User:Mystictim/My sandbox

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Mediawiki editing practice

Mediawiki fails to follow good practice as laid out by the World Wide Web Consortium and separate content, format and function. It is now common practice to markup html using structural tags, headings, emphasis, lists, links, paragraphs, emphasis, and tables and then apply a stylesheet to format these structures. Mediawiki mixes these structural elements with stylistic elements. This makes it difficult to export, modify and maintain content. It also makes it difficult to easily change the layout of wiki documents.

Empasis elements

Often in text you want to draw attention to a particular word or phrase. In Mediawiki their are three levels of emphasis italics, bold and 'italic bold'. Personally I tend to only use one type of emphasis and would opt for bold as italics don't render well on all screens and operating systems.

Heading elements

Heading 1

This heading is the top level heading and for Mediawiki is the same as the automatically generated page heading. As a structural element their is some ambiguity in its use. The function of a page name in a wiki is to act as unique identifier for that page and should provide a clear indication of what the page contains. The page name also provides an easy method of linking to that page. As links are one of the core structures of wikis this is a vital role. This page name also appears as the first heading on the page. This courses some structural ambiguities. I would tend to use top level headings to break a page up into its major components. However in Mediawiki this top level heading has already been used to describe the whole page so in this case I'd tend to use the secondary heading to breakup the page into its major components. This leads to an over proliferation of levels and their headings.

Heading 2

Personally I like to use secondary headings to breakup the contents of the text under the primary headings. However Mediawiki automatically puts the page name as a primary heading at the top of the page. So when using Mediawiki I tend to use the secondary headings to breakup the content of a webpage into its major components.

Heading 3

This is the third level of headings and is useful for structuring the contents of the seconder level of headings. I find that three levels of structure is more than enough for most webpages. If I find that I need deeper levels of structure then I begin to look to breaking the content up into multiple pages. However when using Mediawiki I tend to use level three headings to provide a secondary level of structure and so need a further level of headings.

Heading 4

Personally I don't tend to use a forth level of structure in webpage for the reasons explained above. However if I'm being consistent in my use of headings in Mediawiki I use Heading 4 to breakup the secondary structure of the content. It is possible to continue adding headings down to level 6. Personally I'd avoid this depth of chunking information on a single webpage and look at restructuring the document into multiple pages.


Collaboration is a key aspect of working with a wiki. Wiki's have a special page for discussing the content of the article. This is often labeled discussion or Talk page for user pages. Indenting is widely used to indicate replies to a particular post. This is done by using a colon : and results in a structure like the one below.

Someone would post the first message on the page about an issue they wished to discuses with the other members of the community.

A second message in reply to this post would appear below indented once to show that it was in reply to the original post. It might raise some new issues that need discussing or need a reply form the original poster.
A third message in reply to this second message would appear below the second message indented twice to indicate that it was a reply to this post.
A seventh message in reply to the third message would be inserted after the third message and indented three times.
A sixth message in reply to the second message would be inserted after the last message in the thread associated with the second message and be indented twice to indicate it was a reply to the second message.
A forth message posting a new comment in reply to first message would be indent just once to show that it was a response to the first post.
A fifth message in reply to the forth message would be indented twice.
An eighth message in reply to to the forth message would be indented twice.

A ninth message beginning a new topic of debate would start a new thread by having no indentation for the text. This is sometimes done for formating reasons when a thread has become deeply indented and appears as a thin column on the right hand side.

On Wikieducator an extension has been enabled that dose all this automatically and makes handling threaded conversations much easier. See the section on Templates for details


New Pages

Creating links


Templates and includes