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Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire

Posted by Anonymous User  
Anonymous User
Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire
October 24, 2009 02:56AM
Rock,

I would like to see mediawiki software employed, as is currently used for the mindat user manual, in order to better organize the information going into the Best Minerals. The project would displayed more effectively using more hyperlinks to individual pages organized by country and region etc. Dynamic editorial controls and notations on individual pages would really improve things. For the encyclopedia of best minerals, I think this improvement would be both mentally stimulating and visually appealing!

Scott



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/24/2009 07:41AM by Scott L. Ritchie.
avatar Re: Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire
October 25, 2009 11:08AM
Scott,
I am sorry you find Best Minerals to be an Organizational and Editorial Quagmire. I have done the best I can with my limited intellect and abilities but am always anxious to learn from those who possess superior knowledge and a better vision of how things can be done more efficiently and better. I hope you will share with us in more detail the ideas you set forward in your email and I would be particularly glad if you would provide us with an example of what you desire. Pick any mineral and show us what you have in mind.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Anonymous User
Re: Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire
October 31, 2009 03:37PM
Hi Rock,

I don't think this is an issue of limited or superior intellect or abilities, it's simply a matter of learning a small amount of wiki markup language and loading the software onto the mindat server. If it's something you are genuinely interested in doing, have Jolyon load it up, share administrative access with me, and let's start importing the data you have generated so far in the forum threads - and build a suitable design and structural format together. It's all about teamwork, really.

Scott
avatar Re: Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire
November 01, 2009 02:29AM
Scott,
I think you will have to take that up with Jolyon and David von Bargen. I don't have access to the mindat server(s), and I have no confidence that I could learn enough about the wiki markup language so that if I did have access to the servers that I would not screw up what is already in place. In addition, and more importantly I don't understand your vision of the benefits this would bring. Is there something you can do to illustrate this for me?

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Anonymous User
Re: Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire
November 02, 2009 10:38PM
Rock,

What I am suggesting is a more refined way of generating lists based on the organizational system you are currently employing. However, rather than clustering all countries on a single page for an individual species, each country would be represented by a single page per species that would include a textual synopsis featuring one of the best photographs, and then provide a hyperlink list of individual localities segregated by geographical hierarchy in alphabetical order. Each individual locality page would include a textual synopsis featuring one of the best photographs, and a hyperlink to a child page that would display all of the individual photographs in a gallery setting.

The benefits would be reduced server load when generating listings, and increased ease of user access to data based on specific area of interest by reducing the amount of information needed to be scrolled through in order to locate site specific data.

I would propose building the wiki-based site in conjunction with the current forum-based listings so that you can continue without interruption, and then when you are relatively completed, switch over to wiki for displaying the project like a real encyclopedia. If you don't feel comfortable learning wiki markup, it's just a matter of delegating administrative responsibilities to a couple of competent users who are familiar with the scope of the project and have the programming skills needed to see it through.

Scott
avatar Re: Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire
November 03, 2009 06:53AM
Scott
I can see the point in what you say, its worried me a bit and its good to have some skilled input into a new structure. I have not done very much with wiki markup language before but it did not seem too tortuous. If you can help set things up and be available for problems I am sure we can work with it.

Regards,
Ralph
Anonymous User
Re: Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire
November 03, 2009 07:10PM
Hi Ralph,

I appreciate the lone voice of support. B)-

I've been thinking that perhaps the whole thought of using mediawiki software is too foreboding for most of the users here on mindat. I still think we can do better!

The mindat markup language as used in the articles framework is probably sufficient enough to accomplish the task of reorganization and altering the display format, and if not, I'm sure Jolyon could code a few routines to make any listing features that may be needed available to us.

In the long run, perhaps mindat markup articles are the best route to take, as compatibility and integration with mindat would be inherent in the design. If the mindat user article software were used to develop the individual mineral species regional and locality articles for the "Best Minerals", hyperlinks to these articles would be available at the bottom of those specific pages as well.

All I know is I've heard allot of complaints about the current format, even from people using highspeed internet connections. One only needs to click on the Andradite page in the Best Minerals forum to see the problems inherent with the status quo [www.mindat.org]. I can only imagine the frustration of a dialup user, if in fact there are any of them still online. ;)

I really appreciate everybody's input and work involved to date, especially Rock's dedication and forethought to get this party started. It's usually best to brainstorm during the infancy of the project, when changes are generally easier to implement.

Scott
avatar Re: Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire
November 03, 2009 07:22PM
I think the idea in the long term is to migrate everything to the mindat articles system, but it's not ready for that yet, so the idea is the messageboard area is a good place for us to work on the content prior to moving it all to the articles system in the future.

Jolyon
avatar Re: Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire
November 03, 2009 07:59PM
Soctt,
The way mindat usually works is that you must first gain support for your ideas and not assume that everyone will hop on board your band wagon as soon as it leaves your driveway. I might very well support your ideas, but you will first have to explain them to me and others so we understand what you are talking about. I know nothing about mediawiki markup language and I would think few on mindat do, but am gratified that apparently Jolyon and Ralph do. You site the Andradite article as good example of an Organizational and Editorial Quagmire. Please explain to me what you feel the deficiencies of the article are and what benefits the mediawiki software will add. I assume it is more than the extended download time that would make the use of a dial up connection almost impossible. Yes there are people who still use dial up. Si & Ann Frazer are among them, though they are weakening and I think will join the 20th century soon. Yes, I know it is already the 21st century.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
avatar Re: Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire
November 03, 2009 09:26PM
    
Hi Scott,

First of all, thanks for thinking along!!
Second...
Quote

However, rather than clustering all countries on a single page for an individual species, each country would be represented by a single page per species that would include a textual synopsis featuring one of the best photographs, and then provide a hyperlink list of individual localities segregated by geographical hierarchy in alphabetical order. Each individual locality page would include a textual synopsis featuring one of the best photographs, and a hyperlink to a child page that would display all of the individual photographs in a gallery setting.
True, the scrolling time can be a problem, but it's also possible to tackle that using this format. In my articles I use hyperlinks for every locality name (and more) and at the moment I'm planning the Beryl page (I already did the Emerald page) which will consist of a main page with all the colour varieties linked. Chopping up these into linked country pages would be a step too far for me, somehow I like it when it reads like a book winking smiley
Quote

I've been thinking that perhaps the whole thought of using mediawiki software is too foreboding for most of the users here on mindat.
True, because we would like as many as possible knowledgeable people taking part we have to keep the threshold in regard to software knowledge as low as possible imho, the forum software can serve the purpose quite well and many have learned how to use it to some extend.
Quote

I think this improvement would be both mentally stimulating and visually appealing!
I don't know about the mental side....but on the visual side we agreed on a lay-out, I think it looks nice but I'm open to criticism, so please check out the articles I've done so far and please shoot at them, I'd be happy to improve them and all the help in that respect is greatly appreciated!
Here are some of the articles I did until now:
[www.mindat.org]
[www.mindat.org]
[www.mindat.org]
[www.mindat.org]
[www.mindat.org]
[www.mindat.org]
[www.mindat.org]
[www.mindat.org]
[www.mindat.org]

You see, I agree with you :D

Cheers

Harjo
avatar Re: Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire
November 04, 2009 08:47AM
    
I would like to work on a data set on WA jade, what should I do?
avatar Re: Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire
November 05, 2009 07:20AM
Exekiel,
I am not clear on what you mean by work on the data set on WA jade.Could you explain further what it is you would like to do? What is WA? What do you mean by jade. Jade is not a mineral but a general term that can mean Jadeite, nephrite or several other minerals.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
avatar Re: Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire
November 07, 2009 11:35PM
    
Ha! I forgot I posted this. Nephrite. WA=Washington. I just thought I could add to the photographs of specimens...but all I have are Washington jades. I'm not certain how everything on this site is organize yet. If I wanted to add some specimens, how and where is best to go about that? This was probably the wrong thread to post this on, sorry.
avatar Re: Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire
November 08, 2009 12:28AM
    
Just log in and go to your home page button at the top left of the main page. Poke around your home page and you should find an Add Photo button. Read carefully what's on the photo add page and think a bit about it. After you've added a few photos it will be an obvious procedure.
Anonymous User
Re: Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire
November 12, 2009 07:18AM
Thanks to Jolyon for providing some clarity as to the long term goal of migration of the individual articles in the forum to the mindat article system. I think this will work out well.

One of my primary concerns over the current organization is based on cross-linking the data. Articles on mineral species or varieties can be linked directly from the mineral page to the article in the current system. But how does one approach an article using the example: Best Minerals, Quartz, Alabama to California [www.mindat.org].

A one page article works for a very rare species or variety, but in the above case, how do we link mindat articles with regional locality pages? It would seem prudent to at least break up the article in question to individual states at least, so that these articles would be listed under the regional locality page at a minimum. Another example is the name of each locality which is often updated on mindat, yet remains static in the Best Minerals forum articles. Dynamic updates for locality names based on the locality id numbers is the way to go.

Another example of the poor organization of the Best Minerals project in the forums is the current article list by mineral species which is organized by alphabetical order, yet is interspersed with individual species between categories, such as the categorical list of "Best Minerals - B", yet underneath and between "Best Minerals - C" is Best Minerals - Barite. Why isn't Barite listed under B?

I would to like to see article tags in the mindat markup language that would facilitate subsection linking to a Best Minerals article based on individual localities so that a hyperlink is available on that locality page to that locality within the Best Minerals article for the species in question. I would imagine this would be a list of hyperlinks generated under article entries, or a linked symbol next to each mineral listed under the mineral list generated for the particular locality, or something like that.

A hypothetical example would be if I'm on a specific locality page, I would want to be able to click on a link that takes me to the Best Minerals article describing the locality. If I can't do this, then the whole point of hyperlinking locality pages to articles is dead on arrival. Really, this would be my main concern, that those localities described in the Best Minerals articles would be only linked in one direction; from the Best Minerals article to the locality, versus being linked both ways.

Rock, when information is provided by other users for the Best Minerals project, the information does not seem to get incorporated. A longer list of users with editorial permissions would help get these articles updated, and would let contributors update locality data in their areas of expertise or familiarity.

I also find the occasional inclusion of price information without corresponding references are impossible to corroborate, and highly subjective. Pricing without reference become a needless point of contention without without reference to size, shape, clarity, rarity, beauty, etc. P. I would rather see a specific example for a well defined specimen that was sold for a given amount at a certain point in time.

Harjo, I really can't find fault with your articles. smileys with beer

Anyways, that's my thoughts on the subject for the day. Thanks to everyone for your input. I must admit that I'm exited to see how it will all work out in the long run.

Scott



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/12/2009 08:41AM by Scott L. Ritchie.
avatar Re: Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire
November 12, 2009 09:43AM
Scott,
I agree, we need better search protocols to be able to fully access the information in the Best Minerals articles. The recent alphabetical list of linked mineral names for which the first draft of articles have been completed was done in an attempt to make what we have thus far done more accessible to all. I have talked this over with a number of people and there are several ways or combination of ways this can be done and your suggestions will certainly be added to the list of possibilities. Right now, I have decided not to worry to much about implementing any of them because we have such a small percentage of the minerals completed even with a first rough draft. Considering how long it takes to write, implement and format the images for each article I think it will become some time before linking the articles with everything else and vice versa becomes much of an issue. I also think that the project is better off in the Message board format right now because it has a much better access to interested parties and can be contributed to more easily than if it were in any other current format available here on Mindat. I though we were doing a pretty good job on updating the articles when suggestions were made, but obviously we different opinions about that. If the people who contribute to best minerals could devote full time to working on the project I am sure faster progress could be made, but as it stands now, progress is and will probably always be limited to how many hours the contributors can spend working on it. Would you like to work on an article? There are a lot of minerals to choose from and we need all the help we can get. Perhaps you would be more responsive to updating the articles from suggestions made to you than we have been.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
avatar Re: Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire
November 14, 2009 10:58PM
    
Rock and Scott, I agree with you both!
The message board is a nice open playground for shaping the content.
In the long (or not so long) run Scott's advice should be taken seriously imho.
Scott, could you make a flow chart that visualises your ideas and think about a way in which we can incorporate the data as it is now into it?
Thanks in advance!!

Harjo
Anonymous User
Re: Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire
December 09, 2009 09:04AM
Hi guys,

I'd be glad to help out with the specific areas and minerals that I have knowledge about. I don't want to tackle species-wide global locality articles, but I'll try to fill in the specific locality blanks for specific minerals where I see em' and can help out. B)-

My AMD Turion 64 CPU is on it's way out, and I'm not going to be able to do anything about replacing my laptop until the new year, and these sudden shutdowns are keeping me from playing on the net without fear of loosing data and wasting time.

Caveat, I also have to work on reorganizing the California localities after Chet has finished uploading his last rounds of data, as he has made a bit of a mess of things regarding districts within districts, mountain ranges within mountain ranges, valleys within valleys, cities within mountains, and individual localities within one county being placed in another county, ad nauseum.

I'm grateful he's taking the time to get the core data into the database, but my plate is going to be somewhat full for a while on mindat in order to sort all these things out. Have no fear, I'm committed to perfection while on the cheap (volunteerism). ::o

Harjo, I'll work up a flowchart if you really think we need one, but hopefully Rock and Jolyon got the gist of my diatribe. ;) I really appreciate all of you guys spending the time to read my posts, and taking my ideas into consideration.

Scott
avatar Re: Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire
December 09, 2009 10:39AM
Hi Scott..

A bit of advice that might help. If you use Firefox and install the Lazarus extension you'll find it much safer to work on things

[addons.mozilla.org]

This automatically saves form data as you're writing it onto your hard disk, and retrieves it on request - so if you're typing in a long article (or messageboard message) and the computer crashes before you posted it, you can reboot, reload firefox, go to the lazarus option to recover form and everything you entered is magically restored.

It has already saved a lot of needless retyping for me two or three times.

Jolyon
Anonymous User
Re: Best Minerals - An Organizational and Editorial Quagmire
December 10, 2009 03:05AM
Hi Jolyon,

Thanks for the Lazarus addon tip, I installed it and I am breathing a little easier now. Exactly what I needed.

Scott
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