Wikinews:Water cooler/proposals/archives/2009/October

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OneBotToRuleThemAll

We've got a kludged system here. We've got one DPL that powers the main page, we've got another series of daily DPL's that power an offsite script which then generates an RSS feed which then feeds feedburner which is then read by Enwn.net to publish updates to Social networks. We don't have very fine control over DPL, so we've got a running problem with page blanking and DEFAULTSORT screwing things up... so on and so forth. While I think what we've got is fairly impressive, MediaWiki was not meant to do any of it. The more we try to implement, the more issues we're going to have.

My proposal is this: I (hopefully with help) will write a bot to live on the toolserver (hopefully) that will replace all of the above mentioned steps. It will scan for newly published stories on a regular basis (say once a minute). Should it find something, it will add the article to a "Latest News" template (Which will replace the DPL on the main page), optionally rotating leads, regenerate an RSS feed and do any social networking updates we want. It would also make additional plugins down the line much easier. And since we'll have the code/control of the bot, we can have it add/remove published stories on OUR terms (IE it can ignore page blanking, but we could still put in a method to "retract" published stories). I've gone into more details here.

The long of the short of it, this will be a much more challenging project than some of my previous (And will incorporate enwn.net into it, I hope). I'd like to know that the community wants something like this before I write the code. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 00:42, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

  • Support The issues that happened to the RSS should no longer happen (some changes to {{latest news}} were made), but the system is still very convoluted. Having the bot updated latest news would be AWESOME. also it'd be cool if the rss could have the first paragraph of an article in the summary, rather than just the title. I think this would be a Good Thing™ Bawolff 01:59, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Support If it can be done, let's do it!   Tris   07:13, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment I'm sure a bug was filed for a problem with DPL where unapproved edits could screw with the effect of 'addfirstcategory'. That's going to fix one major aspect of the issues we've got. The inadequacy of the current RSS feed is made most apparent on Facebook - you get the title twice, whereas manually posting it with the links in {{social bookmarks}} gives an optional picture, and the first paragraph. I'd say that the picture cannot be chosen by a machine where there is more than one. I would argue that what we need is a more comprehensive MediaWiki plugin where you can install modules to shove out an RSS feed, or updates to Facebook. The toolserver simply isn't reliable enough for what we want to do, and I would much rather have it all on the main servers where the WMF techies would keep it running. With the good fundraiser last time round there is development money available for something like this - if we can specify what we need, how it helps the WMF mission, and (the one some might not like) how it could possibly also be used for Wikipedia. --Brian McNeil / talk 08:43, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
    • Quite honestly it doesn't appear the devs are interested in fixing issues with addfirstcategory. bugzilla:16287 (which is related but slightly different issue) was opened sept 9th, last year, and no comments have been made on it. (On the upside, the rss feed will no longer be affected by that issue, as it now uses the date in {{date}} instead of the category timestamp). Having the summary field of the rss feed be an actual summary field would be awesome (for more reasons than just facebook). Bawolff 13:21, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Support Sounds like a good idea. Tempodivalse [talk] 14:34, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Support Something needs done, and this looks like it would be the best thing. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 18:24, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment With improvements to the rss feed, this is no longer needed quite as much as it was before. The facebook page now is updated in a nice manner, the rss feed has summaries (Thanks to CSpurrier for both of thoose). The rss feed will no longer be way to long, nor will it have articles popping to the top of the publish list anymore (At most, the date we be changed by 24 hours on the feed list. And with changes to flagged revs, even that should not happen anymore [soon]). A bot updated list of last published would still be cool. (however with changes to DPL that should go live soon [or i should say with flagged revs and cat:pub] - even that is not as neccesary as it once was). Bawolff 10:06, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Main page redesign - input needed!

There's been lots of discussion on redesigning the main page in past months, but nothing was ever implemented because there was no consensus on what to change and how. I'm going to try and reboot the discussion, try to get ideas for what would make for a good main page layout - and try to actually get something done.

A few things I don't like about the main page in its current form are:

  1. It looks a bit untidy, for instance the recent news DPL column looks bad and there is a large whitespace below NIP (at least at my screen resolution)
  2. It is unfocussed, there seems to be too much going on at one time
  3. Not enough leads - we usually produce more than four articles a day

The appearance of the main page is very important for us, being a news site, since it's usually the first page readers will go to and we need to make a good first impression. I've tried to address the problems that I listed above, and came up with User:Tempodivalse/mainpage as a possible solution. Is this a feasible layout? Open to thoughts. Cheers, Tempodivalse [talk] 19:03, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Comment: I agree with this [1] comment by ShakataGaNai (talk · contribs). Cirt (talk) 19:10, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Hm, the lead size could indeed be an issue on lower resolution monitors. I've altered the lead layout slightly to something closer to SGN's variant, is this version any better? Tempodivalse [talk] 19:14, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
The main page design is a perennial issue, if you look you will find dozens and dozens of abandoned redesign attempts. In most cases, one or two good ideas from each design will be incorporated into the main page, so it evolves instead of having a radical ground-up redesign. I would far, far, prefer that people adopt this approach and accept they will not get the entirety of their vision adopted.
On the points you have raised, 1. I do not see significant whitespace at the size I keep my browser window. I never use fullscreen windows, which might account for this. 2. I really need a better explanation of what you think is unfocussed. The focus is the project's mission, presenting current news. 3. More leads? Good grief no! We should not have lead after lead just so every story gets it's five minutes of fame. Contributions are noticably down on two or three years ago, and we've varied from two leads to four during that time. Four seems a good balance to feature work that is of widespread/global interest, allow rotation before things become stale, and not feature 'trivia' just to keep the main page updated.
I would also argue that it is not as important as you make out. A very significant portion of the site's traffic comes in direct to articles - either via Google news (when we get the damn thing fixed) or via Twitter and Facebook. I believe that 'syndication', if you can call things like posting via twitter or facebook such, is where we can win. People subscribing to feeds from these services will become repeat readers, and potential contributors. --Brian McNeil / talk 19:17, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
This attempt has a major problem for me, the three column presentation of recent news does not work in what I consider an acceptable manner. I see story headlines split across columns. I.e. the title starts at the bottom of one column and continues at the top of the next. That's completely unprofessional. --Brian McNeil / talk 19:23, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
First off, we did re-design the main page to some extent. The main fall out of the conversation's were that people wanted an almost all lead main page. The reason this wasn't implemented is because it was a PITA to change the leads. Now that's changed, so I'm having Bawolff turn on 2 more leads. Second off, the biggest problem with designs is them working at screen sizes like 1024x768 (Anything less isn't worth designing for). Third off, one of the biggest points of contention is how much to have on the main page. Personally I think we should drop unnecessary stuff and make the main page "cleaner" but many believe we need to keep more on there. The best we can do is come to a compromise on this. NO ONE, I repeat, NO ONE, is going to be 100% happy with a main page redesign. This I can say with certainty after the last round of talks (much of which were on my talk page). Everyone is going to have to accept compromises, and this alone I think is the reason we're never going to have true consensus. But that's the way the cookie crumbles.
Right now I've got my demo page half way done in terms of re-structuring the main page. You can find it User:ShakataGaNai/Main_Page. My personal goal is to clean up the main page overall. Put in the items that people find absolutely essential and remove that which isn't necessary. On top of that I'm trying to rip out all the crap legacy CSS which is screwing shit up left, right and center... We're never gonna end up with a 100% "overhaul" of the page, because so far no one has proposed anything totally radically different that enough people actually like. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 19:35, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

I have some more comments to make, but can't be bothered tonight. For me, the best news site front page is by far the BBC's-news.bbc.co.uk-& I'm sure they know what they are doing(most of the time!) If we can use as many similar aspects as that, without copying it, I think we will be in with a winner.   Tris   21:15, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Could be done. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 21:43, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) I agree. The BBC does it great. What I think we need most is:
  • Bolder colours
  • One main lead that is given greater prominence than the others
  • The most recent/most popular article(s) from each of the main categories, in addition to the "master list" we have now
Just ideas (probably cruddy ones). Dendodge T\C (en.wp) 21:45, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes, Terrible idea dendodge, never speak of it again (^_^). How about this Tris/Den: User:ShakataGaNai/Main Page 2 Just the top half, not styled or anything fancy, but layout-ish. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 22:02, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
That's a lot better layout-wise. When we get round to styling it, I would suggest a bold blue banner across the top for the "Welcome to Wikinews"-type text, but we shouldn't be discussing that until we've got the layout sorted, so I'll shut up now. Dendodge T\C (en.wp) 22:23, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
In fact, since I had nothing better to do, I created a banner we could use as a header background:
Wikinews banner.png
It would go on the right hand side of the table cell, and the rest of the cell would have to have a background with hex values 1, 1, and 95. I can make it taller if you like, but I used the proportions of the BBC header as a starting point. Dendodge T\C (en.wp) 22:47, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I actually had the idea to do something like this, but not quite as ... dark. Can you make something similar but just the "big half" logo thing? Maybe light like 25% transparency? Something that could be layed right under what we've got right now? --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 22:50, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Did you mean something like:
Wikinews banner 2.png
25% was far too light—it was barely visible—so this one uses 75%. If it's too dark, it won't be much work to change it. Dendodge T\C (en.wp) 22:59, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
<- Freaking Mediawiki security wont let you use background-image: url() unless it is in the MediaWiki: namespace. Anyways, I applied that image to the background Den User:ShakataGaNai/Main page header. Probably needs to be much lighter. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 23:15, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I uploaded a 25% version over that file. I won't be able to make any more edits until tomorrow, because I'm going to sleep now. Dendodge T\C (en.wp) 00:07, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. In play. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 00:09, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Also. I've "finished" the BBC-ish look main page: User:ShakataGaNai/Main Page 2. I dropped the following elements from the current main page: NIP, Market Data, Ticker, "Around Wikinews". Everything else is in tact. I haven't done much in the way of styles. For example I want to change how the leads look a little (get rid of some elements like the "Full Story" button). I also haven't "Fixed" the popular/interview/OR group to match this horizontal layout, they look kinda funny but mostly work. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 00:09, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

I like that, it looks much tidier and focussed now that stuff like NIP, stock market etc. have been removed. A few suggestions: you might want to put the ticker and the "create an article!" box back, as i find both quite useful, and possibly put a frame around the whole thing. Otherwise, this looks like the way to go. Tempodivalse [talk] 00:13, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
I'll die before I let the ticker back ^_^. IMHO it's one of those silly amusements. At one point it served it's purpose, but between the leads, the DPL w/ all the news and the ticker... that'll be the same headlines displayed 3 times. As for the "Create an article", it's in with "About Wikinews". I'm pondering on better ways to put that, or label it, or something... as of right now, we've got links to getting started/newsroom 3 times on the main page, not including the navbar. Obviously it isn't that great, otherwise we'd have tons of newbies.... I dunno, there has to be something better, I'm just not sure what... --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 00:23, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Ah, i didn't see that the article creation box was in the dropdown menu. Perhaps should leave that box open by default, in that case, as it seems to encourage readers to contribute articles. You have a point with the ticker though, maybe it is a bit overkill (although i still think it looks nice). Tempodivalse [talk] 00:28, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
We'll make a gadget that will place the ticker back on the main page for you, hows that sound? --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 00:33, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Nah, there's no need to go through all that trouble just for me, i can live without it. Smile.png I don't really care all that much either way. Tempodivalse [talk] 01:33, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Wow, look what happens overnight! I really like it; I quite liked the ticker, but can see why it is not so needed any more. Overall, really like it compared to others; great work Shak!   Tris   07:03, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
  • <unindent> I was never particularly fond of the ticker, if we had around 20 stories a day and only did news published in the last 24 hours I think there woould be more point to it.
I agree with some of the above comments, the BBC News website is perhaps the best designed news site on the web. If I recall correctly, it won some award for that several years in a row and only stopped winning it because they stopped giving that particular award.
Shaka's design 2 is pretty good although the use of small text to give the detail list of stories may get some complaints from readers - I can't remember where it was I'd used small text, but there were criticisms of it from the peanut gallery. --Brian McNeil / talk 10:03, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
  • I like SGN's BBC-style idea a lot, i think it's the best main page proposal i've seen so far. What about this version? Basically i stole SGN's design, but made a couple of tweaks. Tempodivalse [talk] 14:00, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
    I think Tempo's newest design is the best so far (of course, it would be even better if it used my background image! =P). Dendodge T\C (en.wp) 14:53, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
All I can see different is the opening of one of the boxes at the bottom? I do prefer it like that, but have I missed something?   Tris   15:28, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't think you missed anything. It's the only difference I could see, apart from the fact that it lacks my fancy background. Dendodge T\C (en.wp) 15:30, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
There are other differences too if you look carefully - I added a light-grey border around the page, and made the dpl text slightly larger - SGN's version doesn't have that. Tempodivalse [talk] 16:49, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Since everyone else was getting in on the action, I made my own here. It's mainly for your amusement (you can laugh at how I've managed to mess up the previously great layout so badly). Dendodge T\C (en.wp) 16:02, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
  • OK, I prefer one with the box open, but apart from that, am not too bothered about whether there is a border or not etc. I'm afraid Den that I prefer the other two; not sure about the colour on the right. So, I guess we can change it soon-anyone any major objections?   Tris   16:52, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
    Yeah, sorry Dendodge but i'm not sure i like the coloured dpl box too much. Also, there's no word-wrap on the ticker, so when it displays a long headline, it creates a second line, thereby pushing everything down a space - not optimal, imho. Tempodivalse [talk] 16:54, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Note - I've added a link to this proposal in the site-notice. –Juliancolton | Talk 16:57, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
  • My take away from this: Yes, we like the design. Yes, we like the basic layout. We've got to figure out how to properly include "Start an article". We're also want to make a few minor adjustments. Ok - all this is fine. So what I'm going to do this is: A) I'm going to make a copy of every template involved in the main page and finish the tweaks needed to make everything look "shiny". B) I'm going to move _ALL_ the CSS to a separate page - this will make it really easy for everyone to make a copy and futz with the CSS.
    • We don't have to have the CSS exactly how we want it, but lets see if we can get the layout to be what we want. We can make the layout LIVE, and fiddle with the CSS down the road (Provided it is easy to update, which is my goal). --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 17:15, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Related considerations

As part of redesigning the main page I would like to suggest that the leads, while being maintained in their individual templates, are then pulled into another template, say {{Main page leads}} which is included in the main page.

My reasoning is the automation of peer review and lead updating. I think it is very important that someone reviewing an article and considering placing it in a lead position can quickly view the existing leads and see which is most appropriate to replace with the story just reviewed. Having a template displayed with the leads prior to picking one to replace would force people to look at and think about this.

A consideration in this would be having some way to identify the date on a story in place on a lead. I don't think displaying the date as part of the lead would be particularly good, but if some element could have a tooltip that displays the date this would be really useful.

A secondary consideration is rearranging the leads when you wish to add a new one. It will often not be appropriate to update lead 1 with a less-significant story, but you might want to move one of the other stories up to lead 1 and make space for your new story elsewhere. --Brian McNeil / talk 17:41, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

I think what you are saying is "Keep the leads with their template in a template in a template" system, which I agree with. I'd say suggest to bawolff the ability to easily downgrade a lead with WN:ML. I'm currently trying to overhaul how the lead templates work, to ... simplify them. While the current model is great, they are so complicated that no one wants to touch them. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 17:50, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Status So Far / Help Needed

  • Ok, here's the current deal: I've spent a good deal of time over the last few days working on the new main page design. I'm sure you've all seen me _flooding_ RC with changes, sorry about that. Anyways, I'm basically finished at this point in time. Everyone seems to like the layout, great. Now it is just a question about styling it up. I have moved _all_ of the CSS off into classes so the entire main page can be easily re-styled without ever having to touch the layout. On top of that, I've moved _everything_ into its own individual templates (15 total). These two changes will make it much, much easier to maintain & modify. I've gone so far as to toss out the old {{New lead article}} and replace it with {{Lead 2.0}}, which is also much less complex.
  • So, what can you do to help? I've got a few tasks for the community:
    1. First, make sure the text of the "below the fold" 6 templates ("Most Popular Articles" through "In Development") are exactly what we want them to be. Please do edit in my userspace. In fact on User:ShakataGaNai/Main_Page you will see ' ± ' hidden about the page, these are the edit buttons for each individual template so you don't have to figure it out on your own. These edit buttons will be CSS hidden later.
    2. Style the damn thing! This is super easy.
      • Take a look at MediaWiki:Common.css/User:ShakataGaNai/Main Page - you'll see _every_ class used on the main page declared here (even if they are blank).
      • Goto your personal CSS page (EX. Mine is User:ShakataGaNai/vector.css or /monobook.css). Add the CSS you want here (example)
      • Hard refresh (Ctrl+F5) the new main page design, you should see your changes apply. Since you're CSS loads last, it will override the rest.
      • If you've got something you like/you think works/etc - let me know. I can incorporate it into the "master file" (AKA Common.css, which I'm abusing)
    3. Test the page on other browsers/OS's. I've got Firefox & IE8. The page works fine on both from sized 1024x768 and up, but if you find something that doesn't work with a specific browser, we'll see if it can be fixed.
    4. Come back with any other feedback you have. Not everyone is going to be totally excited by the change, not everyone is going to like everything. Everyone is going to have to make some compromises. BUT since the new page is totally CSS class'd, it will be very easy for _you_ to turn elements of the main page on/off/recolor/etc in your own sheets.
  • Thank you to everyone so far on the input. I think this is our best redesign yet. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 17:52, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
    I love the progress so far, and can't honestly say that I have anything to add, other than my congratulations. The extreme customisability is also useful (perhaps we should have options in user prefs to choose from a selection of good main page styles). Anyway, I love it! The sooner we roll this out, the better. Dendodge T\C (en.wp) 18:02, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
    Yea, we could gadget it up. I know a few people have requested the ticker be put back. Right now we have an opt out for the Ticker, we could turn it around and make it an opt-in. We could also make some standard configs into Gadgets. I'm not exactly sure how CSS via Gadget would work, but I'm sure we could get Bawolff to make it work ^_^ (poor Javascript guru). --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 18:20, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
    AFAIK, it's done in exactly the same way as JS, but with .css at the end rather than .js (e.g. MediaWiki:Gadget-mainpage-purple.css could turn everything on the main page purple). Dendodge T\C (en.wp) 18:28, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
    Yeah - we already use CSS for the comment separation gadget (MediaWiki:Gadget-talkSeperate.css). Dendodge T\C (en.wp) 18:32, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
Er, that gadget/css page has one of Bawolff's habitual spelling errors in the title. --Brian McNeil / talk 18:34, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
:P (/me needs to fix the spell checker on firefox...) Bawolff 20:16, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
I'll have more of a check of it later, but at first glance on IE 7 it looks very good. I can check on Chrome tomorrow as well. More later. Great work Shakataganai! Really impressive.   Tris   18:40, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
Nice job, SGN, i think this is the best main page design that we've ever had. I think this should be rolled out soon and made live if nobody objects. Tempodivalse [talk] 18:55, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
Not nice in Google Chrome on Windows 7. The header text (Welcome to Wikinews) is too close to the border of the container it is within - the "Welcome to Wikinews" and text below is not separated enough (i.e. one needs to be bold, not the other). Also, some constructive feedback - I think teh header is too plain - the centre section need something, even if it is something simple like links to our RSS / Twitter / Facebook accounts and feeds or a world / local clock. Otherwise, it's nice! I've uploaded a screenshot of what I can see as being the problem here: [2] --Skenmy talk 18:59, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
That might just be your absurdly wide screen. I'd probably get horizontal scrolling on the resolution this computer's on (some idiot set it up funny so the only one that has the right proportions is one that contains a 600). You can't please all of the people all of the time. Dendodge T\C (en.wp) 19:03, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
  • Meh, I'll fix the lot of ya. I can go back to the library tomorrow and check it out on IE5. :-P --Brian McNeil / talk 19:07, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
  • I think this a is great layout and suggest rolling it out soon if nobody raises objections. A few issues:
    1. Consider making the DPL text a bit bigger, small resolutions might have difficulty reading them.
    2. I'd strongly suggest removing the "Developing stories" section. While it's a nice addition in the sense that it encourages users to contribute to other people's articles, I think there's too much room for abuse - a vandal could create something like WIKINEWS SUCKS!!!, slap {{develop}} on it and have it appear on the main page - not optimal. Maybe it could be replaced with the "Around Wikinews" thing.
    3. A link to the article in the headline, not just the picture, might be a good idea, as not everyone will guess to click the image to go to the story. -- Tempodivalse [talk] 19:11, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
I am very happy to see developing stories return to the front page. I believe it is really important to expose that aspect of the site despite the risks of abusive titles appearing in this list. The pages cannot be indexed by Google News, and anyone actually complaining about an abusive title is offering an opportunity to tell them this is a wiki and they can contribute. --Brian McNeil / talk 19:36, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
Agree with Brian. At first, I thought, oh dear, that looks bad. Then I thought-one main criticism of Wikinews and the reason why we might not get so many contributors in is that it doesn't look as much like a work in progress. When someone visits a page on Wikipedia there is a risk they might come across some spam or an article that is totally untrue-however, this is what encourages them to edit. I agree, we will need to keep more of an eye on the develop section to ensure that WIKINEWS SUCKS doesn't appear there, but poorly worded articles or biased articles can; and hopefully people will edit them.   Tris   19:40, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
[edit conflict]On the subject of having developing on main page - I think its an excellent idea to have it on the main page (Draw people into wikinews, and all that), but any article with numbers in them will be picked up by google news. If I recall, the original reason that they were removed was that google news will pick them up. (maybe beg devs to add a nofollow flag to DPL or something...) Bawolff 20:16, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
  • Possibly have a more link in the more news section to the archives (an anon complained about the last re-design not having one i think). Bawolff 20:16, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
    I added one (I hope SGN doesn't mind). Dendodge T\C (en.wp) 20:34, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
However, I don't think the original report or breaking news piccies/templates are in the best place.   Tris   19:42, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

(<—) Could we try them above the headlines, rather than at the bottom? Following is a rough ASCII mockup of the layout.

|———————| BREAKING NEWS
|       | Headline
| Image | Text text text text text text
|       | text text text.
|———————|

Dendodge T\C (en.wp) 20:04, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

  • Responses as follows:
    • @Skenmy - Padded a bit from the top, adjust the font sizes up and down so they are more different. The bottom isn't in bold though. As for the center space, they really is none (Scale down to 1024 and see).
    • @Dendge, Done.
    • RE Developing on the main page. Too many people seem to want it.
    • @Bawolff - I think you might be right about the google news issue. I've added __NOINDEX__ to {{Develop}} but I think we do need a "no-follow" option in DPL.
    • @Brian - You can test in IE5 all you want, still not gonna work ^_^
  • Woot. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 21:35, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
  • What does anyone else think of the blue title text in the leads? While it is the conventional colour for hyperlinks, I think it looks really very ugly indeed. I would prefer it in black, as it is on the current main page, but I understand that it may pose usability issues. Dendodge T\C (en.wp) 21:37, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
    • Done. They were black, then Tempo had to go point out that I forgot to make them links. Oy, blame tempo. Obviously it isn't my forgetful fault. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 21:44, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
Nobody has commented here for a couple of days. I'm presuming that means either nobody has any problems with the design, or that they've forgotten about this discussion. So, bumping to the top of people's watchlists to ensure it's the former rather than the latter. (If it is the former, it probably means it's about time to implement this). Dendodge T\C (en.wp) 08:40, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
As long as the titles aren't red, should be fine. Ideally if blue, an extra indication they are hyperlinks by changing colour on mouseover. --Brian McNeil / talk 13:29, 4 October 2009 (UTC)
@Dendoge - It is going to be done (As per my note in "Around enWikinews". I'm simply waiting for Bawolff to show up on IRC to harass him about changing WN:ML to the new leads system. You should see it show up this week. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 05:50, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Todo for switch

All done? We'll see. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 23:14, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Wow. I was shocked when i logged in today and noticed how the main page changed. This is excellent, glad we finally rolled it out. :-) Tempodivalse [talk] 23:16, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
You _just_, _just_ caught it then. Rolled out the changed to the Main Page at 23:00, 9 October 2009 - or less than 20 minutes ago. Bawolff and I are hashing things out in IRC as we speak, tweaking and fixing minor bits as we go. He's updating WN:ML to the new system. So that's gonna be broken for a few more --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 23:18, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Main Page - The Fallout

I like to make topics sound like move headlines, makes them more "Epic". Anyways, the change is in! Since it is heavy on the CSS never used, and due to how MediaWiki/WMF/etc does caching... people might get a funny looking page the first time they visit afterwards (if they are regulars). MediaWiki:Sitenotice and MediaWiki:Anonnotice were updated with a warning. Mean time Bawolff has gotten 'Make Lead' updated to work properly (yay!!). There might be a few kinks to work out, but I think everyone will be happier in the end. Two important pieces:

  1. If you want to turn the editor link on for the dozens of individual templates, it's easy! Just add the following to your personal CSS (EX: User:ShakataGaNai/vector.css )
    .editor a { display: inline !important; }
  2. {{Main devel}} got swaped out with {{Main around}}. I know everyone was looking forward to having developing back on the main page, but until Bug #20936 gets finished, we can't. The developing news would get indexed by Google News, and that would be bad.

And I'd like to take this moment to thank everyone who was involved with getting this new main page off the ground. We've had a lot of contributions (big and small) from all over the crew, and it was really awesome to see us get something big like this done and in place. Now we can enjoy the fruits of our labor (For at least a week or two, until someone decides the design sucks again and wants to change it ^_^). Enjoy!! --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 23:34, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Looks great. Thanks to all the people that worked on this. Calebrw (talk) 23:43, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Two more important notes:

  1. Please, for my sanity, don't add CSS to the Main Page or any of it's templates. Use MediaWiki:Common.css/Main Page.
  2. I've turned Flagged Revisions back "on" for the Main Page. Though _all_ the templates except for the leads are full protected. Previously, with the way things were setup, an autoconfirmed user could vandalize the lead templates, and it would show on the main page. Rare, I know, but I figured this was safer.

So enjoy... once again. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 00:57, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

I like a lot. Does the flagged revs point above mean that if an autoconfirmed user vandalises a lead it would never be displayed on the main page unless an editor sighted it?
Oh, and for those not following recent changes or on IRC, see Copy us for my little contribution. --Brian McNeil / talk 03:39, 10 October 2009 (UTC)
RE FlaggedRev. Yes. The only way for someone to vandalize our main page now, is to become an editor, or for an editor to sight their edits. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 06:52, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

To be honest with you, at the moment, I'm not entirely keen on the new main page so far. But I'm certain that as soon as it's finished, it will look excellent. Keep up the good work! --Rayboy8 (talk) 07:24, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

I just added a patch for Bug #20936. Hopefully it will be adopted and we can soon return developing news to the main page. --Cspurrier (talk) 03:42, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

  • I'm working on some javascript that will dynamically resize the whitespace for people with low res. Its in user:Bawolff/vector.js at the moment. let me know if people are interested. Bawolff 14:57, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

Vector Vote - Now with 50% more drama

I don't think I need to explain what Vector is, most everyone uses it. We voted previously, the results were fairly positive, though somewhat mixed. Mostly people were concerned about it being "too beta" and too many changes being made to it. Well it is stable now, and everyone likes it. If you go to Special:PrefStats/skin you will see that 93% of all people who've turned on Vector, have left it on. Of the 7% who turned it off, most did so within the first few hours. So, once again, we shall vote to make Vector the default skin for enWikinews. (Reminder: If you don't like it, you can change you personal preference, this mostly effects what newbies see).


Featured topics

We currently have a featured articles process, for individual superduperamazinglyspifilicious articles, but what we lack is something similar to Wikipedia:Featured topics. We often have a particular story where we repeatedly cover various developments over a length of times. Usually none of the articles are FA quality but overall they add up to very high-quality coverage. To be clear, I'm talking developments on a particular story, so to blow my own trumpet with the first example that springs to mind "Garuda Indonesia Flight 200" would be suitable since the crash was one story which developed over time but "Scientology" wouldn't; there are many separate stories intertwined to make up that topic.

Thoughts? We obviously need a better word than 'topic' but I'm out on that one. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 18:38, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Why don't we call it Good topics, to indicate that not all the articles in the group may be WN:FA, but the group as a whole is very good quality. Cirt (talk) 21:04, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
Instead of the word "topics", I would suggest "series". Cirt (talk) 21:54, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
That sounds like a good idea, although I agree with Cirt that "series" might be a more appropriate word than "topics". Tempodivalse [talk] 22:37, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
At first i thought this was a stupid idea (As it stands no one really cares about FA, why should we make more featured processes). but now that I read the comments, this does sound like a good idea. (other examples that come to mind of series of articles would perhaps be the Chili Finger Incident and some of the australian stuff). Bawolff 15:30, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
(<—) Sounds like a great idea. I can think of plenty of series we could create (with a sidebar for each). It would be more useful than the current sidebars we use (if you're interested in one event, you won't want to read about that whole country, but you might be interested in reading other articles in the series to see what has led up to this event). Dendodge T\C 18:48, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
I created an example of what a series infobox based on my most recent article might look like at User:Dendodge/Series infobox mockup. I ahve transcluded it here, to see what you think. As it is, it is virtually identical to normal topic infoboxes, and I would rather differentiate between series and broader topics, but I'm not sure how (Edit: I made it use colours with a reddish hue instead of bluish ones for now). In order for my template to work properly, two things would be needed: A category with the same name as the series, and a page for the series (I suggest a new "Series" namespace, but a portal would work too). In its most basic form, this could just be a limitless DPL, but it could be expanded to include all sorts of relevant content. Dendodge T\C 19:10, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
I don't think this should go on the main article page space, but rather the talk page space, similar to what is displayed at w:Talk:Confessions (Usher album). Cirt (talk) 01:28, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
I disagree—when reading about news, people will want to read the events that preceded the one about which they are reading. This infobox, while spawned from the Wikipedia "topic" model—would be, essentially, an aid to interested readers. The amount of casual readers who check the talk page is a small fraction of the number who read the article, and of the number who would be interested in reading more. Dendodge T\C 20:59, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
  • First, where's this "Series:" namespace idea coming from? I see zero use for that. A regular portal should be just fine - if you really want to see "Series:" it could be made a synonym for "Portal:".
  • Second, I don't see a reason not to have additional categories to make filling infoboxes like your example - but it might be a very good idea to have them hidden. For your example it could probably be done with 2 regular categories - one for the 'thug' in question, plus one for the bosnian-serb conflict. --Brian McNeil / talk 13:16, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
I am of the opinion that the portal namespace was a mistake, lets not repeat it. (A caegory should work fine). I like the yellow infobox. We should make these infoboxes use css hopefully... Bawolff 16:26, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Re: Brian's first point:
I agree with you, despite it being my idea. I was suffering from a lack of sleep at the time, and didn't think it through. Dendodge T\C 20:59, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
I think "Good series" sounds good. –Juliancolton | Talk 21:14, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Comment: Okay so it seems we will go with "Wikinews:Good series". However I still must disagree on having these templates in main article space - it is not the purpose of main article space to do that - that would be the purpose of an infobox, not a template trumpeting the quality of an article. The {{FA}} star is quite enough for that. Cirt (talk) 21:18, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
The template is a parallel proposal for series in general, with no inherent reflection on the quality of an article or series. Featured series can be denoted on the talk page of their relevant portals, and/or with a small star somewhere in the template (I would prefer the former only, but the latter has its merits). Dendodge T\C 21:22, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
The subsection header of this thread is Featured topics. This is a thread about that topic. We already have a process for templates of "series" on article main space, this is called infobox templates. Cirt (talk) 21:54, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
  • I think, for the focus you're putting here, this isn't something we're qualified to judge. That's a historian's job. --Brian McNeil / talk 22:14, 30 October 2009 (UTC)