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Magic Words and Symbols[edit]

Wikitalk uses many words and symbols to format, edit and facilitate reading articles, a few of the more common are explained here. There are links to more explanatory pages where they exist.


used with every article to put in a category (or categories).[1]
[[Category:category name here]]. These are usually placed at the end of an article, but even if they aren't, they will always appear at the bottom to a reader.

Formatting with apostrophes[edit]

emphasise with italic or bold lettering.
two apostrophes before and after a word or words will italicise it or them.
three apostrophes will bold them.
five apostrophes bold and italic
NB repeated single apostrophes only, double apostrophes (quotes) do not have any effect.

Formatting with html[edit]

Hyper text markup language can be used to alter the appearance of text, but is not 100% reliable as it might conflict with wiki syntax.
Commonly used are:
<sub>characters/words</sub> to subscript (H2O),*
<sup>characters/words</sup> to superscript (X2),*
<s>characters/words</s> to strike out without removing (characters/words)*
<font color = "colourname here">words to colour here</font> to change the font colour (like these red words )
<br/> puts a hard line break (cr/lf) in the text.
<center></center> will center enclosed text across the page.
Most html will work, but the wiki software doesn't like some tags, especially if you mix them.

* These markups are in the Wiki markup section of the editing toolbox.

Note: CSS markup is preferred to HTML e.g. <span style="color:Red;"> Red script </span> produces: Red script


divide an article into sections using headers.[2]
two or more equals (=) signs before and after words makes them into headers and divides the page into sections. "Two equals sign" headers are used for main sections. "Three equals sign" headers are used to further break them up. Besides making an article easier to read, headers also make it easier to edit, since each one becomes an editable section.


indenting (like 'tabbing' in a word processor, but affecting the whole following paragraph)
: (colon) indents once for each colon. On RationalWiki talk pages it is customary for successive entries to be indented one more than the previous using colons (until thing get too far to the right, then usually someone goes back to none with a quick note such as "<-- unindent").
* (asterisk) is used as a talk page indent symbol on some wikis. Do not use it as such on RationalWiki. Asterisks are for making bulleted lists.
If you want to stick an asterisk as an asterisk at the start of a line then enclose it in <nowiki>*</nowiki> tags.
# (pound, hash, or number) these are used to create numbered lists. Using double "#"s after a single one creates a subsection.
;: (semicolon & colon) are used for definition/ref lists: ;Marmalade : a delicious conserve of (normally) oranges. ;Orange : the fruit of the orange tree produces:
a delicious conserve of (normally) oranges.
the fruit of the orange tree.
The various indent methods can be combined - experiment.

See:here for use of *,#,;: in lists.


to differentiate actual quotations from the bulk of the article.[3]
{{cquote|quotation goes here}}
quotation goes here


forces an incoming link to go directly to another page or article.
#REDIRECT[[page to go to]]. Used when there is more than one way of referring to a subject. Alternately spelled or titled articles contain only the Redirect to the primary page.

* In the Wiki markup section of the editing toolbox.


puts a number like: [1] at the point of insertion, as a link to the body of the reference at the end of the document.[4]
<ref> reference wording here </ref> Will show only as a "footnote" superscripted number. The text that is between the tags will appear as a corresponding footnote in the "references" section, which is usually placed at the bottom of the article.
<references/> is the tag used to automatically generate this list of footnotes. On RationalWiki it is preceded with a "double equals sign" header called "Footnotes".

* In the Wiki markup section of the editing toolbox.


needed to stop many of the effects here, two returns put a clear line in the text flow.


tildes (~) are used as a wikisymbol for signing/dating "talk" contributions.
four tildes (~~~~) will put your username and date/time at the point of insertion. This should always be done after talk page comments.*
three tildes (~~~) leaves just your username;
five tildes (~~~~~) leaves only the date/time stamp
your username (result of three & four tildes) is automatically formatted as a link to your user page.[5]

* In the edit toolbar.


  • Defaultsort changes the order in which the title is sorted in category listings. This is mostly used with people's names.
with e.g. forename othername surname: {{DEFAULTSORT:surname, forename, othername}}. Has no visible effect within the article but forces the sort order in category lists. E.g {{DEFAULTSORT:Dawkins, Richard}} will force an article on Richard Dawkins to appear under D.
  • Sorting can also be achieved within individual categories using "sortkey". In the category statement ([[Category: thiscat]]) use: [[Category: thiscat|sortkey wording]]. Within that category the article will be listed under the alpha order of the sortkey wording, although the article will still be referred to by its title.


transclude is a wikiword "transfer/include", it means the copying of the contents of another page to the point of transclusion.
{{page to be included}}. The page being copied is usually known as a "template" and is likely to be in "Template:" namespace.



There are many other magic words and symbols used in wikitalk, feel free to research and use them.


See also[edit]