How to Become Less Wiki Challenged

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A few people have expressed trepidation about using the wiki, so I'd like to offer a way to become less wiki challenged. runs a piece of software called "MediaWiki"; this the same software that runs wikipedia. A lot of people contribute to wikipedia, and you can contribute to :)

Here is one way to get your toes in the water.

Go to

  • Click "Log in/create account". (Create an account if you don't have one.)
  • Once you've logged in, you'll see a red-ish colored link at the top of the page, containing your username. At the moment, this link is a placeholder for your user page. User pages are great for experimenting, and learning how the wiki works. This is exactly what we're about to do. Click the red-ish link with your username.
  • At the top of the page, click "Create". (If you happen to see "Edit" instead of "Create", click "Edit")
  • Now, you're editing your User page. Type some stuff, then click the "Save Page" button at the bottom.
  • Repeat. Click "Edit", type some more stuff, and "Save Page".

There, you've just created a wiki page! :)

At this point, I'd like to point out that writing wiki pages is predominantly about writing. The "type stome stuff" part should be the most laborious, gut-wrenching, sweat-inducing part of the whole process. (This is true whether you're writing with a wiki, Word, Google Docs, LaTeX, etc.)

Now back to the wiki. Click the link with your username, so that you're viewing your user page. Now, click "View History". Here, you'll find a list of versions for your page (i.e., each time you hit "Save Page", it creates a new version). "View History" allows you to compare two versions, look at previous versions, or even revert to a previous version. Experiment with your user page.

Finally, you'll inevitably need to add structure to whatever it is you're writing. Here's a (very) minimal formatting guide:

  • Put a blank line between paragraphs
  • You can make headings like this:
== This is a Heading ==

(Note: two "=" signs at the beginning, and two "=" signs at the end).

  • Make bullet points like this
* bullet 1
* bullet 2
* bullet 3

Beyond this, have a look at the Help and Guidelines link, which you'll find on the left side of wiki pages.

These formatting examples are what you would use with the "wiki" editor. There's also a "rich text" editor, which works like a traditional world processor. People often prefer one to the other, so I'd urge you try both. Many like the familiar interface of a word processor, while others prefer to write offline (using wiki markup), and paste their completed article into the wiki editor.

All pages in the Help category.