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 * Don't use {{{<<Include()>>}}} macro for translations. Why? Because could overload this Wiki server if it's used on every page. Frontpage is the only exception.

Translation(s): English - Español - Français - Indonesia - Português (Brasil) - Português (Portugal) - Русский - Українська - 简体中文

(!) Discussion

This page provides instructions for people wanting to edit the content of wiki.debian.org.

There's a QuickStart for new editors.

(!) See also: HelpOnSmileys :-) HelpOnMacros and HelpOnLinking and short HelpOnEditing

For generic help on formatting under moinmoin wiki, read moinmoin's HelpContents pages (in the sidebar). Syntax reference is handy. You can experiment in WikiSandBox.

If you disagree with any statement below, comment it out, then start a new discussion thread in the discussion page.

Your Account

  • Your wiki username should be in the format "FirstnameLastname" ("IrcNickname" or your Debian Developer login are fine too).

  • Adjust the timezone in your userprefs page.

Your WikiHomePage

You can use the HomepageTemplate when you create your homepage. Here are ideas for content, grabbed from various existing homepages.

  • Your full name.
  • Your main homepage outside this wiki.
  • Your email address.
  • Your location (city and country) useful for timezone considerations and more.

  • If you use IRC, your usual server, channel and nickname.
  • If you are a Debian Developer (DD), your login name (with a link to https://qa.debian.org/developer.php?login=foobar@debian.org).

  • Non-DDs can link to https://bugs.debian.org/from:foo@bar.com.

  • Your subjects of interest (not limited to Debian).
  • Your !ToDo/Done list.
  • (Some of) Your contributions to open source (bug reporting; writing/translating; developing/maintaining...)

Make sure you keep the CategoryHomepage tag at the bottom of your homepage (present by default in the HomepageTemplate).

Contacting you

If you are editing the wiki a lot, you might want to include your contact information on your WikiHomePage and also join the debian-www mailing list and #debian-www IRC channel (web version).

Subscribe to pages

  • You could subscribe to the pages relevant to your subjects of interest.

Lost Password

If you lose your wiki.debian.org password, go to the page recoverpass, then follow the instructions there (type your email address, then click on "Mail me my account data").

Writing Style / WikiEtiquette

There are at least five major styles of Wiki page

Elements of good style for each type are explained further on their individual pages.

Try to maintain balance when writing. This includes visual balance, but also an attempt to avoid bias. If you find that your comments are controversial, sign them, so that others will feel more free to disagree publicly.

  • Don't make EveryThing into a UselessWikiName. Knowing when to make a new page is one of the hardest parts of WikiStyle.

  • RefactorMercilessly There is no page in the WikiUniverse that is finished. All content can be refined. See RefactoringWikiPages for many useful thoughts.

  • If the wiki topic is fairly long, then it would be good style to give a quick overview of what has been discussed in the topic as a sort of concluding paragraph. If a concluding paragraph cannot be easily written then perhaps the scoping of the topic was not right, and it should either be separated into subtopics or merged with others into one larger topic. This is common when ThreadMode meanders off topic.

See also this GoodStyle page.


Don't overuse linking. If there are too many, the reader won't know which links are useful. You can move some of the links to a "See also" section at the bottom of your page (but again, not too many).

Where links point to a page in another language, append "(in $language)", thus: ?Something (in French)

See also moinmoin's HelpOnLinking

Internal Links (within this wiki)

  1. [[FooPage]] is usually the preferred syntax.

  2. [[SomeParentPagewith/FooPage|FooPage]] is frequently used to shorten subpages.

  3. [[EditorGuide|editor guide]] can be used to help fit the link name into a sentence as normal lower-case words.

  4. Don't "rename" the link by using [[PageName|Another title]] (if you have to do this, it implies the page is misnamed).

In all cases, make sure that the link label is meaningful to visitors, and that the link doesn't lead somewhere unexpected (preferably, the link label should be the same as the page title).

To link within a page, you should define the target anchor using <<Anchor(bar)>> (see HelpOnMacros), then use [[#bar|Bar Chapter]] or [[Foo#bar|Bar Chapter]] (where Bar Chapter is the actual paragraph title).

The preferred way to link to external resources is:

(Avoid the notation  [[https://www.example.com|link label]] , which hides the target URL, unless the context makes it clear, as in "John Doe provides a script named test.sh.")

  • Group external links in the last section of the page.
  • Call this section External links.

  • Any "project homepage" link can go in this section, or (if there are no other external links) a See also section.

Use InterWiki format to link to Debian packages, bugs, RFCs and Wikipedia articles.

If an (important) page is linked from outside Debian, it's a good idea to tag it with CategoryPermalink, so that nobody removes it inadvertently.


Header sections

Material that naturally belongs in an (optional) "header" area at the top of the page includes:

  • Links to translated versions (make sure they really exist!):

    Translation(s): [[de/DebianWiki/EditorGuide|Deutsch]] - [[fr/DebianWiki/EditorGuide|Français]]

  • A Discussion link, for controversial material: (!) [[/Discussion|Discussion]]

  • Compare DefaultTemplate

Disambiguation banner

Sometimes, a page's name can be ambiguous. If this can't be avoided, you can insert something like this at the top of the page:

Disambiguation : This page is about Debian Conferences.
For Debian configuration management system, see debconf.

  • Sample:

    ||<tablestyle="width:65%;margin-left:35%;padding-left:30pt" style="border:1pt solid #b48;border-left:5pt solid #d4a">'''Disambiguation :''' This page is about ''Debian Conferences''.<<BR>> For ''Debian configuration management system'', see [[debconf]].||

Debian "official material" banner

Often, the content of a Debian wiki page is also covered by some piece of "official" Debian Documentation (or in some other "reference" location). The wiki page can still be useful for collaboration. It's a good idea to add a link to the reference location at the top of the page.

Sample link presentation to some official page, related to the current subject.

Table of Contents sections

If a page gets long, you might want to add a Table of Contents. See the example at the top of this page!

  • Sample (note how the table is indented with one space):


FAQ sections

A typical FAQ section could be formatted like this:

Q. How do I do XXXX?
A1) You can do XXXX by doing X.
A2) You can do XXXX by doing Y.

Sample (notice the space at the beginning of the lines):

 Q. How do I do XXXX? :: A1) You can do XXXX by doing X.
 :: A2) You can do XXXX by doing Y.

Material that naturally belongs in an (optional) "footer" area at the end of the page includes:

Page Fragments

Not only code can be be reused - page content can too! If you notice that a given paragraph has to be repeated on many pages, you can reuse ("include") a page fragment each time. (Do not abuse this to duplicate content everywhere!)

  • A page meant to be included in another should be named */!PageFragment/*
  • Add a hidden comment (##) at the top of the page so people understand why it's "incomplete" (a fragment!)

  • See the <<Include()>> macro in HelpOnMacros

A sample is available at InstallingDebianOn and InstallingDebianOn/PageFragments/Philosophy. Also note how the page is included inside a table (but don't use this hack to bypass moinmoin formatting limitations: see Complex Formatting).

Advanced Formatting/Complex Formatting

Avoid using "advanced" formatting (using tables, include, etc.)

  • It's difficult to understand and maintain for you and other wiki editors.
  • It's difficult to read the diff of complex formatting.

  • The GUI editor may break your layout.

Images, media and attachments

See also: moinmoin's HelpOnLinking.

Add credits and copyright information at the bottom of the page where you attach an image, typically:

## attachments:
##  openlogo-100.jpg  Copyright 1999 "Software in the Public Interest" from https://www.debian.org/logos/openlogo-100.jpg

Attachment location

It's often a good idea to attach the image to the parent page (in case the image is reused in other subpages).

For translated pages, attach the image to the English version (internationalized/localized images should be attached to the internationalized/localized pages).


If you want to include a screenshot, you might want to store it on https://screenshots.debian.net/, then use :

  •  [[https://screenshots.debian.net/screenshot/amide|{{https://screenshots.debian.net/thumbnail/amide|Screenshot|width=160}}]] 
  • Note the package name appears twice in this block.


  • Screenshot

Image position


It is possible to shift the images to right of the page, thanks to CSS' float:right:

||<tablestyle="float:right; width:100px; background:transparent; margin: 0 0 1em 1em;" style="padding:0.5em; border-style:none;"> {{https://www.debian.org/logos/openlogo-nd-75.jpg}} ||
  • Note: adjust width:100px to fit your need.

"Work needed" tags

Translation(s): English - español - Português (Brasil) - Українська

A tag is a WikiName that has special meaning to the community. It is used to group pages, by searching for the tag and seeing all the pages that have it. Under MoinMoin wiki, one should use Categories.

WikiTags related to ongoing work on the wiki can be found at DebianWiki/Administration#Current_tasks.

Note: do not use the #deprecated processing instruction, as it prevents further editing of the page (e.g. to fix broken links). If you need to mark a page as needing to be improved/removed, use an appropriate WikiTag instead.

These tags are meant for wiki editors, not for visitors, so don't make them too intrusive; instead of putting a warning tag at the top of the page, insert it in the page's footer.


URL/page naming conventions

  • Use only CamelCase formatting (as opposed to Underscore_Separated).

  • The first letter of the first word should be upper case.
  • Special characters should be avoided in page names.
  • Slashes function to create (directory-style) groups of related subpages. If your page clearly belongs to a collection, you might consider creating it as a subpage - see for example the Moinmoin documentation SubPages.

  • For translated pages, see Translation section.

  • Picking an appropriate name is important. It should clearly state what the page is about and should contain the word visitors will search for.
  • Avoid ambiguous names - don't use, for instance:
    • "About"... about what? About the Debian OS, community, wiki...?
    • "Release"... does it mean previous releases, the current stable release, the release life-cycle, future release status, release process, release team, etc...

Creating a page

Before you create a page, ask yourself some questions:

  • Is a new page really needed? Might it already exist under a different name? Could the content be added to an existing page?
  • Does it comply with the wiki.debian.org Content guidelines?

link If you decide to proceed:

  • Choose a unique name for the page - see URL/page naming conventions.

  • Search the CategoryPortal page for an appropriate portal page (you may find more than one - choose the best) and click on it

  • Once on the portal page, click on the Edit link and add the name of the new page you want to create (with "link" formatting) to the existing list of page links
  • Save the edited portal page and then click on the "?" link in front of the new page that is to be created; this will take you to a page where you have the option to create the new page
  • You can then either create a blank page, but the recommended option is to pick the appropriate template - DefaultTemplate is the recommended one

  • If your page relates to a subject already covered by some official Debian documentation, link to it at the top (see Debian official material)

  • Once the page is complete, make links to it from relevant pages (one link is often enough).
  • More hints:
    • Re-read it two days later (does it still look good?)
    • Subscribe to that page.
    • This page isn't "yours", so don't be offended when other people "improve" it.

See also: moinmoin's HelpOnPageCreation.

Renaming a page

Cool URIs don't change (w3). Still, sometime it's a good idea to rename a page when its name don't accurately describe the page content.

Before you rename a page:

  • Verify that this page isn't tagged with CategoryPermalink.

  • Use Google (or equivalent) to check whether the page is linked from outside this wiki. Search link:wiki.debian.org/FooBar. If it is referenced, think twice before renaming the page. If you rename the page, consider creating a redirect page and contacting the owner of the referring page to get the links updated.

  • Check if this page is linked from inside this wiki (open the page and click on the title to get the list of back links).

If you decide to actually rename the page:

  • Choose a name for a page. see URL/page naming conventions.

  • Make sure you update all the pages that used to point to the old name (type the previous page name into the search bar, then click "Text"!).
  • Also take care of translated versions of the page.

Note: If the page-rename seems to require a "redirect" page, that might mean that the page shouldn't be renamed!

Deleting a page

Read the Renaming a page hints, since they apply here too.

If you think a page should be removed, you can either:

  • Delete the page yourself (writing your rationale in the comment field).
  • or Tag the page with "CategoryProposedDeletion" so other editors can react (i.e. put the tag and explanation at the bottom of the page).

Don't be rude: do not copy-paste the content of an existing page into a new one, and delete the old page - this loses page history. Instead see Merging and splitting pages.

Again, if there are translated versions, deal with them too!

Merging and splitting pages

Reorganizing pages is a good idea. You are encouraged to:

  • Merge "duplicate" pages covering the same subject.
  • Merge similar page, if both are "too short".
  • Split long pages that cover more than one topic (but consider adding a <<TableOfContents>> instead.).

Try to preserve page history:

  • Use the Comment field to record the "before" and "after" page-names in splits or mergers.
  • Merge pages into one of the existing pages, not into a newly created page.

For translations: if you can't merge/split translated pages, add directions (comments) in the translated version so translators can keep up!

Redirect pages

On some occasions, you might want to create a "redirect" page (which automatically redirects the browser to the proper page).

Don't over-use this tool.

sample :

#redirect DestinationPage
go to [[DestinationPage]]

Note that #refresh isn't enabled on this wiki.

See also: moinmoin's HelpOnProcessingInstructions.


moinmoin wiki's help: using categories.

The list of categories used on this wiki: CategoryCategory.


Portals are hub pages containing links to articles. They complement the relational structure offered by CategoryCategory, and the integrated search engine.

Portal pages should be based on PortalTemplate.

Turning pages into portals

To make your article into a portal page, add the tag CategoryPortal to its footer and find an appropriate portal to attach it to.

Don't create portals full of dead links.

Image Data Base

Commonly-used icons and portal logos can be centralized to Portal/IDB. This is useful for translated portals and for making artwork consistent.


The top of each page shows links to the same page in other languages - see Headers, and DefaultTemplate as an example.

The principles:

  • Any topic given a wiki page may have many translations, but there is always one "base" page.
  • Since this master copy must be in some language, we standardize on using the English version.
  • Translated pages use the naming scheme "languagecode" + "/" + "EnglishName" - for example:

  • When you modify a translated page, update or notify the English version too.
  • Try to keep the layout the same in every language, since it simplifies synchronization (especially, editors who aren't fluent in your language will still have some chance of finding and updating the right element).
  • If the page doesn't exist in English, create that too. If you don't feel comfortable writing in English, just create a page with the usual headers and link to your translated page, making sure you tag your page with UpdateEnglish.

  • If the page doesn't exist in your language, start by copy/pasting it from the English version and updating the page header to match the page name, then see below.

Synchronizing translations

When you're updating a page to match one in another language (i.e. "synchronizing" the versions),

  • All versions of a page should keep the same layout (formatting, paragraph order, etc.).
  • Keep the revision status of the page clear:
    • (either) update the whole page at once, and then change the matching "revision" number in the header
    • (or) add a comment like ## TRANSLATION UPDATE STOPPED here where you stop.

  • If the translated page is newer than the English one:
    • (either) update the English version yourself if you can (don't worry about minor language errors - someone will correct them)
    • (or) append an "UpdateEnglish" tag at the bottom of the page, and add "+ IMPROVEMENTS" to the English revision comment.

Wiki translators

People involved in translating Debian Wiki pages should add the tag CategoryWikiTranslator on their homepage and consider helping translate other parts of Debian.

Helping with wiki.debian.org

Anybody can help to improve wiki.debian.org:

  • Improve the content of any page, where you can.
  • Add your remarks and questions at the bottom of the wiki pages you visit.
  • Spellcheck pages (many contributions are made by non-native English speakers).
  • Translate pages.

  • Search for backlinks to FixMe and ToDo.

  • ReFactor anything you can.

  • Update pages containing ?obsolete text

  • Cleanup (see ThreadMode)

  • Pass on your knowledge on how to install or use Debian
  • If you don't work in IT, you can create a page to explain how you use computers in your day-to-day work. Explain your problems and needs.

Debian also needs non-IT skills (legal; marketing; organizing events; fund-raising; public relations; and much more). See also https://www.debian.org/intro/help.

Promoting wiki.debian.org

The best and easiest ways to promote this wiki are to use it yourself and to make it useful to others by contributing useful material (bear in mind the content guidelines).

When you are asked a question in a mailing list, forum, or irc channel,

  • the first and best option is to point inquiries towards the official Debian documentation (www.debian.org/* , man page, README, etc.), suggesting improvements to the author or maintainer if necessary;
  • the second best is to update the appropriate wiki page to make sure it answers the question, and point towards that.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q) Can I get a list of all the pages on this wiki?

A) Yes, see TitleIndex

Q) Wouldn't the wiki be more useful if it was better organized?
A) Possibly, but a structured wiki is largely a contradiction in terms. It's more important to give it good content.

Q) Is there a way to show just the orphan articles?

A) No (OrphanedPages is broken; links in the form [[PageName|Link Label]] aren't counted). But being an orphan is only a problem if there are pages that should link to it and don't (so fix those), or if the page fails to show up in searches (so make sure it includes the appropriate keywords).

Q) How do I keep track of changes?
A) By using two features accessible via the sidebar menu:
  • the link to the RecentChanges page (limited to a week for visitors, 90 days for logged-in users);

  • the Subscribe option, which requests e-mail notification when the page is modified.

Technical Information

This Wiki is running moinmoin software, version 1.9 (wiki configuration information). It currently runs on a machine sponsored by Dembach Goo Informatik GmbH & Co KG (both hardware, housing and bandwidth).