[Proteopedia] Collaboration

Dan Bolser dan.bolser at gmail.com
Tue May 12 06:09:27 EDT 2009

2009/5/12 Eran Hodis <eran.hodis at weizmann.ac.il>:
> Hi Everyone,
> Proteopedia now has over 400 registered users (423 listed currently), and
> for as long as I can remember not a day goes by without several edits by
> several users appearing on the "Recent Changes" page.  This is really
> exciting as our contributions, as authors, to individual Proteopedia pages
> are all the more meaningful when the entire resource itself is continually
> improving.  Good work!
> Several educators (undergraduate and graduate) have used Proteopedia as a
> forum for their students to create final project presentations on assigned
> proteins (see an example at
> http://www.proteopedia.org/wiki/index.php/Triose_Phosphate_Isomerase),
> and contributions from several SMART (Students Modeling A Research Topic)
> teams all over the US have allowed high school students in the program
> working with a teacher and a grad school mentor to 'publish' their projects
> and create great pages such as this one:
> http://www.proteopedia.org/wiki/index.php/A_Physical_Model_of_the_β2-Adrenergic_Receptor.
> We're also very proud to have the "Currently featured article" on the Main
> Page deal with a topic relevant to current events - Swine and bird flu. Eric
> Martz deserves the credit for creating the excerpt for the 'Currently
> featured article' as well as for the linked page he started called 'Avian
> Influenza Neuraminidase, Tamiflu and Relenza' -- Great job Eric!
> One thing we're lacking in some measure, though, is collaboration. Many
> pages have one author -- and could benefit from the critical edits of a 2nd
> or 3rd author. For instance improving the green scene links would much
> improve this page on Factor IX:
> http://www.proteopedia.org/wiki/index.php/Factor_IX, and improving those
> green scene links would not require as much time-investment as creation of a
> new page, presuming that the text is accurate. Any takers?
> Please do not feel any hesitation in editing "someone else's page". Through
> collaboration we can improve each other's work (or at least try to :) ).
> Remember that you can click on the "watch" tab at the top of any Proteopedia
> page to receive an email notice whenever that page is changed -- if you have
> a page that is near and dear to your heart, you might want to know whenever
> someone makes an edit to that page.
> Comments, ideas?

I whole heartedly agree with this suggestion.

I think there can often be some kind of 'activation barrier' when it
comes to editing work that someone else has effectively 'signed'
(especially if your small edit results in you signing the work
yourself). I think you're right that it just takes a little push to
'get the ball rolling'. i.e. to create a culture where everyone is
happy to contribute even small changes.

I found this problem when my friends and I were working on a community
wiki. In the end we settled on having separate sections on each page
for each contributor, as people were unwilling to go ahead and change
what had already been written by others. I think this should not be
such a big problem in science, where collaborative work is more
natural, however, you may consider this as one option. i.e. implement
separate sections per editor (or per collaboration) or have a separate
'discussion section' to allow users to comment on the work of others.

One suggestion that you may also like to consider is to change the
ContributionCredits Extension:


with the Contributors Extension:


The difference being that the latter extension only lists the
"prominent contributors" to a page. From the above link:

> "The default behaviour will show all contributors, in order of number of edits, if the number of contributors is ten or less. Once the limit is hit, contributors with over two edits will continue to be listed. Contributors who are not listed are acknowledged as "X others". These limits can be changed"

Using this (or something similar) perhaps people would not be so
hesitant to go in and make a few spelling and grammar corrections, for
example, because this would clearly not give them 'equal billing' with
the previous author. Equally, it would be clear that if you do make a
"prominent" contribution, that this will be recognised, and is
therefore an incentive to contribute more once you get into the habit.
You could consider also putting the authors at the top of the page
like a regular journal article to highlight these features.

Finally, one thing you could try is listing the top contributors or
the 'top collaborators' (based on some smart SQL queries) on the front
page. This can be a great way to motivate people, because it shows
that what they are doing is being recognised by the wider community.

Just a few ideas for discussion.

Congratulations on the 400 users!


> Cheers,
> Eran
> Eran Hodis
> eran.hodis at weizmann.ac.il
> _______________________________________________
> Proteopedialist-for-users mailing list
> Proteopedialist-for-users at bioinformatics.org
> http://www.bioinformatics.org/mailman/listinfo/proteopedialist-for-users

More information about the Proteopedialist-for-users mailing list