Help:Quick guide to editing

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This page provides basic instructions for editing on the OpenCongress Wiki. For the full set of guidelines, policies and help, see the main Help page.

Before you can edit, you'll need to quickly register with a valid email address, which is done to deter spammers and vandals. Once you've registered, editing a page is as easy as clicking the "edit this page" tab at the top of the window."


Editing cheatsheet

See Help:How to edit a page for more detailed explanations and advanced syntax.

Description What you type What you get
Applies anywhere
Italicise text



Bold text



Bold and italic

'''''bold & italic'''''

bold & italic

Internal link

(within SourceWatch)

[[name of page]]
[[name of page|display text]]

name of page
display text

Redirect to another page

#redirect [[Target page]]

1. redirect Target page

External link

(to other websites)

[ display text]

display text

Sign your posts
on talk pages


Username 20:46,
8 February 2016 (UTC)

Applies only at the beginning of the line

of different sizes

== Level 1 ==
=== Level 2 ===
==== Level 3 ====
===== Level 4 =====
====== Level 5 ======

Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5
Bullet list

* one
* two
** two point one
* three

  • one
  • two
    • two point one
  • three
Numbered list

# one
# two
## two point one
# three

  1. one
  2. two
    1. two point one
  3. three
Thumbnail image

[[Image:Sourcewatch.png|thumb|Caption text]]

Sourcing an article

See Meta:References for more detailed explanations on our sourcing policies.

Every assertion made on OpenCongress should have an outside source. In most cases this should be a webpage or online document that can be linked to (see Meta:References for our policy on referencing offline sources). The easiest way to cite a source is to put a link between two square brackets after the sentence or paragraph that draws from it, which automatically turns it into an auto-numbered footnote (see the first "external link" example in the chart above). You should then add a citation to the source in the "Articles and resources" section at the bottom of the article, which serves as a bibliography in OpenCongress Wiki articles. To add the citation you will generally need this information:

  • Name of the author (or organization that produced the source)
  • URL of the site where the information was taken
  • Name of the source
  • Name of the publication
  • Date the information was published

You generally want to put the citation in a bullet and format it like this:

To get this format, you enter

What you type
* Jonathan Weisman, [ "Ethics Panel Starts 3 Probes,"] ''Washington Post,'' May 18, 2006.
What you get

If editing someone else's writing, leave a note

If you are editing or deleting someone else's writing, it's a common courtesy to leave a note on an article's discussion page (found by clicking the "discussion" tab at the top of the article) explaining your reasons why. It would probably then be a good idea to check back a little later to see if other editors responded. Remember: be cool, be collaborative and talk things out. "Edit wars" are never fun and rarely productive.

Creating a new page

See Help:How to start a page. Remember to follow the naming conventions in titling the page. There are also tips on how to build a good OpenCongress page.

Acknowledgment: The first chart on this page was originally copied from Wikipedia's Wikipedia:Cheatsheet.