Public Lab Research note

Organizing the Riffle Area

by pdhixenbaugh | October 13, 2016 01:30 13 Oct 01:30 | #13558 | #13558


@lizbarry and @donblair expressed interest in reorganizing the Riffle area. This is one outline for why and how that might be done. The more people that add their thoughts, the better! I'd also like to connect with people working in other areas of Public lab.

Main Goal

Give environmental investigators, riffle enthusiasts and riffle hackers the entry points and organization to connect better with others about the riffle

Organizational strategies

  • Connect to entry points - places people hear about the riffle
  • Use the Wiki as a focal point for organization
  • Coordinate with maintainers of other areas: including open air (@nshapiro and others?) and spectronomy (@warren, @stoft and others?)


Work on the Riffle wiki

  • Attention to navigation, readability, and expandability. Add introductions, explanations, and history. Link to other wiki pages when possible. Use good wikipedia pages as style references.
  • "How to get a riffle" section: interest form for next order of riffles (google form) and call for activity: how to build a riffle from parts
  • Connect to related topcs: for example conductivity, turbidity, and temperature studies, using the riffle and using other methods
  • 'Posts tagged "riffle" are also tagged with...'
  • Connections to related water monitoring work outside public lab

Work on other pages

  • Integration with entry points: research notes, riffle tag, and riffle search.
  • Path from home page to riffle (via tools, via open water) (done)
  • Cultivation of tag-based organization -- adding tags to old posts, tag cleanup
  • Increase web of connections within riffle area: riffle development, riffle activities, riffle-beta, riffle-discussion, riffle & conductivity, riffle & temperature... (new riffle:powertag?... :p )
  • Activities?
  • Start making new activities featuring the current and future riffles
  • Work on getting basic activity categories up, then think about...
  • Bring past work with the riffles together in one place as "activities" - maybe as historical activities rather than to-be-replicated-exactly activities?

Other * Get a better sense of who's using the riffle, developing the riffle, and waiting for the next riffle // what public lab's plans are for the future of the riffle //

So what does YOUR future of the riffle area look like? What are your thoughts about organization within public lab?


Hi, Patrick - I'm not sure what you, @liz, and @donblair are up to on this, but I was adding some helpful tags so many projects show up with listed activities and upgrades on -- and saw all the riffle-related posts over the past months. I tagged a variety of them with activity:riffle and they now show up on the /tools page.

Just a thought -- on that page, i wonder if a lead image like this one would display better:


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Oh and that image is from @cfastie's Frozen Riffle post.

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Now that those are tagged (and there are plenty of ways to change/improve that tagging, surely), you could put an activity grid on the Riffle page just by adding [activities:riffle] in the wiki page body somewhere.

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I think that image is great

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So do I! I'll go ahead and update the image. I'd also love to find a place to have this cool old doodle/sketch


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Just added the "how to get a riffle" section to the wiki. Check it out:

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Hey @pdhixenbaugh, the new lead image looks great! I wanted to invite you and anyone else following along to join us this coming Tuesday at 3pm ET for the weekly "open research call' so we can get into all these ideas. It will be on a web calling service called Uber Conference, just click and you'll be in there with us.

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I love that doodle too - maybe it could be used lower down on the page, or in an activity. It might read better horizontally, though, in a web page.

I was thinking that, once we have pagination for non-activity grids (like just showing a collection of tagged notes with the inline tag [notes:riffle]) we could have a section in any wiki page to collect the most recent updates in a table. Like a "Recent updates" section.

The "entry points" question you had above caught my eye -- I've been using that phrase to think about the sequence of how people first enter the site, and first get to a page like the Riffle page, and what they see first. I think having clear activities which people can do -- starting points -- will make any project page more engaging than just one which lists what's the latest stuff going on, so this makes me think Activities might appear above latest research. (@stevie, this might be relevant for your ongoing discussion with @sarasage about project pages in general, too!)

I'm also starting to help out in organizing the Aerial Photography page, which is going to have a lot of content, and I'm thinking that although it's a top-level page, the sheer quantity -- from pole mapping to kite mapping to kite building to balloon mapping, to soda bottle enclosures for cameras... it's intimidating.

An activity grid on that topic would have dozens -- or HUNDREDS -- of entries. Maybe for a big area like that, we need to actually break it down into different sub-pages before showing a whole activity grid. Or we could show only a few introductory activities for each sub-category on the main page, and the more in-depth activities broken out across sub-pages.

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Ah great topics. Is everyone able to join tomorrow's 3pm ET call?

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