CZ Talk:How To

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Article name

Would CZ:Math and Chemistry Symbols be a better-named home? Stephen Ewen 09:44, 12 March 2008 (CDT)

Well, depends on if you're going to expand it to talk about how to achieve other visual effects (e.g like tables, etc), or not. If so, maybe something a little more generic, like <brain refuses to be clever and emit a snappy nam, but I think you get where I'm going>. If not, your suggested new title is fine. J. Noel Chiappa 09:48, 12 March 2008 (CDT)
Ideally, I would have thought that it should be like CZ:How to/Math, or CZ:How to/Tables, or CZ:How to/Chemistry, and then on the main CZ:How to page, an index. --Robert W King 09:57, 12 March 2008 (CDT)
I intend to fill the page with lots of things, like tables, how to scale images, etc. So, a general page. It will also have links to "How to Start an article" and other pages. David E. Volk 10:07, 12 March 2008 (CDT)
Okay, cool. I think Robert's idea is interesting.... Stephen Ewen 10:12, 12 March 2008 (CDT)

Hey, this might inspire a neat format for this...after it gets written, anyway. Stephen Ewen 15:21, 12 March 2008 (CDT)

That's all fine and good, but I don't think there are enough icons, or in fact -the- icons necessary. --Robert W King 15:26, 12 March 2008 (CDT)

Too many pages already

As I see it, one of the complaints people have is that things are explained in too many places, meaning that finding them is a real $%*&#@. I am thinking that one link on the left of everypage saying "How to ..". The how to page will have directions or links to everything. Like how to start an article, how to apply on CZ, how to import an image, how to make an equation. Drats, my ride to pick up my car at the dealership is here. More thoughts later. out David E. Volk 16:39, 12 March 2008 (CDT)

Hear hear! Let's collaborate to remedy this.... Stephen Ewen 16:53, 12 March 2008 (CDT)
Excellent idea! "Make it so!" (I'm of course ready to help!) J. Noel Chiappa 17:37, 12 March 2008 (CDT)

How to make a template

We need someone to make a how to make a template page we can link to or make it a section on this page David E. Volk 10:28, 13 March 2008 (CDT)

I'm on it. --Robert W King 10:30, 13 March 2008 (CDT)
Looks good; maybe a topic this complex deserves a page of its own, which can be linked to from here? J. Noel Chiappa 13:43, 13 March 2008 (CDT)

Equations, and "ramp up" to complex

I think for many of these things, we ought to start simple and ramp up to difficult. For example in the math equations section, why not just start off with variables, and basic functions and then include factions, limits, etc. Maybe provide 10 overall examples, each increasing in complexity. I think this will this encourage users to expore the potential in each How-to, such that they may feel encouraged to move beyond what we provide as a basic. --Robert W King 11:31, 13 March 2008 (CDT)

Sounds good, but the page will get rather long if we put it all here. It was suggested above that this page be mostly a 'traffic director', sending people off to pages with more detail; maybe the extra content can go elsewhere?
But structuring each one as a 'here's a simple example; here's a more complex one; here's a really hard one' sounds like an excellent idea. People seem to learn a lot more easily and quickly from that sort of graded example than they do from dry explanations of syntax and semantics. (Says JNC, who's currently struggling with that sort of thing as he gets into Advanced Templatology...) J. Noel Chiappa 13:43, 13 March 2008 (CDT)

trafic director

My gut feeling is that if something that can be explained in < 10 lines it should be shown, and that larger problems, like template design, starting a page with subpages, should be a link to a very good explaination. So, we could show say three typical math equations, and a link to a longer article for the complex stuff. David E. Volk 14:52, 13 March 2008 (CDT)

I'm not so sure that this should be a traffic director. It seems that we have too many individuals pages, and that a traffic director would only encourage creation of more individual pages. I think that we should consider merging all of the existing pages into the "How to cluster", providing a directory structure with an index on the front page. (The main How To page) Example:
Then
and
etc. --Robert W King 15:05, 13 March 2008 (CDT)
I think the 'cluster' thing is good; it avoids having one ginormous page, but keeps all the pieces together. J. Noel Chiappa 16:37, 13 March 2008 (CDT)
I love this idea. Stephen Ewen 16:56, 13 March 2008 (CDT)
If no one has any objections, I'd like to expidite this, but I'll wait until anyone else wants to weigh in. --Robert W King 09:35, 14 March 2008 (CDT)
Nah, everyone seems happy with it - ship it. J. Noel Chiappa 10:19, 14 March 2008 (CDT)
Clustering sounds like a very sound idea to me. However, a large page is ok also if we include "Back to Top" links to easily get back to the TOC listing. David E. Volk 09:48, 14 March 2008 (CDT)
You don't think newcomers would find it intimidating? J. Noel Chiappa 10:19, 14 March 2008 (CDT)
Back-to-top links are very user-friendly, and easy to create. Stephen Ewen 15:08, 14 March 2008 (CDT)
Sorry, I wasn't clear; back-to-top links are always good. My comment was directed at the "a large page is ok also if" part. I was just concerned that a huge page would give people the feeling of 'oh, there's too much to learn before I can start contributing, I'll just bag it'. J. Noel Chiappa 16:10, 14 March 2008 (CDT)

I applaud any positive movements in this general direction. I basically have two requests. (1) Make the complete list of "how to" pages, that is, make the "traffic director," then let me see it. Then I'll weigh in again on whether we should move all those pages to subpages of CZ:How To. (2) Explain why that shouldn't be part of the FAQ, and what roles CZ:About, CZ:FAQ, and CZ:How To will play. I'm trying to keep things as simple as possible.

Also, if you have any suggestions about how to improve the sidebar design, there is a page about that: CZ:Sidebar Design. --Larry Sanger 15:41, 17 March 2008 (CDT)

Why on God's green earth does everything require justification and intense examination under a microscope? --Robert W King 15:51, 17 March 2008 (CDT)

It doesn't. But both of my simple requests are extremely reasonable, Robert. I'll say no more, for fear of seeming to examine things further under a microscope. --Larry Sanger 19:19, 17 March 2008 (CDT)

Create content first, then make organizational decisions

Let's leave the traffic director and subpages ideas fester while we build up the "How To" content first. I would guess that once we finish writing most of the How To material, a natural structure will be inherent in the data (text) and that structure will guide us towards the final overall structure for the page/cluster. Thanks to everyone for jumping into this project with me :) David E. Volk 14:57, 19 March 2008 (CDT)

Yes, I agree entirely with that. --Larry Sanger 15:02, 19 March 2008 (CDT)
As a first step in that direction, I tried to organize the content here, grouping it roughtly into 'how to do various things with the content of pages' (e.g. footnotes, equations, etc), and 'how to do things in CZ' (e.g. start a new article, delete a page, etc); within each group things are ordered by complexity/guessed-frequency-of-need. J. Noel Chiappa 15:24, 11 April 2008 (CDT)

Taxonomy (style) instructions anyone

In particular, some us forget which of classifications, like genus, species, family, order and so on, should bolded, italicized, always capitalized or not... Could one of the real biologists fill us all in on the rules? Also, are we still using the taxonomy box, rewriting a new one, or scrapping it? David E. Volk 15:08, 19 March 2008 (CDT)

I'd make a new one but as with many other infoboxes or templates, I have no input to work from. --Robert W King 22:20, 19 March 2008 (CDT)
Robert, for the taxonomy box, see Dog. That list of items is sufficient, and WP does not own the list of taxonomy names, so copy it Mac-> Microsoft style! I personally don't like the color chosen on Dog, so I suggest any other color, perhaps yellow. I like the yellow color of a few of the elem_infobox examples. David E. Volk 11:12, 20 March 2008 (CDT)
PS, also see West Nile virus for a few additional element peculiar to viruses. David E. Volk 11:14, 20 March 2008 (CDT)

BAD articles

There are so many ways to lose that I'm not sure it's possible to even begin to enumerate them! A short list of a few of the worst things to avoid is probably useful - or is that your goal? J. Noel Chiappa 01:50, 2 April 2008 (CDT)

IPA instructions anyone

I see alot of what I think are IPA stuff, but that contain boxes apparently in place of real symbols. Can someone write a IPA how to section? David E. Volk 15:05, 19 March 2008 (CDT)

I think we're still in need of a volunteer, here? J. Noel Chiappa 20:42, 18 April 2008 (CDT)

Structure and size

This is starting to get pretty fair-sized - is it time to start thinking of moving stuff out, or do we want to let it get bigger first? I'd be tempted to move the larger and more specialized topics that very few people will likely use (timelines, imagemaps, etc) to separate pages (and apologies in advance if I offended anyone by mentioning some feature you've worked hard on :-). J. Noel Chiappa 20:49, 18 April 2008 (CDT)

Definitely I think it's time to start moving stuff out. Basically, most of our community pages double as "help" or "how to" pages. It's fine to have one central index for all "how to" questions, but it's definitely not fine to have all the information itself on one page. --Larry Sanger 14:42, 28 April 2008 (CDT)
I wanted to wait on classifying what the help categories were until I had enough information to do so; I didn't want to assume and end up with lower directory sections that didn't contain anything. There might be enough now. I can probably make an index page and then just move the stuff to a lower level and point to it. --Robert W King 14:44, 28 April 2008 (CDT)
OK, but...what do you mean by "index page" and "lower level"? --Larry Sanger 21:10, 28 April 2008 (CDT)
Would we want to move all the content out to other pages (or subpages of this one - we had talked about both options, but given the number of references to non-sub-pages we already have here now, I'd go with separate pages) - or would we want to leave all the three-line entries here?
The ones I'd move out are the big ones:
  • How to make math equations (although this one we might want to leave)
  • How to use the timeline template (along with: How to use the tlsubevent template, which is logically part of that mechanism)
  • How to use the imagemap extension (which I think very few articles will use)
  • How to make a new template (which not many people will use)
I think if we moved those out, the resulting page wouldn't be too large at all. To me, it doesn't make any sense to move those small ones at that point. J. Noel Chiappa 00:07, 29 April 2008 (CDT)
Moving things OUT of the howto page simply undoes all of the intentional work that was done here to begin with: creating one central location for references, which I feel is foolish. Instead this should be a cluster with subpages (not the same as the {{subpages}}) with everything here. We want to consolidate, not diversity on this issue. --Robert W King 13:10, 29 April 2008 (CDT)
I think we're have a (several, actually) miscommunications.
First, when I say 'move things out', I don't mean 'delete all traces of them here'; all I meant was that we'd say 'To find out how to do this, go there' (and perhaps have an example of the simplest case/usage, if that's feasible), and then move the bulk of the long, complex details elsewhere. See, for instance, CZ:How To#How to checklist articles.
Second, I did understand that the location for that moved content might be subpages of this one, hence my comment "or subpages of this one". After consideration, subpages wouldn't be my first choice - because much of CZ: might wind up as subpages of this, if we did that - but I'm open to reasoning as to why it is in fact the best option. J. Noel Chiappa 13:53, 29 April 2008 (CDT)
I think you might be right on the first point; I apologize if I misunderstood and got hasty.
Here's the logic I'm following: if we have too many different pages like CZ:how to make tables or CZ:how to make chemical formulations we end up "breaking the toolbox" as it were; pages end up scattered around even if they're similarly themed. Just like unix directories, etc... it's easier to just have CZ:Howto/format/make tables. That way they can be referenced by BASEPAGENAME and other wikimarkup variables. It's the same idea that was employed for our justifications of using {{subpages}}; that "lists" and "Catalogues" should all go under the base article name. --Robert W King 14:09, 29 April 2008 (CDT)
No problem.
Can you give me some more details on how we might use BASEPAGENAME and things like that; if we did have a use for it (e.g. in some sort of header template), yeah, that would be an argument for making them subpages.
I'm wondering if search would work as well, though; would CZ:How to make tables be easier to find than CZ:How To/Format/Make tables?
In any event, I would think it would be relatively easy to move pages from elsewhere (e.g. CZ:How to make tables to be subpages here, so if we change our minds it shouldn't be too hard to reorganize things to match. J. Noel Chiappa 17:24, 29 April 2008 (CDT)
In terms of organization, it's (in my opinion) best to put them in a cluster; in terms of actual presentation, it can look however it should--that is the difference between "front end" and "back end". The link doesn't have to be CZ:How To/Format/Make tables but instead it can be How to make tables. My concern is more "back end". --Robert W King 00:46, 30 April 2008 (CDT)
I assumed we'd use piped links, but of course the piped name won't have any effect on the search function (or will it - I guess in the part where it searches article texts it will).
I was more trying to work out how we'd make use of the subpage structure - can you give me an example so I can understand a little better? Thanks.. J. Noel Chiappa 11:10, 30 April 2008 (CDT)

While one how-to page is a nice concept it is not that practical. Just look how much is currently devoted to timelines and that is only one minor topic. If every section becomes that big the page will morph into a massive document. I'd suggest one simple example for each section, at most, with a different page for more detail. But, should we use different pages and a hierarchial narrative or a literal hierarchy using subpages?

I guess one advantage for a slightly more subpage oriented hierarchy might be to split up various ideas for each how-to topic. For example the CZ:How-To/Tables might have sub-subpage for simple (CZ:How-To/Tables/Simple), advanced and possibly another for examples? What else are you thinking of Robert?

I'm still not sure why we would need subpages vs more logical page names. How many different pages are we talking about? Using basepagename etc. is essential for our articles as the templates have to work on every cluster in a generic way. But for the how-to section everything can be more specific for this subset of pages. I think as long as the navigation between the different pages is intuitive there will be no problem. Chris Day 11:43, 30 April 2008 (CDT)