From CUNY Academic Commons


A More Detailed FAQ is Being Written

The Tech Fellows and I are currently writing a much more detailed version of this FAQ and writing “Help pop-ups” for places where you’ve indicated you had a question.   In the meantime–and in the spirit of all wikis–please answer all the questions to which you know the answers.

An excellent place to find “reader-friendly” answers to basic questions (e.g., What’s a blog, what’s a wiki, and what’s the difference?) is the Wikipedia Tutorial. And the best place to find information about creating and editing pages in this wiki is MediaWiki’s help site. You might also want to check out Jim Groom’s excellent tutorials on how to use MediaWiki (which was used to create this Wiki) and WordPress (which was used to create the Commons). Karen Greenberg

Please write your questions in “Heading 4” and your answers in “Normal.”

How is the Wiki related to the Commons?  What does each part have that the other doesn’t? 

The Commons is the social networking part of this initiative.  It’s a place for people to get to know each other, learn about work that others are doing, discuss common concerns, and collaborate on projects.  [For the Commons mission statement click here.]

The Wiki is the repository of information, resources, and links that you create, annotate, and share. It will constantly evolve and change because every member can edit it any “editable” page.

When I move back and forth between the Commons and the Wiki, do I have to log-in to each again?

No, once you log-in to each part of the site, you can move between the two parts freely (unless you log-out).

The two parts of the commons sites have been streamlined so that you will always have the commons toolbar at the top of your screen.  This includes Home, Blogs, Groups, News, People, Wiki and About.  When you are in the wiki section of the site you will see the wiki toolbar to the right of the screen which includes the following sections: Views, Personal tools, Navigation, Search and Toolbox.

Can I change my password on either log-in?  If so, how?

For the Commons:  You must first log-in by clicking “Log In” in the gray toolbar on the top right of any page on the commons site.  Then mouse over “My Account > Settings  > General”  Type in your new password twice and click save changes.

For the Wiki:  Log-in.  Then in the toolbar on the top click “my preferences.”  Then on the webpage that opens up (the user profile page) scroll down to “Change Password.”  Type your old password and your new password, then make sure to click “Save.”  

How do I edit something on a Wiki page? 

You can read any page in the wiki without registering on it or logging in to it.  But if you want to edit something, you must create an account (in addition to the account you created for the Commons) and then log in to the Wiki.  If you never click the “log out” link, you’ll always be logged in and, thus, will always be able to edit Wiki pages (except the Home Page–and some “Section pages which have been made “uneditable” so that no one accidentally changes the entire Commons or wiki). 

You can find any “editable” page by finding it (by clicking View All Pages under Navigation on the right side of the screen).  To edit it, click Edit (under Views on the right side of the screen).

When you’re editing a page, save the page after every edit (or every few minutes).  If you don’t and if you go to a different page, you will lose every change you made!!

For additional information about how to edit a page (and format text), see WikiMedia’s Editing Help and WikiMedia’s Toolbar Help.

How can I change the title or name of a page I created?

Click Move (under Views on the right side of the screen) and follow the directions.


How do I upload images to a page on the wiki?

Upload an image to the Wiki by using the “Upload File” link in the toolbox on the right side of the page. Then go to the page you want to add the image to and click the Image button in the wiki toolbar or click the Link button (the blobe) and start typing the name of the image.  (The program will find it, and then all you have to do is click it.)

What is My watchlist?

Watchlist is a feature in the Wiki that allows you to keep track of changes to pages that you are interested in.  To use this feature, click Edit to edit a page and then click “Watch this page” at the bottom of the page (above the “Save page” button).  You can also add a page to your watchlist by clicking “My watchlist” in the “Personal tools” toolbar on the right.  Then click “edit raw watchlist” and type in the name/s of the page/s you would like to watch.  To remove a page from your watchlist, click view and edit watchlist and follow directions, or when in edit mode of the page click “unwatch” in the “Views” frame in the toolbar on the right, or uncheck the “Watch this page” check box.

To see the changes that have occured in the pages you have been watching, once you are logged in click “My watchlist.”

How do I load a picture of myself (an “avatar”) to appear in my profile and other areas?

Ultimately you will be able to load an avatar directly on your profile page, but that’s not working at present.  For now, you have to use a gravatar.

What is the “wire”?

The wire is much like the “wall” in Facebook:  it’s a place where friends, members of committee you’re on, and other members of the site can post messages and comments for you.

Is the wire like e-mail?  If not, what is it and when (and why) would we use it?

The wire is not like e-mail. It is a place where you can post messages in your own profile, and where other members can post messages for you.  The difference between e-mail and “the wire” is that it is public and everyone can see these messages.  So, if you would like to let all your friends know any piece of information (without having to send them an e-mail message and have to remember all their addresses) you can post a message on your “wire”.


I don’t understand why we need to be “Friends.”  What do we get from accepting a person’s request for “friendship”?  (And if I decide I want to request this, how do I do it?)

The friends feature allows members of the site to ‘network’ and to take advantage of other’s resources and knowledge.  By accepting a person’s friend request you become part of their ‘network.’

To accept a “friend request,” you can either follow the link in the e-mail you receive requesting friendship, or once you’ve logged in, look again at the gray tool bar on the top right; hover your mouse over “Notifications.”  Then click on the number of notifications you have pending.  You will then be directed to a web page that allows you to accept or reject the friendship request. 

How do I create a group?

There are a few ways to create groups:

1. Go to the home page of the commons ( and log in to the site by clicking “Log In” on the gray navigation bar at the top of the page.  Once you’ve logged in, look again at the gray bar; hover your mouse over “My Account > Groups > Create a Group” and click on “Create a Group.”  Follow the directions that you see.

2. You can also create a group from your profile page.  To visit your profile page, click the “My Account > Profile” link.  Once there, click the “Groups” link in the “Me” column on the left side of the page.  Then click the “Create a Group” link and follow the diretions you see.

How do I allow comments on a post?

You can choose to allow or disallow comments on each post that you write. To allow comments on a particular post, make sure that the box next to “allow comments on this post” is checked. You can find that box under the main textbox for the post. Here is a screenshot 

What copyright restrictions cover material posted on the wiki and the Commons?

Details to come (standard copyright and Creative Commons are options).

What copyright options do I have for material that I upload to the wiki?

Details to come (standard copyright and Creative Commons are options).

What platforms does the CUNY Academic Commons use?

The Academic Commons uses the following platforms:

Our MediaWiki Installation uses a few important extensions: the FCK Editor and the Uniwiki extensions