man page style questions

Marco Steinbach coco at
Sat Sep 11 09:10:44 UTC 2010

I'm reposting this to -ports, as I got no replies on -doc within several 

I'm currently preparing a man page for a yet to be submited new port,
and altough I was able to get answers for some of my questions from the
mdoc(7) man page and other sources, there are still some areas where I
am not sure about how to properly format and label things.

The current source of the man page is available at

The port has an optional ncurses-based interface, which, if used, allows
the behaviour of the utility to be changed by pressing certain keys.

- Is "INTERACTIVE MODE" the appropiate term to be used as heading for
the section dealing with the specifics of a ncurses-based user interface ?

- What labels are to be used for keys which usually do not produce a
printable character ? E.g. is the <return>-key to be represented as
"return", "<return>" or "RETURN" (or is it to be named "enter", anyway ?)

- What about the cursor movement and other directional keys like
<cursor-left/right/up/down>, <pageup/down>, <home/end> ?

- Are there any preferences for the macros to use for keys to be
pressed, e.g. is the following acceptable:
.Bl -tag -width Fl
.It Ic C
Do the C thing.
.It Ic A
Do the A thing.

Any hints and suggestions (wording, macro usage, etc) to make the man
page a better fit to the style of the FreeBSD project are greatly

MfG CoCo

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