User:Lcarsos/Style Guide

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Revision as of 06:51, 4 January 2013 by Lcarsos (talk | contribs) (...Do those special hyphens/dashes/separators?: woops. that was wrong)
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Welcome new editor! This page is to help you grok how to be professional when editing a wiki. Since we use Mediawiki's wiki software, a link to Mediawiki's formatting guide, Wikipedia's Formatting Cheatsheet, and their Editing Guidelines page should help, they are a bit wordy though.

Another good resource is to look at's community rules. A lot of these come from there because they're just good sense.

If you just want a quick guide for how to create a page, consider reading My First Explanation. This page is an outgrowth of the first formatting guide I made, eventually it'll all be moved here, and this will be a full and complete compendium. For now, it's a work in progress.


Creating Pages

DO NOT create a new page unless you are going to put a good faith effort into creating a complete, or near-complete page. The mainstay editors get a spark of hope in their hearts to see a new editor create a new page only to have cold salt-water thrown on it when they go to the page and see it completely devoid of anything useful. Why? Because then they have to scramble to populate it with information before a Google bot comes by to see what new pages we have, and makes us look like lazy jerks that are just out to boost our Google juice without adding anything useful to the Internet.

Editing pages

ALWAYS comment what your change is. Even if you are just putting quotation marks around something. In fact, especially when it's a small edit, it's hard to tell in a diff what is changed.

Talk pages

For the love of all that is good and decent in this world, do not edit comments on a talk page. Do not add bullets to show the threading. Do not add horizontal separators to separate threads. Do not make sections on Explanation pages, that's an unnecessary amount of categorization.

Always comment in chronological order. Don't be rude and put your comment at the top of the page just because you think it's more important. Depending on how grumpy the passing editor is, your comment may get moved to the bottom of the page or deleted. If a grumpy admin passes by you may not exist a few minutes later. Be a good person.

Always, always, always, always, always, ALWAYS sign your comment on a talk page. Otherwise, a grumpy editor goes through and edits your comment to have a {{unsigned}} at the end of it, which is like putting a dunce cap on some poor sap. Editors hate to do it because it means mucking about in version histories to see who wrote what. Be decent and always sign your comment, if you accidentally forgot, it's ok to go back and make another edit to sign it.

New User Protocol

If you are new here, don't create your user page as your first edit. It's tempting. But, we get hundreds of spam bots every day that create an account, then create a user page that spams links. So, an editor that's watching the recent changes page notices an account creation, and then that user creates their user page. This looks like spam. Also, making your user page as a first edit is kind of rude, in the wiki world. Try editing a few pages, or creating an explanation, you won't be thought of as spam for creating your user page then.

How Do I...

...Link to another page on the wiki?

Links to pages on this wiki are created with double brackets (these guys: [[ and ]] ). So, if you wanted to link to a great comic, like 1110: Click and Drag, you'd simply type [[1110: Click and Drag]]. If you want to be a cool guy and work it into a sentence like, "I just read this awesome comic, you should too!" you simply use a pipe ( | ) and then what you want the text to be something like [[1110: Click and Drag|this awesome comic]].

Typing out the whole name gets annoying and cumbersome sometimes. So, a lot of pages have redirect pages. For example, all comic explanations have a number redirect (1110) and a title redirect (Click and Drag). Now, somewhat unfortunately, we've turned to caps sensitivity for page titles. So a link to [[Click and Drag]] and [[click and drag]] are different, see: Click and Drag, and click and drag. This was done because the mediawiki software automatically capitalizes the first character of page titles, so comics like s/keyboard/leopard/ would usually have their titles mangled, with caps sensitivity it isn't.

...Link to another page on the Internet?

There's three ways to do this. If you want the whole URL to show up on the page, then just paste it in, like so: creates (As you can see, Mediawiki properly parses having periods after a URL, so don't be afraid to properly end your sentences) Method two is if you want to use the link as a citation, enclose it in single brackets. It will show up as a numerical citation, see: [] ends up as [1]. The final way, using a space after the URL allows you to customize the text of the link: [ a great legal resource] is parsed into a great legal resource.

Now, links to different types of documents will result in links with different thumbnails after them, to illustrate what type of document the link goes to.

...Link to Wikipedia?

Since it is impossible to explain everything down to the smallest detail, sometimes we just have to allow Wikipedia to do the secondary explaining for us. Anything directly related to the comic, should be explained on the page, as well as providing a link to wikipedia. "But how?" you ask. An excellent question. For this wiki, you use the {{w}} template. Usage goes like this: {{w|Electronic Frontier Foundation}} produces Electronic Frontier Foundation. Note the braces (some people call them curly braces).

Similar to intra-wiki links, using a pipe allows you to change the text of the link. So, {{w|Electronic Frontier Foundation|EFF}} becomes EFF.

According to the Mediawiki links reference, the canonical method to link to another wiki is to register it with the database, and then it can be linked to by [[wikipedia:Electronic Frontier Foundation]] which produces wikipedia:Electronic Frontier Foundation, but to hide the "wikipedia:" you'd have to use a pipe so [[wikipedia:Electronic Frontier Foundation|Electronic Frontier Foundation]] would be Electronic Frontier Foundation. But, this is too much typing, use the {{w}} template, saving keystrokes saves time, which means you have more time to do something useful.

Thanks to Cos we also now have the {{Wiktionary}} template. Usage is the same as the {{w}} template.

What are all these weird things in the transcript? (Doesn't fit with the naming convention)

What are you on about? Oh! The &#quot; &#39; and so on. HTML does its job by parsing tags. The problem is, these tags are denoted by characters that you might want to use legitimately (such as a single apostrophe, or quotation marks). The correct way to do this, in plain HTML is to use escape codes, which your browser parses into the characters you know and love. Wikipedia has the whole lot of escape codes for all the characters your heart desires.

However, this is not the 90s anymore. Computers have advanced and are sufficiently clever at recognizing what are HTML tags, and when you are just trying to use characters for effect. And, MediaWiki is intelligent enough to parse these into the escape codes for you. So please, do us all a favor and write your quotes and apostrophes normally (unless you want the curly kind) and save us all from wondering what you're trying to do.

...Do those special hyphens/dashes/separators?

They are special forms of punctuation, all part of the Dash family. We call these specific ones the em-dash and the en-dash. Educate yourself on the their use, come back here, and never use two dashes (--) when you mean an em-dash again, you dirty, unwashed heathen.

To use them you will need to use the escape codes that are talked about in the section above What are all these weird things in the transcript?.

  • The em-dash (&mdash;) makes —
  • The en-dash (&ndash;) makes –

...Make a Wikitable

Wikitable format

There's a larger discussion about this in the When Should I... section, but suffice it to say, wikitables are a much hairier thing for the MediaWiki engine to parse, so consider using a bullet list first.

...Create a Page

...Create a Redirect Page

...Talk on a Talk Page

...Make examples like you do/Stop Mediawiki From Parsing What I'm Typing?

When Should I...

...Use a Bullet List?

For a simple list. Like a grocery list.

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Salad

...Use a wikitable?

In the event that there is a list of items, but there is a lot of information about each item in that list, 1110: Click and Drag is a good example of when tables are useful.