Help:Getting Started

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The Getting Started page is here to help existing and budding authors get up and running writing wiki articles. It contains various tips, from general naming convention to formatting tips and tricks that new wiki authors may want to have a go at.


Starting off

The best way to learn how to start creating wiki articles is to click on the 'edit' button and look at the source of a page. Do this to look up how another author was able to achieve a certain effect that you'd like to duplicate.

The following wikimedia help page is a wealth of wiki text formatting information.

Starting an Article

Whenever you follow a link to a page that does not exist, you will be brought to a blank edit box where you can create a new page. Alternately, you can edit the URL in the address bar at the top of the screen and enter the article name after title=.

To begin writing a new article, all you to do is start typing in the text in the edit box, preview your work and the save it.

If all you want to do is edit an existing article, each page will have a special edit button at the top of each article. Click on that to edit the respective article. You may also see edit links near sub headings that allow you to edit only part of the page.

Preview Button

Whenever writing or editing an article, make it a firm practice to use the preview button before making any changes to a page. It's a great way of learning how to format a page without doing any damage to existing articles. Still, no worries. The wiki keeps backups of previous edits that you can look up or revert to if you make a mistake.


Wikilinks

One of the most important features of wiki articles is the ability to create links that point to other articles. Wikilinks are also an important tool for creating new pages.

To create a wikilink, the format is:

[[linkname | optional link text]]

The pipe and optional link text are optional. The link name is simply the name of the article you want the link to point to.

These links can consist of names with spaces. If linking from outside, it is best to use underscores instead of spaces.

Links - watch those plurals!

When creating a plural link, watch where your s goes. It can be a bit confusing and even frustrating at times and can potentially create needless duplication.

Try not to put it inside the link. Instead, have it flush against the link, like so [[Laser Pistol]]s . The wiki knows to make the S part of the link. Or you can use a pipe, like so: [[Laser Pistol | Laser Pistols]] but that's a bit tiresome.

Don't use [[Laser Pistols]] unless the actual title is indeed plural.

Note that you can use this same basic technique for participles and other suffixes as well in some cases, such as manufactured ([[manufacture]]d) for past participle, however you wouldn't be able to do the same for the present participle in this case (i.e., manufacturing), because of the vowel switch.


Basic Text Formatting

Wiki code allows basic HTML markup and cascading style sheets for formatting of its text. The wiki also provides its own markup for formatting text to bold and italics.

To achieve either, surround the text with a series of single quotation marks. Three for bold, and two for italic. For example: '''Bold Text''' and ''Italic''

Produces:

Bold Text and Italic

You can also highlight the text you want set to bold or italics and hit the bold or italic buttons at the top of the wiki edit box to achieve the same effect.

To combine bold and italic you will need to use a combination of wiki markup and HTML or CSS markup.

HTML and CSS in wiki text

Example 
Here's an sample of a standard html table with CSS used to supply the aesthetic formatting. If you can't see this text surrounded by a purple right-aligned box, then your browser may not support CSS.

Wiki text allows some HTML markup to be used. Not all of it, but enough to allow text formatting, paragraph formatting, preformatted text, Div and Span, and HTML tables.

For example, the use of the <BR&rt; line break tag. You may want to use a lot of whitespace in your text, but the wiki removes most of the whitespace once it converts the code into the finished article. This happens a lot when creating a quick list of items. Without resorting to creating an un-numbered wiki list, you can use a few <BR> tags to force a few carriage returns.

For a list of references, you can try WDG's CSS reference.

Creating lists

The wiki provides an easy way to create unnumbered or numbered lists.

The unnumbered list is created by entering an asterisk * at the start of each line.

*One
*Two
*Three

Produces:

  • One
  • Two
  • Three

You can create several levels of lists by increasing the number of asterisks on each line.

  • one
    • sub one
      • sub sub one
  • two
  • three


A numbered list is created in the same way by entering a hash (#) instead of an asterisk. As long as the list is continuous without any line breaks the list will number itself accordingly. If there are any line breaks, the numbering is reset accordingly.

  1. one
  2. two
  3. three

And a multi-level numbered list combined with unnumbered list:

  1. one
    1. sub one - first
    2. sub one - second
      • sub one - second list item 1
      • sub one - second list item 2
      • sub one - second list item 3
    3. sub one - third
  2. two
  3. three


Watch those leading spaces

If you ever place a space at the start of a new line, the following happens:

See this box? This is the result. It contains unformatted wiki text. 
You can include formatting elements in it. 
Nothing's terribly wrong With it except that if your screen is too small, such as 800x600, this box may very well go off the page if the line of text is too long. 
Note, this mimics the HTML <PRE> tag, which works on blocks of text rather than single lines.  

(You may need to scroll the page to right to see the rest of the last line)

Unless you're writing short bits of program code, try to avoid unformatted text boxes such as this.

Section Headings

Section headings divide your articles into manageable sections. A section heading produces a line of text that takes up a whole line, has the title bolded and a horizontal line is created underneath it. Some variances may appear depending on the style sheets used for the forum skin (see your account preferences).

To create a section heading, go to a new line and surround the title of your new section with equal signs. For the example, this section heading was achieved with the following line of code:

== Section Headings ==

Section headings have various levels. The different levels are distinguished by the number of equal signs that you surround the title with. Level one uses one equal sign on either side of the title. Level two uses two equal signs. Level 3 has three equals signs, etc.

Level 1 is treated as the topmost heading. All other headings are treated as sub-headings. The most common section heading level that you will use is level 2.

All sections on a page are inserted into the current page's table of contents - assuming the table of contents for the page has not been disabled, and there are enough sections to justify a table of contents. This is commonly 4 headings, but may vary depending on your viewing preferences.


Section headings as bookmarks

Section headings can also act like bookmarks, in a way. They allow you to link directly to particular sections in a page from other pages as well. To do this, create a wiki link as usual, but place a sharp/hash (#) after the link name and then followed by the section heading you want the link to jump to.

For example, to link to the Maximum Caps section in Firing Accuracy, we'd write:

[[Firing Accuracy#Maximum Caps | Firing Accuracy]] 

Test it: Firing Accuracy

You'll find that going to the page will jump you right to Maximum Caps.

To create internal bookmarks within an article, leave off the name of the page and go straight to the hash. For example, to jump to the Tips section on this page, the following can be used:

[[#Section Headings | Jump to Section Headings ]]

One good example of this in action:

( Jump to Section Headings)

Use this feature sparingly - if someone renames the heading on a page not knowing you have linked to it, your link will break and just go to the top of the page as if there was no section bookmark. There is no way to tell when changing a section if there are links to it apart from checking every link to the page in turn, so it reduces maintainability to use these sorts of links too liberally.

Stub Pages

Since they were only used at the inception of the wiki, stub pages are now rarely used. They have been deprecated in favour of empty pages. Any links to pages that do not exist will populate the Special:WantedPages page.

Discussion

First and foremost, the wiki is not designed to be a discussion forum. But where needs arise, some discussion will have to take place on the wiki, as not all visitors will be members of the various forums the regular authors frequent.

There's a discussion link at the top of each Wiki page. Also accessible with the atl+shift+t shortcut. If you have a comment or are unsure and want to ask a question, the discussion page is the best place to do it. Do not have the discussion in the actual article.

The discussion pages are like black boards. Remember to wipe them clean after you're done and all the changes are in effect. Empty, really old or useless discussions are wiped (deleted) on a semi-regular basis by the sysops as they are noticed.

If for whatever reason you want to keep the discussion off the wiki, such as you're having a long and detailed discussion and this is cluttering the recent changes page, consider moving the discussion to an actual web forum. Either at the Ufopaedia official forum, or a variety of other X-COM related forums around the world can be access from the Forumspage.

Discussion : Separating

In a Talk: page, remember to separate any posts that you make so that your post doesn't end up looking like a continuation from the previous post. You have a wide variety of methods available to separate your posts.

If you use the +/add topic button to add your message, entering a title in the title textbox will automatically enter a section heading. See the section heading for more information on how to enter section headings manually.

You can also use horizontal lines to break up different lines of discussion. To create a horizontal line, enter four dashes (----). To demonstrate:


Lines are automatically inserted whenever a section heading is created, but sometimes a simple line is all you need.

Signing Off

Whenever you add a message to any discussion, it is good practice to sign off your messages so that other authors know who left it is from.

There are two ways of doing this. The first version is done by simply entering ~~~. This creates a link directly back to your user page and pipes the link to your user name.

The other version uses four tildes (~~~~). This does exactly the same as the last shortcut, but it also appends the current date and time onto your piped user name. This is the preferred method of signing your name.

This shortcut will only take effect on the articles source when you finally save the document, however you will see the desired effect when previewing the page.

Indenting

One other tool in article creation as well as for organizing discussions in a talk page is the use of indents

To indent a line, observe the following line.
: To indent a line, observe the following line. 
Notice how there's a colon at the start of the line. This indents the entire line of text. Note that this only works on the one line.

All text after the carriage return (the invisible character representing the enter/return key) will return to normal. Just like what has happened to this line, if you have a look at the source code. If you want to indent a large document, remember to place a ":" at the beginning of each new paragraph.

You can have multiple indent levels!
Observe.
See?
This can be handy for breaking up user discussions into threads
It helps break up the large blocks of unweildy text
Fnord!

Combined with horizontal bars, indenting is a useful tool for discussion pages.