From Eccentric Flower
Never dealt with MediaWiki before? Do not panic.
Short version, for the easily distracted:
Links down the left side go places. Links on tabs just above the page content do things with that page. Links at upper right are your personal stuff.
Every page has a "discussion" or "talk" page associated with it. You'll see a tab for it at the top. Assuming you have a login (and usually you can have one for the asking), you can leave comments on almost any page in the site on its talk page.
Red links don't exist yet.
Anatomy of the Page
Apart from the main portion of the page where you are currently reading this, there are four general areas of the page with things to click on:
At upper right, assuming you are logged in, you will find the options that have to do with you - who you are, what others see about you, your preferences, and so forth. This is also where the link to log in and log out is.
It's probably best not to tinker with preferences if you don't understand what they do. The defaults are pretty good.
While a login is not required, it is encouraged for regular visitors. You cannot post comments on articles unless you have a login (here's why), and there's a small amount of the site you can't even read without one.
To avoid any number of nuisances, user accounts must be approved (by me). You can request an account here.
Email is disabled in this wiki due to the peculiarities of this system's outgoing mail server. There are still some settings and pages pertaining to email, and to email validation, lying around. Ignore these.
Above any page are a number of tabs which show what you can and can't do. This wiki is kept pretty tightly locked, so you won't be able to do much with most articles except read them. But most articles will have a "discussion" link (AKA "talk page"). The talk page is where you can leave comments about the article (if you are logged in). Even your user page has its own talk page!
To View Comments
Click the "discussion" tab above any article to go to its talk page. If it's in red, there have been no comments on that article yet (don't let that stop you).
To view comments on your user page, use the "my talk" link at upper right.
To Post Comments
Many talk pages will have a sneaky comment form where you can just click to add comments. Sometimes I even put this at the bottom of the article itself (it'll do exactly the same thing either way). If that's there, use it. It will make your life easier.
You can also edit comment posts by hand (usually). To do it the hard way, first click the article's "discussion" tab, then the "edit" tab. (If you don't see this tab, you can't edit the talk page.)
Remember that when you edit, you can also see and edit what other people have done. Please be careful of other people's posts. Leave new posts at the bottom and don't mess with anyone else's. Follow the rules at the bottom of the edit form. Preview your work before saving.
For basic text, just type what you want to say. Mostly line breaks will be ignored, so leave empty lines between paragraphs.
For more complicated things (italics, links) you'll want a little MediaWiki syntax, which is quite easy. There is a link at the bottom of the editing form for "Editing help" which will tell you everything you're likely to need.
Running down the left side of the page is a sidebar which always contains at least three basic navigational links (home, journal, and help), and which may contain more. It also holds a search form, and the "toolbox" whose content changes depending on the page (the wiki controls this) and which you can almost always safely ignore.
Note About Searching
If your search does not seem to pick up journal entries, it means you have turned off searching in the "Eccentric_Flower" namespace where they live. The "Main" namespace holds only non-journal items. To fix this, go into your preferences, and, under the Search section, check some more boxes.
You may also want to know that the Talk namespace holds discussion/comments on any pages in the Main namespace; and Eccentric_Flower_talk holds discussion/comments on journal pages. If you're trying to find something said in a comment on a journal item, make sure you okay that namespace for search.
I try to be pretty consistent about placing every page into one or more categories. For an explanation of what they theoretically mean, see here.
The footer contains links to a number of boilerplate pages, which you should read, and may also contain statistics about a particular article.
A red link, in MediaWiki, is a page that doesn't exist. I do this sometimes as a placeholder to remind me that I will want to make that page later. If you click on one of these, it will invite you to create the article - except you don't usually have permission to do that (most users can only edit talk pages), and you may get an unexpectedly blank page. This is not a sign the universe is ending.
If you have any questions about the use or content of these pages, you can try contacting columbina at eccentricflower dot com. Warning: I have a very aggressive spam filter. If you put [EF] at the start of your subject line it will greatly improve my chances of actually seeing it.