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BS01/HS01 Survey: Features


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Poll: Survey about BS01 and HS01 features

Have you ever used BS01 and HS01's navigation features?

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When viewing character pages on BS01 and HS01, how useful are the tabs on the infoboxes?

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When searching on BS01 or HS01, do you use the search bar, parent pages, search engines or other?

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#1 Offline Swert

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Posted Jan 27 2014 - 09:28 PM

Hey everyone,

So awhile ago as I was working on backing up BS01 stuff (routine maintenance) I looked at our coded functions and features. It got me to wonder. How often are these features used by the public?

So I ask in a poll. Basically, if you use our features, I'd like to know which ones. It'd help me determine which ones I should focus improvement on, and which ones we're not pushing enough in the public.

Feel free to post any opinions or suggestions on improvements as well. I'm honestly trying to make the sites their absolute best so the resources of it can be found without issues and without too much fluff.

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#2 Offline Dorek

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Posted Jan 27 2014 - 09:42 PM

Considering how much and how long I had to grouse just to get the tabber system up, I think it's the best thing ever.

Also I use the search bar. Our search optimization is pretty legit.

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#3 Offline fishers64

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Posted Jan 27 2014 - 10:34 PM

I use the search bar. It's the first thing I use whenever I get on the site. 


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#4 Offline Toa Smoke Monster

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Posted Jan 27 2014 - 11:08 PM

I don't visit BS01 too often anymore. But when I do, I always use the search bar to find what I'm looking for.


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#5 Offline Meiko

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Posted Jan 27 2014 - 11:45 PM

I only really check the recent changes anymore, but I also don't like the interface. Monobook is old and ugly. There are various other MediaWiki skins popping up recently that are much more modern and user-friendly:

  • Aurora - was just released by ShoutWiki this week, not open source yet
  • Refreshed - open sourced by Brickimedia
  • Athena - in development by Wikimedia Foundation, not open source yet

Each of the above is more functional, user-friendly, and customisable (both with CSS and hooks) over older skins such as Monobook.

 

Also, your MediaWiki versions (1.19.7) are not optimal, nor is it LTS anymore (1.19.10 is the oldest LTS release currently). For best functionality, you'd want to use the latest stable release, which currently is 1.22.1. You could also wait until 1.23 is released, which can be seen on all Wikimedia projects, which would be around mid-2014.

 

Additionally, some of the extensions BIONICLEsector01 and HEROsector01 are using provide for some nasty XSS attack abilities (namely your image tag extension [which can be replaced with core features in MediaWiki 1.17+] and VideoFlash [if updated shouldn't be as vulnerable]).

 

There are also some features that could be implemented that may make functionality slightly better in addition to updating the MediaWiki version to the current stable version. Lucene-search and other extensions/hooks that work with it are quite handy.

 

Your Captcha also seems terribly unreliable. KittenAuth is one of the least-effective ConfirmEdit-based extensions. I'd suggest using FancyCaptcha, which is highly effective and used globally on Wikimedia projects. FancyCaptcha integrates very nicely with the redesigned, more user-friendly signup page introduced in MediaWiki 1.22.0. You would also likely see benefit in using AbuseFilter, which can be used for effective spam prevention and blocking, along with any other "filter"-based needs.

 

I see you're also using the ReplaceText extension. While this extension works decently, I'd suggest using a bot running on Pywikibot, and using the replace.py script.


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#6 Offline TheAkihabara

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Posted Jan 28 2014 - 02:52 AM

I only really check the recent changes anymore, but I also don't like the interface. Monobook is old and ugly. There are various other MediaWiki skins popping up recently that are much more modern and user-friendly:

  • Aurora - was just released by ShoutWiki this week, not open source yet
  • Refreshed - open sourced by Brickimedia
  • Athena - in development by Wikimedia Foundation, not open source yet

Each of the above is more functional, user-friendly, and customisable (both with CSS and hooks) over older skins such as Monobook.

 

Also, your MediaWiki versions (1.19.7) are not optimal, nor is it LTS anymore (1.19.10 is the oldest LTS release currently). For best functionality, you'd want to use the latest stable release, which currently is 1.22.1. You could also wait until 1.23 is released, which can be seen on all Wikimedia projects, which would be around mid-2014.

 

Additionally, some of the extensions BIONICLEsector01 and HEROsector01 are using provide for some nasty XSS attack abilities (namely your image tag extension [which can be replaced with core features in MediaWiki 1.17+] and VideoFlash [if updated shouldn't be as vulnerable]).

 

There are also some features that could be implemented that may make functionality slightly better in addition to updating the MediaWiki version to the current stable version. Lucene-search and other extensions/hooks that work with it are quite handy.

 

Your Captcha also seems terribly unreliable. KittenAuth is one of the least-effective ConfirmEdit-based extensions. I'd suggest using FancyCaptcha, which is highly effective and used globally on Wikimedia projects. FancyCaptcha integrates very nicely with the redesigned, more user-friendly signup page introduced in MediaWiki 1.22.0. You would also likely see benefit in using AbuseFilter, which can be used for effective spam prevention and blocking, along with any other "filter"-based needs.

 

I see you're also using the ReplaceText extension. While this extension works decently, I'd suggest using a bot running on Pywikibot, and using the replace.py script.

 

Before I start, I feel I should introduce myself;  I'm Metax, BS01's Lead Programmer and System Manager.  (Pleasure to meet you!)

 

 

About the themes, I know that Monobook isn't overly great compared to some of the newer mediawiki themes, but that theme has been our standard for many years nows and many users have enjoyed using it and it's variants on BS01 throughout those years.  That aside, we are currently in the process of designing and coding a brand new set of themes for BS01 which will be released within the next few weeks.   So you won't have to suffer through monobook for much longer.   :P

 

We've been working quite a bit on ramping up the security of BS01 and HS01 over the past year.  And we've developed safety measures to prevent XSS through the extensions you've mentioned.  

 

Funny you should mention our mediawiki version, as ironically we are upgrading the system as we speak to 1.22.1, and preparing the system for a quick upgrade to 1.23 once it is released as well!

 

While simple, yes, our captcha has been quite reliable over the past few months and has succeeded in lowering our spam issues immensely.  

Thank you for the suggestions though!  Security is one of our top priorities and any added filters would never hurt.

 

Could you elaborate on what the replace.py script does that the ReplaceText doesn't?

 

 

While all of this background system talk is great,  this topic is about the "Foreground" features of our site.  (Navigation, Tabs, etc.)  So it would be great to hear your opinions on those things as well!

 

If you'd like to talk more about extensions and such, feel free to PM me or message me on my BS01 page here: http://biosector01.c...User_talk:Metax

 

 

Thanks!

 

-Metax


Edited by Metax, Jan 28 2014 - 02:53 AM.

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Hi, I'm Metax.  BS01's Lead Programmer and Longtime Bionicle Fan!

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#7 Offline Meiko

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Posted Jan 28 2014 - 03:25 PM

About the themes, I know that Monobook isn't overly great compared to some of the newer mediawiki themes, but that theme has been our standard for many years nows and many users have enjoyed using it and it's variants on BS01 throughout those years.  That aside, we are currently in the process of designing and coding a brand new set of themes for BS01 which will be released within the next few weeks.   So you won't have to suffer through monobook for much longer.   :P

Interesting. Are you going to open source them and use any version/revision control systems such as git or svn? If so, it'd be great if you'd publish it to MediaWiki.org.
 

Could you elaborate on what the replace.py script does that the ReplaceText doesn't?

With a bot account, you can more reliably monitor its actions consistently, as it would have its own contributions. Doing mass actions such as editing as a normal user account, the contributions would be more scattered with manual and automated edits mixed together. This is why, for example, most wikis have AWB CheckPages to prevent users from performing mass actions on a wiki without approval, as it is more difficult to follow.
 

While all of this background system talk is great, this topic is about the "Foreground" features of our site. (Navigation, Tabs, etc.) So it would be great to hear your opinions on those things as well!

Personally I have no preference on the visual aspects of the skin or templates. Having used MediaWiki since Standard was the default skin (which sadly has been removed from core :(), I'm used to pretty much anything. I like how the infoboxes are done on articles. The tabs on them remind me a lot of how the infoboxes were on the Ninjago Wiki I had worked at 2 years ago (I believe BS01's infoboxes are based on what was at the Ninjago Wiki). I do think that as it is, BS01 isn't very easy for new users to get started. Not only is there no real introduction, but there aren't many user-friendly tools for people who aren't the most wiki-savvy. There are ways to fix this, such as introductions like The Wikipedia Adventure, or by user-friendly tools such as VisualEditor. Enabling VisualEditor would most-likely require root-level (or close to root) access through command line. I'm not sure what type of access there is available through command line for you, as I believe you are still on Dreamhost. You'd need to set up node.js and be able to have open ports on your server for Parsoid to function. VisualEditor does work with Monobook now, but I don't suggest it as default, since the interface/functionality of VisualEditor doesn't match the interface/functionality of the Monobook skin.


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#8 Offline Dorek

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Posted Jan 29 2014 - 02:18 AM

I like how the infoboxes are done on articles. The tabs on them remind me a lot of how the infoboxes were on the Ninjago Wiki I had worked at 2 years ago (I believe BS01's infoboxes are based on what was at the Ninjago Wiki).

I'd actually been advocating for a tab system for years before we actually managed to implement it, but seeing it on the Ninjago Wiki that was a great push for what the system would eventually be.


I do think that as it is, BS01 isn't very easy for new users to get started. Not only is there no real introduction, but there aren't many user-friendly tools for people who aren't the most wiki-savvy. There are ways to fix this, such as introductions like The Wikipedia Adventure, or by user-friendly tools such as VisualEditor. Enabling VisualEditor would most-likely require root-level (or close to root) access through command line. I'm not sure what type of access there is available through command line for you, as I believe you are still on Dreamhost. You'd need to set up node.js and be able to have open ports on your server for Parsoid to function. VisualEditor does work with Monobook now, but I don't suggest it as default, since the interface/functionality of VisualEditor doesn't match the interface/functionality of the Monobook skin.

I'm pretty interested in how this would work out (even if half the technojargon goes over my head). Visibility is obviously a problem for any fan wiki, but being a dead line certainly doesn't help.

Edited by Dorek, Jan 29 2014 - 02:18 AM.

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#9 Offline Zox Tomana

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Posted Feb 03 2014 - 03:07 AM

Could you elaborate on what the replace.py script does that the ReplaceText doesn't?

With a bot account, you can more reliably monitor its actions consistently, as it would have its own contributions. Doing mass actions such as editing as a normal user account, the contributions would be more scattered with manual and automated edits mixed together. This is why, for example, most wikis have AWB CheckPages to prevent users from performing mass actions on a wiki without approval, as it is more difficult to follow.
I do believe normal users can't use the replace text function, and that you need the Admin power on BS01 in order to utilize it.

While all of this background system talk is great, this topic is about the "Foreground" features of our site. (Navigation, Tabs, etc.) So it would be great to hear your opinions on those things as well!

Personally I have no preference on the visual aspects of the skin or templates. Having used MediaWiki since Standard was the default skin (which sadly has been removed from core :(), I'm used to pretty much anything. I like how the infoboxes are done on articles. The tabs on them remind me a lot of how the infoboxes were on the Ninjago Wiki I had worked at 2 years ago (I believe BS01's infoboxes are based on what was at the Ninjago Wiki). I do think that as it is, BS01 isn't very easy for new users to get started. Not only is there no real introduction, but there aren't many user-friendly tools for people who aren't the most wiki-savvy. There are ways to fix this, such as introductions like The Wikipedia Adventure, or by user-friendly tools such as VisualEditor. Enabling VisualEditor would most-likely require root-level (or close to root) access through command line. I'm not sure what type of access there is available through command line for you, as I believe you are still on Dreamhost. You'd need to set up node.js and be able to have open ports on your server for Parsoid to function. VisualEditor does work with Monobook now, but I don't suggest it as default, since the interface/functionality of VisualEditor doesn't match the interface/functionality of the Monobook skin.

I felt it was actually fairly easy to get started when I first joined five or six years ago. There's an edit button, it takes you to a page where you can actually type. Hit save, done. For the actual wiki-text portion there was a fairly helpful Help Page back then, but I'm not sure...yeah, the Help pages are still there. They could probably use a rewrite to reflect any changes on BS01, not to mention they need version of them on HS01, but between looking at the page itself to see what did what and reading the existing help pages, I found BS01 fairly accessible. You had to actually put some work in, but that isn't a bad thing. It makes you a better editor.

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#10 Online Infrared

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Posted Feb 08 2014 - 05:15 PM

I nulled, seeing as I might be a bit biased since I worked on the infoboxes (I'm Morris the Mata Nui Cow on BS01).

Anyway, I think it was a good move to upgrade to 1.22.2, and it's also good to see more skins being added in again. Like Meiko said, I think it might be nice to add in Refreshed as well, but once again I'm biased because I worked on it. :P One benefit is that it resizes and reformats content based on window size (see here for an example).
 
Regarding the new skins, are they all going to be Monobook-based (like Arena.09, which I see you've added in at least temporarily), Vector-based, or are they going to be something new entirely? I ask because I have some ideas for a few Monobook CSS tweaks, but there's no use developing them if the new skins aren't going to be Monobook-based.


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#11 Offline Meiko

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Posted Feb 08 2014 - 08:49 PM

Like Meiko said, I think it might be nice to add in Refreshed as well, but once again I'm biased because I worked on it. :P One benefit is that it resizes and reformats content based on window size (see here for an example).

Refreshed is possibly the best skin I've seen in MediaWiki that has cross-platform support.


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#12 Offline Zox Tomana

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Posted Feb 08 2014 - 10:47 PM

I nulled, seeing as I might be a bit biased since I worked on the infoboxes (I'm Morris the Mata Nui Cow on BS01).

Anyway, I think it was a good move to upgrade to 1.22.2, and it's also good to see more skins being added in again. Like Meiko said, I think it might be nice to add in Refreshed as well, but once again I'm biased because I worked on it. :P One benefit is that it resizes and reformats content based on window size (see here for an example).
 
Regarding the new skins, are they all going to be Monobook-based (like Arena.09, which I see you've added in at least temporarily), Vector-based, or are they going to be something new entirely? I ask because I have some ideas for a few Monobook CSS tweaks, but there's no use developing them if the new skins aren't going to be Monobook-based.

I'm not sure I like Refreshed =/ I dunno, maybe it's just the Brickipedia color scheme. I've always preferred Monobook anyway, it's always struck me as being pretty clean, fairly simple, and it lends itself to the kind of skins we've held whole contests over.

As to new skins being Monobook based, BS01 Skins in the past have all used Monobook as a basic design template (speaking of which, where are my VS01 and BS01 Empire skins? =P ), so assuming we get the older skins back, some Monobook tweaks may be in order. Well, whichever way Skins go, I'm still likely to have to rework or just get rid of the formatting template I've had for so long.

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#13 Offline Azani

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Posted Feb 09 2014 - 11:48 PM

I do use the search bar, though the infobox tabs are also really useful to me.
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#14 Offline Shadow Kurahk

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Posted Feb 11 2014 - 12:56 AM

Refreshed is ugly.


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#15 Offline Meiko

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Posted Feb 11 2014 - 10:01 AM

Refreshed is ugly.

Most everyone seems to like it. Instead of giving useless complaints, constructive feedback makes things better.

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#16 Offline Zox Tomana

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Posted Feb 11 2014 - 11:53 PM

Refreshed is ugly.

Most everyone seems to like it. Instead of giving useless complaints, constructive feedback makes things better.


At least with Brickim/pedia's color scheme, you have a bright white box framed by darker tones. It hurts my eyes and it draws my attention to the very center of the page, away from the outer edges. This is somewhat alleviated on the CUUSOO wiki with the grey sidebars but the text on those is hard to see, so... . This is unlike the almighty Wikipedia's (still painful)mainly white/light-grey, where my eyes aren't drawn to the very center by the whiteness itself, but by the text. To be roughly numerical about it, Wikipedia's main-text area takes up about 6/7ths of my browser window's width, and those 6/7ths are predominately the same color even above the text-space. The main text-area on Brickimedia is 2/3rds of the page's width, nearly a 25% reduction in space for the article. I couldn't find the search box quickly because my vision was so taken by the 25% denser mass being framed in the exact center of the screen. My eyes need entirely new patterns for looking around for Navigation because it is placed opposite of where it is with most Wiki skins I am familiar with (Monobook, Vector, and even the nightmares known as Modern and Cologne Blue). I think I get why you moved the ToC off to the side, but its placement there confused me initially, and I'm left wondering if a __NOTOC__ command will leave me with a giant blank space there from the start--blank space after scrolling down is expected--even though that part doesn't really scroll...oh wait, the contents box does scroll, by itself. I'm very thrown off by this skin. I guess one might like it if one was involved in making it, or was part of the Wiki that transitioned to it and so either had to live with it or could change to another skin. Most things are aligned towards the center so it feels like the screen is somewhat crowded since there is little free space (like that between boxes in Monobook or the space between the left-aligned text in Vector's Nav area), except around the very outside and even this is broken by the existence of a separate scroll bar for the ToC that isn't marked. While my screen tends to feel wide on sites like BZP, BZ01, Wikipedia, my various email providers, this skin makes my screen feel narrower and I don't like that.

In short: Refreshed is not very pretty to me, or apparently SK.

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#17 Offline Meiko

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Posted Feb 12 2014 - 03:17 PM

In short: Refreshed is not very pretty to me, or apparently SK.

It was well-received by Eurobricks and Brickset, which unlike most of BZPower's community, are Brickipedia's target audience. Is it honestly any worse than what Brickipedia is coming from (literally, the colours are identical in the foreground, header, and background)? I honestly doubt it; it was built to migrate users from Wikia to Brickimedia by providing a similar interface while removing every complaint visitors and users had about Wikia's interface, and built on the mass amount of feedback given last time Brickimedia launched in which the skin looked like this, which less people liked. If you have any suggested enhancements, I'd suggest you give it here, where other MediaWiki developers, especially those who have contributed to the Refreshed skin, will see.


Edited by Meiko, Feb 12 2014 - 03:18 PM.

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#18 Offline Zox Tomana

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Posted Feb 12 2014 - 07:15 PM

In short: Refreshed is not very pretty to me, or apparently SK.

It was well-received by Eurobricks and Brickset, which unlike most of BZPower's community, are Brickipedia's target audience. Is it honestly any worse than what Brickipedia is coming from (literally, the colours are identical in the foreground, header, and background)? I honestly doubt it; it was built to migrate users from Wikia to Brickimedia by providing a similar interface while removing every complaint visitors and users had about Wikia's interface, and built on the mass amount of feedback given last time Brickimedia launched in which the skin looked like this, which less people liked. If you have any suggested enhancements, I'd suggest you give it here, where other MediaWiki developers, especially those who have contributed to the Refreshed skin, will see.

*looks at old skin* Something I do like about this skin is that it seems wider, more open than the current one. I see the complaints, I've never thought the Wikia layout was really all that great, but... I guess your skin is a step up from that, but the relative simplicity of Monobook is what draws me to it over yours, and over Vector as well.

*looks at deepsea skin* BRIGHT BLUE EVERYWHERE!! EYES!!! THEY BURN!!

And that's all I have to say about that ^_^

Swert, I want VS01 and BS01 empire back =(

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#19 Offline Meiko

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Posted Feb 12 2014 - 07:32 PM

The one thing I can say about the DeepSea skin is that since its Vector-based, it's more compatible with newer hooks which means better extension functionality. Also, unlike Vector, it's got much simpler CSS, which means that it'd be much easier to customise and personalise.


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