Help:Your first article

From FlightGear wiki
Revision as of 18:39, 8 December 2013 by Johan G (Talk | contribs) (Wikilinks: Help:Editing → Help:Formatting)

Jump to: navigation, search

Writing your first article could be a great way to share your experiences and perhaps also help some of us other FlightGear users. Hopefully your first wiki article will be only one of many contributions to the FlightGear project.

As you probably already are aware of the FlightGear wiki is a collaborative written documentation related to FlightGear, the free and open source flight simulator. As FlightGear itself the wiki is licensed under the GNU GPL version 2 license.

Contributing to the FlightGear Wiki

The FlightGear Wiki is not an encyclopaedia or a search paper. There is no requirement to have primary and secondary sources, unless you are citing something. In fact, much of what is needed does not exist anywhere else at all!

Original research, opinions, and first hand accounts are the majority of the content here, but please do not plagiarize. If you are going to copy or cite something then provide a reference (like you might for a school paper). Other than that, the standards and specific goals of the FlightGear are still in flux and development.

Articles tend to be about whatever someone sees as important, useful, or fun enough to write about!

More about what to write about

The FlightGear Wiki has a few main areas that continuously needs work:

Development related articles
Documentation for FlightGear core, scenery and aircraft developers
Usage related articles
Documentation to get the users started, how to use various features, FAQ:s etc.
Aircraft related articles
Documentation about the official aircraft

If you do not yet feel fully ready to start an new article there are also categories various articles that could need some true loving care like, very short articles (stubs), articles considered for deletion and articles needing cleanup. Helping out with those could be a way to getting to know the wiki and familiarize yourself with the wiki markup.

Other interesting pages include things like Real Life Experience, Linux software audio mixing with FlightGear, Current events, or Presentation Recipe!

Creating a new article

There are some things to think of before starting a new article.

Choosing a good title

Consider giving the template a meaningful name. Usually one would try to only have the initial character upper case. Do not use abbreviations for an article title. You your article title should instead be spelled out and a redirect page for the abbreviation to your article should be created.

Search first, then create

To create a new article, please start by using the search function. This way you will find if there already is an article with that name or if there is one with a very similar name. If there is no article with that name you will be presented with the option to create that page. Click on the red link to open up an edit window.

Preview early, and preview often

This is important. First of all, and specially if you are new to editing a wiki, you will get a better feeling for what your article will look like. Sometimes you will find that some sections are way longer than you thought, or that an image needs to be larger to be intelligible. Some of the wiki markup is more fragile than other, in particular tables, and it is much easier to fix such markup early on knowing where in the markup things broke than later. In addition to that reading your own text will often help you find a better phrasing.

Before saving the article, do have an extra preview, and a more thorough read through.

Creating redirect pages

Creating a redirect page, an empty page whose only purpose is to redirect to your article, is recommended if your article title is also known as an abbreviation (for example an ICAO airport code), another less common name or is often misspelled.

Creating a redirect page is very easy. The same way you search and then create the article, you search and then create the redirect page. The only contents of the redirect page should be like below:

#REDIRECT [[Article name]]

Typical article disposition

Consider this a recommendation. Though most of the articles follow this convention some don't.

{{Some messagebox}}
{{Some other messagebox}}

{{Some infobox or navbox}}

[[File:Some image.jpg|thumb|Some caption.]]
[[File:Some other image.jpg|thumb|Some other caption]]

A '''generic article disposition''' would look something like this.

== Heading ==
Some text...

=== Subheading ===
Some text...

== Related content ==
* [[Some page]]

== External links ==
* [Some link] Some description

{{Some navbox}}

[[en:Some language link]]

[[Category:Some category]]
One or more messageboxes could sometimes begin typical article page. The messageboxes would tell a reader or editor something about the article, like for example that it is outdated due to new developments.
Infobox or navbox
Often an infobox or navbox will follow. An infobox will contain more detailed information about a piece of software, an aircraft, an airport etc. that is the topic of the article and a navbox could help the reader find his way around a series of or similar articles.
Many articles would be helped by additional images. While it is often a good idea to have at least one of them on top of the article, as this will help a reader to figure out if he landed on the right article and what it is about. While they can all be in the beginning of the article text, they can just as well be spread out within the article. Most of the time having just thumbnail images will be preferable.
First section
The first section of an article should be a short summary of the article or an ingress. Preferably the page title in bold should be within the first sentence or the first section.
This short summary of the article would help a reader to quickly figure out if he found the page he was looking for, as well as help a him grasp the main concepts of an article a bit faster.
Article text
The article text that follows is preferably broken up in not too long, but not too short sections separated by headings and subheadings. Often it would help the reader if there are images and tables to help understand the article text. Sometimes it is a good thing to mark more some important words differently.
Links to related content
Links to related content, like other articles forum topics etc. can be put in the end, though in general having the internal wikilinks within the article text is preferable.
Links to external resources
Links to external resources should be put at the very end of the article.
Many pages end with a navbox with for example other aircraft by the same manufacturer.
Language links and categories
All articles should end with one or more categories. They are preceded by language links, if there is any translations of that page.

Formatting the wiki text

1rightarrow.png See Help:Formatting for the main article about this subject.

If you have just used Open Office, then it is still easy to get started, as you can begin using the buttons above the edit box to format your text. The wiki markup is rather easy to remember though. A few examples of what can be done is shown below:

* The most common markup is very easy, here also demonstrating unordered and ordered lists:
*# ''Italic text'' is done within two apostrophes
*# '''Bold text''' is done within three apostrophes
*# '''''Bold italic text''''' is done with five apostrophes
*#* Thus '''Bold and ''bold italic''''' text can be mixed
: Indented text is done with one or more colon at the beginning of each indented paragraph
  • The most common markup is very easy, here also demonstrating unordered and ordered lists:
    1. Italic text is done within two apostrophes
    2. Bold text is done within three apostrophes
    3. Bold italic text is done with five apostrophes
      • Thus Bold and bold italic text can be mixed
Indented text is done with one or more colon at the beginning of each indented paragraph

Linking your article to other articles

Linking your article to other articles will make your article more useful to the reader, as well as make it easier to find using search engines. There is mainly three ways to do this:

  1. By adding wiki links
  2. By adding one or more category
  3. By adding a navbox.


1rightarrow.png See Help:Formatting#Links to other wiki pages for the main article about this subject.

Wikilinks are links to other articles. You should preferably not link to other articles in the first section or in section headings and you should only link to other articles the first time a concept is used unless the article is very long. Filling the article with links will not make it easier to read it.

Wikilinks can be used in a few different ways.

Here is some example links:  [[Aircraft speed]], [[altitude]]s and [[Modeling - Getting Started#Finding, Creating, or Using Textures|textures]].

Here is some example links: Aircraft speed, altitudes and textures.


1rightarrow.png See Help:Categories for the main article about this subject.

The categories is connecting the articles, images, and templates in a partly tree-like partly web-like structure. By linking together similar content it will be easier to get a grasp on how your article is related to other articles.

Have a look in the category structure and try find a suitable category or maybe one or two more. Adding a category that is as narrow as possible to your article will help find it for a reader browsing through the categories looking for something.

Categories are added like this [[Category:Some category]] at the very bottom of the page. Sometimes it is desirable to add a category in a way that the article will be sorted differently than by it's name. This can be done like this [[Category:Some category|Sort key]], where the sort key is what it should be sorted as instead of the article name.


Navboxes, or navigation templates, are boxes helping navigating a series of related articles. They come in two flavours, one kind that is found to the top right of the article, often linking together a series of articles on a certain topic, and a kind that is found at the bottom of the article linking together related articles, for example aircraft by the same manufacturer or different articles related to building FlightGear from source files.