Help:Tools, Training, and Testing

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The Asylum has a set of tools available for use by its members, but each member is required to demonstrate competency on that tool before they are allowed to use it on their own. This page describes the wiki system used to capture that process.



This system is comprised of wiki pages for tools, tool species, and rubrics.


A tool page describes all the characteristics that are unique to a tool. For example:

  • make
  • model
  • user manual
  • parts list / diagram
  • any consumables that either the Asylum or an individual member might buy in order to use that tool
  • any quirks that a particular tool has (e.g., "if less than 3 teeth of this saw are engaged with the workpiece, it will throw its belt").

The tool page should answer any immediate questions of someone who wants to know the capabilities, specifications, or "what-do-I-do-if"s of the machine.

Each tool belongs to one and only one tool species.

Tool Species

A "tool species" is a term that the Asylum made up to capture the notion that some tools are alike in the way that they operate. For example, whether a band saw is big or small, the principle of its operation is the same; passing the band saw test will allow a member to use any of the band saws in the shop. On the other hand, a metal lathe is a completely different machine than a wood lathe, and requires separate training. 3D printers are another good example of machines that perform similar functions but require very different training from one another.

In wiki terms, a Tool Species is a category. All tools in the category are fair game to use if you have completed the training listed there.

A "tool species" category page provides all the information concerning Asylum training for that species.

  • the rubric
  • training class signup information
  • testing session signup information
  • any documentation needed for a trainer to properly conduct the training and/or administer the test
  • any documentation needed for a student to pass the "memorization" part of the test.

The tool species page should answer the question "what do I have to do in order to be allowed to use this set of tools at the Asylum?"

Each tool species is covered by one and only one Rubric.


A rubric is "a standard of performance for a defined population"; in this case, the defined population is the Artisan's Asylum member base and the standard of performance is a printable checklist that is signed and retained as proof of a member's successful (or unsuccessful) completion of a testing session. Each rubric corresponds to one and only one tool species.

Craft Areas

A Craft Area is a work area in the shop. A tool will be assigned to one of these areas (either based on its being stationary and placed there, or to be put away there after use).

Setting up from scratch

Creating a Tool Species

Although it seems strange to create the page for a tool species before creating pages for the tools within that species, keep in mind that without a path to completed training, a tool in the shop is purely decorative. The tool species should describe the full range of tools that are eligible for the same training session, neither too inclusive nor too exclusive (e.g. "Lathes" might be too general, "Wood Lathes" just right, and "South Bend Wood Lathes" too specific).


A tool species should be a plural name. So if your desired name for the species is encabulator widgets, create a new page category page with that name (e.g.


The only required element on your new category page will go right at the top: the ToolSpecies Template. You can start with just an empty template:



Save the page; that's all for now.

Creating a Rubric

Without a signed rubric there is no authorization for a member to be able to use a tool. So the rubric comes first, even if it's a stub that says "Member has completed the testing for this tool".


Keeping with the convention above, the rubric for encabulator widgets should be called encabulator widget rubric -- note the singular form -- and it should be created at

Templating and Proper Linking

The first thing to go on your new rubric page will be the Rubric template, whose sole parameter is the name of the category you created in the previous step. So for this example:

{{Rubric|Encabulator widgets}}

This template creates the fields in the upper right of the page to be filled in and signed by the member and the instructor (and you will notice a small-print link in that section, which should point back to the tool species for verification).

Next, you will fill out the "meat" of the rubric. If you don't have it yet, you can just use the following copy-pastable stub:

==== Participation ====
{{Cb}} Has completed the testing course for this tool.

In this example, we use the template called {{Cb}} to create a printable checkbox. In addition, we use the quadruple-equals sign notation to make the section headers -- this keeps things small on the printed page, so that it all fits on one sheet. You can use as many sections and checkboxes per section as you feel is appropriate, but remember to check the print preview of the rubric page after each edit to make sure that it meets your expectations.

Finishing the Tool Species

Add testing and training link URLs as shown in the example template.

Proper Linking

Now that we have a rubric, we can go back to the Tool Species and add the appropriate link to the rubric page:

|rubric = [[Encabulator widget rubric]]

Creating the Craft Area page

It's highly doubtful that this hasn't been done already.

Creating the Tool page


The first "enabulator widget" tool has come into the shop, and it's called the "Acme 603". So, you would create a new page like

Templating and Proper Linking

The first thing to go in this page should be the ToolBox Template. While the majority of the fields are explained on the page for the template itself, for the purposes of this guide the only important fields are location and tool_species:

|location = Metalworking
|species  = Encabulator widgets

Note that this is simply the name of the Tool Species category that we created, but without the Category: part.

At this point, the bare skeleton of the tool, tool species, and rubric is complete.

Checking it For Correctness / Common Mistakes

Consider the 3 pages described above:

  • A tool called "Acme 603 Encabulator Widget"
  • A tool species called "Encabulator widgets"
  • A rubric called "Encabulator widget rubric"

Improper Category Use on a Tool Page

A tool page uses a tool species page as a category, but this is done through the template, NOT via the normal "Category" markup. In other words, if you see the following code in a tool page:

   ... some template fields would be listed ... 

[[Category:Encabulator widgets]]

The bolded line is incorrect and should be removed; follow the directions above for properly defining the tool species of the tool.

Also, ensure that the tool is not being accidentally listed in other categories that happen to be tool species!

Why we do this

We have two templates for tools: ToolBox, for tools that are active in the shop, and ToolBox-Gone for tools that have left the shop, either permanently or temporarily. By defining the tool species in the template field, switching the template from ToolBox to ToolBox-Gone will automatically remove it from the Tool Species listing.

Improper Category Use in a ToolBox Template

The tool_categories field in a ToolBox template should only be used for listing categories that are not the species or craft area. For example, the following code in a tool page is wrong:

   ... some template fields would be listed ... 
|species = Encabulator widgets
|tool_categories = [[Category:Encabulator widgets]] [[Category:Fictional devices]]

The bolded text is incorrect (or more precisely: redundant) and should be removed.

Improper Rubric Links

The rubric should be linking to a wiki page. It should not be an uploaded file, nor an external file.

Improper Tool - Species - Rubric agreement

Here are colorized listings to show proper agreement between the 3 pages.

For the tool page listed at /index.php/Acme_603_Encabulator_Widgets:

|species  = Encabulator widgets

For the tool species page listed at /index.php/Category:Encabulator widgets

|rubric = [[Encabulator widget rubric]]

For the rubric page listed at /index.php/Encabulator_widget_rubric

{{Rubric|Encabulator widgets}}

Blank Fields and Flagged Pages

Any blank lines in a template MUST be removed. For example:

|rubric = [[Encabulator widget rubric]]
|training = 

The bolded line should be deleted. This will allow the ToolSpecies template to ascertain that the training field is missing, and it will flag the page approprately. Flagging is done by assigning the page to one of the Flag categories. The flag categories relevant to tools are:

The meaning of each of these flag categories is defined on that category page, as well as instructions of how to fix it.

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