Timeline editing guidelines

This page is intended to give an overview of the guidelines that editors should follow when contributing to the timeline directory. Many of the rules will have occasional exceptions, which we leave to the individual editors to decide. 

We expect that we will need to continuously build upon these guidelines as our community of editors grows and the range of editing options increases. If you would like to suggest any improvements, or otherwise get involved in the development of the editing guidelines please get in touch!

  1. Choosing a name for a new directory timeline
  2. Criteria for event selection
  3. Zoom level and start position
  4. Event spacing
  5. Starred events
  6. Reverting edits

Choosing a name for a new directory timeline

In a nutshell: Timeline names should be specific, neutral, inclusive and follow certain conventions, such as "Battles of World War I", "16th century Italian painters" or "Novels by Charles Dickens".

Timeline names should give a clear description of the criteria used for events included on the timeline.

 Names should be as concise as possible.

 Avoid descriptive adjectives such as famous, important, or notable in category titles.

 Never use the word “timeline” in the name of your timeline (unless it is a timeline about timelines)

•  Do not capitalize regular nouns except when they come at the beginning of the title.


Because we are using Wikipedia category names as timeline names, the Wikipedia: Category names guidelines can be uses as a guide when naming Histropedia timelines.


Use existing format:

New timelines should where possible use the same structure as existing timelines, which are all based on Wikipedia categories.

For example if you are creating a timeline of painters who were alive during the 17th century you should check the structure of similar timelines like:

17th century French painters or 17th century Italian painters.

In general all timelines by century, nationality and occupation follow this format.

Century nationality occupation


Only one timeline per topic

There should only be one timeline for each topic. You will get an error if you try to save a timeline using a name that already exists, however it is important to make sure the timeline does not exist with a slightly different name.

If a timeline already exists in the directory, but is incorrect or incomplete, you should work on improving the existing version instead of creating a new one.

If duplicates are created they will need to be merged together, we will try and spot any duplicates and take care of the merging process until we build better tools to allow users to do it themselves. 

Please let us know if you discover any duplicate timelines.


Criteria for event selection

Timelines should have a consistent criteria for the events that are included on the timeline. For example a timeline of ‘Sieges of the 80 Years War” should only include sieges, and no other type of battle or any people who were involved in the war.

As with Wikipedia the criteria for choosing events for a timeline should be based on a Neutral point of view.

All timelines should be inclusive and objective; just because a film is bad or an author unpopular, doesn't mean they should be excluded from a timeline.


If you want to create a timeline that's personal to you, for example you might want to make a timeline of your favourite movies or books you have read, please feel free to express yourself by creating and sharing local timelines (you can create as many as you like)

You can even modify and combine directory timelines, then save them locally! 

Local timelines are still published under an open license, but they are saved to your local account, do not appear in search and can only be edited by the timeline creator.

You can access your saved timelines from the “my timelines” section of your account. 


Zoom level and start position

When you publish a changes to an existing timeline or create a new directory timeline the zoom level and start position you have loaded will be saved with the timeline.

The first event on the timeline should be next to the left edge of the screen, and the zoom level should be set so that the entire timeline fits on the screen.

NOTE: if you are using a large monitor/high resolution you should try and fit the whole timeline in about 2 thirds of the screen (this will help the timeline loaded nicely for users with smaller monitors)

Sometimes an event was imported with an incorrect date that pins to a completely different period in history than the rest of the events on the timeline, in this case you may find that when the timeline is opened the zoom level and start position are incorrect, even after the incorrect date has been fixed.

If you encounter such a timeline first fix the incorrect date if it hasn't already been fixed. Second adjust the zoom level and start position and publish changes to the timeline. 


Event spacing

The event spacing should always be on ‘Compact’ for directory timelines.


Starred events

In general, events should not be starred when saving directory timelines.


Reverting edits

You can go back to a previous version of any directory timeline from the Timeline info & Revision history page.

We don’t have discussion pages for timelines yet, if you have an issue with another user reverting your edits, or feel edits of another user need reverting please contact us


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