Introduction to Wiki Concepts

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If you're new to using wikis or want to learn more, read on. Since our site runs on the same software (called "Mediawiki") as does Wikipedia, you might consider their general-purpose help page. If not, we'll try and briefly sum up only the need-to-knows here.

Starting a new Page

When making new summaries, all you have to do is click on the "Create a summary" link (on the left), and fill out the form. Do not create summaries except by this form! When trying to create any other page, it might help to know two key points that might not be intuitive. You may create new pages...

Through Red Links

Any links colored red on Brevy mean that page has not yet been created. Clicking on this "red link" will the take you to a blank edit page where you may create it.

Through the Search

Another way to create new pages, such as those in the "Community" namespace is to search for it. If the page does not exist, a red link with the name of the page you searched for will appear allowing you to create it.


You might have noticed colons in the names or links to pages here (such as in Brevy:Wiki Intro on this page). These colons are use to designate "namespaces." The namespace is the text before the : in the page title and is used to organize content on the site. Since all summaries are automatically created in the correct (main) namespace, you generally don't have to worry about this. However, more involved users may note its use in that most other user created content should be put in the Community namespace, and that some namespaces, such as Brevy are off-limits. To put a page in a particular namespace, type the pagename as so Namespace:Pagename. For more information, check out Mediawiki's namespace help page.

Talk Pages

Talk pages are discussion pages which accompany any page on a wiki. These pages can be found by clicking on the "Discussion" link on the top left of each page and are used for discussion about the article or work it was based on.

For summary articles, we encourage you to use this to ask questions about the work or even to post critical feedback if need be. You can click the edit button to make significant notes on the talk page you think all should see, or you can carry on discussion through the comments at the bottom of each talk page.

For talk pages on other parts of the site, the default for the MediaWiki software is to treat each Talk page like an empty edit box. This can be a bit confusing, so we have most pages (especially the summary pages) set up with a standard format that allows the easy adding of comments. If a particular Talk page elsewhere on the wiki does not have this capability, editing the page to say {{TalkContentA}}{{TalkContentB}}{{TalkContentC}} will replace the page with that ability.

Editing and Wiki Syntax

The MediaWiki software here uses its own markup language to format and display pages. In most cases, you do not need to know this language, as much of the site can be edited with user-friendly forms. In some special formatting cases, or when editing in the free-for-all Community namespace however, it is useful to have a light handle on the markup. To learn more, you might visit the overall editing help page or check out our highlights below.

General Formatting

There a few general text formatting tools that are likely worth knowing:

  • To set italics, place '' around a word.
    • Like so: ''italic'' = italic
  • To make words bold, place ''' around a word.
    • Like so: '''bold''' = bold
  • To make words bold and italic, place ''''' around a word.
    • Like so: '''''bold & italic'' = bold & italic

Other formatting tips can be found at MediaWiki's site here.


You can also create unordered (bulleted) or ordered (numbered) lists using the * or # symobls respectively. For instance, typing:

* This is an unordered list
** With an indented bullet here
** And another one here
* And a new line here

Results in:

  • This is an unordered list
    • With an indented bullet here
    • And another one here
  • And a new line here

More on lists can be found here.


In general, links are created by surrounding a link or page id with brackets. There are a lot of ways to create links, but the general formula is:

  • [http://link displaytext] for links outside of Brevy (external)
  • [[page name|displaytext] for links within Brevy (internal)

Note that the space between the link and display text for external links and the pipe for internal links. These are not necessary and can be left out to display the link as-is. More on links can be found here


When editing outside of the main summary namespace, headers can be added by surrounding your text with equal signs like so ==Header text==. See the formatting help page for details.


Much of the summary information on our pages are stored within what's called "properties." These are a tool provided by the Semantic MediaWiki extension which is installed on Brevy. In general, you can ignore their inner workings and just know that they make the summary material semantic and searchable. They also allow automatic linking to pages with similar properties on each summary page. If interested, more information can be found here.

User Groups

As you contribute to Brevy more and more, you might find yourself invited to a special user group, each having special permissions that normal users do not have. A quick summary of each of the key user groups you might interact with follows:


Reserved for those who work for Brevy.


This group has general site management abilities such as blocking users, deleting spam edits, and protecting pages. They are sometimes called "sysops." Administrators will notice a handful of changes across the site such as the ability to "Edit Source" (the actual code) of certain pages as well as more tools in the Special Pages.


Bureaucrats are, so to speak, "admin managers" and have the ability to create or deny administrator rights.


The links in this section can generally be ignored by all but the more experienced wiki users. Of particular interest to administrators however is the Special Pages link where most tools for managing the wiki can be found.


For anything else or a more in-depth guide, refer to the MediaWiki help page.