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Editing guidelines

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This is crowdsourced list of all quality criteria an article need to fulfill before we think it's ready for public consumption. The goal with this list is to aim for a high degree of quality, and to create consistency across the wiki.

All editors who dore more than correcting simple typos should be familiar with this list. Please take time to read it so you join the editing spirit of the rest of this community. Welcome!

Articles that don't respect the criteria deemed "Critical" should have a blue box that briefly describes the current shortcomings of the article in order to warn readers and invite improvement (the article "How to edit an article" explains tow to create a blue box). 


Criteria refNo Criteria short description Critical
S01 Clearly structured & easy to navigate. Reads like a consistent article (not disparate parts pasted together) y
S02 Article is complete: every section filled. (If there is no obvious FAQ, then take out the FAQ section) y

Healthy proportions of the different sections (=consistent with other articles). Historical perspective: 3-8 lines per stage (including for Orange and Teal). "Principles and Practices in Teal" can be short or long, depending on how much we have to say. This section is where the main synthesized content of the article should be (in some articles, it's quite short with much useful content hidden in the FAQ that should really be visible here). FAQ should contain additional information that is not a must read (otherwise it should be in "Principles and Practices in Teal") but that certain people might wonder about. Of course, the distinction is not always easy to make (rule of thumb = short section on "Principles and Practices" means we can put more there and less in FAQ. Very long section on "Principles and Practices" means perhaps some not so critical elements might be turned into a FAQ?

S04 No detailed case example in the sections "Principles and Practices in Teal" (this section can discuss a practice in detail, but then it is presented as a general practice. And it can mention a specific company in passing).  y
S05 Every article content should be "wow" - this is really very advanced, powerful thinking n
S06 Every article should have at least 5 case examples n


Criteria refNo Criteria short description Critical
L01 Neutral tone. For instance, the text reads like a wiki, not like a personal rant; stages prior to Teal are not written about in a condescending tone; no advertisement for one particular methodology.  y
L02 Readability for non natives but current in English readers y
L03 Reads like solid writing. Not like a disjointed college essay. 
L04 No passage feels like "cut and paste". (Passages that are pasted from the book often need an introductory sentence to make the link with the previous text or heading. And the pasted text needs to be reworked to sound more objective for the wiki) y
L05 Superb writing that could be printed in a publication = crisp logic in flow and sentences, written in a precise and clear language (not too scientific...) n
L06 Gender-neutral language is used wherever possible. Ideally, the use of generic 3rd person singular pronouns is avoided. Where this is not possible, the gender-neutral forms they/them/their may be used. Where use of a 3rd person singular pronoun cannot be avoided without significantly compromising readability, and there is a significant risk that readers could interpret this as indicating gender bias, the first such use in an article may be hyperlinked to this explanation (if and when this is technically feasible). n


Criteria refNo Criteria short description Critical
F01 All tables of content show only headings #2 (no 3, 4 etc.) y
F02 Same heading size and form for same paragraph across the articles y
F03 All expandable boxes in FAQ and case examples properly formatted y
F04 All case examples are introduced in the same way (Industry - Country - Number of People - For profit / Nonprofit). One summary sentence that says how this company deal with the specific topic of the article - not a general description of the company!)
F05 All case examples have a clear reference and references are properly formatted (see "How to edit an article") y
F06 In "In practice", all examples have the Company's name linked to its website (at least for the 1st occurence of the company's name) y
F07 External links are correctly formatted and work. y

Internal links to the same wiki-article are used only once in the same paragraph or section (first occurence is linked).


Example: if the word "Green" is used multiple times in the same section of flowing text, a link to the "Green Organizations" article is used only once for that paragraph.


Only one blank line is used between each paragraph or section.


Numbers are formatted using UK/US format. Example 1,000.01


No Link in headings.



Criteria refNo Criteria short description Critical
P01 Clean text (No big typos or english mistakes) y
P02 US english for spelling and punctuation n
P03 However, not US capitalization of words - only first word in a sentence is capitalized (Wikipedia style. So "Frequently asked questions" and not "Frequently Asked Questions") n
P04 All book and article reference following the style format cited below (Role description Proof editor) n

What do Editors Do?

They do many things. Actually, we feel there are at least four types of editing roles: editing for structure, language, format and proofing. As an editor, you might choose to focus on only one of those (say systematically checking articles for format) or any combination of them. For instance, non-native english speakers might focus on structure and format. What about content? We feel everyone is a content editor by definition - if you see content that seems wrong or if you have additional insights to add, go for it. 

Editing with the advice process

As editors (just like any other roles) we are bound to the advice process. In practice, if you see a small edit, and you are kind of sure of what you are doing, then by any means just go an edit it. If on the other hand it's a big edit and you are unsure, then you can post the question and your preferred answer on the Facebook page of the wikithon. There are also people holding the role of "Upholder of the charter" (for the moment held by Chris Clark and Fred Laloux) that you can ask if you feel the question is touching on some fundaments of the wiki. 

The 4 Kinds of Editors

Each page on the wiki should get the benefit of 4 kinds of editing: Structure, Language, Format, and Proof. 


Structure editors examine an article overall in the light of the wiki's founding charter:

  • Is the article useful for someone in an organization wanting to adapt the practices related to that topic?
    • In other words, is the article so clearly structured that it is easy to navigate?
    • Does the article provide a powerful synthesis (say: here is the best way identified so far relating to this topic. Or here are three different archetypes, and this archetype seems to be better suited for this type of industry/size of organization...)?
    • Is there a good balance between the synthesis, the FAQ and the practical examples? Should there be a call for more/less examples, for instance? (In many cases, Fred can add more examples from his research notes)
    • Is the content in line with the Teal stage, or are the lines being blurred with Green, for example?
  • Is the article consistent in terms of depth, tone and structure with the other articles in the wiki? Of course, some topics deserve much longer articles than others, so the question here is one of proportionality with the importance of the subject. 

More specifically, here are a few things we can focus on

  • Keep the overall objective of the wiki in mind as you read: the article should aim towards synthesis, and be written as a helpful reference for someone in an organization who needs help implementing or designing a teal organization.
  • Make paragraphs for the 5 historical stages (Red, Amber, Orange, Green, Teal) approximately the same size, typically somewhere from 4 to 8 lines. Make sure one of the stages isn’t out of proportion with the others.
  • In the “Historical Perspective” section, check that it addresses only the specific topic of the article and doesn’t make an overall summary of each stage (eg the metaphor, the breakthroughs)
  • In the “Historical Perspective”, the paragraph for Teal should be a high level synthesis in 4-8 lines like the other stages. Ideally, the main points in the paragraph become the subheadings of the next section (“Principles and Practices in Teal”)
  • Make sure that one article doesn’t treat in any depth the topic of another article, but rather references it with a link to that article. 
  • In the “Principles and Practice” section, don’t go into any depth of one particular case (that can be treated in the later section of case studies). Companies can be mentioned in passing (“Some companies, like Buurtzorg for instance, do …”) but not as the main topic of any assertion (“Buurtzorg does…”)
  • For the case studies: the summary sentence (that you see before you expand the case study) should give both a very short summary of the company (industry, geography, size) as well as a summary of how the topic of the article is addressed by that company


The language editor is looking in particular at readability, flow and tone of the articles. It will make that users like reading what they read, that they come back to the wiki.
For example:

  • Don’t talk in a negative tone about stages prior to Teal. If it’s relevant to talk about the shadows of these stages, let’s do it with a neutral tone. 
  • Avoid language that is too oral, for instance sweeping generalizations (always, really, never, very…)
  • Make sentences simple and easy to understand, without dumbing them down (many readers will not be native english speakers)


The format editor helps all the articles follow the wiki’s format in terms of headings and paragraph style, bullet points, notes and table of content. The format editor should be comfortable using the “wiki text” editing mode. In particular

  • Use the Compensation article as a reference to make sure all topic headings conform (there shouldn't be any new sections or reworded headings--they should be consistent with the example article)
  • Make sure all links work and point correctly to the expected destinations. 
  • Headings: correct use of headings 2, 3 and 4
    • make sure there is no formatting in the headings. For instance =='In practice'== we should have ==In practice==. The wiki will automatically format the headings.
  • ̈Paragraph style: use standard style from the wiki, no smaller or larger letter, different font, color, no bolding, italics or underline
  • Bullet points: use the bullet points formatting from the wiki, rather than using dashes
  • Every case examples (in the expandable sections) should have a footnote reference either to the book or to another source. And the first time the company is cited, there should be a link to the company's website.
  • Notes: use the wiki footnotes format (in a section “Notes and references” at the very end)
  • Table of contents: should only show level 2 headings
  • Check the links to Amber, Orange, Green and Teal in the "Historical Perspective" section (most likely, they wrongly point to "Red Organizations"
  • Check the links format: if it is an internal link (to a wiki's article), make sure the format is Display Text, and not Display Text
  • Check the "link density". The article shouldn't be underlinked nor overlinked. To learn more about Wikipedia links.
  • Expandable boxes: make sure the right box is used.

Learn more about Formatting :




The proof editor proofreads the article for spelling, grammar, punctuation, reference format etc. In particular:

  • Capitalize the first letter of colors that represent stages, but not the word it refers to (= Red organizations. Not Red Organizations, nor red organizations)
  • Use US english for spelling and punctuation
  • "Sentence case" for headings = capitalize only the first word (so "Frequently asked questions" and not "Frequently Asked Questions")
  • Bibliography entry: If you refer to publications other than RO, use the following formats to record them in the bibliography:
    a. Books: Earp, Wyatt. Organizing Gunfights in Early Southwest Communities. Pima County Publishers, Tombstone, AZ, USA (1928).
    b. Periodicals: Holiday, Doc. “Friends and Enemies.” Personal Relationships in Pima County, Vol 1, No 1 (1929): 22-45.
    c. The above follows the Chicago Style manual. If you have other kinds of pubs, see here for formatting: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/04/

Tips & Guidelines

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