HandWiki:FAQ

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What is the difference between HandWiki and Wikipedia Wikipedia?

Current Wikipedia Wikipedia is not a public encyclopedia in the classical sense (i.e. "a work that contains information on all branches of knowledge or treats comprehensively a particular branch of knowledge" according to Merriam-Webster definition). Wikipedia is not an encyclopedia in this sense since it does not attempt to cover all existing subjects. It summaries topics which are already extensively covered by reliable external sources. Such external sources should be independent and "solely" dedicated to such topics. If there are many external sources mentioning a topic, but they are not dedicated to this topic, such topic cannot be covered by Wikipedia.

Wikipedia articles are written by anonymous authors without established knowledge on the subjects and verifiable credentials, therefore, they heavily rely on external references considered "reliable" to confirm the facts. As the result, the article acceptance process in Wikipedia is a subject of personal beliefs of non-experts on the quality of external sources (are they "reliable"? are they fully dedicated to the subject? are they truly independent?) rather than a reflection of expert opinion on the covered topics.

Unlike Wikipedia, HandWiki can be used for new and original content. Authors can add their names directly at the bottom of each article using Author template. HandWiki also has a very different Dispute resolution model that takes into account distinct opinions. This model does not involve editors with administrative rights to create final versions of the articles.

Finally, Wikipedia is not fully public resource for editing articles. Many Wikipedia articles are semi-protected from editing. You can edit such articles in HandWiki.

Difference between HandWiki, Everipedia and Citizendium?

HandWiki is dedicated to specific topics, such as science and computing. Everipedia and Citizendium have a more challenging task to talk about "everything". Unlike Everipedia and Citizendium, HandWiki is designed keeping researches and programmers in mind. For example, HandWiki articles and separate formulae can be exported to the LaTeX format and use BibTeX citations, which are widely used in academia. Programmers can write articles with links to documentation APIs (for Java and Python classes). All HandWiki articles are organized in special namespaces, a feature which is useful for searching terms in specific topics. HandWiki also allows easy export and import to/from Wikipedia since it uses MediaWiki markup. Finally, Everipedia is a commercial company, while HandWiki is not.

Technical differences between HandWiki and Wikipedia

HandWiki and Wikipedia use the same MediaWiki platform for their content. However, HandWiki has the following modifications:

  • HandWiki organizes articles independently in "portals" ("namespaces") and categories, while Wikipedia organizes articles in categories only. Therefore, a navigation in different topics is significantly simpler (and faster) than in Wikipedia
  • Improved search engine (faster speed plus navigation in different namespaces)
  • Typing a word in the search window automatically suggests topics (see the top search bar)
  • Suggests the existing articles when typing internal links
  • LaTeX and BibTeX friendly (also see next)
  • To encourage content sharing, HandWiki articles can be exported to ZWI files with Mediawiki, DokuWiki, LaTeX and HTML article versions (together with all images).
  • Code highlighting and equation parsing are done by JavaScript.
  • Uses MathJax that allows exporting equations and chemical formulas to the MathML and LaTeX format (see Help)
  • Integration with programming languages (Java and Python classes can be referenced inside articles)
  • External URL to define words are allowed

HandWiki supports Wikipedia templates, but only those which are best maintained (and used for more than 5 articles). Finally, HandWiki has a smaller number of missing internal links than Wikipedia (they are automatically corrected by bots).

Is it easier to add articles to HandWiki than to Wikipedia?

HandWiki is more liberal in accepting articles than Wikipedia. It contains articles about scholarly topics that exist, not only the topics extensively covered by other sources as in the case of Wikipedia. The correctness of HandWiki articles is verified by editors with expertise in these topics. HandWiki accepts all articles with at least one external reference (see HandWiki Article Acceptance Policy). However, HandWiki registration requires a minimum professional credential. Read about HandWiki for more information. As the result of this article acceptance policy, HandWiki contains a significant number of articles on different topics which are not covered by Wikipedia. In particular, HandWiki contains tens of thousands of scholarly articles submitted to Wikipedia, which are later permanently removed by Wikipedia editors who could not found their extensive coverage by multiple independent sources. For example, a term, phenomenon or a definition introduced in an established peer-reviewed journal can be summarized in HandWiki, but not in Wikipedia if independent articles with extensive description of such topics cannot be found.

HandWiki is better suited for new and original content created by professionals. Since HandWiki editors are researchers with verified credentials, HandWiki's "article notability" concept only requires at least one external reference. HandWiki can also be used for books, manuals etc. where many articles should be grouped under a single namespace to create tables of contents.

Is HandWiki larger than Wikipedia?

According to Wikimedia.org, HandWiki is #6 world's largest wiki. It is one of the largest specialized encyclopedias for all major research research topics, such as mathematics, physics, biology, technology and chemistry. HandWiki contains research articles from the English Wikipedia. In addition, it has articles that are permanently removed (since 2017) from the current Wikipedia due to the notability restriction and additional original articles and books. For some topics, such as physics, the number of additional non-Wikipedia articles exceeds several thousand. See HandWiki statistics.

What is the number of original Handwiki articles?

HandWiki has about 20,000 articles which are not in the current Wikipedia (October 2020). These articles have the line {{Sourceattribution|title|1}}. About 70% of such articles are deleted articles from Wikipedia posted before 2020. Therefore, even without Wikipedia articles, HandWiki is one of the largest online encyclopedias.

Who can add and edit HandWiki articles?

Only registered users with verified professional credentials. One can login or request the HandWiki account here.

We know that a minimum professional credential could be a very high bar for many traditional Wikipedia editors, but this is a small price to pay to avoid spam since we do not have a staff for checking the posted articles.

If you are not qualified to obtain the ORCiD number, you can still create articles in HandWiki sandbox from where draft articles can be relocated to the HandWiki by experts.

Can I add a backlink inside a HandWiki article?

If you think there is an external link which is relevant to the content of the article, you can add such a link to this article either as a citation or as a link inside the section called "See also" at the bottom of each article. This is possible even if you are not professional researcher (and your sole goal is to add a backlink). Note that such URL link may not stay permanently, i.e. it can be changed by other users if they determine that the link is irrelevant to the topic of the article. We should also remind that contextually irrelevant links will be removed by automated bots analyzing the content of the URL links.

If you think that you can improve an article by adding an external "backlink", you should obtain the account to become a permanent user of HandWiki. You can create the account even if you are not professional researcher as explained here.

If you interested in adding permanent ads, look at sponsorship opportunities.

Where should I post an article about a website?

All articles about websites should go under the specific HandWiki topics. For example, if a website is about software programs, it goes to the namespace "Software". If a website is about biology-related subjects, such websites should go to the namespace "Biology".

I see an article that looks inaccurate (or wrong)

HandWiki does not have editors who verify the correctness of all posted articles. If you think an article is wrong, you should object it in the corresponding "Discussion" page, and make the required corrections.

If you think that an article is completely misleading and lacks scientific rigor, you should object it in the talk page. You can also insert a warning box pointing to the talk page of where you discuss this article. Another option is to move this article to the Unsolved namespace.

In additions, Handwiki provisions a special mechanism to display alternative opinions, integrate them in the body of the articles, and protect from editing by other editors. See HandWiki Policies.

We think that "inclusionism" (see Deletionism and inclusionism in Wikipedia Deletionism and inclusionism in Wikipedia) is a more sustainable concept for wiki resources than having an anonymous superuser or administrator who decides what article should be accepted, and what article should be rejected. False theories happen. Even Einstein made his share of errors, and was wrong on many occasions. Science is not made by individuals. But false theories are going to die eventually through a joint effort. HandWiki is all about this joint effort.

Can HandWiki administrators remove an article?

Only if this article is 100% spam, and does not have any external citation that supports its content. Unlike Wikipedia, we do not require 4-5 high-quality external reviews solely dedicated to the subject. "High-quality" is a matter of definition and, by nature, is subjective. "Solely dedicated review" is a very strong criterion for many scholarly terms and software programs.

Can I bring an article to HandWiki from Wikipedia or another wiki?

Yes, you can bring any article from other resources and edit it on HandWiki. However, you should comply with the license of the imported article. In the case of Wikipedia, you should add a link to the original Wikipedia article and clearly state that this article was imported. See Wikipedia:Copyrights. To import a Wikipedia article, use the article creation wizard.

Can I re-post HandWiki articles to other online resources?

Absolutely. The articles do not belong to HandWiki. They belong to you. You are welcome to re-post the article to Wikipedia or other websites.

Can I post non-Wiki articles ?

If you have an article, tutorial, or lecture in a non-Wiki format, such as LaTeX, HTML, etc., you can convert it to the MediaWiki format using the PanDoc program.

How HandWiki compares to Wikipedia in terms of the number of authors?

HandWiki has significantly smaller number of authors than Wikipedia. All HandWiki authors pass a minimum requirement for professional identity, and should be registered after indicating professional background. Wikipedia can be edited by anyone without registration. Typically, a computer with an IP address is sufficient to edit Wikipedia.

HandWiki has a few professional editors who correct the articles created by the authors.

Can I download backup (dump) with all HandWiki articles?

Currently, downloads of backup (or dump) files with HandWiki articles are not allowed. HandWiki contains many articles and other material (books, tutorials) protected by the licenses which are not consistent with the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC BY-SA). In future, it will be possible to separate such material from the public-domain articles in the dump files.

May I add my biography to HandWiki?

Indeed, HandWiki contains the namespace "Biography:" with biographies of prominent researchers. The goal of such biographies is to support the content of encyclopedic articles. If there are articles that directly reference your name or your work, you should add your biography under the namespace "Biography:". However, this biography must contain internal links to the HandWiki articles where your work is easy to identify (i.e. it should contain a reference on articles in peer-reviewed journals and where your contribution is clearly stated). The reason for this is that the automatic scripts used by HandWiki may remove biographies that do not link any internal article with your name in references. Also, your biography should have the category listed in HandWiki:Biography otherwise it will be difficult to find it.

Which topics should not be covered in Handwiki?

Handwiki covers topics related to science, finance and computing, with the exception of Art, Politics, Books, Movies, Music, Religion and Sport. Links that reference such topics can point to external articles from Wikipedia, Everipedia and Citizendium. Topics related to books can be included if they are related to the science, computing and technology topics. Some topics related to religion can be covered in the existing namespaces, such as Philosophy, Social or Unknown.

I see a bot changing HandWiki articles

This is correct. We are working on AI bots that make editorial changes in HandWiki articles. Typically, such bots make changes inside the imported articles and do not change articles created by humans directly on HandWiki (unless they determine obvious grammatical mistakes, missing links, etc., in which case the required changes will be made). If you notice that an AI bot has modified your article, please contact handwiki[AT]jwork.org to fix this "rebel".

Why HandWiki?

HandWiki teamed up with Larry Sanger (co-founder of Wikipedia) and the Knowledge Standards Foundation which tries to decentralize the encyclopedic content of the Internet. In academia and other areas, there are many journals with different editorial policies. Why this is not the case for encyclopedic wiki content? HandWiki is trying to solve the problem of the Wikipedia monopoly.


Dr S.Chekanov (Founder of HandWiki)

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