Topic on Gentoo Wiki:Feedback

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Gerdesj (Talkcontribs)

(TEST: Hmm - rubbish formatting here, what triggers noticing a new para ...)

The Gentoo wiki is very good as a MW site. The presentation is fantastic and very approachable - ie someone(s) really know their stuff about design. I run several MW sites myself and contribute in a very minor way to MW's docs and use several other people's/project's MWs, so I feel I have a fair grasp about wikis running on MW.

Each site has many templates, styles and so on that are idiosyncratic to that site. For example I created the original WIP template here and it has sprouted an author tag - cool: that's collaboration in process which is exactly what MW is all about. I was presented with a link to the template help - great: and I fixed my error.

However, most people are not particularly familiar with MW but may want to do docs because that is what they can do. These potential contributors may not be programmers or l33t sysadmins (well they are - they are Gentooers!) or whatever but can string one or two words together. These are the folk we need to enroll and encourage.

There is a link to the Help page on the front page but it is only a Category and a bit rubbish. The front page is very dense and needs weeding.

On my work wiki I put a bloody great link to a simple howto create and edit a page. I found that the shorter I made it the more people contributed. I gradually added links to more advanced stuff at the bottom as References - always in a new tab and people use them.

A handy experiment for user testing is to point, say, your (ideally non technical and non wiki focussed) partner at your wiki and ask them to contribute something with a few minimal pointers and see what they do. You will be amazed at how fast you realize how crap your carefully crafted wiki organisation really is.

I'll happily do the above - a simple set of editor docs - but it is a task that belongs to the owners of the site and I'm not one of those. I'll also drop that since I've added Visual Editor on my sites, I've seen a dramatic increase in contributions.

Cheers Jon

Veremit (Talkcontribs)

Perhaps you can swing by Freenode IRC #gentoo-wiki and it might be possible to discuss some of your ideas with the Wiki admins. Tia.

MalakymR (Talkcontribs)

I'm a new editor and whilst I know about some of the template: pages, it's not always easy for me to find my way there.

I'd guess a link next to the Help link at the top of the Editing page with an overview of options with links to the more detailed pages ie. https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Template:RootCmd

Gerdesj (Talkcontribs)

@MalakymR: Bugger that mate. You should not have to fight your way around docs. You probably have something useful to explain to other people, but the last thing you need is trying to fight your way through weird and odd MW related stuff.

You are probably not daft and must have some skills because you are a Gentoo user AND you want to help out other Gentoo users (actually, you'd be surprised how many other Linux users copy our wiki pages or use it as the source for info. and as far as I am concerned - all are welcome here: we are all brothers and sisters)

I mentioned my acid test earlier: get a disinterested user to interact with the site - you learn a lot from that.

Cheers

Jon

MalakymR (Talkcontribs)

You can't have all the detail immediately there though. Which is why the split summary to at least get someone started should work. It's there already in the Help for formatting, a bit more for other objects like RootCmd would be helpful.

I generally agree though - people in the know/developers etc know it so well sometimes they don't see how hard it can be for a newbie to read 50+ pages of docs before getting started.

Though, a barrier to entry isn't the worst thing in some cases, need not be so big though.