Wiki For Newbies

As this heading clearly states the content listed on this page is information for the drastically wiki challenged among us, a class of which I am gradually working my way out of. A Wiki is software that users can use to collaboratively work on a single web page, it allows them to create, edit, or delete content using any Web browser. They are very simple concepts and as the developer of the very first wiki, Ward Cunningham, stated, a wiki is "The simplest online database that could possibly work." Another way to think about a wiki is to look at it as an open-use encyclopedia with each wiki being designed and contributed to a specific wiki community.

Wikis are truly a very simple way to manage a web site. In order to modify any content on a wiki all you have to do is logon and click on the edit button, make the changes or additions you wish to the page and then click store. It is just as simple as that. Granted, an open forum such as this may seem to be an easy target for vandals, but there are checks and balances in place which for the most part keep these issues from being a problem. Even if a page is deleted or otherwise vandalized the page can simply be rolled back and restored as wikis store the history of each page. Essentially, there are far more authors needing the content than there are vandals and they are willing to fix or restore problems when they occur.

When writing on a wiki be well informed and thoughtful and do not add boring long-winded content just for the sake of adding content. Being able to articulate a point in brevity is a sign of a good writer. Wikis are designed for authors to add, or change content; however, we should be mindful of the community we are in and only modify the content if it is truly an improvement, or at least if you as the author of the modification deem it an improvement. If it actually is not you can bet it will be changed back to its original form.

History of the Wiki

The first wiki was developed by Howard G. "Ward" Cunningham, not Richie's father, in 1994 and subsequently released it in 1995. Cunningham named his invention after the shuttle at the Honolulu International Airport, the Wiki Wiki Shuttle. Wiki is a Hawaiian word meaning quick or fast. A wiki is a web site which allows several authors to collaborate on one particular work. They are able to edit, change, or delete content which has been placed on that site. Wikis are similar to blogs with one big difference which is that a blog is typically authored by one person and does not all0w visitors to their site to alter content in any manner.


Since the release of Wards Wiki, as it is known now, his wiki has grown exponentially and there are now millions of wiki web sites. The largest wiki of them all is Wikipedia which boasts 30 million articles in 287 languages. Critics of Wikipedia and wikis in general complain about them be susceptible to vandalism and that they may contain inaccurate information. However, due to the vast number of contributors sites such as Wikipedia are basically "self policed". Added to this there have been studies such as the "2005 investigation in Nature that showed 42 science articles they compared came close to the level of accuracy of Encyclopædia Britannica." Wikis are a fast, easy, and pretty reliable way to manage content on the web.

Wiki Farms

A great place to start researching, exploring or starting your own wiki is to use a wiki farm also known as a wiki hosting service. Wiki farms, such as Wikia are servers or a group of servers that allow users to create individual wikis.

Formatting Tips

A few things I have learned regarding basic text formatting is that most text does not require any special changes for wiki form. The toolbar at the top offers the ability to format text; however, text formatting can also be done by hand coding as well. A couple of general rules of thumb I found are that paragraphs should not be indented as this may cause text to look like a monospaced font, and a single blank line should be left between paragraphs.

Here are just a few ways to hand code text:

Creating Headings.

Headings are used to mark the beginning of a new section or block of information within the Wiki. There are 5 different sized headings that the Wiki allows. To create a new heading, use the proper amount of equal signs on each side of the text in order to make it appear larger on the screen. The amount of equal signs needed for each heading can be seen below in SourceCode as it should be entered into the document.

======Level 1 Heading====== Usually reserved for the title of the page.
=====Level 2 Heading===== Used to mark the beginning of a new section within the Wiki.
====Level 3 Heading==== Used to mark a subcategory within a section beginning with a level 2 heading.
===Level 4 Heading=== Used to mark a subcategory within a section beginning with a level 3 heading.
==Level 5 Heading== Used to mark a subcategory within a section beginning with a level 4 heading.

Text Formatting

Just like any word processor, Wikis have the ability to add styles to words. Bold, italic, highlighted, underlined, monospace, and strike through are a few of the basic text styles. To format text, simply place two symbols before and after the desired text to change. All the symbols can be seen in the examples below.

**Bold text here**
Bold text here

//Italic text here//
Italic text here

''Highlighted text here''
Highlighted text here

__Underlined text here__
Underlined text here

##Monospace text here##
Monospace text here

++Strike through text here++
Strike through text here

££Text insertion notice££
Text insertion notice

¥¥Text deletion notice¥¥
Text deletion notice

Creating Lists

Wikis have the ability to create bulleted, numbered and alphabetized lists.
  1. Number
  1. Uppercase Roman Numerals
  1. Lowercase Roman Numerals
  1. Uppercase Alphabetized
  1. Lowercase Alphabetized

Bulleted List
~- Line one
~- Line 2
Numbered List
~1) Line one
~1) Line two
Uppercase Roman
~-I) Line one
~-I) Line two
Lowercase Roman
~-i) Line one
~-i) Line two
Uppercase Alphabetized
~-A) Line one
~-A) Line two
Lowercase Alphabetized
~-a) Line one
~-a) Line two

The code shown above is all that is needed to create a list. After the first line of the list just hit enter to add another item to the list and repeat as many times as needed.
*There is no need to increase the number of the list, Wiki will do that automatically.

Links are used to redirect the reader to an outside source of information. They can be created in multiple ways and allow the editor to have control over where they go and what the reader will see on the screen.
  2. Google
  3. My E-mail

Embedding and Sizing images

Images can be added to a Wiki page and can be re-sized and pushed left, right or center on the page.
To add an image to the page, use the code {{image url="url" title="text" alt="text"}} or click the image of a tree on the tool bar above the edit window. Replace the "url" with the direct link to the image, change the first "text" to add a title to the image and change the second "text" to add an alternate text to display to users who may have trouble loading the image.

To control the size on the image just add the code width="size" after the alt text in the {image} code.
Example {{image url="url" title="text" alt="text" width="300"}}

To control the position of the image, add the code class="position" to the beginning of the {image} code.
Example {{class ="center" image url="url" title="text" alt="text"}} would send the image to the middle of the screen.
To move the image just replace "position" with either left, center or right.



*This will be the topic Dustin and Craig will work on for the next couple of weeks.
Feel free to leave me any notes here or edit anything you think needs changing

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