Help:Wiki Basics

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MediaWiki, the framework underlying this wiki, is very powerful but can be just as confusing. How often have you found yourself wondering, "how can I make this look better?", "is it okay to change this part I don't like?" (it probably is!) or "where do I find that page I was on just a week ago?"

This help page is intended to help with understanding basic principles of the wiki structure in general and our specific implementation for easier reading and more efficient writing.

For other wiki related questions, have a look at our help pages in the "wiki" category, the MediaWiki support section, or talk to the administrators.

Staying up to Date

Watchlist

The best way to make sure you are informed about edits and discussions on interesting pages is to add them to your watchlist. Pages can be added or removed by clicking the star that appears at the top of every regular page when you are logged in (blue means you're watching it), and pages you edit are watched by default.

You can see your watchlist when logged in and choose to get eMail notifications about certain changes as well.

Recent Changes

Newly created pages and articles that have not gotten your attention so far also change all the time so it can be worthwhile to check out Special:RecentChanges once in a while. Who knows which cool reads may be added this week?!

Categories & Namespaces

We presently have over 207 pages and they're bound to become even more which can be hard to oversee. Of course searching for a page title can work, but what if you don't know what exactly to search for?

For that we have two answers: categories and namespaces.

Categories

You can think of categories like tags, just write [[Category:Something]] anywhere on a page and it will be linked from that category page. Check out which ones we have already and don't be afraid to create a new one if it seems to make sense! :-)

Namespaces

You'll notice that some of the page titles start with a certain word followed by a colon, e.g. lots of "Material:" or "Project:" pages. The term before the colon defines the namespace of that page (yes, "Category:" is a special kind of namespace as well). Some namespaces are predefined, such as "Special:" pages which are not editable by us, but we have added a bunch of our own to make using this wiki easier.

It's all for the sake of structure: even with categories, you may find yourself looking at long page lists containing a buch of unfamiliar titles. With namespaces, stuff like materials or help pages automatically stick out! By the way - clicking "What links here" in your toolbox on the left also gives you a nice list of potentially interesting pages!

A downside to this decision is that some pages may be harder to link to or even find: suggestions will only show up in the search field after the namespace and the colon are entered. That can be annoying, but redirects should help. On the other hand, if you are for example looking for help but not sure which help pages exist, entering "Help:" into the search field yields a great set of filtered suggestions!

"Talk:" Namespace (Discussion Pages)

If you're not quite sure about a fact or whether an edit would make sense, don't hesitate to use the discussion feature at the top of any page! MediaWiki suggests starting new topics with headlines (framed by == on each side) and indenting replies by starting the line with ::. You can automatically sign your message by typing "--~~~~" or clicking the corresponding button above the editor.

Redirects

Redirects are pages that lead to a different page, e.g. if there are common synonyms for a tool or a plain title should lead to a page with that title within a namespace.

To create a redirect, simply create a new page with your alternate title and enter nothing but #REDIRECT[[ExistingTitle]] ("ExistingTitle" being the name of the page you want to link to, of course).