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What is VenueSpecs?

VenueSpecs is an open-collaboration wiki, meaning anyone with an internet connection can add and edit pages here. It's built on the MediaWiki platform, free and open-source software created to power sites like Wikipedia. The VenueSpecs wiki has a specific purpose: to list technical specifications like stage dimensions, sound system details, microphones, audio/visual playback equipment, backlines and more, located in venues around the world. Similar technical specifications can be relevant for a wide range of venues, small and large, including theaters, concert halls, music venues, recording studios, nightclubs and conference centers.

Why is VenueSpecs better?

VenueSpecs puts technical specifications from venues all over the world in one place. This makes it easier to find a specification for one venue, and dramatically reduces the time spent finding multiple specifications for multiple venues. VenueSpecs pages are trivial to update. Whether adding or removing something small like a microphone, or making changes to reflect a major renovation, it takes just seconds to make an update. Items listed on a VenueSpecs page link to detailed item pages. Just click on a mix console or lighting unit to see images, product specifications, links to the manufacturer's page and more. Not only does this make writing a venue spec much easier, but product details are accurate and presented in the way VenueSpecs users want them. Venues on VenueSpecs don't need a website. With centralized ticketing services, event promotion, interactive street maps, not every venue has a website, or one that can be easily updated like VenueSpecs.

Who is VenueSpecs for?

VenueSpecs is primarily for performers, musicians, tour managers, sound engineers and technical staff. The format of VenueSpecs is designed to most suit the needs of these people, but anyone with an interest is welcome to browse and contribute.

What kinds of venues are here?

Venues listed here should share similar types of specifications. You can see the most common specifications by looking at the section headings in the new venue template. If a venue shares some of these specifications, then VenueSpecs is likely a good place to list it. Common types of venues suited to VenueSpecs include Music venues, nightclubs with DJ equipment, theaters and recording studios, but this list is by no means exhaustive. VenueSpecs has an aggregated category structure and a good search facility, so a wide variety of venue can be listed here without getting lost. Small spaces like bars and DIY music spaces, with just a few specifications, are just as welcome as a large national arenas, requiring many exhaustive details.

What should be listed in a VenueSpecs page?

Information in a VenueSpecs page should be as lean and as relevant as possible for the primary audience. Pages should only contain information best suited to being here and not somewhere else. The more venues sharing a specification type, the better suited it is to being on a VenueSpecs page. For example almost all of the venues here list available microphones. Most microphone models have a detailed VenueSpecs product page that can easily be referenced. So this is a great place to list microphones. However, the details for how to book a venue are not particularly common across venues here. Furthermore, there are better services for that kind of information, such as Indie on the Move. Basically, technical details about the venue only belong here. If you have any ideas or opinions, the current issues talk page is a good place to share them.

I run a venue and we have the tech specs on our site, should I move them to VenueSpecs?

Yes! Many tech specs exist in the darkest corner of a venue's own website, without good clear navigation to them. This is because the primary focus of a venue's site is paying audience members, who want to see nice pictures and a food menu. Specs on a venue's website are almost always out of date, because who can update the website? Probably not the sound guy. They typically lack appropriate detail, or have details incorrectly copied out. There are many situations where what kind of "12-channel board" you have, or if a "DI box" is a Radial Engineering JDI or an EMO E525 can make a critical difference to a performance. That's going to make a difference to your paying audience members too. Helping everyone prepare for a great show, helps everyone experience a great show. VenueSpecs makes, at least part of that, really easy.

(You can always add a link from your venue tech spec page to your VenueSpecs page.)

I run a venue and we have a PDF we email out to clients

Well put your specs up here dear friend. No one wants to email you just to get your tech specs. Plus, all the same drawbacks apply as with listing specs on your website, with a few more thrown in. Details in your PDF can't be picked up in any search results. This doesn't help anyone find your awesome venue and all it's cool new features. Event staff organize nearly everything in a web browser, your tech specs should be accessible by one too. PDFs get buried in email chains or saved with forgettable names and lost. Just keeping track of them is a real pain. So is emailing "does your venue have a snare drum" or "support for 200A three-phase cam-lock lighting power" over and over again. VenueSpecs solves all of these problems and more.

If you really must use a PDF though, don't despair, there is a feature on VenueSpecs for this too. You can generate a PDF of a page at any time and email it out to clients. We're sure they would prefer a centrally located, searchable, sortable, interactive wiki like this one, but the option is there.

What if someone adds incorrect information?

VenueSpecs has a team of administrators watching for malicious updates. A full, public edit history makes rolling back a previous edit both swift and trivial. Almost nothing is deleted from a page's history and every change is recoverable. Venues can set up alerts to watch their own pages for updates and monitor accuracy.

If you really want to ensure a page looks exactly how it did at a certain point, you can always use a permalink. This is a URL that will always point to a specific version of a page, just as it looked when you copied the link. We don't really recommend this though, because as the page updates with new, useful information that permanent link will always point back to the old version. And of course you could always make a PDF, which obviously no one can change - although that is largely the problem with current tech specs and backline information and we don't really recommend that either.

Finally, VenueSpecs is just a really awesome community! Overwhelmingly edits are from the venues themselves, or people in them with first-hand, on-the-scene knowledge making corrections and updates to help everyone. The live, open, editing features are a largely why VenueSpecs is the goto place for a venue's most up-to-date tech specs and why VenueSpecs is the easiest way for a venue to publish them.

How do I make a page on VenueSpecs?

Making a page on VenueSpecs is easy, but before you do that check the page does not already exist. Do a Search for the venue name. Duplicate venues are confusing and may get deleted.

You need to create an account and verify your email address to add and edit pages. Head over here or click Create Account in the top right when you're ready. After filling out the create account form you will receive a confirmation email. Follow the instructions in the email and you will be able to add and edit pages on VenueSpecs.

If you created an account but did not verify your email address, you can resend the confirmation email. Login to VenueSpecs and go to the Preferences page. Scroll to the bottom of the User Profile tab and click the "Resend Confirmation Email" button.

Once you have a verified account, there are several ways to make a new page, explained here. Just a quick note, the title of the page will come from the exact URL you choose, or the search term you used. So be careful about how you choose uppercase letters, whether you have 'The' in your title etc. This cannot easily be changed.

How do I get my venue page started?

Pages are written in wikitext, a shorthand way to create html markup. To get started, new pages automatically load with a template. We recommend using this template so pages stay uniform across the site, it also speeds things up. Adapt the template to suit your needs and best describe your venue.

Saving an empty template will create the page and automatically create a table of contents and multiple sections and subsections you are likely to need. These can then be edited (or deleted) separately by clicking the [edit] link next to each heading. Some people find it easier to build a new page this way. Or you can just edit the entire page in one go using the edit link at the top of the page.

How do I add a new section?

Any text between '=' signs in wikitext automatically creates a new section heading. The more '=' used, the more nested the section heading, e.g.
==New Sub Heading==
Avoid creating a heading with just one '=' because that is the page title itself.

How do I make a table of contents for my page?

The table of contents gets created automatically when you have 4 or more sections.

What do I add to each section?

Under each section, add your specifications. Avoid prose unless it's really necessary and stick to easy to read lists and tables.

Can I only use the section headings in the template?

No, you can use any headings you want. Feel free to add new ones and delete or edit unused template headings. The headings should help describe your venue as clearly as possible. However, if you find yourself adding lots of new headings and using very few from the template, consult What should be on a VenueSpec page to make sure you're adding the right kind of information. VenueSpecs is not for general information about a venue.

That's too much work, can I have my VenueSpecs page done for me?

If you send your tech details to info@venuespecs.org we may add your page for you. It really depends how busy we are but we certainly don't mind you asking. We've added many of the pages here.

Is VenueSpecs stable?

Yes. Data is backed up daily and we plan to be here for a long time. We serve a small, niche community of users so our running costs are low and manageable. If you want to help by sponsoring a page, get in touch.

Is VenueSpecs part of Wikipedia?

No. VenueSpecs has nothing to do with Wikipedia other than it has been created using the same software. The Wikimedia Foundation release their MediaWiki software for free, for anyone to use. MediaWiki is the wiki software that powers this site. It's incredibly neat, we love it and you can check out other external sites using MediaWiki too.

How can I get in touch with someone at VenueSpecs

Email us at info@venuespecs.org, we would love to hear from you.