We're updating a feature on Wikia next week, making the "Create a new article" process a little easier for new contributors.

The hardest thing about writing is staring at a blank page -- anyone who uses wikis knows that it's a lot easier to revise an existing page than to start one from scratch! That's especially true for new contributors, who aren't quite sure how to put their first wiki pages together.

When the update launches next week, clicking on the "Create a new article" link in the sidebar will open a dialog box that asks for the title of the new article. The box also offers a "standard layout" for new pages, which includes an image placeholder and two section headings. If a contributor wants to start with a blank page instead, then they can choose "blank page". This dialog also appears when a contributor clicks on a red link, with the link title filled in as the name of the new article.

The standard layout can be customized per wiki, so a community can create their own layout for a basic content page by editing MediaWiki:Newpagelayout.

A couple more notes for experienced folks: Creating a page by typing the name into the browser bar is unchanged; it gives you the blank page instead of the dialog box. Also, if you'd prefer to have the blank page be the default for you, then you'll be able to change it in your Preferences, under the Editing tab.

You can preview the new update on this test wiki -- give it a spin and see how it works. We want to give folks the chance to customize their standard layout before the update goes live early next week, so feel free to play with it, and let us know what you think!

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