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Help:Wiki/User Account and Preferences

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The preferences dialog allows you to personalize some aspects of a MediaWiki wiki. They will apply only when you are logged in.

User data

Explanation of fields in the user data box under Preferences:

  • Real name - Optional. If you choose to provide it this will be used for giving you attribution for your work.
  • Email - Required. Enables others to contact you through your user or user_talk page without the need of revealing your identity.
  • Nickname - Optional.
  • Raw signatures (without automatic link) - Optional.
  • Language - Interface language.
  • Change password
  • Email - Optional. Check all boxes you wish to apply.

Your nickname

Although your username is not necessarily your real name and could therefore be called a nickname, the term "nickname" is used here for a name you may optionally specify, different from your username, for when you enter your signature with ~~~ or ~~~~.

(If you use the edit toolbar for signing, remember that it gives two dashes before the four tildes.)

Raw signatures

However, there is even more versatility. You can use any text as your nickname.

If "Raw signatures (without automatic link)" is unchecked, then

  • The software enters "[[User:Name|" in front of, and "]]" after your nickname text.
  • Any characters in your nickname that would otherwise constitute Wiki markup and HTML markup are escaped as HTML character entities. A nickname of "]] | [[User talk:Name|Talk" will thus produce a signature of "]] | [[User talk:Name|Talk", which is probably not what you want.

If "Raw signatures" is checked, then

  • Nothing is added to the text that you specify. What you specify is what is used between the two dashes and the timestamp.
  • Wiki markup and HTML markup are not escaped, allowing you to include links, font tags, images, and templates in your signature.

Invalid raw signatures

You may find the following message displayed in your user preferences:

Invalid raw signature; check HTML tags.

This means you are using invalid HTML markup on your signature. Some possible causes with their corresponding solutions:

Unclosed tags 
If you are opening a tag without the corresponding closing tag (for instance: [[User:Example|<font color="white">Example]]), you should close the tag (for instance: [[User:Example|<font color="white">Example</font>]]). It's also a good idea to put the tags outside the link if possible (for instance: <font color="white">[[User:Example|Example]]</font>).
Mismatched or incorrectly nested tags 
If the tags are mismatched (for instance: <s><u>hi</s></u>), fix them (for instance: <s><u>hi</u></s>).
Unquoted attributes 
It's also recommended to use quotes on all attributes (for instance, use <font color="white"></font> instead of <font color=white></font>).
Unclosed entities 
If you have a HTML entity which is lacking the final ;, you need to add it; if you have a bare &, it must be replaced by &amp; (a bare & is always a mistake in either HTML or wikicode).
Unescaped special characters 
If you are using one of &, <, or >, and want it shown as text, it must be escaped as &amp;, &lt;, or &gt;, respectively.

Using images and templates in signatures

Note that changes in the images and templates are retroactive, which on one hand may be confusing, but on the other hand, to rectify annoying signatures, may be convenient. To avoid retroactivity, use a new image or template name. Do not create a signature template in the article or template namespace: instead use a subpage of your own userpage such as sig, and link it with "{{User:Name/sig}}".

Signature content

Check the specific signatures page and note that:

  • using another nickname than your username is confusing (the page history shows your username, not your nickname)
  • if you show your username as an image, or with letters replaced by special characters, even if the name is still readable, searching a talk page for your username will fail
  • excessive signatures will clutter talk pages
  • drawing excessive attention to yourself may create the impression that you find yourself more important than other people



To change your password, enter your old password, the new password, and the new password a second time. (If you're merely changing the other preferences, you do not need to enter your password.)

  • Remember password across sessions. Enabling this feature will place an HTTP cookie in your browser's cache, which will allow MediaWiki to recognize you each time you visit the page. You will not have to log in each time you visit.

If you want to use remember my password you have to change your password if it was generated by Mediawiki and emailed to you. This is a security feature but very often causes trouble for new users.

Interface language

You may specify an interface language although the content of Tiki will be predominently in English.


Limit images on image description pages to:  320x240

You can specify a limit on the size of images on image description pages.

The large limit 10000x10000 means that you get the full image.

With a slow connection it is not practical to have to load a large image just to read image info. Also, it may be practical if a large image at first is made to fit on the screen, in the case that the browser does not do that itself. If the image has been reduced there is a link to the full image.

Date format

The following is rendered depending on preferences:

 [[January 15]], [[2001]]
 [[15 January]] [[2001]]
 [[2001]] [[January 15]]
 [[January 15]]
 [[15 January]]

With your current preference setting the seven are rendered as follows:

By default the rendering is as usual for links. However one can specify as preference that all of the first five are rendered the same, in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th way. If the 4th or 5th way is selected, the 6th and 7th line are not affected. If the 2nd or 3rd way is selected, the 6th and 7th line are rendered accordingly, without the year.

The setting also affects what wikitext the signature of the user produces. Since dates in signatures are not linked, this determines how the date is rendered for everybody, and this can not be changed retroactively, except by editing the pages with the signature.

Time zone

Time diff. This is the number of hours to be added or subtracted from UTC/GMT to find your time zone. This time zone is used when calculating displayed page update timestamps, and may become temporarily incorrect from time to time if you observe daylight saving time -- don't forget to update it to match your local time, because the Wiki doesn't know where you are or precisely when you celebrate DST.

A scattering of typical (and possibly incorrect!) time diff values are below. If yours isn't listed, try this link or add and subtract a few hours as needed.

  • -10 (DST -9) Hawaii, western Aleutians (Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time)
  • -9 (DST -8) All of Alaska, except for western Aleutians (Alaska Standard Time)
  • -8 (DST -7) California; Washington; almost all of Oregon, Nevada, and British Columbia (Pacific Standard Time)
  • -7 (DST -6) Colorado, Arizona (no DST except for Navajo Nation), Alberta (Mountain Standard Time)
  • -6 (DST -5) Chicago, most of Mexico, Central America, Saskatchewan (Central Standard Time)
  • -5 (DST -4) New York, Toronto, Quebec (Eastern Standard Time)
  • -4 (DST -3) Canada's Maritime Provinces, plus most of Labrador
  • -3.5 (DST -2.5) Newfoundland
  • -3 (DST -2) Brasilia, Buenos Aires, most of Greenland
  • -2 (DST -1) Mid-Atlantic
  • -1 (DST 0) Azores, Cape Verde Islands
  • 0 (DST 1) United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, mainland Portugal, Iceland (no DST), Casablanca, Monrovia (no DST)
  • 1 (DST 2) most of Western Europe, West Central Africa (no DST)
  • 2 (DST 3) Bucharest, Kiev, Cairo, Johannesburg (no DST), Finland, Jerusalem
  • 3 (DST 4) Moscow, Kuwait, Baghdad, Tehran, Nairobi (no DST)
  • 4 Abu Dhabi, Baku
  • 4.5 Kabul
  • 5 Islamabad
  • 5.5 India
  • 5.75 Nepal
  • 6 Sri Lanka
  • 6.5 Rangoon
  • 7 Thailand, Hanoi, Jakarta
  • 8 People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Western Australia, Ulaan Bataar, Singapore, Manila
  • 9 Japan, South Korea
  • 9.5 (DST 10.5) South Australia and Northern Territory (no DST)
  • 10 (DST 11) Queensland (no DST), New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, Guam (no DST), Vladivostok]]
  • 11 Magadan (DST 12), Solomon Islands, New Caledonia
  • 12 Pago Pago, New Zealand (DST 13)


  • Rows, Columns. Here you can set up your preferred dimensions for the textbox used for editing page text.
  • Edit box has full width. If this box is checked, the edit box (when you click "Edit this page") will be the width of the browser window, minus the quickbar width.
  • Show edit toolbar. In compatible browsers, a toolbar with editing buttons can be displayed.
  • Show preview on first edit - when pressing the edit button or otherwise following a link to an edit page, show not only the edit box but also the rendered page, just like after pressing "Show preview". This is especially useful when viewing a template, because even just viewing, not editing, typically requires both.
  • Show preview before edit box and not after it. If you select this option, the preview will be displayed above the edit box when you click the "Show preview" button while editing a page.
  • Add pages you edit to your watchlist. If this option is selected, any pages that you create or modify will be automatically added to your watchlist.
  • Mark all edits minor by default. This option automatically selects the "This is a minor edit" checkbox when you edit pages.
  • Use external editor by default. Changes editing from online version to external program.
  • Use external diff by default. Changes diffing from online version to external program.

Recent changes & stubs

  • Threshold for stub display: See the Wikipedia page here for a detailed explanation.
  • Titles on recent changes: You may select the number of changes which will be shown by default on the Recent Changes and Watchlist page. Once on those pages, links are provided for other options.
  • Hide minor edits in recent changes. Registered users may choose to mark edits as being minor (meaning fixes too trivial for trusting users to check up on). It applies to Recent Changes and Enhanced Recent Changes, but not to the Watchlist. It also affects Related changes, but currently in an odd way: if the last edit of a page linking to the current page was minor, then neither that nor the last major change is shown.
  • Enhanced recent changes (not for all browsers). Group recent changes per day by article, display the titles of the changed articles in order from new to old latest change, or in the case of hiding minor edits, latest major change. This feature applies also to Related Changes, but not to the Watchlist.


  • Hits to show per page: You may choose the number of results returned on each page of search results.
  • Lines to show per hit is somewhat cryptic; specifying a number n means: "do not show any context if the search term occurs beyond line n in the page"; here a paragraph, as well as the blank line between two paragraphs, each count as one "line"; line breaks in the source, even when not affecting the lay-out of the page (and even when not directly visible in the edit box of the article), affect the line count. Setting the parameter to 5000 or more gives context for every occurrence.
  • Characters of context per line: the number of characters of context per occurrence; however, the context is anyway restricted to the "line" (see above) it occurs in. To get the whole line, put a large number like 5000.
  • Search in these namespaces by default: shows a list of all namespaces, allowing you to select which ones are searched by default.


  • Show hoverbox over wiki links. This option determines whether a link title is put in the HTML code. The result depends on the browser: putting the mouse pointer over a link often displays this title in a hover box. However, some browsers show the URL anyway, so a link title may be superfluous. If enabled, the link title is the page name in the case of an internal link, the page name with prefix in the case of an interwiki link, and the URL in the case of an external link.
  • Underline links. Normally, link text will be underlined. Optionally, you may request that links not be underlined, although your browser may not respect this setting. Normally links that are not underlined can still be recognized by colour. However, you can then not distinguish between two consecutive words being a single link or two links, without pointing at the words with the cursor.
  • Format broken links like this. An internal link to a non-existing pages is automatically a link to the edit page. By default the link label of [[b]] and [[a|b]] is "b", just like for links to existing pages. Alternatively the link label is a question mark inserted after "b", like this: The weather in London?. The appearance of the link is further determined by the style specified for css selectors "" and "" (the example on the preferences page wrongly uses class="internal" for the question mark). Internal links to pages which do not yet exist currently appear on your browser like this: the weather in London. Normally, this is underlined and in red. With the trailing question mark link one can then not distinguish between a single word being linked or a phrase of more than one word, without pointing at the question mark with the cursor. Also, remember that the question mark does not mean that the information is uncertain.
  • Justify paragraphs. If set, article paragraphs will be formatted to avoid jagged line endings. If unset, the paragraphs will be formatted as-is.
  • Auto-number headings. This adds hierarchical outline-style numbering to headers in articles.
  • Edit pages on double click. If this box is checked, you can double-click on a page to edit it. This option requires JavaScript to be enabled in your browser.
  • Enable section editing via [edit] links. Shows or hides the [Edit] links on section titles.
  • Enable section editing by right-clicking on section titles (JavaScript). Note that in the case of a header with a link (which may occur, although it is not recommended in some projects) this disables opening the link in a new window through right-clicking (an alternative way such as shift-clicking may work). Also other right-clicking functions, such as "Properties", are disabled.
  • Show table of contents (for articles with more than 3 headings)
  • Disable page caching. This turns off page caching. This is useful if you're experiencing problems of seeing outdated versions of pages, but this comes at a cost of longer loading times.
  • Enable "jump to" accessibility links - Provides or hides the two links "Jump to: navigation, search" at the top of each page, to the navigation bar and the search box.

How to create User subpages

To create a User subpage:

  1. Edit your user page and add a link like: [[/name of subpage]] and save the page.
  2. Then click on the new link; the text box that appears will allow you to edit the new subpage.
  3. Put whatever you wanted to add there.

Please note that links are case sensitive.

We encourage people to create subpages of their own user page if this allows you to better organise your personal content. However, we are not a free host - using your user page (or subpages) for content unrelated to writing for Tiki is frowned upon, and content can and will be deleted if there are violations.