Help:Description guidelines

From mintOC
Jump to: navigation, search

This page summarizes things you should know when working with this wiki. The information is mainly intended for editors, but some information is also useful for pure readers.

The wiki concept -- no predefined data structures, easy-to-learn interface, everyone can contribute -- is great for storing information with little overhead. However, it also brings some problems with it: everyone has different ideas how information should be structured - quickly leading to a cluttered wiki. To avoid this, some principles and structures have been developed for this wiki, which are described here.


Most important: You are strongly encouraged to edit pages, add and alter content! Be courageous - all mistakes can easily be corrected later. Nobody expects your edit to be perfect!


Here is some basic information about wiki editing:

  • Summarize your edit either in the Summary field below the editing window or mark it as a minor edit.
  • The MediaWiki Reference Card summarizes the most important issues on one A4 page.
  • A basic introduction to wiki editing (text formatting & structuring) is given here.
  • More advanced topics (links, page inclusion, etc.) can be found here.

Page Structure

To ensure consistent structuring and layout of pages, this Wiki uses the Copy-and-Paste-Concept. Hence, before creating a new page, have a look at similar pages! For setting up the most frequently created page types, there are sample pages with how-to guides and exemplary pages with real content available:

Page Type How-To Page Exemplary Page
Community Adding a user User:SebastianSager
Problem characterization Adding a problem characterization ODE model
Problems Adding a problem Lotka Volterra fishing problem

These templates should help you to create a page and ensure a consistent structure. The sample pages can also be accessed via the (add) buttons on the main page, next to the section headings.


The Category-Concept of the MediaWiki software is a concept for structuring inter-page relations additional to classical links. We use them in a manner equivalent to a hierarchical Linux-type filesystem (rationale] like files and sub-directories can (and should!) be sorted into a directory, pages and sub-categories can be sorted into a category. Hence categories and sub-categories form a tree.

Whenever a category is created, the system automatically adds a special page for it in the Category namespace. The page for the category Nonsense would for example be named Category:Nonsense. On the bottom of the page, the system automatically generates an overview of pages and sub-categories contained in the category. Besides that, it can be edited like any other Wiki page.

Read here for more information about WikiMedias Category-concept.

Creating and Working with Categories

There are two main ways to call a category (say, Nonsense) to life:

  • Create a page with the name Category:Nonsense. The created category will be empty. In contrast, if you create a normal page "Nonsense" which is not in the namespace category, you cannot assign other pages or categories to it.
  • Assign page Dingbat to the category by adding the expression [[Category:Nonsense]] somewhere in its source. On success, a link to the category page will be created at the bottom of the page. The therewith created category will have the page Dingbat as sole content.

To assign a page to a category, add [[Category:Nonsense]] somewhere in the page source. When applying this to a category page (say, Category:Dingbat), Dingbat will get a sub-category of Nonsense. Even if it looks like a usual internal link, this expression does not create a link to the category page. To do so, add a colon in front of the page name: [[:Category:Nonsense|link text]] The colon enforces interpretation of that page name as link instead of category-assignment as above. The link text is optional as usual.

Using Categories in this Wiki

Use categories to relate the three main page types of this wiki - Problem categories, problems, and people - to one another. When adding a page, carefully assign it to the categories it is related to. Be as specific as possible, i.e. choose leaves in the category tree if possible.