Clinical vs Complex
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Writing with clinical tone is one of the hardest things to get right on the wiki.

New writers spend a lot of time trying to write complex sentences and complex words.

But clinical tone doesn't just mean 'not casual'. I like to think of clinical tone as "I'm trying not to die, or get sued, or get fired." In SCP entries, the goal is to not get in trouble for someone dying.

Here's an example of writing that could get you killed:

The entirety of Foundation personnel are to be forbidden from making Type A gesticulations (see Document B) in the presence of the entity, with the exception of testing purposes. Any Type A gesticulations in the presence of the entity constitutes an immediate containment breach. Amnestics are permitted for use by agents on civilians with knowledge of the gesticulations as appropriate, as is the destruction of any video recordings of the entity that cannot be otherwise acquired. Lethal force is not recommended against the entity.

Could you see someone being confused by this in an emergency situation? The use of the word 'gesticulations' is unneccessary here, as it has more understandable synonyms. The advice on amnestics is confusing. And why are we listing what's not recommended, instead of what's required?

Your writing should be:

  • Easy to understand
  • Specific enough that people can refer to it in an emergency
  • Not contain any speculation or vagueness that could lead to lawsuit or firing.

Here's an example from a successful article:

The extradimensional location described below as well as the entities and landmarks contained therein are nomenclative hazards (Eshu Class) and therefore may not be referred to by any name, title, or designation.

(from SCP-4000)

This is very specific. It says exactly what you have to be careful with: the location, and all entities and landmarks contained inside. It's very easy to check if something falls in that category or not.

It then classifies them as nomenclative hazards with a specific class, something which a mobile task force with training would be familiar with and have protocols on how to handle.

Finally, it lists all common names for the things that can cause containment breach: name, title, and designation.

The only fancy words here are 'nomenclative', which is used almost like a proper noun; entity, which is a common word on the wiki; and designation, which is also common on the wiki.

What if we tried the same process for our text?

The Type A gestures associated to SCP-XXXX (see Document B) are to be used only for testing purposes. Any civilians discovered to possess knowledge of the gestures are to be amnesticized, and all recordings containing the gestures are to be acquired or destroyed.

We've simplified the first two sentences by making them less complex and by removing the reference to containment breach. Why? Because the only reason to say 'this is a containment breach' is because there's no one set of actions people take in a breach. Each SCP is different, and the article you are writing is what people will be reading once there already is a breach. So, instead of saying, "This is a breach", just tell them how to contain it.

Similarly, we've taken out the parts about what is or not permitted, because again the purpose of this paragraph is to contain this thing in emergencies. Don't say what's permitted, say what they have to do right now.

In summary:

Clinical tone isn't about the grade level of word choices or complexity of sentences and paragraphs, it's about intent. The intent is not to die; the desire not to die breeds precision; and, occasionally, precision requires complicated words or sentences. But complexity is not the goal itself.

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