Guidance for new contributors


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Editing an existing page


To edit or add text on an existing page click EDIT in the bar to the top right of the page (see above).

This will open the page in edit mode.  There are two editors:

  • A Visual Editor, which is similar to using a word processing software package.
  • A WikiText editor, which lets you edit the text using Wiki codes.

For beginners the Visual Editor is much easier to use.

You can move between the two editors using the top left button in the toolbar. The [[]] button goes to the WikiText editor. The pen button goes to the Visual Editor.

In the Visual Editor use the buttons on the second row of the toolbar to format the content (e.g. bold, underline, alignment, headings, color, etc). The Table button (right of the top row of the toolbar) lets you create tables which are good for aligning tabular text.

After making your changes add a (very brief) summary of the change in the Summary box. This doesn't appear on the final page but it does appear in the page's History so that others can see why changes were made.

If your change is very minor (e.g. to correct English or formatting) then check the This is a minor edit box - other users can use this to filter out minor edits when they are reviewing what changes have been made.

When you have finished, click the Show Preview button near the bottom of the page to check that everything is as you want it. If you are happy click the Save page.

That's it !

Creating a new page

If you want to create a new page it is best to link it from an existing page (to avoid "orphan pages" that cannot be navigated to).

Go to the page that you want to link from and enter edit mode (Visual Editor).

Select the text that you want to link from (usually a word or short phrase).

Right-click your mouse and select insert/edit link.

In the Wiki page tab of the Insert Link dialog box:

  • Leave the Description field unchanged (this is the linked-from text in the original page)
  • Enter the title of your new page in the Page field (a drop-down list of similar pages will appear so you can check you are not duplicating an existing page)
  • Click OK

Back in the original page, check the preview then click Save page

You will see that the hyperlink to your proposed new page is now highlighted in red. Red means the page has not yet been created (you can leave things at this stage if you want to create the page later or if you expect someone else to create the page)

If you want to go ahead and create the new page now, click the red hyperlink.  This will take you to a list of templates that you can use for your new page (default is Empty page, which is just a blank page)

Click the template you want to use and you will be in the Visual Editor. You now just need to create the text, preview it and save (as described above).

That's it - you've created a new page!

Practice and more help

OK, so now you can edit an existing page and create a new one. The best place to practice is on the Discussion page of your User page.

If you haven't already done so, create a User page for yourself by clicking your name in the top right corner of the Main Page then select your UserId from the drop down list and create your User Page by selecting the User Profile template.

Once you have a User Page click the Discussion tab (top left of the page) and you can practice here with different formatting, tables, links, etc, without it affecting anything else.

For help on using advanced editing features and on using the WikiText editor see the MediaWiki help.

Style guidelines

Remember that most ASA users have English as their second language. Try and keep your English simple (we understand this is difficult with a technical subject).

Keep the formatting clean and simple.

Only use the predefined paragraph styles (in the Headings list of the Visual Editor).

Use the heading styles in order (e.g. Heading 2, then 3, then 4 - not Heading 2 then 4 then 5). This helps build correct automatic menus.

Using the discussion tab


If you want to make a suggestion for a major change to a page but do not want to make the change yourself then add your suggestion to the Discussion tab for that page. Other users can then comment on your suggestion and maybe someone will make the change.

Finally, be brave!

Do not hesitate to create text or correct something you know is wrong. It is easy to go back to previous versions if you mess something up and you can rely upon other users to correct any mistakes you make.

Do not worry if your English is not perfect. It is your technical contribution that is most important - other people can correct the English.