Help:How can I collaborate to Pl@ntUse?
- 1 How can I register?
- 2 How does the site work?
- 3 How can I collaborate?
- 4 In what can I collaborate ?
- 5 Which methodology to apply?
- 6 How can I create a simple page?
- 7 How can I create a page with a template?
- 8 How can I modify a page?
- 9 Beginning with MediaWiki
- 10 Other scientific sites using Mediawiki
How can I register?
This site is open and collaborative. Everybody can consult it, but you must be registered in order to modify it or to bring new datasets. You simply need to be a bona fide researcher or amateur to do that, and follow the basic rules. To register, click on the button above at the right Create an account or log in, and follow instructions. Please note your password. Give some biographical details so that other people know what are your fields of interest. Please give your real identity, not a pseudo, and preferably in the form Name Surname (and not Surname Name, or SURNAME Name).
Registration is submitted to no condition, but we reserve our right to cancel anybody who would not follow normal behaviour rules.
Discussion about the content of particular pages is best developed in the relevant discussion page. But if you want to contribute on a more general way, we strongly recommend you to go to our discussion platform on Pl@ntUse, which is accessible at : Pl@ntUse. Registration to this platform follows a distinct procedure than registration to the wiki site (in fact, it is not on the same server!). In other words, you will have to register twice! But then, you will be able to create any project you want in relation with plants. Existing ones are:
How does the site work?
This site uses the Mediawiki software, and users of Wikipedia will feel comfortable with it. Several extensions have been developed by the Biowikifarm team.
In general terms, we follow the principles of collaborative work. We strongly invite you to read the book of Jean-Michel Cornu, La coopération, nouvelles approches (in French), which will show you that collaborative work is not an odd fashion, but is based on an elaborated theory.
As is shown by Wikipedia, this wiki can manage big quantities of data, and in a way much more flexible than a classical database system. Each system has drawbacks and advantages, but the choice must be considered. You can read some view points at: Why we like Mediawiki.
By default, we follow the same procedures as Wikipedia. But we consider it is equally important to respect the conventions and usage of the scientific community, in particular the concept of authorship. We tried to write down a preliminary note on that Help:Authors of contributions.
Other differences with Wikipedia and Wikispecies deal with content. See Differences between Pl@ntUse and Wikipedia or Wikispecies.
How can I collaborate?
Please don't wait until you feel competent on everything, and don't wait until you have completed the entire datasets you wish. A wiki is a working space, where you can at any time put complements or modify data. if you don't master Mediawiki syntax, you can simply copy-paste data from your text processor. Other persons will then format your data in the right way, or organise them at the right place.
If you disagree about some data, or about the way they are expressed, it is not a problem. Nothing is sculpted out of marble. The best thing to do is to click on the button "Discussion" which links a discussion page to every written page. Explain then (politely, according to netiquette) in clear and concise terms what you are criticising. Above all, give your suggestions to improve the site. Criticism without suggestions is quite useless. When a discussion page has been written, the word "Discussion" changes from red to blue.
You can also collaborate by giving your advice about the site orientations, organisation, content of help pages... In order to do it in a constructive and informed way, we nevertheless advise you to begin putting on line some new contents, which will allow you to better understand our working method.
You can also help us improving the quality of our English (the initiator of the site is a lonesome Frenchman...). If you have expertise in Mediawiki language and syntax, you can develop templates.
In what can I collaborate ?
There are many ways to collaborate. You can:
- put data in any kind of pages;
- help us expanding the species list;
- put on line an old book free of rights;
- compile quotations about plants in books written by travellers (Ibn Battuta, Humbold, Oviedo, Tournefort...);
- publish lists of plant names in a given language or dialect, out of a dictionary or noted by yourself;
- give bibliographies that you may already have gathered in a particular field, or lists of links to websites;
- give plant or product photos; if you live in a place which is somewhat exotic, take photos on markets or elsewhere;
- translate pages from French to English or the reverse;
- correct style or spelling (above all for the English version).
In order to do that, don't hesitate to ask for help on our discussion platform, accessible at : Pl@ntUse.
Which methodology to apply?
Our approach is a pragmatic one. For each type of content, we write one or two pages as samples (or martyr texts...). Data structure will then be discussed, so that all pages of a similar type present data in the same way, and methodology will be established to ensure the best possible quality level. Information about data structure is given in the relevant category page. We are also creating special pages for particular data types. Do not hesitate to add other pages in your fields of competence:
- Methodology: Scientific names
- Methodology: Nutritional data
- Methodology: Names of chemical compounds
How can I create a simple page?
You can click on an existing red link, in a list or in the text. Red links indicate articles planned or wished, but that nobody has still had time or expertise to write. If there is no red link, you can create it everywhere as an "internal link" (for the syntax, see Help in the toolbar, visible only in "Edit" mode).
Another way consists in typing the title you wish (exactly as it will be!) in the window Search (above right). Mediawiki will tell you that there is no page with this name, but that you can create it by clicking on the red link it displays.
This system of links allows the created page to be linked at least with one other page.
Think carefully about the title of your page, as it must be unique. Titles with only a scientific name (without author quotation) are restricted to main pages (species, genus or family). Other pages about a taxon must come with a qualifier: Plantname (Qualifier).
A very useful function is to add, at the end of the page, a reference to one or several categories. The syntax is [[Category:Categoryname]]. This allows the page to be added automatically to a category page. So users can know at a glance how many, say, "Tropical fruit" are documented, and which ones they are.
We advise you to consult this help page from Wikipedia: Help:Starting an article
How can I create a page with a template?
Templates allow in particular to create and edit pages with a common structure. They are very useful for extensive sets of pages. Currently, we have developed templates for species, genus, families and common names. All pages with such a template are put in a category. When you want to create a new page, the best way is to go the category page, and open the page called New page, New species seed plant, New genus seed plant, New family seed plant, etc. on top of the list... A quicker way is to ask with New in the Search window. Such pages already integrate the corresponding template and other features. They are ready to use.
Add in it a red link with the title of the new page, copy the content, save and then click on the red link. A new page opens, where you simply paste the copied content. So, the template is in, as well as the category link. Be careful in putting your text in the right places. Look at existing pages if you don't know where to write.
How can I modify a page?
When you are registered and logged-in, a button Edit appears above the page. By clicking on that, you shift to the Edit mode. This mode uses the wiki syntax, and needs some acquaintance before being fluent with it.
Consult the User's guide for more informations about the use of this software.
You can also consult the Wicri Manual (in French).
Beginning with MediaWiki
- Configuration settings (reserved to computer specialists!)
- FAQ on MediaWiki
- Discussion list on MediaWiki distributions
Other scientific sites using Mediawiki
The portal Wicri-Wicri groups various agencies of local authorities and research groups. Among those which have to do with our centres of interest, let us mention a site on agronomy. Help and methodology pages can be found there.