Contributing to the Wiki

Mary Sue Ittner
Sat, 02 Aug 2014 15:41:55 PDT
I would like to point out that in 2003 when we first learned that we 
could have a wiki, the thought was that this was a place for people 
to upload photos of the plants they were growing so others could see 
them. It was the time of slow Internet connections (still happening 
in rural parts of the US), not much storage space on web sites or 
people's computers, and concerns about viruses that came with 
attachments. As the one setting the wiki up with help from Mark 
McDonough and then Mark Wilcox I decided to organize it in a way that 
would allow people to find the photos again at a later date. I urged 
people to write something about their photos as well. Some people 
wrote more than others. None of us were paid for the time spent 
adding to the wiki. Some genera were well described as there were 
wiki contributors knowledgeable about them or willing to learn enough 
to add information. We had no idea at the time how the wiki would evolve.

Along the way new contributors like Susan Hayek,Jay Yourch, Mike 
Mace, Nhu Nguyen and Gastil have added a lot of information about 
their favorites as well as how to grow bulbs, the media to use, etc. 
Even though he wasn't an administrator Angelo has added a lot of 
great photos of bulbs he saw or grew in Italy, Mary Gerritsen spent 
hours on Calochortus, and Oron Peri has added a lot of Eastern 
European bulbs that weren't represented on the wiki. Giorgio Pozzi 
gave hours of his time to set up the Arisaema pages. Alessandro 
Marinello added lots of photos of things we didn't have on the wiki 
and in the beginning Bill Dijk provided us with both photos and 
information. When Jane McGary added to the wiki, she provided useful text.

And David Pilling has made enormous contributions because of his 
developer skills and great ideas. He's added videos, photos of 
storage organs, and gotten Lilium experts to contribute an amazing 
amount of information about that genus. You can't expect the 
administrators to have all knowledge about everything that is on the 
wiki. When I've added photos for others when they didn't contribute 
information for me to add I had to look it up and as we all know that 
can be dangerous although I used sources I felt were reliable. All of 
that took time. In adding to the wiki we always debated whether it 
was better to have a lot of information about just a few things or a 
little information about a lot of things. Over the years a huge 
amount of time (BD- Before David since he has figured out ways to 
save people working on the wiki many hours) was spent adding 
thumbnails a page at a time, changing the url of every photo one at a 
time when the website url changed, etc. It took me a whole year to 
make the corrections and changes when we had to change the wiki 
software even with help. There just hasn't been time to go back and 
add information to previous pages although a number of us have done 
it when we were adding other information to those pages. If you look 
at the wiki contributors page it looks like a huge number of people 
are involved in the process since we always have added the names of 
people who provided even one photo or information.…
The reality is that only a few have done most of the work.

Recently David wrote the group asking for volunteers to add to the 
wiki. In looking over the recent changes pages I haven't seen many 
new names so I expect he didn't get a lot of replies. This list 
generates an incredible amount of really useful information that 
could be added to the wiki. What it doesn't have are a lot of people 
to add it. Editing the wiki to add information like the information 
suggested by Leo and Peter wouldn't be hard. You just need to know 
the password which David or one of the other wiki administrators can 
provide (listed on the contact form on the website) and then you 
click on edit and add the text, preview how it looks, and save. The 
administrators look over the changes so you don't even have to worry 
about making a mistake.

Leo has added to the wiki and knows how to do it so could add the 
text he suggested. Alberto Castillo frequently gives good information 
and it usually is brief. It would be really easy for anyone who has 
the time and is willing to add for instance his description of the 
difference between the bulbs of Amaryllis belladonna and Lycoris squamigera.

It would be wonderful if some of you who have really useful ideas 
about how to improve the wiki would volunteer the time to implement 
them. I'm sure everyone would appreciate it.

Mary Sue

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