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[Axiom-developer] Be Bold (was: Front page esthetic)

From: Page, Bill
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Be Bold (was: Front page esthetic)
Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2006 03:13:16 -0400

On Tuesday, August 01, 2006 4:22 PM Ralf Hemmecke wrote:
> ... 
> First of all, I'd like to thank Bill for all the effort he 
> has put into the Wiki.

You are welcome. :-)

> In some points I must, however, agree with Antoine. The current
> Wiki currently is a bit of a mess. There are only a few pages
> that are of real value.

I was rather hoping for more than "a few pages" ... ;)

One thing to consider is that what is "real value" to one person
might not be so valuable to someone else (and vice versa). And
of course what is of value to you now changes over time as you
become more experienced.

> You know, when I started I had hard times to find my way
> through the information that I was looking for and even now I 
> don't find things that I am looking for in a few clicks.

Everytime this happens to you it might be a great benefit to
others if you could note this quickly some where on the web
site. I good place to do this might be on the FAQ page.
> Until somebody posted the BeBold principle to the mailing list
> I was always hesitating not to edit/delete too much of the existing
> information, but surely that slowed down improvements to the 
> wiki. Now I am a bit bolder, but it is still hard.

Here is my adapted version of the Wikipedia 'Be Bold' principle.

I hope people will take the time to practice being bold by
correcting and extending this statement. Then we could advertise
that is it also official our policy.

> If I look now at some pages, I would rather like to see that 
> information organised in a different way, but different from a
> text in a text-editor, I cannot simply drag & drop text from
> one page to another. Well, I should have open several browser
> windows, I know.

It is also possible to use emacs as an external page editor.
Perhaps some people would find this more convenient.

> What is also important is some more structure of the wiki. I am
> personally used to linear text with sections and subsections,
> ie, some kind of hierarchy. We should have a number of standard
> pages that can be edited only by registered Axiom-developers.
> These pages should not change too much once they are set up.
> ...

I think that is a good idea. In fact things have been slowly
evolving in this direction ever since Martin Rubey's first
efforts improve the organization of the Axiom Wiki web site.
Suggestions on what these "standard pages" should be would be
most welcome.
> Bill, what I would like to see on top of an edit page is a
> link to BeBold. Furthermore, it should be said that the first
> paragraph of the page is a kind of abstract that is used for
> the "SiteMap" (which can be considered as a kind of glossary,
> if you like).

I am willing to add such a link to the edit page once we agree
on the draft in SandBoxBeBold.

> Actually, I would also like to have some facility that let's 
> me move the pages in the tree structure of the wiki. Best
> would be to see the tree and take my mouse to move pages in
> the hierarchy.

Well, we don't have the ability to do it with just your mouse
but you can move pages in the structure using 'backlinks'. If
you click on the page name in the header you will see a list
of pages that link to this page and also a list of the pages to
which this page links. The main purpose of the backlinks page
is to allow you to specify the "parents" of the page. I recently
made some improvements to the backlinks page based on code
from a more recent version of ZWiki.

The list of parents for each page actually forms a "topic lattice"
or "ontology" which specifically relates the current page to
other pages in a "hierarchical" manner (not necessarily a tree
structure). This structure is shown in the left sidebar (except
on FrontPage).

The left side bar displays the topic lattice both above (UP)
and below (DOWN) the current page. In general, clicking on links
in the UP section leads to more general topics, while clicking
links in the DOWN section leads to more detailed topics.

> ... 
> > Then I am going to look for a good introduction. And I hate it
> > when people give me choice I want the one and definitive
> > introduction.
> I think we should take this consideration seriously. Currently
> "Tutorial" links to "AxiomInterface" (very intuitive!) and gives
> not a tutorial.

Originally this page was intended as a very quick introduction
to the Axiom interface on the Axiom Wiki - not an introduction
to Axiom itself.

> I rather think that we should maybe give a weighted list of
> introductory material.
> The above tutorial looks quite reasonable to me. The tutorial
> page should not be like a sandbox were everyone just adds
> his/her commands.
> I hate everything on 
> that
> comes after the "That was easy!". It should go away, because
> it looks unprofessional.

I agree. Be Bold!

> ... 
> > And modifying a page is not has easy at it sound. Writing
> > correctly is time consuming and difficult. I never feel like
> > touching other people stuff. You can often see it in a wiki
> > where old information is rarely deleted.
> I also felt like it. We all know that we can unroll changes, 
> but what I don't know is, whether everyone can do it.

Yes. Just click 'diff' on the top line.

> It should be more obvious how things can and will be undone
> if people are too bold.

The proposed SandBoxBeBold page deals with this issue.

> Another suggestion that should be visible on top of an edit-page.

Ok, but I would like a design that does not involve adding
too much more text to the edit-page. Maybe just another link
to some specific help page?

Bill Page.

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