I'm new, what do I do?

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Welcome, Again!

So you're new to MediaWiki or the UoM SoCS Student Wiki? If you're not, why are you here?

The Basics

To edit a page, click the edit button which is found somewhere near the top right of the page. You'll get a big text box full of markup. Take a look at the formatting other editors have used and compare it to the rendered page. If you want, you can click the preview button on the edit page to see what the result of any changes will be. Here's a cheat-sheet directly from Wikipedia which covers basic formatting syntax. For everything else there's Google. Check out the MediaWiki site for more information on using MediaWiki (such as creating templates).

As a regular user, you can edit pretty much any page. The notable exceptions are the welcome page and the rules page. These two pages are protected, meaning only admins can modify them. Pages are protected when they are liable to be vandalised or changed in some other negative fashion.

Namespaces

Namespaces act like folders, allowing pages to be grouped together and page names to be re-used. There is a Meta namespace for pages related to the running of the site and a Proj namespace for pages on the management of wiki related projects. There are other namespaces, but you'll probably find out about them as you need them. Note that you can use relative links with namespaces, you can only do that with sub-pages.

Sub Pages

Pages can be arranged in a tree. A page 'Foo' can have sup-pages Bar and Car, and these are denoted Foo/Bar and Foo/Car. Each module is arranged as a main page introducing the module and a collection of sub-pages for that module. This allows the use of relative links between module pages (e.g. [[/Bar]], a link in Foo to Foo/Bar), cutting down on repetitive link typing.

Naming Conventions

Since the title of a page is display automatically at the top, page names should in general be in title case. Namespaces should begin with a capital letter. This is just to make it easier to remember namespaces, or you'd be wondering whether to use 'proj' or 'Proj'.

Some pages are not in title case, for example some of the templates. This is because their titles are not normally displayed. Try to follow whatever style the other editors use. Consistency is the most important thing.

General Advice

  • Don't afraid to make mistakes. No one is perfect and the important thing is that you are trying to contribute. If you do get something wrong there are plenty of other editors to help you.
  • You can use the preview button to check your source gives the results you want without committing to any changes.
  • Remember to include an edit summary (found under the editing text box). Keep it short and descriptive. This summary helps other editors track the changes in a file more easily.
  • Look at the source of completed pages to see how other editors have laid things out. Try to keep your source neat and leave helpful comments if you do anything that requires explanation.

It might be a good idea to check out the source of this page if you want to get a feel for the syntax.

Final Check-list

Make sure you do the following at some point:

  • Read Proj:Core to get up to speed on editing towards the main goals of the site.
  • Check out Pages to Watch. It's worth trying to monitor some pages for new information.
  • Scan through the Template Index and familiarise yourself with the available templates. There's a guide to some of the useful templates in the core project page too.
  • Read the site rules.
  • Be aware of the Meta:Staff page for contacting admins and the Meta:Suggestions page for making suggestions for improvement to the site.
  • Be aware of the Project Index for starting tasks that require a great deal of editors.
  • Finally, head over to the Module Index to find the course notes.

Authors

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