Help:Your first article

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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 research 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 FlightGear are still in flux and being developed.

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 need 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, FAQs, etc.
Aircraft related articles
Documentation about the official aircraft

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

Starting small by maintaining an existing article

If you do not yet feel fully ready to start a whole new article there are also categories of various pages that could need maintenance and some tender loving care such as:

Very short articles that would probably be more useful if they were longer
Articles needing cleanup
Articles that could need some restructuring or maybe even a rewrite.
Articles needing updating
Articles covering topics that has since changed
Image files needing a description
For example aircraft screenshots without description, thus making them difficult to search for.

Helping out with those could be a good way to familiarize yourself with the wiki as well as the wiki markup.

Creating a new article

Here are some things to consider before starting a new article.

Sandbox pages

You can create a sandbox page, in essence an article as a subpage to your user page, if you know that you will be working on the article a bit now and then but do not want to leave an unfinished article in the article namespace.

You can create a subpage to your user page by giving it the name User:User name/Article name. To make it easier to find you can make a link to it on your user page. When you are more or less done, you can then move this page to the article space.

Choosing a good title

Give the page a meaningful name. Usually one would try to only have the initial character upper case. Do not use abbreviations for an article title. Your article title should be spelled out. If an abbreviation is commonly used, you may create a separate page consisting of the abbreviated title and a page redirect, which will refer the reader back to your main article.

Search and create

In essence: 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 blue link prompting you to create new page to go to an edit page.

Preview early, and preview often

This is important. First of all, and especially 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

1rightarrow.png See FlightGear wiki:Style guide – Article disposition for the main article about this subject.

Generic disposition

Consider this as 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]]

The lead section of a '''generic article''' would look something like this.

== Heading ==
Some text...

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

== Related content ==
* [[Some wiki link]] – Some description

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

{{Some navbox}}

[[en:Some language link]]

[[Category:Some category link]]

The lead section

One important thing to put some attention on is the lead section of the article. It should be a short summary of the article. Preferably the page title in bold should be within the first sentence of the lead section. This short summary should help a reader to quickly figure out if he found the page he was looking for, as well as help him grasp the context and the main concepts of the article.

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 simple examples are shown below:

Description What you type What you get
Italic and bold text.
''Italic'' and '''bold''' text.
Italic and bold text.
== Level 2 ==
=== Level 3 ===
==== Level 4 ====

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Links to wiki pages. The first character is case insensitive.
Here is a [[list of abbreviations]].

A [[Help:Templates|template]] can be very practical.
Here is a list of abbreviations.

A template can be very practical.

Unordered lists
* Item
* Item
  • Item
  • Item
Ordered lists
# Item
# Item
  1. Item
  2. Item
Definition lists
; Term
: Definition
Indentation is usually the way comments from different users are separated on discussion pages.
No indentation

No indentation

{| class="wikitable"
! Cell one !! Cell two
| Cell three || Cell four
Cell one Cell two
Cell three Cell four
Nasal and XML highlighting. See also Help:Formatting#Syntax highlighting.
<syntaxhighlight lang="nasal" enclose="div">
# Snippet

<syntaxhighlight lang="xml" enclose="div">
 <!-- Snippet -->
# Snippet
 <!-- Snippet -->
Images and thumbnail images

[[File:Fg wings large.png|thumb|150px|Logo]]


Progress templates


{{not done}}


Done Done

Pending Pending

Not done Not done

50}% completed

Embedded YouTube videos, here
This example not shown

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 lead 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 varieties, 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.