Frequently asked questions

What is PlantVillage?
How is PlantVillage different from other forums?
Where can I ask more questions about PlantVillage?
Who is behind PlantVillage?
Why do I need to sign in to post?
Why can I not delete some of my questions, answers and comments?
Can I reuse content that I found on PlantVillage?
I've forgotten my password - what should I do?
My post has been edited - why?
My post has been closed - why?
What are badges?
What is a Plant Journal?

What is PlantVillage?
PlantVillage is a user moderated Q & A forum dedicated to the goal of helping people grow their own food. It is an open, freely available resource that helps you solve all your plant related questions.

How is PlantVillage different from other forums?
PlantVillage is user moderated - contributions can be voted up (or down) based on merit. This has tremendous advantages over standard forums. Most importantly, you don't have to read through all the posts before you get to the best post - high quality content will be voted up by the community, and you'll be able to trust the information that others found reliable. By voting on your contributions, the community assigns a score to your user profile. This will allow the most helpful members of our community to be rewarded with reputation.

Where can I ask more questions about PlantVillage?
We have a special PlantVillage forum here that is dedicated to discussing PlantVillage.

Who is behind PlantVillage?
PlantVillage is a project started by Marcel Salathé and David Hughes, both biologists working at Penn State University. In addition, Lindsay McMenemy and Brian Lambert are on the PlantVillage team. The project is currently funded by a generous grant from the Huck Institutes of Life Sciences.

Why do I need to sign in to post?
PlantVillage is a user moderated forum. We value high quality contributions, and the community will reward these contributions through upvoting, which will increase your reputation. We can only do this if we ask people to sign up. Rest assured, it's a very simple process and will always remain that way. Also rest assured that all of our content will always be openly accessible to anyone - no sign up required.

Why can I not delete some of my questions, answers and comments?
The community very much appreciates your contributions - they are of great value to everyone interested in growing food. It would be hard for anyone to understand a thread of a question and its answers and comments if some of that content were suddenly deleted. On the other hand, we realize that mistakes happen, and we do want you to be able to delete things that you posted accidentally. To solve this problem, PlantVillage lets you delete any of your contributions as long as nobody has acted on those contributions. This means that
- you can delete any comment you've made
- you can delete any answer you've provided as long as it hasn't been voted or commented on
- you can delete any question you've asked as long as it hasn't been voted on, or has been commented on, or has been answered.
As the community grows, the specific rules may change, but the general concept will remain the same: as long as others have not acted on your contributions, you will always be able to delete them.

Can I reuse content that I found on PlantVillage?
Absolutely! Everything you find on PlantVillage is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. This is the same license that Wikipedia uses. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon any content on PlantVillage even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit PlantVillage and license their new creations under the identical terms. This ensures that content will remain openly accessible for ever. Our users agree that they do not post content which they are not allowed to share, but we cannot give you a legal guarantee that this is always the case. If you find content that violates copyright licenses, please do let us know and we will remove it immediately.

I've forgotten my password - what should I do?
Go to the log in page and click on the link that says "Forgot your password?" - we'll send you an email with instructions how to reset your password.

My post has been edited - why?
Community editing is a major element of keeping PlantVillage focused.

Moderators will sometimes (very rarely) edit posts - this can happen for a variety of reasons. By far the most common reason is the removal of ads, phone numbers, and links to businesses and other web pages that do not directly contribute to answering a question. PlantVillage is a knowledge sharing platform, not a contact sharing platform. Thus, if a link contains knowledge that helps answering the question, that's great and we won't touch it. However, if a link doesn't directly contain that knowledge - i.e. a link to a business that can generally help with the kind of problems identified in the question - we will consider it as unsolicited advertisement.

My post has been closed - why?
We close posts that are off topic, only relevant to the poster, or that have already been asked before.

A post is off topic if it isn't related to an issue about growing edible plants.
A post is only relevant to the poster if the question is so specific that nobody else will ever have the same problem.

If a post is closed, it will remain on the site, but it will be clearly marked a closed, and it can't be answered on commented on anymore.

What are badges?
Badges are awarded to anyone contributing to PlantVillage - they help others understand visually how much you are contributing. Different badges are awarded for different things - you can get badges for providing answers, questions, comments; for getting picked as the provider of most helpful answers; for participating in the community by voting; and so on. Badges come in three levels: level 1 (brown), level 2 (green), and level 3 (gold). Level 1 badges are awarded to contributors who are just starting out. Level 2 badges are awarded to contributors who are regularly participating in the community. Level 3 badges are awarded to advanced contributors who have a participated substantially over extended periods of time. It's important to note that badges are awarded automatically - and thus completely objectively - by the system whenever a contributor meets certain criteria (e.g. when the number of answers provided exceeds a threshold).

If you are very new to PlantVillage and would like to get your first badge, here's a handy tip: The easiest badge to get is the Shovel - Level 1 badge: you will get it when you tell the community a bit more about yourself, i.e. by providing a user image and a biosketch.

What is a Plant Journal?
Keeping a record of your garden is essential for improvement. Plant Journals are your way to track the progress of a plant or garden throughout the growing season. By taking photos of plants and keeping notes on their condition, you can see the progress of your plant over a long period of time. This is very helpful if your plant later has a problem and you want to see when the trouble began. It’s also helpful to share your journals with others who may recognize something that you don’t.

Growing a garden is an activity that takes place over many months and it’s very helpful to see the full picture when diagnosing diseases or pests. A journal is also handy to check back on the previous year’s growing season. You can quickly see when and what you planted last year, if there was a frost and when, what grows well in what areas, and a whole assortment of useful information. The more information you get in the form of photos and notes the better. You can go to your home page and start a Plant Journal today!