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Scientific discussions are invaluable to the advancement of knowledge and constitute an important part of the Human Salivary Proteome Wiki. Every wiki page has an associated talk page that facilitates the discussions. Here we describe the guidelines on how you can participate in these discussions.



There are many wikis on the internet now, each having its specific use and user community, and thus each having discussion guidelines tailored to their individual needs. The Human Salivary Proteome Wiki is a research-based wiki, with guidelines that are appropriately tailored to the free interchange of scientific ideas. If you have any suggestions on better ways to improve communication, please use the "discussion" tab at the top of this page to provide your feedback, it is very welcome.

PLEASE NOTE that this is a resource hosted by the U.S. Government and there are general guidelines associated with its use described in detail here. Please be aware of these guidelines when using discussions.

Writing on Talk pages vs. Data pages

The data on a wiki page (as compared to a wiki page's "discussions") is intended to be of high quality, in general peer reviewed. Data on wiki pages includes information collected from external database sources (see Acknowledgments) as well as information known to occur, as described in the literature. Any changes to the wiki pages is subject to the scrutiny of the community and requires curator approval before the changes can be officially incorporated.

Talk pages are intended to capture everything else (e.g. not well established facts), which are published immediately without going through the curation process. Types of things in a discussion of a wiki page include:

  • discussions about reagents and approaches
  • questions about particular properties of a protein
  • links to specific articles or web sites that may be of interest to other readers
  • comments

Unarguably, there is no clear dividing line between what should be on a page and what should in a "discussion" of a page, it is up to our community to define that. In general, discussions are used to talk about the topic of a specific page regarding anything that isn't backed up by peer reviewed facts. Since the wiki pages have defined formats to capture specific data, new knowledge that doesn't fit into the current schema can also be placed in the discussions until the formats have been updated. The bottom line is use your best judgment, we all want good scientific communication, no matter the forum.

See also: Help:Curation Process

Practical Tips

  • Please use discussions as a forum for scientific interaction
  • Be as focused on a specific topic (i.e. page) as possible
  • If your comment is relevant to an existing thread, add your comment to that thread rather than start another discussion topic
  • You will be linked to the discussion by your signature, no anonymous postings are allowed
  • Discussion content can be seen by anyone with an account on the system, thus the information is public
  • You can make changes to your messages after you have posted them but the system's administrators are the only individuals that can delete messages from the discussion.
  • Viewer discretion advised! The contents in the talk pages may be unreliable.

How to Start or Enter Into a Discussion?

Discussions for a specific page can be accessed from the Discussion tab at the top of the page (Figure 1). Pages that don't have any discussions already have the label in red (left side of Figure 1). Pages that do have discussions have a blue colored label (right side of Figure 1).

The Color of the Discussion Text Tells You If There Is a Pre-existing Discussion Already.
Fig. 1: If the label of the Discussion tab is in red, there is no discussion; if it is in blue there is an existing discussion associated with this page.

Talk Page Structure

On top of a talk page is a list of all the discussion threads on the page. The threads on a talk page are normally ordered by the date that they are created or last modified. You can change the ordering through the "Sorting order" drop down menu on top of the page. Figure 2 is an example thread with multiple responses. Each thread has unique subject line. As you can see, this discussion is about a new paper that describes Alpha Amylase. Which comment does a subsequent message respond to can be observed by the amount of indentation of the message.

 Layout of the Discussion Page.
Fig. 2: Layout of a discussion page with a summary of all the threads on top of the page.

Talk Page Features

Following is a short tutorial of the different operations you may do on a discussion page:

Replying to a Message

If you want to reply to a post that you would like to comment on, click the Reply link within that post. On the edit page, add your comment in the text box, and press the "Save page" button when you are done. Your response will then be nested in the proper place in the thread. Figure 3 shows the work flow for doing this. If you want to you change your comment later on, you can do so by clicking Edit under the More tab in your post.

 Adding a Thread.
Fig. 3: Replying to a post only takes three simple steps.

Creating New Threads

Adding a new discussion (assuming there is not an already existing thread talking about this topic) is very similar to replying. The major difference is that you start by clicking the "Start a new discussion" link on top of the talk page (see Figure 4). On the edit page, be sure to include BOTH the "Subject" (in the box entitled "Subject:") and your discussion context (in the larger box below "Subject:").

 Adding a Discussion.
Fig. 4: Creating a new thread.

Watching a Discussion

You likely will want to keep watching (and be notified) of any additions or changes to threads that you create or are following. As with any wiki pages, you can watch the page. This means that you will be notified (by email) when changes to the page are made. To start watching a discussion, click on the Watch link at the top right of the discussion topic that you want to watch (Figure 5, highlighted). Please note that your are automatically triggered to watch a discussion or a thread that you created, otherwise you will need to start the watch yourself. The same steps are applied to stop watching a discussion but instead a "Watch" link, there will be an "Unwatch" link.

See also: Help:Watchlist - Change Notification

 Triggering a Discussion "Watch".
Fig. 5: To start watching a discussion, click on the Watch link at the top right of the discussion topic that you want to watch (highlighted). The next page "Added to watchlist" will appear to confirm that you are now watching the page.
HSPW Version 1.5.3. This page was last modified on 24 August 2011, at 14:30.This page has been accessed 3,709 times.