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Tutorials for doing some of the more common tasks for writing and editing articles in Civicwiki are available by clicking on the tabs across the to of this page.

In addition there is a tutorial to

guide you through the process for registering (creating a CW account)
describe how to use discussion pages
and one that lists a few things to keep in mind when editing and creation of content.

This tutorial presents the mechanics of creating an article. If you are creating an article, and it is your first, please read about writing your first article. Civicwiki has attempted to make creating (and editing) articles easy.

This tutorial is a detailed set of instructions for using the SemanticWiki form we have created for article creation.
You can always

Who may create an article

Anyone may create an article, but you must be a registered user to publish your own article.
A registered "user" may also edit an article.
Anyone may register. To register, start here.
Any CW visitor may submit an article. It must be approved by an editor before it is published.

If you are a "user", click "Add Article(registered)" on the left sidebar to initiate your article.
If you are a visitor, click "Add Article (visitor) on the left sidebar.

Catalog your article:

The window at the top of the form lists all the categories (topics and subtopics) that currently exist. It is important to select the proper category to catalog your article.

The category selection box on the form allows assignment to only one category and that is all that is required. Select the best fit. There will be a few instances in which you will want to catalog an article under more than one category. That is your choice. It is discussed below.

To assign it correctly, you must be familiar with the top level categories. For that matter, the fact that you want to write an article for CW assumes that you are familiar with the CW mission. That familiarity can only be obtained by reading a few things - the main page, about CW, the CW mission, and the introductions on the portal pages for each top level category.

Links to the portals are visible on the top-right of the main page. They are also listed here:
Inalienable Rights
America's Heritage
American Independence
Federalism and Democracy
Economic Freedom
The Issues

Select the intended category by clicking the circle next to the category name

Assigning an article to more than one category

Several of the top level categories overlap, which may warrant assigning an article to more than one category. An article can be assigned to any number of categories. To assign to multiple categories:

  1. Edit the article by clicking the tab "Edit with form".
  2. Scroll to the text box at the very bottom of the form.
  3. Enter a category tag for each additional category desired. Here is a sample category tag for a fictional category called "addcat": [ [Category:addcat] ]
  4. Save page

Text boxes

Most of the rest of the article form is boxes for typing text. Each such text box has a help bar at the top of the box that provides buttons and drop-down lists of buttons and instructions for how to format your article, insert links, images, references, etc. The best way to become familiar with it is to explore it.

Create a Summary

Next is the summary text box. A summary is not mandatory, but is advisable.
The Summary text box is for typing a short summary or abstract of the article. The current use for summaries is to place them on the Civicwiki main page or on the portal page in the sample article box accompanied by a link to the article page.

Dividing the article into sections

The body of the article itself is divided into sections. It is not mandatory to have more than one section, but articles with more than one simple point to make will likely benefit from using sections. If you are familiar with Wikipedia articles, you haves seen sections.

Why use sections?

  • You may want others to be able to link to a specific paragraph or point that is buried in a long article. If the article is divided into sections, others can link to a specific section using the url for the article with "#sectionname" appended to it.
  • An expandable table of contents is inserted at the top that shows the list of links to each section.
  • Using the form, infoboxes can be inserted on the right side of each section. (see below)
  • Section headers provide an easy visual way to find information in a long article.

Wikipedia inserts section breaks using 2nd level headings (see help menu above) and they appear as a bold heading underlined by a page-wide separating line. That approach can be used in CW articles by simply inserting a 2nd level heading to indicate a new heading, but the CW article form provides a more flexible approach. (see below)
There are two ways to divide an article into sections.

  1. Using the form to add and rearrange sections.
    The box for typing text for the first section is next below the summary box.
    You can (and probably should) give this, and any other section, a heading by inserting a 2nd level heading as described above. Below the heading line, simply type the text for the section as you would any wiki page.
    Add a section by clicking on the 'Add NEW section' box. That will drop in a template for the new section (along with its two infobox templates) below the current section.
    You will see three buttons near the top-left of the 1st infobox template. These allow you to
    - insert a new section above the current section,
    - delete the current section, or
    - rearrange the order of sections by sliding the current section up or down in the order.
  2. Inserting a 2nd level heading as described above in the Help menu.
    You can elect not to use the form for adding sections and simply insert 2nd level headings (see the help menu above). These create new headings on wiki pages. Unlike in Wikipedia, however, sections created this way in Civicwiki do not result in 'edit' buttons to the right of the section. Also, the only option for editing an article is to 'edit using form'. If you have not used 'Add NEW section' to divide the article into sections, the form will treat the article as a single long section for editing purposes.

Inserting infoboxes

If you are familiar with Wikipedia articles, you are familiar with the infoboxes that appear on the right side of many of the articles that add image, graphic, and textual information to the article. The article form attempts to make this easy for you by providing an infobox template.

  • The article form provides templates for two infoboxes in each section.
  • Each infobox will accommodate an image, a caption for the image, and descriptive text.
Note that an image is not required. You can leave that blank and simply type in descriptive text that can be formatted the same as the main text in the article.

This tutorial presents the mechanics of editing (or creating) an article.

The best way to learn how to edit an article is to read the tutorial on creating an article. Then come back here for what little more is needed:

As for creating an article, you must be a registered user to edit an article. (see the tutorial on registering).

To edit an article, simply click on the tab: 'Edit with form'. If you have read the tutorial on creating an article, you know what is needed to edit.

Citing Sources

Civicwiki articles must be fact based. To show that your article is based on fact, it must cite the sources that you use. Here are a few rules and suggestions:

  • It is not necessary to cite a source for facts that everyone knows. Example: "The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th, 1776." does not need source. We'll accept that.

How to cite sources:
We found a source that provides good instruction on gathering source information and posting it. It is on WikiHow. Here it is.

Inserting references and notes into an article

The help bar in the article form provides instructions for adding references, notes, and links to a page you are editing or creating. They are on the "Help" drop-down menu.

A note is added the same as a reference is added. Just type the note text between the reference tags.

Remember that when you add references and notes, a 'references' tag is needed at the bottom of the page. (see "Display references" above.)
This tag can be inserted at the end of the section you are editing - if you want the reference to appear there;

or it can be placed in the last box in the form. That will place it at the bottom of the article.
A reference placed in an article will be displayed by the first 'references' tag encountered below the reference text. For that reason, it is best to use a single tag at the bottom of the article or to place a tag in each section that uses notes or references.

Reference formats

Any standard reference format is acceptable and is your choice. Here are some standard formats in use by CW:

  • Book
Author last name, first initial (or name). Book title. Publication city: Publisher. Year published
Channing, Edward. History of The United States, Volume I. New York. The MacMillan Co. 1909
  • Journal Article
Author last name, first initial. (Year published). Article title. Journal title, volume number, page numbers.
  • Magazine Article
Author last name, first initial. (Publication date). Article title. Magazine title, volume number, page numbers.
  • Encyclopedia Article
Author last name, first initial. (Year published). Article title. In Encyclopedia title. (Vol. volume number, page numbers). Publication city: publication company.
  • Newspaper Article
Author last name, first initial. (Publication date). Article title. Newspaper title, page numbers.
  • Website
Author last name, first initial. (Publication date). “Article title.” Website title. Retrieved date, from URL


  1. Channing, Edward (1909). History of The United States. New York: The MacMillan Co..

DISCLAIMER/WARNING This page was pasted from Wikipedia as a model and has had minor editing. It needs major remodeling. All of the 'red' links lead nowhere. These are links to pages that do not yet exist.

There are some things to keep in mind when editing Civicwiki.

Core content policies

Neutral point of view

Maintaining a neutral point of view (NPOV) is one of the five pillars and founding principles of Civicwiki. This policy says that we accept all the significant viewpoints on an issue. Instead of simply stating one perspective, we try to present all relevant viewpoints without judging them. Our aim is to be informative, not persuasive. Our policy does NOT mean that our articles are expected to be 100% "objective," since in any dispute all sides believe their view to be "true."

Civicwiki does not achieve balance by giving all opposing points of view equal space or treating them as equally valid. Views should be represented in proportion to their representation in reliable sources. When the subject of the article is a fringe theory, such as HIV/AIDS denialism or Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories, the article should give much more weight to the mainstream view with the fringe view clearly described as such.

It is okay to state opinions in articles, but they must be presented as opinions, not as fact. It is a good idea to attribute these opinions, for example "Supporters of this say that..." or "Notable commentator X believes that..."

You might hear Civicwikians referring to an article as having a "POV" problem. This is Civicwiki slang for a biased article, or one obviously written from a single perspective. Articles that are written like advertising would fall in this category, as would a political diatribe. In a less extreme case, an article might have "POV" problems if it spends significantly more time discussing one view than another view of equivalent significance, even if each view is presented neutrally, or if the article gives excessive coverage to a minor viewpoint.

If you are going to spend time on controversial articles in subjects like religion or politics, it is important that you read the neutral point of view policy page as soon as possible. You should probably also read the essay Wikipedia's Staying cool when the editing gets hot. If you are going to spend your time on less emotional topics such as math, or video games, you should still read the policies, but it is a less pressing concern. Keep in mind the advice here, and read the full policy if an NPOV issue comes up.

For more information, see the Wikipedia NPOV tutorial


Civicwiki requires verifiable content, which means that you may only write what reliable sources have said about topics. If you cannot find reliable sources to back up your information, it cannot be included even if it is "true". You must cite sources for any information you contribute that is controversial or likely to be challenged, preferably by adding a footnote, as discussed in the "Citing Sources" page of this tutorial. Citations help our readers to verify what you have written and to find more information.

"Paris is the capital of France" is an example of a statement that does not necessarily need to be sourced, because it's common knowledge and everybody knows that there are dozens of sources which could be cited. The information is attributable, even if it is not attributed.

If any websites would be of particular interest to a reader of an article, they should be listed and linked to in an "External links" section. Books of particular interest should be listed in a "Further reading" section, but only if they were not used as sources for the article.

For more information, see Wikipedia:Citing sources

No original research

Civicwiki is not the place for original research — that is, facts, allegations, or ideas for which no reliable, published sources exist. This includes any analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position not advanced by the sources]]. Sources must support material directly and in context. For example, the statement "most computer scientists believe that P ≠ NP" must be supported by a reliable source which says that most computer scientists believe this, not by five citations of computer scientists saying that they themselves believe this without claiming to speak for the majority.

Routine calculations, translations from other languages, and faithful transcriptions of published audio and video are generally not considered original research.

For more information, see Civicwiki:No original research

Other editorial policies

Subject matter

Civicwiki is an editable . . . encyclopedia (along with some topics that would typically be found in an almanac). Hence, articles should consist of encyclopedic information . . . . What exactly constitutes notability is the subject of constant debate on Wikipedia, but in no case should there be an article for every person on the planet, or for every company that sells anything, or for each street in every town in the world. However, there are sister projects for certain types of non-encyclopedic content.

We also tend to discourage authors from writing about themselves or their own accomplishments, as this is a conflict of interest. If you have notable accomplishments, someone else will write an article about you (eventually). Wikipedia:Autobiography has more detail on this.

For more information, see Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not


Do not add copyrighted materials to Civicwiki without permission from the copyright owner. When adding information to articles, make sure it is written in your own words. Remember that all information found on the Internet is copyrighted unless the website specifically states otherwise.

For more information, see Civicwiki:Copyrights


Civicwiki encourages an atmosphere of friendliness and openness. Of course, in practice there are sometimes disagreements and even an occasional heated argument, but members of the community are expected to behave in a generally civil manner.

You should always assume good faith on the part of other editors. Do not assume that someone is acting out of spite or malice. If someone does something that upsets you, leave a polite message on the relevant article's talk page or on the user's talk page, and ask why. You may find that you have avoided a misunderstanding and saved yourself some embarrassment.

For a more detailed discussion of conduct, see Civicwiki:Etiquette

Creating articles

When creating articles on Civicwiki, try to take the advice given in the tutorial and to follow the policies mentioned here, such as neutrality. It is important to cite sources to establish the notability of the topic and make the article verifiable. You need to be registered to create an article in Civicwiki.

For details on how to create an article, see Civicwiki:Your first article

Renaming articles

If you find an article that you believe is mis-named, please do not copy and paste the contents of the old article into a new article — among other things, it separates the previous contributions from their edit history (which we need to keep track of for copyright reasons). The preferred method is to move the page to the new name (you need to be registered to be able to do that). If it is your first move, please read the warnings on the move page carefully, as there are a number of issues to consider before moving a page. Principles for choosing titles of articles are described under Civicwiki:Article titles. If a "disambiguation" page is involved, it is best to review Civicwiki:Disambiguation.

For more information, see Help:Moving a page


Why Register with Civicwiki? — Give us the benefit of your knowledge and help the quality of the site in the process.

  • Registration will allow you to edit and submit articles.
    • Once registered, you are able to edit existing articles to add information or to correct errors
    • As a registered member you are able to submit an article.
      • A valid email address is required before we can publish it. An email address is not required to edit.
  • Registration allows you to recover your password if it gets lost.
  • Registration helps us administer the site by discouraging spam and vandalism.
  • Registration allows us to communicate helpful comments to you if we think they will improve your edits or article submissions.

There are a number of other great benefits to registering - and we'll let you know what they are as soon as we figure it out.

Login or create an account (register) here.