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General comments about the Best Minerals forum

Posted by Rock Currier  
avatar Re: General comments about the Best Minerals forum
June 01, 2009 09:33AM
nl    
Guys,

I was thinking the other day, when I was doing the articles about Vantasselite and Ferristrunzite, that we should watch out that the "best minerals" don't become a second Mindat database inside Mindat. When working on rare minerals I found out that the articles pretty much tend to reflect the photos and info that are already on the actual Mindat page.
What do you think?

Cheers

Harjo
avatar Re: General comments about the Best Minerals forum
June 01, 2009 10:57AM
Yes you are right. But as time passes they will get better and more detailed. After doing a run through the A minerals or at least most of the A minerals, I probably won't start anymore threads on really rare stuff unless some good information comes along that you can't find on the mineral properties page. But by doing some of those in the A minerals, has encouraged people to upload some better images and provide good information about some of those minerals that is not on the species properties page. On some of the others, I/we really need to contact the authors of the articles and find out more about the specimens they used to do the description of those minerals and if possible locate the people who collected the stuff and find out from them just how much of the stuff there was, etc. in other words find the answers to the ten questions the I list in the introduction. If we can't provide more than can generally be found in textbooks or on the species data pages, then we don't have any reason for doing what we are doing. Just listing the localities and putting pretty pictures with them is good and provides a certain validity for what we are doing, but we really need to work on meaningful and informative stuff in out text portions. I believe that is what will make this effort successful in the long run.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
avatar Re: General comments about the Best Minerals forum
June 01, 2009 11:01AM
Hi Harjo and all,

Well, to be honest, I was thinking the same, with all due respect for the people who are working on it.

If you take the Avicennite, the same pic is in both databases and I doubt that specimens get any better than this.

Take care and best regards.

Paul.
avatar Re: General comments about the Best Minerals forum
June 01, 2009 11:35AM
I can't argue that the Avicennite article is not very good. It needs a lot of work by someone to get in there and do some digging and find out just how good it gets and how much of it was found etc. When I first encountered such minerals I realized that I really didn't know very much about most minerals. When I started working on aluminium it was a pretty slim article not much better than the species data page but look it now. It has become pretty good with some digging around and help from people who knew more about it than I did. What I want to provide here is a place for such information to be gathered and displayed and it didn't appear that the species data pages were ever going to be all that much help in answering the ten questions that most collectors spend their life learning about.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
avatar Re: General comments about the Best Minerals forum
June 21, 2009 09:39PM
nl    
I was thinking......I think it would be good to agree on a strict format so that all articles will look somehow the same in the end.
Apart from the content (which should be good and up to date) and the photographs we should also consider the aesthetics of the articles. For instance, I don't really like it very much when header and caption texts are sticking to a photo, I'd rather have a line of space in between. Maybe I'm kind of a nut case in this (before studying music I graduated from the academy of arts....maybe that spoiled me) but I really like it when the articles have a clean appearance, it's so much more fun to read.
I also like it when the names of the locality (not the country..) are linked to their respective Mindat pages.
I know, it all is a lot of extra work but I think the articles benefit from it.
If you want to know how I would like it you can have a look at the Emerald, Schalenblende, Millerite, Anatase, Ferristrunzite, Vantasselite or Belgian Calcite, Quartz and Fluorite articles. I made them all in the same format. Feel free to shoot at it, I'm open for constructive criticism.

Cheers

Harjo
avatar Re: General comments about the Best Minerals forum
June 22, 2009 03:54AM
Harjo,

I can understand how such a small thing as a line spacing between the Species/Locality block at the top of every section could offend you. I know exactly what you are talking about. When I have gone in and tweaked your articles, I have purposely, I think in most cases left that extra line space in place. I agree that your articles look better than mine and that is your artistic training showing. Yes, I agree that we should agree on a format that is consistent, however I have been reluctant to crack down on the various authors that are doing the writing because I didn't want to discourage them by seeming to be a nut case about an extra line space here or there. The reason that I have set the Species/Locality blocks right on top of the pictures or at least the first picture or two is because I wonder if it might be easier for a programmer to pick up the pictures and text as a block for some sort of sorting in the future, but am not sure that this would make any difference in or not. I agree that we should put a space after the Species/Locality blocks before the pictures. I am also inclined to put two spaces after the end of each Species/Locality/Picture/Text block before the start of the next Species/Locality block. Do you understand what I am talking about? So we agree? It looks like we are doing most of the article generation at this point, and if we agree and keep it consistent I think it will encourage the others to also do it that way. I always bold each line of the Species Locality Block and you tend to bold them as a group. I think if we bold each line individual of the others that it makes it easier to copy and paste each line or lines without having to worry about a stray bit of bold code that will screw of the formatting. You use standard height designations so all your pictures are exactly the same height. I adjust the height of my images by tweaking the width of my images. I'm not sure which way is best, but as long as the heights are pretty close I don't think that makes any difference. As for linking all the species and localities to their mindat pages I think is a lot of extra unnecessary work. I do link the species at the top of each article to its data page. I argue that if the user really wants to get to the species or locality pages for any particular species or locality, all they have to do is to click on the image or the caption below the image and they will be taken to the full image where the species and the locality pages can be accessed by clicking on them. What else do we need to discuss about the formatting? What say you?

You know we really need a good editor to go through the text of our articles, correct errors and point out sections of text where the ideas are not expressed clearly and need to be re written. I have tried to do a little of this, but again don't want to discourage the authors needlessly. The different styles of writing I think add a nice flavor the the project. At this point I think it is important to get something down for a lot of the common minerals so that they can act as repositories for adding data as we run across it. If a thread is already established, it make a very convenient place to drop information that we pick up in the Message board forms and makes it easy for anyone to contribute their thoughts as well. I would encourage you to create new threads when you run across stray bits of interesting information about minerals where we have no threads started. When I start these threads, I always start them with the plea for people to help us followed by the species in bold with the chemical formula and crystal system below that and then below that I select a good picture of that particular species and stick that in the startup thread. This at least will give users something to look at when they click on that thread.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
avatar Re: General comments about the Best Minerals forum
June 22, 2009 06:06PM
nl    
You're right Rock. I think we're on the same line. If anyone wants to have help in formatting an article I'll be happy to help out. I could format a part of the article so that the writer can copy the way I (we) do things.
You've got a point in the bold text, from now on I'll make every line bold seperately.

Cheers

Harjo
avatar Re: General comments about the Best Minerals forum
June 22, 2009 07:32PM
Harjo, If we can agree on the exact formatting we will follow, than in time we can at least normalize all the stuff we have written so far. I think we are pretty close to agreeing on everything. There will always be little differences in our approach to things, if nothing else in the kinds of images we select for the articles. I will in the Instructions to authors write this up a bit more formally than I have and change the Aluminium demo article to reflect what we agree to.

Should we allow one or two line spacings between lines of images. I generally like to use one line. You like to use two. You use one line after the bold face species locality block at the head of each section before the first picture. Would it not be consistent to use one space to separate the images rather than two?

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
avatar Re: General comments about the Best Minerals forum
June 22, 2009 09:28PM
nl    
Rock, I'd suggest this: one line between the species/locality block and photo, two lines between photo rows (makes it look more relaxed) one line between photo and descriptive text and finally two lines between descriptive text and the next species/locality block (so one doesn't get doubts to what locality the text or photo belongs..)
avatar Re: General comments about the Best Minerals forum
June 23, 2009 02:29AM
OK, Ill trust your more refined artistic judgement on this. When it get the suggestions to the authors thing fixed I would like you to look it over.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
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