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At first glance, Flossary looks complete. But look closer and you will see that Flossary is like a river. Some branches are fully developed; others are not.

Some branches that need development include Retirement. We have started a 401(k) series and we have a few subterms like pre-tax and after-tax, but we lack Roth 401(k), 403(b) and 457 articles. And detail is lacking in 401(k)s. Matching, distributions, mandatory distributions, 72(t) distributions, etc. This series needs elaboration to be complete.

Estates, wills, and trust. We have some entries but lack will, living will, power of attorney, and most trust types.

Ideas for where to begin–

1. Pick an area you are comfortable writing about, review what is there, correct and expand it. Add subterms as appropriate and go ahead and define them. Use the article template for style. Any term that appears in red needs a definition.

Article template is here:

2. Select a category, see what is there, what is missing, and have at it. The category listings are not always complete. Some terms have no categories entered. Some terms are filled out, but need additional category assignments. (Don’t forget to search for the term first as it may be in another category and don’t get trapped by derivative terms: looking for retirement but its under retire, retiring, retired, or retires. Look out for plurals. They will be missed by search. Avoid plural term names if you can.)

3. Check out the list of companies in a category. If you are an investor, you will note immediately that some company categories are complete, but others have major omissions. Add companies as you feel appropriate. To appear on the bottom of the category page, a company must have a term page in the company name and a category assignment statement. Note that category names are case sensitive and the plurals and derivatives problem applies.

4. If all else fails, head for the terms wanted list. It lists all requested terms. But look out for plurals. Search first before adding a new definition.

Terms wanted list is here:

5. By all means read and edit what others have entered. Is it accurate? Is it complete? Does it explain well enough? Are subterms appropriate to expand the explanation? And don’t forget to amuse. Add a bit of humor if you have the talent.

Some quirks to watch out for–

1. The ampersand bug. If an ampersand appears in the term name, you will not be able to edit the term. Your entry will be lost if you try. So if an "&" appears in a term name like "S&P", substitute “and” as “S and P.”

2. The caps problem. In terms, and search, the first letter of the first word is interchangeable upper and lower case. But multiword terms are case sensitive. Let’s try to enter them in lower case unless it’s a formal name.

3. Plurals and derivatives as noted above are a problem. A careful search will usually find them, and they are best handled by redirecting the plural or derivative to the singular. Keep terms singular if you can. And watch out for plurals like “agency” to “agencies” and “plus” to “pluses.”

Have at it.

Fool on!! (And thanks for your help.)

(This Flossary Guide is completely un-authorized and subject to correction and review.)
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When linking a term in an article for further definition, the plurals problem is best handled by placing the braces before the s.

So if the term is baseballs, [[baseballs] creates a plural term. But if you enter it as [[baseball]]s, the term created will be singular.

In the agency to agencies situation, usually you will have to redirect agencies, although it is possible to enter agency in the related terms list (but then you will have both terms on the wanted list).

Multiword terms can cause problems. Try to get them standardized if you can and use redirect for the other forms.

Some people use pipes as | but I don't know how they work.
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Hi all,

Paul, that is a fantastic list of potential starting points and tips for newbies. Another starting point is actually the inverse of these suggestions: Start with something you know nothing at all about and seems to be missing from Flossary. Here's what I think that process would look like:

# Pick something you know nothing about but are interested in learning.
# Make sure it's not in Flossary, or that it's Flossary page is sufficiently incomplete to answer your questions about it.
# Research the topic until you understand it well enough to explain it to someone who knows slightly less than you.
# Write up that explanation in Flossary with appropriate links (whether they exist already or not)
## Preview this new page for correctness
## For any links you may have included, based on your recent research, check:
### existing links for completeness, filling in any necessary information.
### new/non-existent links and begin a new page filling in as much as you can.
### Go back to 4.1 for these pages. until they're ready for the 'Save' button
## Submit all pages
# Submit the page you initially started
# Go to bed, you have to get up in an hour to go to work!
# Get back up and come and tell us what you've just done on the discussion board so we can go add to it.
# Grab a cup of coffee and head to work with no sleep.

I hope that makes sense. This is essentially what I did with the Market Trends page and the How to research a company pages last night.

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On the issues of Plurals and Capitals in words, I have taken to creating multiple redirects for my favorite terms.

For example, if you put a link up to:

Credit Default Swaps
credit default swap

You'll get redirected to
Credit default swap

One of the big problems I have reading message board posts is that people often forget to say what their acronyms mean. Having acronym redirects allow people to quickly figure out what an unfamiliar one means.

Also, creating a pluralized redirect allows people who are building pages not to have to make a funky link. I'd rather create one redirect once than have everyone who reference [credit default swaps] have to figure out how to hide a reference to [credit default swap|credit default swaps].

It's my programming background -- less code is almost always better code (so long as it's self-documenting).

Also, the redirects of acronyms will give us the ability to create disambiguation pages. We don't have any so far, but eventually we will need to tell the difference between, say a company with Ticker symbol CDS and the Credit swap CDS. The disambiguation page will allow us to put links to both in an easy place.

Great idea on the How To category! I love it.

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I added this as a wiki page:

Great idea and execution. Should we make this a "How to" guide and put it into that category?

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On the issues of Plurals and Capitals in words, I have taken to creating multiple redirects for my favorite terms.

This is one of the things that has bothered me about Touchstone, but I have not heretofore articulated it (I don't think).

Given that we want this to be utilized by a wide cross-section of the populace, wouldn't it make sense to make it as user-friendly as possible? I know that if I were an "outsider" using it, and I couldn't easily pull up what I wanted without being exactly right on my search term, I'd give up and go elsewhere.

Jeremy, is there some reason we (meaning you and the other tech developers) can't write the code so that it works sort of like a Google search? i.e., You enter whatever you can come up with, and the search engine starts narrowing it down to what you might really want.

The first place to go with that kind of thing is getting rid of the need to exactly match case and singular/plural. If I want to look up CDS, for instance, I should get the relevant page whether I type in CDS, cds, cd's, credit swap, Credit swap, Credit default Swap... you get the idea.

How big a deal is this to program? And more to the point, how big a deal is it to the general using public if we DON'T program it that way?

Conversely, is this something that we Flossers/Touchers/Stoners....Fools need to just keep doing by coming up with redirect pages in every possible flavor we can think of for each term -- which makes it seamless to the using public, but more labor-intensive behind the scenes? I would like to think there's some programming code that can do it more easily, but if not, that's something I could do with my limited time -- I could maybe just fit in creating the redirects for existing terms at odd times in my schedule.

Thanks for listening! You are so good at that and then coming up with solutions.

Best regards,
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This is one of the things that has bothered me about Touchstone, but I have not heretofore articulated it (I don't think).

Nevermind. I should have looked around first, after being gone so long, before posting that.

It looks like you've already come up with a solution to the search by putting in a "search" button in addition to the "go" button!

That said, now that I've seen it, I'm wondering if we couldn't make it even better. As it stands, it reminds me of an IRS webpage search (one of the most frustrating I've ever used, btw), which gives you results that, themselves, are not necessarily user-friendly (although currently, our Touchstone search results far surpass those at the IRS).

Currently, with so few pages in Touchstone, the results page for some items is fairly easy to look at and navigate. But once we've grown to have tens of thousands of pages, many of which may have the term the person is searching for within the page, that results list could get pretty unwieldy.

So... back to my original question... is it possible/feasible to create more of a Google-type search (or at least one that is visually easier on the eyes) that comes up with a more relevant listing from which to choose? For instance, I searched on "cds," and the resulting list put (with "CDs" somewhere on its page) ahead of "Credit default swap," which was number 7 on the list. Then I searched on "stock option," and I got two actual page matches (good), with a long list of text matches that made my eyes glaze over looking through it (bad). Further down the road, with a bazillion pages in Touchstone, what will that list look like? Will it cause the user to throw up their hands in frustration? Quite possibly.

I think ease of use is of paramount importance. Any thoughts out there on how we can achieve a better search functionality? (Unfortunately, this is not perceived as one of TMF's strengths... in the past, doing a search on the discussion boards has frustrated me no end -- and I don't give up easily. I don't even try to use it anymore.)

OTOH, back to something I said in the other post -- would it be easier in the long run to try and come up with some kind of secondary page that we would create that would say something like, "Were you looking for one of these topics?" And then throw links to everything on that page that might apply to what they had typed -- perhaps organized by category, subject, etc. Anything to make seeking the answer to their question easier, more intuitive, and less likely to cause eye-glazing.

At this point, not being a programmer, and not being well-informed on wikis in general, I have more questions than answers. Sorry 'bout that.

Best regards,
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