Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Suggestion Physics Wiki/FAQ Section

  1. Jun 1, 2017 #1
    I had this idea the other day on Arch Linux's wiki page. In that community, they have an extremely comprehensive wiki for learning and troubleshooting on your own in addition to a very active forum which is similar to PF now. The idea of have and FAQ section is an old one, but the best thing on PF (to my knowledge at least) are threads containing links to other threads organized mostly (or only) by discipline. Ex. https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/math-faq-list.807539/

    Obviously I am aware that wikipedia exists, however that is more of an encyclopedia than a wiki which is used to help "troubleshoot" or help the struggling user understand a concept (my opinion).

    A physicswiki, if you will, alongside a physicsforum I think would be extremely beneficial in the long run accumulating and organizing explanations (so that each explanation is refined as opposed to lost on old threads). Additionally, I think it will save PF members time not having to re-explain reoccurring questions.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 1, 2017 #2
    Thanks for your suggestion! It's my opinion that a wiki wouldn't be the right format for FAQs. We do have an FAQ section for Insights, here
    https://www.physicsforums.com/insights/category/faqs

    If you want to suggest a question for an FAQ Insight please let us know. Thanks!
     
  4. Jun 1, 2017 #3
    The idea is to have a comprehensive wiki with organization that addresses FAQs.

    So instead of:
    Physics Insights > FAQs > Where Did the Big Bang Happen?
    The structure would be similar to the forum so:
    Astronomy > Cosmology > Big Bang > Paragraph on location/expanding space
     
  5. Jun 1, 2017 #4
    HTML is an amazing invention which I unfortunately don't think PF uses to its fullest potential is all ;)
     
  6. Jun 2, 2017 #5

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Just because you can do something with HTML doesn't mean that you should do it.

    A wiki-style FAQ sounds nice on paper, and I really like the idea, but you quickly run into issues involving article creation, maintenance, and fact-checking, among others. You'd also need people dedicated solely to handling the day-to-day activities of the FAQ. As the FAQ grows larger, the number of people and problems increases, so you then need to develop ways to handle that as well.

    This would be a large project that would require a significant amount of time and effort by the staff and members and I don't think most of us have the time to dedicate to this at the moment.
     
  7. Jun 3, 2017 #6
    Very fair points. I think there already is some infrastructure on PF that would assist that. For example, only premium members or mentors or homework helpers can edit articles, though anyone can make a suggestion.

    I am admittedly ignorant here. What kind of day-to-day activities are there other than server maintaining?

    Ya, I can only sympathize with the members with that actually make this site work. I know it would be a large project and require a lot of resources, but I also think after it's completed (are wikis ever really completed?) it would help those same staff and members a lot of time.

    Edit: I am sure there are free physics textbooks that would love to have their content widely distributed. That would hopefully be a good place to start from to save massive amount of time writing.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017
  8. Jun 3, 2017 #7
    Having gone over the Insights section, might I suggest a way of organizing the separate types. For example, a way to see only interviews and articles.

    Edit: o:)
     
  9. Jun 3, 2017 #8

    mfb

    User Avatar
    2016 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    Server maintenance is not a daily activity.

    Moderating the forum. Helping users with forum functions, moving threads, reminding people of forum rules, closing or deleting problematic threads, warning and banning users if necessary, deleting spam, discussing policies, discussing feature requests, ...
    Administrative tasks, including but not limited to: Handling various emails, fixing bugs, changes to the forum software or layout, various software maintenance tasks, ...
     
  10. Jun 3, 2017 #9
    The question was in regards to a wiki, not a forum. With restrictive editing, a lot of that is eliminated, namely almost the whole first paragraph.
     
  11. Jun 3, 2017 #10

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Perhaps, but with restrictive editing you significantly slow down the creation of the FAQ. Day-to-day activities would still include handling the suggestions you talked about, discussing page edits and article creation details, and more that I don't feel like making a list for.
     
  12. Jun 3, 2017 #11

    mfb

    User Avatar
    2016 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    Ah, FAQ only. Well, a static FAQ that doesn't get changed any more would not have relevant maintenance time, but you are never done with such a project. Most forum moderation things apply to FAQ moderation as well. You still have users who ask how to do X, you probably want to write a FAQ how to edit the FAQ. Things need moving or renaming.
    All articles need someone to check them (no matter who writes it - there can always be some error). The overall style, purpose, implementation, and content structure of the FAQ has to be discussed, and so on.
     
  13. Jun 3, 2017 #12

    jtbell

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Consider what goes on behind the scenes at Wikipedia. Each page has its own "talk page" (effectively, its own forum) where editors haggle over disagreements about what should be on a page, whether it is in fact correct, how it is related to other pages, etc.
     
  14. Jun 3, 2017 #13

    mfb

    User Avatar
    2016 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    Wikipedia is probably the most extreme example - the addition of content is a small minority of edits, most are revisions of existing content, discussion on talk pages, template-related edits, meta-discussion in the wikipedia namespace and so on.

    I had a look at the 50 last changes. Only 2 of them add content to an article.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted



Similar Discussions: Physics Wiki/FAQ Section
  1. Physics Forums Wiki (Replies: 13)

Loading...