Brief introduction to creating wiki material and references on wiki formatting

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The WeatherCat wiki is a collection of information pertaining to the Macintosh weather station software WeatherCat. It is maintained in a similar spirit to the online encyclopedia: Wikipedia and uses the same software MediaWiki. It is maintained by the community of WeatherCat users and anyone can contribute additional material by editing the WeatherCat wiki. As noted on the main page, you will need to register for an account on the wiki then add or edit the content. Note: You'll need to confirm your email address by replying to the wiki email before you can modify content - this is an anti-spam measure.


How wiki text is formatted

The text in a wiki is formatted differently than a traditional "What You See Is What You Get" word processor. Instead a markup language is used to insert formatting instruction along with the text to be displayed. The wiki markup language known as wikitext is very different than other commonly known markup languages such as HTML or BBScode. Therefore creating text in a wiki requires learning this new text formatting scheme.

Getting started with creating wiki content

Once you are registered, you can begin to familiarize yourself with wiki formatted text by simply clicking on the edit link at the top left corner of any page. This will bring an web page form containing the text of this page and the formatting codes required to render it as you see the final product. At the bottom you'll find a number of options including the Save page, Show preview, and Cancel. When just exploring, try opening a few pages and canceling any changes you might have made. The preview is obviously very helping in making sure you have formatted the text as you intended. There is also at the bottom a place for your to enter the reason for editing the page - always try to enter an explanation to help others who might come after you.

At the top left corner of the box where the text can be entered and modified you'll see the following set of buttons:

MediaWiki formatting buttons.jpg

These buttons will insert the formatting codes appropriate for the text style displayed by the button.

Beyond simply editing or appending text, you will need to familiarize yourself with the markup codes of wikitext. A list of references and tutorials are provides at the end of this article.

If what you wish to contribute is lengthy or truly is a subject in its own right, it is best to create a new page that is linked in some logical way to the existing collection of pages. The best way to create a new page is to add a link from the page you want to depart from by editing that page and creating the title of the new page. The formatting to create a link looks like this:

[[Title of your new page]]

Also the third button from the left of the button bar noted above will insert the pair of doubled braces. Once you have created the link to your new page, simply click on the link which will appear red instead of blue. Clicking on the link will create the new page and open a new editing window in which you can start entering your text.

Hints on writing style

Since the WeatherCat wiki has been patterned on Wikipedia, it is suggested that authors follow a similar style in their contributions. A terse, factually oriented text in passive voice is one common way to accomplish this. Nonetheless, since the WeatherCat wiki isn't an encyclopedia but a repository of hints, tips, and related facts, adjust your writing as appropriate.

References on wiki text formatting and writing style

Wikipedia's own tutorial on creating text for Wikipedia
MediaWiki's own help documentation for all of MediaWiki
MediaWiki's documentation on formatting wiki text
MediaWiki's documentation on formatting wiki text to include links both internally and to the World Wide Web
MediaWiki's documentation on uploading files to the wiki (such as images to include in pages)
MediaWiki's documentation on using images on a wiki page.
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