Quick Guide to Using the GNOME Wiki

Many new users are a little unsure of themselves in the Wonderful World of Wiki. This page is intended to be a quick guide to the essentials of getting the best out of a wiki.

What is a wiki?

A wiki is a website. But it's a special kind of website, one in which you can edit the pages in place to generate a new page. Every wiki page (which you have access to) has an EditText link. Clicking on it will bring you to a page where the entire contents of the page are available in a text input box.

The ability to create new pages by simply creating links to them, and the ability to edit pages in-place, makes a wiki an ideal environment for work-in-progress documents, and also for reference documents which risk becoming outdated. The wiki is an excellent tool for allowing a number of people to work together to produce documentation, and to exchange view on works in progress in a public forum. A good example of such a wiki page is the page ThreePointZero, where there is a central thread to the page, and at various points, a number of people have added their comments.

Wiki pages are created from "wiki text" - a very simple mark-up designed to allow common page design without all of the power of html and CSS. A brief description of the essential elements of wiki text are below.

What do I need to get started?

The GNOME Wiki requires users to have an account before they can start editing pages. If you only want to browse publicly accessible pages, you can do that just like on a normal website. However, if you want to use the wikiness, you will need an account.

Getting an account is easy, but not obvious.

If you do not have one, at the top of every wiki page, there is a link called "Login". Clicking on this brings you to a page where you can create an account with your chosen wiki username (the recommendation is to use FirstnameLastname - no spaces), password and e-mail address. Enter these, click on "Create profile", and you should be brought to a preferences page, and the Login link should now be FirstnameLastname. Your account is created, you're ready to go.

OK, I have an account. Now what?

You'll need to get added to our Trusted Editors page before you can begin editing the wiki. We created the page to help stop spam. To get your name on the Trusted Editors list, contact someone who is already a part of it and ask them to add you. Many people on the list have wiki pages set up with their IRC nickname or email address where you can ask them for help.

Once you've been added to the Trusted Editors page, you probably want to start editing content on a page, or perhaps creating new content.

Editing an Existing Page

Navigate to a page which exists in the wiki. The WikiSandBox page is ideal for starting off. You can create content, mess about, and it won't bother anyone. Click on that WikiSandBox link now to open the page, then click on the EditText link.

At a first glance, the contents of the page might look a little odd. You can see =s, 's {s and }s everywhere. See the "wiki text" section below for a quick guide to the 4 or 5 most commonly used wiki formatting metadata (for a more in-depth guide, the wiki has a page called HelpOnEditing which goes into depth on this).

Creating a New Page

Creating a new page is even easier. Wiki pages have names created from two or more words with leading capitals stuck together. For example, DaveNeary is my wiki home-page. If you click on DaveNeary you'll go there now. If the page doesn't exist yet, when you click on it, you will arrive at a page offering the possibility to create it. Either create a new empty page or use one of the page templates by clicking an appropriate link. We arrive at the same page as before, except there's no text in the input box yet.

The other way to create a page (besides adding a link to it in a page, then clicking on the link) is to enter the URL directly in your browser. If you type http://wiki.gnome.org/DoesntExistYet into your browser, you get brought to the page "DoesntExistYet" (and let's keep it that way, please). You may want to do that for orphan or hidden pages, or for first drafts which aren't yet fit for human consumption.

Wiki Text

So - you are in the editing page, and you want to enter some content into a page. What is all that formatting about?

Here's the first rule - when you type plain, unformatted text, you get text as output. If you want to start a new paragraph, leave a blank line, and start typing plain text again. Easy.

The next thing you might want to do is create a header. To do this, add =s to the start and end of the line in which you want to have a header. For example,

= Testing headers =

The more =s you use, the smaller the header.

==== Tiny header ====

It is important to have no trailing whitespace at the end of lines with header mark-up. You can check a mark at the end of the editor window to remove trailing spaces on a save.

More useful stuff coming up - lists. There are two types of lists, ordered and unordered lists. They can have sub-lists as well. To create an unordered bullet list, use *s after whitespace at the beginning of a line. One space is required at least. To create a sub-list, use two leading spaces. For a sub-sub-list, 3 leading spaces.

To make an ordered list, it's exactly the same, except instead of using * at the start of the line, we use 1.

Here's an example -

 * Item 1
  1. Numbered 1
   * sub-sub-list
  1. Numbered 2
 * Item 2
  * Sublist 1
  * Sublist 2 

turns into

  • Item 1
    1. Numbered 1
      • sub-sub-list
    2. Numbered 2
  • Item 2
    • Sublist 1
    • Sublist 2

With just these few formatting bits, we already have more than enough to get started. For more information, go to HelpOnEditing.

Restricted pages or sections

Some pages and sections of the wiki are restricted to certain groups of people. Often links to restricted areas contain the e-mail address of the person to contact to get permission to view or edit the pages. Usually, you just need to have an account and be logged in to be able to read and edit pages.

Subscribing for updates to pages

You can be informed by e-mail when a page in a hierarchy of the wiki changes by adding the name of that part to the "subscription" section of your user preferences. For example, to be notified of all changes in the Stuttgart2005/InternalPlanning section of the wiki, you would add


to the "Subscribed wiki pages" bit in your user preferences page (which you can get to by clicking your username at the top of the page).

make a TOC

If you want to include a table of contents (TOC) on a page just put that where you want the TOC to be displayed:


You can link to external bugs with wiki text:

[wiki:gnomebug:123456 #123456]

More information at InterWiki.

To see what pages link to QuickStart search for "linkto:QuickStart" either on the FindPage or with the search box at the bottom of the page. This is useful if you move a page and also want to change all links to the page. Or if you just want to see pages related to the page you just read.

More information at HelpOnSearching.

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QuickStart (last edited 2018-09-08 17:43:35 by RenéGenz)