OGF:How to maintain the wiki main page

From OpenGeofiction Encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

This information is being given to provide users with some understanding of how to maintain and curate the OGF Wiki's Main Page.

Structure of the Main Page

If you open the Main Page for edit, you can see that its code is quite simple.

 <!--        BANNER TABLE ACROSS TOP OF PAGE        -->
 {{:Main Page/Header}}
 <table style="width:100%;table-layout:fixed;vertical-align:top;"><tr>
 <!-- Start of left-column -->
 <td style="vertical-align:top;">
 {{:Main Page/Announcements}}
 {{:Main Page/FeaturedArticle}}
 {{:Main Page/DidYouKnow}}
 {{:Main Page/UsefulLinks}}</td>
 <!-- Start of right-column -->
 <td style="vertical-align:top;">
 {{:Main Page/FeaturedMap}}
 {{:Main Page/FeaturedPicture}}
 == Wiki ==
 *[[Wiki|Wiki documentation]]
 *[[Talk:Wiki|Wiki talk]]

This is possible through the wikimiracle of transclusion. But really it is just a simple wiki page, just like any other, with some special code to support the transclusion process and make it look nice.

The page is made up of 7 transcluded parts, each of which can be edited and maintained separately. To edit each section, you simply open that page directly as if it were its own page (mentions of such pages in this article are always links to those individual pages), and go to the "edit" tab. You can see how the code above fits together in this screenshot.

Luciano Screenshot MainPage HowTo 01.png

Here is a summary of the 7 parts.

1. Main Page/Header

The Header section does not require very much maintenance, and is quite simple in structure. Changes should only be made after extensive discussion with consensus.

2. Main Page/Announcements

The Announcements section is basically never changed. I have always operated on the assumption that this space "belongs" to the admin team, and should only be changed for some Very Important Reason.

3. Main Page/FeaturedArticle

The FeaturedArticle section is the first of four sections that should be updated regularly with curated content. For specifics on how to update these sections, see Curated Sections below.

4. Main Page/DidYouKnow

The DidYouKnow section is the second of four sections that should be updated regularly with curated content. For specifics on how to update these sections, see Curated Sections below.

5. Main Page/UsefulLinks

The UsefulLinks section is pretty minimal currently. It could probably be broadened to be more useful.

6. Main Page/FeaturedMap

The FeaturedMap section is the third of four sections that should be updated regularly with curated content. For specifics on how to update these sections, see Curated Sections below.

7. Main Page/FeaturedPicture

The FeaturedPicture section is the fourth of four sections that should be updated regularly with curated content. For specifics on how to update these sections, see Curated Sections below.

Curated Sections

The four curated sections (FeaturedArticle, DidYouKnow, and FeaturedMap, FeaturedPicture) are all structured similarly, in such a way that each page is its own archive, and where the Talk: space for the page provides a locaton to make nominations for new features. Currently, each of these sections is updated about once a month. When they were first made, they were updated more frequently, but it was suggested that wasn't really necessary. Anyway, there is no fixed schedule. The "curator" for each page should feel free to update frequently or not per individual preference and time constraints. It's not very difficult. Each of the sections can be updated in about 15 minutes once one clearly understands the process. The main thing is to be very careful when first attempting it, and be prepared to reverse your changes quickly if you make a mistake.

The first thing to understand about these curated sections is that they consist of "windowed" content (i.e. "what you see on the main page") combined with past content, which is the archive. In fact, all this content is stored in the same wiki page. This is possible through the use of <noinclude> and <includeonly> tags. The best way to understand is to simply study the wiki code for the pages carefully. The tags indicate which parts of the page to show when the page is transcluded (i.e. when it is "windowed" onto the Main Page) and which parts to show when the page is opened individually. You can read up about how to use these tags in the mediawiki help wiki.


This is probably the most difficult section to curate, because you may actually have to do some editing of the article being featured. You should always be respectful of authors, in doing this, however.

Step 1. Prepare the space for the new article

The first step is to open four tabs in your browser (which I will number to be able to refer to them easily):

Let's look at a screenshot of tab 2,

Luciano Screenshot MainPage HowTo 02.png

The tabs and current vs archive sections are marked. You can compare that with what the FeaturedArticle page looks like on tab 1,

Luciano Screenshot MainPage HowTo 03.png

When adding a new featured article, the first step is to type in a new dated section at the top, where you can add your new featured article. Note the location of the "includeonly" and "noinclude" tags, and how they rearrange a little bit to move the "windowing" effect to the new article.

So here's what it looks like after a space is opened up for the new article, with a new date.

Luciano Screenshot MainPage HowTo 04.png

Step 2. Select the new article to feature

The first thing to remember when selecting the next article is that you want to select an article that will hopefully be interesting and show off the work of members of the community. Normally, however, the nominations meet these requirements. The first thing I do is look at the current list of nominations, which is on the Talk:Main_Page/FeaturedArticle page.

Luciano Screenshot MainPage HowTo 05.png

As you can see, there are normally a number of "withdrawn" nominations. This custom was started because users would keep nominating the same article over and over, and the authors would keep withdrawing the articles over and over. By leaving the nominations in the list but flagged as withdrawn, that prevents their renomination, and also allows the authors to "withdraw their withdrawal" in the future, if they want to.

Normally, the easiest thing is to simply decide to feature the next article in the list. But sometimes there might be some problem. One problem is the lack of a good picture - it's best to feature articles where there can be a compelling accompanying picture. Another problem is that the nominated article is just too short - where the entire text of it would fit in the Featured window. That would be a little bit boring for users following the "More" link. Finally, there can be problems with the quality of the writing. In some cases, small problems with writing can be repaired. More frequently, a message can be sent to the author of the article letting them know that their article was nominated but withdrawn because of a need for clean up. Anyway, there is no requirement to follow the nomination list perfectly. Just go through and find an article that looks good. In this case, the next article looked fine. So open another tab with the article to be featured.

Luciano Screenshot MainPage HowTo 06.png

From the article, you need to choose the first few paragraphs (only first if it's long), and choose a good picture. Now you need to open an edit window for the article in a new tab. You don't actually need to edit the article (unless you want to, but please be respectful of the original work, if you do). You need to open the window to grab the info for your FeaturedArticle.

Luciano Screenshot MainPage HowTo 07.png

Step 3. Add the featured text for the new featured article with picture to the FeaturedArticle page

After you grab the text (select and copy) and paste it into the FeaturedArticle page, you will need to "clean it up" - removing section headers and other markup, and pointers to other media. It also helps to create a "link to itself" on the article's initial self-mention. Finally, you need to put in the article's name for the "More" link at the bottom.

Luciano Screenshot MainPage HowTo 08.png

Here is a numeric key to the screenshot above, enumerating the steps taken.

  • 1. Copy & paste the picture file name
  • 2. Copy & paste a picture file description
  • 3. Copy & paste the article text (about 2 paragraphs)
  • 4. Add left and right double square brackets "" "" to the article's initial self-reference, so it becomes a link to the article
  • 5. In this particular case, there was a <ref> tag that needed to be removed
  • 6. In this particular case, there was a section header "==Event==" that needed to be removed
  • 7. In this particular case, there was an additional picture file pointer that needed to be removed
  • 8. A second reference to the article's name is added in the "More" link at the base

Step 4. Preview and double check your "noinclude" tags

Now you can click the "Show Preview" for your changes,

Luciano Screenshot MainPage HowTo 09.png

You can make changes if there's some problem.

You should also double-check your "noinclude" tags because the preview won't tell you if you've handled these correctly, since by definition you're not looking at a transclusion of the article in the preview form.

Luciano Screenshot MainPage HowTo 10.png

Finally, as in above, you can add a short description of what you're doing, and then save.

Step 5. Save the page and check the Main Page for correct appearance

After saving the page changes, open the main page in a new window. It might be necessary to use a "forced cache flush" (F5 key in chrome or firefox), to get the refreshed view of the main page with proper new transclusion.

Luciano Screenshot MainPage HowTo 11.png

It is a good idea to make sure the links in the article window work - so you should follow the "More" link, and other links, to verify you haven't made any mistakes. Remember, this is the "Front Page" of our wiki, so we want high quality work! If you do have mistakes, try to fix them in a timely manner.

Step 6. Update the nomination page (Talk:) to remove the new featured article from the nomination list

Finally, you need to remove the nomination from the nomination list and update the Talk: page, too. In fact, the nomination isn't removed, but instead it is "commented out." That way, you can see the history of nominations when you edit the file.

Luciano Screenshot MainPage HowTo 12.png

Then you can save that, and you're finished updating the FeaturedArticle.