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How to edit an article

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About wiki editing

Our wiki uses the Mediawiki platform, the  open-source platform that powers Wikipedia. MediaWiki is a very powerful platform, but one surprising downside is that it's editing environment isn't as slick as we are used to on the internet now. It often feels like the internet we know 10 or more years ago, with a few glitches and not-so-intuitive elements. But overall it is really very simply, once you get used to a few quirks. 

Basic editing how-to

To start editing a page, go to that page, and then click on “Actions” at the top right of the page, and choose “Edit” in the menu that appears. 

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Two editing modes

There are two editing modes:

  • the "visual editor", which you are likely to use most of the time, which will render the text almost like it will appear on the page. 
  • the "wiki text editor", which shows the text with the wiki syntax used by the MediaWiki platform. In practice, this is useful when you
    • want to create an expandable section or insert a footnote. 
    • want to add a blue warning box (see below)
    • want to clean some formatting bugs.

To toggle from one mode to the other, click on the top-left icon of the editor window.

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When you paste text from the outside, always paste it without format (in the edit menu of your browser choose "Paste and Match Style" or something similar), otherwise you'll import outside formatting into the wiki, which need to be cleaned in 'wiki text editor' mode.

When you make an edit, always make a short comment so others among us understand what you have edited. This is useful to understand the history of changes in an article (every page has a history page to understand how the page has evolved).

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Editing in the wiki or in a word processor

Don't forget to save what you write quite regularly! The wiki platform does not have an auto-save function. So don't make a long spurt of writing without saving. 

You can also write in your preferred word processor (word, google docs, open office...) and then paste the text into the wiki editor. This has the advantage that your word processor probably does auto-save. But you'll probably need to spend some time reformatting the article after you pasted the text. (To paste the text, always choose "paste and match style" or some similar function from the "edit" menu of your browser, or you will import whatever formatting your word processor has applied to your text. 

How to insert a link in an article

To insert a link, highlight the text you want to make into a link, then click the "link" button in the toolbar. To link to a page within the wiki, start typing the name of the page in the middle box (called "Page"). A drop down list of pages with matching titles will appear. Select the correct page, and voila! Click here for a short Youtube to see how it's done.

Using the discussion page

See this short video for a tutorial on Talk Pages.

Discussions specific to topics, including both what goes into an article, as well as general topical discussion, is held in that topic's "Talk" page. What is a Talk page? It's a little like a discussion forum, except that like all wiki pages, the entire page is editable by anyone. It can be a little strange at first if you aren't used to it.

  • On a Talk page, you can start a new topic or simply add to a conversation in the same way you would edit a wiki page. Just start a new section, or start writing somewhere on the page. Unlike typical forum software, there really is only the level of structure that users create in the Talk page itself. 
  • Unlike typical forum software, wiki media doesn't automatically populate comments with names. For instance, if this were the FAQ Talk page, you would have no idea who was writing this if I didn't leave a signature. But since I pressed the "signature" button above in the toolbar (it kinda looks like a driver's license) you know that it was --Chris Clark (talk) 22:17, 15 April 2015 (PDT) who wrote this!
  • If you want to "follow" a discussion / Talk page to make sure you see when someone comments or adds, click the Actions button in the top right corner, and select "Follow."

Troubleshooting: known bugs and what to do

Why is a blank screen loading when I select "edit?"

This is an issue with how the wiki software is rendering the page. You may have to hit your browser's refresh button several times before the edit page will show up correctly.

I'm having issues with the edit box not scrolling, or jumping back up to the top as I edit.

This is a known issue and we're trying to figure out why a small subset of users are experiencing this. Try reloading the page. If that doesn't work, one workaround is to click the "fullscreen" button, located in the tool bar to the far right of Formats, Headings, font color, and the clear formatting button. Also try editing the article in 'wiki text editor' mode and see if that helps.--

I can't figure out how to use the dialog box when I want to create a link, insert a picture or a file

Yes, these dialog boxes behave strangely sometimes.

  • Sometimes the dialog box is too small, and what you are looking for is hidden. You need to expand the textbook (by hovering with the mouse over the lower-down corner of the text box, and then click and drag the corner to make the box bigger).
  • If you want to insert a picture or file, you must do it in two steps: first upload it, and then click "OK" again to insert it.
  • Sometimes the "OK" button floats strangely below the box where you'd expect it, as in the picture below.

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Special trick: expandable sections

In the FAQ and Examples section of many article pages, we use expandable sections. Having just one-sentence introduction to questions and examples makes it easier to browse the content of a page.

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To create an expandable section:

  1. Toggle to html editing mode
  2. Paste  where you want the expandable section to appear, then toggle back to “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” editing mode

Special trick: how to add a footnote

If you are editing in "Visual Editor" mode, you first need to switch to the "Wiki Text" editing mode (by clicking on the top-right icon of the editing toolbar). Then follow the instructions of the diagram below. 

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Below, you see what the code above is rendered like. 

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Special trick: how to add a blue box

If you create an article that is work in progress, or if you read an article that doesn't conform to our editing guidelines, then please add a bluebox at the top of the article. How to do it? In the 'wiki text editor' mode, copy the code that's used to render the box below and paste it into the article that needs it. And then replace the text of the box with a short description of the kind of shortcoming of the article.

This could be simply "This article is work in progress" if you are just starting to write it. Otherwise, please make a precise description that will invite others to quickly fix it. For instance "Incomplete article. Second FAQ needs answer. And case examples need reference". Or "This article needs general editing to make tone more neutral, especially in the "Historical Perspective" section."

This article needs general editing, especially in the section of case examples ("In Practice")

How to introduce companies in "In practice"

AES (Applied Energy Services)

Energy Sector - Global - 40,000 employees - For profit


Call center services for hospitals - USA - 300 employees - For profit


Health care - Netherlands - 9,000 employees – Nonprofit


School (grades 7 – 12) - Germany - 1,500 students, staff and parents – Nonprofit


Metal Manufacturing – France – 400 employees – For profit


Mental Health Hospital - Germany - 600 employees – For profit


Organizational operating system adopted by hundreds of for profits and nonprofits around the world


Training and Consulting - US based - 12 partners - For profit

Morning Star

Food Processing - United States - 400 employees - For profit


Video Solution - Japan - 40 employees - For profit


Apparel - United States - 1,350 employees - For profit

RHD (Resources for Human Development)

Human Services - United States - 5,000 employees - Nonprofit

Sound True

Media - United States - 90 employees and 20 dogs - For profit

Sun Hydraulics

Hydraulics components - Global - 900 employees - For profit


Food Processing - Canada - 150 employees - For profit

Valve Software

Software Industry - United States - 330 employees - For profit