OpenWetWare:Organizing discussion pages

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Discussion Topic: What is the best mechanism to organize all the various discussions taking place about OpenWetWare itself. (At this point I am leaving it up to the various scientific communities on OWW to organize their own discussion areas).

Proposal: There will undoubtably be many discussion taking place about the various areas of OWW at any given time. Due to the large number of discussions it will be impractical to organize all these discussions on one page in the community portal (or one discussion board). Instead, discussions about various sub-areas should live on the talk page associated with that area's 'main page' (e.g. materials, protocols, main page, recruitment, etc.) As an example I have reformated the protocols discussion page into a rough example of this. The key point is that each sub-topic is a subheading of Talk:Protocols (e.g Talk:Protocols/Tags).

Community Portal: In this scheme the community portal will address the problem of: How do we encourage users to move from just editing in their "lab space" to contributing to communal protocols, materials, etc? Thus, the community portal will point to the main disucssion sub-areas (e.g. Talk:Main Page). It will also point to a few "hot" discussion topics in those areas (e.g. Talk:Main Page/Appearance) -- largely for recuitment purposes (i.e. "look how active the community is!"). It is largely intended to be a jumping off point for new 'power users'.

Example of use: So how would a 'power user' utilize this scheme to keep up to participate in discussions on a daily basis? If I was interested in participating in development of the Protocols and Main Page, I would include 'Talk:Protocols' and 'Talk:Main Page' in my personal special:RecentChanges. If I was only intersted in a sub-category of another section, then I would include only that (e.g. 'Talk:OpenWetWare:Presentations/What to wear?').

Comments / other suggestions ??

  • RS 22:44, 6 March 2006 (EST): I totally agree that discussions pertinent to a particular page should be on the Talk page of that article. In some sense, adhering to this convention is really just a matter of discipline and convention on the part of the community. But to me this doesn't solve the problem of where general discussions should go. For example, you've created a page Talk:Protocols/Tags but really the tags idea is a general OWW-wide issue. At least as far as my own proposal for tags goes, it would involve all OWW pages. So categorizing it under Talk:Protocols isn't really reflective of the discussion. Thus, I still think we need a central discussion area for issues generally pertinent to all of OWW. I also think that they should not be categorized under the steering committee as some are now because that falsely implies that you have to be on the steering committee to participate in the discussion. In my opinion, the greater need in terms of organizing discussion is on these topics that focus on OWW wide issues.
  • Jasonk 22:52, 6 March 2006 (EST): agreed, I think there are a number of topics which are about OWW as a whole. We could have them listed in the OpenWetWare page, that currently is just a redirect to the community portal. I just think if the community portal has to link to all the general OWW stuff + all the discussions in the subsections, it will just get too cumbersome (not to mention it will be tough to make it a recruiting tool as well). re: tags. I agree, tags is a general topic. So it might be better categorized under Talk:OpenWetWare/Tags, though I could imagine a parallel discussion about tags specific to protocols occuring under Talk:Protocols/Tags.
    • RS 23:02, 6 March 2006 (EST): Personally, I don't think the community portal should link to much general OWW stuff. Help pages should all be under Help:Contents. Really, the community portal should probably have two columns. One devoted to primarily links about various ways to contribute. And the second with links to the major active discussions going on. I really like the improvements to the community portal but I think it could actually be streamlined further to remove even more text. It should actually, in the end, looks something like the Main Page or the Protocols page in that it is primarily an aggregation of links. Though probably the text of each link could be slightly more informative than those on the Main Page or the Protocols page.
    • BC 23:47, 6 March 2006 (EST): I agree that an aggregation of links is the best format for the community portal and this was the original intention but we haven't yet implemented a smart way of generating those lists of links, hence most sections just have some placeholder text. The dynamic page extension might give us the functionality we need (see the E. coli protocol section on my page).
    • BC 23:47, 6 March 2006 (EST):I don't think there is a problem with general OWW discussions (such as Talk:OpenWetWare/Tags) being linked off the community portal as long as the housekeeping is done to keep only current discussions there. Archived discussions should probably be kept elsewhere or be lumped together in one link.
    • BC 23:47, 6 March 2006 (EST):I'm not a fan of using the OpenWetWare page to house the general discussions because it seems to just open up another home for discussions which is what we are trying to avoid. I don't think the community portal should link to all the subsection discussions. It should be sufficient to link to Talk:Protocols permanently and then just link to Talk:Protocols/Tags while the use of tags on the protocol page is an active discussion. I suppose I imagine the community portal discussion section really just highlighting the currently active discussions.
      • Jasonk 00:09, 7 March 2006 (EST):The idea is that discussions that apply to OWW generally are just a subset of all the dicussions as much as discussions related to Protocols are a subset of all the discussions. So I'm not sure why using the Talk:OpenWetWare page is worse than using the Talk:Protocols page (in terms of creating another home for discussions). If the general discussions were housed on the comm portal (rather than on Talk:OpenWetWare, or somewhere else) then they would be getting special precedence over discussions about sub-sections (which we may want to do, but i just wanted to be clear about it).
  • RS 23:02, 6 March 2006 (EST): Another aspect which I find somewhat strange is that the approach above ends up creating empty articles since the discussion page is populated but not the actual article itself. For example, Talk:Protocols/In silico. I find this result to be slightly strange and confusing. Some new users might think that new in silico protocols should be added to the Protocols/In silico page rather than directly to the Protocols page.
    • Jasonk 23:29, 6 March 2006 (EST): Yeah, I noticed that as well. Wasn't sure it was worse than creating pages like Discussion:Protocols/In silico that then have empty talk pages? or some other way to do it?
    • BC 23:47, 6 March 2006 (EST): Yeah this is somewhat disconcerting, the Discussion: option might be better.
    • Jasonk 00:12, 7 March 2006 (EST): Minor point, but with the "discussion:" option you now have two different prefixes to add to your special recentchanges list, Talk:Protocols (for the link from the actual article) and Discussion:Protocols for all the sub-topics in protocols. Also, although it doesn't apply for Protocols/In silico, for many discussion pages, the Talk:Topic/Subcategory may actually be the talk page for a page we want to create about the thing we are discussing. In which case we would probably want it as the actual 'talk' page for the article. (rather than as a "discussion:" page which isn't linked to the actual article.)
    • Sri Kosuri 00:35, 7 March 2006 (EST): This is what they do in wikipedia. We can just have all talk subpages have the prefix "archive" or "subdiscussion". I don't see any need to veer from their precedent.
      • Jasonk 03:23, 7 March 2006 (EST): Not sure which approach you are refering to with the 'This', sri ;) But in my quick searching it looks like wikipedia uses the subpages with /'s -- see here or here. They also do have archives, such as this labeled 'Talk:Jesus/Archive 7' but those are basically just archives of the main 'talk' page that they seem to do when the page gets too long (rather than actual subtopics).
    • RS 09:34, 7 March 2006 (EST): I would prefer not to create a new namespace and instead keep all discussions under the "OpenWetWare:" namespace. But I agree that not all discussions need be directly linked from the Community Portal ... probably just the most active ones and those that are OWW-wide. As for the idea of using dynamic page lists to keep a listing of active discussions, I am hesitant to do that until we decide on our categorization approach and actually implement categories OWW-wide (i.e categorize most pages). Right now it is pretty ad hoc and I'm not sure that using categories sporadically really does much for us since pages can fall through the cracks since no one is used to assigning categories yet. We're probably small enough to just actively hand curate the discussion list on the community portal.
      • Jgritton 10:21, 7 March 2006 (EST): I disagree. The benefit of the recent changes list is that you can see where the active discussions are right now, not where someone thought they should be at some time in the past. We should just start using "OpenWetWare:" for all discussions and link to a the OpenWetWare (and maybe SteeringCommittee) recent changes from the community portal. Then someone can just click the link, find a page that looks interesting, and jump in. If something falls through the cracks so be it, if you want to start a discussion that people actually see then put OpenWetWare: in front of it.
        • RS 11:47, 7 March 2006 (EST): So I actually like Jeff's idea a lot more. The idea I wasn't a huge fan of was using categories to tag what pages show up in the Community Portal. If the community portal includes a list of recent changes in the OpenWetWare namespace, that should work great.
        • BC 12:28, 7 March 2006 (EST): I agree with the above comments but I would make a distinction between the "Discussion" section and the "Needs to be done" section of the Community Portal. Tagging wasn't planned for the discussion section and either hand curation or recent changes definitely makes the most sense. Where I think "Tags" do make sense, is for dynamically generating lists of pages needing attention or that are deemed noteworthy for some reason. People surfing around can just quickly add a tag to a page without having to go somewhere else to add it to a list.

Implementation: It might be helpful is to think about all the current areas under discussion and what they should be named. For each area listed below, the article includes the concrete proposals, ideas and examples. The talk page includes the comments and feedback. (Is it feasible to split these up?) Please add, delete, reorganize as you see fit.

  1. OpenWetWare:Software
  2. OpenWetWare:Information management
  3. OpenWetWare:Community development
  4. OpenWetWare:Courses
    • Article: how to put and run courses on OWW
    • Talk: OpenWetWare steering committee/Integration with laboratory classes ideas
    • Subarticles: OpenWetWare:Courses/OpenCourseWare
  5. OpenWetWare:Design
  6. OpenWetWare:Ideas
    • Article: General ideas for OWW which don't belong in any of the above categories. Major topics should get spun out to their own pages over time.
    • Talk: discussion of the ideas.

Comments ??

  • RS 20:04, 8 March 2006 (EST): A lot of these pages are ripped from the steering committee pages. But I think having the words steering committee in the title discourages some people from contributing which is why I am renaming them.
  • Jasonk 23:41, 8 March 2006 (EST): I really like this setup. Also, I incorporated these into a possible layout for the community portal, here. Also, my reasoning for design + discussion on the talk page.
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