Note on Formatting

Note to contributors: If you create a page and later see some minor format changes together with a new a link “✄” to this page, the link is meant to help explain why the lab elves made the format change. Feel free to remove the link to this page once you are satisfied. We will periodically go around and clean, i.e. remove, links to this page, so you do not have to remove the link yourself if you don’t want to be bothered.


This is a page containing a set of explanations for common format changes we, the lab elves, might make. These are not a set of rules (we don’t like rules). Any contributor is free to agree with the changes and leave them or disagree and rollback (or “undo”) any format change.

The goal is to first and foremost make the process of contributing content as easy as possible while at the same time creating at least a loose sense of homogeneity among pages. For the most part, any format changes we make will be minor cosmetic ones.

Symbolic Links

The most common formatting change we make is to change links such as

<a class='existingWikiWord' href='/nlab/show/%28infinity%2C1%29-category'>(infinity,1)-category</a>


<a class='existingWikiWord' href='/nlab/show/%28%E2%88%9E%2C1%29-category'>(∞,1)-category</a>.

We might also change things like

<a class='existingWikiWord' href='/nlab/show/omega-groupoid'>omega-groupoid</a>


<a class='existingWikiWord' href='/nlab/show/%E2%88%9E-groupoid'>∞-groupoid</a>.

In some cases, a contributor may prefer the look of

$\omega$-<a class='existingWikiWord' href='/nlab/show/omega-groupoid'>groupoid</a>.

If a contributor goes to the trouble of formatting a link this way, we will not change it. In fact, we may change links to this format when appropriate, e.g. L L_\infty-algebroid.

See also redirect.

Plural Links

Another very common format change we make is to change plural links such as

<a class='existingWikiWord' href='/nlab/show/groupoid'>groupoid</a>s


<a class='existingWikiWord' href='/nlab/show/groupoids'>groupoids</a>.

This change is made possible now that the nLab has the new redirect feature.

The current existence of many plural links such as

<a class='existingWikiWord' href='/nlab/show/groupoid'>groupoid</a>s

is an artifact from the time when we did not have redirects.

In time, we hope to eliminate the legacy plural links with the “s” split from the singular link.

Another reason we might change these plural links is to make the general linkage of the nLab more robust. Changing a link from

<a class='existingWikiWord' href='/nlab/show/groupoid'>groupoid</a>s


<a class='existingWikiWord' href='/nlab/show/groupoids'>groupoids</a>

reveals whether the page groupoid has a redirect for groupoids. If the link

<a class='existingWikiWord' href='/nlab/show/groupoids'>groupoids</a>

is broken, we fix it by inserting a redirect on groupoid.

Human error aside, any format change should not result in broken links.


Although there are exceptions, e.g. Frolicher space is beautifully formatted exception, the first time a word being defined appears in a definition, it is usually highlighted in bold as opposed to italics.

Notes for Specific Pages

Honestly, I would much rather put notes for specific pages on those pages. This page is nice for explaining in general what formatting is about and also for avoiding having to repeate common explanations all over the place. But if it's really specific, then let them see it there where it matters! (Well, this is just to explain why I'll do it there, but you can do it here as far as I'm concerned, Eric.) —Toby

Eric: It’s no big deal. If that is what you prefer, it is fine with me too. I just moved the comments here because it seemed a little messy to leave comments about formatting on the page itself. After a few pages, it seemed like the unobtrusive little ✄ was enough of a message to the author. This is just an experiment anyway, so we can try various things and settle on what seems to be best.

Lie infinity-algebroid representation

  • Toby: I pulled ‘L L_\infty’ prefixes (here and at Lie infinity-algebroid) out because I find the ‘L-∞’ fairly ugly and even ambiguous. Let me know if you don't like this, Eric. —Toby

    • Eric: Looks great! I think ‘L-∞’ looks better than ‘L-infinity’ (which is what it was before), but pulling it out like that is even better.

      • Toby: OK, good. I also changed the blog post titles to reflect what they are on the blogs, on the grounds of pedantic accuracy. (^_^)


  • Eric: Happy to see this page created! I changed the appearance of “dg-quiver” in the definition from italics to bold.

Eric: Until we get Instiki’s “Linked from:” at the bottom of each page to work correctly with redirects, we might not want to have the ✄ redirect to this page so that the “Linked from:” list at the bottom of this page accurately reflects the pages with links to here.

Toby: Good point.

category: meta

Last revised on July 23, 2009 at 21:13:33. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.