wikiHow:Language Projects/Platform for Developing wikiHows/How do the Mediawiki files work and how can we deal with them

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Are there still some expressions in English on your wikiHow? Have you recently found a special page where there was a kind of code like <tog-ignorefanmail> (an English expression with a "<" at the beginning and a ">" at the end)? Do you want to change the parts of wikiHow that normally you can't change? The key to all those "problems" are the mediawiki files.

EditWhat are Mediawiki Files?

Behind all static text in a wiki that is powered by Mediawiki there is a mediawiki file that contains the text that you can see as static text. For example the media wiki file of the tagline "The How-to Manual That You Can Edit" can be found here. If you change the content of this mediawiki file the tagline on every page is changed accordingly. Because of their importance mediawiki files can only edited by admins. Each wikiHow version has its own mediawiki files that have to be translated.


Fortuantely the names of the mediawiki files are the same in each wikiHow. If you want to translate http://www.wikihow.com/MediaWiki:Main_title you can work fast if you click on "Edit", copy all text (Ctrl + A and then Ctrl + C), then change the URL by replacing the "www" with the language code of your wikiHow version (the Spanish wikiHow's language code would be "es"), hit enter and paste (Ctrl + V) the content of the English file. When you've translated everything you just have to press "Save". It takes some time until your changes are adopted. That means you can't see the effect when you change a mediawiki file immediately.

EditHow to find the right mediawiki file

  • If you find code like <tog-ignorefanmail> the corresponding mediawiki file can be found if you type the URL http://www.wikiHow.com/Mediawiki:Tog-ignorefanmail in your browser and hit enter. If you edit this page and hit save, all the content you have written in the mediawiki file will appear where the code had been before.
    • Notice that you have to replace the "www" in the URL with the country code of your wiki section. The Dutch version of this Mediawiki file can be found at http://nl.wikiHow.com/Mediawiki:Tog-ignorefanmail . But when you find mediawiki files with this code, the mediawiki files does not exist in your section. Translate the text of the English version of the mediawiki file.
    • Another indication that some mediawiki files are missing is when there are features that only appear in some wikiHow sections but not in others.
  • If you want to change some static text, you have to find the right mediawiki file. There are two ways to find such a file if you know what text it contains:
    1. Open the special page system messages and search for the text that the mediawiki files should contain.
    2. Use the searchbox to search for the text that the mediawiki files should contain. (Search for the text, then activate the checkbox "MediaWiki" and then press the search button below the checkboxes. )

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