Site talk:Community Portal

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"Easier navigation" pages[edit]

I propose putting a section on Community Portal page that makes for easier navigation of pages with content. For example:

  • The Site:Pages with content page.
  • A list of transclusion pages such as this one for an Old Testament Sunday school class. This is a bit messy (eventually maybe we could improve the code that generates "pages with content" and include only pages with content?), but something I personally would find very convenient.

If I'm a user looking for insight on verses related to a certain set of scriptures (e.g. a Sunday school lesson), this makes it much easier to find that information instead of having to click through pages and pages of material. I think there are other types of pages we could add to this section which I'll elaborate on sometime later (when I have more time and clearer thoughts). --RobertC 03:22, 3 Feb 2006 (UTC)

Sounds like a good idea to me. Maybe we should take the links to each of the volumes of the standard works off and instead add a link to the pages with content. hmmmmm..... --Matthew Faulconer 05:30, 5 Feb 2006 (UTC)
Do you mean on the sidebar? --RobertC 16:52, 5 Feb 2006 (UTC)
Yes. --Matthew Faulconer 05:40, 6 Feb 2006 (UTC)
I like the standard works links there. If I had to choose a sidebar link to drop/replace, personally I'd drop the random page link (though it is fun sometimes!). --RobertC 16:52, 5 Feb 2006 (UTC)
We could just add to it. I'm okay with dropping the random page from the left navigation and adding it to the community portal page.--Matthew Faulconer 05:40, 6 Feb 2006 (UTC)

Revisiting this question[edit]

Robert, it has been a while since I have looked at this page. Are you happy with the left navigation pane? Do you want to change it? --Matthew Faulconer 14:01, 27 Sep 2006 (UTC)
I think I'd still lean slightly toward keeping the OT, NT, BOM, D&C, & POG links on the left panel for one-less-click navigation—even at low screen resolution, it seems there's room for a few more left panel links (it might look cluttery, but I'd prefer functionality to aethetics in this case). But it's truly only a slight preference that I don't really think about except when we're directly discussing it. --RobertC 14:01, 28 Sep 2006 (UTC)
Let's try it. Not sure if you know how. Feel free to if so. If not, I'll make the change later in the week. --Matthew Faulconer 14:17, 28 Sep 2006 (UTC)
Nope, I can't remember how (I think a good place to link to these type of pages and instruction would be under the Community portal subheading "Developer and administrative pages"), but I'm happy to play around with different looks. --RobertC 15:11, 28 Sep 2006 (UTC)
Is that better? Feel free to edit to continue to improve. To me it looks good--the only thing that bothers me is the way Doctrine and Covenants wraps. at least on my screen. --Matthew Faulconer 07:08, 2 Oct 2006 (UTC)
Looks great! (And "Doctrine & Covenants" doesn't wrap b/c of the ampersand I'm guessing....) --RobertC 11:29, 2 Oct 2006 (UTC)
Just to make sure I am understanding your point... Does "Doctrine & Covenants" wrap on your screen? It does mine. --Matthew Faulconer 14:17, 2 Oct 2006 (UTC)


I think making the site easier to navigate is the administrative project with the highest marginal benefit right now (sorry, the econ jargon is too ingrained in me...). Here are the projects I can think of w/ some questions regarding each:
  • SS lessons: I personally find this convenient enough that I'm happy to create the transclusion pages as we go along (it doesn't take me long using some Excel tricks). Where should I put them, on my user subpage, or on a site page somewhere? --RobertC 16:52, 5 Feb 2006 (UTC)
Feel free to put them as a site page somewhere. --Matthew Faulconer 05:40, 6 Feb 2006 (UTC)
What would you think of trying an on-going link on the main page, e.g. "This week's lesson:" and "Next week's lesson:" (though I don't know what to do about the schedule differences due to stake and ward conferences--I'd be inclined to follow you father's T&S lesson schedule). --RobertC 16:52, 5 Feb 2006 (UTC)
I'm fine with that. Feel free to change the main page as needed. I usually use the Template:Home Highlight for stuff like that but feel free to do it however you think is best. --Matthew Faulconer 05:40, 6 Feb 2006 (UTC)
  • Pages with content: I think this is a really handy page, and that it could be more useful with some more formatting/organization (e.g. major headings or a separate page for each book of scripture, minor headings for each book....)? Would it be easier to update the page(s?) each week or so by querying the "recent changes" list and adding any new pages to the pages with content, rather than creating the list of pages with content from scratch each time? --RobertC 16:52, 5 Feb 2006 (UTC)
See my comments on that talk page. I think doing it from scratch is the easiest way to do it in an automated fashion. --Matthew Faulconer 05:40, 6 Feb 2006 (UTC)
I'd be happy to help with this stuff. I'll add a few more questions about this on the Pages with content developer talk page. --RobertC 16:52, 5 Feb 2006 (UTC)
If you want to delve into the SQL you're welcome to do that. I have tried to post all my code under Site:Developer stuff so that if/when someone else wants to help they have it available. I can get you a read-only access to the db which is all you would need to run the code. Not sure though if this would be the best use of your time. I like what you have been working on and wouldn't want to distract you from that. Is there anyone else who would like to dig into the SQL stuff to run some regular SQL jobs? User:Braden Anderson volunteered at one point to help with this stuff but at the time I didn't have a read-only login to the db. When I got one I wasn't able to contact him. I don't think I have a valid e-mail for him. --Matthew Faulconer 05:40, 6 Feb 2006 (UTC)
  • More navigation links on each page: Did we ever decide anything about putting entire chapter links on each page? I'd like to revive this discussion--not that I think we need to draw any conclusions right away, but I think it's worth trying to discuss if we'd like to make any improvements, would those might be, and what the next step would be for implementation. Here are some possibilities to think about--I would think the following types of links could be put next to the "next" and "previous" links already on each page:
  • view transclusions of entire chapter (notice I added the talk page between each chapter for the SS lessons here, this way it's easy to tell if the talk page is empty or not) --RobertC 16:52, 5 Feb 2006 (UTC)
makes sense... though I'm not sure that most users know that a red link means an empty link. --Matthew Faulconer 05:40, 6 Feb 2006 (UTC)
  • view list of all pages for each chapter (like this)
  • view list of other chapters in current book (like this)
  • jump to relevant "pages with content" section (I know this probably isn't easy and may not be feasible)
--RobertC 16:52, 5 Feb 2006 (UTC)
These all make sense to me. I like the idea of taking a page somewhere and formatting it as you propose so that everyone can see what it looks like before we make a decision. Then I can write some code to change things from the back-end. Of course, we had already agreed to add the help links in a certain way a couple of weeks ago and I still haven't gotten to that one. But I still plan on it. --Matthew Faulconer 05:40, 6 Feb 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for your responses, Matthew. Not sure when I'll be able to work on these projects, but it helps to feel we're on the same page. --RobertC 15:02, 6 Feb 2006 (UTC)
Hi Robert, Again, I haven't looked at this page in a while. I am in the middle of trying to add navigation links to each page. Let's take up this discussion again when that is done. Hopefully this week. --Matthew Faulconer 14:01, 27 Sep 2006 (UTC)
OK. Just for a status update. I just changed the previous next links so that don't look so odd once I add the navigation links to each page. Those should be coming soon, but not tonight. --Matthew Faulconer 08:22, 2 Oct 2006 (UTC)

more community involvement[edit]

Any suggestion on how we get more community involvement? I'm really pleased with how things are going on the site, and but I'd also like to see more voices represented. Any suggestions? --Matthew Faulconer 13:58, 27 Sep 2006 (UTC)

No great ideas. Joe and I are discussing the creation of a hermeneutics/Continental philosophy listserv (for discussions too philosophical for this site, but with a narrower hermeneutic focus than the LDS-PHIL listserv) which might eventually attract more interest here. Other than that, I don't really have any more ideas, sorry (besides the ones we've discussed, like inviting someone to "guest-post" material, though I'm don't have great ideas about who to invite or how to sponsor such an invitation). I think there's still probably more to be done in featuring the site at certain high-traffic blogs, but no concrete ideas. (Frank McIntyre gave me a standing invitation to guest-blog at T&S and I've been thinking about trying to plug the wiki if I ever take him up on that offer, but I've felt a bit too overwhelmed to think about this much. I'm not teaching next winter, so maybe I'll muster more time and energy thinking about this then....) --RobertC 14:07, 28 Sep 2006 (UTC)

I've been thinking about this too. Sort of related to the "guest post" idea I was thinking about maybe asking people to "review" or "comment on" specific pages. One way I was thinking this might work well is to treat it like a survey. This would work well for the general user. Give them a page and 5 broad questions (e.g. what do you like, what could be improved...typical survey stuff) and ask them to answer them. Alternatively maybe it should work sort of like a journal would do as part of evaluating whether to publish something. (Though I'm not familiar with that process, but I figure you are certainly I can find out more how that typically works.) --Matthew Faulconer 14:22, 28 Sep 2006 (UTC)
I think the survey idea might work. I think the main benefit of peer review is gained in carefully picking editors and having editors carefully pick referees. So when an author submits a paper to a journal, the editor picks a referee who is knowledgable in that area and then the referee writes two letters, one short one to the editor with any private remarks (mainly about whether the referee thinks the paper should be accepted or rejected) and the other one as a letter to the author offering suggestions and feedback. Then the editor writes a short letter to the author stating whether the paper will be considered further (typically some alterations are suggested with an invitation to resubmit the paper after the revisions are made—I think two to three rounds of this revising is typical) or rejected. I doubt explaining that is very useful, but hopefully it's at least informative. --RobertC 15:19, 28 Sep 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the comment on peer review. That is interesting. I think I am going to experiment with the survey thing. I may invite some people to take the survey who aren't on the Special:Listusers page.
Here is my thinking on the survey. Something like...
1 Was this page helpful to you? Did you learn from reading it? Why or why not?
2 What would you do to improve the page?
(So that the writers of the page can benefit from your thoughts and suggestions, your responses will be posted on the corresponding discussion page according to the contribution terms of the site.)
Then as part of a follow-up to the survey, say thank you for giving the advice and invite them to take their own advice and improve the page based on their own suggestions.
Any suggestions?
--Matthew Faulconer 07:19, 2 Oct 2006 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. A related idea might be to ask about site use issues, perhaps asking point blank if they plan to use the site in the future and why or why not.... --RobertC 11:33, 2 Oct 2006 (UTC)

A survey couldn't hurt, but I don't know that I would expect too much. As I look at this issue now, however, I think I see at least a thing or two that might help. I think that when people come to the site at first, they are overwhelmed with the size of the project, and perhaps they too easily feel like they can offer very little. There is basically no discussion (as far as I can tell) on the home page about the recent changes page. Really, if someone wants to get involved in this project, that is the place to start. Especially if we are trying to involve people from the bloggernacle, etc. They would be more likely to get involved in a community project or a discussion there than they would just to start adding commentary somewhere. The list of tasks people can do to help makes the project somewhat too formal, I think. It makes this look like wikipedia, and perhaps even gives the hint that things are going to be done one way or another.

I suppose my point is this, then: if a survey goes out, I would try to make it involve the recent changes possibilities. I would also try to make that a major part of the site for people. Make it very accessible, very easy to follow and to use. I have invited a number of different people I thought would be thrilled with this project to come and get involved, but I never mentioned the recent changes, and every single person I've tried to get involved has taken a look at the site but not added anything (I think they all feel the project to be too overwhelming--or even, I imagine they come and look up a couple of scriptures to see what's been done with them, realize that nothing has been done with that particular verse, and feel as if the project is still too young for it to benefit them). In the end, I think we need to make this a community more than a commentary (I've made this point, you are all aware, before). The more we do together, the more involved we all are, I've noticed. And the more we can involve others in these projects, the more they will stick around and continue adding. Let's face it, most people do not have much insight into the scriptures, do not have much to share. But they all have perspectives on these issues we are raising, and it is the questions that we raise together that will force others to think harder about a given passage and to see things they have not seen before. Towards community... --Joe Spencer 14:23, 10 Oct 2006 (UTC)

Joe, I think these are great points. I think we do want to make a community, not a community for community's sake though, but a community for commentary's sake. Feel free to change the home page to highlight the recent changes more. Have you tried going back to those people and telling them about the recent changes page? Do you think if you did they would become regular contributors? My experience is that people don't contribute because they don't think they have much insightful to share (which I disagree with), don't really understand how to contribute or finally, aren't really sure they get the point of the site. But still I agree that if they felt part of a community then overcoming these three issues would not be so hard. I am intersted in people's thoughts about how to make people feel more like they are part of a community. --Matthew Faulconer 14:42, 11 Oct 2006 (UTC) PS one more thing, I have always felt that for me the site is useful even if it is just a place for me to write my own thoughts. It is a lot better of course with others.

Here's an idea:

I think one of the things that could help ease the 'overwhelmed' factor in those that come to the site is to remember how one should take doing family history.

In family history, the best thing to do is target one ancestor, and find out all you can and complete things there before moving to the next one. The way that would work here is that one would simply do the same with one block of scripture, whether it be a verse or a chapter, etc., and do what can be done there, then move to another item. That way one would not feel overwhelmed

James W. Anderson

topical guide[edit]

I know I'm thinking a little ahead of where things are at now, but is there any interest in one day creating a topical guide portion of the Wiki to complement the commentary? I think it would be extremely useful. --Seanmcox 21:38, 5 Oct 2006 (UTC)

Great question. I think a topical guide would be great. User:SteveJensen started something like this off on his own user page. I think we could maybe coax him into uploading the rest of the links he has done. I think he just got busy and didn't et back to it. I think his work makes a great starting point. Also, if there is interest in others contributing we can move it his user page and make it part of the base commentary on the site. I do think, fitting with the goals of the site, such pages should stay focused on what the scriptures say, rather than becoming an explanation of Mormon Doctrine on various topics. --Matthew Faulconer 07:18, 6 Oct 2006 (UTC)
I've started my own topical guide too, at User:RobertC. I've created those pages more as personal notes that I welcome others to add to or comment on, but I think much of the content would not be "neutral point of view" enough for a site-wide topical guide. I would see the main purpose for a site-wide topical guide as a way to index and perhaps even summarize different user subpages and views. Like Matthew, I think it would be a bit beyond the scope of this site to try to write definitive articles for different topics (for example, consider this entry on the fall in the Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology and compare it with my page on the fall and this Bible Dictionary entry. Perhaps one approach would be to just copy Topical Guide and/or Bible Dictionary entries and then include space for discussion and/or elaboration on such entries. But I see this as dangerous in terms of getting away from the scriptures and leading to possibly contentious or at least distracting theological speculation (as well as implicitly giving more authority to the TG and BD than is warranted). With the discussion on a user subpage, I feel like it's easier to dismiss such discussion and for responsibility to be taken for each opinion/speculation expressed. I hope that the current discussion on my User:RobertC/Infant baptism page will lead to improved exegesis on the related scriptural passages—otherwise, I will frankly feel a bit guilty for a discussion that distracts from the focus and intent of the scriptures. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with theology: I think it can sometimes be beneficial when done in the right spirit of humility, but I am often tempted to theologize in ways that I think are ultimately unproductive and distracting to the scriptures—perhaps it is simply my desire to not be faced with more temptation than I am already faced with (to theologize unproductively) that makes me a bit less enthusiastic about having very elaborate topical guide pages! --RobertC 19:41, 9 Oct 2006 (UTC)