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Alliance Horlogère FAQ


What is Alliance Horlogère?

Alliance Horlogère is an online, free-content, reference work on horology that anyone at all can edit.

What does Alliance Horlogère mean?

Alliance Horlogère is a French phrase which can be roughly translated as an alliance of watchmakers and clockmakers.

Who is responsible for the articles on Alliance Hologère?

You are! Actually, you can even edit this very FAQ, so long as the edits are helpful. This is a collaborative effort. All you need is to know how to edit a page, and have some knowledge related to the subject of horology that you want to share.

You can learn who is responsible for the most recent versions of any given page by clicking on the "Page history" link. Nevertheless, if you spot an error in the latest revision of an article, you are highly encouraged to be bold and correct it. This practice is one of the basic review mechanisms that maintains the reliability of the resources available on this site.

If you are uncertain or find the wording confusing, quote the material on the associated Discussion page and leave a question for the next person. This helps eliminate errors, inaccuracies, or misleading wording more quickly and is highly appreciated by the community.

How can I contact the project?

Given the massively collaborative nature of Alliance Horlogère, there is no single point of contact. There is currently a Facebook group, which you can contact for project-specific questions and there are plans in the works for further means of broad-based communication in the future.

If you wish to communicate with a specific user, leave a message on his or her personal talk page, available by clicking on the Talk link next to their edits on the Recent Changes page or the Page History page for a given article. Many members have also registered their email addresses, which you can use by clicking the "Email this user" link from their personal page.

In addition, each user article has a talk page. This gives you the opportunity to leave other members a message or to make comments about a particular article. Use the discussion link in any article to get to the talk page.

Should I create an account? Can I not just edit articles anonymously?

Due to the acuteness of subject matter dealt with on Alliance Horlogère, the community requires that each user who modifies the content of this site to be logged in, to help assure the quality and integrity of the information shared. You do not have to be logged in or have an account to view the content of this site.

Editors with account names enjoy several benefits; among them is the positive reputation that goes with quality work. Members of the Alliance Horlogère community with an established history are respected especially with regard to neutralizing article disputes. In addition, collaborating with other members via other benefits that come with having an account, such as personal pages and personal talk pages, makes easy to contact others in the field, with questions, concerns, or suggestions you may have.

How do you know if the information is correct?

As anyone can edit any article, it is of course possible for biased, out of date, or incorrect information to be posted. However, because there are so many other people reading the articles and monitoring contributions using the Recent Changes page, incorrect information is usually corrected quickly. Thus, the overall accuracy of the information on Alliance Horlogère is improving all the time as we attract more and more contributors. You are encouraged to help by spreading the word to others with special interest or skill in horology, and also by correcting articles, validating content, and providing useful references from your own experience.

How do you prevent people from ruining articles? (Defacement or vandalism)

All changes to a page are registered in a 'page history', so any defacement can be replaced by an older version of the page, and all recent changes to Alliance Horlogère in general are automatically listed on a special page for that purpose.

Any user interested in a particular page can add it to a personal 'watchlist' which shows when a page is updated, whether that update is a joke or a substantial contribution. Furthermore, any of the many readers who pass by can correct vandalism or any other erroneous information. So, the popular pages that people might be most likely to deface are also the ones which have the most editors watching and the most readers, all of whom can 'revert' vandalism. If there is a recurrent problem, an article can be temporarily protected from editing, or user accounts and IP addresses can be blocked from editing.

Which wiki software does Alliance Horlogère run on?

Alliance Horlogère runs on a lightly modified version of MediaWiki; the same software platform that Wikipedia and its sister projects are based off of.

For more information on MediaWiki see

Why doesn't an article show up in the search?

The search index used by Alliance Horlogère is maintained on a dedicated server, and is updated approximately every thirty hours. Recent changes are not reflected until the next time the search index is updated.

Why do search results from sites other than Alliance Horlogère sometimes show up when I search?

The Internet is a vast and helpful resource and Alliance Horlogère acknowledges that potential to perpetuate the knowledge and passion of horology to everyone. There is great content everywhere on the Internet and while it is our aim to be the best go-to source for horological information, we realize that better information for a particular query may be available elsewhere on the Internet. Standing by our name, in that we are an alliance of watch and clockmakers and enthusiasts, our search results come from a large index of quality rated web pages based on search algorithms developed by Google. These search algorithms are continually being fine tuned by the developers behind Alliance Horlogère to deliver the best possible results for your query.

Furthermore, this type of search facilitates the perpetuation of great content on Alliance Horlogère by allowing users to quickly cross reference the material found here with what is available elsewhere on the Internet.

Who wrote article X on Alliance Horlogère?

Many articles on Alliance Horlogère are written by multiple editors, not just one. If you click on the "history" tab in the side bar or at the bottom of each article, there is a list of all contributors to the particular article.

How do I edit a page?

It's quite easy. Simply click the "Edit this page" tab located at the bottom of the page, in the side bar, or the other edit links across from headings on the right hand side of the page, and type away. See Help:Editing to learn about making links, using bold and italics, linking to images, and many other things....

How do I make links?

A link is just the name of the page surrounded by double square brackets ([[ and ]]). It's also possible to make the link display text that is different from that of the link itself:

[[page name]]
[[page name]] s -- suffix text will display as part of the link
[[page name|display name]] -- the piped link: hide the page name and display something else (but use this sparingly, and never "click here"!)
[[page name (disambiguation)|]] or [[Page, name|]] -- the "pipe trick": the part in parentheses and the comma and words after it will not be displayed. Note that you don't need to put underscores ("_"), to act as space separators like you see in links. Spaces will work fine.

Alliance Horlogère uses 'namespaces' to determine the sidebar to be displayed with each article. These namespaces are the same as the links at the top of each page.


  • Theory
  • Under the Loupe
  • Tooling
  • History
  • Glossary

To bind a new article to a name space, simply include the namespace, followed by a colon, at the beginning of the name for that page. For instance, [[Glossary:Tourbillon]] points to an article in the Glossary namespace that defines tourbillon.

Sometimes redirects are used to facilitate simpler linking in articles. For instance, simply typing [[keyless work]] in an article will create a link that directs the reader to [[Under the Loupe:Keyless Work]].

How long should the ideal article be?

A good rule of thumb is less than 5000 words, unless the subject really, really needs much exposition. However, for a subject that is that complex, one can link several shorter articles together, using a hub page to tie all articles together.

For example:
History of Foo
Physical Description of Foo
Relationship with Bar
Modern Cultural Icons and Foo
Foo and You: Making it work in the long run
Minimum Foo-Tree, the Gidsy-David Algorithm.

If you write one long article, you will need new headlines anyway. If you write a long paragraph, then you need to add new linebreaks. The structure of Alliance Horlogère is a web, instead of a text that you read linearly.

Many hub pages are already in place to facilitate the break-up of information into small, digestible bites.

How do I determine what other users have changed in an article?

Alliance Horlogère's wiki software can produce a list of all the changes between two versions of an article (either between two consecutive versions, or between an old and the current version), laid out in two-columns side by side with changes highlighted.

How can I add pictures to pages?

First, you need the right to publish the picture under the GNU Free Documentation License. This means that either you created the picture and therefore own the copyright, or it is in the public domain. If the picture is located on a server you control, you can refer to that image from your wiki page by simply including its URL, like this: and it will be included. (Note it will only be linked, not displayed.)

If instead you want to upload a picture to, you can use use the Alliance Horlogère depot by following the Upload a File link in the sidebar as a logged-in user. Once it is uploaded, you can use it in an article, by including its file name, precluded by the Image namespace, like this [[Image:NameOfImage.jpg]].

The end of an article doesn't appear, although it's there in the edit screen. What happened?

This is normally due to a mistake in the markup; look for a unclosed tag such as <ref>without a matching </ref> tag ('closing tag'), or simply a trailing slash such as in <video /> and add a closing tag or trailing slash in the appropriate place on the page.

What is the difference between a page and an article?

The term "page" encompasses all the material on Alliance Horlogère, including reference topics, discussion pages, documentation, and special pages such as Recent Changes.

"Article" is a narrower term referring to a page containing reference material. Thus, all articles are pages, but not all pages are articles.

What is an orphan?

An orphan is an article that no other article links to. These can still be found by searching the Alliance Horlogère, but it is preferable to find another article where a link can be added.

What is a stub?

A stub on Alliance Horlogère is a very short article, usually of one paragraph or less. Many excellent articles started out as short stubs. Likewise, our hope is that existing stubs will be expanded into proper articles.

What is a minor edit? When should I use it?

When editing a page, a logged-in user has the option to flag an edit as "minor." Use of this flag is largely a matter of personal taste. A general rule of thumb is that an edit that corrects spelling or formatting, performs minor rearrangements of text, or tweaks only a few words, should generally be flagged as a "minor edit". A major edit, in contrast, generally performs a change that close watchers of the page are likely to want to review. Of course, if an edit performs a major semantic revision, but is limited to only a few words, then the edit should not be flagged as minor.

This feature is important because users can choose to hide minor edits in their view of the Recent Changes page, to keep the volume of edits down to a manageable level.

What is "Recent Changes"?

Recent Changes lists all the edits that have been made over a given time period.

Why are some links red?

Red links indicate that a page with that name has not yet been started. Which one you see depends on your Special:Preferences. If you have "Highlight links to empty topics" checked, you'll see red links. Otherwise, you get little blue question marks.

Either way, you can click on that link and start a page with that name. But be careful: there may already be articles on similar topics, or an article on the same topic under a different name. It's pretty important to hunt around for similar topics first.

If you just registered, your username is probably shown as linking to a page that doesn't exist. Don't worry! This just means you haven't filled out your user page yet. Click on the link and tell the community about yourself!

What happens when two users edit a page at the same time?

This is called an "edit conflict". You'll get a conflict screen that displays both versions in separate windows, along with a summary highlighting the differences (typically showing the edits of both users, except those which both have made exactly the same), and instructions on how you should proceed. It's virtually impossible to lose any data.

What happens if my computer or browser crashes mid-edit, or if the server does not respond?

In case of a crash you'll lose your edit. To some extent, you can guard against this by editing in a text editor, for major work (but note that with regard to a system crash this does not help, unless you save frequently to disk).

When you get a time-out when you try to save, you might or might not lose your edit depending on your web browser. Some browsers (e.g. Opera and Mozilla Firefox) will recover the text you have tried to save if you use the back-button. In other browsers you will lose your edit. You can protect against this by copying the text (at least to the clipboard of your system). If you did not do this, you can at least recover the latest reviewed version by using the back-button and refreshing the page.

How do I learn about changes to certain topics without having to go there from time to time?

If you are a logged-in user, on every page you will see a link that says "Watch this article". If you click on it, the article will be added to your personal watchlist. Your watchlist will show you the latest changes on your watched articles.

Should I translate pages across versions of Alliance Horlogère?

Yes, it's a good idea to cross-pollinate.

What about using machine translation?

Machine translation is useful for obtaining the general idea of a text in an unfamiliar language, but it produces poor translations and should not be used on its own. If you want to use machine translation as a translation aid and intend to edit the result, please go ahead if you think it would be helpful. However, please do not paste a machine translation directly into an article.

How can I tell if an article exists in another language on Alliance Horlogère?

We try to build links between different language pages -- that's one way of seeing if an article exists elsewhere. If you don't see the language link at the bottom right of a page, go looking for the corresponding article(s) on the French side of Alliance Horlogère. If you find them, make a link both ways; if not, you can translate. Bear in mind that article may not be in one-to-one correspondence between the wikis.

Is it OK to link to other sites, as long as the material is not copied onto Alliance Horlogère?

External links are certainly allowed. Properly used, they increase the usability of Alliance Horlogère. Keep in mind, however, that Alliance Horlogère is not a web directory; external links should support the content of the article, not replace it. An article should be more than a container for external links, and the content should not require the reader to leave the site to understand the subject.

Do not place advertising links in articles on Alliance Horlogère. Commercial sites selling goods or services are obvious, but this prohibition usually includes links to blogs and discussion forums as well unless the content is particularly notable for the topic at hand. As a general rule of thumb: if you wish to place the link in Alliance Horlogère in order to drive traffic to a site, it probably doesn't belong here.

The current convention is to place external links in a separate "External links" section at the bottom of the article. Sites used as references for the article should be listed under a "References" section.

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