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Lesson 1: Basic formatting

Wikipedia uses unique Wiki markup, which allows you to format text. For example:

  • '''Bold text''' gives Bold text
  • ''Italics text'' gives Italics text
  • '''''Bold and Italics text''''' gives Bold and italics text

More Wiki markup:

  • [[Main Page]] gives Main Page
  • [ Live Search] gives Live Search
  • <s>Strike-through text</s> gives Strike-through text
  • <sup>Superscript text</sup> gives Superscript text
  • <sub>Subscript text</sub> gives Subscript text
  • <small>Small text</small> gives Small text

Now try using these tags at the sandbox. For more information see Wikipedia:Formatting#Wiki markup or Wikipedia:Help:Wiki markup.

Lesson 2: Talk Pages

  • What's the meaning of a talk page? To let multiple users collaborate on improving an article
  • How do I get there? Every page has its own "discussion" tab, just click on it.
  • How do I ask a question, start a discussion or make a comment? Click on the "new section" tab.
  • How do I contribute to a discussion? Scroll down to the right discussion, and click [edit].

Nearly every page on Wikipedia also has a talk page (also known as a discussion page). A talk page is a space for editors to discuss improvements to articles and other pages. Talk pages are named the same as their associated pages, the only difference being that they have "Talk:" before their name.

For example, there is one page called "Australia", which contains the article on the continent of Australia. There is also a page called Talk:Australia, where discussion occurs about possible improvements to the article page.

User pages also have associated talk pages (for example, "User talk:Rikki21"). Those pages are also intended for discussion; only in that case, the discussion might not relate to an article. When another editor needs to contact you, they will usually do this by leaving a message on your talk page. You will be notified when someone leaves you a message that way, with a notice the next time you access a page in Wikipedia.

For more information, see WIkipedia:Talk page.

Lesson 4: Templates

Templates often look like text boxes with a different background color from that of normal text. They are in the template namespace, i.e. they are defined in pages with "Template:" in front of the name.

For example, consider the template Template:Disambig (follow the link to see the page where it can be edited). To insert the template's content into an article, type {{Disambig}} in the wiki page ( {{Disambig}} is called a template tag ). Every article with that tag in it will display the following text:

Disambig gray.svg This disambiguation page lists articles associated with the same title. If an internal link led you here, you may wish to change the link to point directly to the intended article.

This technique is commonly known as transclusion. Templates can also include calculated and substituted elements, as well as parameters, allowing for complex usage. For a table of some useful templates, see Wikipedia:Template messages. For detailed templating documentation see m:Help:Template.

For more information, see Wikipedia:Template namespace.

Lesson 5: User Scripts

A user script is a piece of JavaScript code executed on Wikipedia pages. Scripts can make navigation easier and simplify common maintenance tasks. To import a user script, add the code to your common.js.

For more information, see Wikipedia:WikiProject User scripts/Scripts.

A script that I have found helpful, especially when editing a wiki page is the WikEd tool which highlights the wiki syntax, making it easy to know if you've made a mistake and how to fix it. Try importing it to your common.js and see if you like it. If you don't you can always undo the change.