This page is becoming too unwieldy to edit as one (especially from a blackberry), so I'm going to divide it up a bit. jillaine 15:18, 31 December 2008 (EST)



A wiki is an ideal environment for collaboration. One area of collaboration could be around "brick walls". People could mark certain people (or other types of articles) as "Brick walls" and then interested parties-- either interested in that surname, location or just helpful folks with too much time on their hands -- could review current Brick Walls and see if they can help.

A brick wall "label" or "tag" on a given page is also a strong visual clue that this page could benefit from some additional research while at the same time contributing to the person/people most interested in the brick-wall-person.

Proposed Solution

A {{brickwall}} code or category that can be used to tag certain pages (people or otherwise), that then generates a Special:Brickwalls page listing all brick wall pages (sorted in a helpful way) that is available for all people to peruse. Once the brick wall is solved, the {{brickwall}} code can then be removed from said page. jillaine 07:56, 30 December 2008 (EST)


  • A merge template as just a simple announcement to viewers of the page.
This page is the result of a merge. Members whose pages were merged into this one are encouraged to check their data, add source citations and make any additions or corrections as needed. Conflicting information may appear, in which case, please use the associated talk page to discuss such discrepancies.

Drawing Board [1 January 2009]

We would want a brick wall template to do a bit more I would think. So let's list what we would like to have happen.

  1. template highlights the page as a brick wall
Language might be: This page represents a "brick wall" for at least one researcher. Read the #brickwall section and see if you can help out. Use the talk page for discussion of this particular brick wall.
I would want to simplify this. jillaine 09:19, 31 December 2008 (EST)
  1. template adds the person/family page to a "brick wall" category
  2. template adds a form to a "brick wall page" (talk page?) for researcher to fill out
   ::I've changed my mind on this last one. Forget the fill-out form. jillaine 02:42, 31 December 2008 (EST)

--Ronni 02:06, 31 December 2008 (EST)

I started a template. Play with it, redesign it, change colors, etc. We'll add a category name to it once the design and wording of the template is done. The template should work so that when someone adds it to their page, all it will do is:

  1. mark the page visually as a brick wall and then,
  2. add that page to a category called "brick walls"

Anything else?

--Ronni 01:59, 1 January 2009 (EST)

Ronni, This is great. I like it. Makes me laugh. It's a bit large. I like the size of the merge template. I'll play around with it and see what I can do. Thanks so much. heh heh. it makes me giggle. Happy New Year, Ronni. BTW, where are you? I'm outside of Bethesda, MD. jillaine 09:21, 1 January 2009 (EST)
Yeah, seeing the brick wall up there makes me chuckle a bit as well. :) I'm in WV, near Charleston. Happy New Year to you too! --Ronni 10:31, 1 January 2009 (EST)

I made it a bit smaller, edited the text a bit, and then added it to a brick wall of mine: Leonard Schmidt. jillaine 09:33, 1 January 2009 (EST)
I like it, though I'm not sure I like the background color. Tried all kinds before I settled on that one. Before, I had a black background with white or gray lettering, but thought maybe it was too dramatic. Feel free to tinker more if you like. Are you wanting the pages to be categorized? Category:Brick walls ?? --Ronni 10:31, 1 January 2009 (EST)
"are you wanting the pages to be categorized?" Yes. How does one set that up? I.e., make it automatic that anyone with the Template on their pages also has a category=brickwall (or whatever) added to their page? And also, will removing the template from the page (when the brick wall is torn down) simultanously/automatically remove the che catery information as well? jillaine 17:26, 1 January 2009 (EST)

Outstanding Questions

  • How make best use of the given Talk page to support the brick wall work?
  • Should we generate a fill-out form that results in a separate page (or would be automatically included on the talk page at the time the "brick wall template" is added to the Article page)? See main page here or Template:Brickwallform.
  • What are the pros / cons of having such a form and separate page?
  • If we go with a boxed header (ala Merge Template), could we figure out how to make the background look like a "brick wall"?
I'll see what I can do about a brick wall image. I like the merge template as well. At the very least, it lets others know what's going on with their pages and encourages them to review and discuss. --Ronni 03:05, 31 December 2008 (EST)
  • How do we promote the use of such a template? I think it would be a very quick and easy way to add and view the brick walls. The problem though with doing any kind of project like this is to get people aware of the templates (like the merge template) and thus using them. I have an idea about this that I'll have to share tomorrow... --Ronni 03:05, 31 December 2008 (EST)

Brick wall form

After thinking about it some more, I think I tend to agree with you Jillaine. I don't believe a "form" to fill out will be necessary. The template "tag" could remind researchers to use the talk page for leaving as much information as they know about their ancestor or to leave specific goals or information they are seeking. --Ronni 21:22, 31 December 2008 (EST)

Promoting the brick wall template [1 January 2009]

I left you hanging yesterday on an idea I have on promoting the brick wall template (templates in general actually). One major problem with doing a project like this is letting folks know what tools or projects are available on WeRelate. If we create a brick wall template, how do we let users, especially new users know that such a template exists? My idea, and one I imagine Dallan would have to get on board with or implement for us, is to have a list of "person/family templates" that are listed at the bottom of the page (with the "watch this page" and "add to tree" etc) where a researcher could click on the template they wanted to add to the page they are currently editing. User templates would be something similar to the "merge" and "brick wall" template. Over time I imagine more of these types of templates will be created, but even so I don't think the list will be unwieldy that they couldn't be included at the bottom of a person/family page while editing. Dallan or an admin would have to probably "approve" such a list just to keep things orderly, etc. --Ronni 21:22, 31 December 2008 (EST)

an alternative possibility would be a single "insert template" button that pulls up a smaller pop-up window with a list of templates.
that said, I think the whole notion of better promotion of various things-wiki needs broader attention. THere needs to be a more centralized, visible and promoted space where new things are shared. For example, the Admin pull-down menu could have a "New Templates" option that pulls up a page like "Recent changes". And/or use the "News" column on the main page to highlight more things. That box hasn't changed since October. (How many people can edit that page? It makes sense to limit that, but seems to me that the home page could be "opened up" more to a select group of editors-- assuming a shared understanding of the purpose of the home page... but I digress. This is another topic entirely.
jillaine 21:54, 31 December 2008 (EST)

As to the "News" box on the main page, I think only admins can edit that. The "News" available from the pull-down menu leads to Dallan's blog where I assume only he can edit it. Spreading "what's new or happening" *within* WeRelate is something I've discussed before with the other admins. Anyone can create a "blog type" page within WeRelate to discuss various topics. Finding it, where to put it, etc is the problem. A link to such a "news blog" could be placed at the head of the Watercooler perhaps until something better comes along? Just do it, then we'll find a place to put it or link to it. :) --Ronni 10:46, 1 January 2009 (EST)

Acknowledgements [31 December 2008]

Ronni, first off, thanks for your interest. It's much appreciated.
Ronni, thanks again. Your partnership is not only great on this specific idea, but is also great in that it is spurring additional ideas for how I can more powerfully use werelate. AND I needed a break from "mad merging". jillaine 09:19, 31 December 2008 (EST)

I had an idea like this not too long ago. Not quite this thought out, though. Got no response, except from Beth who I think felt sorry for me that I got no response. <g> And you're right. Even if this idea goes no where, I think talking about these kinds of projects leads to other ideas and ways of using WeRelate. I love learning about this kind of stuff. --Ronni 21:22, 31 December 2008 (EST)

A regular part of my job includes drafting concept papers for new ideas, so it's become almost second nature for me to think this way, and lay it out like this. I will also add that because of this conversation, I invested a fair amount of time today adding some data concerning my Richard Taylors of Yarmouth, including the text of a couple of wills/inventories, a new family, etc etc. I haven't worked on that in a long time-- like a year-- and it feels good to put all my notes and research up somewhere where it will hopefully be useful. jillaine 21:57, 31 December 2008 (EST)

Examples of Good Brick-Wall-type Pages [1 January 2009]

I just happened across this. I like it as an example of a type of page that implies brick wall. In this case, it's NOT a brick wall, but a brick wall page *could* be organized like this one:

Later thoughts on using brick wall templates [26 December 2011]

I was not aware of this template and a few months ago created a Category:Jackson Brick Walls. I think I'll give my Jackson Brick Walls a parent category of Category:Brick walls. I used the small wall-bash template on my page like this:

Image:Wallbash red.gif Benjamin has been placed in Category:Jackson Brick Walls. If you are able to add Benjamin's parents, please edit this page to remove this category and the wall bash image.

I like the little wall-bash template but it doesn't automatically add the category to the bottom of the page. Was it ever determined that the larger brick wall template actually automatically added the category? --Janiejac 00:13, 26 December 2011 (EST)

Sorting (in the category) [16 December 2012]

I've been looking through mediawiki help pages, and I can't find a way to sort the pages that are added to a template. All of the pages with the Brickwall template added to them are being sorted on that category page by their namespace. Is there anyway to get them ordered by (eg) surname? Would this need to be an edit to the template itself?--Obstinatesnooper 12:47, 16 December 2012 (EST)