LabVIEW Wiki:Contributing FAQ

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This page of frequently asked questions is devoted to questions commonly asked by contributors.

Getting started

Do I have to register to edit pages?

Yes, you need an account to edit pages on LabVIEW Wiki. If you do not have an account, go create one now.

How can I contribute?

Discuss issues

A lot of people get started on LabVIEW Wiki because they are reading an article and think to themselves "that's not right...". If you know just what to do to fix something that isn't right — great, go for it; but if you aren't sure what to do, here's an approach with which you can never really go wrong. Simply navigate to the discussion thread associated with an article by clicking on the Discussion button on the top and make a comment on what you think needs changing.

Create new articles

LabVIEW Wiki articles contain lots of links to other articles. Regular links represent pages that do exist. Red links point to pages that don't exist yet. Whoever created these links thought that an article on the topic should exist. If this was not a popular idea, the link may have been removed. It's also possible that a spelling error was made, or that they didn't know the correct name for an existing page on the same (or a more general) topic. In this case, you could fix the link, and/or create a redirect page. If you decide there should be an article at the other end of the link, by all means start writing it!

For technical help getting started, see Help:Starting a new page.

Don't be surprised if other people edit your pages to adapt them to a much better style or to make them more readable. It's OK to learn as you go along.

Make a donation

LabVIEW Wiki is in constant need of more server capacity, bandwidth, and other technical services, to keep it running and fast enough to be useful. Financial contributions are always welcome. See LabVIEW Wiki:Site support

Publicize LabVIEW Wiki

Add a link to LabVIEW Wiki to your website or blog. All links should point to:

Where do I start?

There are many articles that contain partial contents, are stubs (placeholders) or are simply incomplete. Find one that may interest you and start editing. If you want to start a new article go right a head, any LabVIEW related topic is acceptable. See our Help page for assistance in editing.

List of pages that are referenced but not yet created:

List of pages by smallest size:

This usually indicates that these pages are too short to be considered fully developed articles so it's likely that someone needs to step in and add content. Anything smaller than 100 bytes needs investigation.

These articles have been flagged as stubs:

The following articles need to be assigned a category.

All Uncategorized

Information about categories can be found here.

Start with what you know

  • Write about LabVIEW topics and concepts that you are familiar with. If you have helped other users with LabVIEW problems on the LAVA Forums or the NI Forums, then transfer that bit of knowledge here. The next time someone posts that same question you can simply point them to your article on the LabVIEW Wiki.
  • Write about LabVIEW topics that you have done research on. Have you written a thesis, essay, or white paper? Consider contributing the fruits of your efforts to related LabVIEW Wiki articles. First of all, there will almost certainly be an existing article which you will want to merge your content into. Secondly, make sure you are comfortable with our License. See LabVIEW Wiki:Copyrights

Start with outside research

Feed your appetite for knowledge. Pick a LabVIEW subject about which you know relatively little but have always been curious or want to remedy a guilty ignorance. If you already know a lot about something, the best references in the field might know more, or might be a helpful reference for other readers or helpful to you in your writing.

Try to find good online and print resources, both books and magazines. Using good references is a way of improving LabVIEW Wiki, which will be increasingly important as LabVIEW Wiki grows and becomes more and more relevant. Then cite your sources. By citing sources you avoid copyright violations and plagiarism as long as you use only acceptable portions of other works. Doing research also makes it easier to think of material to add and allows you to improve any article, even one you didn't know much about.

Write about something you don't know about. Use this as an excuse to research a new topic. As you learn about it, write what you are learning here on LabVIEW Wiki. This is actually a good study aid because it forces you to take notes, to organize information, and to put what you've learned into your own words.

Find something from a public domain resource, update it, add links to it, and put it here (but make sure it really isn't copyrighted—see LabVIEW Wiki:Copyrights). DO NOT SUBMIT COPYRIGHTED WORK WITHOUT PERMISSION!


Note, for a more comprehensive list see Help:Glossary

What is the difference between a page and an article?

Everything on LabVIEW Wiki is a page. This includes the home page, templates, talk pages, special pages, user preferences, files, articles, et cetera. There are currently 13,058 pages on LabVIEW Wiki. Articles on the other hand, are a subset of pages that make up the LabVIEW Wiki content. For example LabVIEW, LabVIEW Versions, Events, VI Scripting, et cetera. There are currently 5,557 articles on LabVIEW Wiki. Go to Special:Statistics for statistics on LabVIEW Wiki pages and articles.

What is an orphan?

An orphan is an article that no other article links to. These can still be found by searching the LabVIEW Wiki, but it is preferable to find another article where a link can be added. You can find a list of orphan articles here.

What is a stub?

A stub on is a very short article, generally of one paragraph or less. Most people dislike stubs, even though they are probably a necessary evil. Many excellent articles started out as short stubs. Likewise, our hope is that existing stubs will be expanded into proper articles. For general knowledge regarding stubs, please refer to LabVIEW Wiki:Stub.

What is disambiguation?

Disambiguation in LabVIEW Wiki is the process of resolving conflicts in article titles that occur when a single term can be associated with more than one topic. In many cases, this same word or phrase is the natural title of more than one article. In other words, disambiguations are paths leading to different topic pages that share essentially the same term in their title. See LabVIEW Wiki:Disambiguation

There are two different methods of disambiguation:

  • disambiguation links — at the top of an article, a note that links the reader to articles with similar titles or concepts that the reader may seek instead of the current article.
  • disambiguation pages — non-article pages that contain no content and refer users only to other LabVIEW Wiki pages.

What is a minor edit? When should I use it?

When editing a page, a logged-in user has the option to flag an edit as "minor." Use of this flag is largely a matter of personal taste. A general rule of thumb is that an edit that corrects spelling or formatting, performs minor rearrangements of text, or tweaks only a few words, should generally be flagged as a "minor edit". A major edit, in contrast, generally performs a change that close watchers of the page are likely to want to review. Of course, if an edit performs a major semantic revision, but is limited to only a few words (for instance changing "functional global" to "global" or vice versa, then the edit should not be flagged as minor).

This feature is important because users can choose to hide minor edits in their view of the Recent Changes page, to keep the volume of edits down to a manageable level.


Where do I find more information beyond this FAQ?

You can view the main help page here.

Are there any rules or guidelines I should be aware of?

See LabVIEW Wiki:Policies and guidelines, which includes:

What is "Recent Changes", and what do the abbreviations used there mean?

Recent Changes lists all the edits that have been made over a given time period. See LabVIEW Wiki:Recent Changes for info.

Are there any standard formats, for things like dates for example?

See the Manual of Style.

What do I do if I find two articles on the same subjects?

Well, you could merge them yourself if you are feeling bold. Pick the most suitable page name (which may not necessarily be one of the existing ones!). If you're not sure which name to use, or whether the two articles should really be merged, mention it on the discussion thread of one of them (and put a quick note with a link on the discussion thread of the other), and see what other members think.

What is the ideal/maximum length of an article? When should an article be split into smaller pieces?

Please use common sense. If in doubt, then discuss it in the article discussion thread on the LAVA Forums

I've found vandalism, or I've damaged a page by mistake! How can I restore it?

See Help:How to revert a page to an earlier version.

Why are some links red? What are the "?" links?

They both indicate that a page with that name has not yet been started. Which one you see depends on your Special:Preferences. If you have "Highlight links to empty topics" checked, you'll see red links. Otherwise, you get the little blue question marks. Either way, you can click on that link and start a page with that name. But be careful: there may already be articles on similar topics, or an article on the same topic under a different name. It's pretty important to hunt around for similar topics first. See LabVIEW Wiki:Naming conventions for information on naming pages. If you just registered, your username is probably shown as linking to a page that doesn't exist. Don't worry! This just means you haven't filled out your user page yet. Click on the link and tell the world all about yourself! See LabVIEW Wiki:User page for more information.

OK, what about the pale blue links?

Those are external links; i.e. those that link to pages outside LabVIEW Wiki. They look like this.

What happens when two users edit a page at the same time?

This is called an "edit conflict". You'll get a conflict screen that displays both versions in separate windows, along with a summary highlighting the differences (typically showing the edits of both users, except those which both have made exactly the same), and instructions on how you should proceed. It's virtually impossible to lose any data.

How do I learn about changes to certain topics without having to go there from time to time?

If you are a logged-in user, on every page you will see a link that says "Watch this article". If you click on it, the article will be added to your personal watchlist. Your watchlist will show you the latest changes on your watched articles.

How do I take screen captures of my LabVIEW code?

See: Help:How to do a Screen Capture

Why was the edit I made removed?

There are a variety of reasons. The first thing you should do is look at the history page for the article you edited. This will tell you who changed it, when they changed it, and hopefully a short reason why they changed it. If it says something like see forum, then you should look at the discussion thread for the article. Also, you should look at your own user talk page to see if you have a message there. If you don't find a reason that is satisfactory, politely ask in the article's discussion thread about your proposed change, and maybe you will get suggestions about changes that you can make so that your change will go in, or you may get reasons why your change should not happen.

Is it OK to link to other sites, as long as the material is not copied onto LabVIEW Wiki?

External links are certainly allowed. Properly used, they increase the usability of the site. Keep in mind, however, that Wikipedia is not a web directory; external links should support the content of the article, not replace it. An article should be more than a container for external links, and the content should not require the reader to leave the site to understand the subject.

The current convention is to place external links in a separate "External links" section at the bottom of the article. Sites used as references for the article should be listed under a "References" section, or sometimes placed within the article as a footnote. See Help:Links for different ways to create external links.

I have, or can get, special permission to copy an image or article to LabVIEW Wiki. Is it OK to do that?

The text and images of LabVIEW Wiki are covered by the Creative Commons Attribution License. Unless an item is covered by the same or a similar license, or is in the public domain, it cannot be used on LabVIEW Wiki. So you have to ask the copyright holder of the material to license it under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

If you are creating original images for submission to LabVIEW Wiki then this would not be an issue.