How it works
- This template is included in only one place in SourceWatch: the article MediaWiki:Sitenotice. This special article defines a "site notice" that appears at the top of every page.
- By default, the site notice appears as a large, pink box at the top of the page. This was changed by putting elements for the CSS ID "#siteNotice" in the stylesheet MediaWiki:Monobook.css. I think these settings should really be in an article called MediaWiki:Common.css, but SourceWatch doesn't have one.
- When the reader clicks on "All topics", the A-Z sub navigation bar Template:SiteNavbar:AllTopics is included. This is done by checking whether the article's name (in the PAGENAME variable) matches "Categories". If it doesn't match, Template:Null (which contains nothing) is included.
- Similarly, clicking on "Articles" brings up the A-Z sub navigation bar Template:SiteNavbar:Articles, by checking whether the article's name matches "Allpages". Otherwise, Template:Null is included.
- Template:If_equal_g is used to test PAGENAME against "Categories" and "Allpages". Due to its rather primitive nature, this template requires an auxiliary template with the name Template:CallXXX for each possible value of the first value in the pair of values being tested for equality. Hence in this case, Template:CallCategories and Template:CallAllpages are required.
- All of the templates involved in this process are protected, as any of them could be used by a vandal to put a message on all SW pages.
Articles which use/templates and stylesheets used by this template
- Articles: MediaWiki:Sitenotice
- Stylesheets: MediaWiki:Monobook.css
- "Pop-up" templates: Template:SiteNavbar:AllTopics, Template:SiteNavbar:Articles, Template:SiteNavbar:MoreLinks
- Other templates: Template:CallAllpages, Template:CallCategories, Template:If_equal_g, Template:Null
Well there you have it. I thought it would be nice to have something that encourages people to look a bit more often at the bigger picture of what's in this wiki. Probably, many regular contributors don't actually look at the list of categories that much. I certainly don't! It seems quite unobtrusive over on the righthand side, although the shade of blue of the links is not quite right yet. Sheldon's right that keeping the category offsets correct will be a hassle, although as i said the categories on here actually change fairly slowly. Anyway, what do people reckon? --Neoconned 14:48, 14 Mar 2006 (EST)
Hi, I like it - I often find myself searching for a category to add into an article and it has been a circuitous route to get to the catg's list. So thanks and I'm sure it will come in very handy. --Bob Burton 15:24, 14 Mar 2006 (EST)
Overall, I like it, although I was taken aback a bit when I first saw it. Your original design -- putting it in a shaded box -- took up more real estate on the page than I liked, but I like the way you've formatted it now so it hangs fairly unobtrusively at the top of the page.
Rather than the alphabetical list of categories, I wonder if it might be better to come up with some short list of links that we want to appear in the navbar, along the lines of:
That's just a first-blush reaction, though. I'd be interested to see what other people think.
--Sheldon Rampton 15:57, 14 Mar 2006 (EST)
At first glance (without the pink!), I think that it will be useful. For one thing, it provides quick access to categories currently in use ... or which should/could be created.
As it stands, though, I think clarifying that the alpha links are to categories rather than to SW articles would be a good idea. An infrequent visitor may think that those "topics" are all that exist in SW and not realize that the alpha links are for categories.
I agree with Sheldon that this would also be a good place to link to "Help" and More Help".
--Artificial Intelligence 16:35, 14 Mar 2006 (EST)
I think that the topics/categories outline should be implemented thoughtfully and rationally by the owners of the wiki, rather than by the disparate agendas of the diverse user community. For me, 244 top level categories is an indication of compelte disorder, even/especially for a wiki with a relatively limited scope of interest. The entire Encyclopedia Britannica is organized in its Propaedia (15th Ed.) into 10 parts of 40 divisions (total) and 176 total sections.
And I prefer something more along the lines of "Discover SourceWatch: Topics | Help | More Help" to the alphabet.
--Maynard 17:29, 14 Mar 2006 (EST)
I agree that the categories could be better organized, but the truth is that we didn't even start doing categories here at all until fairly recently, so it's not surprising that they're in their current state. I don't know if the owners of the wiki (meaning people like me and Bob) need to be the ones responsible for organizing things into top level categories and subcategories. Anyone who wants to make an effort at rationalizing things is welcome to take a stab at it.
--Sheldon Rampton 19:14, 14 Mar 2006 (EST)
I've always thought this site could use an "index" of all articles and in such an option the alphabet style would work well. I realize that is offered in the special pages under "all pages", but I think that someone just coming through may not see it. I think that would go well on the left, right above the search function.
I like the idea of categories/topics being in the upper right and I think this will make more of the site accessible to someone browsing. I agree with Maynard in that the whole alphabet may not be necessary there and instead a "topics" and "help" tag in the upper right would cover it. I think the location is key and you wouldn't be losing any traffic by trimming down the number of options which would, naturally, appear when clicking through.
--Spacegrit 00:45 15 March 2006 (EST)
Here's v2, which hopefully addresses most of the above comments. There seemed to be a majority in favour of a more compact approach, and when I looked at the navbar later on, the A-Z list did look very over-the-top! In response to specific comments:
- AI, Sheldon: The pink box was produced by SourceWatch's default stylesheet, before I figured out how to override it. I never wanted it. (Just wanted to make clear that I do have a little bit of design sense!)
- AI: Somehow i really prefer the word 'topics' to 'categories' for this navbar. I guess because it's a simpler word. You make a good point about visitors confusing it with articles - so I hope that including the separate "articles" link will make clear this distinction. By the way, I never even knew that the rather useful Special:Allpages exists!
As before, please let me know what you think. --Neoconned 10:15, 15 Mar 2006 (EST)
I LIKE IT !!! Just spent a few minutes scanning through the most popular articles list, which I think will be an extremely helpful gateway for visitors (as well as regulars). IMHO, this should increase traffic around SW.
PS: Is there any way to provide an alpha link for the "All Topics" page itself? Artificial Intelligence 10:23, 15 Mar 2006 (EST)
I like the NavBar as well. The key to making information useful is organizing it well, and this is certainly a step forward on that for SourceWatch. Thanks for designing it!
My only questions / suggestions deal with style: Is it possible to make the font look more like the font on the article tabs ("article", "discussion", etc)? Also, the font seems a bit small. I know it's a trade off, in terms of not taking up too much page area, but the current size is a little squint-inducing for me.
best, Diane Farsetta 10:52, 15 Mar 2006 (EST)
I really like the changes. I think it opens it up a lot more. I wonder if it needs two "help" tags, only to lessen the busy effect. I wonder if two help articles are necessary. They could easily be combined, but perhaps this has been thought out and settled already. That was just my first thought. The rest of it is great. I used to just hit the random page button to see what else was out there until I found the all pages. Bringing those options from the special pages to the front will definitely increase traffic and make the site more accessible. --Spacegrit 15 March 2006 14:12 (EST)
Seems like a good idea to me. I didn't fire up IE to check it for cross-brower, and only looked at it in firefox, but it should be fine. The code handles screen size differences well, and the pure text rendition looks as if handicap viewing concerns wouldn't be affected adversely.
Any template styling preferences would be just personal opinion, and the present styling is not problematical to me.
For clarity, I would suggest that Category:Fundamental and Special:Categories have better decriptions placed on the pages explaining what the displayed data is, and that Special:Allpages has its center-aligned content changed to left-aligned.
--hugh_manateee 19:58, 15 Mar 2006 (EST)
Thanks everybody for the positive comments! Here is a slightly improved version: the "All topics" and "Articles" links now expand the navbar with an A-Z list of links (as AI requested). Some specific points:
- The "All topics" A-Z navigator still uses numeric offsets. It would be much nicer to use "Special:Allpages" here with the namespace set to categories, as that allows you to avoid using numeric offsets. But then there's no way for the navbar to distinguish it from the "Articles" page, and hence no way for it to bring up the correct A-Z sub-navbar.
- Diane: I see Sheldon has already tweaked the font size. I can make the font look more like the tabs once I know what the contents of the "editsection" CSS class are (Sheldon or Patricia should be able to help me on this).
- Hugh: I agree on the need for more friendly page titles, although it's not a huge issue. I've just tried customizing them, but unfortunately it doesn't seem possible to do this in a sensible manner at least until SW moves to a more recent version of the mediawiki software. Mediawiki 1.6 has better support for if-else. The problem isn't changing the page titles - it's how to leave unaltered all the page titles you don't want to change!
- Sheldon, Spacegrit: I think I agree with Spacegrit that only one "Help" link is needed. SourceWatch:Help is itself mostly links to other help pages, and it has the Help bar down the righthand side. So I've removed "More help", is that okay with you?
Cheers, --Neoconned 05:56, 16 Mar 2006 (EST)
When you click "Most popular", a pseudo-dropdown menu now appears below it with links to Special:Newpages and Special:Longpages. This is coded by Template:SiteNavbar:MoreLinks. The rest of the navbar functions as before. As ever, please post any comments, feedback, etc. --Neoconned 13:12, 2 Apr 2006 (EDT)