GIST Support Wiki

Wiki Guide

Welcome to the GIST Support Wiki! This wiki is a shared resource created and maintained by people like you. This page will help get you started using the wiki if you are a first-time user.


What is a wiki?

A wiki is a website that can be edited by many people. It keeps a history of all of the changes, so you can edit pages without worrying about ruining them. It also lets people format text, link to other pages, and organize content by using a markup language. For example, to link to another wiki page you would type [[Main Page]] when editing the page and it would show up as Main Page when viewing the page.

This particular wiki is a collection of resources created by GIST Support members and other interested individuals. It serves as a community memory and helps supplement the email list discussion. See About for more details.

How is this wiki related to the email list?

The email list is where the ongoing community discussion occurs. It is ideal for asking questions and providing personalized answers, getting a second opinion, helping one another through difficult times, celebrating milestones, and announcing information of general interest.

The wiki, on the other hand, includes content of lasting value. Instead of being tailored for one individual, it is general enough to be of benefit to many. It can be thought of as a distilled version of the conversation, as well as a collection of resources that can be used by the community. Specific wiki pages are meant to stand on their own and may take on many forms (see Wiki Genres).

The email list and wiki work best when they are closely tied to one another. Each can support the other. The email list discussion helps wiki contributors know what topics are interesting and provides content that can be summarized and added to the wiki. The wiki content improves the email list discussion by helping members formulate questions and answers more effectively. For example, when answering a question a member may share a personalized answer and also include a specific link to a relevant wiki page for more information. The wiki also shares the community's knowledge more widely, increasing our reach. Because the email list and wiki complement each other, you are encouraged to reference the wiki in the email list discussion. You are also encouraged to use content from the email list in the wiki. When doing this make sure any personal information is removed and it is presented in a distilled or summarized manner.

How can I contribute?

There are many ways to contribute to this wiki. Here are a few:

  • Edit existing pages. See a problem with a page or notice something is missing? Just click on the "Edit" tab in the upper right-hand side of the page and make the change. You may need to log in first (through the link at the very top of the page). The content on this wiki is shared by everyone, so don't worry that you are stepping on anyone's toes by editing material that they originally added. If others don't like your edits they can refine them. See Wiki 101 for a simple editing example and Help:Editing for more details, then try out your new knowledge by editing the Sandbox page.
  • Create a new page. See the Help:Starting a new page link to learn how to create a new page. Once you've created a new page you can let others know about it by emailing the page's URL to the email list and adding a link to it on the Main Page or some other page. Even if you can't finish the page, take a stab at starting it and letting others fix it up. You can even ask the email list members to help fill it in when you announce the page to them.
  • Adopt a page. Pick a page that is of particular interest to you and make sure it is kept up to date and of high quality. For more ideas on how to do this see Wiki Helpers#Page_Advocates (i.e., the "Page Advocates" section found on the Wiki Helpers page).
  • Refer to specific wiki pages in the email list. The more you point others to the wiki, the more they will benefit from its content and improve it themselves. This can be done by announcing new pages and major edits, bringing up troublesome pages, suggesting that someone transfer an insightful email thread to the wiki, asking for help with a particular page, pointing to pages that you found helpful in formulating a question, and referring others to specific wiki pages when answering a question (e.g., "for more info see..."). When using the wiki to help answer questions, make sure you don't treat the wiki as a substitute for good discussion. If you are answering a question on the email list, provide a personalized answer and point them to the wiki for more information instead of simply sending them to the wiki.
  • Become a Wiki Helper. Once you become more experienced using the wiki you may want to join the Clean Up Crew, Wiki Team, or Promotion Crew. See Wiki Helpers for details.
  • Suggest improvements to the wiki. Have an idea for a new page you would like created? Find a problem with the software? Drop a note in the Suggestion Box.

Things to consider before contributing

  • This is a publicly readable wiki. If you don't want the whole world to know, then don't say it here.
  • Edits are not entirely annonymous. Every time the wiki is edited, the username (if logged in) or computer's IP address (if not logged in) are associated with the edit in the Recent changes page, page histories, and user contribution pages. This helps us block out troublemakers (e.g., spammers) and allows other members to know who is posting content, but it also has privacy implications. If you don't want others to know that it is from you, then you may not want to post it here. You should also be wise in selecting a username if you are concerned about others tracking your comments to a real person. You do not need to select a username that is based on your real name or provide your real name when creating an account. You can be assured that we will follow the procedures outlined in the Privacy policy.
  • You do not retain the copyright for your own contributions. If you want to retain the copyright for your own contributions you should post them to a personal website and link to it from this wiki. The copyright for material posted to this community's wiki is covered under a Creative Commons license (see Copyrights for details).
  • This wiki is part of a research project. The wiki content will be analyzed as part of a research project. Please see the About page for details on the project and the ethical procedures that are followed by the researchers.

How can I learn to better use the wiki?

The best way to learn how to use the Wiki is to start using it. You can practice wiki formatting by editing the Sandbox page. You can use the "Show Preview" button when editing a page to see your edits before they are submitted. Just make sure you click on the "Save page" button to make them final.

Once you are comfortable editing, try updating your personal user page. If you have registered and logged in, you will have a username. Your user page can be accessed by clicking on your username at the very top of the website. Each user page starts with "User:" followed by your username - e.g., User:DerekHansen. Once you're there, just click on the "edit this page" link and type in any information that you would like others to know about you.

Remember, you don't need to be a wiki expert to contribute. Even if you only add plain text, others can format your material later. As you edit existing pages you will naturally learn more tricks from seeing how other people create bulleted lists, link to pages, etc.

Below are the most important help pages to get you started: