Help talk:Contributor Help

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Revision as of 16:35, 21 December 2011

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I'd like to see this page turn into more of a central starting point for those who would like to Edit and Contribute to the wiki. Right now it's a collection of links that could use some "re-categorization" and some additional guidance for helping new contributors know where to start. I think some of the following could help with that:

  • Remove Search helps - this is not as important for contributors, these links should go on the Tour page
  • Break down into a few main categories on the page:
  • Getting Started - this would include the main links that new contributors need
  • Community projects - this would talk about getting started in a project and link to the Projects Seeking Contributors page plus any other page on the Wiki where we discuss things that need to "get done" and need volunteers
  • Advanced topics - this would have the more advanced editing topics such as Wikitext, Templates, etc.
  • Additional guidance - this would refer to the Forums and other items as well - maybe the Teaching Aids, etc.

Thoughts? Other ideas? (All of the links currently on the page would get a home in this new structure except for those links that teach how to search. We could still link to the "Tour" page but move all the how to search links over there.)

janellv 23:35, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Great ideas, Janell! RitcheyMT 14:44, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Sounds like a good idea. Would be good to separate advanced information from basic information.--Candy Steinhorst 22:27, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

Recent changes

Just wanted to say that I like the recent changes that Evancol has made to this page. I think the additional information will be very helpful for those who edit and author new content in the wiki. One suggestion for additional content on this page is related to the summary box. All authors/editors should be encouraged to add a comment to the summary box to briefly explain the type of edits they made to the page. The reason for the summary is to communicate clearly. When I receive an email that a page has changed, the "Editor's comments" line is the first line I look at in the email. If the author has typed something in the summary box, this text is included in the email on the "editor's comments" line. It's so helpful to know ahead of time what changes were made to the page and why. I believe there is a help article somewhere that explains the usage of the summary box. Could this item be added to this page?

Another idea for additional changes (if needed) is an explanation of the discussion page. I don't remember if this subject is on this page or not. But all authors and editors should become very familiar with the usage of the discussion page and the reasons why the discussion page is so important. If this help page does not have a section related to the discussion page, it needs one. I've heard from many who want to edit or add new content but are reluctant to do so. When I explain how they can add their ideas to the discussion page instead of editing the page itself, they are more comfortable with participating in the wiki.

Thanks again for all the recent changes! Your help and support in all aspects of developing a community of contributors in the wiki are very appreciated. --Fran 04:51, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Good ideas. Maybe we can have under "Join the Community" a section about "Communicating with others" and add some things like the above. janellv 21:21, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Adding Video Links

We are creating several video demos on how to do tasks. It might be nice to link to them not only on this page, but also within each page that talks about that task.


More changes

As we've worked on this page and compared things to what Wikipedia is doing, we have talked about how much we like Wikipedia's Help page. In that vein we are working on a new version of this page to use the design principles found there - simplicity, the major sections broken out, and being able to see it all on one screen. Here is the preliminary idea - let us know what you think!  -- janellv (talk | contribs) 16:47, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

First, nice work on the proposed design changes! I think we should also look at implementing the quick-links and the search box that are at the top of Wikipedia's page. I also like the idea that the main help page is titiled "Help:Contents" - I didn't see any example of a Help page with icons on the WikiHow example, so I don't have any comments on that one.
As we know, there is a ton of help content in the Research Wiki and knowing where the article is located might be a problem, so the search box should help with that issue. The FAQ page(s) also need developing by adding the frequently asked questions. (The quick links at the top of the Wikipedia example includes the link to the FAQ page.) I'm guessing the Q & A's could be identified easily through the community meetings, phone calls, etc.
We need to be careful with the redesign because of the backlinks feature that's not yet fixed on the wiki. In the Wikipedia example, once a user clicks on a link to a help article, how would they get back to the main help page? On Wikipedia it's done through the backlink that automatically appears on the page. Plus the help articles are all sub-articles to the main help page. So if we move forward with this redesign, we should probably wait until the backlink feature is turned on for the Help namesapce. Once it is turned on, then a lot of the redesign that's needed will be much easier to do because it's automated by the system itself. --Fran 18:04, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
We also have a glossary page that could be used in the quick-links tool bar at the top of the page. See Help:Wiki Words, but I admit that a lot more content needs to be added to this page and note that this page is not categorized as a Help page. I'm sure you're aware of the glossary pages for genealogical words. The Category:Glossary will help with identifying all glossary pages. --Fran 18:37, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
This page is coming along, see the updates here. We are not creating these as subpages, so I'm not sure the backlinks feature would work, unless I'm missing something. We'll create links back to the main help page from the next pages. The FAQ and the Glossary are both linked to from specific pages in the on this page. There may be a way to bring the most frequently clicked links out to the main page, we'll have to think about that some more.... -- janellv (talk| contribs) 03:27, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
I like the look and feel, but I still wonder if a novice would be slightly overwhelmed when they see that page for the first time. Especially when once they click on one of those links, they sometimes end up seeing a list of articles that are often overlapping or are extremely technical. I'd guess that 90% of wiki activity is creating articles and editing text. Could we do something to point the user to help articles on those topics?Randyhoffman 17:56, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
The overlapping articles is part of what is being worked on as we go through revising all of the help content, so that should help that problem. I would guess that 85%+ of the work is done editing articles and text. Creating articles is going to be a very small part of that, most people just aren't creating new pages. We'll be moving "Editing the Wiki" into the 2nd spot, under Getting Started. I'm not sure where else we could point people to those articles. Do you have any specific suggestions? -- janellv (talk| contribs) 02:47, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I think my overall issue with help on the wiki is that if someone hears about the wiki and wants to contribute, there is no single comprehensive resource where they can go an learn everything they need to use the wiki. You actually cannot even find a list of the skills that someone should have in order to contribute. Randyhoffman 15:59, 29 November 2011 (UTC)