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Collaboration Guidelines


Policy and Procedures

  • The purpose of this project is to move all the information found in the files and links areas of the database into the wiki. A good generalization would be if it can't be accessed by a programming software application such as ARC396, FreeScan or Win96, then it's a candidate to be moved. Examples of things typically found in the files area include 10 code lists, fire station locations, maps, Fire Tone Out information and more. Please see the Wiki User Guide (under Important Links to the left) for file extensions that can be uploaded.
  • News items and miscellaneous system information entries will be moved in Phase 3 of this project. Only those entries that are relevant to researching trunked systems will be considered for migration.
  • We now have state-level pages built in the Collaboration Gateway as well as several province level pages (for the Canadian entries). Please use these as your starting points. All pages are coded with templates to give them a similar look and feel.
  • All articles involved with this project must be linked to one state collaboration page. Any page that isn’t linked to something else in the wiki are referred to as ‘orphans’; while this might not mean much from the viewpoint of someone trying to find something from the database, anyone coming in from the wiki main page (or using the pulldown) would never find this article without searching.
  • All articles must use the Category statement at the end to associate it with one (or more) categories. The collaboration category should be used as a default, if you can't figure out to what your data should be posted. Post a message on the wiki forum asking for assistance if this is the case. The list of valid categories for this project can be found on the Gateway article
  • The standard for naming county pages seems to be the county name followed by the state abbreviation in parenthesis; for example: Anne Arundel County (MD) If you aren't sure about how the collaboration page in the database is named, please take the time to look it up. Note that (CA) has 2 meanings; California and Canada. Be careful here!
  • If you have no files or other data to display for a county, you need not create an empty page for it. As mentioned above, it's very easy to create a new article. Empty pages don't serve much purpose, so avoid them when possible. If you are creating a multi page article, and you have pages that aren't quite ready, place some text in the article that indicates it's a stub.
  • Never sign your article, or put a tag line at the bottom. MediaWiki keeps track of all articles, who writes/modifies them along with time and date stamps.
  • Although it's a wiki standard to do all testing in the sandbox, there's a logical flaw with it; the sandbox can be wiped out by anyone, at any time, for any reason. It's far better to test in your own user area. It can be reached by clicking your ID in the Personal Tools frame to the left.
  • If you have a large number of counties with information, then coding a separate article with a list of counties is suggested. This keeps the state article clean and easy to manage. Code the county on the state article only if you have a few of these to document.
  • The use of the standardized templates on the county pages is optional.

Coding Hints

  • Coding links from one page to another are referred to as interwiki links. They are coded with the desired title enclosed in double square brackets. There is no need to code the URL as MediaWiki will resolve the reference for you. Article titles must be exact; spelling, punctuation, capitals all count. If Mediawiki cannot find the article, the link is shown in red. This fact is very useful when you are ready to move whatever data you have out to a new article; create a title that does not exist. Click on the red text, and you will be placed in the editor mode. Copy the data from wherever you have it, and paste.
  • Links to sites external to the wiki should be coded as hyperlinks, and never as just an URL. This is referred to as a 'bare link'. Hyperlinks are coded with the URL in single square brackets, along with the text you wish to use; for example, [http://www.fcc.gov FCC] In this example, 'FCC' will show up as a link.
  • Categories are coded similarly to an interwiki link - the name of the category enclosed in 2 square brackets, like this: [[Category:Maryland]]
    • If your article contains Fire Tone out (sometimes referred to as 'pager tones') information, please add the state name along with Fire Tone Outs like so: [[Category:Maryland Fire Tone Outs]].
    • We also have a category for Radio IDs/User IDs (RIDs/UIDS) that would be coded in precisely the same way viz. [[Category:Maryland RID/UIDs]].
  • If you find that you have misspelled an article, or forgotten to put the state abbreviation in parenthesis, the easiest way to approach this problem is to use the MOVE function (in the left frame under DELETE). Remember to adjust any links that might need to be changed to point to the new name.
  • If you wish to build a page around information found in the database, please don't copy this data verbatim. Instead, use the RR Wiki Extensions to accomplish this. See the indicated link for more information, and take note of the extra code necessary to enable refreshing the entries on the page (mentioned at the bottom of the article). See the Indiana Sports article for an example of how to use the extensions with both conventional and trunked data.
  • There are many instances where text lists - such as response codes and 10 codes - that read like one long string when you view them in the database and end up reading the same way in the wiki. This makes such lists very hard to read and should be avoided. There are several ways to fix this;
    • Put a '*' (shift of 8) in front of each item to be listed. This is somewhat like the unordered list command in HTML. The nice thing about this feature is that each item ends with a soft break, so you don't need to code a break after each item; however depending on how you are organizing your lists, you may need a break at the very end of the list to be able to terminate it. Edit this section for an example of the coding.
    • You can also put it into a table (wiki markup or HTML if you're more comfortable with it), since it's rather unlikely that things like 10 codes or response codes change very much (which is generally the best kind of data to put into a table, since tables tend to be a bit harder to maintain). See the Ham repeaters category for a list of articles, most of which use tables.
    • If your list represents a logical progression of steps, then creating a numbered list is the way to go. You do that with a '#' (shift of 3) in the first column. See the Excel Copy/Paste Special to Software article for an example.
    • The choice of how you go about it is yours - but please, consider readability when you post straight text lists.
  • If you have a number of images to display (several maps, etc.) you may find that displaying them in a thumbnail to the right creates problems with editing individual sections. If this happens, you can use the Gallery directive. This allows you to show several images (in thumbnail) in a gallery like layout, usually 4 or 5 on a line. See the Louisiana collaboration article for an example
  • If you have articles or images that cannot be displayed directly on the wiki (for example, a PDF file or a spreadsheet), or they're too big to display, then upload the item to the wiki, and use the Media verb to create a hyperlink. It's coded very much like the image verb; [[Media:myfile.pdf]] See the Montgomery County (MD) Fire Tone Outs article for an example.
    • For unknown reasons, sometimes the wiki will reject an upload of a spreadsheet. If this happens, compress (zip) it using one of the popular utilities and use the media verb to create a hyperlink for it.
  • Since the wiki has moved to the use of style sheets, there are a few HTML based commands that no longer function. Here are their MediaWiki equivalents:
    • If you are trying to change the color of a phrase (normally with the font command), use the color template, like this: {{color|red|this is your text}}.
    • Making text bold is simple - surround it with 3 tick marks.
    • Italicized text is created by surrounding it with 2 tick marks.

Moving Data from the Trunked System Pages

Moving data from these pages requires a bit more work due to the structure being enforced by the database entries. The following steps are suggested;

  • Go to the bottom of the page and see if there are any links, maps, PDF documents, or other items to be moved. Create an article in Notepad to record all these links, along with the URL of the Trunked System article. Links that are no longer valid should be dropped.
  • Be sure to assign this data to the proper category. In addition, the Collaboration category is being used to capture all data that has been pulled from the trunked system pages.
  • Click on the 'Collaborate' link
  • Follow the prompts to create a new wiki article to house the links you just captured.
    • If the title of the wiki article is not unique, it will cause multiple states to point to the same entity in the wiki, regardless of whether it applies or not. To avoid this, you must code a disambiguation article. This is a special type of article that indexes all articles with the same name, and provides a convenient spot to create an unique index for the article you are coding. Please see the Montgomery County article for an example. Note that a special category - Disambiguation - has been created to capture and index these articles. Use of the category and template as shown is mandatory.
    • If an entity has references in more than one state, create the article in the state or county where the main headquarters or transmitter is located. Create links from the other states to this article
  • Once the articles have been stored, proceed to the Gateway, and find the correct state or county to which the TRS belongs
  • Add the appropriate link(s)

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