Style Guidance for Pentester Writers

We’re looking for product documentation, What you write here is not a pentest report, but a guide primarily for developers who want to improve the security of their products.

When you write your article, remember your readers. They need your help learning what to do (and what not to do) to secure their systems.


Our readers are typically not English majors. Our concepts are already complex. It helps our readers if you use the simplest possible language.

While you don’t need to define common technical concepts like domain name and IP address, we recommend that you use links to help define more complex terms like Server Side Request Forgery.

To promote readability, use the following checklist:

  • Write in plain English. Provide brief descriptions for technical terms that our audience of developers may not know.

  • Stay positive. Avoid words like don't or can't. Readers frequently miss the not in a sentence.

  • Consider using our implementation of Vale. When integrated with your IDE, it highlights writing styles that we want you to follow.

  • Keep your sentences relatively short. Our implementation of Vale discourages the use of sentences of more than 28 words.

  • Use active voice and the present tense. Examples:

    • Run the ps command.
    • Include a second factor for authentication.
    • Encrypt the system with a ECDSA key.
  • Exception: it is OK to use passive voice for definitions. Example:

  • In lists, use the serial comma (also known as the Oxford comma)

For more information, see the Google Developer Style Guide discussion on voice and tone.

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Last modified January.01.2023