This page contains some general best best practices around creating content and using wiki functionality.  These are intended to be suggestions that help users create and consume content more effectively.  Additional guidance around style (which might be a bit more arbitrary) can be found on the Wiki Style Guide.  Specific how-to information can be found on the Help page.

Content

  1. Creating pages
  2. Editing Pages
  3. Links
  4. People vs. Users
  5. Building for Search
  6. Dynamic Lists Using Tags
  7. Citing your sources
  8. Conversations and Comments
  9. External Links
  10. Page Talk

 

Creating pages and content

  • Searching first is very important! Before you make a page you should do a search for it and similar items to make sure the page doesn't already exist. If the page already exists, add to it! If it exists but has (as you feel) the incorrect name, then feel free to rename it (by going into Edit and pressing "Rename" down under the edit area) — be sure to state your reason. After renaming the page you should change the old links from the old name to the new name — again, by doing a search :) (search for the old page name) — note: you don't have to do this, as the old page name will automatically redirect to the new page name, but it's good style, and good style is sexy.
  • If you're making a page, picking a good name for it is important. If the place/idea has a proper name then you should try and make that the page name. [Fifth Third Field.] When making a page for something without a universal name, just use the normal rules for capitalization in the English language.

    Sometimes it's not clear what the real name of the place/thing/idea you're making a page for should be. In these cases of confusion, just make a decision as to what the page name should be, then make note of the alternative possibilities in the page itself. Referring to the other possible names allows people to do searches and find the page under any of the possible names. An example of this may be the "Huntington Center," which used to be known as the "Lucas Country Arena."  It's not clear what the name of the page should be, so a simple reference to the other name (somewhere in the page, probably toward the beginning) fixes this and allows people to find it in a search(searching is very important for people who don't use the site regularly). Also, making redirects (by making the page contain only the line #redirect The name of the page) allows the other names to be used without problems — they will simply redirect to the one page, whatever it happens to be named.

Editing pages

  • When saving your edit, be sure to leave a comment!  Give a brief summary of what you changed and why.  Remember, this is a collaborative effort - and other editors can't read your mind :)  
  • Sometimes, for whatever reason, it's a good idea to change the title of a page. Using the "Rename" feature will cause the old page to redirect to the new page, and thus all old links do not need to be updated. This old page is said to be a "redirect" to the new page. Redirects can be made manually, by inserting #redirect Page Name into the first line of a page.

It's important to keep the wiki clean, and thus many useless pages are eventually deleted. Redirecting pages are sometimes seen as useless when no other pages within the wiki link to them. Here are some things to consider before deleting a redirecting page:

1. Does the redirecting page aid the user in finding the content by providing an alternative title for the material?

2. Do resources outside the wiki link to the redirecting page?

(1) is usually easy enough to figure out, but (2) is harder to know because even good search engines cannot index everything.

Links

  • When to link to something outside of ToledoWiki

Internal links provide a major support structure for ToledoWiki.  Everything in the Toledo region that has a World Wide Web address (or a URL) can have its own page in ToledoWiki.  The only link to a local thing's external Web address should be found on the ToledoWiki page for that local thing.

Let's say for example you were editing information about Scott High School and wanted to add a link to the school district.  Linking to the ToledoWiki page for Toledo Public Schools, instead of to http://www.tps.org/ is the best choice.  The district's wiki page then send's someone to the district's internet website external to ToledoWiki.

  • In the Text

Whenever you refer to other resources that belong within the wiki, make a link! This applies even if a page doesn't exist. Go on the assumption that someone will make the page in the future. In most cases these will be proper nouns, but don't feel restricted to that (for e.g. someone might want to make a page on running around the Toledo area).

  • At the End of the Page

The end of the page should contain at least one subsection labeled "See Also." This is the section to put relevant links internally.

For external links, make a section labeled "External Links."

Take care these sections are properly separated from the rest of the information from the page so it's easier to browse.

People vs. Users

  • If you want to make a page about someone, say the Toledo City Councilman Steve Steel, you should probably name that page "Steve Steel" (note the space). If on the other hand you are Steve Steel you could create a page for yourself with the name "Users/SteveSteel". The page that start with "Users/" is going to be the page associated with a particular wiki user. A link to this page is in their upper right hand corner all the time and is automatically linked when they make an edit or comment, so this page is tied to the wiki user in a special way.

Think of it this way: the username page (starts with "Users/") is the page for that person to use. The page without the "Users" in front is the page where historical information about the person might go.

Simple rule: Pages that start with "Users/" are pages for people on the wiki to use. Pages without the "Users" in front are just like normal wiki pages, etiquette-wise, which means they are pages from a more biographical standpoint. Generally, people put highly-personal or wiki-centric information on their own page. If they're a public figure, then other people are expected to control the content of the biographical page.

Building for search

  • Try to summarize your page in the first few sentences.  Note the first few sentences of your writing, as it's likely description that will show up on the search results (i.e. create a summary of your page if appropriate). The search engine will search for the first occurrence of the searched term, so it may not necessary be the entire first sentence.
  • Try to avoid segmenting and replicating information across pages. Putting the same information on a bunch of pages makes keeping information updated extremely difficult and also makes searching very hard. Keep the information about a particular topic on the page devoted to that topic, for the most part.  Whenever possible, try to link back to the original ToledoWiki source rather than duplicating information. 
  • Avoid relative time references, e.g. yesterday, to help us keep the wiki current; it would be preferable to include a specific date reference that will still make sense six months from now.

Dynamic Lists Using Tags

  • Tag-a-thon.  After a page created or edited, tags will not be automatically generated. Make sure the page is given a few tags to increase searchability and browseability.

  • You can add a list of pages with a certain tag to any page by clicking on the jigsaw puzzle piece, pulling down and adding a List of Tagged Pages.  Creating lists using tags allow the list to be automatically updated when somebody creates a new page with that tag.  It cuts out a step of editing the list page and allows the site to grow with less maintenance.

  • For dynamic lists to work, common tags should be used.  Tags intended to be used for lists could have a 1 in front, which would organize all of these tags in one place in the alphabetical list.

  • What's the best practice for naming tags?  Should plurals be used?  Using plurals or not seems to be causing some confusion -  as of 11/28/12, there's 6 bars tagged "bars" and 3 different bars tagged "bar".  It seems like it might be better to keep these together.  Does it matter? -Users%2Ftoby

  • I think the best would be to have both tags. As it develops each will have its own purpose. I don't think it is something that will be controllable over 1000's of users. It only matters when someone is using those tags for a purpose. Directory of bars, for example. In that case the person building the directory would go in and add any missing tags. Having both there allows for users to search both ways. Michael Palmer

Citing your sources & giving credit where it's due

  • It is good practice to cite any sources you use, particularly if you are using a direct quote or facts/figures from a publication or website. Note that Davis Wiki does not follow the strict [wikipedia]Verifiability and [wikipedia]No Original Research policies of Wikipedia, especially the latter, since the local nature of the subject allows for much primary research.
  • If a reference is applicable to a specific passage, use the an anchor to link to a "Footnote" or section.
  • If a reference is applicable to large parts of the page, cite it at the end in a "References" or "Sources" section. The format of the citation is not important but should at least contain the title, author and date of publication for both printed material and online resources. Linking to the URL via the title is preferred, but do not just cite the URL, as it could change. Giving the author, title and publication (even for online articles) gives later editors and readers a chance to find the article via internet or site search engines.
  • Primary research can be either footnoted or information relevant to the source can be added in the edit comment. For instance "I stopped in yesterday and asked". For items that might change in the future, indicating when or where the information was gathered might be appropriate.

Rent is $1050 for two bedrooms, $1300 for three. (According to the manager, 2006-07-14.)

  • Note that another way to reference material is via interwiki links. Material that is removed from the target can be retrieved by looking up the history of the citation and then the history of the target article. As a result, a simple link can be made.
  • If you take information from a different community (like http://CUWiki.net) remember to link back to the original source via the "External Links."

Conversations and Comments

  • Often times the conversations or comments inside of a page contribute a lot to the page's worth. If possible, integrate and re-structure the page to reflect the important information contained in comments. If a comment is directed at you and it's hardly valuable to anyone else after you've read it, then removing it un-clutters the page. Leaving the subjective/experience-based portions of comments attributed to those who make them keeps (more) subjective knowledge around.

External Links

Page Talk

  • Note: It might make sense to merge the style guide into this page (or vice-versa) at some point - I kept it separate for now because it seemed to me that certain suggestions (i.e. whether to italicize or underline titles, whether to spell out abbreviations, etc.) seemed less critical and more open to interpretation.  What do you think?  -TonyJayne
  • I think the style guide should be a guide to how an individual page should be formatted.  Also, the style guide can be used to help decide what edits need to be made to a page.  Best practices are things we do to improve how the wiki functions - how navigable it is, how it's organized...  So using that distinction, I think the naming guidelines should be here, and the style guide should refer to it over here.  (Although information about capitalization of proper nouns is good over there too.) Other than that, I think everything is in the right place. -toby .

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