Public Lab Wiki documentation

Power Tags

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Power tags are an advanced feature which can add extra functions and layout options to your wiki pages (and sometimes research notes). They are entered like regular tags but follow the format key:value. After adding a power tag, you must refresh the page to see changes made.

To add tags, look for this box at the bottom of a wiki page or research note:


For Educators:

General power tags

  • activity:____ -- will list the content in an activity grid set to that tag
  • alert:___ -- will show the feature as alert on that node.
  • events:foo displays a listing of research notes tagged with "event" and "foo", and a link to post new notes with those tags in the left sidebar.
  • lang:es or iso:es is the way to indicate language in a research note or event. In this example, es indicates Spanish. View two letter language codes here.
  • lat:__ and lon:__ -- will add a location to your note and add a map to the content sidebar. This can also be set in your profile as your user location.
  • zoom:__ with lat:__ and lon:__ -- will override the location map zoom to the specified value. Must be between 1 (world) and 18 (building). Also works on your user location for the map on your profile page.
  • locked -- locks a wiki page from edits except to moderators and admins. An atypical power tag in that it doesn't follow key:value format; documentation here
  • redirect:____ -- redirects a page to the page with the specified ID -- i.e. redirect:100 would redirect to node 100. Does not affect admins or moderators.
  • series:____ -- displays a message of "This is part of a series on tagname." with a link to /tag/tagname
  • parent:foo adds a bar that links back to a parent wiki page
  • pin:foo causes the content it is on to show up as featured content above this website's Google Search results when that specific search term is typed in,
  • place with lat:____ and lon:______ tags, will add your page to the map on the Places page
  • prompt:_____ - adds a prompt area below a node, to encourage authors to additionally refine their posts (helpful to avoid long post templates)
  • question:____ -- will list the content in as a question on that tag page
  • with:username adds a co-author to your research note with a live link to the user's profile page, however, the note itself will not show up under that user's profile.

Older powertags

These are still supported but we are seeking to phase them out.

  • abtest:____ – redirects 50% of page visitors to the page of id given, such as abtest:1234 -- for "user testing" two versions of a page. Admins and moderators not affected.
  • list:foo displays recent posts from a Google Group with the name "foo" and a subscription input box
  • sidebar:featured displays "featured" links and images in the sidebar instead of the usual "related content"
  • sidebar:none removes the right sidebar, including the edit icons. This not only visually presents the page in a simpler layout, but effectively limits changes to the page by anyone except admins and moderators.
  • style:minimal hides the wiki toolbar (but it's accessible via a small caret button)
  • style:nobanner
  • style:wide removes the 800px width limit from wiki pages, and allows them to flow full page

Prompt powertags

By adding a prompt:FOO power tag on a node, for example via a link to post such as, the post will display an HTML feature with (in this example) the name prompt-photo.

Using this, admins may create any HTML content to be displayed just under the post - for example, a notice to add a photo to your post, or guidance on further posting. The feature may even include JavaScript functions to add/remove tags (add_tag('new-tag')) or comments (add_comment('This post is ____')), allowing a sequence of prompts to be generated which guide the user through a more gradual updating or refinement of their post.

Once a feature named prompt:______ exists, you may use it on as many posts as you like, and can incorporate it into a posting form link like: (substituting your unique prompt name for YOURPROMPT).


You can display alerts using power tags. Admins can create new types of alerts which can be displayed on any wiki or note. An example is alert:testing-2 -- use this tag on your page, and you'll see an example alert appear at the top of the page content (below the title).

Available alerts using this system are:

  • alert:testing-2
  • alert:under-construction (shows message This page is under construction)


Admins: to create new alerts, create a new Feature with the name alert-_____ where the blank is the alert name. For example, for the tag alert:testing-2, the feature is named alert-testing-2. The text of the Feature must include the "alert" HTML too, as in this example.

Inline power tags

You can now use "inline" power tags in the middle of a research note or wiki page. The first one is for generating a list of notes for a given tag, and is used in this format:


For more advanced inline tagging, see Advanced Grids

For example, to list all notes tagged with peru, you can use:


Wiki pages can be listed too:


For a more complex example, you can list all questions on the topic of "infragram" using:


Thumbnail grids

Either notes or generally nodes (notes + wikis) can be displayed as a grid of thumbnail images. The syntax for this is:

[notes:grid:coqui] (for notes)

[nodes:grid:coqui] (for notes + wikis)


To create a button with text on top that links somewhere outside of publiclab, use:


The above creates a button with a "foo" on top of a button that links to Google. For a button that links somewhere on the site, you can use something like:


The above creates a button with the text foo on top that links to: "[link you are currently on, you can find this on your address bar]/questions". So if I'm on, this links to

Advanced grids

More advanced uses like activity grids can be found in this post:

And in the requesting responses documentation.

Inline People Lists

[people:organizer] -- will display any people tagged as organizers. Add profile tags on your profile page (admins can do this for anyone)



Join this group

Login/Sign up to join.

Inline Maps

Maps may be embedded inline, displaying content tagged with lat:___ and lon:___ location tags. Read more about inline maps here.

Inline graphs

This feature is still in testing, but allows display of a CSV file as a graph:

[graph:/i/25356.csv] will display:



Prompts let us offer a place on a wiki page where a reader can enter text and it's directly inserted into the text of the wiki page just above the prompt.

[prompt :text:Placeholder text] (without space after prompt)

That looks like this when saved:

[prompt:text:Placeholder text]

We can also ask for longer-form text input with the keyword paragraph -- but be aware that the "placeholder text" can only hold letters, numbers and spaces -- no punctuation (yet):

[prompt :paragraph:Placeholder text] (without space after prompt)

That looks like this when saved:


[prompt:paragraph:Placeholder text]`

Two identical prompts on one page can cause trouble, but if you add a unique id, you can get around that:

[prompt :text:Placeholder text:UNIQUE-ID] (without space after prompt)

The prompts are better documented here.

There's also this type of "edit here" prompt:

[ edit ] (but without spaces)

Which generates this type of prompt:

Edit this page to help complete it!

Automated power tags, not for manual adding

You might see some of these being generated automatically, like when checking the box for a Research Note to be an "Event" or a "question" or when awarding Barnstars to someone's Research Note. Don't manually add these:

  • event:rsvp date:YYYY-MM-DD rsvp:username
  • barnstar:barnstarname
  • question:foo response:foo

Tag aliasing

This feature is for admins only -- please contact with questions.

We've created a system for aliasing tags, which serves a number of purposes:

A) disambiguation -- we have both spectrometer and spectrometry -- as of recently, we'd prefer spectrometry. So we make each the alias of the other, and the two become somewhat (but not completely) interchangeable on the site.

  1. When looking at, you see content tagged with spectrometry, and vice versa.
  2. Email notifications do not yet take advantage of aliasing, but may at some point (see below).

B) subcategories -- multispectral-imaging contains and is broader than infragram.

  1. When looking at, you should see content tagged with infragram.
  2. When looking at, you should NOT see content tagged with multispectral-imaging -- your query is more specific than that.

Later goals:

Some aliasing features are more complex and not complete yet.

Email subscriptions - when people subscribe to a tag, they should receive emails when content is posted using a tag that is a (more generalized) alias of the subscribed-to tag.