I apologize if it seems like vandalism to put this message here, but how can I contact someone for a question about this site? I've looked all over this site for any kind of email or contact form and cannot find one. Whom should I talk to, and what email address should I use? ---Nathan: [email protected]
- 1 Archives
- 2 Looking for feedback
- 3 section headings
- 4 Brief Explanation and in-depth analysis
- 5 Chapter pages
- 6 Site down
- 7 Are 5-verse chunks mandatory?
- 8 Six comments from a fresh set of eyes
- 9 Some more follow up comments on testing new format in Amos
To see archived discussions, follow the links below:
Looking for feedback
Hey All, please take a look at the desired enhancements and discuss on this page if these are the right things on the list and they are in the right priorities. (Of course, you are always welcome to make the change directly to that page. And going forward for adding bugs and enhancements, making changes directly to the page is preferred.)
Joevans3 recently brought up an issue that we've left on the back burner for a while: the section headings on the commentary pages. I'm in the mood for a change to those pages. This topic has been on my mind because I do think some people are intimidated by our commentary pages. I've received this feedback from several people. I would like the site to be more accessible to a wider audience. My goal isn't so much to get more people editing (though that would be wonderful) but to get more people using the site (reading). With that in mind what suggestions do people have?
In no particular order here are some that have been discussed recently or in the past or things I'm thinking of now.
- Change "exegesis" to "explanation."
- Change "lexical notes" to "words: meanings and origins" or maybe "words: usage, meaning and origins" or maybe just "word meanings"
- Add a new section. Like exegesis but a sort of executive summary of the relevant points. Robert, Joe, do either of you remember what name we discussed for this when we discussed it last?
- Broader use of sub-pages. Have some word limit guidelines on sections. Similar to last bullet but essentially takes the non-executive summary stuff and moves it to sub-pages.
- Encourage (how?) people to add more links to related lds.org material for verses
- other ideas?
Please provide feedback on these ideas and additional suggestions.
--Matthew Faulconer 09:00, 27 July 2007 (CEST)
- I think Joe Spencer's out of town for a few days, and I don't remember what headings we were talking about before. Perhaps "Brief explanation" instead of exegesis and "In-depth analysis" as a new section? I'm more in favor of a new, fifth section with subpages used very rarely. I'm not very enthusiastic about changing "Lexical notes" because the other ideas seem rather clumsy (no offense Matthew!). "Word notes" perhaps? --RobertC 14:39, 27 July 2007 (CEST)
- none taken. And I agree they are clumsy. Word notes would work. The real problem is that is that if the words "lexical notes" is not something familiar to one than no phrase which means lexical notes is familiar. Still of course, the advantage to "word notes" is that it is a bit easier to guess what it means if you've never heard of it before. --Matthew Faulconer 15:56, 27 July 2007 (CEST)
How about "Notes on Language" to replace Lexical Notes? --Rob Fergus 16:22, 27 July 2007 (CEST)
I like your idea to encourage people to add more links. Is there any way to simplify the technical aspect of adding links to outside sources? Also, what if you use the italicized instructions already in place to add additional clarification? Ie Click the edit link above and to the right to add explanations or something more educational like that. I am assuming that there is some way to change this part of every page with a top-down approach and you would not have to actually edit each page individually?- joevans3
- yes, I can change this text from a top-down approach without too much difficulty. --Matthew Faulconer 16:53, 31 July 2007 (CEST)
Hey all, before we move into trying to make decisions on what we'll do, does anyone have any other ideas they want to suggest? --Matthew Faulconer 16:56, 31 July 2007 (CEST)
- Did we figure out a good way to put the help icon on each page? Nothing else comes to mind. For what it's worth, I don't think we should change "Lexical notes," esp. if we remove "Exegesis" and put two simpler sections (i.e. "Brief explanation" and "In-depth analysis," or whatever...). --RobertC 21:20, 1 August 2007 (CEST)
- No. I haven't figured out a way to do that. Or to be more precise, if we can set the help icons in the way we like for some single page, I can replicate to all pages. The issue that I remember was that we couldn't get the help icons to show up in the right place (or did we find a solution to that and I forgot?). Where they were what would happen is that when someone did a section edit it would copy a bunch of ugly code into the page summary. It made the recent changes page quite confusing. If there is a way around that then we could replicate the solution to all pages. --Matthew Faulconer 06:41, 2 August 2007 (CEST)
One more thing to think about is page section order. One option would be starting with the Questions and then having the Brief Explanation and related links. Then put lexical notes and in-depth analysis. --Matthew Faulconer 06:43, 2 August 2007 (CEST)
- I think I'm partial to the order we have now, so I'd be inclined to do Questions, then Lexical notes, then Brief explanation, then In-depth analysis (or whatever), then Related links. --RobertC 15:15, 2 August 2007 (CEST)
Another thing I thought of that might be cool. I could add a section (or maybe fit it in as part of the externallinks that would for each verse of the bible link to common external sites (other translations, commentary, etc). If anyone likes this idea it would help to work through it on a single page. Then once we figure out the details for the pattern I could try to replicate it to other pages. --Matthew Faulconer 07:04, 2 August 2007 (CEST)
- The NeXt site is the other site I use. But this sounds like it might be more work implementing than it's worth.... --RobertC 15:15, 2 August 2007 (CEST)
- What I like about the NeXt one is the way it handles the strongs #'s. Also there aren't too many advertisements. --Matthew Faulconer 08:32, 3 August 2007 (CEST)
- Actually, I never look at the Greek or Hebrew at NeXt, instead I use the Blue Letter Bible for that (which I failed to mention). What I like about Blue is that it shows the Greek and Hebrew letters (since the transliterations at NeXt are confusing to me; Blue also shoes the LXX for the OT, though I don't know enough Greek to benefit very often...), and that when you click Strong word, you get every occurrence of that word in the Bible.... --RobertC 23:17, 4 August 2007 (CEST)
OK. the first step in implementing this across all pages is to get one page just the way we want it and agree that it looks right. I made 2 changed to Alma 13:1-5. 1. I changed exegesis to in-depth analysis. 2. I added a new section called Brief explanation. I did notice that, contrary to what I wrote above, we had worked out on that page a way to provide help links. i don't really like them nearly as well as I like the way we did it before (see 2 Kgs 2:21-25). I think the placement is much more intuitive in the second kings example. however the problem with the 2nd kings way is that it was messing up our bookmarks and recent changes stuff by throwing the ugly ocde to the help icon right in the middle of it. So on Alma 13:1-5 we got around that by putting the link above and to the right. I guess that is better than no link at all which I see as the other option. Any other ideas here or experimenting on one of the pages as an example is welcome. --Matthew Faulconer 11:02, 8 August 2007 (CEST)
- Hmmm, tough call. I think the 2 Kgs version looks a lot better, even to the extent of justifying the additional confusion this might cause to new members. To minimize the confusion and "messiness" of the look, could do we some sort of inclusion syntax or something? (And sorry to be so MIA lately--I'm probably going to be very busy these next couple of months, but after that I should be able to get back to contributing more regularly.) --RobertC 02:56, 10 August 2007 (CEST)
- Sorry, what do you mean by an inclusion syntax? The one thing that I can think of that might be possible is if I figure out where the code is which automatically adds the section heading into the summary box and if I just take that code out then this would I think solve the problem.--Matthew Faulconer 05:52, 10 August 2007 (CEST)
- We're discussing the ugly and distracting "image:Questions_help.gif||Help with the Questions section" code that generates the question mark link on the 2 Kgs page, right? I was simply thinking we might use inclusion syntax to simplify this, but on second thought that might not work (I'm guessing it only works for entire pages like you did with pages that show all the commentary pages for an entire chapter on one page--by the way, I'd love to see a little link to the discussion pages somehow included on those pages so as to quickly and easily see if there is any discussion for an entire chapter, if that makes any sense...). I don't understand what you mean by "code . . . [that] automatically adds the section heading into the summary box," but it sounds like you might have a good solution up your sleeve. --RobertC 07:15, 10 August 2007 (CEST)
- I like the graphic, but in the II Kings model, it looks like punctuation: ie "Questions?" "Comments?" For that reason, I think the Alma format is more clear.--joevans3 20:33, 15 August 2007 (CEST)
- I'm thinking of dropping the help links. The idea is good but I haven't figured out yet an implementation that resolves all concerns. Maybe a better solution is to improve the text right under the edit box. Right now it starts "Please use the "Show preview" button to check your work before saving." I know none of us read that, but I'm thinking that someone who is editing Feast for the first time would use it. Thoughts? --Matthew Faulconer 12:47, 18 August 2007 (CEST)
- I think you're right, links to the help pages on the edit page should be enough and avoids the risk and mess of the help icons. Notice I tried to make the "what are appropriate X?" links stand out more on the main help page. --RobertC 15:27, 18 August 2007 (CEST)
Brief Explanation and in-depth analysis
Still thinking about this topic. Check out the way I handled the commentary on 1 Kgs 19:1-5. I think I like that better than creating a new section called brief explanation. Maybe change the name to "analysis?" The idea here is that any section that goes over a certain number of words would be cut off and moved to a subpage--similar to the way our blog works. I continue to try to think of ways of making the site more accessible to the person who first visits it. I think the length of some of our pages can be intimidating. thoughts?
- Hmmm, interesting idea. I think this implicitly sort of deemphasizes the commentary relative to the questions, lexical notes, and links. And it requires one more click to get to the more meaty commentary. Also, while I'm playing devil's advocate, the cutoff point here seems a bit more arbitrary and haphazard than it does on blogs. That is, a blog entry has a natural beginning that isn't really the same for the wiki pages. This is related to the problem of having pre-defined cutoffs for each page--that is, every five verses, rather than trying to make cutoffs that are more natural to the text. I'm thinking here of the way that commentary books tend to divide up chapters or groups of chapters of the Bible into various chapters and sections of a book. In that case, the first few paragraphs of a chapter or section have a more introductory flavor to them than what we get with the wiki.
- On the other hand, I do agree that it's more inviting and aesthetically pleasing to have the commentary pages more streamlined, fitting on a page or two. The window with the scriptural text itself isn't very helpful when the commentary you are reading is 4 or 5 screens below. Of course, I'd still want to be able to get all the commentary for an entire chapter on one page, but I'm guessing this would still be possible. --RobertC 15:25, 11 September 2007 (CEST)
Here are a few specific answers to some of your questions. I still need to think more about this. I have been dragging my feet on implementing something partly because I continue to feel like we haven't nailed what is the right thing here.
- I think this implicitly sort of deemphasizes the commentary relative to the questions, lexical notes, and links.
Are you thinking that we would only do this to the exegesis section? I was thinking it would be applicable to all. Check out 1 Ne 1:6. ON that page there is much more question text than exegesis text. So on that page I guess the question section would be de-emphasized some. Am I misunderstanding your point?
- it requires one more click to get to the more meaty commentary.
- the cutoff point here seems a bit more arbitrary and haphazard than it does on blogs.
Yes, my thinking here is that there would be an automatic cutoff point--however, someone could edit the cutoff point easily to make it be at the place they find most natural. You should be able to see this in the example by moving around the "includeonly" tag.
- That is, a blog entry has a natural beginning that isn't really the same for the wiki pages
Is this a difference due to the different natures of blogs and wikis? I don't see why. I agree that to date our content isn't setup with the idea that only the top part shows on one page and people click through for more detail. But, that's because that isn't how things worked. My thinking is that if this is the way things worked people would tailor their writing to fit it. See also the featured article on wikipedia home page. My thinking is that this sort of thing works equally well for wikis and blogs.
- This is related to the problem of having pre-defined cutoffs for each page--that is, every five verses, rather than trying to make cutoffs that are more natural to the text.
It is a pain, and no one has ever done it, but someone can change the boundaries of the article. Just make sure to rename the page according to current page naming conventions and check "what links here" and and fix all the related links.
- Of course, I'd still want to be able to get all the commentary for an entire chapter on one page, but I'm guessing this would still be possible.
Yes it is possible. But, I'm having trouble figuring out what would work best. Do you think you'd want the exact same functionality as now replicated? Or have one aggregated page for questions, one for lexical notes, one for exegesis, etc. --Matthew Faulconer 09:55, 12 September 2007 (CEST)
"Exposition" instead of "analysis"?
Matthew, I'm not sure if you still have plans on making any changes, but if you're still thinking about adding a 5th section, another word I sort of like is "exposition." I know it's probably not much clearer than exegesis, but the more I read in Biblical studies, the more I think the terms "exegesis" and even "analysis" have certain connotations that preclude any sort of theological interpretation. This seems to be a rather controversial topic in Biblical studies, since many scholars seem to think that any theological presuppositions should be checked at the door before reading a passage. However, I think this approach desacralizes scripture, and undermines efforts to find important layers of meaning. That is, it seems to me that, as believers, we have to approach scripture with an idea on interpretation, not just exegesis. I'm still don't have a good idea as to what to call these two sections, but I'd like to propose "Brief Explanation" and "Further Exposition." --RobertC 15:20, 21 October 2007 (CEST)
RobertC, You wrote above:
- by the way, I'd love to see a little link to the discussion pages somehow included on those pages so as to quickly and easily see if there is any discussion for an entire chapter, if that makes any sense...
- Cool. I'd be pleased as punch with any of those versions. I think the best solution would be to include a link on the chapter pages to either see all of the commentary on one page (with only to links to discussion pages interspersed) AND a link to see all the discussion for a chapter on one page. Of course these pages aren't that pretty, so I'm not sure it's worth spending much time on them, but I do think they're very handy for those of us that are more interested in content and functionality than form. --RobertC 15:30, 18 August 2007 (CEST)
Ooops. I forgot to point out The Acts 5 All. There we have all of the commentary on the commentary page and all of the talk on that talk page. I think I like that best. What do you think? --Matthew Faulconer 21:51, 19 August 2007 (CEST)
- Matthew, did you mean Talk:The Acts 5 All page? I already saw that, which is what I was referring to above in terms of seeing "all the discussion for a chapter on one page." I like the The Acts 10 All format focusing on commentary but showing whether talk-links have content or not, coupled with the Talk:The Acts 5 All format for showing all the chapter talk pages on one page. --RobertC 20:06, 20 August 2007 (CEST)
So the best of all worlds then it sounds like would be The Acts 10 All for commentary pages and Talk:The Acts 5 All for related talk pages except (for consistency sake) really the talk page should also show a link to the related commentary page just like we see, in the reverse, on The Acts 10 All. Thanks, --Matthew Faulconer 09:24, 21 August 2007 (CEST)
- Yep, that's what I think it's best. Anyone else out there care to weigh in (I hate feeling responsible for decisions like this!)? --RobertC 20:23, 21 August 2007 (CEST)
Sorry the site was down yesterday evening and today. I'll check in with the person who hosts the hardware to find out what happened.. --Matthew Faulconer 19:05, 26 August 2007 (CEST)
Are 5-verse chunks mandatory?
If we broke up the text into pericopes, rather than arbitrary 5-verse chunks, would anything break (such as the per-chapter all-commentaries page)?
For example, we might want to put 2 Ne 3:5-17 (Lehi's paraphrase/quote/explanation of Joseph in Egypt) on a single page, instead of the four commentary pages it currently falls across. I would love to write up a detailed comparison of this text with JST Genesis 50:25-35, but it would work better as a single exegesis than as four. I remember adding some analysis in Alma that depended on verses found in more than one chunk, and I think I could have made it more clear, as well as written it up less laboriously, if I could have gotten both verses on the same page.
I've started a list of potential technical issues below. Please add any others, and abbreviate any that aren't a problem after all. Nathan E. Rasmussen 19:57, 16 February 2012 (CET)
- Existing links to the 5-verse pages. If a pericope completely subsumes a chunk, we might be able to just replace the chunk page with a redirect (assuming that doesn't screw up the all-commentaries page). If two pericopes divide a chunk, I guess someone will have to review the incoming links by hand to see which pericope they should point to. Normal problem all wikis face.
- All-comment pages. Are the verse ranges that they transclude editable? Automatically collected? Hard-coded? That is, how hard is it to divide the text into pericopes and not screw them up, and can a peon do the necessary work or does it have to be an admin/developer/angel-whose-hand-you've-shaken?
- the convention we've had to date is to put the entire commentary for the section you want on the commentary page of the verse but label the heading to apply to all the verses you want. So in your example you would put as the heading for your write up ===Verses 5-17=== and the writeup would go in the commentary section of the 2 Ne 3:1-5 page.
That said, I am not against someone doing the hard work of dividing verse up in more meaningful ways. If you are familiar with how things work you should be able to do it all yourself--no administrative or angelic help or acquaintance necessary. Let me know if you run into any problems. fixing incoming links and transclusions shouldn't be hard, but could get tedious. Make sure to refer to the "what links here" page for anything you'll be revision to make sure you aren't breaking anything. Thanks for your help! --Matthew Faulconer 07:54, 17 February 2012 (CET)
Six comments from a fresh set of eyes
Here are some suggestions from a fresh set of eyes. These critiques are intended to be constructive. I had debated setting up such a wiki and was thrilled to find that someone else has already done most of the tiki programming for me.
1. You need an email address as a point of contact. There is no way for a regular user to email anybody about anything on this site, and it is not clear that changes to these feedback pages get reviewed more than once every few months. I finally relented and joined LinkedIn after more than a year for the sole purpose of tracking down a person to whom I could send an email about this website that would pop up in their inbox. You can email me if you go to the website www.kurtelieson.com and click on "email me."
2. On the master document that establishes the form for blog pages, add a link to the scripture wiki home page. It is easy on the scripture wiki pages to see a link on the left to the blog half of the site, but the reverse is not true. I have known about the blog for years and occasionally read articles posted there. But I had no idea the scripture wiki existed until I did a google search for "lds scriptures wiki." By not having that link the mhalf of the site with more long term importance is not being marketed even on the other half of the same site.
I think my remaining suggestions would increase both the usability and repeat traffic on the scripture wiki half of the website. I either have made or am making significant changes to four parts of the website: (1) Obadiah, which is short enough to fit on a single webpage, (2) Nahum, which is somewhat longer and so has a layer of four subpages, (3) Amos, which has yet another layer of outline and which I therefore thought would require a second layer of subpages like Alma and other large books, but in the end it turned out to look like Nahum, and (4) D&C 1, which adds issues relating to church history and documentation on the Joseph Smith Papers website. You can look at those pages to see what I have done as embodiments of my suggestions and then decide what you like and dislike. I won't mess with page layout anywhere outside of these four areas until I get feedback. None of these four areas had much preexisting content, so rolling back should be easy if you so decide.
3. I strongly agree that the section headings need to be revisited.
First, I think each page needs to begin with useful presentations of things that are known before launching into questions about what is not yet known. Go to 1 Nephi 1:1-5 and notice how the entire Book of Mormon begins with the question whether High Nibley is right about the presence of colophons in the Book of Mormon. Most people won’t even understand the question, and no one will be enticed to keep reading or come back. But that question won’t scare off readers if the Questions section gets moved down below Exegesis and Lexical Notes. Then casual or unsophisticated readers (most of the site’s potential audience) could easily find what they are looking for (answers) and then simply stop when they get to questions at the end of the page about colophons. This will even help users who do care about such questions by framing the questions in light of what is already known and also reminding people who write questions about why questions get posted in the first place. There is a reason why lesson manuals and scholarly articles both follow this format. So I have rearranged each page to begin with answers and then put questions afterward near the end.
I have renamed Questions to be Questions for Further Thought and Study. It could probably still be further improved in a way that emphasizes both personal application and further learning.
Second, I think the headings Exegesis and Lexical Notes will put most people off. Even the few who don’t have to look them up in the dictionary will have to stop and think. I have gotten rid of those heading names.
I have split Exegesis into (1) Outline and Brief Summary and (2) Detailed Discussion. The Detailed Discussion can get as detailed as anyone wants. I have added as much as I really care about, which is to the “okay, I get it now” level. But it won’t hurt anything if others go back and add much greater detail. The Outline and Brief Summary at the top of each page ensures that readers will see the plan of the entire orchard before getting lost in discussions about individual trees.
I have completely eliminated the section for Lexical Notes and subsumed it within the Detailed Discussion. I agree that lexical issues are often important. I even agree that the first step in analyzing a text is to identify the exact text that will be analyzed. But most people are looking for the understanding of a verse, not for the individual contributions that can be made to that understanding by each of several separate approaches. Readers should not have to go through a block of verses once for lexical notes, and then go back through again for exegesis, and then again for whatever other useful tool someone might decide to employ. They should be able to go through and deal with each verse only once, covering text creation, textual variants, translation issues, cultural context, historical context, situational context, notes on geography, discourse analysis, borrowed phrases from earlier scriptures, interpretative uses in subsequent scriptures, interpretive uses by modern general authorities, etc. all in a single pass through the verse or passage. This will allow readers to form a picture of what that verse is about just once while the concept is still open in their mind. Cognitive psychology tells us that it is much harder for a reader to go back, reopen, and modify a concept that was wrapped up and closed five minutes earlier. Besides, the best order in which to cover each of those different approaches will vary from one verse to the next anyway, so it is again futile to try to lay that out formally ahead of time.
4. One of the reasons you need email contact is so an administrator can respond to requests that the blocks of text treated on a particular webpage be changed. The preceding comment points out that it would be best to treat an entire pericope such as 2 Nephi 3:5-17 on a single page since it forms a single unit of thought. I could provide you today with a list of pericopes for the entire Doctrine & Covenants and for Daniel-Malachi in the Old Testament. I would be happy to work it up for other books as well. The paragraph marks in the Bible are not perfect, but they are not bad as a starting point.
In addition, it should also be possible to request additional pages at the large end; for example on the five books of Moses as a group, or on Joshua-Kings, or on the minor prophets, or on Paul’s journeys as a background to his letters, or on Luke-Acts as a pair, or on Mosiah-Mormon as the corpus of Mormon’s writing.
5. I would advocate merging lots of the website’s lowest level pages together. I have seen comments expressing a desire to keep pages short enough that they can print on a single sheet of paper. I would disagree with that since I see no benefit but do see at least two big disadvantages.
First, if you really want to understand a verse, you have to read it in the context of the author's purpose for the entire book and each for subsidiary pericope to which that verse belongs. That means stepping back from the individual trees so you can see enough of the random forest to recognize that it is in fact a carefully organized orchard. You will quickly notice that I try to start each of the pages I worked on with an outline. If those outlines have value, then I think there is also value in keeping on the same webpage as much of the material as possible that relates to that outline. That way, as you dig into a single verse, you are reminded about the context in which that verse out to be understood. To me, clicking from one page to the next means moving from one thought to the next. I frankly get annoyed at online articles that are unnecessarily split among ten separate pages instead of just letting me scroll through the whole thing. So as long as I am still on a single pericope or unit of thought, I would rather scroll through a single page with the overall outline for it at the top.
Second, I would be more afraid of having lots of blank pages that look like a wasteland than I would be of a page that is too long. It is better for a user to find a little bit on the whole book of Obadiah on a single page and feel like they got something short but useful. Or to find even more than they were looking for. It is worse if they find the overview on one page, three blank pages for verses 1-15, and then finally a couple comments on the last subpage. Split out subpages if something really does get too long. But until then do not make people click through empty subpages.
6. The most important additional functionality that would make a big difference is the ability to create footnotes. Is there a way to add footnotes to the bar of icons that appears when you edit, or do you just have to manually type them in and number them like back in typewriter days? In my content about Nahum, for example, I make several assertions about the grammar of the original Hebrew text, historical dates, the changing names of an ancient city, and an ancient tradition about the fall of another. Insights do not have to be documented, but factual assertions like those ought to be. Otherwise the wiki is just people repeating unverifiable urban legends it will never gain credibility as a source of such factual data This goes double for church history references in the Doctrine & Covenants pages. I recently finished a book on the historical context of D&C 1-70. It has 350 pages of text and 60 pages of footnotes, or a ratio of 1:6 without even counting another 20 pages of bibliography. The thing that scared me about the wiki was that I could not find a single footnote anywhere. Not even one.
Anyway, please email me with feedback about what I am doing and about how much of it is wanted or unwanted.
– Kurt Elieson
I have now made Amos as useful and approachable as I know how to do -- except for adding footnotes and references to the last two sections of each page -- so people are welcome to go look and critique what they find.
In the previous post I explained my rearrangement of the several sections on each page, splitting "Exegesis" into "Outline and Brief Overview" and "Detailed Discussion," merging "Lexical Notes" into the "Detailed Discussion," and renaming "Questions" to "Questions for Further Thought and Study."
In addition, at the bottom of each page I have added a heading for "Footnotes" and changed the heading "Related Links" to "Additional Sources and Links." I do not like the way some Wikipedia pages have no footnotes and instead just have a section called "Sources." Footnotes pinpoint a specific portion of a particular source to support a particular assertion on the webpage, which makes it possible for those who care to verify and more difficult for the writer to be sloppy. But with "Sources" you just have a vague assertion that everything on the page is supported somewhere in one or more of the listed books - or that this was once true five contributors ago - which can make it impossible in practice to either verify or track down the source of the information. Better to have no footnote and not fool people into thinking the material is documented. So while I think it is helpful to collect a bibliography of sources one might additionally consult, I think it is also helpful to be clear from the beginning to both readers and contributors when an assertion is verifiably sourced and when it is not. So I have chosen names that I hope will convey this distinction.
Page names - Instead of a page for each chapter, I have a page for each group of chapters. But those groups do not always break at the end of a chapter. I have named them Amos 1-2, Amos 3-5, Amos 5-6, Amos 7-9. They are named for each chapter of which any part is included in the grouping. My habit for personal use has long been to name them Amos 3-5a and Amos 5b-6. But it seems to me that adding those small letters to the page names has the potential to create problems down the road and will just make it harder for others to follow, so I have left them off.
I think that some wiki like this will eventually replace print volumes as the best available commentary on the scriptures. And it seems silly to ever have more than one such wiki project within a community of shared goals and beliefs. I hope that what I have done to Amos helps point the way to move this wiki closer to that result in two broad ways and that what I will do in the future also contributes in a third way:
1. Making the appearance of the site more useful and inviting - by starting with information and pushing questions to the end - by keeping the detailed discussion of individual verses on the same page as an outline that can provide message context - by using friendly names like Discussion rather than Exegesis - by eliminating blank pages.
2. Making the content of the site more useful and intelligible - by framing the discussion in terms of an author's train of thought rather than a random sequence of individual verses - by providing outlines and a nested structure of packets, which is how cognitive psychologists tell us we comprehend, and how psycholinguist tells us we speak, regardless of culture.
3. And making the content of the site more reliable. Documentation is not an end in itself. But in my experience it typically improves the quality and reliability of writing, if only by making it harder to be sloppy with your memory and your thinking.
Four things that I think would be helpful on each page. At least the first three would each probably require a significant time investment from someone knows what they were doing.
1. The ability to generate footnotes. I have found a couple links, but I don't know enough about the software implementation (and don't want to learn) to really use that information.
2. External hyperlink display. I am using only a single bracket [ ] for external hyperlinks because a double [[ ]] for external hyperlinks causes one pair of [ ] to display on the computer screen. But single brackets apparently cause the entire URL to print out on paper. This is true for both the regular page and the printable version. External links are useful in the OT, but look at D&C 1 to get a sense of how a link to an image of the original document can be even better than a footnote.
It would also be nice if the scripture text window were automatically suppressed on the printer friendly version of the page.
3. Scripture text window and indented formatting. If I use ":" characters to indent, that formatting is lost if it appears to the right of the scripture text window. If I instead use a shaded box, the text does not wrap on an already short line (see Nahum for example) and a portion is thus often lost to view. Is there a third way to get indented formatting? Frankly, my preference would be the ability to hide that window just like the contents box, or else to delete the scripture text window altogether and just use lots of links to the text on lds.org.
4. It would be nice to have another line of white space after the automatically generated contents box. This is minor but perhaps not difficult.
-- Kurt Elieson