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Links to more specific resources:
Help:Basic MediaWiki Syntax -- Help:Introduction to Templates -- Help:Introduction to Categories

To see a list of all Help: pages, click here.

Goals and Content

The Computer History Wiki ('CHWiki', for short) is meant to be an informal knowledge base about classic computers (from early mainframes on through personal computers), for people at all places of the knowledge scale.

In addition to the cold, Wikipedia-style descriptive articles, we want to have funny and/or interesting stories about the machines, practical guides to software and hardware, programming information for hardware devices, tutorials for programming languages and operating systems, and whatever else you can think of.

One contributor had this to say about their material:

In general, I don't like to duplicate what original documentation (which I always link to) says. I do like to give a clear, concise 'executive summary', so that a reader can get a clear high-level overview with a quick read - which is what most people will want - and leave the details, for the few who need them, to the original material. I am more than happy to add detailed material which is missing from the original documentation - e.g. here - but I'm really down on duplicating detailed content.


Due to past problems with spam, you will have to get a user name before you can make any edits; an admin will have to set up the account for you. It also makes you much easier to contact, and it also conceals your IP address.

Once you have an account, and have logged in, to edit an article, simply click the "edit" tab above the article name. If a link is red, this means that the target article does not exist. To create an article, simply click the link and start typing. To create a new article, you can also type the name into the "search" box and click "Go".

It's good to create a short User: page (there's a link to this at the right of the top of every page, once you have logged in) to let the rest of us know a little bit about your interests, etc.

Editing tips

The CHWiki uses MediaWiki; if you're not familiar with MediaWiki syntax, and you want to do something that's not obvious (from looking at the existing article source), please read up on it; there's a very handy cheat sheet here.

Use of the 'Show preview' button allows you to see how your formatting will look without filling the article history with a lot of minor updates.

Please put a brief summary of what you've done in the change in the 'Summary' box, so that when looking at the history later, people will be able to get a rough sense of what was done, without needing to click on the 'prev' link of that revision.

We generally use the style guidelines of the Wikipedia Manual of Style, but we're not as formal (e.g. we tend not to footnote sources in detail).

Wikipedia style, which we generally follow, is to corral external links to an 'External links' section at the bottom of an article, instead of including them in the body of the text.

If you create a new article, please check first if it might already exist, but worded, capitalized, hyphenated, etc, differently. Remember that article names are case-sensitive, but that the MediaWiki system always capitalizes the first letter of the article, no matter how it's linked.

To make it easier to find an existing article - and, even more importantly, to help prevent creation of duplicate articles - it's a good idea to provide lots of redirects from all the variant names you can think of.

If you have created a new article, try to find an existing article that would naturally/normally link to it, and add a link to your new article to that one (you may need to create a 'See also' section, at the bottom, to hold the link). That is because you may know of your new article, but other readers of the CHWiki may not find out about it, unless they do some digging - which many will not. We already have lots of the 'orphan' articles - please don't add one more!

Talk: pages

Talk pages (there is one associated with each content page - click on the 'Discussion' tab to see it) are the way to discuss with other contributors how to approach a non-trivial issue. If you're in doubt about anything, just ask! A good example of that happening is here.

We generally follow the Wikipedia style for Talk: page formatting:

  • use section headers;
  • indent replies, using one or more : characters at the start of the line to nest them;
  • sign all comments using the MediaWiki ~~~~ special form, which automagically turns into a link to you and a timestamp. (Yes, the information is all available through the 'history' tab, but after a while it can be real work to figure out who wrote what.)

See the page mentioned above for an example of how these make Talk: pages easier to follow.)


There are a few standard templates (a way to include a named block of MediaWiki source) which you may want to familiarize yourself with, particularily the Infoboxes; and also those for displaying registers. Templates are described in Help:Introduction to Templates.


Please try to add the appropriate Category (a way of tagging articles so they can be grouped together) to your articles, so that they can be easily found in the mass of articles. Note that the advice above about article names applies equally to categories (except for redirects; category redirects don't really work). The basics of categories are explained in Help:Introduction to Categories; an overview of the category structure of the CHWiki is in Help:Categories.

Copyright and licensing

(Yeah, boring, I know...)

The text on this Wiki is submitted under the GFDL license (as the icon in the lower left tells you). In short, this means that the text you have submitted may be edited at will, translated to Klingon, spread to the four winds, as long as the text is still kept under this license, and the reader is somehow informed of the license. One advantage of this is that it is the same license as Wikipedia, and we thus may yank text from them, and they may also copy chunks of text verbatim from this wiki for its own use.

Content from Wikipedia

If you include any content from Wikipedia, according to Wikipedia's content license, you must give credit; a link to the source article will do.

To make this easy, a template for use on Wikipedia-sourced articles has been created; just add {{Wikipedia}} to the bottom of the article here. Ideally, one should give the name of the source article; this can be included as an argument, e.g. {{Wikipedia|Foo}} if you're using material from the 'Foo' article.

Note: if the source article name includes any spaces (' '), they must be replaced with underscores ('_') in the argument, in order for this template to work correctly.

Linking to Bitsavers

The below is now obsolete - disregard.

If you are going to link to Bitsavers, please read the article Help:Linking to Bitsavers.

See also

External links

  • Mediawiki Help:Contents - Exhaustive help with MediaWiki syntax
    • Help:Template - Everything you ever wanted to know about templates: parameters (named and un-named), conditionals, etc