Help:Getting Started

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This page covers the basics of setting up and editing a page; for more detailed information, see the list of useful links below. If you have any other questions or suggestions, please add them to the Community portal, where one of us will be happy to help.

If you'd like to just try your hand at transcribing, we suggest you start with a single segment from an episode.

Editing pages[edit]

If you want to get transcribing right away, we are more than happy for you to do a text-only transcript, as this is really the lion's share of the work.

You can edit any page by clicking the "Edit" tab at the top of the page, which allows you to edit the whole page. If you just want to edit one section, you can click on the "Edit" link to the right of the section heading.

After entering your content into the edit box, enter a description of what you did in the summary field, then click 'preview' to ensure that your work is being displayed as intended.

It's generally best to check the preview before saving a page in order to avoid excessive entries in the Recent changes log. This log shows all changes made to the website, and is useful for checking for new additions, such as messages in the Community portal. However, be careful not to lose your work by navigating away from the edit page.

When you're happy with the page, or want to save your progress and come back to it later, click 'save page', which will show your newly edited page in all its glory.

Reserving episodes/segments[edit]

  • To indicate that you are working on the transcript for a whole episode, add the transcribing all template at the top of the page, and insert your user name (optional) and the date:
{{transcribing all
|transcriber = user name
|date        = yyyy-mm-dd

This will appear on the page like this:

  Emblem-pen.png This episode is in the middle of being transcribed by user name (talk) as of yyyy-mm-dd.
To help avoid duplication, please do not transcribe this episode while this message is displayed.
  • If you would like to work on a single section of the transcription, then you can use the transcribing template instead, placed in the relevant section on the page:
|transcriber = user name
|date        = yyyy-mm-dd

This will appear above the section like this:

  Emblem-pen.png This section is in the middle of being transcribed by user name (talk) as of yyyy-mm-dd.
To help avoid duplication, please do not transcribe this section while this message is displayed.
  • Make sure that you also add the transcribing section template at the top of the page so that other people know that part of the transcript is being worked on:
{{transcribing section
|transcriber = user name
|date        = yyyy-mm-dd

This will appear on the page like this:

  Emblem-pen-orange.png One section of this transcript is in the middle of being transcribed by user name (talk) as of yyyy-mm-dd.
To help avoid duplication, please do not transcribe that section while this message is displayed.

Edit summary[edit]

When saving a page, it is considered good practice to add a brief summary of the edit in the field above the save and preview buttons. For example, "Interview segment transcribed", "transcript completed", or "proof-read to 45:30".

Adding a summary helps us quickly see what's been done on a page, and distinguishes between different revisions of the page should users wish to compare edits or return to an earlier version. All versions of a page are automatically saved in their revision history, and can be viewed by clicking on the 'View history' tab of the page itself, or from the link in the Recent changes log.

You can set your user preferences to show an alert if you try to save a page without entering a summary. When you are logged in, a 'My preferences' link appears at the top of the screen. If you click on this, and go to the 'Editing' tab, you will see a list of check-boxes, including one stating "Prompt me when entering a blank edit summary".

Adding comments[edit]

If you would like someone to look over your transcription to help with distinguishing between Rogues, or to help with any parts of the transcription, it is helpful if you can insert a comment stating the time in the podcast at that point, and post a message on the Community portal. Comments are entered between "<!--" and "-->" in the editing box and do not appear on the saved page. For example:

<!-- Help needed to distinguish Rogue speaking at 1:02:48 -->

makes that text visible only in the editing box, not the page itself. This means that any user that tries to help with this problem will be able to get to the root of the issue quickly.

Comments can also be very useful when you want to come back to a section later, for example to add to the Today I Learned... list, or to add links.

Wiki mark-up[edit]

Here, we briefly describe the most commonly used wikitext markup and HTML tags for pages on this site. HTML tags take the form <tag> to start, and </tag> to end, encompassing the text that the tag applies to. Most require a closing tag, but not all of them (e.g <br /> and <references/>).

For more detail, see Meta-Wiki: Advanced editing

⊗ If you would like to leave the mark-up to someone else, or if you have any questions or suggestions, just put a note in the Community portal, and someone will be happy to help out. (see notes on the Community portal below)


These are used to mark the different podcast segments, and are automatically incorporated into a table of contents that appears at the top of the page.

An example of the different headers used in transcription pages can be found at the Episode skeleton page

Description Appearance on page What you type
Headers for each of the different segments of the podcast are made by using 2 'equals' signs.

These are second level headers.

Podcast Segment

==Podcast Segment==
Headers for subsections within the podcast segments are made by using 3 'equals' signs.

These are third level headers.

Segment subsection

===Segment subsection===
We also include the time at which podcast segments start in a small font, using the <small> and </small> tags.

News Item 2 (24:32)

===News Item 2 <small>(24:32)</small>===

There are a couple of guidelines to follow on these:

  • Quickies with Bob should be second level headers
    • If these occur between news items, then they should be followed by a second level header "News items continued" without a time stamp, and a third level header with time stampsfor the next news items. (e.g. SGU Episode 349)
  • Questions and Emails use a second level header for the section title, and third level headers for each question/email (e.g. SGU Episode 357)

Line breaks and paragraphs[edit]

Description Appearance on page What you type
To start a new paragraph, leave an empty line between text in the editing window.

Use this to separate lines by different speakers

S: This is the first line

R: This is the second line

S: This is the first line

R: This is the second line
Starting a new line in the editing window does not appear on the actual page as a line break. This is my first lineThis is my second line
This is my first line
This is my second line
To start a new line, use the <br> tag, which doesn't require a closing tag.

You can use this on the same line, or on a new line.

This is my first line
This is my second line

This is my first line
<br>This is my second line

Text formatting[edit]

Description Appearance on page What you type
Words in italics are indicated by double apostrophes.

These can be used to signify when a speaker emphasizes a word.

We want to emphasize words
We want to ''emphasize'' words
Words in bold are indicated by triple apostrophes. We want to emphasize words
We want to '''emphasize''' words
Superscript text is placed between <sup> and </sup> tags November 15th 2011
November 15<sup>th</sup> 2011
Subscript text is placed between <sub> and </sub> tags Water: H2O
Water: H<sub>2</sub>O
Special characters can be inserted using wikitext.

For a list of special character codes, see Meta-Wiki - Advanced editing

ï é


&iuml;  &eacute;



Description Appearance on page What you type
Long quotes are defined using the <blockquote> and </blockquote> tags.

This indents the text from both margins.

All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players

<blockquote>All the world's a 
stage, And all the men and women 
merely players</blockquote>


The default source for links used here is Wikipedia, unless there is good reason to use an alternative source. This helps to keep things uniform across transcript pages, and also means that you don't have to search for the ultimate website to explain the subject.

Description Appearance on page What you type
Wikipedia links can be inserted using Template:W

To use alternative text, insert |

James Randi


{{w|James Randi}}
{{w|James Randi|Randi}}
Internal links (pages on are given within double square brackets.

To use alternative text, insert |

Main Page


[[Main Page]]
[[Main Page|Home]]
Internal links to sections of pages are identified using # Help:Getting Started#Wiki mark-up
[[Help:Getting Started#Wiki mark-up]]

You can also insert anchors, which are hidden points within the page that can be customized or used in a standardized way to make links go to more precise segments or portions of conversations and also make linking easier.
There are many anchors used in the Episode skeleton. The anchor example to the right is a link to this very row of the table; the anchor is in the markup text for this table, written like this:
{{anchor|using anchors}}
Help:Getting Started#using anchors
[[Help:Getting Started#using anchors]]
If an internal link is used, but no such page exists, the link is displayed in red. Birds vs Monkeys
[[Birds vs Monkeys]]
To use different text for internal links, add a pipe-line between the page name and the text. Mark-up
[[Help:Getting Started#Wiki mark-up|Mark-up]]
To assign external links to text, add a space after the URL, insert the required text and enclose using single square brackets.

Remember to include http://.

SGU website
[ SGU website]
If no text is assigned to a link within single brackets, it appears numbered.

This should be avoided, and references should be used in cases where it is not appropriate to embed the link in text. (see below)


See also: How to Contribute Links


When it does not make sense to assign a link to words in the transcription, you can use references.

References can include both text and URLs, and appear as super-scripted numbered links on the page. These link to a reference section, usually inserted at the bottom of the page, which in turn links back to the point in the text where the reference was made.

References are usually placed after punctuation.

Description Appearance on page What you type
Mark each reference separately at the relevant point in the text, using <ref> and </ref> tags.

Include the text/links you want to appear in the reference section between the tage.
Clicking on the reference links in this example will take you to the examples in the next row.

This article.[1]

That article.[2]

This article.<ref>Example 1</ref>
That article.<ref>Example 2</ref>
If you need to use the same reference more than once, it will need to be named using <ref name=example> on the first time it is used, and <ref name=example/> on subsequent references. First[3]


First<ref name=ex3>Example 3</ref>
Second<ref name=ex3/>
Pages with references must contain a section for listing these including the <references/> tag.

This automatically lists all references on the page.

Clicking on the arrows takes you back to the place where the reference was made. When multiple references are made to the same source, links to each are given by number.

If <references/> is not included, an alert is shown when previewing or editing the page.


  1. Example 1
  2. Example 2
  3. 3.0 3.1 Example 3
== References ==

For more information on references, see Wiki Help:Footnotes.

Tips for Transcription[edit]

You should use whatever method of transcription you find suits you best. So far, we don't know of any speech recognition software available to do the task for us, so the following is for manual transcription only. Here's some quick info on what we've found useful so far.

Please let us know if you have any suggestions to add.

Audio software[edit]

ExpressScribe is a free program that allows you a lot of control over the audio playback, whilst using the text editor of your choice. You can assign hot-keys to actions such as play, pause, speed up, skip back etc. that are system-wide (i.e. they work no matter what other program you're in at the time). You can also use this program with a foot pedal. You can find an overview of ExpressScribe functions in this article

VLC media player can be also used, by using the playback speed function. Dialling down the speed until you can type comfortably in your favourite text editor, a quick alt-tab to switch to vlc, then shift-left a couple of times will skip back a few seconds if you missed something. Alt-left and alt-right skips larger chunks of time. With a little practice these commands become second nature.

Text editing software[edit]

Ultimately, it doesn't matter what program you use for writing your transcription, but most have their advantages and disadvantages.

Here are some things you might want to consider:

  • Spell-checking – the editing box on this site underlines unrecognized and/or misspelled words with a dotted red line, but is relatively limited.
  • Automatic correction – some text editors (e.g. MS Word) automatically correct common typos, e.g. 'taht', 'beleive' and 'sicence'. This can be very handy, however, it can sometimes cause problems if a false correction is made and not noticed.
  • Grammar checking – not for the podcast content itself, but for errors such as lower case letters after full-stops and two spaces in a row etc.
  • Formatting – e.g. only 'straight' (or 'typewriter') apostrophes are recognised in wiki-markup for bold and italics etc., 'curly' (or typographic) apostrophes, as often used in MS Word, are not.
    • To change this in MS Word 2010, go to File>Options>Proofing and click AutoCorrect Options. In the pop-up window, deselect the checkbox for replacing "Straight quotes" with "smart quotes", in both the AutoFormat and AutoFormat As You Type tabs.
    • To change this in older versions of MS Word, go to Tools>AutoCorrect Options>AutoFormat As You Type and deselect the checkbox for replacing "Straight quotes" with "smart quotes".

Community Portal[edit]

The Community portal is a page where you can post messages about the website. This is the place to ask for help, make suggestions etc.

You can post a message here by editing and saving the page like any other, entering new topics at the top, and adding to threads within them at the bottom of the thread.

If you are replying to a post, or adding a new post within a current topic, click on the "edit" link to the right of that topic's header. This means that it will be clear what your comment is about when others see it on the Recent changes page, or the Community Portal history page. If you are replying to a post, you should indent your text by including one or more colons, ":"

Automatically insert your user name and the time of the post by using 4 tildes "~~~~", or by clicking the signature button at the top of your editing box.

Useful links[edit]