Instructions and Tips for Writers

Help and instructions for "fabrics international" Writers

The "fabrics international wiki", launched in January 2009, now has some 300 articles under development with about 50 completed. The wiki has been given a characteristic "look and feel" and extended from covering just fabrics, to including information about fabric prints, garments, and certain aspects of the do-it-yourself sewing community. The site still has only one Moderator, it's creator, "gedwoods", but it incorporates several Writers, many of whom have signed on to do partial translations of the English material into material for other languages. As the community grows, it is likely that additional Moderators will be chose to help manage the site.

Since late March 2009, efforts have been undertaken to broaden the consultation regarding new developments within the wiki, so that the membership of the site is consulted before major new initiatives are launched. This can be done either through the public discussion forums or via private messaging to all General members. The wiki is a community effort designed to serve a broad (even "planetary") community, therefore a community-based consensus approach makes good sense.

Here are additional tips and discussions to help Writers be more effective on the site. Please read these and stay within the guidelines set out in the Instructions.

  • Use the "EasyEdit" button at the top left of your screen - this takes you into edit mode. When you "Save" your changes, these will be automatically logged and can be undone, so don't worry about making mistakes.
  • The site will never be "finished" - it's why the service is called "wetpaint"! Your approach to working on the wiki should be to "tinker", to put in a few items at any one sitting, so that working on the wiki will become a satisfaction rather than an ordeal! You can make "To Do's" as reminders to yourself or to others of what you still plan to get done, especially when you leave things "in the middle" of a job.
  • You may want to think twice about changing the name of a wiki page that has been around for a while. When a page name is changed, the links into that page are not automatically updated - they have to be updated individually. For an "old" page, this may require dozens of modifications!
  • If you want to make new fabric pages, template pages for English and French are available. Additional templates for other languages will need to be created. If you make one page in the right format for a new language, this can then be copied into the templates section. Note that changes in the template do not automatically propagate through existing template pages - rather each page has to be updated. This means you need to be clear that the template is good before we fix it into place for use, because it can take some time to update all the pages for a small change in the template (and this job is very boring to do!).
  • If you are involved in translating, the priority pages for translation are the stable and the completed pages from the list shown on the "State of the wiki" page. Following this, nearly completed pages may also be translated. Pages listed as "partially completed" or as "template only" should not be translated until their status changes, although place-marker pages using the appropriate language template may be created for these. You should also make an equivalent "State of the wiki" page for whatever language version you are working on, if this page does not yet exist, and update this page whenever you finish a work session so that others working on the wiki will know where things are at.
  • Don't forget to link your translated pages back to the existing language pages - this is where the place-marker pages (with empty template only) are useful. Essentially, when you create a new page in your language area, you need to link it into your language wiki (i.e. update mentions on pages that list these fabrics or prints so that these become active links leading to the page you've made - there may be several of these) but also to update the links at the bottom of the page to the English source page and the appropriate language link at the bottom of the English source page to refer back to the new page. If there are other language pages that are active from the English source page (e.g. French), then you also need to link "there and back again" to the corresponding page of that language. This work is important, as it is what will make the wiki really "hum" as a multilingual tool. If you find this too complicated, leave a "to-do" requesting that it be done and someone will come along and finish it up later.
  • There are now opportunities to import images from the online web pages of certain online fabric suppliers. Not all of those approached have given consent, however. The list of suppliers that have given consent can be found by examining the Albums in the Photo sections of the site - each supplier who has given consent has a corresponding Album. Normally, to pick up photos, I go to their web site, find the images that interest me, find the largest version I can get of the image, take a screen copy, edit the image into a format that is appropriate (in size and shape), then upload this image to the photos section and add this photo to the relevant supplier's album. All photos need to be named for their content, and then the expression "(Courtesy of *fabric supplier's name*)" added within the name. This is in accordance with the consent agreement with the fabric suppliers and ensures that the name of the supplier appears when the mouse moves across the image. Provided these instructions are followed, you may import images from the designated suppliers to further embellish the wiki pages. I have also tried to balance as best I can across different suppliers, so as not to favor one over the other, to put images of more than one supplier onto the same wiki page, but not to add too many images to any one wiki article. It takes a bit of a delicate touch to get it right :)

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