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Halp:Customizing your wiki

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Welcome to the wiki configuration guide. The purpose of this guide is to map out the functions of the many customisable pages of the MediaWiki software and make their purpose and usage easy to understand and alter yourself. If you see something missing or inaccurate please edit this page and amend it.

Before you beginEdit

Without exception the changes detailed below can only be made by a user with administrator or sysop access. If you are the founder of a Wikia you will have this right from the beginning.

However if the page in question does not exist yet it is not yet protected, and so any user can potentially make changes to it; only a few pages such as Image:Wiki.png and Image:Favicon.ico come pre-protected in an out-of-box wiki.

Whenever you create or edit one of the pages on this list you should probably consider protecting it, as vandalism to many of these could result in severe changes to the wiki's environment that would be instantly visible and affect all users.

Customising the site basicsEdit

Site title and Page titleEdit

MediaWiki:Pagetitle contains the text that is shown in the title bar of your internet browser and on search results.

Your page rank is partly based on what's in the title bar at the top of the page. So if you want your wiki to show up when people search for "charles dickens", then "Charles Dickens Wiki" is a better title than "Scroogepedia".

Search for your topic's name on Google, and you'll see that the top ten results almost always have that phrase in the page title. That's where you want to be.

Starting in MediaWiki 1.14, the page title is controlled by 2 MediaWiki pages not just one:

  1. MediaWiki:Pagetitle-view-mainpage is only for the mainpage, and
  2. MediaWiki:Pagetitle is for non-mainpage.

See Help:Pagetitle for more information.

Site DescriptionEdit

The contents of MediaWiki:Description will be placed inside the content of the <meta name="description" ... > tag of the main page of a wiki. That description should be shown on search engines when the main page appears in the results.

See Help:Description for more information.

Edit

The normal logo (the image displayed in the top left corner of Monobook and all other skins except the Quartz skin) is located at Image:Wiki.png. The Wide logo (used in the Quartz skin) is at Image:Wiki wide.png. Just upload another image over top of those to change them. You may need to do a hard-refresh (Ctrl+F5 / Ctrl-Shift-R on Firefox, Ctrl+F5 in Internet Explorer) before you will see the change.

See Halp:Logo for more information.

Favicon (Favorites Icon)Edit

The favicon (the small icon displayed next to the URL in the browser and next to the sitename in browser tabs) is located at Image:Favicon.ico. This is also a protected page. You may need to click the link through to the icon and do a hard-refresh (Ctrl+F5 / Ctrl-Shift-R on Firefox, Ctrl+F5 in Internet Explorer) before you will see the change.

See Help:Favicon for more information.

SidebarEdit

Wikia's Monaco skin has a robust navigation sidebar that can be fully customized. The navigation is broken into two sections: the Main Navigation, which is multi-level, and the two-column Link Toolbox:

  • For admins - you can set the default navigation seen by everyone by editing a few MediaWiki namespace articles.
  • For users - you can set a custom navigation for yourself only, by editing a few User sub-pages.

See Halp:Sidebar for more information on how to customize sidebar in the Monaco skin.

See Halp:Sidebar (Monobook) for information on customizing sidebar in the Monobook skin.

Customising the visual theme (Monobook) Edit

The following section is for Monobook skin (the old skin) customization. See Halp:Customizing Monaco to learn about Monaco skin (the new skin) customization.

There are many ways in which you can personalise your wiki's visual theme (Monobook) to give it its own special appearance.

Background ImageEdit

It is possible to create a background image for your Wikia, much like Wikipedia has. A default image identical to Wikipedia's is included with each Wikia, so you can turn that on very easily by adding the following code to MediaWiki:Monobook.css.

body {
font: x-small sans-serif;
background: url("headbg.jpg") 0px 0px no-repeat;
color: Black;
margin: 0;
padding: 0;
}

If the body section already exists you would merely add the background: line at the end before the closing } bracket.

However to use your own custom image you will first need to upload it. Once it is uploaded you will need to copy its exact URL. With a large image you will be provided with a "Download high resolution version" link, so follow that; for smaller images you will need to right-click and choose Copy Image Location or similar.

Now that you have the URL you can use it as the background. For example to use wikia:c:gameinfo:Image:Zelda LA Koholint Island background.jpg as the background you would need to copy its URL. You can cut off anything before the start of /images/, leaving you with /images/c/c6/Zelda_LA_Koholint_Island_background.jpg Then you would put it into MediaWiki:Monobook.css as something like the following:

body {
font: x-small sans-serif;
background: url(/images/c/c6/Zelda_LA_Koholint_Island_background.jpg) 0px 0px no-repeat;
color: Black;
margin: 0;
padding: 0;
}

Of course you can play around with its positioning ("0px 0px" are X-Y coordinates) as well as various other CSS attributes.

BulletsEdit

The default bullet image ( bullet.gif ) is located at http://<project>.wikia.com/skins/monobook/bullet.gif, where <project> is the subdomain name of your Wikia. Once again, upload an image and copy its exact URL, then post it into the CSS code below. You will need both of these otherwise the bullet change will not be universal.

This example comes from Wikireview, where the bullet has been replaced with a blue one ( Wikireview-bullet.png ).

ul {
line-height: 1.5em;
list-style-type: square;
margin: 0.3em 0 0 1.5em;
padding:0;
list-style-image: url("/images/4/4e/Wikireview-bullet.png");
}
.portlet ul {
line-height: 1.5em;
list-style-type: square;
list-style-image: url("/images/4/4e/Wikireview-bullet.png");
font-size:95%;
}

Note that the bullet image has a certain amount of whitespace above and below it; if your bullet goes outside of these default limits it will appear misaligned (a bullet that is merely wider will not look misaligned); to have a taller bullet you will need to adjust the line-height and other attributes accordingly.

MediaWiki:Monobook.cssEdit

This page allows you to override the default CSS stylesheet for your wiki. Changes to this page will affect all users using the Monobook theme. In addition, unless you specify a specific namespace, all pages within the wiki will be affected. Useful to keep in mind, if you are trying to distinguish between different types of pages.

The default CSS used on each Wikia can be found at http://<project>.wikia.com/skins/monobook/main.css, where <project> is your Wikia's subdomain name.

Note that you should not copy the entire original monobook.css file into the MediaWiki:Monobook.css, just the parts you want changed. This not only lets you browse your customisations more easily but also means that any time an update is made to the global CSS of all wikia yours will be updated too, except of course for the portions you altered.

To override the CSS for a single user, create a page such as User:Usernamehere/monobook.css where "Usernamehere" is the person's username. As a rule you should not change anyone's CSS but your own without their permission.

Color schemeEdit

An example of a significantly altered color scheme can be found at the Radio Control Wikia. Other examples are at Halp:Wikia custom skins.

Attributes you should not alterEdit

Each Wikia is free to customise their layout in almost any way they see fit, however there are a few exceptions.

  • All references to Google ads--that being #column-google, #content_withads, .content-noads, .content-ads--must not be changed; these ads are paying for your hosting, and to shrink or obscure them in any way is not allowed - not even in your personal CSS stylesheet.

Useful MediaWiki configuration pagesEdit

Pages in the MediaWiki: namespace allow admins to configure the wiki easily. To see a list of all pages in the MediaWiki namespace, check out Special:Allmessages. Note that you can usually use all forms of HTML (including tags such as <a> which usually do not work) in the MediaWiki namespace, although it will not show up when you actually view the MediaWiki page as an article, but it will work when the MediaWiki page is actually implemented. See also Left Sidebar Cutomization.

MiscellaneousEdit

MediaWiki:SitenoticeEdit

This has a special purpose. It is usually used for making announcements. Whatever is placed in it will go above the page title. A current example of this in use can be seen at Gameinfo. By default the Sitenotice text is centered, but this can once again be changed via MediaWiki:Monobook.css.

MediaWiki:AnonnoticeEdit

This is similar to sitenotice, except is viewed only when logged out while logged in users will only see the sitenotice. This might be helpful to new users to link to help pages or include reminders to register or login.

MediaWiki:Monaco-sidebarEdit

This page allows you to edit side bar - menu that is on left of your page below the search box. You can add new item to 'navigation' menu by adding customizable code.

Users may create their own custom version to override the site one at User:Username/Monaco-sidebar.

Menus are written in a wiki list (with *'s) format, with nested sub-lists being displayed as popout dynamic menus. Full urls are allowed for offsite linking (but may display oddly in the normal view of the page), or links to pagenames (no [[]]'s). Any entry that matches a MediaWiki pagename will be replaced with the text stored in that MediaWiki page.

Special dynamic data tags are available for inserting special content such as most viewed pages, or top rated. A special format of link will also allow a live feed of pagenames from a category.

For more detail and examples, see customizing the monaco sidebar.

MediaWiki:Monaco-toolboxEdit

This page controls the toolbox that appears below the Monaco sidebar. It contains useful tools that are usually not found in the sidebar. Like the sidebar, users may customize their own personal version via User:Username/Monaco-toolbox

For more detail and examples, see customizing the monaco toolbox.

MediaWiki:monaco-articles-onEdit

This page configures the statement "?? articles on this wiki" appearing in the Community widget.

MediaWiki:MainpageEdit

Allows you to set where the main page is — the page that the user is taken to when they go to the Wikis URL without specifying which page, or when they click on the logo (such as on Wikia Help, Help:Main Page is the main page — http://help.wikia.com/ will take you there since the content of MediaWiki:Mainpage is currently Help:Main Page). The default main page is "Main Page". So, for example, if you wanted the main page of your wiki to be Foobar Rhinoceros, then you would create a MediaWiki:Mainpage on your wiki with only the content:

Foobar Rhinoceros

MediaWiki:NoarticletextEdit

Allows you to change the text displayed when you attempt to view an article that does not exist. The default is "(There is currently no text in this page)".

MediaWiki:Copyrightwarning2Edit

Allows you to change or add text appearing underneath the editbox and save button while editing a page. Good to use, to say, give users a link to the sandbox rather than them testing out on any random page.

MediaWiki:RecentchangestextEdit

Allows you to change the text that appears at the top of the Recent changes page. To do this, just create the page with only the text you want to appear at the top of Recent changes. The default text is:

This special page lets you track the most recent changes to the wiki.

MediaWiki:TaglineEdit

Allows you to change the text which can be enabled to appear under the article title (such as on this wiki where it says "Wikia - creating communities" under the title header). By default, this text is not there. If it is enabled and MediaWiki:Tagline has not been created it will, by default, display:

From {{SITENAME}}

To enable this text to display; add the following line to MediaWiki:Common.css (or create it if its not already):

#siteSub {
display: inline;
font-size: 120%;
font-weight: normal;
}

MediaWiki:DescriptionEdit

Allows you to change the text that is inserted into the <meta name="description"... in the header of the page.

This text is used by search engines to display a description about the site, rather than random text found on the page.

There is a limit of 150 characters (including spaces).

More details are found at Help:Description

Sidebar configurationEdit

MediaWiki:CurrenteventsEdit

Allows you to change the text displayed for the Current events link in the sidebar. To remove it completely, create the page with only a minus symbol (-) and nothing else. If you want to remove it, the content should be, completely:

-

MediaWiki:Currentevents-urlEdit

Allows you to change the page the Current events link the sidebar links to. To do so, create the page containing, for content, only the name of the page Current events should link to. For example, if you wanted the text Current events in the sidebar to link to "Foobar Rhinoceros", you would create the page with only the following content:

Foobar Rhinoceros

MediaWiki:PortalEdit

Allows you to change or remove the text displayed for the face of the Community portal link in the side bar. To change it, create the page with only the new name of Community portal, and nothing else (note that it will still link to Project:Community Portal, see below to change that).

MediaWiki:Portal-urlEdit

Allows you to change where the Community portal link points to or to hide it (See sidebar information if you wish to actually remove it). To do this, simply create the page with only the name of where you want the Community portal link to point. For example, if you wanted the text "Community portal" in the sidebar to link to "Foobar Rhinoceros", you would create the page with only the following content:

Foobar Rhinoceros

To hide the community portal link, create the page with only a minus symbol (-) and nothing else. If you want to hide it the content should only be:

-

MediaWiki:RecentchangesEdit

Allows you to change the face text of the Recent changes link in the sidebar, or remove it completely. To change the text, create the page with only the new text for the face of the Recent changes link.

MediaWiki:Recentchanges-urlEdit

Allows you to change where the Recent changes link points to. To do this, simply create the page with only the name of where you want the Recent changes link to point. For example, if you wanted the text "Recent changes" in the sidebar to link to "Foobar Rhinoceros", you would create the page with only the following content:

Foobar Rhinoceros

To hide the recent changes link, create the page with only a minus symbol (-) and nothing else. If you want to hide it the content should only be:

-

MediaWiki:RandompageEdit

Allows you to change the face text of the Random page link in the sidebar, or remove it completely. To change the text, create the page with only the new text for the face of the Random page link.

MediaWiki:Randompage-urlEdit

Allows you to change where the Random page link, in the sidebar, points to. To do this, simply create the page with only the name of where you want the Recent changes link to point. For example, if you wanted the text "Random page" in the sidebar to link to "Foobar Rhinoceros", you would create the page with only the following content:

Foobar Rhinoceros

To hide the random page link, create the page with only a minus symbol (-) and nothing else. If you want to hide it the content should only be:

-

MediaWiki:HelpEdit

Allows you to change the face text of the Help link in the sidebar, or remove it completely. To change the text, create the page with only the new text for the face of the Help link. To remove it, create the page with only a minus symbol (-) and nothing else. If you want to remove it, the content should be, completely:

-

MediaWiki:HelppageEdit

Allows you to change where the Help link, in the sidebar, points to. To do this, simply create the page with only the name of where you want the Help link to point. For example, if you wanted the text "Help" in the sidebar to link to "Help:Contents", you would create the page with only the following content:

Help:Contents

Toolbox configurationEdit

MediaWiki:WhatlinkshereEdit

MediaWiki:Whatlinkshere allows the face of "What links here" link in the toolbox to be changed. Just create it with only the text you want to show in place of "What links here". Note: You can not remove this link. Using a "-" for content will only change the links face to -.

MediaWiki:SpecialpagesEdit

MediaWiki:Specialpages allows the face of "Special pages" link in the toolbox to be changed. Just create it with only the text you want to show in place of "Special pages". Note: You can not remove this link. Using a "-" for content will only change the links face to -.

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