Help:Editing a page

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Editing Help
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Editing pages on Ballotpedia in its most basic form is similar to writing an e-mail. This article describes the basics every editor needs to understand to edit a page, and directs you to the resources that will assist you in learning wiki code.

Editing a page

There are just a few steps you need to follow in order to make and save an edit on Ballotpedia:

  1. Click the "Edit" menu tab that appears in the horizontal menu bar at the top of the article.
    1. Once in the edit window, you will either see a space that is blank (if you are just starting an article) or full of type from the existing article. You can change the existing type or create any type you would like in this box.
  2. Make your edit. Edits can be large (a whole new page or section) or small (a tiny adjustment in wording or the addition of a picture).
  3. Preview your edit. You can preview your edit by clicking the "Show preview" button at the bottom of the page. This button appears between the "Save page" button and the "Show changes" button.
  4. Verify your desired changed by reviewing the page preview.
  5. Fill in the summary bar directly following the edit window. Your summary does not have to be long, or in sentence format, but should quickly spell out for other readers the work you did on the page (for example, fixed grammatical error). Your summaries will be catalogued on the "View history" tab of the page.
  6. Save your edit by clicking the "Save page" button that appears on the bottom left of every "Edit" page.

You have now published an edit on Ballotpedia.

Beyond those basic steps of adding content, editing a page may require you to use wiki code, also known as wiki markup, to affect the visual appearance of the page. Much of wiki code is very simple, and can be easily learned. For basic elements that will be very helpful to you, see the Help:Cheatsheet.

Though you can always choose to code the appearance of a page yourself, you can also always copy the code from an existing page that you want to emulate the appearance of and modify it to fit your needs, reducing the time needed to learn wiki markup and code your edit.

Correcting text

Fixing errors is how many people make the jump from reading a wiki to editing one. When you come across an error, follow the steps above to open the edit window, correct the error and save your changes.

Adding content

If you are reading an article, and you think the author left out an important fact, click the "Edit" menu tab and plug your addition in following the steps in the Editing a page section above.

From time to time there will be disagreement on what ought to be included in an article. Editorial discussion is normal and encouraged, but should not take place on the content page. If you have a question about content that has or has not been included in a page, visit the Talk page of the article and leave a question or comment.

Checking your edit

It is vitally important to check your work before saving an edit. You will be working with wiki-code while editing, which can make it quite easy to make a mistake, especially if you are new to coding. Follow the steps below to check an edit before saving, ensuring that you leave an error free page for subsequent visitors.

Steps to follow

Follow these steps to check your work before you save:

  • Read through the edit box and scan for errors in formatting, code, spelling and grammar. Many browsers have spell checking features embedded within them, and there are many browser extensions you can find that will assist you in spell checking and grammar checking your edit.
  • Once you have done an inspection of the code, click the box at the bottom of the edit page that says "show preview." When clicked, this function will load a published preview of your edit. A notice will appear at the top of the page, which states, "Remember that this is only a preview. Your changes have not yet been saved!" Below that notice, your edit will be displayed, followed by the edit window at the bottom of the page.
  • In the preview, click through any external links you have added to make sure they go where you intend them to. It is also a good idea to check existing external links, as they may be out of date or broken. If any links you check are non-functioning, go to the edit window and correct them.
  • After you have checked and made any necessary corrections to your work, save your edit by clicking the "Save page" button at the bottom of the page.
    • If the edit you have made is small, such as a slight rearrangement of text or the correction of a misspelling, be sure to click the "This is a minor edit" check box after your edit summary. For more information on minor edits, see the Minor edits section of the How to contribute to Ballotpedia page.

Please note that you can use the "show preview" button as many times as you like to make sure the results are what you expect, just don't forget to click "save" once you are done with your edit.

See also