Wikipedia talk:Main Page/Temp4

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For an August 2004 deletion debate over this page see Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/Main Page/Temp4

Newer talk: Talk:Main Page/Temp5

Old Talk[edit]

I felt like faffing around aimlessly... Main Page/Temp4 is the way I'd like it - the dynamic content thang. Motivation:

  • welcome/intro should be short, but at the top somewhere, and it should feature the key links for newcomers - the welcome page, and the about page
  • Browse with the style from Main Page/Temp3, which is nice
  • Browse links that make sense - eg list of biology topics (piped), not biology
  • Teasers for featured articles - that's more enticing than a simple lis.
  • Lots of space for featured articles, which are the most bookmarkable bit of the front page.
  • rm stuff I don't care for, but which is probably passionately desired by someone else, scuppering the entire thing from the start.

Martin 01:23 6 Jul 2003 (UTC)

This looks very interesting! Please do continue to work on it, you have my full support. I would suggest to put just a little more info into the Wikipedia box. I also still think the colors are a bit too soft, maybe you can play around with the scheme a little. --Eloquence 01:59 6 Jul 2003 (UTC)
It took a lot to restrain my urge to run screaming from the room because of the colour scheme, but I managed to force myself to look at the page, briefly. The layout is quite nice, except that I think the bit headed "Wikipedia" - which says what the site actually is - should definitely go first. So maybe if you just swapped the sides round...? I certainly wouldn't miss the long lists of subjects and pages in the Wikipedia namespace, because I never used the Main Page to access them anyway. -- Oliver P. 03:14 6 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Agreed; the colour scheme is still too over-the top, but the structual formatiing is much better and cleaner. I like it. Perhaps if the back of the boxes was white, and the titles slightly paler? -- James F. 12:45 6 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Definitely interesting (color scheme aside, as this is irrelevant). Might be a little smoother to do once categories are implemented. --Brion
I like the look of it, but (as I said below) I don't understand how it's going to work when the "Browse" section is expanded (as I suppose it's meant to be) - won't it then extend well below the rest of the page? --Camembert

Maybe I'm misunderstanding something about how this works, but won't a fully written "Browse" section extend well below the "Featured articles" section and make things look rubbish? The division could be shifted to the left, I guess, but how far left would it have to go? Maybe the vertical division could be got rid of altogether, and just do things in one column - that would also be better for people who browse in a smaller window, I should think (though that would need a complete rethink of the layout - I've not given this much thought, I admit). Layout aside, I like the content here - it would make the Main Page something interesting even to regular users (as it is, I only look at it every couple of days to see who's died...). --Camembert

I wonder whether it's actually worth having a browse section, given that Wikipedia doesn't have proper categories and such yet. Martin 23:50 7 Jul 2003 (UTC)
These will come real soon now, so it would be worth planning for. --Eloquence

I don't think "Featured articles" should link to Wikipedia:Brilliant prose, because not all of the featured articles are brilliant prose... -- Oliver P. 18:55 8 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Good point. :) Martin

If we implement this scheme, perhaps we also need to develop Wikipedia:Main Page as a community entry point. --Eloquence 06:52 9 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Perhaps we should move Wikipedia:Utilities there? Martin

Ok, take two. Changes in this version:

  • Browse section on the bottom, so there's more space for it. I've not bothered sorting out funkier links - that's a seperate thing.
  • Featured articles in white, rather than pink.
  • yellow box now bordered in yellow, rather than washed in yellow.
  • yellow "Wikipedia" section (now "About the project") done as a floating image thing, rather than a table
  • use interlanguage links (I was thinking about how to write the "in other languages" section when I realised that non-English speakers wouldn't understand me anyway...
  • less html, more wiki-markup

Some questions/responses for various folks:

  • Oliver - if I put the yellow box on the left, it wraps awkwardly, and I think it looks odd having the main content shifted over to the right half of the page.
  • Eloquence - what in particular does the yellow box need, do you think?
  • Kosebamse - I moved the introductory text to the yellow box... you didn't see it? Grr - you realise that proves Oliver's point, don't you?

Feedback welcome :) Martin 00:21 8 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Sorry. I really don't like it; it gives way too much space to "Featured Articles (links alone suffice here very well) which pushes the very important main categories down further. All the text is also a major turn off; we already went through a month of revisions to chop down the intro text on the Main Page to its essence. --mav
Well, the intro text on the current Main Page could be pared down further by dropping the sentence on the number of articles we're working on (irrelevant statistics) and the date we started (irrelevant history). It was cute a year ago... Martin
The number of articles we have created since we were created is very relevant and is something that nearly every news story on the project mentions. Therefore this info is vital to have in the most prominent of places. --mav 20:52 8 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Do you see Britannica saying "We started in February 1805, and are currently working on 89,863 articles"? No. Sure, the statistic is vaguelly relevant for folks writing news reports. Fortunately, they can acquire the statistic easily enough by going to Wikipedia:About (linked from every page), Wikipedia:Statistics, or reading the press release we sent to them (in the case of the 100,000 milestone and similars).
Nor is it any kind of disaster when reviews don't mention our article count. In June, we got covered by "the Advertiser", "The Screen Savers", and "PC Magazine" - only the last one gave the article count. Despite the very prominent placement of this statistic, many of the folks who it's supposedly aimed at are ignoring it as not interesting enough for their readers/viewers. It's time to drop it. Martin 21:47 8 Jul 2003 (UTC)
The comparison to Britannica is just silly; Everybody is already aware of the longevity and wide range of topics they cover. Until Wikipedia is a household word and at least a decade old people will instantly want to know where our progress is. The Britannica ref is a pure straw man. --mav 23:42 8 Jul 2003 (UTC)
No, it's not a straw man - it's just me, looking at our competitors, and drawing comparisons. You don't think britannica is a fair comparison, because it's an older encyclopedia, and already well-respected. That's a perfectly reasonable objection - there's no need to accuse me of setting up a straw man.
Btw, Everything2 and h2g2 and the Urban Dicationary don't include the number of articles (or start date) on their front pages, and they're not significantly older than us. I think we'll have to agree to disagree. Martin
Sorry Martin, I didn't follow the discussion too closely. I like the current design better, don't know why, it just looks cleaner. Also I don't agree that it's soo cluttered, but of course I don't know what a newbie would think. (perhaps a poll among newbies or totally unaffiliated people would help?) Kosebamse 10:29 10 Jul 2003 (UTC)

The headlines are all numbered. I think, it would be better without numbers, as it is in the current homepage. What do you think? Fantasy 13:02 9 Jul 2003 (UTC)

They don't look numbered to me. They're probably only numbered because you selected "Auto-number headings" in your preferences. Martin 15:12 9 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Yes, that is right, but it does not look good, that was the point I was making. Why does it in the current main page work and in this version not (the not-numbering)? Fantasy 15:32 9 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I think that there's something in the Wikipedia software that tells it not to number headings for the page named "Main Page"; however, this page is not named "Main Page" but "Main Page/Temp4". If we were to move this design to the Main Page, the numbering would go away. --bdesham 16:39 9 Jul 2003 (UTC)
It could be that, but I think it's just because the headings on the current main page don't use the ==heading wikimarkup==, they're just in '''bold'''. --Camembert
(it uses <large> too) --mrd
That's not a bug, it's a feature. You've selected to view headings with numbers. I've correctly used heading markup to indicate the locations of headings, marking up content, not appearance. Therefore, the headings are auto-numbered when you view them.
If it doesn't look good, that's really an issue for the CSS files, the Wikipedia software, and/or the browser, which are jointly in charge of display issues. Perhaps you should raise a bug report about it? Martin

I very much like this.

  • It does not try to duplicate Wikipedia:Utilities, like the current main page.
  • It puts the links to articles in sentences, rather than lists, like on the current main page.
  • It can change over time, making this main page useful to returning users. We could even send out a periodic email with this. (opt-in, of course)
  • It does not try to duplicate Wikipedia:Multilingual coordination in at least three places like the current main page.
  • Has a featured picture.


  • Should link to Wikipedia:Brilliant prose somewhere, like the Featured articles section.
  • The category layout (though not content) on Main Page/Temp3 looks better.
  • Needs an introduction paragraph not in the sidebar. Move the words below About the Project to above Featured articles and realign the Featured articles image. I like the introduction on the current main page more.
  • The picture needs alt text.

--Ellmist Thursday, July 17th, 02003

I marked up the "browse" section with HTML tables. It makes for ugly code, but I think the categories are easier to read now. -- Merphant 08:16 18 Jul 2003 (UTC)

In my browser the right hand box edge no longer appears in blue (IE6, Win2K). Could you try to fix this? Martin 08:33 18 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Is this better? I replaced the enclosing table with a div and a h2. On Mozilla 1.3/Linux, and this looks about the same as before, or maybe even a little better. I don't have a computer running Windows, so it's hard to know how it will look for you. -- Merphant 03:14 19 Jul 2003 (UTC)
yep, that's fixed it. Martin

I got rid of the "about" sidebar and turned it into an introductory paragraph at the top of the page. I really think it looks better that way, and it catches people's attention more. Revert if you don't like it.

But that made the dynamic content bits look funny, since they're short; I put in a div to make them wrap sooner; this should look fine even on small windows. The problem is inserting images; they float to the right of the div, not the window. The alternative is to wrap each section in a div Ugly code, but it should work. -- Merphant 03:06 22 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Interesting. What you could do is put the browse section to the right of the dynamic content bits - that'd make the dynamic content wrap earlier - and also keep mav happy by making the browse section more easily available.
Personally, I think we could do with a short introductory paragraph (as Ellmist notes), and a small yellow box. I think the seperate box with "New?" as a header is a nice way of helping newcomers without inconveniencing regulars. So many different needs - that's the problem. Martin
I agree. I liked the side bar too, but I sacrificed it because the intro paragraph needed some text. What I've done now as add it back and use the intro paragraph from the current main page. I think it looks pretty good; I've tried to incorparate most of the suggestions on this page. I don't see how the "browse" section would fit into a small sidebar space like that, so I left it at the bottom. What do you think? -- Merphant
Yes, that is better. Query - why do you prefer a blue sidebar to yellow? Some folks like it in yellow because it matches the colour on talk pages, etc. I like the blue, but I wondered if you had any deep reason for this... :)
I faffed a bit, but I'm not dramatically attached to the results, so revert at will. I have what I think is a really neat idea, though, so I'll try to implement it in about ten hours time, if I remember... Martin
I like the blue because it does less violence to my eyes :) The yellow background on the talk pages is ok, but it hurts to look at a yellow table border on a white background. I'm looking forward to seeing your neat idea. -- Merphant 23:29 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Oops. I forgot! :) Martin 23:44 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)

While I'm at it, here are your comments from the bottom of the article:
Stuff I dislike about this page:
  • The article count seems irrelevant to me.
It's kind of traditional, and harmless. Why not just leave it in?
You're right: I'll bow to tradition on this one - people do seem to like it, after all, and that's always a benefit. --mrd
  • The browse section needs a whole bunch of work.
I made it look prettier. we could change some of the links, but IMHO it's ok now. BTW, what are these new "categories" people keep talking about?
I think categories are the new name for lists ;-) There's going to be some software support, or something... --mrd
  • I want more graphics and such - but not at the expense of folks with small screens - how to balance this?
I like the Mars image; maybe one or two other small images would be nice, spread out across the page, but personally I'd prefer to keep it simple.
Perhaps just one is ideal. That tells people - look! We're not plain text! :) --mrd
-- Merphant 08:27 23 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I think the browse bit needs to be visible without having to scroll down. Could it be side by side with the recent news stuff? Angela 19:06, 29 Jul 2003 (UTC)

You're right, it should be easier to get to, but having it side by side would clutter up the page. I think one of the goals of this temp page is to clean up the main page. I've modified the intro paragraph to link to the browse section; what do you think? Funny, I've been here quite a while and only just now figured out how to do that! -- Merphant 22:17, 29 Jul 2003 (UTC)

My "genius" idea was to have initially three columns on the page:

Featured articles (Mars, in the news) | Picture of Mars | "New" (etc)

Then, when the "New" box stops, move to:

Featured articles (Recent deaths, etc) | Browse Wikipedia

And the width of the browse section would be the width of the "New" section PLUS the width of the picture (100 pixels).

However, I don't have a clue how to implement this, or if it would be any good. So I'll leave it to y'all! :) Martin 22:52, 29 Jul 2003 (UTC)

See Main Page/Temp5. Is this what you meant? Angela 23:22, 29 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Yep. :) Martin