Wiki Editing Protocol

Information on the purpose of this wiki, what to put in it, how to organize it, how to edit it.

Purpose & Content

This wiki is used for:

  1. Document computer problems and keep up-to-date information on information on specific computer topics.
  2. How-tos for internal (and some external) reference in solving problems.
  3. Clarifying our policies on what services we do and don't provide.
  4. Helpdesk news and meeting agendas.
  5. A consultant guide on how to do our job effectively.
  6. A place to discuss structural issues that the Helpdesk deals with, and possible changes.
  7. A central place to keep online resources and links that we want to have available to each other.


Anyone who goes to this address can see the Helpdesk public wiki. However, the wiki is not intended to be an end-user product. The how-tos and troubleshooting links in these articles are written mainly for Helpdesk use and reference in solving problems. We can certainly guide our more adventurous users to the nicer-formatted, more-complete articles if we can't help them directly.

Public wiki vs. Internal wiki

While some of the above uses are useful for public consumption, not all are - particularly items #4, 5, and 6. We have developed an Internal Wiki to contain these resources [1]. This second wiki is only accessible to logged-in users, and only Middlebury users who are currently working at the Helpdesk can log in.

Linking between our public and private wikis

You can easily create links between our public and private wikis. This will let us mesh our wikis together almost as though they were one wiki - but any information that needs to be private will be kept private.

You can link between the public and private wikis simply by copying the addresses in [ ] brackets. For example, typing:

  • [https://mediawiki.middlebury.edu/wiki/hi/Main_Page Title Of Link]
  • shows up as
  • Title Of Link

You can also use a special template to link to pages on the internal wiki. See Template:hi.

To quickly access either wiki, use our GO shortcuts!

Public content vs. private content

When adding information to the wiki, it's important to ask: Should this information be publicly available, or should it be kept private? The basic rule is: Any information about our internal system or procedures, should stay private. General information about how to fix computers, how to set them up, data recovery, operating systems, applications, etc. can all go on the public wiki. Also, some information (passwords, serial keys) that could put our security at risk or help an attacker get into our LIS system, shouldn't ever go on either wiki.

When you want to add some information that might be a security concern and you're not sure whether to put it on the public or the private wiki, choose the private wiki.

See also HI: What Belongs Here?.


How to edit

  • To edit you'll need to log in using your Middlebury network credentials. Then, on any page you want to change, click the Edit tab (or Edit link to the right of the appropriate section, for long pages) and start editing.
  • Wiki has its own formatting language that takes some getting used to. (Check in Preferences whether you are using the Javascript-based "rich text" editing toolbar so you can skip over the formatting stuff.) Check out the Editing Help page, or just use the Edit tab on this page to study how to make text into headers, bold, italics, linked, and so forth.


Basically the rule is: Similar pages should have links to each other. Wikis are only structured by the links present so use links liberally. In our current format, nearly every page has a link from the main Helpdesk page directly to it, organized by broad categories.

Rules of thumb

  • If you make a new page, make sure there is a link from the main page to it. That way we don't "lose" pages, and everyone can reach the new page easily.
  • Adjust the wiki structure as necessary. As the wiki grows and pages are added, the table of contents might need adjusting or regrouping. It's up to you to change the wiki structure as needed to make it easy to access what we need to access. (Just make sure you don't lose links to articles along the way! We don't want any orphaned articles that don't have any links to them.)
  • Err on the side of contributing. If you might have something good to say but you're not sure, just say it. We want your participation in developing the wiki. (But be aware that sensitive information should not go on the public wiki - see above.)
  • When you create a new page, add it to the Helpdesk category. Do this by mentioning "Helpdesk" in the Categories field when creating a new page.
  • If your are just adding a placeholder page that needs to be fleshed-out, add the {{stub}} text to the top of the page so that others can easily find it.
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