LifeWiki:Helping out

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There are many ways to help LifeWiki. Our goal is to document everything about Conway's Game of Life, and anyone who would like to help is welcome to contribute. If you want to get a quick overview of ongoing projects, you can check the task list.

Editors are free to work on any project that they find interesting. If you're reading a page and see something that needs to be fixed, just click on the "edit" button and fix it. If you're looking for something that needs to be done, this page provides some suggestions.

General page improvement

The ideas in this section can be applied to almost any page on the site; while you are reading articles, keep in mind whether any of these improvements are needed on the page. In addition, there are various special categories where articles that have been tagged as needing improvements are listed. You can browse through any of those categories and see if any of the pages are on topics that you're knowledgeable about. Alternatively, you can add any page that you think needs maintenance to one of the special categories to let other editors know that page needs work.

If you're uncertain about anything, or have any questions you'd like answered before jumping in and starting to edit, feel free to ask! The fastest way to get a response is to post any questions you might have on the forums. Alternatively, you can add a question to any talk page on the site, and an editor will try to help out.

Cleaning up articles

There are (unfortunately) always articles that do not meet LifeWiki's style guidelines. Some common problems with articles include:

Expanding articles

Many articles can be expanded and improved upon. You could roam the site looking for articles that you feel are too vague, then elaborate on them. If you notice information that is missing from an article, add it. See Special:ShortPages for a list of the shortest pages in the wiki.

Adding pattern information

If a pattern's infobox on the right side of the screen is missing some information that you know (such as its discoverer) or that is easy to calculate (such as its bounding box), please add it (and a reference, if possible). Information on how to add and edit information to pattern templates can be found at LifeWiki:Pattern pages.

Creating new articles

Is something missing? If there are a lot of pages that link to an empty page, you may want to create it. Links in blue represent pages that have been created, and links in red represent pages that have not been created. However, creating new articles should only be done if the article is necessary and will not be redundant. If you are a new editor and are not familiar with the site's existing content, it may be better to wait until you have more experience with the site before creating any articles.

Not all red link pages should be immediately created. Before creating a new page at the target location you should first check whether the red link is an error. The most common cause of a red link is an editor misspelling a word, rather than a missing article. If a page on the topic already exists, fix all of the links so that they point to the correct page instead.

If you are certain that the article is needed, then start writing it!

  • Special:WantedPages provides a list of all the pages that exist as "red links". Click on the page name to create it; click on the "# links" link to see what pages have the links and fix those pages if that is a more appropriate course of action.

Adding suggestions

If you believe any article needs improvements or fixes, but you don't know how to do it yourself, then post a message on the article's talk page. For example, if you don't understand anything on this article or think this article is missing information, just edit the Helping out talk page (also accessible on any page by clicking the link that says "discussion") and type in your suggestion. Likewise for any other article on the site: click on that article's "discussion" link to provide suggestions about how to improve that page. Suggestions on how to make it easier to find information or pointers about basic information that has been overlooked is particularly welcome.

Adding links

Many necessary links between wiki pages are missing, which makes it harder for readers to find information. If you are reading a page and realize that it contains few or no links, add some (although in moderation).

An even more prevalent problem with wiki pages is that links to the page are often missing. When new pages are created, editors will often make sure to place all the necessary links from the page, but it can be much less convenient to track down all the other pages that should link to their new page. While looking over a page, click on the "What Links Here" button (in the toolbox at the bottom of the left-hand side of the page), and see whether the list of "What Links Here" pages seems comparable in length to the number of links on the page. If you only see two or three pages in "What Links Here", check whether any of the linked-to pages could be improved with a new link or two.

  • Dead end pages - Pages that contain zero links to other wiki pages.
  • Orphaned pages - Pages that are not linked to by any other wiki pages. In general, other pages should be edited to add links to these pages.

Adding images

Many pages within the wiki can make use of images, in particular the pattern pages. Ideally, every pattern with a page should have at least one image as well; an image showing the pattern's starting generation. Some patterns (such as oscillators) also greatly benefit from having animated images. See Help:Images for information on image formats and LifeWiki's policies on image inclusion within pages.

Other maintenance

See LifeWiki:Editor categories for a list of categories and special pages that can help editors find pages that need fixing.

Helping the community

Monitoring articles

Unfortunately, many people who do not understand our goals come through here and make careless edits or edits that otherwise do not comply with the style guide. Also, vandalism is inevitable. These edits are caught and fixed by editors who monitor the recent changes.

If you find that you enjoy monitoring the recent changes page and tend to be frequently checking it, you may wish to help clean up recent edits.

Answering questions

There are frequently questions that get asked by other contributors, usually on article talk pages. If you know the answer (or even a partial answer) to any question, feel free to answer it. Recent questions can be identified from the recent changes page; older questions can be found by checking the talk pages of articles that you are reading.

Helping other users

Many users don't know some of the ways they can help on the wiki. You could help them out by sharing with them some of your knowledge, and encouraging them to get active and find something to start editing. One of the ways to start doing this is to look at the recent changes page and look for newcomers who have been making some good edits.

Public relations

We need more people that are interested in reading what we write about, and we need more people that are interested in writing. LifeWiki does not advertise formally, so it requires people like you to spread the word to make this site bigger and better. Don't resort to spamming, because it makes us look bad and makes people unhappy, but just keep an eye out for people that may be interested.