User:Whiteknight/Common Mistakes

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Due to a severe shortage of time, I am no longer able to be an active member of the Wikibooks project. Please see my page for more details about my absense. I will continue to monitor my talk page for correspondence and will try to reply quickly when possible.

This page is going to list some common mistakes that new users might make, and for which the solution isn't obvious.

Creating new books/pagesEdit

I created a new page, but somebody said i made it incorrectly! How do I make a page part of a book? How do I make a page in a book?
Pages on wikibooks are named using what's called the "forward slash convention". To put a page into this convention, we need to write "Book/Page", instead of simply "page". When we make a link, we have to write "[[Book/Page]]", and not "[[Page]]" For instance, if we want to make a page for "Lions" in the "Animals" book, we can create a link to "[[Animals/Lions]]".
I created a page by accident, Or I created a page with the wrong name, or I created a page but I dont need it anymore, what do I do?
This happens all the time, and there are a group of staff members here called "administrators" who can delete unneeded pages. If you want us to come delete a page you created, write "{{delete}}" at the top of the page.
I want to start writing a new book, how do I do it, and where can I go for help?
There is a good guide for writing new books: Whiteknight's New Book Guide. If you want to start writing a new book, do a search first to make sure that there aren't already any books on your topic. If there already is a book, you should try contributing to the old book before starting a new book. When you start a new book, or if you just want to bounce the idea off some people, make an announcement about it at the New Books Staff Lounge.
I created a new book or a new page, and there is some kind of message or a banner at the top! What do I do?
We've developed several pre-made messages, called "templates" here at Wikibooks that can help us to communicate common ideas to new editors. Any message that we post on your book is designed to help you, not to frighten you or punish you. Some of these messages will ask you a question, like "what is this page about?", and some will give you a suggestion, such as "you should fix the formatting". If you can't follow the suggestion, or if you don't understand, you can ask about it at the Books and Projects Staff Lounge.
Can I write any kind of book I want?
The short answer is no. Wikibooks is for textbooks and instructional guides only, not for all types of books. For more information about what kinds of things we allow and what we don't allow, take a look at our complete inclusion criteria.
I have previously written a book, and I would like to donate it to Wikibooks. Is this possible?
It is possible to donate books to wikibooks, but it isn't always recommended. Books that are donated must satisfy our inclusion criteria. Also, all work on Wikibooks must be released under the GFDL license, and anybody must be allowed to edit it. If you don't want other people to edit your work, or if you don't want to lose editorial control, then don't donate your book.


When I write text, a gray box with a dotted-blue line appears around it, and the text flows off the edge of the screen!
This is an effect known as "preformatting", and occurs whenever you start a line of text with a space or a tab. Unlike normal text editing, you should not indent new paragraphs. Luckily, if you do have this problem, the solution is as easy as editing the page, deleting the spaces at the front of a paragraph, and clicking "save page".
I copied and pasted some text from a word-processor, and when I look at it on the wiki, it's wrong!
Wikibooks uses a special markup language that is similar to HTML, but is not the same. You cannot copy and paste text directly from a word processor such as Microsoft Word, because word processors like this do not use the Wiki language. If you would like to write some content in an external editor, consider a plain-text editor, such as notepad.

Content and CollaborationEdit

HELP! I had put some content on this page, and when I came back later, it was different or even missing entirely! What happened? How did my stuff get changed?
First and foremost, wikibooks is a collaborative community, and there is nothing here that is your "stuff". Because this is a community effort, other people that you don't know, people from around the world, will see your page and make edits if they want. You can't stop it, and you shouldn't want to either, because more hands make lighter work. If people want to help fix your mistakes, or add more content to your page, you should be happy to have the help.
Another person is editing this page that I'm working on, and he keeps removing or changing what I write!
When two people go back and forth, changing each other's edit, it's called an edit war. Users should never edit war, and if another user makes an edit that you don't agree with, you should talk to them. You can post your concerns on the talk page of the page you are editing, or even directly onto that person's user talk page. Always try to discuss your disputes and reach a compromise. If you need help or intervention (as an absolute last resort) you can ask at the Staff lounge.
Something is wrong, my page contains nonsense, or bad words, or bad images. What happened, and how do I fix it?
Unfortunately, anybody can edit wikibooks, and that means that people who are immature can edit those pages as well. When people delete the content on a page without a reason ("page blanking"), or adds obscenity to the page, we call that "vandalism". If you have a problem with vandalism, post a message about it at Administrators Noticeboard. Make sure to include the name of the page that was vandalized.
Where is the best place to talk about a page?
Every page has an associated "talk page". At the top of your screen you should see a number of tabs, and the second one from the right will say something like "talk" or "discussion". If you click on this tab, you will be taken to the associated talk page, where you can leave messages, ask questions, and so on. If you want to talk about an entire book, a collection of books, or some other topic entirely, you can post your message at the Staff Lounge instead.


How do I add a new book to a bookshelf? I can't figure it out!
Bookshelves are pages just like any other book or discussion page, and you can edit them to add links to your books by clicking the "Edit this page" link at the top of the page, or any of the "[edit]" links on the side of the page. However, bookshelves are protected against being edited anonymously, and they are also protected against being edited by very new users (fewer then 20 edits) this helps to protect against vandalism. If you have fewer then 20 edits, and want to put your new book on a bookshelf, you can ask at the Staff lounge and one of our staff members will be happy to assist you.
Which bookshelf should I add my new book to? Can I list my book on multiple bookshelves?
The entire list of bookshelves is available at Wikibooks:All bookshelves. Pick the shelf or shelves that seem most appropriate to you, and add your books there. If you don't know where to add your book, ask at the Staff lounge. You can add you book to multiple shelves, but make sure that they are appropriate: even a link to a book can be considered spam if you post it in inappropriate places.

New AccountsEdit

Where is the best place to say "hello"?
If you want to say hello, meet some new people, and ask a few questions, the best place is the New Users Staff Lounge, a discussion room devoted to new users and new projects.
How do I change my signature to be something fancy? For that matter, how do I sign a message that I write?
To sign a message that you write, you can use four tildes: ~~~~. When you save the page, Wikibooks will replace that symbol with your signature. To change your signature, open up your Preferences page. On the "User profile" tab, check the box for "Raw Signatures", and write the code for your new signature in the box above it. You should always sign your messages on a talk or discussion page. You should never sign your name on a book page or other content page.


I don't like this, or that. I think this needs to change. What are you guys, lazy or stupid or something?
If you see some content that needs to be changed, you are generally welcome to change it. If there are disagreements, you should talk them over on the relevant talk or discussion pages first. Some important things can be changed by special users called "Administrators", if you ask nicely at the Administrator's Noticeboard. Some other things are just part of the software, and if you want to change those you will need to get community support at the Technical Chat Staff Lounge. Finally, there are a few things that cannot be changed, and that will not be changed. There is no sense complaining about these things, because nobody wants to hear it. Also, calling people "stupid" is not nice.
I've got this great advertisement for a company or a website and...
Please keep advertisements to yourself. Wikibooks is a place to write books, not to share weblinks or plug new products. Even the best-natured advertisements are considered to be "spam" and are deleted. If you post too many advertisements, you could be blocked from editing Wikibooks entirely.