Talk:New main page

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Unsorted Topics

I just put up a new draft, below Jim Schrempp's version. Comments are welcome. Here are some questions that I think are worth asking:

  • Which topics do we want to have linked directly from the Main Page and which are we happy to leave two or more links away?
  • For the one-link-away topics, how should they be named and organized so that someone looking for one will quickly and accurately find he right link?
  • For the two-or-more-links-away topics, how can we maximize the likelihood that someone with a question about one will quickly and accurately find a link that will take them a step closer to the answer?
  • Which topics deserve to have a spot in the sidebar so that they'll be one click away from anywhere?
  • For any link, how likely is it that someone might think that it leads to a different topic than the one it really does lead to? Could the link have a better name?
  • How well would this page layout (or any change to it) serve prospective members? new members? longstanding members? people from other maker spaces looking for ideas?
  • How can my (non-link) prose be augmented, diminished, or changed to be clearer and more to the point? to be friendlier and more engaging, without being too wordy?
  • What else should I be asking?

JSaxe (talk) 21:39, 5 February 2022 (EST)

Search vs Navigation: establishing context for the reader

By the way, regardless of what we do on the main page about MN-specific content vs. general content, we still need to think about how to help readers know what kind of content they've landed on if they get to some article by using the search box. Also, it has occurred to me that the distinction between MN and non-MN content isn't completely sharp. A page about frundelglomping may be completely unrelated to MN until we happen to acquire a frundelglomper, perhaps even of a specific model discussed on the page. And some general woodworking technique might be completely applicable, or even an example of best practices, for use on some tool at MN. I believe the wiki had pages about Slack and about Boss before MN had a Slack account or a Boss laser cutter. On the other hand, I note that those old pages don't (at least not yet) say anything about our Boss laser cutter or about use of our Slack space (e.g., all members should join the #general channel). Both the MN-specific stuff and the non-MN-specific stuff are valuable and should be easy to find. What can we do to keep readers from wondering where to find our frundelglomper when we don't have one (but there's stuff about them in the wiki) or from wondering about the paucity of information on the Boss page when the information they're looking for is on the MN-S Laser Cutters page? [comment edited] JSaxe (talk) 17:30, 6 February 2022 (EST)

Top Level Navigation

I could see that the first split for a person coming to this page is: I'm interested in Maker Nexus OR I'm interested in making but not MN. In our new main page I think we should have a clear link at the top that says something like "Information about making, not specific to MN" and shunt the people off to a new page. Jschrempp (talk)

In the opening paragraph of text, where it says

... relating to (1) Maker Nexus, (2) makerspaces and making in general, and (3) using and editing this wiki.

the three items are clickable links. Clicking on item (2), "makerspaces and making in general", jumps you down the page to the relevant section, which in my draft is very much abridged from the corresponding portion of the current main page. We can decide how long or short to make that section. We also might use the "Main article: ..." pattern that I've used a couple other places, where the link after "Main article:" would take you to a comprehensive page for the topic and the links below would take you either to sections of that page or directly to page linked from that page.

Some questions: Do you think it's insufficiently obvious then the items in "... relating to (1) ..." are active links? Would it be helpful to make them into bullet points? If we offer a "Main article:" link for some topic and list some links for selected subtopics below it, is there a danger that some readers will think that list is complete when it isn't? If so, can we do something (preferably non-clunky) to reduce that risk? JSaxe (talk)

Things to move off the new page

I'd remove a lot from the proposed page. For example: no address/times (link to website); no policy or organization or collaboration tools (link to another wiki page); and move the entire miscellany section to another page. Jschrempp (talk)

I'm using the miscellany section as a placeholder for things we need to decide what to do about. In particular, are there any that rat getting linked from the Main Page (at most a few, I suspect), and if so where should they go? (under one of the existing subheadings? as/under a new subheading?)

As for "Policies", "Organization", and "Collaboration tools", if we had a decent "main article" for each of those topics, then we could link those from the Main Page and have the flexibility to decide whether or not any of them had subtopics that also seemed worth linking from the Main Page. We do already have a main Maker Nexus Equipment article, and I'm in favor of keeping links to the sectors on the Main Page. FWIW, I'm working now on a draft of a main "Maker Nexus Classes" article (cribbing material from the Course Catalog and various other sources) and hope to put up a version for comments either later today or tomorrow.

I think that having good overview of our menagerie of collaboration tools might be the next priority, if anyone wants to take a crack at it. BTW, I picked the name "collaboration tools" because I haven't thought of a better name. One might not think of registering for a class or making a tool reservation for oneself as "collaboration". But what's a better name. "Infrastructure" could seem like a topic only of interest to sysadmins, and "CRM" (or "Customer Relations Management") seems way too jargony. JSaxe (talk) 20:43, 6 February 2022 (EST)

Jim Saxe, see this page: Jschrempp (talk) 10:17, 7 February 2022 (EST)

I see that "Collaboration tools" section I proposed in an earlier draft has been moved to be a subtopic ("MN collaboration tools") of "Organization" and that it now has no subtopics of its own (RFID system, Activity Hero, EZ Facility, ...) listed. I'm inclined to disagree with this decision, and I want to say why instead of just reverting the change.

Near the top of this talk page, I asked, "Which topics do we want to have linked directly from the Main Page and which are we happy to leave two or more links away?" I submit that if something is a service offered on our member dashboard or if it's a piece of organizational software (as distinguished from CAD/CAM software) that pretty much every MN member needs to know about, then we should assume it deserves to have its own link on the wiki main page unless there's a compelling argument that it doesn't. (E.g., we don't need links to pages about how to use email or how to use a web browser because we can safely assume people in our target audience already know.)

I recognize that there may be some question about what to name particular links (e.g., "Tool reservations" vs. "How to reserve tools" vs. "EZ Facility"). I also understand that there's no point in putting a lot of effort into writing or revising documentation for systems that we hope to replace soon. But I think that whatever documentation we do have for our current systems—and whatever we will have for our future system(s)—should be found easily, quickly, and with low chance of false starts by someone who comes to the wiki main page looking for it.

Reactions, anyone? JSaxe (talk) 16:57, 10 March 2022 (EST)

I'm just trying to keep the first page brief. I feel like on a long page with different topics, the stuff at the bottom is rarely found. In general I'd prefer shorter pages with all directly relevant content on a topic there. In that spirit I thought the discussion on collaboration tools was long and worthy of its own page. Jschrempp (talk)

Shrimpware wiki reference

I think it's time to remove this page from the wiki Shrimpware Wiki. Do you agree?

I believe there are still a fair number of pages (at least in the non-MN-specific parts of the wiki) that use the words "I", "me", and/or "my" with no identification of the antecedent. Should we do anything about those? (And should we do anything to discourage wiki contributors from creating more such pages in the future?) If I understand correctly, warning readers about such pages was a key reason for creating the Shrimpware Wiki page in the first place.JSaxe (talk) 21:25, 11 February 2022 (EST)

what do we do with these things?

Below are some topics, including various current wiki pages with MN-related content, that I haven't fit into the categories above. I don't intend this "Miscellaneous" category as a dumping ground for those topics, but as a reminder for us to decide what to do about them. Some won't deserve to be linked directly from the Main Page at all. Others might deserve very prominent placement. --JSaxe
Note that Maker Store and MN Retail are not to be confused with each other. --JSaxe

The following pages are currently orphaned (or effectively orphaned).

Collapsible sections

I've tried the experiment of making the section with our address, contact info, and hours be collapsible, and initially collapsed. The idea is to have less stuff near the top of the page for readers to scroll past in order to get to other content. If we decide it's a good idea, we might make create other collapsible sections if there are cases where it seems appropriate. However, I suggest that having a section collapsed by default is inappropriate (a) in cases where we expect links within the section to get high traffic and (b) in cases where the section content includes things that readers might never guess were in there if they only saw the section heading.

Besides the general question of whether having any collapsible sections on the Main Page is a good idea at all, I have a particular concern I want to record here. The default position for expand/collapse toggles in MediaWiki is at the far right, where it might not be conspicuous to some users. One method we've tried for positioning the toggle more conspicuously uses a custom toggle link, as described at

A warning in that section says

This method is inaccessible and confusing to screenreader users. Avoid using it

but doesn't explain just what the problem is. One possibility, which I noticed when I started experimenting with custom toggles, is that if the toggle is placed at the end of the collapsible text it controls, then when the expanded text appears above the toggle, someone using a screenreader could have a hard time knowing how far to scroll back up the page to get to the start of the newly-expanded material. With the custom toggle positioned just above the collapsible text, as it is in the current version of the page, I don't see why it would be more problematic for screenreader users than MediaWiki's default toggles. However, there may be some subtlety I'm missing. JSaxe (talk) 13:16, 1 April 2022 (EDT)

I thought the concern for screen readers is changing the text from "collapse/expand" to something else. I could imagine that people might use all kinds of custom text that is not clear it does the collapse/expand function. I don't think the concern is with the position of the expand/collapse link. Jschrempp (talk)