From Pestinfo-Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
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

This page provides an introduction to the most common elements, features and tools of a wiki. For more details refer to the original Wikimedia descriptions.

Common wiki elements

The function of a wiki depends on some standard elements and features which can cause confusion for newcomers. Here is an introduction and some explanations for the most important ones.


Assigning pages to categories is the standard method to classify the pages and bringing them into an order. A wiki contains many pages which need to be sorted and arranged orderly so that users can keep track on what information exists. This is done by placing a page in one or more category pages. Category pages always start with the 'Category' namespace (see below). They can be created like any other page and can contain subcategories. A category page contains alphabetically sorted lists of its subcategories and of the normal pages, those in the (Main) namespace, which are assigned to this category. As an example see the Category:Journals (which contains the subcategory Conference Proceedings and many 'normal' pages for the different journals and series). To assign a page to a category simply place a line like


near the bottom of a page. You can assign a page to several categories. The category assignments appear in a separate box at the bottom of the page. For more details see the respective MediaWiki page.


All wiki pages belong to a 'namespace' which provides some basic characterization of the page. E.g. the name of a help page always starts with 'Help:', where 'Help' is the namespace of the page. A colon always separates the namespace from the pagename. Pages which do not contain a colon in their titles belong to the (Main) namespace. Other important namespaces of a wiki are:

  • 'Special' (special pages providing system information)
  • 'Talk' for discussion pages
  • 'File' for images and other media
  • 'Category' (see above)
  • 'Template' for pages providing formatting instructions to the system (see below).

Namespaces are usually preset for a wiki, but system administrators and organizers can create additional namespaces. For more details see the respective MediaWiki page.

Editing, discussing or watching a page

At the top of each page you will find a series of tabs which provide wiki functions specific for this page. These include:

  • discussion - a separate section of the page containing any comments by users on its content.
  • editing/view source - showing the script behind the page and allowing editing if you have logged in.
  • history - showing any previous versions of the page. This provides the possibility to compare different versions and to cancel a recent edit.
  • watch/unwatch - this allows you to add the page to your watchlist which generates an e-mail alert to you once others have changed the page. This is recommended if you have created a page or have a special interest in it. For example, each user has a special page starting with the namespace 'User' including a discussion section und these should be always placed on the users watch list.
  • delete - only for administrators (see below), to delete the whole page.
  • move - only for administrators, to change the name of a page.
  • protect/unprotect - only for administrators, to restrict editing of the page.

Users and administrators

Users are those having editing rights on the wiki. Under Special:SpecialPages you can find a list of all registered users (these include users who have registered on other wikis of the biowikifarm who have also editing rights on this wiki). Administrators are involed in organizatory aspects and have special rights, like they can delete pages and block users. We welcome applications from users to become an administrator, which can be addressed to the International Society for Pest Information. However, you should already have some experience working with this wiki and should have created and edited a number of different pages.

Common wiki tools


The search box is the most common tool to find pages relevant to a given topic. While you type into the search box, another box will appear below the search text with page names which start with the typed characters. You can either click on one of these "search suggestions" and go to that page or click somewhere else to make it disappear and make a general search with the typed word(s). For example, if you type "Fusarium" the "search suggestions" will contain the first 10 pages which start with "Fusarium". By clicking somewhere else the buttons "Go" and "Search" will be visible again and using "Search" will display a list of search results with a) all pages containing "Fusarium" in the page name and b) all pages containing "Fusarium" somewhere in the text of a page. Some more search tips:

  • To search for two words occurring on the same page type both words into the search box. E.g. to find publications dealing with chlorothalonil and Phytophthora infestans enter chlorothalonil + infestans into the search box.
  • By clicking on "Search" while the search box is empty will give you a wider search box where the full page names will be visile as search suggestions. With the option "Advanced" below this search box you can exclusively search in the pages with specific namespaces like Help or Template. By clicking on "Special pages" at the bottom of the left side of the screen and then on "All pages with prefix" under "Lists of pages" you can list all pages for a given namespace.
  • Use quotation marks to search for phrases. E.g. "potato beetle" will find these 2 words together, without the quotation marks it will find all pages containing the words 'potato' and 'beetle'.
  • Categories can be usually found even without entering the namespace "Catgeory:...". E.g. "journals" in the search box will bring you to the "Category:Journals".
  • Typing "pests" in the search box will display a taxonomic tree containing all pages with pests, diseases and weeds. Similarly "beneficials" will display such a tree for all pages on natural enemies relevant to biological control, like parasitoids, predators or antagonists of plant diseases.


A template is a standard page section which can be inserted into other pages. If you have a special message which should appear on more than one page you would create a template for it. For example, you might want to create a template with a message like:

This pest page does not contain an image ... (with an encouragement to provide an image).

You would simply create the page "Template:MissingImage" with this message and could then insert this message into other pages using the line:


In the MediaWiki system the process of inserting the content of a template into other pages is called transclusion. Templates are often used for complex formatting and analytical tasks which are needed for a number of pages. Templates can again contain other templates which can lead to complex structures. More explanations on templates are provided in our help section on templates and the respective MediaWiki page.

Some more advanced editing tools

Tables and boxes

Wikis accept the normal html tags for tables but have also a separate simple system to generate tables. Boxes are small tables with few cells. The tags for wiki tables are:

  • "{|" to start the table
  • "!" for column headers
  • "|-" to start a new row
  • "|" to start a new cell
  • "|}" to end the table

The are many different formatting options for tables and mixtures of wiki tags and html tags are also possible. A useful special feature is the wiki sortable table which is shown in the following script example:

{| class="wikitable sortable" border="1"
|+ '''Some Lepidopterous pests of apple in central Europe'''
!Latin name
!English name
!German name
|''Adoxophyes orana''
|summer fruit tortrix
|''Archips podanus''
|fruit tree tortrix
|Bräunlicher Obstbaumwickler
|''Argyresthia conjugella''
|apple fruit moth
|''Cydia pomonella''
|apple codling moth
|''Enarmonia formosana''
|cherry bark tortrix
|''Hedya nubiferana''
|green budworm
|Grauer Knospenwickler
|''Spilonota ocellana''
|apple bud moth
|Roter Knospenwickler
|''Stigmella malella''
|banded apple pigmy

will produce:

Some Lepidopterous pests of apple in central Europe
Latin name English name German name
Adoxophyes orana summer fruit tortrix Apfelschalenwickler
Archips podanus fruit tree tortrix Bräunlicher Obstbaumwickler
Argyresthia conjugella apple fruit moth Apfelmotte
Cydia pomonella apple codling moth Apfelwickler
Enarmonia formosana cherry bark tortrix Rindenwickler
Hedya nubiferana green budworm Grauer Knospenwickler
Spilonota ocellana apple bud moth Roter Knospenwickler
Stigmella malella banded apple pigmy Apfelminiermotte

Clicking on a column header will sort the table alphabethically according to that column. Clicking on the header again will sort it in reverse order.

For more details on tables see the respective pages in MediaWiki or Wikipedia.

Some special editing tags

  • New line - Use the tag "<br/>" at the end of a line if you want to display a new line.
  • Indents - Start the line with one or several colons to produces indented paragraphs.
  • Category link - Use "[[:Category:Category name]]" with the initial colon to display an internal link to a category. Without the colon you would place the page under that category.
  • Synonyms and common names - To facilitate searches for specific pests, diseases and weeds create redirect pages for frequently used synonyms and common names. For example there is a redirect page for "Goosegrass" which contains only the line
    #REDIRECT[[Eleusine indica]]
    In this way "Goosegrass" will be treated as a normal page, but when calling up this page (by entering "goosegrass" into the search box) the user will be directed to the page "Eleusine indica".
  • Horizontal lines - "----" makes a horizontal line.
  • Displaying wiki scripts - If you want to display wiki scripts in a page place the text either between the tags "<pre> ... </pre>" (this will display the text in a dashed box as typewritten text as for the REDIRECT text above) or use the tags <nowiki> ... </nowiki>.