Part of what makes a wiki so great is the simplicity of creating or editing an article. No knowledge of HTML is required, only the simplified wiki markup which is used to structure and style the page.
In fact, you can start right now by clicking on the edit this page link that is displayed on every page. (If you're new to Memory Alpha, we recommend trying out your skills in the Sandbox if you're not confident about editing a live page yet.)
To edit a page, all you have to do is type your article as you would any other page, and use the simple guidelines below to create the desired styles.
Memory Alpha uses a specialized style of markup to replace verbose HTML, called "wikitext". Wikitext is designed to make it as easy as possible to type an article and style it at the same time, without having to worry about long and sometimes-confusing HTML codes. The tutorial is broken into four separate pages:
The edit summary is a field where you can summarize the changes you are making to an article. You are strongly encouraged to fill this field whenever possible, because it helps other contributors who are browsing the Recent changes page to know what kind of changes have been made.
When editing a page, a logged-in user has the option of flagging the edit as a minor edit. When to use this is somewhat a matter of personal preference. The rule of thumb is that an edit of a page that is spelling corrections, formatting, and minor rearranging of text should be flagged as a minor edit. A major edit is basically something that makes the entry worth reviewing for somebody who wants to watch the article rather closely, i.e. any "real" change, even if it is a single word. This feature is important, because users can choose to hide minor edits in their view of the "Recent changes" page to keep the volume of edits down to a manageable level.
The reason for not allowing a user who is not logged in to mark an edit as minor is that vandalism could then be marked as a minor edit, in which case it would stay unnoticed longer. This limitation is another reason to log in.
- MediaWiki User's Guide: Editing overview - a more detailed, blow-by-blow example of every facet of MediaWiki's wiki markup styles