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What is a wiki?

A wiki is a website where information can be edited quickly by multiple parties. In the case of OrthodoxWiki, you must register for an account and log in before you may edit.

Does this mean anything goes?

Yes and no. If you post information, another user may edit your information.

The administrators (sysops) of this wiki have the power to block users if they are seen to be vandalizing the wiki, verbally attacking other users, or purposefully posting misinformation; specific pages may be "protected" so that only the sysops can edit them.

OrthodoxWiki is intended to convey information about the customs, history, and beliefs about the Orthodox Church in a well-written, truthful, and Christian manner. If the information you provide isn't appropriate, it may be moved or removed.

What's with the name?

It's a wiki, and it's about Orthodoxy. Here's more about OrthodoxWiki.

Who is responsible for OrthodoxWiki?

In a sense, you are. If you see something wrong, and know it's wrong, please fix it. If possible, provide a link or a source to back yourself up. Users are individually responsible for their own contributions.

There is a list of administrators, many of whom check OrthodoxWiki on a regular (daily) basis.

If you need to contact someone about OrthodoxWiki as a whole, or about a legal issue, your best bet is FrJohn, the founding sysop of OrthodoxWiki.org.

Is OrthodoxWiki under any sort of episcopal authority?

OrthodoxWiki is a site which clearly deals with Orthodoxy and it's "image" to the world -- what sort of episcopal oversight does it have?

We've had encouragement from a number of bishops, and certainly many are aware of what we're doing here. Individual authors and clergy members are responsible to their own bishops -- the nature of a wiki project pretty much precludes a single hierarch being responsible for it. That said, OrthodoxWiki is pretty clear about it's bias - we strive to be edifying and informative, and to work within the Church rather than against her. Our basic attitude toward the hierarchs must be one of respect, not opposition.

How do I contact someone on OrthodoxWiki?

There are two ways to contact someone who uses OrthodoxWiki: via the user's talk page, or via email.

Talk page

Leaving a message on a user talk page is often your best bet: User talk:TestUser. Edit this as you would any other page, by clicking the edit button at the top of the page. If you would like to start a new section, you have the option to click on the + to the right of the edit button. Type your message into the text box, sign your comment (~~~~), and click Save page when you are done. Most users will respond on your talk page, but it is a good idea to check the page where you left the message if you have not received a reply after a while.

When there is a new message on a user's talk page, when he logs in, he will see a brightly-colored box at the top of any page on OrthodoxWiki with a link to his talk page. This box will disappear when the user checks the page.


If you need a more private form of communication (either for your part, or your expected response), it is better to contact the user via email.

  • To contact a user via email, go to the specific page: Special:Emailuser/TestUser, replacing TestUser with the user name of the person you wish to contact.
  • Another way to find this page is to go to the specific user page: User:TestUser; this will also be true for the talk page: User talk:TestUser. On the left-hand side, there is a toolbar with links above and below the search box. Below the search box is a link: E-mail this user.

Using this form, you may securely send a message to the user, provided that an email address is in the user's preferences. Often, this was given when the user signed up.

How do I navigate OrthodoxWiki?

You click on the links: blue or purple links go to pages which have been created, and red links go to pages which haven't been created yet, so you'll get an edit box in case you would like to start that page.

There are links outside of the articles: in the top right there are links specific to you, at the top of the page there are links specific to the page, and on the left sidebar there are links which help you navigate the wiki.

For more information, see OrthodoxWiki:Navigation.

What's the best way to learn about the OrthodoxWiki community?

So you want to find out more about the community before jumping right in? That's okay, too.

  • Go ahead and read through the style guides (yeah, they're pretty dull) and familiarize yourself with the main page. Before creating a new page, search the wiki (using several spellings, since we might only have it one way) to see whether there's already a link for you to expand into. (Sometimes a google search is useful: type "[searchterm] site: orthodoxwiki.org" into the box.)
  • Feel free to experiment with the sandbox, and don't worry about making mistakes; we still find ways to make new ones, and find typos from months ago which we sheepishly correct.
  • Often the sysops are monitoring the recent changes page for new material, so if you want a page on something, and only know a little (maybe the definition), put that in a page and put {{stub}} in the article. (We prefer not to have a multitude of stub pages, so do your best, and don't make 50 all at once, please.) Someone else will put the new page in a category, put some external links up there, maybe an icon, flesh out the content, and add some see alsos and the initial offering has blossomed into a nice little article. Alternately, you could wait and do research until you have what you think is a nice little article already, and then post—but someone else may have another point of view, or a tidbit of information to add.
  • If you don't feel comfortable contributing yet, watch the recent changes page yourself to see what goes on and how people interact and add and edit information. You can always click the edit button at the top of the page to see how something is formatted, and preview (with the Show preview button at the bottom of an edit box) any changes you make before they are saved to the wiki.

Is working on OrthodoxWiki a structured activity?

For the most part, people work independently on things which interest them or about which they have knowledge. You're pretty much free to wander around and work where you choose. There is plenty of work to do, and it may prove daunting at first. If you find yourself stuck, here are some ways to avoid twiddling your thumbs.

  • If you would prefer a more directed or structured way to work on OrthodoxWiki, there is a Help Wanted page.
  • If you would prefer to get more accustomed to what is available on OrthodoxWiki, there are various lists of things:
... and you can pick a random page if you would like something new to read, or to review for grammar, spelling, punctuation, typos, fact-checking, etc.

What if I break something?

Contact one of the sysops, either by a note on a talk page or by email or both. Sometimes the wiki appears broken, but it turns out the browser cache just needed to be cleared and the browser restarted. Several of the sysops are rather addicted, so we try to make sure everything is running.