Shifti's primary purpose is as an archive for works of fiction, specifically stories containing physical transformations of various sorts. The posting of stories of this genre is welcomed and encouraged. To make it easier to keep everything properly organized, the following guidelines are provided:
Create a user account
Every edit to Shifti is labeled with the username of the person who performed it. This is important for keeping track of who wrote what; if you want to post a story you should create an account and make sure you're logged in before doing so. You won't need to provide any personal information unless you choose to, all that's required is that you come up with a unique user name for yourself and provide a password. To create an account:
- Click the "log in/create account" link in the upper right corner of the page
- Click the "create account" link on the login page
- Fill in the mandatory username and password fields. Your username can include spaces.
- Fill in an email address you can be reached at. This is optional, but highly recommended since if you lose your password Shifti can send a new one to you here. It will not be given out to other users or publicly displayed.
- The "real name" field is also optional, but is recommended for authors who would like to ensure that their work is properly attributed.
Every user gets his or her own user page and user talk page; the user page is a free-form "homepage" that you can design any way you like, for example providing a list of your stories or links to other web sites. Your user talk page is intended as a public bulletin board where other users of Shifti can post comments for you to read and respond to.
Choose a title
Page titles have few restrictions and can include spaces. Generally speaking, it is easiest when the page title for a story is the same as the title of the story itself. This is not strictly required, however. If your story is set in a shared story universe, for example, you may wish to put the name of the story universe at the beginning.
There are just a few significant restrictions on page titles:
- Page titles are case sensitive, except for the first letter which is always capitalized. This means that links to "Magic cheese" and "magic cheese" will both lead to the same page, but that a link to "Magic Cheese" would not.
- Certain special characters such as # and | are not permitted.
- Certain prefixes such as "Talk:" and "Shifti:" are used to designate namespaces within Shifti and the pages they lead to will have special properties that make them unsuitable for posting stories to.
If someone else has already used the same title that you would like to use, a common means of distinguishing is to add "disambiguation" text to the end of the title in a set of parenthesis. For example, if you wanted to post a story titled "Be Careful What You Wish For" but someone else has already posted one with this name, you could instead use the page title "Be Careful What You Wish For (Joe Author)". You may also want to contact the author of the existing story and request that he move his story to another page name, leaving the original page as a disambiguation page containing links to both stories.
Edit the page with the chosen title
There are two common methods reach the edit window for a page that doesn't exist yet.
- Create a link to it from some existing page (for example, add it to a list of stories on your user page)
- Edit the URL in your browser's address bar (for example, replace "http://shifti.keil-draco.com/Shifti:Posting_stories" with "http://shifti.keil-draco.com/Magic_cheese".)
You will be presented with an empty text editing window. Paste your story into this. There's a smaller one-line text window below marked "edit summary", this is for a short description of the edit you're making to be displayed in the page's edit history. Its use is optional but makes it easier to find specific revisions if you wind up editing your story a lot.
Format your story
The basic formatting of text on Shifti is very simple. Paragraphs are separated by a blank line, the beginning and end of italics are marked with two single quote marks (''), bold text us marked with three single quote marks ('''), and links to other pages within Shifti are enclosed in double square brackets (like this: [[page name]]). Preformatted text is marked with a space at the beginning of the line; if you post your story and find that certain lines don't automatically word-wrap and are in a monospaced font it's likely that you've accidentally left a space at the beginning of that line.
More advanced formatting is possible. Shifti is a MediaWiki wiki and uses the default wikitext formatting; see Help:Editing on the Meta wiki for more details.
Preview and save
To check whether your story's formatting will look correct, click the "preview" button. This will load a page that has both the text editing area and a preview of how the final page will look like. Note that your text has not been saved yet, and that if you make further changes you'll have to click "preview" again to refresh the displayed text.
Once the story appears formatted to your satisfaction, click "save". This will save the text and allow others to view it. You can always come back and edit the text again later if you discover flaws or otherwise want to make changes, so don't fret too much about this stage.