AntWiki: The Ants --- Online

Help Pages

This website is built using Mediawiki, the same software used by Wikipedia. An online manual that explains how to perform basic and advanced editing related tasks is just a click away.

Mediawiki Editor Help

There is also help content that was created by our administrators and editors. These help pages are more specific to editorial tasks for Antwiki, such as adding images to a taxobox.

Antwiki Help Pages

You can also see a full alphabetical list of Antwiki Help pages by page title: Help Category

Adminstrative Pages

Information about Antwiki beyond specific how-to-do instructions found on the help pages can be found in Management and Policy pages

Site organization

Species Pages to Regional Lists

The core pages of this website focus on taxonomic entities - ant species, genera, tribes and subfamilies. There is a single page for each valid name. Other pages of the website are organized into sets by projects, with many projects centered around a Regional Species List. The webpages for a project can conveniently be imagined as being arranged like a pyramid. A Regional Species List and project homepage are at the top of the pyramid (Exemplary Project Homepage). Species names in a Regional List are linked to the pages that form the base of the pyramid, i.e., the individual species pages. Since there is only one page for each taxonomic entity all the Regional Lists share the same set of basal pages (the named species pages up through the webpages for each subfamily). Filling out the pyramid between the Regional List and the taxonomically named pages are any number of webpages that contain lists, information, pictures or data about a project that are not applicable to a single basal taxonomic page.

For example your project may be a list of ants from a small to moderate sized area (a reserve, district, or state). You set up your project homepage, species lists, some ant keys, and have the names linked to their respective species pages. You find your list breaks down nicely into habitat specific groups, which leads you to make a page for each habitat. Within some habitats you find a few ant species with peculiar nesting habits, which leads you to create pages about interesting nest architecture within and even beyond your region. And so on. Anyone can make as many non-taxonomic specific pages as they would like and link them together in any way they deem sensible. Project information about specific ant species (or genera, or subfamilies) is still added to the already existing webpages for each species, as they are across all such projects on Antwiki.

An explanation of how to build a project around a Regional Species List is found at the Regional Projects Help Page.

A project can also be built around other subjects besides a species list. Ant nest architecture, arboreal ant behavioral syndromes, aphid tending or any myrmecological related topic could be covered.

Species Pages Content

While there are few hard and fast rules about creating content, you should not create new pages for existing taxonomic entities with an existing page. Instead place content that fits with a name on the existing webpage for that name. If you are adding information to the structure/template already in place the new information should fit under the existing heading where it is added. Otherwise create a new section, with a logical heading, and add it there.

The existing template and headings are in place to facilitate:

  1. allowing specific blocks of information to be shared with the Encyclopedia of Life
  2. allowing site users and editors others to easily find specific types of information across many different pages
  3. as a means of easily assessing what is know, or at least synthesized on Antwiki, for each species

More about all of this can be found on the the Help:Editing_species_pages.

Who can edit content?

The short answer: The users with content editing privileges on this website are all ant experts. All of the pages throughout the Antwiki can be edited by any Antwiki editor.

An explanation of the four levels of user access to AntWiki - Visitor, Contributor, Expert, Bureaucrat - is explained in the last section of the Main Page

If you are an ant biologist that has published research about ants and would like to request an editor profile please go to the User Accounts page. If you are an ant biologist that has not published about ants, you may be granted editor privileges by asking an established researcher to sponsor you.

Content Creation Rules

Wikis typically have a set of rules governing user behavior. Wikipedia, for instance, has an intricate set of policies and guidelines summed up in its five pillars: Wikipedia is an encyclopedia; Wikipedia has a neutral point of view; Wikipedia is free content; Wikipedians should interact in a respectful and civil manner; and Wikipedia does not have firm rules. Many wikis have adopted a set of commandments. For instance, Conservapedia commands, among other things, that its editors use "B.C." rather than "B.C.E." when referring to years prior to the common era and refrain from "unproductive activity." One teacher instituted a commandment for the class wiki, "Wiki unto others as you would have them wiki unto you."[1]

All of what will hopefully be a small set of rules for Antwiki are not yet written. They will be developed as we move forward. Please do behave and play nice until we have our guidelines and guiding principles in place.

The current short list

  1. Do not create new taxonomic name based pages, e.g., species pages or generic pages.
  2. Taxonomic disagreements are not argued about or resolved on Antwiki's webpages (see below).


Who decides what species names are used on Antwiki?

Taxonomists apply names to ant species and the rules of nomenclature explain the validity of these names. We used an up-to-date version of the Bolton catalog as the basis for our named species pages. The vast majority of existing ant names used on this site are up to date and universally accepted as valid (and we all owe a great debt to Barry Bolton for setting us on a firm footing with his ant catalog). The authority for specific taxonomic decisions are displayed on each name specific webpage. In a few cases there may be some differences of opinion over what name should be given to specific described forms. Antwiki is not designed to be a forum to resolve or argue about such issues.

There is no problem with adding information that states that the name for a species is not universally accepted. You may also create a page that provides a list of species names that suggest a different set of names than Antwiki provides. On the other hand excessive vitriol, wholesale disparagement of legitimate taxonomic efforts and any other pejorative content about perceived misuse of names on specific species pages, or an any other Antwiki pages, will not be tolerated. It is also unacceptable to create new individual species pages for an alternative name of an existing Antwiki species page or to rename a species page to a different name.

Why this policy? There are a number of qualified ant taxonomists that have taken their time to help Antwiki decide what valid names should be used for the basal taxonomic webpages. Their efforts represent an informed and honest attempt to represent what is deemed to be the valid set of canonical species names. These same individuals also contribute to the website on an ongoing basis by keeping the names, and related pages, current with ongoing taxonomic changes. A few additional ant biologists also spend their time and resources maintaining this website. Allowing taxonomic arguments about valid names to be argued back and forth here could lead to animosity, break down the community building necessary for a successful wikis and create editorial issues that would cost precious time that could be used for other tasks.