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Re: [Xen-users] [Xen-devel] Proposals/changes for a new Wiki Front-Page - need input/mods/creative proposals

On 07/06/2012 14:14, George Dunlap wrote:
Sorry to throw in a criticism without a constructive solution, but I just want to register one opinion: To me clicking on a link and seeing a "Category" page says very strongly, "I couldn't be bothered to actually do any work here; I'll leave you to do all the work to figure out what page you need."
One question: do you feel this for any category page, or just "empty" category pages? For example, if the content listed in http://wiki.xen.org/wiki/User:Rolu/Books_and_Manuals was actually the first thing you saw when going to http://wiki.xen.org/wiki/Category:Manual would you still feel that way?

When I encounter a Category page on my walk through the Xen wiki, I don't even look, but immediately turn to Google. I think a page which is has some kind of logical flow to it but perhaps a little out-dated is much better than a page which just tosses up a bunch of titles in no order and lets you figure it out.
There is no reason why a category page cannot have a logical flow at the top and just the list of articles at the bottom.

I can certainly see that there were "liveness" problems with summary pages; but I don't think that the Categories pages, as we have now, really help that much.
Right now they are just indexes. The advantage of using category pages with content at the top is that it is relatively easy to make sure that every article in the category is in some kind of logical group.
I think in an ideal world, we'd have people who were "maintainers" of
the wiki just like there are maintainers of different subsections of
the codebase.  Until that time, could we maybe draw up a set of
"tests" to run on the docs, which can be assigned to people on DocDay?
 One simple thing could be, "Make sure X page is up-to-date" (which
may include, "Look at the Category: page and make sure everything
there is listed somewhere on the manually-generated page"); another
could be a scenario, "Pretend you're a [foo] and you want to know
[bar].  Start at the top level page and make sure you can find all the
information you need."  If each "test" was something any motivated
developer/community member could do, and only took 5-10 minutes, it
should be pretty sustainable.  What do you think?
Again, that would be almost a case in point for having some better manually created index at the top of a category page.
If there was an easy way of finding out what is new in a category index (I am not sure it is), then creating such tests would be relatively easy.

However to be honest, there were already "easy" items like this since the beginning of docs days, which have been on the TODO list since day 1. E.g.
* http://wiki.xen.org/wiki/Category:Contains_Needs_Formatting
* http://wiki.xen.org/wiki/Category:Contains_TODO
* http://wiki.xen.org/wiki/Category:Contains_Needs_Action

But apart from me, nobody really cares. So having some tests won't work, unless people will execute them. And I don't have much hope for that.

One thing that might make the Category: page more useful is if we
could include "index tags" on articles, and then sort the Category:
pages by those tags instead of by title.  But I'm not sure how easy
that is to do with the current wiki.
I am not quite sure what you mean. There are actually a few extensions which may deliver what you need, but of course we likely wont be able to install these as these dont come as Debian packages.

With those type of plug-ins it would be possible to create indexes using  criteria such as:
 - List Xen Tutorials (i.e. articles in Xen and Tutorials)
 - List Xen Tutorials for Debian
 - List XCP FAQs for Debian that have been edited recently
 - Etc.

Examples of such extensions are:
  • Semantic MediaWiki
    • allows further intersection with sets of pages defined in terms of relations and attributes
    • provides relation- and attribute-related info about the selected pages and in-page display on any page of categories the same or another page is in

  • DynamicPageList (ext) or DynamicPageList (MW) extension can be used to:
    • intersection of categories
    • generate a list of all those articles (or a random sample)
    • show metadata of the articles (popularity, date of last update, ..)
    • show one or more chapters of the articles ('transclude' content)
    • show parameter values which are passed to the common template
    • order articles appropriately
    • present the result in a sortable table (e.g.)
    • use multi column output
  • Forum
    • intersection of categories and complements of categories
    • provides the time of last edit for each page

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