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kiamlaluno and I began a discussion in a question that I think merits more consideration here. I have recently begun placing some basic information in the tag information field such as links or references. The documentation tag, for instance has links to some videos and books (more links needed). kiamlaluno states that referring a questioner to Tag Info is like refering them to another site for an answer. I see having a logical location to provide some basic information about Drupal as an important element in this sites features and not a conflict with the question answer format of the site:

  • questions are frequently very broad, especially by newbies and the it is difficult to gauge the level of Drupal expertise they have. I know from my own experience that the answers to my first questions were hard to follow. When I asked for other resources the responses were limited to a couple off-the-cuff responses. I could have used a library of basic answers.

  • Amongst those newbies are many students (I noticed a large increase in new site users at the beginning of the school terms in mid January). They either need access to broader information fast or are looking for someone to do their work for them. Either way, we should provide them the resources in as many ways as we can so they can get get on with their assignments.

  • It is not easy to 'get' Drupal in a question and answer format. Basic concepts such as hooks and themes are not apparent unless you dig into a comprehensive coverage of the subject. Similarly, learning Views takes a lot more than reading answers.

  • We refer questioners to other sites for answers all the time. If I had a dollar for each time I have added a link to nodeone.se screencasts (thanks to Johan Falk!) I would be...well it seems silly to keep digging up the specific links and placing them in answers each time. Simple basic stuff belongs in a central repository, added to by everyone.

  • Few users seem to know that this information area exists. It is not well published on in site information. By referring users to a tag wiki we can increase the use of it and add another resource for users by fleshing out the content. In fact, there should be badges to encourage participation.

  • This site has the potential to become the primary resource for Drupal outside of the Drupal pages themselves. I think that we need a place for broad basic information that accumulates references and more complex concepts.

I do not want the Tag Info to replace answers, but to supplement them. I would like to hear other opinions and a discussion of what should and should not be placed in them

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    What to place in the tag wiki is different from what you put in an answer, and what you put in an answer should not be "see the links in the tag wiki." – kiamlaluno Feb 7 '12 at 17:00
  • What is the difference and why not refer them to an onsite resource. Is there a policy written that clarifies this? – Ashlar Feb 7 '12 at 18:12
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    In addition, the question was exceedingly broad. There were actually five questions. These types of questions are hard to answer. What is the questioner really asking. No disrespect to them, but they need to do some research and come back with a clearer picture of what is going on. Rather than give them a link or two, I would like to steer them to a larger resource list. Isn't that what a wiki is about. Using the tags will not take away from answers to specific questions, but it may help those who are very confused. – Ashlar Feb 7 '12 at 18:15
  • If a question is excessively broad, the question can be closed. We have the tools to close not useful questions; we just need to use them. Anyway, closing because the question is asking something reported in the tag wiki is not one of the closing reasons reported in the closing dialog. – kiamlaluno Feb 8 '12 at 1:51
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I would agree that more could definitely be done with our tag wikis. Nice find @Clive that's the best tag wiki I've ever seen! I don't know how many users actually look at the tag wikis, but having explanations, tutorials, or faq's related to the tag would be a great resource.

I would also agree that a link to a tag wiki is not a fit answer, but a link to the wiki could be a good supplement. Providing the answer to the OP's question and then giving them a link where they can learn more on that topic would be a great help.

  • How could we encourage tag wiki contributions and use as a resource on the site? Do we, as users have access to add to the FAQ to call greater attention to this potential resource? – Ashlar Feb 8 '12 at 17:11
  • I think Laxman13 is referring to a list of questions that are using a tag, which are the best example of questions using it. I have seen some tags on Stack Overflow that reports example questions taken from really asked questions. The faq is generic, and cannot contain information about all the tags used on the site; the only part of the FAQ that can be edited is the list of the questions that should be asked, or not asked, on the main site. – kiamlaluno Feb 9 '12 at 21:05
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At face value I was inclined to agree with kiamlaluno as all the tag wikis I've seen on Stack Overflow have been fairly succinct and lacking in anything that might be described as a tutorial.

However I just had a quick look in the tag-wiki tag on Meta SO and found this discussion about great tag wikis.

Without going into too much detail the scala tag is supposedly a very good example of a tag wiki, and it contains a full tutorial with links to excellent answers on the topic throughout the site.

So having a tutorial in, for example, the hooks or forms tag-wiki seems like it would be completely appropriate...I think it's safe to say if it's good enough for SO it's good enough for us!

Having said that I don't agree that simply linking to a tag wiki is appropriate as an answer (for exactly the same reason as linking to an external source without further explanation isn't appropriate). It does seem, though, that the answer that's being talked about here did go into enough detail beyond the suggestion to check out the tag wiki so that's kind of moot.

In short, having seen the excellent Scala tag wiki I find myself agreeing with pretty much everything you've said.

Just my two cents :)

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    Thanks for that link. That has to be the best I've ever seen! I agree that a wiki link is not a substitute for an answer, but the level of information shown in the Scala tag would have been a dream come true when I was starting out and still would be in a number of areas. It is the kind of thing I was thinking about when I started working on the tags a couple weeks ago. Now I feel inspired and with some help from other community members, we could provide a great resource for Drupal. – Ashlar Feb 8 '12 at 0:51
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    Clive hit the point: An answer must stand alone. A tag wiki can be changed in any moment, and the link contained in the tag wiki, which you were referring, can be removed; in such case, the answer is not anymore useful. Referring to a tag wiki without giving a link to it is another problem; you are supposing the user is able to find it, and you are indirectly saying to the OP "find it yourself." – kiamlaluno Feb 8 '12 at 1:48
  • The answer did stand alone but there were five questions. I answered the ones that I was confident in (and had time to respond to at that point). The first question was overly broad - "How does one actually USE the Forms API (and to print comments)?" Rather than no answer, I thought it a good idea to steer them somewhere. I did not include a link since the tag was right there. I suppose we could provide the link, but I thought it obvious enough. I also thought it was a good idea to have a user use the onsite link. I will provide links to the tag info in the future. – Ashlar Feb 8 '12 at 16:52
  • The idea that a tag wiki could change at any time is no different than for any offsite link as well. Answers often point to such sites to supplement answers and information on this site is more under our control than those that are off site. – Ashlar Feb 8 '12 at 16:58
  • The real point I am interested in is what is your opinion regarding expanding and documenting basic information in the tags as an additional site resource, like the example from Clive's answer (Scala)? And as a related question, How do we go about encouraging user contributions to the tag information and to know about and take advantage of that information as a site resource? I would like to continue and expand upon these tags, but not if they are not if they serve no purpose or no-one knows to look for them. – Ashlar Feb 8 '12 at 17:06
  • The answer stands alone if it reports what said in the linked page. If it says "see [link to another page]," then it doesn't stand alone. That is true whatever the link is to another page on the same site, or to an external site. As for letting the users know what tag wikis are, I can think of just two things: added a question tagged faq on this very site about that is a tag wiki, and adding a "call for action" on this site about adding links in the tag wikis. It is something to report here, as it is activity about the main site. – kiamlaluno Feb 9 '12 at 21:00
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As I reported in another place, the main purpose of a tag wiki is explaining the purpose of a tag. A tag wiki is split between its excerpt and the tag wiki itself.

  • The excerpt gives a short description about the tag, or the purpose of the tag; it's what the users see when hovering a tag used by a question, and when choosing a tag while editing a question.

    screenshot

    screenshot

  • The tag wiki itself, which can be a longer text, and can contain links, normally describes in more details what the purpose of the tag is.

    • If the tag is about a Drupal module, then it contains a link to the project page hosted on Drupal.org; this is particularly useful when there are similar modules with similar names.
    • If there are tags for which the users could get confused about which one to use, and when, the tag wiki should give a list of such tags, and explain what the difference between the currently explained tag and those tags is.
    • If there are particular important questions, which are also great examples of questions using the tag, the tag wiki should report a list of those questions, possibly avoiding to add too much questions in the list.

    The tag wikis can also include links to related, pertinent resources, and they are welcome. Still you need to consider some points.

    • Differently from Wikipedia, where wiki pages are its main content, on Stack Exchange sites tag wikis are not the main content. In Stack Exchange sites, which follow a Q&A format (and they are not forums), the main content is made of the questions and their answers.
    • Tag wikis are hidden, and most of the users don't even know there are tag wikis; they can notice them when they click on a tag, and they are redirected to the tag page, which reports part of the tag wiki, and a list of questions using that tag. Probably most users would look at the list of questions, on that page.
    • Questions asking something that is reported in a tag wiki are not closed as duplicate.
    • Answers that are simply referring a tag wiki (maybe even without giving a link to that tag wiki) are not considered answers. If the answer really answers what asked, and it uses the tag wiki (for which is given the link) as reference for more information is fine, as long as the answer is understandable without to read the tag wiki. This is not different from answer containing merely a link to a site, whatever the link is to another answer given to another question, or it is a link to an external site.
    • Not established tags could be removed/merged with other tags. If you are going to take your time to write a tag wiki, do it with tags that are used with enough questions.

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