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Public Lab Wiki documentation

Website Basics

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This page collects some basic introduction and guidance to using the Public Lab website. There are many ways to use the site, but this page focuses on supporting newcomers.


The Public Lab website is being continuously refined, but its purpose is to:

support a diverse range of people to exchange knowledge about environmental issues that affect people, and collaborate on ways of monitoring them, organizing around them, and supporting one another in these activities.


(Draft diagram from this post)


The website is organized into several areas, including:

Questions and Answers

All questions are collected on, and also displayed by topic across many parts of the site. There are no "bad" questions -- if you don't understand something, or can't find something, please ask!

Newcomers have a unique ability to see things that have been overlooked, so we need your help!.


This word means different things to different people, but our Methods page collects many different approaches to monitoring environmental problems, from off-the-shelf commercial tools to in-progress Do-It-Yourself techniques, to community organizing and advocacy tactics.

Each page listed will have a Questions section for related questions, and will list activities you can do related to that topic.

It's not a comprehensive list of topics or methods, so please ask a question if you can think of one you want to see on there, or have related resources to share!


Above: a sampling of methods from the Methods page


The Public Lab Blog is a place where we share stories from across our networks and communities -- a place to stay updated as well as to remember the people and communities working every day to drive all of these efforts forward. See our main Blog page to learn more and to submit an article.


Your dashboard is where you can see all the latest activity on Public Lab, for a sense of what's going on across the site in the past week. It features updates and new posts, whether they're activities, events, or questions.



Each person with a Public Lab account has a profile page -- for example, see @hagitkeysar, @zengirl2, or @nedhorning -- which shows:

  • activities and notes they've authored or co-authored
  • questions and answers they've posted
  • comments they've made
  • their optional photo and bio

You can add tags to your own profile page to add information -- more on this coming soon!

Here's an example of a profile page:


Topic pages

Topic pages, or tag pages, collect all the activity around a given topic name, as represented by the "tags" each page is annotated with. See the tags section of this page for an example of tags.

To get to a Topic page, click on the tag. You'll be directed to a page like this one, for the topic "Sampling":

This page collects:

  • activities and notes
  • questions
  • contributors
  • other content

and displays it, most recent first. It's a good way to get a "snapshot" view of what's happening on a topic. But it relies on people adding the related tags (using the tag input form, which you must be logged in to see) to each page.


If you have questions about the website, please ask here!

Title Author Updated Likes Comments
How can I create and work on my own issue in Github? @bsugar over 4 years ago 4
How are the Q&A's tied together in the website database? @bsugar over 4 years ago 3
How can I delete a User Account? @niklasjordan over 4 years ago 3
How do I interpret the relationship between the schema.rb file and the models? @bsugar over 4 years ago 4
Uploaded pictures always stays vertical @aemilius89 almost 5 years ago 6
Link to notes tagged not working @asnow about 5 years ago 1
Moderate questions with machine learning. @Aleksi12358 about 5 years ago 3
It is impossible to connect to our pad: PLEASE HELP @urijosa over 5 years ago 2
Search function operating strangely? @gretchengehrke over 5 years ago 2
How do we address the issue of people posting the same or very similar questions? @stevie over 5 years ago 5
Social Integration of Public Labs with FB @bansal_sidharth2996 over 5 years ago 3
Error with showing contributors for a tag? @gretchengehrke over 5 years ago 1
How are the questions sorted on the 'Unanswered' tab? @stevie over 5 years ago 1
Is it possible to generate a word cloud based on a tag's related tags? @pdhixenbaugh almost 7 years ago 2
Activity Grids formatting - what will be their final form? @pdhixenbaugh almost 7 years ago 10
What goes into choosing a topic name? @liz almost 7 years ago 2

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