Help:Getting started

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Help sections
Contents · My first wiki page · MediaWiki basics · Image guidelines · Publications · Organization and structure
Pests, diseases, weeds · Scientists/professionals · Templates ·Database features · FAQ · special notes

Here is some guidance and information for those who are new to creating and editing MediaWiki pages.

Log in/create account

This wiki requires that you always log in before you start editing, creating new pages, or uploading images. This will help us to monitor changes and to contact you if necessary.

  • At the top right click on Log in (in case you have forgotten your username, password or both see Help:FAQ/username-password forgotten).
  • If you do not have an account yet click on request an account. Enter your email address and your full name, e.g. "John Smith". In the box below your name provide a note of at least 8 words on your intended contributions, e.g. "pest management scientist with experience in developing countries, contributing data on biological control". Under "Terms of Service" at the bottom check the box certifying that you have provided your real name and that you accept the terms of our service.
  • You will receive an email requesting you to confirm your email address by following a link. Your application will then be reviewed and after a day or so you will receive another email which confirms that your account has been established and provides you with a password. You can now log in, change the password to one which you also use for other purposes, and start editing.
  • After you have created an account, we also recommend that you create a page with your affiliation and publications, see Scientists/professionals.

Creating a new page

Simply type the name of your new page into the search box on the top right. If the page does not exist yet you will get the message "There were no results .... Create this page ...". Click on the name of your new page and enter your text. We recommend that you always use the preview button before saving the page. This will conserve resources because for every saved edit a copy of the whole text of the page is stored in the system. However, do not try out links in your preview text because you can loose your work. Try the back button on your browser in case this happens by accident.

Very basic editing

When you are writing text, it requires different functions than in a normal word processor. The wiki can accept some html tags, but most people use the built-in wiki markup language, which is designed for ease of editing. In the beginning it is a good practice to follow the style and format of similar existing pages. Here are the most commonly used format functions:

Bold and italics

The most commonly used wiki tags are bold and italics. Bolding and italicizing is done by surrounding a word or phrase with multiple apostrophes:

  • ''italics'' becomes italics. (2 apostrophes)
  • '''bold''' becomes bold. (3 apostrophes)
  • '''''bolded italics''''' becomes bolded italics. (2 + 3 = 5 apostrophes)

Headings and subheadings

Headings and subheadings are an easy way to improve the organization of an article. If you can see two or more distinct topics being discussed, you can break up your article by inserting a heading for each section.

Headings can be created like this:

  • ==Top level heading== (2 equals signs)
  • ===Subheading=== (3 equals signs)
  • ====Another level down==== (4 equals signs)

You might want to click on the "edit" or "view source" tab above to look how the sections of this page have been created. If an article has at least three headings, a table of contents will be automatically generated.

Paragraphs, bullets and numbered indents

A blank line will produce a new paragraph. To create indents with bullets or sequential numbering simply put the signs '*' or '#' at the beginning of a new line. For example, the following script

* This is a bulleted indent.


  • This is a bulleted indent.

Similarly the script

# This is the first numbered indent.
# This is the second numbered indent.


  1. This is the first numbered indent.
  2. This is the second numbered indent.

Doubling these signs produce double indents, e.g. '*' followed by '*#' will give first a bulleted indent and then below that a further numbered indent. For more details and other options on bullets and numbered indents see the respective page in Wikipedia.

Internal links

Wikipedia pages usually have extensive crosslisting by internal links. Simply insert the page name into double square brackets to create an internal link, e.g. [[page name]]. The form [[page name|alternate text]] provides again an internal link but with an alternate text, other than the name of the page. Note the '|' sign (horizontal bar) between 'page name' and 'alternate text' which is frequently used in wikis. If you place the name of a non-existing page in double square brackets, you will get a 'red link'. When clicking on the red text you will directly go to the editing mode and are able to create the missing page. This is a useful shortcut method for creating a new page.

External links

For creating a link to another website, simply insert the internet address into single square brackets (do not forget the "http:" at the beginning), e.g. [ description]. The 'description' displayed for the external link is the text following the first space within the square brackets. External links are marked with a special sign, a small box with an arrow.

Save your page

When ou are satisfied with the appearance of your preview, add a short note into the "Summary" box between the edit window and the Save and Preview buttons. This will help others to understand our edits. The note can be quite short, e.g. "corrected typo". If you simply want to experiment with different formats you can always click on the "Cancel" option behind the Save and Preview buttons to abort your edit. Click on "Save page" to save your work finally.

Edit a page

Editing a page involves the same procedures as creating a page. After logging in and displaying the page, simply click on the "edit" tab at the top. If ou want to edit only one section click on the blue edit option at the right margin which will make it easier to find the text you want to change on long pages. Note that editing of some pages is restricted to administrators. The edit tab then becomes a "view source" tab. Contact the System Operator if the content of a protected page needs changes.