TechWiki:Wiki editing tutorial

The platform for Tech is a wiki, powered by MediaWiki. Anyone can view the wiki, but you need to be signed in with your LDS Account to make edits. Working with the wiki requires you to be familiar with some basic wiki syntax, but it's easy enough for practically anyone to contribute, regardless of technical skills. This page provides instructions for adding and updating content on the wiki. There are about 20 different wiki skills to master, with a brief practice exercise to demonstrate mastery of each skill.

As you learn the wiki, feel free to experiment on this shared sandbox page or on your own sandbox page.

Creating your user page

Your user page shares information about yourself that you want others to know. For example, here's a sample user page: User:Aebrown. By reading the user page, you can find information about the person's role, interests, and contact information. This can help you evaluate the validity of the user's edits.

When you make edits to the wiki, the wiki shows your username next to edits in the version history for the page. To see the version history, click the History button above the page title. The history shows the edits and timestamps, with the users who made each of the edits. If the usernames appear in red and are underlined, it means the user hasn't yet created a user page. Without a user page, it's hard to know who is making edits to the wiki.

To create a user page:

  1. Log in to the wiki.
  2. Click your username that appears near the login section, or just this link: Special:MyPage.
  3. Add some information about yourself.
  4. Click Create.
PRACTICE: Create your user page. 

Watching pages

To keep updated about edits to a specific wiki page, you can "watch" the page by clicking the Watch button above the page title. Every time someone updates the page, you will be notified by e-mail according to the e-mail address listed in in your preferences.

PRACTICE: Watch this page.

Setting your e-mail preferences

If your email isn't configured correctly in your preferences, you won't receive e-mail notifications even if you are watching a page. To configure your e-mail preferences:

  1. Click My preferences (near the login area).
  2. On the User Profile tab, make sure your e-mail address is up to date.
  3. In the Email section of the User Profile tab, select the check boxes to set your notification preferences. (At the very least, select "E-mail me when a page on my watchlist is changed.")
  4. Click Save.

Note that when you have an e-mail address added to your preferences, other users can send you e-mail. When you view a user page (such as this one, user:Johnsonth), scroll to the Toolbox section of the footer and click E-mail this user. If users don't have an e-mail address added to their preferences, the E-mail this user option will not appear in the Toolbox on their user page, and so you can't send them an e-mail.

PRACTICE: Check your e-mail address and preferences to make sure your settings are up to date.

Editing articles

When you edit the wiki, you can choose to edit the entire page or just a section on the page. If you click the Edit button above the title, you edit the entire page. If you click the Edit button to the right of a section, you just edit that section.

When you make an edit, provide a brief summary of the edit. This allows people to quickly scan the list of edits on the Recent Changes to see the reasons for the edits.

To edit a page:

  1. Click the Edit button above the page.
  2. Make the changes.
  3. In the Summary section, briefly summarize your edits.
  4. To stay notified about changes to the page, select the Watch this page check box.
  5. Click Save page.

Because multiple people may be working on the same page, it's best to edit just the section you're updating. The chances of multiple people updating the same section at the same time are far fewer than the chances of multiple people editing the entire page at the same time. That's why each section has its own Edit section.

If multiple people edit the same content at the same time, and then click Save, the last person to save will be prompted to merge the changes in with the other updates.

PRACTICE: Go to your user page and edit the page. Make an update and save it.

Creating pages

On the wiki, you create a page by searching for it. When you search for the page, if there isn't a page with the same name, you're asked whether you want to create the page. This is the wiki's own way of prompting users to get involved in creating more wiki content. Note that the capitalization style for page names on this wiki follows the same conventions as Wikipedia: single case. Other than the first word and proper nouns, lowercase words in titles.

To create a page:

  1. In the search box, type the name of the page you want to create. (Note that capitalization matters. The page Dogs is different from the page dogs.)
  2. The page you searched for appears as a red, underlined link. Click the link.
  3. Add some content, and then click Create to create the page.

You can also create a page by adding [[Page title]] on a page and saving it, where "Page title" is the name of the page you want to create. When you save the page, the link will appear red and underlined. Click the link to create the page.

PRACTICE: Search for a hypothetical page name in the Search box. Note how the site prompts you to create the page it cannot find. Now go to your user page, edit the page, and add a link to a page you want to create. Click the link to see how to create the page. However, do not actually create the page. This is a live site, so rather than creating unnecessary pages, make edits on your user page.

Deleting pages

Deleting pages requires administrative permissions. Instead of deleting a page, you "move" the page to a new location. When you click Move, you can choose a new page title. By moving rather than deleting a page, any user who clicks on the link to the old page will be automatically redirected to the new page. This is because the old page will receive a "redirect" to point users to the new page.

PRACTICE: Go to a random page and identify the location of the Move button. You can click the Move button above the title, but don't click the additional Move button on the Move page, which will actually move the page.

Making text bold or italic

The wiki uses a special syntax for formatting. When you save a page, this syntax gets converted into HTML for the browser. To create bold or italic formatting, add ticks around a word, like this:

'''bold formatting'''
''italic formatting''

You can also use the B and I buttons on the editor toolbar.

PRACTICE: On your user page, bold and italicize a word.

Inserting lists

To create a bulleted list, add an asterisk (*) at the start of each line, like this:

* first item 
* second item
* third item

To create a numbered list, add a pound sign (#) at the start of each line, like this:

# first item
# second item
# third item

With numbered lists, make sure you don't have spaces between the lines, or the numbered lists will start over.

To insert a bulleted list within a numbered list, combine the two forms of syntax like this:

# first item
#* bulleted list item 1
#* bulleted list item 2
# second item
# third item
PRACTICE: On your user page, create a numbered list with a bulleted sublist on one of the list items.

Adding notes and tips

You can add notes before or after a procedure by adding

{{Note|Type your note here.}}

When you style notes this way, the note calls a template that styles the note with more formatting.

Here's what a note looks like:

Note: This is a sample note.

PRACTICE: On your user page, add a note.

Adding links to wiki pages

To add a link to another page, enclose the page name in double brackets, like this:

[[TechWiki:Manual of Style]]

You can also change the text of the link by adding a pipe after the page name. If you want the link to just say "Manual of Style" rather than "TechWiki:Manual of Style" you would write the link like this:

[[TechWiki:Manual of Style|Manual of Style]]
PRACTICE: On your user page, add a link to this page.

Adding links to external pages

Creating an external link (to a site such as is similar to creating an internal link but with a couple of minor differences. Rather than two square brackets, you use single brackets. And rather than a pipe separating the link from the link's text, you just use a space. Here's an example:

[ BYU's website]
PRACTICE: On your user page, add a link to your blog or other website. If you don't have a website, add a link to your favorite website.

Inserting subheadings

To create a subheading on a page, surround the subheading with two equals signs, like this:

== Subheading title == 

This creates an h2 style around the subheading. You can create a third level subheading by using three equals signs. Avoid using just one equals sign, which would result in an h1 subhead style.

MediaWiki automatically generates a table of contents (TOC) when you have at least four subheadings on a page. The general style on the wiki is to show the TOC after an introductory paragraph. You can force the display of the table of contents by adding __TOC__ where you want it to appear. To remove the automatic display of the TOC, include __NOTOC__ on the page.

PRACTICE: On your user page, add two levels of headings.

Embedding images

Adding an image requires two separate steps: first you upload the image using the Upload file link within the Toolbox menu in the footer. Then you embed the image by adding the following code, where sample.png is the name of the uploaded image file:


You can add additional parameters for the image file as well, such as a border, alignment, and caption. To add these parameters, separate each parameter with a pipe, such as this:

[[File:sample.png|frame|none|This is my caption.]]

Frame will add a border around the image and caption area. None specifies no alignment (type "right" or "left" to specify right or left alignment). The final text constitutes the caption.

To add an image:

  1. Hold down the Ctrl key and click Upload file in the footer. A new tab opens with the file upload box.
  2. Click 'Choose File and select the file you want to upload.
  3. After uploading the file, embed the image on a page by adding [[File:sample.jpg]], where sample.jpg is the name of the image.
  4. To add parameters to the image, add this information in pipes following the image name: [[File:sample.jpg|frame|none|This is my caption.]] Frame adds a border around the image with a caption area. None specifies the alignment. You can also type right or left here. The final text is the caption.
  5. Click Save page.

Note that you can put a width parameter for the images, but if you also include a frame, the width parameter does not work.

If you're embedding an image within a numbered list, you can avoid breaking the list's numbering sequence by adding the image code at the end of a list item rather than on a new line. The "none" alignment parameter in the image code will force the image to display on its own line, but it won't break the numbering sequence.

Here's an example:

Do these steps:

  1. This is the first step.
  2. This is the second step.
    Tech logo
  3. This is the third step.
  4. This is the fourth step.

The code that produces this is as follows:

Do these steps:
# This is the first step.
# This is the second step. [[File:sample.jpg|frame|none|This is my caption.]]
# This is the third step. 
# This is the fourth step.

Note: In general, keep images to about 600px in width. Otherwise, the image will not fit with a sidebar. Also, rather than using width parameters with the image, which merely resize the image in the browser, resize your image before uploading it. This way the image file size will be smaller.

PRACTICE: Embed the Tech logo Tech logo on your user page. You don't need to re-upload the image file, but you can if you want to.

Discussing pages

Each page has a corresponding Discussion page that allows you to have a discussion about the page's content without actually changing or adding your comments and questions to the official page's content. To view the discussion page, click Discussion above the page title.

To indent your response to a question on the Discussion page, add a colon before your response. To double indent your response, add two colons. After your response, add four tildes (~~~~) to sign your name. Your name links to your profile page.

PRACTICE: View the Discussion page for this page. Now go to the Discussion page for your user page. Ask a question, and then provide an indented response to the question and sign your name.

Adding a sidebar

Mediawiki allows you to create templates that you can then embed into pages. The sidebar that you see on many pages, for example on the applications documentation, is created with a template. Creating a sidebar template can be helpful if you have a collection of pages that you want to group together. After you create a template, you embed it on a page by adding {{templatename}} on the page, where templatename is the name of your template.

To create a sidebar, it's best to simply copy an existing sidebar (like the calendar sidebar) and make changes.

PRACTICE: View the template for the calendar by searching for Template:ldsorgapps. Now go to a applications page and click edit. Look for the {{ldsorgapps}} template code. Now embed the applications sidebar on your user page, and then remove it.

Adding pages to categories

You can tag each wiki page with one or more categories. Categories group together a collection of pages that all belong to the same category. For example, the Category:Tech Conference category shows all pages that are tagged with [[Category:Tech Conference]].

Mediawiki's structure prompts you to nest categories into progressively more general categories until you reach the top, like an inverted tree.

The category a page is in appears near the bottom of the page.

PRACTICE: Look at the Tech Conference page. Locate the category at the bottom. Trace the category up the hierarchy until you reach the top level. The navigate back down to through the categories back to the Tech Conference homepage.

Viewing Special Pages

Mediawiki has a collection of "Special Pages" that provide content management functions for managing the content on the wiki. To view these Special Pages, click the Special Pages link in the Toolbox section of the footer.

You can click a variety of links to look at the content. For example, you can view the longest or shortest pages, pages that are orphaned (have no links) or which have the fewest revisions. These special pages can help you locate problem points on the wiki.

PRACTICE: Go to the Special Pages section and find the oldest page on the wiki.

Formatting tables

Inserting tables on the wiki is a little more complicated than the other wiki syntax. Here's a sample table:

first column name second column name
first row, first column first row, second column
second row, first column second row, second column
third row, first column third row, second column

Here's what that table's wiki syntax looks like:

!first column name
!second column name
|first row, first column
|first row, second column
|second row, first column
|second row, second column
|third row, first column
|third row, second column

The {| announces the start of the table and the |} ends the table.

The ! indicates column name (optional).

The |- indicates the start of a row. The | is a column in that row.

You can also add style tags to create custom styles for tables. If you're creating a new table, it's often easiest to just copy over the code from an existing table.

PRACTICE: Copy the table that appears on the live session streams page and embed it onto your user page. Change the column names. Then remove the table.

View user contributions

You can view a list of all your contributions by clicking the My Contributions link near the login area. This shows you all the edits you've made to the wiki.

You can also view contribution links from other users as well. When you view someone's user page (for example, user:Aebrown, click the User Contributions link in the footer. This shows a list of just that user's contributions.

When you view the page history, you can also see a list of the user's contributions by clicking the contribs link next to the username. This can give you a quick idea about the user's credibility and authority to make edits to a page.

PRACTICE: Go to a Random page on the wiki and look at the history of the page. Look at the list of contributions made by the last user to edit the page. Try and see if you can e-mail the user.

Get involved

Now that you've completed the wiki editing tutorial, it's time to get involved. The Tech:Community Portal lists current needs for the wiki. There's a link to the Community Portal in the site's footer. You can see various efforts to adding or maintaining content.

PRACTICE: Browse the Community Portal and find a task that interests you.
This page was last modified on 15 December 2020, at 17:16.

Note: Content found in this wiki may not always reflect official Church information.