=New Main Page=
I have started with some rough ideas at Proposed Main Page. When reasonably ready, I'll invite comments on vim-l.
I'm pretty sure we will never have more than sporadic news, and will never frequently update the main page (monthly would be a lot). So I think we should have fairly modest aims (for example, remove the news, and anticipate that the Featured Tips won't be updated more than, say, 10 times a year, and design the Main Page accordingly).
My ideas for the Main Page include:
- This is a Vim Tips wiki, so the main page should list lots of Vim Tips.
- Make the main page much shorter and simpler, with links to other stuff.
- It should emphasise what a reader can do (search, browse, featured tips).
- It should only show news when there really is news.
- We need a better "how to" for people who might want to edit (a page with a link from Main).
- The "Submit a Tip" and "Create page" stuff should be on another page with more explanation of what a contributor should do before posting random thoughts as a new tip.
- The long "Community discussions" and "Latest from vim.org" might be on another page, with a link from Main.
I've had a quick look at a few other wikis to see how other people do things. The first of the following is a giant wiki which we should not try to emulate, but it has some nice ideas. Have a look at these (and others) and we can start formulating what we'd like to do here.
Some other wikis
- Too big and feature-rich for us, but an interesting guide.
- Nice TOC (if we could ever produce something similar).
- Beautifully simple; could be useful if had links to decent follow-up pages.
- The Did you know? section at the bottom would be good. Each point might be an interesting concept with a link to a tip (if we had sufficient tips in good shape). Similar to Featured Tips but focusing on simple facts.
--JohnBeckett 08:48, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Article ranking feature
- The above comment is archived, but I'm keeping a copy here because of its potential to improve the Main Page. However, my feeling is that it will be many months before we have any useful "top rated articles", and I don't intend promoting this concept at the moment. --JohnBeckett 08:08, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
We've have a couple of people ask questions about Vim, and we've had to refer them elsewhere. I don't know if it was in response to noticing such a question, but Metacosm has added information on #vim (Vim IRC).
The changes were:
I'm inclined to think that a better procedure would be:
- Move Freenode info to Vim Tips Wiki:Community Portal.
- Restore the Main Page to how it was.
- Delete the new page.
The Main Page has a link "Discussions and asking questions" that leads to Community Portal, and that page outlines how to ask questions. The info about #vim should be under the "Questions about Vim" section.
I'm inclined to leave things as they are (that is, keep Metacosm's change on the Main Page) for a week or two because it may be useful to encourage people to notice the new info. Then, depending on what others think, maybe implement my suggestion above. Hmmm, I see that a week or two is when we need to update the Main Page for March, so maybe do it then.
Maybe this comment is a bit premature, because I see that Metacosm is currently adding stuff (when I started adding this, there was only one line on the new page). Let's see how it works out.
Comments welcome. --JohnBeckett 00:39, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
You asked for my two cents, so I am going to give it to you. If some of this comes across as harsh, please just imagine a nice guy smiling when saying it. The front-page of the wiki seems terrible and overwhelming. There is no way to heavy vim users to create there own space and put up the astonishing information they have locked away in their head. I don't understand the purpose of the front-page right now.
Now, in order to understand my comment, you need to understand that I would like this wiki to become a brilliant general vim wiki, dealing with complexities and customization, as well as simple tips. If that isn't the goal of the wiki, it may well be that all my arrogant comments should best be ignored. :)
IMHO, the front-page should be focused on what people come to the vim wiki for... so lets list out what we think people come here for (again, I could be wrong, feel free to correct me).
- Help -- I think overwhelmingly the reason people come here is for help. So, I think a basic FAQ / Help topics should be the focus. With #vim being among them because if they can't get help here -- they need to know what the best "next step" is. I think having a FAQ linked boldly on the homepage is vital.
- Ego -- By this, I mean, they have found a very clever solution or are willing to write up a walk-thru of something, and need to know how to contribute. Right now, the generic add a tip mechanism has a few major flaws IMHO, it doesn't help peoples ego, it isn't great at inter-relationships between information. On the homepage, I would love to see encouragement to create a user (and userpage) and start maintaining their own little section of tips. Also in this section would be a brief explanation of your favorite syntax and page layout. In my mind, I think being able to link hard-written articles (see: File Format) on your userpage is a small price to pay to have people keep coming back and writing up more info.
- Direct Link -- A direct link to a specific tip or help topic, from off-site. I think the number of these direct links will skyrocket if you allow users to create userpages, and put the tips they write up on that page. They will then link to it when helping people (from #vim for sure) -- which will drive new users to this wiki, and maybe they will want to bump their ego and write something. More contributers!
- Browsing -- I think browsing the tips is probably fairly rare, but, I could be wrong.
These are my two cents as the new guy, take it for what its worth.
--Metacosm 22:39, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
Hi Metacosm – Underneath I'm quite a sensitive guy, but FYI there is no way you can offend me by criticising the wiki or my work. I welcome plain talk, so thanks for your views.
I have to say that the current Main Page is many times better than it used to be. I know that sounds defensive (I created the current MP), but it's not intended that way. My point in mentioning it is that I suspect your views and mine are very similar, but I haven't yet made the progression you're urging.
Unfortunately I have to do some stuff elsewhere, and I can't digest your points for a few days. However, I do want to pursue this discussion, and will make some brief responses now. I just replied on your talk page where I hoped you would take this up on the vim-l mailing list. However, if that doesn't suit you, here would be fine.
I had wanted to have a link to the FAQ on the MP, but I wanted too many other things as well. I agreed with a point that Bram made, namely that there should be more content on the MP (more benefit from visiting). So we have what you see now. I mentioned the official FAQ on the page linked to by "Vim documentation" at the bottom of the MP. It seemed too cluttered to mention everything on the MP itself.
There is a large outstanding job that you should be aware of. At the top of the vim-l October 2007 archive you will see a proposal to move the official FAQ to here. That FAQ is immense and so far I haven't progressed beyond the "OMG" phase. I imagine by "FAQ" you had something simpler and more accessible in mind.
I totally agree about the ego issue. I have done a lot of work trying to get some interest at the vim_use mailing list, but have made no progress. It may be the essentially infinite amount of work we have here, but it may also be the lack of ownership, with no immediate feedback that contributions to vim_use attract.
I'm not sure what problem you are suggesting exists with user pages. I'm not aware of any hint here that people couldn't make a bunch of links – see my user page for what I've done.
I agree that tip browsing is too hard. The wiki way to fix that is to properly assign categories to each tip, then explain to people how they can browse by category. We have a tremendous amount of work to do, and categories hasn't made much progress yet. Frankly, the biggest problem is that someone has to sit down and work out how to sensibly split all the things Vim can do into categories.
I think that a good way forward would be to develop my proposed Main Page (or maybe a copy of it elsewhere). What should be omitted? What should be added? How do you provide better help for readers?
--JohnBeckett 03:25, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
I am taking it to the vim-l list, I will do my best to respond to everything you mentioned on both pages.
--MetaCosm 03:33, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Futzing up the Frontpage
Didn't mean to mess up your Main Page -- just wanted to add in a little pointer to human help, as it seemed someone overwhelming, and I would like to see this site become the standard wiki for vim, as I am looking to turn off the wiki I setup @ http://vi-improved.org a few years ago.
I am currently just learning how to bump around, so -- any guidance would be great. I run the #vim channel on freenode, as well as http://vi-improved.org.
I am currently transfering over the best articles from our wiki and then plan to redirect over to this wiki.
Sorry for futzing up the frontpage, I am learning the Wikia syntax as I go, I think I have undone most of the worst of my mess, but not sure all the content I have added "fits" with what you want this wiki to be, let me know.
--MetaCosm 03:53, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
There's no mess – everything looks good. I've moved our discussion on the tips in the Vim Tips Wiki namespace to your talk page.
You might edit my "Asking questions" section above and reply stating whether you agree with my proposal to remove your change. Actually, I'll need some time to make up my own mind on that point, but you didn't actually say what you think.
--JohnBeckett 11:44, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
Making an account
If anyone needs help making an account, please visit wikia:Forum:Help desk and use "Add new topic". I think you need to be 13 years or older to have an account on Wikia. JohnBeckett 23:31, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
RSS would be nice
To whomever has the power:
It would be really nice if there were RSS feeds for various categories and/or all tips. I'm not familiar with Wikia, but I'm guessing it's possible. --188.8.131.52 09:01, December 15, 2009 (UTC)Ed
- Wikia have been changing a lot of things, so something may have developed, but when I looked at this about six months ago it was not achievable in any helpful manner. The system essentially records every change (what you see in Recent changes), and there was a possibility of getting something which made a feed out of every change (typo corrections, spam pages, and other unhelpful stuff). The only feasible procedure would be to have someone (me) manually record every "notable" change and make a feed out of that. It might be nice but I don't think it will happen (too many other basic things to fix first). JohnBeckett 10:12, December 15, 2009 (UTC)
- I'm not quite clear what you're saying about the existing RSS, so I'll make it clear. We DO have an RSS feed for recent changes; I subscribe to it myself. This is the only way I have found to productively keep tabs on all the changes in the wiki without constantly checking the page manually. However, as John alludes to, this feed contains ALL changes, great and small, made to any page on the wiki. This includes typo fixes, edits that don't actually accomplish anything, and tweaks to user pages. This may or may not be what you are looking for, but it's perfect for me. I have not checked recently whether there are any other feeds available. --Fritzophrenic 16:35, December 15, 2009 (UTC)
- Category feeds should be coming next year. Until then, you might find the feed for new pages useful. You can also get feeds for individual pages (eg home page feed), so you could make an announcements page which people could subscribe to. The format isn't ideal though as it assumes you want the diff of the page's edits rather than a more normal feed you'd get from a blog. There's also a new feature called Activity Feed which you can add to pages here, but despite its name it's not actually available as an RSS feed yet. There's an example below: