MediaWiki For Beginners

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So, you want to write on T-Vox but you don't know where to start? Well, I'm going to start by assuming you have an account for T-Vox and that you've logged in on that account. The advantages of this are three-fold:

  • you get a page called 'My Contributions' that lets you see what pages you've created and/or edited;
  • we all know who you are and what you've added; and
  • you get a nice page on the wiki where you can write a quick bio of yourself and list all the pages you've created.

It's worth noting at this point that because T-Vox is a target for transphobes, homophobes and generic vandals, page creation/movement/uploading/etc has been restricted to authorised users. All users can edit existing pages but if you want to get more involved than this, please contact either Jenny Kirk or Zoe Robinson to get added to the authorised list.

If you don't have an account, get one here.

To edit any wiki page, click the little 'edit' tab at the top of the page. (You should see in a row: article, discussion, edit, history, move, watch.) Edit the content, then scroll down to click the Save button. Before clicking on 'Save', be sure to give a brief reason for your changes in the Summary box. This helps others to quickly tell what has been changed and allows T-Vox's admin to track changes more easily.

We're going to concentrate on this third factor for now, as the bio page is an excellent place to play around with coding and get you used to it. Here, all the factors that come into editing a page can come into play, from emboldening or italicising text to creating headers and also adding in links to other pages (otherwise how would we get to see your works?). So let's get started!

Contents

Headers

Creating headers is a very simple way of separating your page into different sections. If you're like me, you'll want your biography page to have a section for your biography, a section for the pages you've created (so people can find your poems, drawings, stories, scripts and whatnot easily) and a section for your contact details. Separating each of these sections into headed sections gives three fine advantages:

  1. Each section can be found easily
  2. Each section becomes editable separately by clicking on the 'Edit' link at the right-hand side of the header, so you can edit each part of the page without worrying about messing-up the other parts (the page as a whole can still be edited with the 'Edit' tab at the top of the page, however).
  3. You get a nice 'Contents' list at the top of your page.

So how do we set up a header? It's simple, really. Headers have to be added on a line all to themselves, so if you're doing your biography, a header called 'Biography' would be on one line and the bio on the following lines. Headers are formatted by having two equals signs followed by a space, then the text you want in the header, then a space, then two equals signs. Sub headers can be added to pages by adding more equals signs around the header and these will also be displayed in the contents list a the top of your page. The difference between headers and sub-headers is that headers get an edit button and sub-headers don't, so you'd have to edit those from inside the initial header, or by editing the page as a whole.

So, for headers and sub-headers, we have the following coding:

== Example Header ==
=== Example Sub-Header ===
==== Example Sub-Sub-Header ===
and so on.

Indentations

Paragraphs can be indented by placing a colon (':') at the start of a paragraph. To indent a paragraph twice, use two colons, and so forth.

Emphasis

Emphasis can be placed on words and phrases by putting a certain number of apostrophes (') around the word or phrase to be emphasised. The amount of apostrophes determines the particular emphasis placed on the word/phrase. You'll need the same amount of apostrophes at the start as at the end, or the emphasis won't work.

  • Italics require two apostrophes
  • Bold text requires three apostrophes

Putting single apostrophes around something will simply display that something with apostrophes around it.

Links

Links work in two ways on MediaWiki, depending on whether you're linking to another page on the Wiki or another page on the Internet. We'll cover both types of link here.

Wiki Links

These are links only to other pages on the same Wiki, not other Wikis on the Internet. Basically, using this method of linking, anyone can add a link to anywhere else on T-Vox.

Wiki Links are coded using double square brackets ('[[') and the contents of the brackets will be the page name being linked to, so a link to a page called 'Example' would be created by putting 'Example' between double square brackets. If you want to link to 'Example' but call the link 'An Example', you'd do this by putting 'Example | An Example' between square brackets. The pipe ('|') indicated to MediaWiki that the bit on the left is the Wiki Link and the bit on the right is the text to be displayed on the page.

So we have:

[[Example]] links to another page on the Wiki that is called Example.
[[Example | An Example]] does the same but calls the link 'An Example'.

Internet Links

For when you absolutely, positively, have to link to somewhere else on the Internet, you'll only need one set of brackets. Internet Links function in a similar way to Wiki Links but are differentiated on MediaWiki sites by using only one bracket at the start and end and not requiring a pipe. So, a link to Google can be made by entering a bracket, the url, a space, the text to be displayed as a link and then another bracket:

[http://www.google.co.uk/ Click Here!] links to www.google.co.uk with the link text 'Click here!'.

It's worth noting at this point that Internet links must begin with http:// or MediaWiki will throw a fit and try to link to a page on T-Vox instead. Internet links can also be used to create e-mail links, by using the mailto tag instead of http: so a link to example@someplace.com with a link as 'e-mail me!' would be created by entering:

[mailto:example@someplace.com e-mail me!]

Lists

There are two main forms of list on a MediaWiki: numbered and unordered. Both work in exactly the same way and are simply designated with a hash (#) or asterisk (*) at the start of each line. Hashes provide numbered lists, asterisks provide unordered lists. They look like this:

This bit of text would be displayed as a standard paragraph on the page.
# This is the first line of a numbered list
# This is the second line of a numbered list
And this text is displayed as a standard paragraph, below the list.

The above text, when put into a MediaWiki page, would display as follows:

This bit of text would be displayed as a standard paragraph on the page.

  1. This is the first line of a numbered list
  2. This is the second line of a numbered list

And this text is displayed as a standard paragraph, below the list.

That's all there is to lists.

Images

T-Vox now supports the ability to include images in its wiki pages. This facility is designed to allow pages to avoid complex, confusing descriptions or to show something simply when it would take a long time to describe in text. The idea is not to allow T-Vox to become festooned with pictures but if you want a tasteful picture on your user page, we won't object (but please do keep them tasteful and remember that this site can be seen by children).

Inserting an Image

To insert an image into a page on T-Vox use the [[Image:filename]] command, where filename is the name of the file as it exists on t-vox; e.g. [[Image:example.png]] to link to an image called example.png. You can also add caption text, set the image as a thumbnail (smaller version) and set its alignment on the page using the extended image code: [[Image:filename|thumb|alignment|caption]]. The pipes ('|') are used to separate each piece of information in the code in the same way as they do in links.

A thumbnail for the T-Vox test image, with caption.

Adding 'thumb' sets the image as a thumbnail (smaller version) of the full image and allows a caption to be added to the image. Adding a caption will display text below the image. Please use captions as a synopsis of the image so screen readers and text-only browsers don't loose out. Remember: captions will not display unless the image link contains the 'thumb' command. Clicking on the image will take you to a full-size version of the image.

The alignment option can take the form of 'left', 'right' and 'center' to determine the image's position on the screen. If using 'center', please be aware that it only works with the American English spelling - British English users, please remember to check your spelling!

Uploading an Image

The easiest way to upload an image to T-Vox is to use the Upload file option (located under the 'toolbox' header, below the search bar) on the main menu. This will take you to a page that allows you to select a file to upload from your system, set the filename to be used for it on T-Vox and also to add a description of the file that people will see if they browse to it.

Once uploaded, the file will become accessible for use in pages on T-Vox. Please ensure that any files uploaded to T-Vox are files we can actually use; i.e., you own the copyright or the file is in the public domain/released under GNU/etc.

For More Information

This page is designed to cover the basics of coding for T-Vox (or any other site running on MediaWiki). If everything you really, really want to do isn't covered here you can always e-mail me with a request for more stuff to be added or you can have a look at the MediaWiki Handbook, which explains all the codes you can use, but doesn't do it in quite as conversational a manner.

Finally

Remember: your pages are yours; do with them what you want and display them in a manner that suits the article that you're writing. Enjoy coding; it can be fun!

See Also

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