WikiCU:Tutorial

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WikiCU is a guide to Columbia University maintained entirely by its users. Its aim is to provide a unified knowledge base for all facets of Columbia life, including our student groups, student government, administration, facilities, history, traditions, and more!

WikiCU is a wiki. Its goal is to provide a centralized source of information for all information relevant to Columbia University. By allowing anyone to edit the guide, we hope that the guide will encompass an unparalleled depth and breadth of knowledge.

Contents

Page standards

The goal is to have lots of high quality information about Columbia. Please adhere to the following standards while creating and updating pages.

Categories

Categories are a helpful organizational tool. To associate a page with acategory, include a [[Category:Category Name]] tag at the bottom of the page. You can see and edit the list of categories here. Note that you can include more than one category in a document.

Layout

A few moments spent organizing a page can increase its readability and usefulness exponentially. Below are some general guidelines to well-formed pages. The best way to learn is by looking at existing pages on this site, as well as Wikipedia, for examples of well-organized pages.

Lead section

Unless an article is very short, it should start with a lead section consisting of one or more introductory paragraphs. The lead is shown above the table of contents (for pages with more than three headings). The appropriate lead length depends on the length of the article, but should be no longer than four paragraphs. The lead should not be explicitly entitled == Introduction == or any equivalent header.

The subject of the article should be mentioned in bold text (subject) at a natural place, preferably in the first sentence. If the article is about a work of art, literature or an album, note that the first mention of the subject should be both bold and italic (subject).

Normally, the first paragraph summarizes the most important points of the article. It should clearly explain the subject so that the reader is prepared for the greater level of detail and the qualifications and nuances that follow. If further introductory material is needed before the first section, this can be covered in subsequent paragraphs. Introductions to biographical articles commonly double as summaries, listing the best-known achievements of the subject. Keep in mind that for many users this is all they will read, so the most important information should be included. Avoid links in the summary--users should be encouraged to read the summary, and the article, before jumping elsewhere. In addition the colored highlighting of the links may mislead some users into thinking these are especially important points.

See also line

A "see also" line is sometimes put at the beginning, to link to an article about another meaning of the word, or in the case of a link that many readers are likely to follow instead of reading the article. Do not make this initial "see also" a section. In such cases, the line should be italicized and indented using templates. A horizontal line should not be placed under this line.

Links

Adding square brackets ([[...]]) around a word or phrase is an important part of Wikifying articles. This links significant words to a corresponding article that contains information that will help the reader to understand the original article. For example, an article might mention a 'CUID' without explaining what it is, although a brief phrase explaining the term might be more appropriate in many instances. It is important to follow the links that you have added and check that they lead to the right page. Useful links that are not mentioned in the prose paragraphs can be added to the "see also" section.

Body sections/ Structure of the article

  1. The number of single-sentence paragraphs should be minimized, since these can inhibit the flow of the text. By the same token, paragraphs become hard to read once they exceed a certain length.
  2. Articles generally comprise prose paragraphs, not bullet points; however, sometimes a bulleted list can break up what would otherwise be an overly large, grey mass of text, particularly if the topic requires significant effort on the part of readers. Bulleted lists should not be overused in the main text, but are typical in the reference and reading sections at the bottom.
  3. Headings help to make an article clearer, and populate the table of contents. Headings are hierarchical, so you should start with == Header == and follow it with === Subheader ===, ==== Subsubheader ====, and so forth.
  4. Just as for paragraphs, sections and subsections that are very short will make the article look cluttered and inhibit tharticle look cluttered and inhibit tharticle look cluttered ot warrant their own subheading, and in these circumstances, it may be preferable to use bullet points.
  5. The degree to which subtopics should appear in a single article or be given their own pages is a matter of judgment and of controlling the total length of the article.
  6. Between paragraphs and between sections, there should be only a single blank line. Multiple blank lines unnecessarily lengthen the article and can make it more difficult to read.

Horizontal dividing line

Horizontal dividing lines, created using four dashes ('----'), can be helpful to isolate sections that can logically stand on their own. However, they should be used sparingly in order to avoid cluttering pages.

Standard appendices

Certain optional standard sections should be added at the bottom of an article. Common appendix sections:

  1. See also
  2. Notes
  3. References (or combined with "Notes" into Notes and references)
  4. Further reading (or Bibliography)
  5. External links

Page Maintenance

WikiCU relies on its users to continually review, correct, and update its information. Below are some guidelines for potential corrections and how to go about making them.

The talk page

Each page has an accompanying discussion page, where users can propose and discuss changes, and comment on the content of the pages without affecting the actual page. To access the discussion page, click on the "discussion" tag at the top of the page. Don't forget to sign each comment with four tildes (~). If a page is being contested, then users should discuss the dispute on the talk page and come to a consensus for change.

Merging and splitting articles

If a page is too long and disparate, it may be a candidate for being split. Likewise, if several related articles have very little content, they should probably be consolidated into one article.

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