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 photograph 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.
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.
Mechanics of Editing
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.