Brainstorm analysis discussion

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This page is for discussion of the analysis of our brainstorm. Please put your comments and responses under the appropriate heading. Feel free to add additional headings where required. Remember to sign your contributions. - ArbusDriver Nov 13, 2007
Arb - thanks for structuring our thinking! - tychocrater Nov 13, 2007


Mission and vision

Mission statement

Please offer additions, amendments, punctuation, rewording...

  • The Moon Wiki is a community-edited encyclopaedia of features on the lunar surface, for the benefit of lunar observers and scientists thinking about the moon as a place. It aims to be the most convenient way to find the best photos and maps of any named lunar feature, as well as a repository for information and anecdotes regarding those features. Its credibility is assured by the oversight of its originator, Chuck Wood, a lunar scientist of 40 years standing. - JimMosher Nov 15, 2007
  • I put the word "scientist" in Jim's statement above because I want this site to be useful to professionals as well as amateurs. I want to bring the scientific understanding of the Moon to the observer, and the awe of the Moon to the scientist. - tychocrater Nov 25, 2007


  • When I started the Moon Wiki I selected the restrictive license because, as a writer, I wanted to protect my writings which I assumed would be the main part of the wiki. But with the harvesting of information by Jim, Mark and others from other websites, and me having written only a handful of new descriptions, that is less of a problem. I do not like the licenses that allow anyone to reuse in anyway material that we create, select or organize. We add value by our work and judgments. I like it that anyone can benefit from what we do by visiting this wiki, but I don't like it when material from here can appear on other web sites simply as content for them to profit from via ads. Ask Jeeves does that. - tychocrater Nov 13, 2007

  • Why not have a generous general licence, but allow contributors who are concerned about the re-use or plagiarism of their work to sign the paragraphs they wish to protect with a copyright notice: such as, “© Chuck Wood” which would be linked to a page expressing their personal preferences. Those preferences might, for example, allow others Wiki contributors to edit or modify the text, but not allow its use elsewhere without written permission of the original author; or they might place the entire contribution off-limits for any kind of modification or re-use. - JimMosher Nov 15, 2007

Why Multiple Moon Features Sites?

  • Given the attractiveness and flexibility of the WikiMedia technology (as opposed to WikiSpaces), the question again arises in my mind of why we are not expending our efforts on improving the lunar entries in the premier WikiMedia site (Wikipedia); and instead are attempting creating a somewhat duplicative/competitive site. Hopefully the Mission Statement (and present discussion) will clarify what distinguishes the two, something I have never been entirely comfortable with. My main thought has been that the present site has a tighter focus and permits the posting of less formal data and ideas than would be allowed on the Wikipedia, and will eventually cover the subject in greater depth; but I'm not sure this is entirely correct, particularly as regards focus and depth. Like a paper encyclopedia, it seems possible for the Wikipedia to have sub-chapters within it; and with its much larger contributor base it is likely to win on depth as well. It would seem to me that if we are unable to articulate a clear distinction, then the most logical transition to the WikiMedia technology would not be to create a new site, but rather to incorporate the data we have collected into the existing Wikipedia pages -- something that (with the WikiMedia capabilities of the Wikipedia) apparently could be done robotically with some ease. - JimMosher Nov 17, 2007
  • In the world of paper there is room for both encyclopedias and subject specific reference works. The online world is no different. A fine example of a subject specific on-line encyclopedia is Encyclopaedia Astronautica. There is much valid content on the-moon that would not be tolerated on Wikipedia. That will be even more true if we implement some of the more interesting recent ideas. It matters not if there is some overlap. Any of us could have chosen to contribute there instead of here, but we didn't. And as Chuck has already mentioned, the contributor base to Wikipedia's lunar feature articles appears to be very small - essentially one. If we ever feel that we have all lost interest in it (as you suggested, somewhere, might happen) that would be the point to consider finding a good home for the content. Until then it is most definitely worth persevering with the-moon, preferably with that flexibility you mentioned, to see how far we can take it. - ArbusDriver Nov 17, 2007
  • It would however be good to have links from each relevant Wikipedia page to the-moon. - ArbusDriver Nov 17, 2007
  • I've often thought of linking from Wikipedia to the-moon. I think I'll try a couple to see how it works. - c17h27no3 Nov 25, 2007
  • Going of topic, it'd be really good to have on a large page like this, the WikiMedia ability to edit the content of a subheading rather than the whole page. On older computers such as the one I'm using tonight working on large WikiSpace pages is slooooow. - ArbusDriver Nov 17, 2007
  • Wikipedia has two types of lunar articles. One is the description of craters, down mostly by one person; they are often miss the importance of a crater or its features, and there are not brief summaries of other scientific data and maps and images - our feature descriptions are far more useful. The second type of wikipedia article are ones that describe the science of the Moon. These are organized and often written by professional lunar scientists - these are quite good.
  • Yes. This was mostly intended as a challenge to differentiate ourselves from the Wikipedia, but I thought there were many active contributors to the Wikipedia lunar feature pages. I see now that in most cases there are not. The descriptions there seldom do more than painstakingly place into words what would is self-evident from careful inspection of a good labeled photo. And as with Elger’s verbal descriptions the photo sometimes contradicts the description. Nonetheless, it is impressive that someone located, looked at, and described so many photos. - JimMosher Nov 26, 2007

What the-moon wiki is

Do we want to leave the door open for these sorts of information?

  • I think, yes. - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007
  • Yes, there should be at least some. - c17h27no3 Nov 25, 2007
  • I want the wiki to be full of useful info, concisely presented.
  • Yes. Chuck’s emphasis on concise is important, and something I frequently offend against. On the core Feature Pages, tangential information, like extended biographies or anything else that extends over many paragraphs, belongs on, and deserves (in my opinion), a separate pages (which can be easily created for that purpose). - JimMosher Nov 26, 2007

Do you want to add, amend or delete anything on the list?

  • “Provide a comprehensive bibliography of lunar science literature.” seems too ambitious. At best we will be able to provide some documentation for the topics discussed. - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007
  • “Describe the data returned by each successful lunar mission” should include “For each, describe what data is available online and how to access it.”- JimMosher Nov 16, 2007
  • I agree with the statement above. - c17h27no3 Nov 25, 2007
  • ”List the basic documents concerning the history of lunar nomenclature” should read Reproduce the basic documents …” : Although even a list would be useful, the intention has been to make these widely scattered and hard to find materials available to any interested person from the comfort of their home. - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007
  • "Provide basic biography of the person a feature is named after" and links to additional information. - c17h27no3 Nov 25, 2007
  • My emphasis is on information that relates to places. The professional lunar info is procedural and process organized. I suggest we leave out, or point to other sources, info that is not tied to places. This is not a compendium of all lunar info.

What the-moon wiki is not

Do you want to add, amend or delete anything on the list?

  • Although phrased “The-moon wiki is not paper” the last item seems mostly an “is” rather than an “is not” item. - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007
  • A repository for any/all lunar photographs. - c17h27no3 Nov 25, 2007
  • "Provider of almanac information for lunar observers (ephemeris, librations, eclipses, etc)." Can we have a page that links to places that provide this type of information? - c17h27no3 Nov 25, 2007
  • I am concerned that we may add so much non-lunar info (trivia and biblio info that doesn't relate to the Moon) that professionals and others may ignore our wiki.

Tag line

Shall we go with that?

  • No strong feeling. If we were planning an ad campaign it might merit more thought, but why do we need a “jingle” what are we planning to use it for? - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007
  • Fair point. It might be useful on the front (home) page of a WikiMedia wiki or even this one if/when it becomes more current (CW11). Not otherwise. - ArbusDriver Nov 22, 2007
  • A tag line would be useful to people who are "advertising" for us. When someone describes the-moon on their site and links to us they may pick up the tag line. That may also get picked up by search engines. - c17h27no3 Nov 25, 2007
  • We aren't bringing the Moon to the people - that implies an outreach activity to engage people, often with basic info. We are bring scattered detailed info - topo and geo maps, descriptions, etc - to a single place so it is easy for more advanced users to find information. - tychocrater Nov 25, 2007
  • I agree with Chuck. “Placing information about visible lunar features at your fingertips” may be poorly phrased, but something of that sort would be a tagline more in the original spirit. - JimMosher Nov 26, 2007

The Ideas


  • Adding an evolving page of agreed upon Editorial Guidelines (see prototype) might address concerns of this sort. The main concern seems to be that the Wiki pages maintain a uniform, cohesive and coherent style and content. The guidelines might perhaps be linked from the bottom of the navigation bar to give them prominence to newcomers. - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007
  • We've spent a lot of time on formatting so it is important to keep it up. - c17h27no3 Nov 25, 2007

Personal tasks

CW05 Good image of each feature

  • I hope I will not be the only one looking for and adding images!! - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007
  • I hope so too! We need the best orbital image and the best terrestrial image. We have a problem that some of the images from the LPOD Photogallery are not north up or are reversed east to west. This would be a big chore to fix, but desirable... - tychocrater Nov 25, 2007
  • Question: The Coppermine software has a capability to rotate the stored images. Would the original contributors be mortally offended if the orientation of their photos were corrected (with a note added to the LPOD Gallery caption)? - JimMosher Nov 26, 2007

CW12 Gather scientific paper bibliolinks uniformly

  • "So there is lots of opportunities for people to search feature names in ADS and add the most relevant to our wiki." Is there a place where we have/can describe how to do this? - c17h27no3 Nov 25, 2007
  • Yes, I will add to the "How to Help" section. - tychocrater Nov 25, 2007
  • Update. Item #8 of "Some Specific Things You Can Do to Help" on the "How to Help" page discusses this. But that page is so long that probably no one other than us will read all of it! We need subheadings probably. - tychocrater Nov 25, 2007

AD05 Add a pronunciation indication for each feature

  • I like this! - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007
  • This would be great! The biggest problem is displaying the unusual font characters. - c17h27no3 Nov 25, 2007

AD07 Link more terms both internally and externally

  • Especially to those Latin terms! I still can't remember them all. - c17h27no3 Nov 25, 2007
  • Lets add a Latin > English page to the glossary. - tychocrater Nov 25, 2007

AD10 Additional articles on Lunar Science

  • Yes, this is essentially the same as JM19. My understanding of brainstorming was that one was not to be inhibited by concern about possible overlap or duplication. - JimMosher
  • Your understanding is correct. I just wanted to be sure I'd not misunderstood. - ArbusDriver Nov 22, 2007
  • I agree with this idea. It will compliment the detail on individual pages. - c17h27no3 Nov 25, 2007
  • I think this can lead us too far astray. I propose that we aren't an encyclopedia of everything lunar, but of place-related info. (The Lunar Scientists, Places and Missions sections are exceptions, but they don't duplicate what is available or well done elsewhere.) We can add a page of links to selected sources to good articles about lunar science in general. Somewhere, I need to say also, that I see our wiki not being all inclusive - we want to select the best images and maps, not link to every one. That is how we add value. - tychocrater Nov 25, 2007

JM08 Link feature names to ... biographical information in ... Who's Who In the Moon

  • Chuck has a copy of the BAA's Who’s Who In the Moon. At one time it was available in “Snippet View” on Google Books (see link on Wiki page), but it has since disappeared. - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007

JM09 Pages for persons who have made important contributions to lunar studies

  • Mark wrote asking if a link to his Astronomy Compendium what be sufficient, giving the example of Kepler. That is not exactly what I had in mind. In my opinion the collection of biographical material available on the Wikipedia is quite amazing and should be the primary reference for general biographical information about a person (since it is the most likely to be maintained, expanded and corrected). What I had in mind is a page within the present Wiki under the “Individual Scientists” category detailing exclusively to how and what that person contributed to our understanding or appreciation of the Moon. For example, for Kepler: did he accept Galileo’s observations? What did he add to them? Did he correctly associate the Moon with tides? What consequences did his laws of orbital motion have for the Moon? What exactly did he describe in his imaginative posthumous “Trip to the Moon” (I forget the exact Latin title)? The same would apply to modern scientists: What did they study? What implications did they draw? Were they right? This is the sort of information that could be easily expanded upon in the present Wiki, but would clutter a main-line biography (even an astronomically oriented one).
  • This makes sense to me. A Moon-themed page here for each person. The Compendium may be just an additional resource. I think we should still have a short bio under nomenclature but a specific page for expanded 'Moon' information. - c17h27no3 Nov 25, 2007
  • Agree. - tychocrater Nov 25, 2007

JM15 Make better use of Wiki "anchors"

  • Arb, thanks for the reference to Jakob Nielsen's page. This is an imperfect technology, and the specific application I had in mind was to the IAU Transactions. Because many of these are many screens long I think even Nielsen would agree to pointing the reader directly to the relevant line is worthwhile. However, if the item is mentioned in more than one spot on that page, the link may be misleading or confusing. Nielsen would probably recommend that this be solved by breaking anything longer than a screenful into single screen chunks; but each IAU Transaction makes the best sense seen as a single coherent unit. Breaking things up is convenient if you are reading the thing online; very inconvenient if you wish to download the item for off-line reference. - JimMosher
  • I've considered this for the L100 links on individual pages but haven't done it. I think it is better to point back to the top of the L100 page. Thoughts? - c17h27no3 Nov 25, 2007

JM17 Document a useful set of recognizable small features with known three dimensional coordinates

  • Yes, this is the same as a control network. The problem is that most control networks are completely un-illustrated. Coordinates and elevations may be given to great precision, but what they were meant refer to is generally unknown. Many of the older networks appear to refer to named features, but even in these there may be no more than a cryptic comment such as “N of Lacroix R”. It takes a great deal of detective work to figure out exactly what was measured, and it would seem useful to document the results somewhere. See North Pole for an example of the locations of five 1994 ULCN control points (which in this particular case happen, somewhat by coincidence, to be the only ones illustrated in Davies 1994 article). At the same time, this is probably not a suitable topic for the present Wiki, unless it could be shunted off into a separate section on lunar coordinates. - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007

MT02 Link each 'name' to YOA-T and the Astronomy Compendium

  • Mark, for the reasons mentioned under JM09, for general information I think that links to the more extensive biographical articles in the Wikipedia should not be lost. Are you meaning that clicking on the main name in the title line of a feature page would link to these other resources? That would seem a bit confusing to me, since nomenclature/biography may not be the primary interest of all users. - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007
  • Agreed. Good to have links but do it in a consistent way from each feature and in the body of the text eg under Nomenclature which is where we put biographical information. - ArbusDriver Nov 22, 2007
  • My initial thought was to have the link from the persons name (under Nomenclature heading) to go to YOA-T or TAC (The Astronomy Compendium) in place of Wikipedia. I now think it is better to have them as seperate links.

MT04 More lists of commonalities - central peaks, rays, secondaries, etc

  • Mark, yes! Arb: as the earlier editors have learned, Wikispaces “tags” don’t work this way. They are more like “Sticky-Notes” that an individual editor can use to remind themselves that they need to get back to a page to edit it some more. Unlike editing the optional editing “comments”, an editor’s “tags” are not visible or useable to anyone other than the editor who posted them and they do not become part of the page history. At least that was how it worked last we checked. Apparently this has partially changed. It seems we can now discover pages tagged by others under Manage Space... but it looks like one still sees (& can change) only ones own tags when displaying and/or editing a page.- JimMosher Nov 16, 2007
  • Jim, understood about Tags, my comment was highlighting another advantage of WikiMedia. - ArbusDriver Nov 22, 2007

DC01 Including all sorts of popular and well-known magazines with moon-related articles in them

  • Danny, in my opinion the mere existence of references to the Moon or the reproduction of an image of a particular lunar feature in popular media, or even in scientific compendia, is of minimal interest unless it is possible to place it in some kind of context. If the materials are not readily available on-line, the typical reader is unlikely to mount an effort to locate the item, particularly if no details are provided about what was published and why it is interesting are given. Hopefully such references will explain in some detail what was represented, why it was represented, and what was said about it. Moreover, the number of Moon references and images makes it impractical (I should think) to cite every appearance of a particular feature in a uniform and coherent way. I would think it might be wise to concentrate our efforts on publications (possibly popular) that shed new light on our understanding of a feature, with the emphasis on an explanation of the new insights that publication adds. - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007
  • We shouldn't list the magazine if we can link directly to the image. Again, my vision is that the wiki provides reliable and selected info at one place; we distill the best, so linking to a Natl Geographic article that probably says nothing critically important is not as useful as recognizing that the Geographic selects only the best images, so we should probably link to them too. I like it that Danny is sharing his knowledge of which are the best images of specific features!

- tychocrater Nov 25, 2007

Technical (Automated solution possible)

CW16 Map for each named feature showing all lettered craters, peaks etc

  • Arb, the complete current IAU nomenclature is downloadable in text or spreadsheet form from the IAU Planetary Gazetteer website. It is relatively easy to generate lists of any kinds from this, including grouping together entries sharing a common name. Automatically generating maps covering exactly the range need to show all of those features is much more complicated. - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007

MT05 A list on each page of "Lettered Craters"

  • Arb: Same comment re: availability of data. Mark: the prototype example is a nice one, although the map references, which seem to be (indirectly?) copied from the Gazetteer are not always correct, and even if they are, a considerable effort may be required to locate the feature. At present, the Gazetteer database simply copies the map information from the primary feature. The satellite may or may not actually be shown on that map. Chuck’s suggestion of a customized map would seem better in this regard, if practical. Also, the Gazetteer uses “Satellite Features” in a very limited sense meaning lettered craters only. Many named features have “satellite” features of other sorts named after them (Rima, Catena, etc.) which seem logically to belong in a “Satellite Features” list; and in a few cases the primary named feature is not a crater at all (example: Mons Hadley has “satellite features” named after it: Hadley C, Rima Hadley and Mons Hadley Delta). - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007
  • I still think it would be nice to have a list of lettered craters even if there isn't a good map or image of each one. The ones that are well-documented could have appropriate links. - c17h27no3 Nov 25, 2007
  • Wikipedia supplies a list of lettered craters, there is no need for us to duplicate that. But if we can add value by showing a map of all lettered craters or providing new info (beyond what is in Wikipedia) then we should consider it. I think we are OK now mentioning lettered craters only when we have something to say about them. The USGS is providing maps that will identify all lettered craters, but they may be scattered across multiple sheets - I still like the idea of producing a single map for each named feature that IDs all associated lettered ones (and rilles and mts too). This would be a useful product that does not exist anywhere else - and it is place/feature based, consistent with our niche. - tychocrater Nov 25, 2007
  • Creating such a map involves determining the size of the minimum rectangle encompassing all the related features. This could be done, by I am not aware of any software that does it. - JimMosher Nov 26, 2007
  • The lettered crater lists in the Wikipedia are lifted from the IAU-USGS site, which should be regarded as the primary and definitive source of such information (not the Wikipedia). Links to that information can be provided in two ways:

(1) lists basic IAU data for all named features containing the name “Hadley”, with options to display additional information.
(2) provides links to a Map-a-Planet page customized for each of these.
We probably should have included automatically-generated links of this sort in the original feature page templates. - JimMosher Nov 26, 2007

JM11 Provide some kind of context to feature positions

  • This probably belongs in the “Blue Sky” category. No good photomontage of the whole Moon exists (that I am aware of), hence the USGS airbrush renditions are widely used. However the USGS seems to have just released a very interesting new explorable Lunar Orbiter Mosaic of the central part of the Moon's nearside. It is possible to zoom in on any area with a simple click and drag.

  • The Map-a-Planet maps are generated by something called the MapMaker Web Map Service, which can be accessed directly by adding URL’s requesting JPEG images into WikiText. For example, the URL:

  • Regarding locator maps in general, I suspect we want to avoid re-inventing the wheel. The IAU Planetary Gazetteer already has a locator service on their website which might be tapped into. For example, the command:

  • should bring up shaded relief map showing the location of “Abbe” (IAU database #60178). Changing the number to 60181 brings up "Abel", etc. (the numbers basically follow the order in the Gazetteer spreadsheet download). You should be able to zoom in and see dots that you can hover over to get information about the feature, or click on to get the IAU Gazetteer database entry.

  • Also, there is Google Moon. The "Link to this page" icon in the upper left gives examples of how to construct URL's to Google pages showing a Clementine view of a specific feature at a zoom of up to 9. - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007

  • If it is not possible to obtain an LTVT-like labeled image of a selected area in this way, another possibility we have not considered is to make better use of the existing feature identification capabilities of the IAU Planetary Gazetteer. The Advanced Search page permits one to request a page listing all IAU-named features whose centers fall in a specified range of latitude and longitude. As an example, our image of Abbot extends roughly from 53E to 58E and from 2N to 7N. The following URL dynamically returns a page listing all features in the current IAU database falling in that range:

  • In principal, the person placing an image on a WikiSpaces page can place a link like this next to (or under) it. All that needs to be customized is the range of longitude and latitude displayed in the image. The USGS Feature ID list accessed by the link includes not only diameters and approval status, but also its own links to dynamically generated locator maps and map resource information (that may or may not be more current and more extensive than ours). - JimMosher

  • Locator maps are a great idea - I really need them for farside features! The entire issue is if they can be automatically generated, as Jim is exploring. Another possibility, somewhat sterile, is as wikipedia does, explaining with words where a feature is located. But because the farside lacks landmarks its hard to say where a particular feature is compared to something you might know. Maybe we just say: Farside, NE Quadrant. That could probably be computer-generated based on coords. - tychocrater Nov 25, 2007

  • Jim, is there any way LTVT could be ported to run on a server and given a simple API just sufficient to request the kind of labeled image discussed at Abel Satellite Features? - ArbusDriver Nov 22, 2007

  • This is all unfamiliar territory for me. I don’t know anything how API (Application Interfaces) are created or used. I did experiment a bit today with JavaScript and created the page at:

  • which resides on the WikiSpaces server and returns on-demand maps in response to user inputs. I have no understanding of how one passes (or if it is even possible) the desired inputs from one page to another, so that WikiText pages could access this service without human intervention - JimMosher Nov 26, 2007

  • The Map-a-Planet Moon Explorer also has a corresponding Moon specific search-by-IAU-feature-name capability. The URL:
    brings up a page of customized links to all IAU-named lunar features containing the name "Hadley". Clicking on any of these goes to the new Map-a-Planet page displaying an image centered on that feature and sized according to its diameter. - JimMosher Nov 17, 2007

CW01 One click to get Clementine image of feature

  • Arb: I don’t think coordinates are likely to change at a level significant for this kind of operation, so links of this sort would not need to be updated frequently. As of this writing, PDS Map-a-Planet has a very straight-forward interface. For example, the following command (use the Wiki text editor or the web-browser URL properties to see the details) brings up the Clementine color image of what is supposed to be a 1 degree square box centered on:

  • - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007

CW02 Same for SMART-1

  • I presume Chuck is joking here. SMART-1 may well have good images of most of the Moon, but they aren’t (yet?), in general, publicly available. - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007
  • No, not joking. The long-term goal would be for our wiki to find images/topo/composition of a particular feature from any spacecraft. This requires images/maps be released and searchable, the way LO and Clementine are. - tychocrater Nov 25, 2007
  • There are a very small number of SMART-1 images in the image gallery on their website. As far as know, no one has yet gone through those systematically, placing links to them on the appropriate Wiki pages. - JimMosher Nov 26, 2007

CW03 And Selene

  • The Japanese have so far demonstrated an extremely high level of technical expertise combined with a desire to publicize their results, so hopefully they will offer an image databank with an interface as easy to understand as Map-a-Planet, but that’s a pipe-dream at the moment. Even NASA/JPL, which generally leads the way in such things, offers at their PDS Imaging Node an interface which makes it relatively easy to retrieve images by hand, but almost impossible (as far as I know) to give someone else a URL saying where you found the image. - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007

CW07 Maps for all features (USGS is doing farside...

  • The problem with giving links to the USGS “Digital” nomenclature maps of the nearside at the present time, is that the USGS server does some kind of spelling check. So if you ask for LAC-39 (which doesn’t exist at the moment), instead of saying “object not found” it tries to be helpful by displaying LAC-93 (thinking you got the numbers reversed). This would be utterly confusing to our readers, who, unaware of the problem, would then search the map in vain for the feature of interest. - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007

CW08 When Selene/Kaguya gets topomap...

  • Yes. - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007

CW09 Next/previous arrows to allow easy (alphabetic) navigation through the features

  • Yes. Since the alphabetic sequence is totally arbitrary, I’m not sure this is an essential feature, but I like the few Mark has inserted by hand. - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007
  • The disadvantage of doing it by hand is that it has then to be maintained. If we could automate it so it was driven from the alphabetic lists of features then it would be self maintaining (provided we remeber to keep the lists up to date). - ArbusDriver Nov 22, 2007
  • Arb suggested that doing this by hand and without being able to "center" the text was not a good thing so I stopped. If we stay here at WikiSpaces it will need to be done manually. Meanwhile, should I delete the few I have or finish the job? - c17h27no3 Nov 25, 2007
  • Its useful, but manual implementation very exhausting, and easily outdated as new feature names added - but very few will be. This task does not increase availability of info, but ease of use for browsing. - tychocrater Nov 25, 2007
  • Mark, definitely don’t delete the ones you’ve done; but don’t worry about adding others just yet. This is definitely something that could be at least semi-automated whatever way we go. - JimMosher Nov 26, 2007

CW13 Display something different every visit on homepage

  • I actually access the site through a bookmark to the “Changes” page, so I rarely if ever see the “Home” page; but yes, this would be nice for most users. Perhaps it could display a small image of a feature with a link to the page. Could this perhaps be implemented with the "RSS feed" or "Embedded Media" features using a separate server somewhere generating a link to (and image from) a different page each time it is accessed? - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007
  • Better to avoid the separate server me thinks. - ArbusDriver Nov 22, 2007
  • Maybe we could create a list of images and manually change every week or so? Just for fun? - c17h27no3 Nov 25, 2007
  • Static pages are boring! I think we can include an html scrip in wikispaces that will randomly or sequentially display images from a set we identify. Again, not access to info issue, but something that might help retain users. Of minor importance though. - tychocrater Nov 25, 2007

CW15 Map of entire Moon ... to click on to go directly to feature of interest

  • Sounds like Google Moon. Can we do better? Offline yes (LTVT is much better); but on-line there seems little reason to try to compete with them. - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007
  • It seems that we should have a map of the entire Moon! We can use the USGS airbrush one (or the guy who used to work for them who has his own map with names - name??), broken up into quadrants or sectors that allow greater visibility of features, and maybe names (not letters). This would also be a way to indicate where a crater is - link to the map section that includes it. - tychocrater Nov 25, 2007
  • Could we put links on the Google Moon map back to each crater page on our wiki? - tychocrater Nov 25, 2007

AD02 farside/nearside locator map

  • I don’t have Rükl: do the red boxes show where his maps lie on a hemispherical map? You are wanting the outline of the photo area on a larger map?? - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007
  • The images at are the sort of thing I had in mind. - ArbusDriver Nov 22, 2007
  • The thumbnail images with red dots for crater locations - on page Arb gives above - are very good! But only if they could be created automatically, and for near and far side. - tychocrater Nov 25, 2007
  • To show the whole Moon with clarity, thumbnail images of six faces are needed (as in Rukl’s Hemispherical Maps). As to the Wikipedia examples, these appear to me to be statically generated images (perhaps made by pasting on the dots with Photoshop). This indicates to me that even with the resources of WikiMedia there aren’t enough people available to figure out how to do this sort of thing automatically – even though it shouldn’t be hard. In addition, this is, by any measure, a totally arbitrary collection. Where is Plato, etc? Where are the farside craters? In addition, the preamble seems out of place, and is filled with misinformation: Galileo did not invent the English term “crater”; the “largest crater” mentioned is wrong, etc., etc. This is not to say locator maps are bad; only that this particular page is a poorly thought out & implemented. See also Bob Hall’s comments under the Wikipedia “Talk” tab. - JimMosher Nov 26, 2007
  • Jim, are you maybe over complicating this? The Wikipedia link was given (in response to your question) as an example of the kind of simple locator map I had in mind when proposing this idea - not as an endorsment of the totality of the approach being taken there. To my perhaps overly simplistic way of thinking, two maps would sufice - nearside and farside. The nearside image matches (more or less) what I see when I look up into the sky. The farside would be the view from 180degrees away - a fairly simple notion to get ones brain around. The forshortening is fine, even intuitive - it's what one sees when one looks up. The additional maps you propose for N S E & W views would be confusing to me. The dots could be generated automaticaly very easily (meaning only two base maps are required) on a site where one has full control and access to the underlying WikiMedia software. That would be true for a site we set up but is not true for Wikipedia where the underlying software is, quite rightly, modifiable only by a select few individuals (two I believe). It would, of course, be possible to accomodate both approaches - clicking on the initial, simple map could take one to a close up, shifted point of view map per your proposal. - ArbusDriver Nov 27, 2007
  • Arb- How many views are needed depends very much on the intended purpose of the locator maps. If the purpose is simply to show where features would appear in a typical binocular-type view as seen from Earth, then a single nearside map is all that would be needed. Since farside features are invisible from Earth, locator maps for them would seem unnecessary. If, on the other hand, the purpose is to illustrate for the Moon as a whole the locations of obscure feature with respect to more easily recognized landmarks, then, as Rukl and all other lunar map makers have discovered, a simple pair of nearside/farside charts is not as useful as it appears at first blush. Although the east, west, north and south views are as unfamiliar to most of us as the farside view, they are essential for illustrating the relative positions of features anywhere in the vicinity +/-90 degrees longitude (i.e., at the edges of the nearside/farside views, where the dots and feature depictions are too compressed by foreshortening to be useful). Please don't misunderstand: I'm not saying each feature needs to be shown in all six views; but which single view is most useful depends both on the feature and the purpose of the person wanting to locate it. As in Rukl, to avoid confusion, the six different basemaps could be distinguished by adding a clear title to each: Nearside, East Limb, North Pole, etc. - JimMosher Nov 27, 2007
  • Jim, I understand exactly where you are coming from, it's just that what you are proposing seems much more complicated than what I had in mind when I first proposed this idea. I can see you don't get it but for a relativly inexperienced observer like me a locator map that simply matches what I see when I look up in the sky is exactly what I need to get my bearings and a notion of where the feature is. In that view, foreshortening is part of the deal and understood. Once this simplistic view has allowed me to get my bearings it would be great to be able to burrow down (eg by clicking on the simple locator map to get a more detailed locator map (one of your six views might well work for this) and from there perhaps burrow one level further to an even closer locator (eg centered on the feature and encompasing some nearby well known points of reference). So it's not that I'm against your proposal, just that I want, need even, to start from a simpler way of getting my bearings. And in this context, strange as it may seem to you, the single far side view would be exactly the right starting point for far side features because a single point of view flip through 180 degrees seems, to me, quite intuitive. - ArbusDriver Nov 28, 2007

AD03 robot editor

  • As a concept this sounds singularly useful. Since we call up and edit WikiSpaces pages by issuing keystrokes from a keyboard, it seems obvious that someone with enough internet savvy could construct a robotic program to mimic this. However, to do useful tasks, the robot would need some kind of script; and to be useful to non-expert users it would have to be possible to express what is wanted in very simple terms. Yet it does not seem easy to anticipate what might be desired. Searching for instances of “A Portfolio of Lunar Drawings” and replacing them with "[[A Portfolio of Lunar Drawings]]" would be relatively simple; but figuring out where to insert links to PDS Clementine images (and the generation of the links to insert) would seem much more complicated. I can imagine the list of desired changes, but I have some trouble picturing how one would tell the robot what to do in any very flexible way. In any event, should a robot be possible, I should think it would be desirable to require human intervention (i.e., human approval before making changes) at the start, with a checkbox that would allow automatic continuation after a sufficient number of successful robotic edits had been performed. - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007

JM02 link the Wiki position and diameter data "live" to the Gazetteer

  • On second thought, I think it would be better to periodically provide one of these hypothetical robots with a list of the current Gazetteer data, and have it automatically browse through the Wiki pages flagging instances where there is a conflict. In some cases the difference may be intentional. Actually, rather than a full-fledged robot, a simple customized text-processing program could do this sort of task off-line working on one of the backup downloads (that now seem to work fine since Arb intervened on our behalf). - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007
  • This definitly sounds the better approach. - ArbusDriver Nov 22, 2007

JM03 keep all ... information that affects more than one feature in centralized data-base type tables

  • Having the website “underpinned by an SQL db” sounds good; but needs to be weighed against the added complexity and maintenance issues of Wikimedia-type site. If robots are possible, it might be possible to instruct it to periodically update pages based on changing data in a table. This would not be instantaneous, but it would probably be adequate for our purposes.
  • I suppose this really should be a databased data collection, but we are all volunteers, and to have a long life need, as said before, to have it manageable - and fixable - by technologically naive people. Books are like that, typical web sites aren't. - tychocrater Nov 25, 2007

JM14 link to IAU feature pages

  • No. There is no consistent algorithm. Links of this sort would have to be fashioned by hand, but might be inserted by a robot given a list of the links and pages on which they belong. - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007


JM13 Improve image search so that it finds links to all available images

  • Definitely blue-sky. A comprehensive lunar image search requires collecting data for each image (at a minimum the date, time and location of the exposure, the positions in the image of two features with known lunar coordinates, and the pixel limits of the frame). Note only do many imagers fail to supply even this minimum information, but there are simply far too many lunar images in existence to consolidate this information in a finite number of human lifetimes. - JimMosher


Is there enough here to push us into moving to a WikiMedia based wiki?

  • My personal opinion is that this is not advisable at the present time. The main problem I see is the maintainability issue raised earlier by Chuck. WikiSpaces is a very simple and understandable medium that requires no computer expertise. A WikiMedia based wiki introduces interesting possibilities, but also levels of complexity that will be understood by few of the contributors or organizers. Realistically the-Moon Wiki is going to be built and maintained by a very limited number of people, and we should avoid technology that they do not all understand and feel comfortable with. For example, similarly to the incident Chuck mentioned, if each page becomes dependent on some kind of sophisticated live updating that is understood by only one person, and that person leaves, then all the pages may go bad, and none of the remaining members would know how to repair them.

  • Moreover, the implication of the table that everything is possible in the WikiMedia format and impossible in the WikiSpaces format seems overly simplified to me. Both would seem to seem to me to require considerable expenditure of time and effort to implement, and there are a number of intermediate possibilities that I can envision. For example, if one had the capability to dynamically generate the desired labeled locator maps within a WikiMedia site, then it seems clear to me that the person with that expertise could set up a dedicated server that does nothing but generate such maps. The WikiSpaces pages could each then contain a “Locator Map” button (link) that would, if the reader desired, request such a map from that hypothetical server. The link could simply be a static URL as in the PDS example given above. Or I suppose it could use the WikiSpaces capability to display “embedded media” (so one would see an actual image rather than a link). The necessary URL would only have to be generated once for each page; just as we have automatically generated map sectors and links in the existing templates. And we have already demonstrated that we can go successfully from one template to another. Unfortunately, this required an enormous effort on Mark’s part to manually bring up and run the program on each page; and admittedly the technology behind this is something known to only one of us (me). But it is close to the kind of “robot” we have been discussing. If 14yo knows how to supply the missing step to automatically cycle through and run such an updating program on each WikiSpaces page that would be great! Then one would only have to click “OK” 2000 times. Would this actually be easier in WikiMedia?

  • Another possibility is to pay the slight extra fee required to get permission to upload WikiText pages or make better use of the “Web Folders” option (something I am totally unfamiliar with). If this were done, an occasional “Maintenance” message could be issued through the mail service, and while the site was temporarily shut down (as far as making additional changes), the downloaded pages could then be overhauled and “robotically” modified off-line, then loaded back to the WikiSpaces server; probably in a matter of a few minutes. My concern here is that we do not want to lose the page Editing History (so that all readers know who changed what when) and I have no idea if a procedure like this would obliterate the history or not. If the person who understands this procedure leaves, the loss is not fatal, since the editing can always continue by hand.

  • I realize the present system is far from perfect; so I’m sorry to be so negative about the move to WikiMedia. Thinking over the longer term, there is the possibility that the WikiSpaces medium may improve; that our interest in the project may wane; and that others (such as the USGS, the LPI, Google, Wikipedia, or the Kaguya researchers) may offer internet-ready capabilities that supply the things we desire (or make our efforts to duplicate them even more Quixotic than they are at present). - JimMosher Nov 16, 2007

  • "Maintainability": See separate email.
  • "WikiSpaces is a … simple … medium that requires no computer expertise": For editors the same is true of WikiMedia wikis.
  • "the implication of the table that everything is possible in the WikiMedia format and impossible in the WikiSpaces format seems overly simplified": It is. I had meant to put some words to that effect and forgot. Thanks for the reminder.
  • "Both … require considerable expenditure of time and effort to implement": True. However, having tried several such in both we (Arb & son) are very strongly of the opinion that they would be much easier in WikiMedia (which is designed to welcome and encourage such enhancements) than in WikiSpaces (which seems actively to discourage them).
  • "there are a number of intermediate possibilities" True, but 1) an additional server to do a specific job runs into exactly the same maintainability objections you mentioned above 2) The “embedded media” interface is very unfriendly (in my limited experience) 3) We may no longer be able to go from template to template (enormous effort or no) – I haven’t fully thought this through but some of the edits you’ve been making (deleting Apollo searches, tailoring them, etc) might either get lost doing this or add great complexity to the converter.
  • "Would this actually be easier in WikiMedia": In principle no, in practice apparently yes – working bots exist for WikiMedia while on WikiSpaces they have so far proved tricky to implement (though that might be more a reflection on Arb & son’s lack of experience with the https protocol than innate).
  • "upload WikiText pages": That’s an interesting idea. Arb & son to consider further.
  • "Web Folders": I've had a quick look. These do not seem to be relevant to us.
  • "over the longer term, there is the possibility that the WikiSpaces medium may improve": Sure, but they are a team of one or two techies, quite reasonably focused on enhancements that will bring in additional paying customers – don’t hold your breath.
  • "others (such as the USGS, the LPI, Google, Wikipedia, or the Kaguya researchers) may … supply the things we desire": If we know that something is on the way best not duplicate it. If not, let’s crack on. An alternative scenario is that our data complements some of these hypothetical products eg if Google ever implement a Google Moon API with similar functionality to that for Google Earth then our data could additionally become an overlay on top of Google Moon.

- ArbusDriver Nov 22, 2007

  • What exactly do the existing Wikimedia robots do & how do they work? Can (as Chuck would say) a “technically naïve” person actually instruct them to do a sophisticated mass edit without incurring more danger of harm than good? If they can do something useful, is it really difficult to adapt them to working on WikiSpaces pages? - JimMosher
  • My understanding (which is not deep) is that their are two types. Fully automated ones are operated by owners (enthusiasts) who can sometimes be persuaded to perform edits requested by others. There are obvious risks with using such an automiton. The owners are familiar with these risks and take steps to mitigate them. Could one be made useable by the technicaly naive - perhaps. The second kind is human assisted - it finds each place where some specified edit is needed and presents it to its human assistant for a yes/no decision before performing the edit at that place (or not) and moving on to the next place. These are fine for naive users but obviously slower than the fully automated. - ArbusDriver Nov 27, 2007

  • As do doing mass edits of WikiSpaces pages off-line, then re-loading the altered pages, the important question (to me) is: does this preserve the Edit History? To me, preserving the Edit History is essential to having a credible site since allow one (with some effort) to determine who entered the information (whether signed or nt), when it was entered, and if it was later altered. - JimMosher Nov 26, 2007

  • This section is the crux of much of our discussion. We probably do have to move to a more capable wiki to implement some of the things we talk of. But we don't have to implement everything we can think of. The question is, are there some very important capabilities we need that we can't do with wikispaces? Probably not, and some we can do with the offline programming that Jim has experimented with, and the manual updating that Mark has an amazing devotion to. No doubt the wikimedia direction offers more, but it might end up leading us to an non-updateable tool as technical expertise moves on to other interests, which is perfectly natural.

We also need to avoid the trap that a lot of volunteer groups fall into. Often after a vigorous and idealistic start, they spend months discussing their true goals and ways to move ahead, never arriving at a solution, but dissipating the energy of the participants, and the project dies. Arb's structured plan to consider options protects us from that in that he has set deadlines and is guiding us to decision making. My goal with the Moon wiki is to provide a resource that helps me, and incidentally probably many others. The present version does that, and it can improve one way or the other; I hope we quickly decide how to move forward and then keep adding info and capabilities that make the Moon Wiki a unique and useful resource! - tychocrater Nov 25, 2007