Chapter 2. Basic Use

Wikipedia and thousands of other websites run MediaWiki, and this chapter will teach you how to get started using any of them: finding and reading articles, basic editing, and so forth. Thanks to the software’s consistent operation and behavior, once you find your way around one MediaWiki site, you’ll feel at home on any of them. In this chapter, we’ll introduce:

General look and feel

The common parts of a MediaWiki page


Moving around from page to page


The main content of the wiki


Finding articles by keyword


Organizing similar articles into groups


Dividing the wiki into sections

We’ll also briefly discuss writing and editing articles, just enough to get you started. Chapter 4 will cover this topic in detail.

Quick Tour of a Wiki Page

On any MediaWiki site, such as Wikipedia, you’ll see the same basic components on each page.[6] Some parts might be stylized (or “skinned”) differently, appear in different locations on the page, or be accompanied by additional features, but most of the time they’re all present, looking something like Figure 2-1.

Sample MediaWiki article
Figure 2-1. Sample MediaWiki article

Here are the major parts:


A picture that identifies the wiki. It appears on every page. Click it to return to the wiki’s home page at any time.

Article title

The name of the article, in this case, My sample article.

Article body

The text and images that ...

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