This page provides a general description of OutHistory and serves as a contents page for more specific help topics.
How does OutHistory Work?
OutHistory is a wiki, which means that it runs on a software which allows users to create, edit, and link pages easily. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites. Any user can discuss articles posted on OutHistory, even without creating an account. Only users who have signed up (created an account) can create and edit articles and upload photographs and other media. The goal of OutHistory's staff is to collaborate with such contributors in order to bring articles to a high degree of consistency and accuracy.
In addition, OutHistory staff have solicited contributions from eminent scholars in the field. Each user's contribution is identified in the history of the article. However, since OutHistory staff usually posts articles contributed by scholars, the name of the contributor is given in the article itself. Scholarly contributions are protected from edits and usually, but not exclusively, only the staff can edit those articles.
Discussing, Editing Articles and Uploading Files
To discuss an article, click on the "discuss" link above the article. You may or may not be signed in to discuss articles.
To Edit an article, click on the "edit" link above the article. You must be signed in to edit an article. If an article is protected, you will only be able to see the source of the article but not edit it.
You must be signed in to to upload images and other media. To upload files, click on the "upload file" link near the bottom of the sidebar.
Create a New Entry
[Jonathan's version of "Creating New Articles" adapted from Wikipedia]
To create a new article or timeline entry: in the "Search" box in the red column on the left, type the title of your article.
Then click Search.
If the Search page reports "No page with that title exists" then click the red "Create the page" link to start editing your article.
The very first thing you should write in your article is a list of the source(s) for your information. For now, just enter them like this (and they will automatically turn into links):
Later, you'll learn how to format them to appear as footnotes.
If you know that it will take you a few edits to properly list references, put the template Template:Underconstruction on top of the page to signify to other editors that you are working on it, so they don't tag it for deletion yet.
Even better is to create your article in a subpage of your user page, take as long as you need to make it a good article, then move it to the main article space.
After you have entered your article, click Show preview to check for errors, then click Save page.
Creating New Articles
There are two ways of creating new articles.
First is by clicking on wiki links on an existing page. Links between articles on OutHistory are blue except for links which lead to a non-existing articles. Links to articles which don't exist yet are red. It's a good idea to make links to articles which don't exists yet because red link is an indication to other users that such article is expected and should be written.
You can also create articles directly by typing a URL in your browser's address bar. If the article title has multiple words, you can use either spaces or underscores to separate words. You will notice that spaces in article titles are turned into underscores automatically. E.g. Type "outhistory.com/John Smith". However, refrain from using any other special characters in article titles. Typig a direct URL will take you to a non-existing template page which will allow you to edit it into an article. If article by the same title already exists, that article will be shown.
It's recommended that you create new articles from existing links instead of directly. The advantage of doing so is two-fold. Firstly, it's a good indicator from other users that those particular articles are sought for. Secondly, such practice ensures that new articles are linked into the web and that readers of OutHistory actually can actually find them. If a new article is created from a direct link but exists in isolation, e.g. is not linked to from any other article, users may not be aware that it even exists. Interlinking of wiki links is what makes the entire website work.
How to Edit?
To find out about the mechanics of editing articles, i.e. how to link to other pages, how to make text bold or italic, how to write headlines, put images into a page, align text and image, and etc., see editing help.