MeritBadgeDotOrg talk:Community Portal

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Community Portal Discussions, a.k.a., The Cracker Barrel...

Welcome to the cracker barrel! (Would you like some cheese with that?) Discussion pages are also known, in wiki lingo as the "talk" pages. --RWSmith 05:10, March 26, 2007 (EDT)

Adding to the discussion... <-- This is the "Subject/headline"

To add (or start) a post here, simply click on the "+" sign, above. <-- And this is the body of the text. --RWSmith 05:10, March 26, 2007 (EDT)

Pretty exciting so far (yep, I like tech stuff)! Let's see how it goes. --WVBeaver05 18:26, March 26, 2007 (EDT)
Looks like I need to setup some stuff. Wayne

Uh, is there a problem with the "old" Discussion Forums?

I can't open them. I get a SQL error. Sounds serious. Is it related to this test site or just coincidence? --WVBeaver05 21:00, March 26, 2007 (EDT) is back up and running as of 9:20 EDT --Optimist 21:34, March 26, 2007 (EDT)

Sample Subjects / Threads

I think it would be good if we could create some sample subjects and add a few threads to them to see how this will work compared to the "old" discussion forum.

What do you all think? --WVBeaver05 07:19, March 28, 2007 (EDT)

Go ahead and try something thats why you were recommended to try it --Wagionvigil

First impressions on the new site

What were your first impressions on the new site and the wiki format?

Mine were very positive. I was pleased to see this set up as a wiki, so that information from many sources could be combined, with out overloading a few volunteers. It was apparently set up in a clear and very easy to maneuver format. Kudos to those who started this. --SM890 15:35, April 7, 2007 (EDT)

I think it's great! I contribute to wikipedia and wanted to incorporate wiki on the Philippine Merit Badge website, but just didn't find time. Kudos to all. Great job indeed. -- Jay Lee 14:47, April 10, 2007 (EDT)

Likewise, I like the Wiki format. As a technology director for a school district, I would like to state that this is a great way top get many involved and to provide quality resources to the boys and leaders. I applaud the use of MediaWiki (I use it too) and would suggest that you think of incorporating the captcha routine to keep SPAMmers and others from abusing the login. I have used these captchas successfuly. Just a suggestion... --Sm777 22:21, June 24, 2007 (EDT)

First impression? I liked the old format better. It was more userfriendly and was just more fun to use. The skin was great as well. Now, this site is great too, but it has much to be desired to be on par with I'm ready and willing to help do whatever you need to make this site better. However, if it were possible, try to incorporate the old skin with the wiki skin. The wiki one just seems too... Plain. Besides that, excellent site! I look forward to using it further on. One suggestion however- where are the merit badge worksheets? --Swim4lyfe 19:21, July 2, 2007 (EDT) I really like the new layout, I think it makes it easier to read and access information. I'm sure it will look stupendous when it is complete. As of now, there are many pages that should, I think, be redirected to other pages. For example, until I edited it, Small Boat Sailing did not link to the Small-Boat Sailing Merit Badge. This might confuse people. Great Job!--BigTuna 14:10, July 5, 2007 (EDT)

Categorization of merit badge pages

Completed placing categories under each merit badge page [[Category:Boy Scouts]] [[Category:Merit Badges]]. --Jay Lee 18:07, April 11, 2007 (EDT)

I may be a little late, but i would suggest making a merit badge template and a rank template, etc. to put on each page. that way, i you decide to change the organization, it is very easy. --Yakatz 22:52, April 11, 2007 (EDT)
here is how it's done --Yakatz 23:02, April 11, 2007 (EDT)
We can probably use the templates for Merit Badge groups and stuff. Its been a long time since I did a template I forgot all about it already. Jay Lee 01:27, April 12, 2007 (EDT)
I knew there was a better way! I knew why; but my brain lock-up on the how – templates. Oh well. Learning process. By the way... Thanks, Jay!----RWSmith 02:51, April 12, 2007 (EDT)

How about a page that categorizes all merit badges by type, like Outdoors (Sports, Athletics, etc), Eagle Required, Environmental (Bird Study, Nature, etc), and so on? I'm sure it'd be a great way for those looking for certain merit badge genres to find what they want quick and be satisfied. --Swim4lyfe 19:24, July 2, 2007 (EDT)

Here is an article that I created by copying from a Talk Page somewhere: List of Merit Badges by Field of Study. Anybody have any other methods? Scouterdennis 08:09, March 26, 2008 (EDT)

Award images

I'm trying to find out what the white knot on a purple background was, but having to go through all the pages is a chore (is it even here?). Could someone with more knowledge of awards and badges go through and make a few tables? Blast 10:26, May 12, 2007 (EDT)

Ah, here they are. I'll see if I can't whip something together in the way of a table, then. Blast 10:33, May 12, 2007 (EDT)

User Page template

I'd like to suggest a User Page template for use on, well, User Pages. That way the pages can be categorized by this template.--BigTuna 12:05, July 25, 2007 (EDT)

Maybe something like this? {{User talk header}}... (Developed by Yakatz) --RWSmith 04:04, July 26, 2007 (EDT)
Hello, welcome to my talk page!

If you want to leave a message, please do it at the bottom as a new section, for better formatting. You can do that by simply pressing the plus sign (+) on the top of this page. And don't forget to sign your messages by four tildes, like this: ~~~~

Attention: We, Wikipedians, dislike fragmented discussions. If you leave a comment for me here, I will most likely respond to it on this same page, my talk page, as an effort to keep the entire conversation in one place. By the same token, if I leave a comment on your talk page, please respond to it there. Remember, we can use our watchlist to keep track of when responses are made. At the same time, feel free to send an alert to me on this page about a comment you have left elsewhere.

Thank you!

Well, that's a user TALK template. I meant for the actual pages.--BigTuna 11:09, July 31, 2007 (EDT) As in user:BigTuna as opposed to user_talk:BigTuna.--BigTuna 07:47, August 3, 2007 (EDT)

Acceptable page topics

Howdy fellow MeritBadgeDotOrg-ians! I have a question: any appropriate Scouting-related subject can become a page? Not just merit badges? As in, a page on the Order of the Arrow, Wood Badge, National Youth Leader Training, and many others that are currently redlinks? Or even basic concepts like "Council" and "District;" how can you understand what the District Award of Merit is if you don't know what a district is? If so, I have no problems with "stealing" from wikipedia and/or typing some stuff up myself. I will look for a response either here or on my talk page. —ScouterSig 17:54, September 10, 2007 (EDT)

Welcome, ScouterSig! Our primary mission is "helping Scouts advance". However, anything and everything that's Scouting-related... and constructive... is okay by me. So, go for it!!! In fact, we need editors (and mentors) to grow the Main namespace. (I'm working on the back-office (admin) stuff.) And again, welcome aboard!!! ---RWSmith (Sysop), 03:59, September 11, 2007 (EDT)


I think that all the merit badges should have the category Category:Boy Scouts removed, since Category:Merit Badges both fits better and is already applied to all the pages. If this seems OK, I may start on it this week. —ScouterSig 23:56, October 9, 2007 (EDT)

I agree. This is Wikipedia's policy since the Category:Merit Badges already belongs to Category:Boy Scouts, making inclusion in both redundant and possibly confusing.Scouterdennis 12:18, February 27, 2008 (EST)

Links from the main site

I went though the trouble :) of creating an account to inform you ( even though im sure you already know) that every single merit badge on links to a page with a 404 ( page not found) error. can someone put this on top of thier to do list since im sure its a major turn off [Scouter01]

Ooh! That is bad. I'll e-mail Optimist about this problem. Thanks for letting us know. --RWSmith (Sysop), 04:08, January 22, 2008 (EST)
Okay, E-mail sent to Optimist. (He's the only one that can edit MeritBadgeDotCom.) --RWSmith (Sysop), 16:49, January 22, 2008 (EST)

thanks. its been like that for a while

Deletions without Discussion?

I'm looking at a completely revised Worksheets page - with no discussion beforehand. I have to say I'm more than a little peeved at the amount of work that is simply discarded out of hand. There is no information on why it's done. Only Craig Lincoln's worksheets (USScouts) are linked -- what happened? Also, the person doing the changes has sysop privileges but is registered as of a week ago??? He's also removed all the links to Mr. R's passports.

What gives? I don't understand, and it's extremely frustrating to put so much time AFTER DISCUSSION and find it simply gone. Can you please shed some light? I find it unbecoming of a Scout(er) to slash without explanation. EagleForumFan 03:06, February 28, 2008 (EST)

Regarding worksheets... The decission was made by a very small group of "key persons" but, more importantly, this action was taken without letting the community know what and why, first... The former was necessary; but, the latter was a big mistake. And I alone bear the responsibility for that error. I sincerely apologize for this.
Scouterdennis has pointed out to me that most of the talk pages a just plain empty. To someone who has been here since the beginning, like you and I, would consider that "normal", as we all (the frequent editors) have been so busy getting info up and worrying about the talk pages later. Plus, it would seem, that most of the regulars who have been here a while, have been satisfied with the content. (I have spent much time grinding gears in my head about vandals, templates, naming conventions, possible future portals, policies, and on and on... Content has been the last thing on my mind.) Again, I'm sorry, EagleForumFan especially (check your email, BTW), and anybody else who hasn't spoken up.
We're at a point where we're been coasting along for a while; but, we've hit some walls... We were poised for a growth spurt and I was, frankly, overwhelmed when it hit. We've got a couple of wiki experts on the rampage here now, and I'm running backwards as fast as I can just so I can see the big picture. —RWSmith (Bureaucrat), 00:02, March 22, 2008 (EDT)

Wikipedia Content?

If someone was to copy content from Wikipedia to the wiki, how would that work, legally? Wikipedia content is automatically under the GFDL, which means that to copy it to this wiki, it would need to remain GFDL. I remember seeing a copyright on the Policy page here that was not in line with the GFDL. Under what license are we allowed to use the so-called "copyrighted information" on this site? The Goodwill of the BSA? Wikipedia has a blanket exemption from the BSA to use their copyrighted imagery in educational articles; do we have/need the same here?

The solution might be messy. The wording on the Policy page could be changed, and a footer template used for those articles that contain Wikipedia content. This might cause a problem for articles that have mixed content. My personal opinion would be to do what is necessary to allow both types (GFDL and non-GFDL) on, because that would give us access to a large amount of already written content, which we could then tweak to *our* needs. Wikipedia editors love to remove stuff that they consider "non-significant".

How does the community feel about that? How would the "owners" of feel?

There is already some content on this wiki that was copied from wikipedia (admittedly I did some of it), so I believe that this needs to be addressed sooner rather that later (too late). Scouterdennis 17:57, March 7, 2008 (EST)

Wikipedia has a blanket exemption from the BSA to use their copyrighted imagery in educational articles; do we have/need the same here? Yes.
Regarding, GFDL and non-GFDL... The more we have had the need to pull information from sites, e.g. images, tempplates, etc., the more of a concern this issue has come to my mind? If anyone has any "successful wording" we could change it to, please post your ideas at MeritBadgeDotOrg talk:Copyright policy. Thanks, —RWSmith (Bureaucrat), 00:11, March 22, 2008 (EDT)
I have created a {{Copypaste}} template that can be used to tag suspicious articles. They will be automatically added to a category that can be perused by those interested in identifying and correcting possible copyright conflicts. Scouterdennis 09:53, March 23, 2008 (EDT)
I vote to NOT transfer over ANY Wikipedia content. Otherwise, it will get transferred the other way as well, and this site will lose its distinctiveness. Are we in such a hurry to post content that it becomes less valuable? This site should remain under the ultimate control of its owner, yet accessible to all. Those who post here have vested interests in Boy Scouts, the content is heavily moderated, and it is a safe place for younger Scouts to visit and collect information. I can't say the same for Wikipedia. Do you think we have a "need" to pull from Wikipedia, or has it just been a convenience? I'd like them to be as unrelated as possible. EagleForumFan 02:30, March 22, 2008 (EDT)
I think we need to define what "content" we're talking about here...
  • Content, as in article pages --that is to say, from any Main namespace--, e.g., article pages from Wikipedia's Scouting Portal? No; we shouldn't be doing that.
  • Content, as in non-article pages, e.g., from the Template, Help, Project, Image, etc., namespaces? Yes, absolutely; that's what it's there for.RWSmith (Bureaucrat), 18:36, March 22, 2008 (EDT)
No; we shouldn't be doing that. I would be interested in hearing some more opinions/discussion about this. I have moved this topic to a new section.) Scouterdennis 08:05, March 26, 2008 (EDT)
Wikipedia has a blanket exemption from the BSA to use their copyrighted imagery in educational articles; do we have/need the same here? Yes.
Yes we have and exemption or yes we need to get one? Scouterdennis 21:10, March 22, 2008 (EDT)
Yes; we have it. I think there's something somewhere here on the wiki that explains it... but, if I can't find it, I'll make a page with the specifics. —RWSmith (Bureaucrat), 23:46, March 23, 2008 (EDT)

Should we use content originating from Wikipedia (GFDL license)?

I wouldn't be too concerned that content will get transfered from here to Wikipedia (WP) and this site losing its distinctiveness. The standards for relevance over there are sometimes so strict it amazes me. Articles need to be universally significant and be written in an encyclopedic tone. I know there are exceptions, but I have seen it happen on a few topics I was involved in. Has anyone been watching the evolution of Scouting articles on WP? They keep getting combined and smaller. One problem (some would see it as a good thing) with WP is that no matter how much a bunch of people really like a group of articles, all it takes is one persistent person who really knows the rules over there and content is chopped.

I would bet that if you transfered ALL of's content over to wikipedia (which you can't, legally), 99.5 of it would be REMOVED within a week or so. No discussion. One of the advantages to _this_ site is we could decide to keep everything we want and no one can (permanently) remove it.

The kind of articles that I would see as being advantageous to bring into would be some of the History of Scouting articles. They could then be edited to have more of a pro-Scouting slant, which is not allowed on WP. That way would be more of a one-stop-shop for Scouting information and users wouldn't have the need to go to WP to continue, where they could possibly run into inappropriate information. (I would tend to disagree with EagleForumFan that WP is not heavily moderated. I'm sure there are lots of examples, but they do a pretty good job of removing inappropriate content. Their downfall is that they let unregistered people edit.) Scouterdennis 08:01, March 26, 2008 (EDT)

Boy Scout Handbook, E-version

I seem to remember there was and electronic version of the BSA Handbook on the .com Forms and Files page, It required some different program to read it or something like that... Anyway, Just wondering if that was still somewhere, the F&F page isn't active anymore. --Stranger 13:10, June 23, 2008 (EDT)

Short answer: No such animal. (Leastways, not BSA-approved.) You may be thinking of the (awesome, I might add) 101 Scoutmaster's Minutes for Palm Pilots, which required a palm-type reader program. —RWSmith (Bureaucrat), 20:16, June 26, 2008 (EDT)
>:-/ 101 Scoutmaster's Minutes I couldn't care less about. It's a shame, though, the first time I go and look for it intending to download it, the page is offline. Thanks anyway. --Stranger 08:33, June 30, 2008 (EDT)
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