2.3 Contributing to the knowledge base

The great advantage of the Mediawiki software is that it allows SASSA's content to be continually updated and added to. Contributions from geoarchaeologists and earth scientists are sought for tutorial pages on processes, deposit types and techniques, while the user community can make a valuable contribution to the case study pages. It is hoped that both specialist and non-specialist users will contribute to the discussion pages, allowing users to ask questions, discuss issues, and comment on the content of the related article pages.

The default setting of the Mediawiki software is to allow editing rights to all registered users, in line with Wikipedia policy. However, because of the need to ensure that SASSA is a respected and trusted authority in current geoarchaeological practice it was felt that such a model would be inappropriate for SASSA. Instead a process of post-registration validation by the SASSA administrator is required (Table 2). Without a team of full-time administrators to manage the site and correct problems, this approach also prevents the vandalism that plagues other wiki sites.

Table 2: SASSA wiki registration and user rights
Non registeredSystem registeredAdministrator registeredAdministrator
View content pagesYESYESYESYES
View discussion pagesYESYESYESYES
Access field tool (separate registration)YESYESYESYES
View special pages-YESYESYES
Advanced searches -YESYESYES
Change preferences -YESYESYES
Watchlist -YESYESYES
Edit content/article pages --YESYES
Edit discussion pages--YESYES
Add pages--YESYES
Review page history--YESYES
Upload documents--YESYES
Change user rights---YES
Block users---YES
Delete pages and documents---YES
Protect pages---YES

Unregistered users have free-to-view rights to all content-based pages of the SASSA knowledge base. Web-based registration allows the user additional access to special pages such as advanced search facilities and updates on page changes, as well as to set their own view preferences and to create watch lists of pages. However, web-registered users have no editing rights. Upon registration, users are prompted to contact the SASSA administrator – a designated member of the development team – in order to be given editing rights. However, a challenge still to be overcome by the SASSA project is to encourage legitimate users to register with the administrator and actively contribute. Links from geoarchaeology pages on Wikipedia and extensive help files have been used in the hope they will boost activity. However, these measures have so far been ineffectual.


© Internet Archaeology/Author(s) URL:
Last updated: Mon Dec 15 2008