Help:Editing tips and tricks

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Tips and tricks


Always use an unbelievers outlook, because our main audience is people that are not familiar with the Message.

Cite your sources, so others can check and extend your work. Please help by researching the Message and other resources to find references for the article you are working on, then cite them in proper form. There is no consensus on the best way to do this, but anything is better than nothing.

Link to your article from other articles. After making a new page, it's a good idea to use the What links here feature to check the pages that already link to your new page. Make sure that all the links are referring to your page in the right context. You should also use the search feature to find occurrences of the title of your new page—and possible variants thereof—so that you can create appropriate links.

Page protection

In a few cases, where an administrator has protected a page, the link labeled "Edit this page" is replaced by the text "View source" (or equivalents in the language of the project). In that case the page cannot be edited. Protection of an image page includes protection of the image itself.

Edit conflicts

If someone else makes an edit while you are making yours, the result is an edit conflict. Many conflicts can be automatically resolved by the Wiki. If it can't be resolved, however, you will need to resolve it yourself. The Wiki gives you two text boxes, where the top one is the other person's edit and the bottom one is your edit. Merge your edits into the top edit box, which is the only one that will be saved.


The edit link of a page showing an old version leads to an edit page with the old wikitext. This is a useful way to restore the old version of a page. However, the edit link of a diff page gives the current wikitext, even if the diff page shows an old version below the table of differences.

Error messages

If you get an error message upon saving a page, you can't tell whether the actual save has failed or just the confirmation. You can go back and save again, and the second save will have no effect, or you can check "My contributions" to see whether the edit went through.

Checking spelling and editing in your favorite editor

You may find it more convenient to copy and paste the text first into your favorite text editor, edit and spell check it there, and then paste it back into your web browser to preview. This way, you can also keep a local backup copy of the pages you have edited. It also allows you to make changes offline. Google Toolbar offers a spell-checker for all fields, for example.

If you edit this way, it's best to leave the editing page open after you copy from it, using the same edit box to submit your changes, so that the usual edit conflict mechanism can deal with it. If you return to the editing page later, please make sure that nobody else has edited the page in the meantime. If someone has, you'll need to merge their edits into yours by using the diff feature in the page history.

Composition of the edit page

The editing page consists of these sections:

  • The edit toolbar (optional)
  • The editing text box
  • The edit summary box
  • Save/Preview/Cancel links
  • A list of templates used on the page
  • A preview, if you have requested one. Your preferences may place the preview at the top of the page instead.

Position-independent wikitext

No matter where you put these things in the wikitext, the resulting page is displayed the same way: