Help:Getting started

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This short Guide for contributors explains the basics of editing the wiki.

Becoming a contributor

If you would like to edit the wiki, please send a private message requesting access, and you will quickly be made an editor.

Getting started

It's very easy to edit the contents of a wiki. It only takes a few clicks.

  1. Click the "Edit" button at the top of the page. This will bring you to a new page with a text box containing the editable text of the current page.
  2. Make changes to the text. When you have finished editing, you should write a short edit summary in the small field below the edit-box. To see how the page looks with your edits, press the "Show preview" button. To see the differences between the page with your edits and the previous version of the page, press the "Show changes" button.
  3. If you're satisfied with what you see, be bold and press the "Save page" button. Your changes will immediately be visible to all Bogleheads wiki users.

Simple as that!

Consult the User's Guide for detailed information on using the wiki software. Basic help can be found in Help:Editing. Until you are comfortable with the markup language, use the Sandbox to test your edits. Please be advised that not all MediaWiki features are enabled in theBogleheads wiki. Try things out on the Scratch Pad before committing them to a reference page.

Editing rules, editing conventions, and formatting

The number one rule of wiki editing, is to Be bold. Dive in and make changes. Other people can correct mistakes later, so have confidence, and give it a try! There can be all kinds of editing conventions, rules, and philosophy governing the editing of wiki pages, but the "Be bold" rule overrides these!

Remember – you can't break the Bogleheads wiki; all edits can be reversed, fixed or improved later. The Bogleheads wiki is allowed to be imperfect. So go ahead, edit an article and help improve the wiki.

In general try to write clearly and concisely and make sure you are always aiming to do something which improves the wiki contents. An edit might be to contribute whole paragraphs or pages full of information, or it could be as simple as fixing a typo or spelling mistake. Please remember to never use the pronoun "I".

Recently the WikiEditor toolbar was introduced, an improved and customizable editing toolbar developed along the Vector skin, which should make it easier to edit articles. The toolbar will look familiar to most users.

Style guidelines

A style guide or style manual is a set of standards for the writing and design of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication, organization or field. The implementation of a style guide provides uniformity in style and formatting of a document. The Wikipedia Manual of Style is a style guide for Wikipedia articles that encourages editors to follow consistent usage and formatting. Use this guide for reference.

The following sections are extracts of key elements that should be followed on the Bogleheads wiki.

Article titles

  • Use "sentence case", not "title case"; that is, the initial letter of a title is capitalized (except in rare cases, such as eBay). Otherwise, capital letters are used only where they would be used in a normal sentence (Funding of UNESCO projects, not Funding of UNESCO Projects).

Article titles should not be acronyms, they should be fully expanded. To handle the case where users may search using the acronym, create a redirect, an alternative title to the article. Redirects help to organize a wiki by making articles findable under different names. See Wikipedia:Redirect for guidelines and a more detailed explanation.

Help:redirect

A redirect is a page created so that navigation to a given title will take the reader directly to a different page. A redirect is created using the syntax:

#REDIRECT [[target]]

where Target is the name of the target page. Example:

Section organization

An article should begin with an introductory lead (or lede) section, which does not contain section headings (see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lead section). The remainder is divided into sections, each with a section heading (see below) that can be nested in a hierarchy. If there are at least four section headings in the article, a navigable table of contents is generated automatically and displayed between the lead and the first heading.

Section headings

Headings are produced by typing multiple equal signs. A primary section heading is written ==Title==, a subsection below it is written ===Title===, and so on (a maximum of five levels is possible). Spaces between the equal signs and the heading text are optional, and will not affect the way the heading is displayed. The heading must be typed on a separate line. Include one blank line above the heading, and optionally one blank line below it, for readability in the edit window. (Only two or more consecutive blank lines will add more white space in the public appearance of the page.)

The provisions in Article titles (above) generally apply to section headings as well (for example, headings are in sentence case, not title case).

Creating a new page

From the search page

A Topic Index on the Main Page exists as a guide to creating pages. If a topic is missing, editors can and should add it.

If you search for a page that doesn't exist (using the search box and “Go” button on the left of the page) then you will be provided with a link to create the new page. (Note that this technique doesn't work if you use the “Search” button). You will need to be logged in as a wiki editor to create a new page.

Using wikilinks

For an existing page sentence, Where are the customers' yachts?, you may decide to that yachts should have its own page. You would enclose yachts with [[]] thus [[yachts]] and the sentence would look like Where are the customers' yachts? The red highlighting will disappear as soon as you click on yachts, add text to the new page, and save it.

Format for new page

{{UnderConstruction}} should be on the first line of a new page, and should remain until the page is ready for viewing. {{UnderConstruction}} can be replaced with {{Expand}} once the page is ready for viewing but could benefit from additional contributions. If references are included, the page should end with the heading ==References==; on the next line type in the text <references/>. Finally, should be included.

The format for most new pages (and all of those with references) should therefore be:

{{UnderConstruction}}
Text goes here
==References==
<references/>

An example is Risk and return: an introduction.

Editing an existing page

Extensive help on editing a page can be found here.

A note regarding good practice: When you edit a page, enter a short comment about the change you have made. If you are inclined to forget, the software can remind you. Click on "my preferences", choose the Editing tab, and check the Prompt me when entering a blank edit summary option. Another Editing preference that you might find use is Warn me when I leave an edit page with unsaved changes.

Citing sources

You should cite sources for the information you contribute. A "References" section can be added by placing References section at the end of the page. If any websites would be of particular interest to a reader of an article, they should be listed and linked to in an "External links" section, and books of particular interest should be listed in a "Further reading" section, but only if they were not used as sources for the article. Citations help readers verify what you have written and find more information.

The purpose of citing sources is:

  • To ensure that the content of articles can be checked by any reader or editor.
  • To show that your edit is not original research and to reduce editorial disputes.
  • To avoid claims of plagiarism and copying.
  • To help users find additional information on the topic.
  • To ensure that material about living persons complies with biography policy.
  • To improve the credibility of the Bogleheads wiki.

Warning: getting the citation format correct may prove particularly troublesome for new editors. However the edit button will make this easier for you. Simply highlight the text you wish to have footnoted and click the toolbar reference button. A dialogue box will appear and will format the note automatically.

A raw url link should not be used: <ref>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_fund#Breaking_the_buck</ref>. Instead the reference should include author [if known], reference title, publication, and date. The general form is in the order Author-Link-Title-Date, in the following format:

<ref>Author, [http://www.xxx.yyy Title], date.</ref>

For example,

<ref>Wikipedia, [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_fund#Breaking_the_buck "Breaking the buck"], viewed February 16, 2009.</ref>.

gives:[1]

  1. Wikipedia, "Breaking the buck", viewed February 16, 2009.

Note that use of the <ref>tags means the effects of the content between tags may not be evident when previewing changes, since that content will either be at the end of the article (if the separate "References" section has been added) or not visible (if the <references/> command has been forgotten). Editors should view the "References" section specifically to cross-check the format. Each link should be clicked on to ensure it is correct.

Excerpts from specific Bogleheads Forum posts are allowed, but the citation must include the author's posting ID, a link to the post cited, and the date the post was made. If the excerpt is unmodified, it should be in block quotes. If it is modified, the citation should include an indication that there have been modifications.

Where the thread as a whole is cited as a general reference, citation should be of the form <ref>Bogleheads org., [http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6211 Financial Planning], viewed Feb. 17, 2009</ref>.

Additional referencing options are illustrated at Help:citing references.

Renaming articles

If you find an article that you believe is misnamed, please do not copy and paste the contents of the old article into a new article — among other things, it separates the previous contributions from their edit history (which we need to keep track of for copyright reasons). The preferred method is to move the page to the new name. If it is your first move, please read the warnings on the move page carefully, as there are a number of issues to consider before moving a page. For more information, see How to rename (move) a page.

Editing conventions on talk pages

  • Always sign your name after your comments. Use the four tildes “~~~~” wiki syntax (or the signature button in the toolbar above the editing textbox).
  • Start a new discussion with a ==level 2 heading== at the bottom of the page (or use the “+” tab)
  • Indent replies with colons (:) at the beginning of the line.

Tools

Templates

Templates are Wiki tools that allow pre-formatted entries to be made. Templates are included in a page by inserting the name of the template between double curly brackets. The content of the template will then be inserted at that point. A list of available templates is available here. Before you create a new template, check to see if there is an existing template that would serve your needs. For assistance in creating templates, see Creating, editing and using templates.

External tools

HTML tools

wikitext allows a number of HTML elements that are useful in writing an article.

Editorial policy

The Bogleheads wiki's editorial policy is loosely based on Wikipedia's Editorial Policy. The germane pieces are reproduced here. Note that there are no guidelines on what subjects to include or exclude. We hope that common sense prevails.