Wiki Help Desk

This page is a space for new users to ask any question they might have about how WardsWiki works - technically or socially. Click on the "EditText" link at the bottom of this page to write your question in the space below. Someone will be along to help you shortly. As a courtesy, please add the date to your question. It will help us clean up later.

If you're a student, be sure to see QuestionsFromStudents, the WikiHelpDesk specifically for students.

Also, your question might already be answered here or on one of these pages:

Write your questions below.

For asking general technical or career advice, see [insert topic here - EditHint - lost topic name]


Q: Can you provide me with an example of how to correctly cite a web resource from a Wiki web site such as yours? Many thanks.

A: See HowToCiteWiki.


Is there a way to easily convert information in MS Word documents to a format that will work for WIKE sites? I would like to post information that is currently in MS Word documents to a WIKI site at work. The documents are meeting notes that contain bold format headings, bullet lists, and tables. I see that I cannot post tables in WIKI, which is OK, but I'd like to convert the existing documents to something that I can paste in to the WIKI edit pages and avoid having to re-type all of the information if possible. I poked around quite a bit on the FAQs here but cannot find information like this. Thank you! Tom

---*** Update I found a good formatting guide on our work's WIKI site and think I can figure out how to format what I want, then paste in my text to follow, using the guide. This site is a great resource though, glad I found it! -- Tom


Q Hi Everyone, How can I create a map of the data being output by Twiki. I would really appreciate your help. Thank you in advance.

A This page is for questions about this particular wiki (WikiWikiWeb). If you have TWiki questions, it's best to ask them on the TWiki support site, at


Q Hello - I am looking into using a Wiki to maintain database schema information and spread the knowledge through the whole development team. The idea is that the database schema (table, views, etc.) are made available on the Wiki. Users can then add additional information against tables such as english descriptions for fields, how to join to other tables etc. I was wondering if something like this has been done before? I am ideally looking for an automated way to extract all the database schema information into a Wiki. Any ideas? Thanks!

A1 If you want to DoTheSimplestThingThatCouldPossiblyWork and updates are infrequent, don't bother with automation and simply manually paste the schema into the edit box of your Wiki.

A2 With a little knowledge of PerlLanguage, PhpLanguage, PythonLanguage, or whatever your Wiki is written in - and assuming the source is available - it shouldn't be too difficult for you or one of your SoftwareEngineers to modify your Wiki to automate the process of copying your schema to your Wiki. Since every WikiEngine implementation is different, there is no general solution that will apply to all of them. However, this will probably mean that field comments and the like will be lost each time you copy the schema to your Wiki, unless the comments are preserved in the database itself. If you wish to automatically propagate information from the Wiki (descriptions for fields, etc.) back to your database, this is a lot more complicated.

Q2 Thanks for the quick reply! Are there any of the shelf solutions to this that other people have created before?

A I am not aware of any general, off-the-shelf solution for this sort of situation, but that doesn't preclude the possibility that someone here or elsewhere has produced such a beast. However, it may be simpler and easier to use your Wiki to maintain documents about the schema, but not the schema itself. Instead, give your team access to a database administration tool like TOAD (Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, and others), pgAdmin III (PostgreSQL), or MySQL Administrator. You should be able to configure the database security to only allow updates (such as entering column or table comments) by your DBA or other appointed staff, while allowing everyone to read the schema.


Q Hello - I am relatively new to editing our Wiki and am wondering if there is a way to hide/minimize or otherwise get the navigation bar (right side of page) out of the way? I have created a page that contains a table and the table is relatively wide (I've abbreviated as much as I can to keep it narrow). Unfortunately, the nav bar covers up the last three columns of my table. Any suggestions for moving the navigation bar? (I don't know if it has a specific name other than navigation bar, but it's the bar that contains links to User Prefs, Site, Page, Actions, etc.) Any help would be greatly appreciated!! -- Peg K.

A Hi Peg. This is not your wiki, and we don't know where your wiki is. This wiki doesn't have a navigation bar. You need to talk to whomever it is that runs your wiki, not this one. Sorry not to be more helpful ... --- 28/03/05

Q Hi everyone - I am a newbie setting up a new wiki for my research group. I am having trouble with UserPreferences and I would really appreciate some help:

1) My problem is that I forgot to log myself out before I set up a new username and password for somebody else. Now I cannot login with my own username without typing the new guy's password and then when the wiki lets me in, it gives me this new guy's identity! (in the user profile the new user's name shows up - not mine) I cannot type in my actual username and then change the password because the wiki notifies me that someone else already has that name. Does anyone know how I can regain my identity?

2) Another problem that may be related is that now when I logout of the wiki and try to create yet another new user I get an error message (something like "user TestPersons? unknown")

Has anyone else run into problems like this? My system administrator installed the wiki on our linux cluster, but he's never used a wiki himself and can give me no advice.

Thanks a lot! - Ann P

A1 It also sounds like there is some confusion between initially "registering" a new user, vs a pre-registered user "logging in". It sounds like you "registered" yourself with a password that you've now forgotten. Ask the system administrator to reset your wiki password or delete your wiki profile. If I knew exactly which WikiEngine you are using (MoinMoin? MediaWiki?), perhaps I could give step-by-step instructions that you could relay to your sysadmin.


Q Hi guys, I would like to get a backup of the c2-wiki. Is there a link somewhere in order to download the Wiki in a raw format? Thanks for any feedback.

A No. For reasons, see DownloadWiki.

Q: Can I download the snapshots of the entire site in zipped HTML? I like to read it offline at home.

A: Snapshots for offline use aren't available: see DownloadWiki. (2004-03-25)

A2: A few subsets of the site can be downloaded as zipped HTML. See WikiMirrors and http:/ppr/wiki/. (2004-05-09)


Q: Hello, I am new to wikis and think one might be great for a small group of software support persons. There are five of us at four different locations in three different cities and in two states. We all are using DSL or cable broadband internet connections and are using Outlook 2003 as a communication platform. However, we need a place to collect helpfile type information. IT needs to be easy for any one of the 5 persons to update, needs a good search routine, and needs to be easy to find information in. Are wikis good at this sort of thing? And does anyone know where I can find some sample sites like that? -- MikelGiles?

A: Wikis excel at storing free-form information, and have been used to create FAQs. (The OpenSceneGraph group uses one for this purpose). If you're looking for a wiki with more capabilities than the WikiWikiWeb, take a look at TwikiClone or MediaWiki.


Hello. I created a homepage on WikiWikiWeb last year some time and have not been back to it, other than for a quick look, since I made it. Today, however, I decided to see what it said again because I was doing some research on the site and I noticed that it was edited yesterday. I looked at the changes but I cannot see any differences. Is there a reason why it might have been edited that I just do not know about or have not noticed? Thanks a lot if you can help. Bye - AdamBurton

They changed your spelling of "organise" to "organize", which is the way it's spelled in the US. That would be viewed as a spelling correction by many people from there. (I don't know where you're from.) It is hard sometimes to notice what change has been made when someone makes a spelling correction or other small edit on a page, and I don't know of a way to remove that difficulty.

[The page was amongst at least fifty which had been spammed (in alphabetical order) with a set of commercial links. The spelling change was done so that even the quickDiff for the page would not show those links.]

Q: Should entries on this page be deleted or moved elsewhere after some period of time? How long? A week? A month?

A: Time-based expiration implies that questioners or answerers should include a date with each entry.

Q: How can one add their user page as a wiki page?

A: Please add some useful information to any page you find interesting. Sign it with your UserName and click [Save]. Then click the blue "?" after your UserName. Then fill in your information and click [Save]. Voila!

(No "?" ? Change your signature until it is recognized as a WikiName).

Q: How can one delete their user page?

A: Replace the contents with the word "delete". Note that the page won't actually disappear until somebody else seconds the deletion. A potential problem exists here because deleting people's HomePages is often considered rude, and so somebody might resurrect the deleted page in an effort to be kind. Consider replacing your page's contents with "delete - No longer a user" or something similar so that people will know that the deletion is voluntary.


Q: I am a biology teacher and some students of mine are trying to make a sort of encyclopedia. Is wiki the way to go?

A: Yes. See for exactly that sort of project.

A2: Perhaps you want to create a small wiki just for your class (or create a small WalledGarden on some public Wiki). If so, read RunningYourOwnWikiFaq. That way you encourage your students to write everything themselves (StartFromScratch, PleaseReinventTheWheel), and you don't have to worry about outsiders trying to be "helpful".

On the other hand, if the students add articles to itself, perhaps someone would find their articles useful (unlike the vast majority of student papers, which are never read again after they are graded). And people commenting on their articles might be a morale booster.

Q: How do you change the HomePage title?

A: To change the title of a wiki page, create a new page with the correct title, move the content to it, change the old page's BackLinks, then delete the old page (see HowToDeletePages). If the page is your HomePage, you might want to add a note explaining why you deleted the page. Otherwise, someone might restore it.

Q: Hi - I'm trying to add to an existing wiki. I would like to categorize this info, apart from the other info. How do I add a subdirectory to a wiki? Thanks in advance.

A: That depends on the wiki; some allow that, others don't. ZwiKi integrates a folder into the wiki to allow for hierarchical relationships, on top of the usual wiki behaviour. This wiki does not support that functionality, as it has been deemed not to be WhyWikiWorks. Have you asked the WikiEngines creator?


A2: Another way to accomplish your goal is Category tags (see CategoryCategory). Instead of putting, say, "parrots", "penguins", and "sparrows" into a "birds" subdirectory, we tag them with a "categoryBird". To get a list of birds (like a directory listing), we use the BackLink technology built into almost every wiki. Many people feel categories and BackLinks are superior to subdirectories, because they can do everything subdirectories do. (And categories can do a few things that subdirectories cannot do). -- DavidCary

(moved to FilesystemBasedWiki)

Q: Most wiki software I've used so far (this site and WikiPedia) use the CGI software for both editing and display (ie, looking up articles).

Is it possible to do ordinary HTML text for display, and only resort to CGI software at edit time ?

A: See FilesystemBasedWiki. To summarize, yes, it's possible. But it's much simpler to use CGI for both reading and writing, and since we DoTheSimplestThingThatCouldPossiblyWork, no one has bothered to make such a wiki yet.

Q: It seems that numbers are not allowed in WikiNames when creating new pages, for example Car20Faq. Is there a work around? -- G?an Sandberg

A: Most commonly, the numbers are spelled out. So Car20Faq might be CarTwentyFaq?, or CarTwoOhFaq?.

Q: Is there a good HTML wiki out there? -- DaveTucker

A: If by "HTML wiki" you mean a wiki engine that uses HTML markup instead of easy markup, TwikiClone is one WikiEngine that supports most HTML tags in addition to its own TextFormattingRules. If you mean "a wiki where HTML is discussed", you might want to look at these pages: HyperTextMarkupLanguage, JustAnHtmlCoder, WebsitePatterns.

Q: I'm trying to link to an image file. Ostensibly linking directly to the URL should do it, but there's obviously more to it than that. Would you please fill me in?

Maybe the image format is not supported here. Which format did you try?

I am absolutely brand new to this, although tonight I introduce wiki to UCHUG, the Under the Computer Hood Users Group. We are exploring a site that has graciously been furnished to us by another local user group, and I honestly do not know enough about the subject matter to form good questions and follow-up questions.

That said, I can refer you to the site, itself, if you would be willing and able to sleuth out those salient details that are not at all apparent to me. We are operating at

Thank you for your attention. And kindly wish us luck. This marks a new adventure in internet dialogue for UCHUG.

Epilogue: Problem solved - Evidently I needed to put the URL in square brackets. I still need to learn about image formats, but I'm on my way.


Q: I'm trying to create a FAQ page. I'm used to placing questions for the FAQ in a summary section on the same page as the questions and answers together. Each question in the summary section has a link that takes you down to the appropriate question/answer entry. I understand how to create links to other pages, etc. How do I create links to other sections on the same page as the link?.

A: Unfortunately, the TextFormattingRules for this wiki don't include anchors, which is what you would need here. So either (a) put each question on its own page, or (b) use some other wiki that does support anchors.

Q: For the stock C2 Wiki, is there an easy way to have the "Edit Text of this page" link at the top rather than the bottom? I have some pages that change nearly hourly and it's constant scrolling ;)

A: Just press the End key (for some browsers, Ctrl-End) in your keyboard. ;)

Q: (2004-03-08) Okay, this isn't a newbie question, but I thought someone might notice this here and be able to help me. I distinctly remember some time ago reading a page on this wiki in which people discussed employment contracts that have unreasonable clauses in them stating that the employer owns every bit of IntellectualProperty that you generate. This would technically include the novel you write in your spare time on the weekends, the open-source code you contribute to, etc. The page proposed some alternative language which accomplished what the employer really wanted but was more reasonable. I now find myself in such a situation, but somehow I can't locate the page I remember. Can anyone help me?

A: Wow. Wiki is cool! After writing the question above, I realized that I had instinctively written IntellectualProperty as a WikiWord. I realized it was an excellent synonym that I hadn't considered in my first 15 min of searching, and I quickly found OverlyBroadIntellectualPropertyAgreements, the page I had been searching for. -- MichaelChermside

Q: Why won't my wiki stay up there? Why is it not there the next day? CategoryWiki

A: Either it was noticeably off-topic or it was in WikiWikiSandbox, all of which is considered experimental. 2005-05-06

Q: (2004-07-21) Recently and with increasing frequency I have received a "You don't have permission" message in response to attempts to read pages on this Wiki.

A: There appear to be daily brief periods where the wiki is locked to everyone, probably due to index updates. See ForbiddenAccess.

Q: (2004-08-02) Back links seem to be broken for me on my laptop - I get the symptoms described in BackLinksBroken, but none of the solutions seem to apply. I tried setting the cache size to zero, and I don't have a firewall (unless you count a Linksys box).... Norton AV doesn't mention "referrer blocking" in its help... However, it works on the desktop machine (which is an earlier Windows), so it's probably related to XP - could you add some more info to the page, suggest diagnostics, etc.? Not urgent now, but it would be helpful. Thx

A: To check whether HTTP_REFERER is blocked, follow the instructions in HttpReferer. Does that confirm it is blocked in your case?

Q: Over the weekend, I was accessing the wiki from home, and, on trying to update a page, found that the code word had disappeared and the update disallowed. It is a new machine, and it may be the first time I have tried to do an update on it, so have I lost a cookie, or is there some other reason? Updating works fine today, as I am accessing the wiki from work. I have sent a note to Ward, but hadn't received an answer by last night. Thanks. -- PaulMorrison

A: You were most likely caught in an IP range block. C2 wiki suffers from very coarse tools for blocking abusers, and ends up blocking large IP ranges to keep out a few bad apples. The active IP range blocks vary frequently.

Q: That makes sense. Can I get out of it, or do I just wait until the ranges shift again?!

Q: Hi guys, I was wondering, is it possible to have a page name differ from the its internal name, ie if I create a page called group_testpage1, instead of having it's title be group_testpage1 I would like to rename it into Group1 - Test Page 1... Thanks

A: It's not possible on this wiki.

Q: If an excel spreadsheet is uploaded to a wiki, can users view and edit that spreadsheet without having to save it to local hard drive, edit it, and then re-upload it?

A: I know of no Wiki that can do that. TwikiClone at least allows you to version non-HTML attachments on wiki pages.

Q: (2007-06-07) How can one (newbie or not) most effectively determine where a new wiki page should get started from (what existing page should it get started/linked from)? For example, I want to discuss the use of wiki for publishing and maintaining technical documentation, maybe a page like WikiForDocumentation or DocumentWithWiki?. Basically a 'pros and cons' of using a wiki for software documentation. I looked at a lot of pages and categories trying to figure out where to go, but since wikis have little in the way of TOC/hierarchical organizational structure, it's hard to know.

A: There's no explicit guideline, so you'll just have to use your best judgment. There are two things that help: searching for similar pages via the FindPage and categories, and familiarity with the wiki's content.

Q: I would like to creat a web page with limited details concerning my book.

A: If your book has anything to do with wikis, or "people, projects and patterns" concerning software programming and computers, then you could create a page on this wiki. If not, then you need to find a web-host, and create yourself a web-page on the internet. There are free web-site hosts that even have auto-generated web-pages so that you do not need to learn HTML. Good luck in your endeavor.


Q: Hi! I'm a student & interested in wiki. I wanted to know the basic protocols & the networking aspect behind wiki. Can you help me? thanks!

A: It's a dynamic Web-based application. Hence, the basic protocol is HTTP.


Q:Hi, i am an employee, im working on wiki pages. When im clicking edit to edit the content in wiki page, sometimes the content in the page is deleted. Why does this happen in wiki page? Thank you.

A: It's probably due to some moral failing on your part, or perhaps a character flaw.

2011-11-13 (This date is in the future and it is thus not possible to answer the question yet.)

Q: Why can't these files be specified in a link?

 Merrow 70-D3B-2 sample 1.jpg
 Merrow 70-D3B-2 sample 2.jpg
A: There are spaces in the file names. Spaces are not allowed, because there is no way to distinguish spaces in a file name from spaces that follow it. (BTW, I have a time machine and can answer future questions.)


Q: Does anyone know who to contact about the problem that the UniversalWikiEditButton version 1.1 is rejected as an add on by FireFox 4.0? -- JohnFletcher

A1: WardCunningham, maybe?

Q2: Does it matter?

A2: It is very helpful to me and I want to be able to keep uptodate with FireFox versions.

18th April 2011

Q: I'm referencing text from the FrontPage - but the text that I had has now been changed (!), and I do not have a record of the date of the page version when I accessed the text. Is it possible for regular users to see the history of a page? Alternatively, for someone who has access to this, would it be possible to find when the "just" was added in the text (in 1st paragraph): "Really, we just don't know quite what it is, but it's a fun way of communicating asynchronously across the network"? I would be very grateful! --CormacLawler

A: Page history is available. For FrontPage, see

A2: By way of explanation, FrontPage is one of the pages which gets frequent attention from spammers and vandals, so it is always being edited to restore it.

Thanks very much - much appreciated! (Feel free to delete this if you want to keep the page to Qs and As.)

See WikiWikiSuggestions, WikiWikiBugs


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