This week marks the first part of the Signpost tutorial series. The aim of this series is to help you use Wikipedia better: by introducing you to the features of the wiki software, the Wikipedia community and its policies and other helpful tips from experienced editors. As the name suggests, each week, we aim to provide you with a short article in a practical, tutorial format. This week, we begin with the fundamentals of editing: things that every editor should know. Please enjoy it, and let us know if you have any comments or suggestions here.
This week, we'll talk about the basics of editing Wikipedia. You've all read Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that you can edit, but what about contributing? Thankfully, it's actually quite simple!
Every page on Wikipedia, whether it is an article, a discussion page or a project page, is produced by editing the mark-up presented on the edit tab of the page. The most basic unit of mark-up is the paragraph block, and you separate the text in the page into paragraphs by separating each paragraph with a blank line like this:
I am the first paragraph.
I am the second paragraph, because I am separated from the first paragraph by a blank line.
This text is still part of the second paragraph, because there is no blank line in between.
It's important to remember that you need to press Enter twice after each paragraph otherwise your text will be in one big paragraph!
After you have clicked the save button, you will be taken to the actual rendered view of the mark-up that you have just typed.
Now, what we have looks a little boring. Let's jazz it up with some formatting. To render some text in italics, put two single quotes (not one double quote) around the text like this:
''this is text in italics'', which comes out looking like this is text in italics. For bold,
'''use three single quotes''', which comes out as use three single quotes. For both italics and bold, some simple arithmetic will tell you that you need five single quotes,
'''''like this''''', which comes out as like this.
Structuring your articles using sections and subsections is very important, especially for longer articles. To insert a section heading, type the section name on a new line surrounded by two equal signs like this:
==My heading==. In articles, this is a top-level heading. For a subheading, use three equal signs like this:
===My subheading===. Additional equal signs indicate additional depths in the section hierarchy.
Wikipedia is a series of linked articles, so let's create some links! To create a simple link, just surround the text you want to link with two square brackets like this:
[[Foobar]]. This creates a link to the article called "Foobar" with the link text rendered as "Foobar" like this: Foobar. Links often appear in the middle of sentences, but you don't have to worry about making the first letter upper case. If you want to change the link text, use the pipe notation like this:
[[Foobar|this is some other text]]. This still links to "Foobar", but the link text has now changed like this: this is some other text.
There are two types of lists, numbered and bullet lists:
#This is a numbered list
#Another entry in your numbered list
#Note how the hash symbol is used
*This is a bullet list
*Another entry in your bullet list
*Note how the asterisk symbol is used
To nest lists, you just stack up the symbols like this:
This is rendered as:
Here are some additional activities that you can try:
For a more in-depth introduction to editing, check out the following pages: