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Help:Editing Pages

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The idea behind a wiki is that everyone has the ability to edit almost every page. Although learning the wiki formatting can take some extra time, the actual editing of a page is very simple.

Quick Summary

In a nutshell, the steps necessary to edit a page are:

  1. Click on the edit tab visible at the top of the article.
  2. Make your changes to the text that appears in the main edit box.
  3. Review your changes using the Show preview button.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until your edit is complete.
  5. Type in an Edit summary in the field below the main edit box.
  6. (Optional) Click the "This is a minor edit" checkbox (for pages that do not alter the substance of the page).
  7. Click on the Save page button.

The Editing Process

If you see something that needs to be changed on any wiki article, you should jump right in and make the changes. If you are looking for ideas on what needs to be edited, the Helping Out page has some ideas. You do not need to get any pre-approval for your idea or otherwise ask for permission. If you make major changes to a page or make changes that you think might be misunderstood, you should explain those changes on the article's talk page.

You may wish to add any pages that you edit to your personal watch list (click on the "watch" tab that appears at the top of the page). By selecting "my watchlist" you can quickly see whether subsequent changes were made to any watched page.

You may not get any immediate feedback on your edits. However, all edits made to the site are noticed and checked; a group of many editors regularly review all of the Recent Changes made to the site. Although there are too many edits made to the site on a daily basis to be able to provide feedback on each one, we do appreciate all new contributions, whether they are fixing typos or adding a new section to a page.

If you notice that your contribution has been revised, remember that this is part of the wiki process. Each article is a fully collaborative effort, and any editor can revise any part of the page. The most common revisions are to fix typos or add links to other wiki pages.

If your contribution is substantially altered or even removed and you do not understand why, you should start by looking at the page history (click the "history" tab at the top of the page) and see what was provided as an edit summary. The editor(s) who altered your contribution should have given a brief explanation that appears in the page history. You may also want to check the talk page (click the "discussion" tab) and see if a more detailed explanation was given there. If you still don't understand what was done, add a question on the discussion page; the editor who made the change should reply the next time they are working on the site.

The Edit Box

Any changes you make to the text shown in the edit box will become part of the article. When altering the page's contents, be sure your edit will improve the page and will comply to the site's style guidelines. You may wish to use our sandbox before starting to edit articles: you can make any changes you want to the sandbox page (within reason: obscenities and abusive language are never acceptable on any wiki page).

If you are not familiar with the wiki formatting, you may want to review the Quick Editing Guide. Or you may want to copy the formatting used elsewhere on the page, or on another similar page. If in doubt about the formatting, just focus on writing the content you want to add; other editors who are more familiar with the wiki can later add any necessary formatting.

Do all the changes you would like to do at the same time, as part of the same edit. Doing a separate edit for each typo you wish to fix, for example, just clogs up the page history and the Recent Changes page with a lot of redundant entries. Other editors will find it much easier to keep track of what you have done if all the edits are done at the same time. Of course, there will inevitably be times when you realize right after hitting the "Save page" button that you forgot to do something; by all means, edit the page again to take care of anything that was overlooked the first time. Also, if you are spending hours editing a page, you may wish to save your progress a few times along the way; this is completely acceptable.

Previewing the Page

Previewing the page is often the most important step of the process, especially for new editors. The section of the page that you are editing will be shown exactly as it will appear on the wiki page. Read over your entry and be sure that everything is complete before hitting the "Save page" button. Make any necessary changes, and preview the page again. Only once you're sure all your editing is done should you hit the "Save page" button.

Minor Edits

A checkmark should be placed in the "This is a minor edit" checkbox for any edits that do not fundamentally change the information available on the page. Examples of minor edits include:

  • fixing typographical or grammatical errors.
  • adjusting the layout of the page or formatting of a section.
  • adjusting the size or placement of images.
  • adding Categories or other navigational tools to a page.

Editing a Discussion Page

Every article has its own discussion page (also frequently called a talk page) where you can ask questions, make suggestions, or discuss corrections. Click the "discussion" tab at the top of the page to reach it. If the "discussion" tab is red, it has not yet been created; all editors are welcome to create talk pages whenever they are needed.

Follow the same steps used to edit the main article page. Some differences between article pages and talk pages are:

  • You should always sign your message using --~~~~. When you save the page, the site will automatically convert the four tildes (the ~~~~ part) into your username and the current time (the preview will also show what your converted signature will look like).
  • New topics should be started at the bottom of the page, using a level two header for the title (==Title==).
  • A shortcut for creating a new topic is the "+" tab (right next to the "edit" tab at the top of any discussion page). Clicking this button automatically adds a new section to the bottom of the discussion page. Instead of the "Edit summary" box there is a "Subject/headline" box which should be filled in with an appropriate title (e.g., "How do I beat the Titan?")
  • When commenting on a subject, your comments should be placed below any other comments on the subject. When directly replying to another editor's message, place your comments below everyone else that has replied to that person.
  • If you are replying to a previous editor, you should indent your comments using a single colon (:) at the start of your paragraph. (Or if the previous editor's comments were indented, use one more colon than the previous editor).

Reverting Edits

There are times when you may need to reverse a set of edits and restore a page to a previous version. Examples are:

  • You just made a major mistake with your last edit and don't know how else to fix it.
  • You notice that someone has vandalized a page and you want to clean up the vandalism.

Note, however, that you should be cautious about reverting any edits made in good faith by another editor. An explanation must be provided if you revert another editor's work (in the edit summary or on the talk page). Reverting can lead to edit wars instead of constructive improvements to the wiki. See Consensus for more information.

The wiki automatically keeps a record of all changes that have been made to every article. Therefore, it is easy to access any previous version of the page. To restore an article to its previous state:

  1. Click on the "history" tab at the top of the article.
  2. Identify the version you would like to use, and click on its date/time information. This will open that version of the page in your browser.
  3. Click on the "edit" tab that appears on that version of the page. Note that a red box appears at the top of the edit page to warn you that you are editing an out of date version of the page.
  4. Provide a reason for this change in the edit summary.
  5. Click "Save page".

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