To get updates on new site content, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Help:Technical Help and Hints

From JFA Wiki
This is the latest revision of this page; it has no approved revision.
Revision as of 11:04, 1 November 2019 by Greg.Fuller (talk | contribs) (The Editing Process)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

This is a work-in-process draft.

Because we are using the Mediawiki software platform—the same platform used by Wikipedia—some of the links on this page will direct you to documentation on the Mediawiki site or the Wikipedia site.

The Editing Process

You should be familiar with both the Content Guidelines and Style Guide before editing content. Also, to use the editors you must have created an account and be logged in.

The JFA Wiki provides two editing tools that are often found on wiki sites, the source editor and the visual editor. When you are logged in, you can begin editing a page by clicking or tapping on Edit Source for the default editor or Edit for the visual editor, near the top-right of a page, or beside each Section Heading. Depending on your preference settings, one or both buttons may appear.

Source Editor

If you have edited a Wikipedia page you have used the source editor, which is the default editor. When you need to use some type of formatting, such as for new headings or bolding of text, you do this using wiki syntax or the buttons in the edit toolbar above the editing zone. For help with editing see Help Editing. For help with formatting, see Mediawiki Help Formatting.

One advantage of the source editor over the visual editor is that it's easier to edit template tags (enclosed by {{ }}).

Visual Editor

The Visual Editor provides more of a what you see is what you get editing experience. This editor was developed by the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) to provide a way of editing that does not require editors to learn wiki markup.

Experienced editors may still prefer editing wikitext because they find it faster and more precise. Even editors who enable Visual Editor will have the wikitext option available from the toolbar for each page and section. The Visual Editor is fairly stable, but it still has some bugs and missing features. Also, the visual editor requires a separate server that periodically may not be available. See the Visual Editor User Guide for help.

One of the advantages of the Visual Editor is that it lets you go through the article without the visual interference of citations and other tags. In addition, the Visual Editor offers substantial advantages in editing tables and including images from Wiki Commons].

Research and Citations

In doing research for an article, the Google Scholar search engine is your friend.

As the Style Guide and Content Guidelines indicate, citations are formatted according to The Chicago Manual of Style (17th Edition). If you haven't committed this format to memory, we recommend Zotero's online tool to assist. Be sure to choose Chicago Manual of Style 17th edition (full note) from the dropdown.

Practicing in the Sandbox

If you would like to play around with editing you can create an article in the Sandbox namespace and edit to your heart's content. To create your sandbox page, fill out the text box below, replacing Jane.Doe with your username, then click the button. A page will be created with some boilerplate content to help you get started. You must save the page for it to actually be created.


To get back to the page, use the Sandbox link under Other Namespaces in the sidebar, or search for Sandbox:Page Name on the search field at the top of the page. The page may be deleted if it goes unedited for over a month, but you can always create another one.

Learning from Existing Articles

One of the best ways to see how something is done on the site is to look at existing articles. If you are not logged in, click on the View source link at the top-right of every article to see the wiki markup text for that article. If you are logged in, you can click on the Edit source button, look at the markup, then use the browser's back button to escape the edit.

If you are not comfortable clicking the Edit source button while you are logged in, here's a handy trick: Open a private or incognito window in the browser you are using, or use another browser for which you are not logged in.

Getting Help

If you need help creating and editing content, please email email us with your questions. Before you do, please carefully read this article, the Content Guidelines and the Help:Style Guide. You will also need to peruse Mediawiki's Help Editing