[Home]Talk to Me/Archive Chat 3

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Nice new search engine results! They're apparently sorted alphabetically, which is sufficient right now. Perhaps, as the wiki grows, it would be useful to have more options available, e.g. sort by date, sort by file size, sort by author, etc. (by author can be done with regexp already, but I don't really expect newbies to want to use regexp) Matthias Gutfeldt

A subpage has a slash at the beginning of its name. In searches and recent changes listings, the subpage name is appended to the parent page name. On the subpage, the parent page name appears in the top bar menu, right after HomePage. Subpages could give automatic indexing through the Category tag, and provide more helpful search listings with subpages grouped after the parent page in the listing. The goal is to come up with a FAQ page format that takes advantage of wiki structural features (like the new search listing and the click-title function) to automate the TOC and index maintenance. -- Jerry Muelver

I've started a page on Matthias Gutfeldt/Quality Assurance (it's just there because I couldn't find any logical place to put), and I'd really be happy if somebody could put a few more pointers there. QA seems to be an exact science, but I guess a few practical tips and articles would be quite sufficient. Thanks. Matthias Gutfeldt

Nice one, Matthias! Web site QA is a Very Hot Topic with me at the moment, as I am struggling with IT rules on the one hand and client needs and inexperience on the other. I'll be in on this one in a couple of days. Jerry Muelver

Matthias -- Every time I check in, I find you doing something interesting and enviable. Now you've got a whole damned page of links that's going to take me weeks to work through! Jerry Muelver

I'm talking about all of it, but most recently your Bookmark page. Some reallyreally quality stuff there. Makes me want to buy a new computer and start over fresh and clean again. Jerry Muelver

eeek. I've just registered and added a couple of comments, and now I see my "actions" are showing up on the RecentChanges page - the only non-Jerry or non-Matthias name around. Should I have marked my stuff as "minor update" to prevent it from showing up?

aside from that... the fact that visited links turn to black make it difficult for me to find my way back to a page I "walked" to - because the links I followed the first time don't stand out anymore.

of course - my opinion on all this is "quite excited"! Stephanie Booth

Should I have marked my stuff as "minor update" to prevent it from showing up?

Nope -- I'd see it anyway. You can set your view of Recent Changes in Preferences to show all changes, not just minor. That way I can keep track of the some the back-and-forth interactions better. Welcome aboard! How'd you find us? Jerry Muelver

Okay - I was a bit worried, because the only names in the recent changes seemed to be yours and Matt's, and then *blam!* mine.

I'd seen you mentioned in ciwah/s a couple of times, but never really dug into the site. This time, Brucie mentioned allmyfaqs to me again, so I thought I'd go and have a better look - and here I am!

Things go in cycles. Right now Matthias is hot on Smart Tags and building a collection of high-quality bookmarks from his home page. Isofarro is pondering the construction of an alt.html FAQ as a focused spin-off. Phil Hayz is... well... Phil Hayz. Brucie warps in and out depending on the most recent gravity flux. You'll see a lot of familiar names here.

I like the way you dug in and offered direct, helpful markup and explanation. That's where we're heading with this -- replace the reference links with dynamic information of our own, and put the references as "See Also" comments. The Chat archives from Talk To Me tell the story of AllMyFAQs evolution. Jerry Muelver

Is there a specific place devoted to "meta" comments? I mean, a place for discussion on the mission and the methods of the site, etc? Or should I give all my "feedback" here?

I noticed that there doesn't seem to be much emphasis put on giving standards-compliant solutions (or at least labeling hacks as such), or linking to relevant parts of the w3 specs... [well, that's what I've observed on the small number of pages I visited].

OK - I'm sticking this here because I'm not sure where else to put it *grin*. When I arrived here yesterday, I bumped in a few *cough* usability problems (meaning: it took me some time to figure out what to do and where to go).

Question: when should I sign my name, and when should I not? For example, I just added stuff to Using tables for layout - as the FAQ wasn't signed, I didn't add my name either. But on the other hand, I appreciate knowing who wrote what I read... Are there any "wiki guidelines" or does one simply do as one pleases? Stephanie Booth

There are some guidelines, suggestions actually, at [Wiki style]? here and at http://www.usemod.com/cgi-bin/mb.pl?StartingPoints at Meatball (where all the really profound wiki-community meta-ratiocination occurs). But doing as one pleases is pretty much the way to go. If enough of the wiki community likes it, and emulates it, the personal style becomes the norm.

I'm aware of that, but even in the most liberal communities, a culture builds up (that's the whole point, isn't it?). So an outsider who isn't aware of the cultural norms (even if they are flexible!) runs the risk of "putting the wrong foot forward". See what I mean? Even though I know I can do what I please, I like having information about what "usage" is around here.

Of course there are community norms and expectations -- anarchy is not a society. However, a wiki is ultimately an extended collaboration, a merged culture. Norms are descriptive, not prescriptive, and change the minute someone comes up with a better idea, style, or manner of interaction. If you are completely comfortable with the status quo, you would make no changes, and would in fact resist any changes, even improvements. A wiki is something like a jazz combo, a group collaborating on something new, based on some shared understandings, but with an inspirational component of unpredictablility, uncertanty, and freedom of expression. Jerry Muelver

I get it. I've been doing a little MeatBall reading ; ). I guess it's part of my personality that I'm afraid of "doing things the wrong way" and getting people mad/irritated at me (which happens easily if I don't pay attention, as I have rather strong opinions and don't hesitate to voice them). Stephanie Booth

You see signatures (or more likely bylines prepended to an article or comment or code snippet) if I have swiped something from a newsgroup. I feel obligated to attribute such re-use. Unsigned articles and contributes are usually considered fair game for editorial improvement by any passer-by, whereas signed contributions will more likely be annotated rather than edited. Jerry Muelver

Concrete suggestions (may be good or bad, you tell me!):

Think "search engine". Now notice the use of keywords and phrases on the page and the clever use of ".htm" for the page filename. A redirect would lose those engines who avoid redirects.

Thinking "search engine": I'd say the most relevant stuff for a search engine is on the HomePage (names of sections, etc - it's simply closer to the actual content, whereas the actual "splash" page is simply one "click" further away... not that I'm a click-counting junkie btw).

As for the redirect, I wouldn't be too afraid: if major search engines function like google, they'll crawl and crawl starting from any page you give them (ie: not just the "index" page) - you could rely on "outside" linking to ensure the site is crawled (but having not seen the referrer logs, I can't really speak on that topic).

Oh, just a thought: if redirecting is a problem (it's not a great favorite with me, I have to admit), why not move the Home Page stuff to allmyfaqs.net, then?

I don't get your ".htm" comment : (

Page names/titles are not written with indexing in mind, I'm afraid, which makes the index display a useful reference mostly for spotting redundant or lost pages. If the pages were named "HTML:Frames:Links:Two pages at once" or somesuch, kindexing would be more germane. but in a wiki, what kind of index do you want? See http://www.usemod.com/cgi-bin/mb.pl?action=browse&id=IndexingScheme&oldid=IndexingSchemes for more ideas along this line.

Actually, I was simply thinking of the current one. It's like, when I put my hands on a book, I like going to have a peek at the table of contents or the index, to get a "feel" of what stuff is inside. I get an idea of what questions are answered, I spot some minor pages I might never have got to otherwise, and I also get an idea of who the players are...

Yup. Jakob Nielsen shows that a prominent Search function is critical, since folks would rather use Search than use navigation for our kind of information. Also people don't mind scrolling if they are doing it for content.I had a Search box at the top for a while, but it added an extra line of space, and the coding was a pain to replicate when a new version of the software came out.

I'm not sure how this answers my First Time Visitor page suggestion. I'm all for search at the top if it's possible - my concern was more that most of the stuff I get on my screen when I go to the Home Page is useless to me unless it's my first visit. And even when it is my first visit, it's not obviously enough indicated that it's for me (nitpicking, I know, that's what I do best!)

I started with the Meatball homepage as a model, and have been pushing things around with newbies in mind ever since.

I wouldn't want you to feel that I'm criticizing your organisational decisions. I'm aware that this wiki is still very much in the making, that there are "historical" (and perfectly valid!) reasons for things being how they are. Do you think my suggestion would improve things for newbies, or not?

Can't trust people to do the right thing -- you can only hope. Renaming the homepage is one possibility --"Start Here" or "Main Page" or....

Start Here is not too bad I must say : ) Stephanie Booth

Oh, and of course, don't feel bad about rejecting these suggestions. I won't take it personally. Well, at least I'll promise to try not to. Stephanie Booth

I love 'em! I hope my balancing comments help refine them. Keep those cards and letters coming in! Jerry Muelver

Reworked the splash page, HomePage, First Time Visitor, and What AllMyFAQs is and is not. Jerry Muelver

Whee! this rocks : )

Suggestion: why not make links to the relevant "indexes" (or whatever we call them) in this line? "A wiki experiment in community website collaboration on FAQs for HTML, CSS, PHP, CGI, Perl, mySQL, XML, JavaScript, etc." Stephanie Booth


Can we have anchors, please? Something like <a href="#blah"> and <a name="blah" id="blah"> wouldn't hurt, esp. since we've already got <em> and <strong> etc. It would make it easier to point to specific items on a long page, because it's not always possible/sensible to put the content on separate pages. Matthias Gutfeldt

That request has been posted with Clifford Adams for some time. It would be easy enough to implement by enabling full HTML, but what a can of worms that could be! Jakob Nielsen says people will scroll if they are going for content, though I agree anchors would make it easier. OTOH, everything you hardwire into a page makes less reusable. I'll ask Cliff again. In the meantime, adroit use of rational subheads makes page referencing, and indexing, easier. The search engine here likes subheads. Jerry Muelver

I think it would be a big crazy mess if you give full HTML support. So many people, all with varying ideas, there would be very little consistency to pages. Personally, i think there should be a page identifying Wiki commands that are available and there effects. Bodidily

You mean, like http://www.usemod.com/cgi-bin/mb.pl?TextFormattingRules ? Or, we have our very own Intro and Tour. Jerry Muelver

Erm, yeah. I knew there would be one somewhere! Thanks Jerry Bodidily

Guest Register

Does anyone agree that Richard Formby has the most interesting page in the Register? and Jerry, why are some people missing from the GR? Brucie isn't there!

Jerry Muelver: RF's page is brief, and to-the-point. I hope we haven't offended him.... Brucie's there -- he's just not there. You have to keep checking, in case he phase-warps through.

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