a thirty-six word title. Which one is she going to buy?

      So, If you have a fancy title for your writeup, try to put the writeup in an e2node with a simple title and make the fancy title the first thing in your writeup, using <h2> tags.

      Again, WWWWolf:

      I just happened to run into a good example, included here in its entirety for historical reasons (and so that you can spare your precious mouse ball and switches):

      EMACS is a great operating system, but it lacks a good editor

      created by tftv256

      (idea) by tftv256 Reputation: 0 C? Sun Sep 3 2000 at 21:12 utc

      I saw this in someone's Slashdot sig awhile back, and grinned. Clever.

      (No, I have nothing personal against this author. I'll personally pun thee if you go and downvote it... I picked that one because it happened to walk past and I didn't bother to copy here the million other examples.)

      In this writeup, the principal content - the quote itself - is in the node title. This is not good. I've seen this more than enough. Don't do that. Pleeeeeeease.

      A quick downvote because I would have rather seen it under "Emacs" (with some ideas on why this may be so) or "The Greatest Slashdot Signatures" (though that one might turn into a huge GTKYN, which wouldn't be cool).

    • If your prospective title contains a colon, it's probably too long. Information on one side of the colon is probably unnecessary for the purposes of titling. Other punctuation should raise similar concerns but has its place.

    • No namespacingAnything.   Except see below.

      "Namespacing" is the practice of adding common words to several node titles in order. For example, several nodes by an author could be prepended with the author's name: Agatha Christie: Murder Most Foul, Agatha Christie: Dial "M" for Murder. This is bad form. Agatha Christie's book "Murder Most Foul", and any analysis of it, should be found in the node "Murder Most Foul."

      A form of namespacing was necessary in E1 to get around certain of its limitations, but that's no longer necessary. Namespacing has been discouraged in the context of nodes containing song lyrics but should be a general rule.

      Namespacing is an easy habit to fall into. You may wish to indicate your writeup contains instructions, and so you make a node with a title beginning with "How To". You may wish to appear especially 1337 and so you make it "HOWTO:". The latter is definitely bad; the colon should raise a red flag in your mind. Namespacing isn't always so obvious; "How to" is also namespacing and should be avoided as much as possible.

      Do NOT use the word "Metanode" in a node title.

  • Although Capitalization in Nodes goes into the black art of capitalization very well, we can summarize here:

    • Proper Nouns Must Have the First Letter of Every Important Word Capitalized.
    • Captialize the first word in a long title and don't forget to capitalize proper nouns such as Mark Twain.
    • When in doubt, it's a proper noun. (e.g. Rope). The node's second writeup may well be a proper noun; be nice to your fellow noders!

  • Multiple variations: "But Ukrainians spell Lvov 'Lviv'!"

    Frequently, a title will have several possibilities for people to search under. This is what firmlinks are for. We'll pick the most commonly used form of the title (when in doubt, the form used by speakers of American English) for content, create nodeshells for some of the more likely variations, and firmlink the nodeshells to the one containing the content.

    Singular forms are always preferable to plural forms.   Uninflected forms of nouns or verbs are preferred to inflected forms.

  • Never use HTML tags in titles - the < and > characters will be stripped out, and you will end up with something like "Pick titles ireally/i carefully" if you type in "Pick titles <i>really</i> carefully".

  • What characters should you use? Also: Umlauts

    • After you've picked your title carefully, you may have a word in a title that contains an accented character. There are various different ways to create this, all of which may look the same in your browser.


      Let's suppose you want to node about the nursery rhyme Frère Jacques, which has an 'e' with a grave accent in its first word. There are three ways to get this to appear in the title:

      1. Use &egrave; - giving "è": Frère Jacques
      2. Use &#232; - giving "è": Frère Jacques
      3. Use the 'high ascii' character 'è', either from character map, cut and paste from an existing instance, or by holding down 'alt' and hitting '0','2','3','2' on the numeric keypad on your keyboard: Frère Jacques

      All these may look the same in the title you create, but only (3) will produce a title that can be found by a search on Frere Jacques (with no accent) Since almost nobody will type in HTML escape sequences (like "&egrave;") into their search strings, (1) and (2) are unacceptable methods of creating the title. Most writeups with HTML symbols in the title will probably get nuked (if anyone ever finds them.)

      There are more problems. The search will only match grave and acute accented characters. It will not match umlauted or circumflexed characters.

      And there are more problems.

      Suppose you node Frère Jacques, and some illiterate lout comes along and, without looking at your fine writeup, nodes Frere Jacques without the accent (horrors!)

      Guess what? Someone typing 'Frere Jacques' into the search box will go straight to their writeup, and not yours! The injustice! But that's how the search function works.

      This would have been horrible in the days before the firmlink, and the best advice back then was not to use funny characters in titles, at all.


      • HTML entities should not appear in node titles.

        The exceptions are:

        • Titles that consist of a single entity that does not appear in ISO-8859-1. Remember, there should be a writeup in the node with meaningful content, or the whole thing will be deleted.
        • Square brackets. Since you can't even link to the things without using entities, you're forced to use &#91; and &#93; for [ and ]. You should avoid titles with square brackets if at all possible! The only legitimate title I can think of with square brackets in it is operator[].

      • If the title has letters with diacritical marks that appear in the upper 128 characters of ISO-8859-1, use them. If it's in Hungarian or Polish, just try your best. Then create alternate versions of the titles without the diacritical marks, and have an editor firmlink them for you. But always, content goes under the node with the correct title.

        For example, if you search on Blue Öyster Cult If the character appears in the edit box under "Of course, I could let you create a Blue Öyster Cult node", and you see &Ouml; instead of Ö copy and paste the Ö from the "Of course" line and paste it into the edit box. If your browser is stubborn on using entities, or if you don't understand the difference, be sure to replace the accented characters with their unaccented counterparts before you sumbit. If you followed a link to a title with an entity in it, /msg the author or an editor to fix it.

    • Languages normally represented in some other alphabet than the Roman alphabet often have systems of romanization for this purpose.

      • Titles of nodes in Chinese should use the Pinyin romanization, unless it's embedded in the title of a literary work by a Western author who used something else.

      • If a specific romanization policy hasn't been worked out for a particular language, use the most common representation. If it isn't clear which one is more "common", use the shortest one.

      • Title policies for nodes in Japanese are under the aegis of the e2bakufu group, and are being hammered out at the moment. You should go to the e2bakufu homenode for the latest, but here's what they've worked out so far:


Title conventions for nodes about specific subjects:

  • URLs are never acceptable node titles. On very rare occasions, a domain name will be a company's principal identification. In these cases, the domain name may be an acceptable node title. Even so, you must visit the site and make sure that the domain name is the ONLY way the company's name is represented. What do they assert as trademarks or registered service marks?

    For instance, if you go to, you will see a big "" at the top of the page. However, if you look further down (don't let William Shatner's hairpiece frighten you) you will see "Priceline" throughout the page, all by itself, and "Priceline" registered as a trademark at the bottom of the page. Because of this, a node about should be under Priceline. A search for "" will not find priceline, but tough cookies.

  • Acronyms

    should rarely, if ever, contain content about the thing they stand in for. Thus, Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis instead of BSE. Again, firmlinks come to the rescue.

    There are a few acronyms which are used so pervasively instead of their fully-spelled-out versions that they will be allowed as exceptions. If you think your favorite acronym should be treated in this way, contact a god (or ask an editor to intercede) to make your case. Be prepared to make a strong case.


  • The name of a (person)

    • Nodes about paticular writers should be titled with the author's exact pen name. Voltaire, Mark Twain, Molière. Read a bit further.

    • If someone had different names in different phases of their life, and was famous under both names, it may be a good idea to have two nodes. For example Jean Baptiste Bernadotte is also Karl XIV Johan. The nodes should be firmlinked to one another. Whether both contain content or not should be decided on a case-by-case basis.

      This is also the case for certain authors: One node for the author's pen name, one for the author's real name. The node with the pen name should contain information about his or her literary works; the node with the real name should contain biographical information.  Thus, Samuel Clemens should be biographical.  Mark Twain should have a list of Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, and the like.

    • From cultures with surnames or true patronymics, use "FirstName Surname". If the person has a middle name, it may be wise to add his or her middle initial.  If you do, follow it with a period.

    • Leave out all titles, offices, and the like.  The exceptions are:

      • Nodes about saints may have titles beginning with "Saint". Use full "Saint" for things Saint Elmo's fire and Saint John's wort; also for foreign places like Saint Petersburg. But note that places (towns, colleges, cathedrals) will generally follow national convention: St John in Britain/Australia, St. John in US, etc. Only canonized people (real or fictional) need apply. For place names, see below.

      • Kings, emperors, popes, and other heads of state:

        • If there is an ordinal after the name, use it. Thus Wilhelm II.
        • Do not suffix the country of rule, e.g. Groucho III of Freedonia. This may be revisited in light of the next guideline.
        • If the monarch ruled two countries at once under different names, pick one for the content and ask an editor to create the other node and firmlink it to the content node. E.G. James VI should be firmlinked to James I. (Perhaps a "James VI of Scotland" nodeshell would be more appropriate?)
        • If they take a new name upon accession, use that name.  Thus: George VI, Pius XI, Genghis Khan.
        • I would prefer that epithets be left off but this appears to be a losing battle. At any rate, use either an ordinal, or an epithet, both not both.  Thus: Alexander the Great, Catherine the Great, Æthelred the Unready, Ludwig II.

      • If the name of someone from the landed gentry or nobility has a word that goes in the middle of their name, keep the word in. Thus, Ludwig van Beethoven, Otto von Bismarck.

    • The name of a formally organized group or organization: Use the most commonly-used socially acceptable name for the group. It is more likely that people will search for "Mormon" rather than "Latter Day Saint".


  • The name of a (place)

    • For the name of a city or town in a country which is likely to contain many places with that same name, follow the town's name with the most commonly used way of distinguishing places with different names.

      • For a town in the United States, follow the town's name with the full name of the state the town is in. Portland, Oregon; Portland, Maine; this distinguishes the (potentially many) places with the same name, and helps the many non-American users who aren't familiar with postal abbreviations.

        Append state names to names subdivided POLITICALLY by state:

        DO NOT append state names to any other place names in the US, including:

        If you are unsure, check FIPS PUB 55-3 at

        If there is a political entity named for a natural or cultural feature, there will be TWO nodes. Thus, the town of South Park, Colorado will have its own node after all, as will Green River, Kentucky.

      • For any other place, including places in Canada and Australia, simply use the name of the place.

      • If there's a commonly-used English version of the place name, use that (Saint Petersburg, Venice, Riyadh). A few goverments have specified romanizations for their country's place names and you should use those (Beijing, Mumbai, Kolkata). This is a really tricky subject; expect to have some of your nodes renamed.

      • Place names with "Saint", "St.", "Ste-", or whatever should use the conventional abbreviation used for the place (St. Petersburg, Florida, St-Perre, Martinique). Always keep the previous bullet in mind, however.

  • Taxonomy

    Taxonomy writeups are described better in Taxonomy node guidelines. To summarize: for titles of taxonomy nodes, use the name of a principal Linnaean taxon (Kingdom, Phylum, class, order, family, genus) except for species, which should be noded under a common name. Intermediate clades and taxa are occasionally necessary, but should rarely be more than nodeshells.

  • Battles

    All historical battles should be named "Battle of X". No article should be included in the node title, unless it is specifically referring to the title of a work of literature or art.

  • The Title of a Literary Work, movie, album, etc.

    This one's actually pretty easy.  Node the title of the literary work, as is. If a title begins with "the" or another very common word, begin the node title with "the"or whatever.

    If you are noding an entire literary work and have to break it into several parts,  be consistent in how you divide it, but be reasonable as to the number of parts you make.  For books, chapters work best.  For plays, individual scenes.

    Then, title each part with the title of the work followed by the name of the division. Moby Dick - Chapter 82.

    As always, be sensible. Thus, we want to see Tom Jones rather than The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling, and Gulliver's Travels, not TRAVELS INTO SEVERAL Remote NATIONS OF THE W O R L D. In FOUR PARTS. By LEMUEL GULLIVER. Firſt a SURGEON, and then a CAPTAIN of ſeveral SHIPS.

  • Video Games

    According to the VideoGames group, the rule for titles is that the node title should be the same as that displayed on the game's English-version title screen. This means the subtitles belong in the node title in cases such as King's Quest III: To Heir is Human. Marketing taglines on the box do not belong in the node title, i.e. Halo not Halo: Combat Evolved.

  • E2 Gatherings

    This one is controversial, mind you. a "Gathering node" consists of an announcement writeup made by the host of the gathering. After the gathering, several aftermath writeups written by the other attendees will appear. Perhaps gathering titles should consist of "E2 Gathering in" followed by the place and date of the gathering. Thus:

    E2 Gathering in Dneprpetrovsk, January 18, 2038

    Recall my advice about fancy titles from above. If you have a scintillatingly-imaginative,-full-of-breathtaking-adjectives-designed-to- make-people-excited-about-going-but-extremely-long-and-sometimes-obfuscated-title, make it the first thing in your writeup, in <h2> tags.