Help:Wiki help

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Wikis should be easy to edit, so most text you add or change will appear as you expect it. But you can do more if you want.

This wiki is currently in login-to-edit mode after the move from Wikispaces to a MediaWiki-based installation (the edit mode may change again some time). For editing or adding information to the wiki, you have to join it. See How to Get Your Xenwiki Account for more!

Using links

What you always have dreamed of (for your paper notes) - in a wiki it becomes true: fast links!

If you enclose a word in double brackets (like [[word]]), you get an internal link, hopefully to an already existing page - if not, it appears red, and you just created the opportunity for your co-authors to add the details. If you want a text differing from the link target, you can place it after a pipe symbol: [[word|different text]].

For external links, simply place the URL into the text, certain protocols (http, https, mailto) will be automatically transformed into links. For alternate text, use single brackets, start with the URL and after a space enter the title, like so [ the Acid3 test] which renders to the Acid3 test.

Link text

The link text should ideally relate to the link target, try to avoid "here" links. There is an interesting extension for Firefox, Copy URL To Clipboard, that does automatic formatting of page URL and page title in MediaWiki syntax into the clipboard.


There are 3 types of redirects: soft redirect, regular redirect and hard redirect.

A "soft redirect" or "smart redirect" is just an ordinary page with the text "See XYZ.", where XYZ is a link to the target of the smart redirect. A smart redirect should not point to another smart redirect - if you see this you should fix it by shortcutting past the second one and making the first redirect point directly to the ultimate target. This kind of redirect were introduced in the Wikispaces era, to make redirects accessible later, for example to flip page titles.

A regular redirect is performed by #REDIRECT [[Page title]]. A double redirect should be fixed be skipping intermediate targets. The page Special:DoubleRedirects can be used to detect them. Regular redirects did not exist in Wikispaces. This kind of redirect displays a small information message when it was used to get to the current page.

A hard redirect directly leads to the target page without a notice of redirect. Therefore, they should only be used in certain cases like common misspellings. The rule is that if anyone might ever want to flesh the redirect out into its own article, it should not be a hard redirect. Hard redirects can be chained with no problem, which is why they're still appropriate to use for misspellings. The code for a hard redirect in MediaWiki is #REDIRECT [[:en:Page title]]. Hard redirects worked somewhat differently in wikispaces; only admins could create or change them, and they could not redirect to a section.

see also

Text formatting


Some typographic markup can easy be added by including the phrase in doubled '' or tripled ''' (apostrophe chars):

  • italic using ''italic''
  • bold using '''bold'''
  • bold italic using '''''bold italic'''''


You can create bulleted lists by one or more * (asterisk) chars at the beginning of the line:

  • first level
    • second level
    • second level
  • first level

You can create numbered lists by one or more # (number sign) at the beginning of the line:

  1. first level
    1. second level
    2. second level
  2. first level

...and you can of course mix both, if you know what you're doing ;)

  1. first level
    • second level
    • second level
  2. first level


You can add tables to wiki pages:

what you write
{| class="wikitable"
|+ The Title
! head A
! head B
| cell A1
| cell B1
| cell A2
| cell B2
what you get
The Title
head A head B
cell A1 cell B1
cell A2 cell B2

Adjusting Text Alignment

The table cells are left aligned by default, the heading cells are center aligned. You may change this via inline CSS style definitions:

what you want for the cell what you do to get it
left aligned text nothing to do
centered text place style="text-align:center;" | after the opening pipe
right aligned place style="text-align:center;" | after the opening pipe
headline style exclamation mark instead of the pipe symbol starts the cell

If you want to override the default text alignment for all cells, place the inline CSS (for example style="text-align:center;") directly at the beginning of the table, right after the class="wikitable" statement.

External helper tools

If you have to construct really complex tables with colspans and rowspans, you may use this online table generator:

Generate tables in MediaWiki format -

For example, this wiki markup

{| class="wikitable"
! colspan="3" | 1
! 2
! 3
| rowspan="2" | A
| colspan="3" | B
| C
| rowspan="2" colspan="2" | D
| colspan="2" | E
| F
| G
| H

will be rendered into this table:

1 2 3


Inserting a JPEG, GIF, or PNG image is pretty straightforward - when using the visual page editor click the "File" button and upload the image. Or in Wikitext, use [[image:filename]] or [[file:filename]]. Also SVG images are supported ([[file:some.svg]]), they are automatically transformed into PNG images by the MediaWiki software, because not all Browsers come with native SVG support. A possible problem can arise when the image uses fonts that are not available on the wiki server. To prevent such errors, you can transform text into graphic objects before uploading the image here.

Maths formulas

...can be used like in the Wikipedia: start it with <math> and end it with </math>. Take care: using the math tags will break paragraphs. See for example

[math]V =\frac{4}{3} \pi r^3[/math]

Here is a browser-based formula editor that may be helpful:

Table of contents

Place __TOC__ where you wish to place the table of contents, mostly this will be at the top of the page.

Social aspects

In this wiki, you can use talk pages and user talk pages.

If you want to discuss the wiki itself, do it on the page wikifuture.


Categories all serve different purposes: sometimes they say what something is or the context in which it belongs (Category:edo, Category:interval). Sometimes they are used for annotation purposes (Category:todo:reduce mathslang), etc. All these forms have in common is that they can combine wiki pages in a way that is independent of their authors.

A category may have its own content (and category)

see Pages in the namespace Category

or not yet (despite being used to categorize other pages):

see Special:WantedCategories

Some more examples:


Discussion pages are provided to each content page. Please keep in mind that the email notification to people who are observing the page cannot be taken back!

Sometimes you will wait forever for a reply because nobody monitors the page or topic. In this case you should find out who is most familiar with the topic and ask that person directly. You can check the history of pages for its authors. Another approach is to ask questions on further media, examples are listed on the page GeneralDiscussion.