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Wikipedia: The Missing Manual by John Broughton

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Left Boxes and Links

The left side of every Wikipedia page has four boxes, three containing a number of links, and one search box. The links in some of the boxes change depending on what type of page you’re looking at (article, user, and so on). If you come across technical documentation, you’ll find that these boxes and links are referred to, collectively, as the Quickbar or the sidebar.

Note

This section describes the state of the links on the left side in late 2007. Wikipedia is quite configurable, and that includes the left-side links. The links are likely to stay the same for a while, unless Wikipedia adds any big new features that require new links.

Navigation Box Links

These five links take you to various Wikipedia entry points. They’re intended more for readers than for editors.

Main Page

Takes you to Wikipedia’s Main Page, which changes daily. You see the day’s featured article and picture, lists of new articles and hot news topics, a “this day in history” section, and links to other parts of Wikipedia.

Note

Although the page’s left tab says “Main Page”, not “article”, the Main Page is in mainspace, where all articles reside. (Occasionally editors propose that the Main Page be moved to portalspace, since it has portal-like aspects.)

Contents

This page describes all the reference lists (overviews, lists, glossaries, and so on) and indices available to browse Wikipedia. It’s lengthy, comprehensive, and fairly boring.

Featured content

Here’s where you can see a randomly chosen selection ...

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