How to use GNC Wiki

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The purpose of the GNC is to provide a collaborative workspace for people and organizations working on and with the Green Needham Collaborative. If you're just looking around to see what's here, you can simply navigate around the pages. Links in the Wiki are generally in blue (purple if you've visited them) and red if the page hasn't been created yet.

The real power of the wiki is as a collaborative tool. Green Needham members have access and can contribute to it - adding content and editing material that's here. The wiki evolves as it grows, but the bottom line is simple - the value grows exponentially as people contribute to and use it.

If you've gotten this far, you're probably wondering how to use wiki software. One of the great advantages of wiki software is that you can add useful and useable (i.e. reasonably good looking) content with just a few simple concepts. You can learn additional concepts and techniques to create much more sophisticated content if you wish.

At the top of each page is a set of tabs.

  • You're now reading the article page.
  • There is discussion page for each article page. This is where you can talk about what's on a page, make suggestions for others working on the page, or just add your opinion about the article page.

The other tabs are things you can do with each page. The most important are:

  • The edit tab is used to change what's on the page.
  • The history tab shows a history of all the changes to the page
  • The watch tab allows you to be notified by e-mail whenever a page has changed.

  • The section below here Wiki 101 walks you through the basics you'll need to edit and create pages.
  • Wiki Tips is a separate page with specific how-to's as well as tips on some other capabilities you might want to use.
  • If you'd like to try editing a wiki page, navigate over to the Green Needham Sandbox pages.
  • The most important tip - borrow freely. Go to any wiki page where you see something you'd like to do, edit the page, then cut and paste the wikitext you see into your own page and modify it.

Wiki 101

Creating and editing pages

  • To change or create pages, you need to log in to the wiki. If you have joined Green Needham, you have received a wiki ID.
  • Select the edit tab at the top of the page to edit a page
  • While you're editing, you'll see two sliders at the right of the screen
  • the innermost one scrolls the editing area
  • the outermost one scrolls an editing frame - scroll to the bottom to save or preview the page you're editing
  • Preview is an easy way to see what your wiki page will look like - you can preview it as often as you like without saving it. This makes it easy to experiment.
  • Save the page when you're done. If you're making a lot of edits, you may want to save occasionally along the way.

Adding text and creating links

  • To add text, just type it in.
    • To leave a blank line between portions of text, add two blank lines in your typed text
  • To create lists, start a line with an asterisk * followed by your text (this is a list)
    • To create a sub-list without bullets below another list, substitute colons (:) for the asterisks
This is a sub-item item without a bullet
This is a second sub-item item without a bullet
  • Edit this page to see how this works
  • To create a live link to another page in the wiki:
    • Enclose the full name of the page between two square braces, like this:
[[Action Teams]]
  • To show something other than the page name in your text, follow the page name with a vertical bar, or "pipe" character "|" and your text before closing the bracket, like this:
[[Action Teams|Getting things done]]

  • To create a link to another web site, enclose the full web address followed by the text you want to display within single brackets, like this:
[ The US Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency Office]
  • which will look like this: The US Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency Office
  • Note that, unlike a link to another Wiki article, you don't need the "pipe" character between the web address and your title. That's because web addresses don't have spaces, so the wiki knows where your title begins

  • To create sections in your text, begin a line with two or more equal signs "==", followed by your section name, followed by the same number of equal signs
    • Sections are hierarchical, so use two equal signs for a main section, three for a sub-section and four for a sub-sub-section
    • Once you create three or four sections, they will automatically appear in a table of contents at the top of the page
    • Sections can be referenced directly from elsewhere in the wiki:
[[GNC Calendar#October 2007|October 2007 Calendar]]
  • will take you to the "October 2007" section heading on the "GNC Calendar" page
  • and will look like this: October 2007 Calendar

  • Create a divider line across your page by typing four dashes on a line by themselves
  • Start typing at the first character of each line. If you leave a blank space, your text is put into a box and rendered in a typewriter font, often used to show syntax (as above)
This text was entered with a blank space at the beginning of the line

  • Perhaps most importantly, all the pages on this wiki (and most wikis) are visible.
    • Click the edit tab at the top of any wiki page. You can use the text as an example, and copy and paste it to help you create what you need.
    • Just navigate away from the edit screen (or click on the article tab) to leave the edit page without changing anything on the page you're using as an example.

For a more complete introduction, look at this page. From this page, you can also navigate to information about more sophisticated capabilities like tables, embedded images and files.

How to be notified when a wiki page is changed

First, you must authenticate your e-mail id. Normally, you will have done that when you responded to the e-mail notifying you of your wiki ID. If not,

  1. Select My Preferences from the menu at the top of the page
    1. Fill in your name and e-mail ID on the User Profile tab
    2. Scroll down and check E-mail me when a page I'm watching is changed
    3. Press Save
  2. You will receive a confirmation e-mail - click on the link in the e-mail

At the top of each wiki page, there is a row of tabs. The rightmost one is titled watch. Click this tab on any page you wish to watch. You will be e-mailed when the page changes. While you are using the wiki, selecting my watchlist at the top of the screen will take you to a page showing recently changed pages with those you are watching in bold.

Note that the watchlist will show you the pages you are watching even if you haven't turned e-mail notification on. You just won't receive an e-mail each time a watched page changes.

Why this is a good idea - it saves you time and keeps you informed.

You get a short note indicating what page has changed and who changed it.
The note has a clickable link which will take you right to the new information.
  • If it's convenient for you to think about the topic when you get the note, click on the link and go to the new information (which is of course surrounded by all the other information about that topic).
  • If not, you can either keep the note around to remind you to look later or delete it. It isn't full of information that you now have to file away in your ever-increasing mail file, hoping you can find it when you need it.

Creating a new page in the GNC wiki

There are several ways to create a new page, but the easiest is to simply create a reference to it in another page - like the Where does this go? page. You can edit that page, and add the name of the new page in double square brackets, like this:

 *[[My New Page]]

The asterisk makes the item part of a list, but you can include a page reference anywhere on a wiki page. Give your page a distinctive and descriptive name - every page name must be unique. If you used the name above, the highlighted text My New Page will appear when someone reads the wiki. If someone clicks on that text, he/she will be taken to that page.

Now, save the page you edited with the new page name reference. Once you've done that, the link to your new page will be red, and if you follow it, you'll have the opportunity to start the new page.

Naming pages and how they appear on the wiki

You can have something other than the page name appear in the wiki. To do that, follow the name of the page with a vertical bar (the | character, usually found on the upper right of your keyboard, above the Enter key and below the backspace key). So, if you instead create the page like this:

 *[[My New Page|Important information]]

what you'll see on the page is

This is useful because, for some areas of the wiki, like the Resource Library, we are using a tree-like, hierarchical structure. This automatically generates an easy-to-navigate path. For example, there is a page named:


But by creating it like this:

 [[Resource_Library/Home/HeatCool/Thermostat|Programmable Thermostats]]

the reader will see Programmable Thermostats instead of Resource_Library/Home/HeatCool/Thermostat.

Creating page names with slashes between them creates a multi-level structure that looks like this:

  • Resource Library
  • Home
  • Heating & Cooling
  • Programmable Thermostats

making it easy for users to navigate among the pages.