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• CommentRowNumber1.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeJul 26th 2011
• (edited Jul 26th 2011)

following a suggestion in another thread I decided it would be good if we have a meta-entry that provides some hints to newcomers about which kind of contributions to the $n$Lab are encouraged.

So I have started What to Contribute. I have also linked to this from HomePage (and edited the corresponding paragraph there a little).

This is just a first idea. Needs to be expanded and/or adjusted. Please have a look.

• CommentRowNumber2.
• CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
• CommentTimeJul 26th 2011

I spotted a load of typos, which I’ll correct soon, but one thing stood out. Why the “Discouraged” heading, and why put the sentence about logging edits on the nForum there?

• CommentRowNumber3.
• CommentAuthorzskoda
• CommentTimeJul 26th 2011

As far as small contributions I once had a remark that the stubs and entries which are very short, should not have much of the overhead (toc, large titles of sections which do not exist, much of the subsectioning even of small paragraphs, zillion of redirect invariants, non-compact lists of related entries) as the material is easiest to read and copy from directly. Urs had a nice argument in a private email that he likes to put the overhead anyway as eventually the page will grow big. I had many times since thought on that argument and I think I have in my mind completely rejected it. The counterargument is this: my concern was the practicallity (say for printing, copying, editing, databasing, downloading) and readability of majority of entries. It is true that most entries will once become big (hard to predict when which one) but by the time they grow big, it is expected that many new stubs will appear. In expansion, as I foresee it, more people will bring new topics and old entries will start give birth to new offsprings for specialized aspects. Thus in every given phase, even in far future, most of the entries will be small. So if we continue to burden small entries we will always have in average much balast. Of course, everybody can proceed as they like, but this is my argument to continue adding much overhead only at a stage when I see that an entry grew much further than few lines of content.

• CommentRowNumber4.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeJul 26th 2011
• (edited Jul 26th 2011)

Why the “Discouraged” heading, and why put the sentence about logging edits on the nForum there?

First I had wanted to have a list of things not suitable for contribution. But then the only thing I could think of was making contributions without announcing them. But I should just remove that bit.

Unfortunately I cannot. Some bug prevents me from editing the entry at all. I think it’s the same that Zoran kept talking about recently. I have cleared the entry’s cache, but that did not help.

• CommentRowNumber5.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeJul 26th 2011
• (edited Jul 26th 2011)

re #3:

If I could trust that for instance you, Zoran, would add toc and cross-links later on, I wouldn’t need to add them pre-emptively. But since you generally forget to do this (do you agree?) I like to add it all in at the beginning when I am aware of it.

• CommentRowNumber6.
• CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
• CommentTimeJul 26th 2011

I managed to edit it, so I correctly a couple of spelling errors and removed the “Discouraged” section. I also changed the language so that the tone was a bit more about suggesting what people might do rather than saying what they should do. I did nothing major.

• CommentRowNumber7.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeJul 26th 2011

Thanks, looks good.

After reading through it again, I felt like adding after

As far as they seem to be lacking, this is only because nobody has yet found the time to add them.

the following sentence:

In general: if some topic that seems to be worthwhile is missing from the $n$Lab (and a lot is) this is with high probability not by intent, but by lack of manpower. Be the first to improve on the situation!

• CommentRowNumber8.
• CommentAuthorUrs
• CommentTimeJul 26th 2011

By the way – since somebody changed it : I had capizalized “What to Contribute” for a reason: HomePage is capitalized, About is capitalized HowTo is capitalized. Since “What to Contribute” is the WhatTo? analog of HowTo? it seems that it needs to be capitalized to fit the established convention (whether intentionally established or not).

I don’t really care much. I am just mentioning it since somebody seems to have cared more. If we really care, we should harmonize the formatting of the titles of all these entries.

• CommentRowNumber9.
• CommentAuthorzskoda
• CommentTimeJul 26th 2011
• (edited Jul 26th 2011)

I like to add it all in at the beginning when I am aware of it.

If the entry is going to expand, then somebody will report the large expansion at the time it happens, so you will be equally aware of it. Some entries are in fact functional in small status. Say, I can hardly imagine a significant expansion of say monic polynomial and I might even move some of the stuff there to other entries. The point is that it is just terminology.

I have put what to contribute to small letters with leaving the redirect. I know some special pages HomePage and some of the book pages have capitals (capitals in HomePage which made me in past zillion times to wrongly type the URL (I get pages I want by typing the extension to the base $n$Lab URL, not searching, among other reasons because it is quicker for me and because it is cheaper with expensive connection when I am on wireless stick connection) and get wrong response or give a wrong URL to friends when advertising $n$Lab; it is hard to remember exceptions to the general convention rule: if HomePage HowTo and About are the “irregular verbs” it better be a closed class).

• CommentRowNumber10.
• CommentAuthorTobyBartels
• CommentTimeJul 27th 2011

Most of the meta entries are capitalised; we never adopted that convention, but I like it.

• CommentRowNumber11.
• CommentAuthorzskoda
• CommentTimeJul 27th 2011

So you want the meta circle to be some sort of forbidden religious secta with its own jargot ? Reason more not to contribute to that circle then.

• CommentRowNumber12.
• CommentAuthorTodd_Trimble
• CommentTimeJul 27th 2011

“Jargot” – what a great portmanteau!

• CommentRowNumber13.
• CommentAuthorzskoda
• CommentTimeJul 28th 2011

Yes :)