ChemPRIME:Communicating with Other Users

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Because there are many editors in many different locations working on ChemPRIME, it is imperative that all editors know how to communicate effectively. If you are an experienced editor, it is likely that new editors will contact you for support and it will be necessary for you to communicate effectively in that regard as well. This document highlights important communication tools to be used on the ChemPRIME wiki.


Communication Tools

Links at the top right of the screen connect to several helpful pages that allow you and other users on the wiki to communicate with each other. In the line just below the links are tabs, some of which enable communications to be viewed. Here is a summary of the links. Details are provided in the sections that follow.

  • User page - Identified by your username, this provides information about who you are, your goals on ChemPRIME, and anything else you would like others on ChemPRIME to know about you and what you are doing.
  • User_talk page - This is where others can leave messages for you. You can leave a message for someone else by navigating to that person's User_talk page; the recipient will be notified automatically. Every page in the wiki has an associated "Talk page" which is accessed by the tab labeled "talk" at the top.
  • Preferences - In my preferences, on the first tab, User profile, in the email section, make sure to check "Enable email from other users".
  • Watchlist - Clicking the "Watch" tab adds the page you are on and its talk page to your watchlist; click on "my watchlist" to see recent changes to watched pages. Via preferences, you may also choose to receive an automatic email anytime a watched page is edited.
  • Tasks - Any messages sent to you using the Todo template are listed here.

The primary method of communication is the Todo template. Type in a message and then select other users to notify. Todos usually apply to a specific page. Place the Todo template on the article's Discussion or "Talk" page. The Todo template is laid out this way:

{{Todo|Text you want to communicate... sign with ~~~~|Alerted users}}

For example, the exemplar Heat Capacities in Aerospace Materials was found to include some erroneous material. Vitz noticed this and created a Todo to offer a correction. He decided to notify to creator of the exemplar, Rhetue, as well as wikiadmins Jshorb and Jwmoore. The Todo was laid out as:

{{Todo|Isn't this confusing high temperature materials... ... ~~~~|Robert, Justin M. Shorb, John Moore}}


Communications in ChemPRIME depend on usernames. If you are logged in, your username can always be included in a communication by using four tildes: ~~~~. For example, if you enter the text, This is a message from ~~~~, the result, after interpretation by the wiki, will be This is a message from Jwmoore 22:55, 11 July 2010 (UTC), except that the username will be yours, not John Moore's and the date will be different.

It is very important that all messages should be signed by using four tildes, not by just typing your name. Not only will the message be dated, but when your username appears in the signature, it is easy for someone to click on it and go to your User: page, where they can leave a return message. Users who are used to just typing their names to sign an email need to make a special effort to use the four tilde signature all the time.

User: Pages

Each person has a User: page. If you are logged in, you can access your own User: page by clicking the leftmost link at the top of the page; that is, the link that is your username. It is a good idea to add content to your user page so that others can ascertain your subject-matter interests, the topics or tracks you are interersted in editing and/or writing, your level of expertise with the wiki, and your willingness to serve as a guide to new users.

To view the User: pages of others, use the search box in the left side-bar and search for User:username; for example, to find Jwmoore's User: page, type User:Jwmoore into the search box and click Go.

For users who are logged in, at the top right of every page there are links to pages that provide important information. The types of information found there are described in the next few sections.

User_Talk: pages

Every user has a “User talk” page. When you click on any users name, you will go to their User page. Clicking on the “talk” tab on the page will bring you to that user’s User Talk page. Anything you type there will generate an e-mail to that user. This is a useful way of logging conversations publicly. For instance: if a user has a problem uploading an image and asks Greg (User:Sovinski) how to do this on his User_talk:Sovinski page, then Greg’s reply will be available for anyone in the future. It’s useful when you leave a message on someone else’s User_talk page that you also Watch that page, so that you are alerted when the other user responds. After the exchange of messages is complete, you can unwatch the other user's page if you’d like. (It is literally called “unwatch” in the tab at the top of the page).

Talk pages are usually organized as follows, where additional colons delineate each subsequent reply.
== Subject of Concern ==
Greg: can you look at [[This page]] and let me know why my image is too large? ~~~~
:Joe, here is my reply ~~~~
::Greg, Thanks, but I still don’t see why you need the… ~~~~
== Start of Next Subject ==

Respond to messages to your Talk page in one of two ways. If the information is useful for any user to hear, then leave your response on your Talk page. Otherwise, if it is very specific, leave your reply on the other person’s Talk page. Or possibly both. A common method is to say: “Joe, thanks for your message. In general, do this. I have left more specific comments on your talk page. ~~~~” and make “your talk page” a link to their talk page by the code: [[User talk:Joe|your talk page]].


Make sure that you check appropriate boxes under the “my preferences” tab at the top of every wiki page so that the wiki autoresponder is enabled. Note that others will not know your identity when they communicate though the User_Talk pages (see above).

☑ E-mail me when a page on my watchlist is changed
☑ E-mail me when my user talk page is changed
☑ E-mail me also for minor edits of pages
☑ Enable e-mail from other users 
☑ Send me copies of e-mails I send to other users

Watch / Watch this page

At the bottom of every “edit” page is a check-box for “Watch this page” and at the top of every article page is a tab for “watch”. Both of these add that page to your “Watchlist” which can be accessed at the top of any page when logged in by clicking on “my watchlist”. Whenever that page is modified by anyone other than yourself, the wiki will send you an e-mail**. This is useful when you want to moderate a page that is undergoing many changes or if you want to make sure that your beautiful work remains untarnished by amateur editors. You shouldn’t have to reply to a watched page.

Todo Tasks

If you are taking on the role of supervising a portion of the wiki (either a set of pages, or managing all instances of certain images) then it may be useful to make use of Todo Tasks. These are inserted into a wiki page by typing: {{Todo| Message to users. ~~~~ |Sofia Erazo}}

(The 4 ~’s generate a signature.) This will create a link to your page and the date, which is useful for archival purposes. The list of users can be any part of a user’s name or username. This essentially turns that page into a “watched” page for the users listed there. They will get an e-mail when this task is set, and every time this page is edited in the future until their name is erased from the task. We are in the process of moving long Tasks to Talk Pages so that longer discussions will be saved for posterity. Respond to Todo Tasks to you by adding a statement within the Message and your own signature (Vitz 20:43, 23 March 2010 (UTC)). This will automatically e-mail all interested parties.


Most Wikipedia-associated wikis have awards or badges that other users can place on your User page. There are other self-generated notices as well, such as language proficiencies, fields of study, or areas of personal interest. These are great and if we want to include them, then we can do so later. For examples of how these work, visit nearly any user page within the MediaWiki collaborative. For now, it may be useful for us to contemplate a few badges to establish roles within the community. For instance, all of the UW-Madison crew is a “Trusted” user. There should be some sort of way to show the community this status. Also, the ChemEd DL members should probably have their own logo so that people know that they are good people to ask about ChemEd DL projects. Adept Jmol users should be badged as well. It will initially be useful just to identify the users of the wiki who have certain skill sets so that new users can find help. In the future, it may become essential for Jmol authorities to give Jmol badges to new users who prove their ability over time. This would be something that could grow with the community, but it is worth noting now as the core of the community begins to form.

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