ForestRestorationWiki editing guidelines

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Keep pages short, use simple language and avoid jargon. ForestRestorationWiki aims to be accessible to all interested in forest restoration issues, and our documentation should reflect this. Aim your writing at the level understandable to the most of the population!

Some ForestRestorationWiki pages naturally take the form of technical documentation. Even within these we should aim to be understandable to users with a range of technical abilities. Write simple introductions to lead into a topic, and consider splitting off very complex details to separate more focused wiki pages.


The ForestRestorationWiki should be arranged to allow people to easily find the content they are looking for starting from the Main Page. Some key content is linked directly from the Main Page, but other main page links take you to 'start pages' on a particular topic. They are the next level in a kind of navigation hierarchy. They are often short pages with many links and not too much text (also known as 'portals'). Work is needed to ensure that this navigation is still working effectively for new visitors.

Conflicting information

Conflicting information is very bad. Information about current tagging recommendations should be consistent. If this is not the case please get in touch with other users to develop a consensus. Tagging recommendations should ideally match actual tagging practice, unless there is a valid reason not to do so.

Proposals and proposed changes to tagging are the exception to this rule. They must however be clearly be identified as proposals.


Duplication is often bad because it risks providing conflicting information and increases the amount of work. Where there is unnecessary duplication, it should be rationalized to provide a single clear source of information. This may require discussion with other users! It is fine to summarize a topic in another page but that summary would link to the main page.

Where duplication is useful (for example, it is being presented in a different style, page structure, or for differing audiences), it is important to be clear about the reasoning for this, and cross-link to avoid confusion. If there is no good reason for duplication, then the pages should be merged. Note that a merge does not necessarily mean we are left with one page where there were two before. There are other outcomes, for example a non-technical summary page page may link to a more detailed technical page.

Titles - Page naming convention

For multiword page titles, leave the second and subsequent words in lowercase unless the title phrase is a proper noun that would always occur capitalized, even in the middle of a sentence.

Do not use CamelCasePageTitles in which words are jammed together with no spaces - MediaWiki allows us to use spaces as in natural language. The exception to this would be where the page title is the name of something which does typically have its words jammed together e.g. "OpenSources"

Prefixes (e.g. the 'ForestRestorationWiki' or 'Wiki' prefix) should be avoided. Use natural language page titles, and cross-link a set of pages to create linking structures in the content of the pages themselves.


Pages should start with a short introductory paragraph comprising a few sentences. This should include the title in bold and explain what the page is about. It's often useful to include a link to a more general page and to any more specific pages, as this helps navigation.

This introductory section should appear before any headings (and before the Table of Contents on a long page). Note that it is fairly common for people to create a first heading "Introduction". This should be restructured so that at least part of the introduction is at the top of the page above any headings. This will achieve a consistent layout across the wiki.


Pages should be well linked to help users find the information they are looking for. Important related concepts are usually linked to within the introduction. If you can't think of a related wiki page to link from here, then you're probably not describing the page in broad enough terms. You are also encouraged to link to related concepts throughout the rest of the page.

Linking a section to a main page

The {{main|page name}} code could be used under a section heading to provide a link to a main page relating to the subject of the section. The section should then only summarise the linked 'main' page (and should certainly not conflict with it in any way). The title for the section should normally be the same as the page to which it is linked.

ForestRestorationWiki linking

If using the [[ForestRestorationWiki:page name]] interwiki syntax, please leave the 'ForestRestorationWiki:' prefix in place i.e. Don't do alternate link text: [[ForestRestorationWiki:page name|page name]] as this is hugely confusing in a basic navigational sense. However you may use a template to make the external link to ForestRestorationWiki more explicit: {{ForestRestorationWiki|en|Page name}}, or {{ForestRestorationWiki|en|Page name|text= no }} to just keep the leading icon without the trailing text "on ForestRestorationWiki".

Don't link to a ForestRestorationWiki page where the same or similar title exists on this wiki (except from the article on this wiki, where it could be used as an additional external reference for more information about the same topic).

Page about a website

We encourage wiki pages dedicated to describing some external website related to forest restoration (map services, software products etc). The main link to such website should be placed in brackets after the title (which is bold) in the very first sentence and/or linked in larger text on it's own line after the top descriptive sentences.

On these pages there is no point duplicating lots of 'about' information found on the external site. The page should describe the site in an OSM context. Be more neutral and less promotional with your description, although do aim to use language which promotes OSM and uses of OSM.


Categories should be used to group pages by type which should follow the same naming conventions as with wiki pages.

Categories can themselves be categorized to create a hierarchy to help navigation to the subject of interest. For example Category:Vegetation control is categorized within Category:Site preparation.

Pages can be part of a number of categories but should not 'spam' categories. A page relating to Vegetation control (for example, a page about Prescribed burning) should be categorized as 'Vegetation control' but not also as 'Site preparation'. However, the main Vegetation control page should be tagged within the 'Site preparation' category as well as the more specific one.

A single line introduction should be provided for every category which should in general link to an appropriate 'main' page for the subject, ideally of the same name. For example 'Pages relating to [[Site preparation]] as an introduction to the category 'Site preparation'.

When being categorized, pages should use the sort order option if necessary to ensure that they appear appropriately in the list of pages.


OpenStreetMap uses British English for general English pages and the appropriate 'local' English for localised topic pages. So any page which mostly concerns the U.S., for whatever reason, would use American English. This particularly applies to place pages under Mapping projects.


ForestRestorationWiki translation can be a good way to help develop the project across the world. The wiki holds a lot of important help content and documentation. We'd like to make at least some of this available in other languages. Note that translation efforts in other areas of the project are equally important if not more so.

Community cohesion

Unlike Wikipedia, which decided that the best way to build their encyclopedia was to split the communities up by language, and run them as almost entirely separate projects, the ForestRestorationWiki is different. Translating wiki pages should be an exercise in improving community cohesion, helping everyone to understand each other, and ultimately helping to build the knowledgebase on forest restoration issues!

We want the small fledging groups of people who do not speak English to feel welcome, and to have all the information they need, but we also want the community as a whole to stay together and stay focused.

Wiki translation progress

Wiki translation is taking place on a somewhat ad-hoc basis, and you are encouraged to join in, but we also need to try and get more organized about this.

Translation efforts are still in very early stages in many languages. There are some wiki pages that are more important than others, so concentrate on these pages first.

How to translate

Date formatting

Dates should be formatted in one of these ways depending on the precision required:

  • 3 September 2022 (the normal format, unless there is uncertainty or where the day is highly relevant; no need for the leading zero in the day value)
  • Saturday 3 September 2022 (for when the day of the week matters)
  • September 2022 (day of month is not known nor relevant)
  • 2022-09-03 (fixed format from ISO 8601 standard, to be used in tabular data, especially when content should be transcluded into multiple translated pages; includes zero left-padding)
  • 2022-09 (similar when day of month is not known nor relevant)
  • 2022 (year only, without thousands group separator)
  • 'Soon' (September 2022) (when a prediction was made at a particular time)

Ordinal suffixes (th, nd, rd) are not necessary, and days and months should be written out in full. Avoid incomplete dates that are unclear, and avoid the use of seasons (summer in the northern hemisphere is winter down south!).

Edit descriptions

Remember to use "Summary" field during editing to indicate what was changed. It helps other editors.