Help:Wiki University--Patrolling Common Issues

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What are the common patrolling issues?[edit | edit source]


While patrolling, Wiki support missionaries will encounter a variety of issues. These issues may be due to missing or incorrect wikitext coding or due to inappropriate article content. In this lesson, we will address the more common of these issues.

CODING ISSUES[edit | edit source]

There are many ways the Wikitext coding can be wrong and become a problem on a page. It is not possible to cover them all. In order to detect and correct these issues, a patroller needs to know how to code in Wikitext. Some of the issues seen most often are covered in this section.

Missing container tags[edit | edit source]

  • In Wikitext, as in other computer languages, information is often placed inside "containers." Wikitext coding is applied to these containers to affect the look and format of the information.

Div tags[edit | edit source]

  • Div tags are probably the most often used containers, but there are other kinds with special uses. This is the opening tag: <div> and this is the closing tag: </div>. It is between these tags that text, images, etc. are placed.
<div>This is text placed between opening and closing div tags.</div>

  • Frequently the closing div tag </div> is left out or mistyped. All kinds of crazy things can happen; but the one problem you often see is the sidebars disappear. You will find them at the very bottom of the page. Obviously you need to find where this missing div tag needs to go. To see the complete coding for Div tags Click Here >>.

Table tags[edit | edit source]

  • Table tags are used to create tables. To see the complete coding for tables click here.
  • All sorts of problems happen with missing elements.

Images[edit | edit source]

  • Sometimes images are very large and take up a lot of space on a page. Click here to learn how to limit the size.

Bold and italic tags[edit | edit source]

  • Occasionally you will see large sections of text in bold or italicized print. Again the ending tags have been left out or mis-typed.
  • To make text bold you flank the text with three apostrophes. Look for the missing ending three apostrophes.
'''This is bold text placed between opening and closing '''

  • To make text italic you flank the text with two apostrophes (not quote marks). Look for the missing ending two apostrophes.
''This is italicized text placed between opening and closing ''

Text in a box with a light gray border[edit | edit source]

  • Problem: Text inside a light gray border box like this:
A space has been placed between the first word of a text and the left side of the page.  
  • Cause: A space has been placed between the first word of a text and the left side of the page.
  • Fix: Remove the space, making sure the text is up against the left side of the page, and the dashed box should disappear.

Alignment[edit | edit source]

  • Missing tags can cause text or images not to be in the place where you think they should be. Click here to learn about how elements are aligned on a page.

Broken links[edit | edit source]

Broken link2.jpg
  • Another major issue is links. They are sometimes "broken" in that, for example, they lead to sites that do not exist anymore or were entered wrong and do not function at all.

  • There is a page in the Wikitext lessons to cover this topic. Click here to see the different kinds of broken links and how to fix them.

CONTENT ISSUES[edit | edit source]

In addition to errors in the Wikitext coding, there can be issues with the content. The information can be in violation of the guiding principles or just poorly written. A few of the issues that Wiki support missionaries should look for and correct as needed are listed below in no particular order.

Talk pages[edit | edit source]

Be aware that users leave comments and questions on Talk pages. If you notice a Talk Page in the "Recent Changes" list, check to see if it contains a question or comment requiring an answer. If so, answer it if you can. If you cannot answer the question, do the following:

  • copy the URL
  • go to the Yammer Wiki 911 group, paste the URL, and explain that you need help
  • go back to the Talk Page and leave a message stating that you are in the process of finding the answer. That sends a message to the user that the question has been received; and a message to the other missionaries that someone is handling the question.
  • mark the page as patrolled

Personal opinions[edit | edit source]

If a large addition has been made to a page, be sure to read the material carefully. Since the Wiki must have a neutral point of view, you need to make sure there are no personal opinions or personal evaluations of the material presented. If there are, contact the user via the user's talk page and/or email. If the user does not make any changes, you will need to do it yourself or delete it.

Long histories[edit | edit source]

Sometimes you will see long histories of places such as a town, of groups of people, etc. Since the purpose of the Wiki is to inform people what records are available and how to access them, extensive histories are beyond the scope of the Wiki. A brief history is acceptable if it provides insight into how records were kept; what events affected how they were recorded or preserved; or what affected their content. You can advise the user to include a link to a history they think might be of interest.

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Life stories are not allowed in the Wiki.

Material of no genealogical importance[edit | edit source]

Delete any material that does not give research help to genealogists. Be careful in your assessment. Sometimes it may take a second reading to see the value.

Links to merchandisers[edit | edit source]

Occasionally you will see someone has slipped in a link to their commercial web site. Although sometimes it is out in the open, more likely it could be hidden in a link with a title indicating it is for a site with genealogical value. Check all NEW links by clicking through to the linked site. If you see links to advertising, delete them and request to block the user immediately.

Pornography[edit | edit source]

If you see any links to pornographic sites, DELETE IMMEDIATELY. Request to block the user immediately as well.

Faulty links[edit | edit source]

  • Links in red are "broken" links. If you can figure out what the link should be, correct it.
  • Links in black are proposed links that have not yet had coding applied. If the page was created some time ago, check to see if they have value.
  • Links to errors. Sometimes you will be taken to a page with a 404 error. This is a site that might not be active anymore or has other coding problems. If you cannot figure out what the problem is you can alert the user or delete it.
  • For help with broken links Click here. You will need to be familiar with Wikitext. You can take these Wikitext lessons to learn how to code in Wikitext.

Grammar and spelling[edit | edit source]

As you are reading new material, if you notice grammar and spelling errors, you should correct them or come back to the page later to fix them. However, grammar and spelling are not our primary focus in patrolling.

Page is a mess![edit | edit source]

Every once in a while, after a user has edited a page it will be messed up. Someone trying to edit may have inadvertently removed a bit of coding or had problems with the visual editor. You will need to look at the code to see what the problem is. Sometimes the damage is so severe that it is easier to make note of the intended change, roll back the changes, then make the edit again. If you are not confident in this process, get help from your mentor or another team member. We cannot let pages remain in this condition hoping the user will return and repair the damage. (Often the user saw the result, had no idea how to fix it, and saved the article hoping that someone would see it and fix it.)

Seeking research help[edit | edit source]

Some people have posted genealogical information about their own ancestors, seeking additional help. You should refer them to or other sites. Any genealogy information must be deleted or moved to Compiled Genealogies.

Policies and guidelines[edit | edit source]

Study Policies and guidelines to get familiar with what is acceptable and what is not in the Wiki.

Try these out[edit | edit source]

Quick Quiz
  • You need to be familiar with Wikitext to be able to fix coding problems on a page.
  • It's okay to place a space between the first word of a text and the left side of the page.
  • An occasional missing div tag is no big deal.
  • An occasional broken link is ok.
  • A page that is messed up may have a closing div tag missing.

In the Wiki:

  • A user may comment on an event in history to voice an opinion about it.
  • Biographies of historical figures or famous people are not allowed.
  • An article may link to a site that sells tee shirts for family reunions.
  • Using the word "ain't" is acceptable every once in a while.
  • All policies are etched in stone and cannot be changed.