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My wish list for the Wikia "My Home" feature

Najevi November 5, 2009 User blog:Najevi

In no particular order:

Let the redirect be "opt in" rather than "opt out" 
The feedback on this has clearly been divided - some love it some hate it. The way it was rolled out smacks of some idea monger with a "God complex" paranoid that nobody would notice this new feature. It is hubris how Danny has reported on the vote counting but I seriously doubt that any sincere criticism is being listened to. (Danny if you are only the messenger and not the architect then please deflect the criticism to the architect.) If the My Home page popularity wanes under an opt-in system then that means that it simply is not (yet) delivering what users want even if it is delivering what Wikia management want.
At the very least let an opt-out checkbox for this automatic redirect appear on the My Home page itself rather than burying it in the Misc tab of the preferences page. This was nicely handled for the Activity feed (see praise below).
Make this page/tab my regular LZ at this community
If I am alowed to have my cake and eat it too then a superior alternative to the present day redirect would be to store for each wiki community each logged in user's preferred "landing zone". ie. the page and/or tab to redirect to whenever the URL is used to navigate to the "target" Wikia community. (TIP: If your wiki uses SMW then you might start thinking of ways to use semantic data at the Main_Page to achieve this as a stop-gap measure until such time as the Wikia engineers figure out a more systemic solution.
Candidate LZs (landing zones) might be (for a user registered as najevi):
When only the best will do
A generic solution whereby the each user specifies their preferred LZ on a per community basis by editing a semantic annotation at their User_page. It would be trivial to make this a form based interface.

That semantic property might have a default annotation of MyLandingZone::Main_Page and the user is free to specify any URL they wish (including external URLs). Th is is very feasible for SMW enabled wikis. A page in the User_blog space is better for this only because those are read only to other users. Those wikis could then use javascript to disable the redirect and use a redirect base on each user's opt-in specification. (At least this will be my next semantic project at w:c:vsk)

Model page layout after the Special:WidgetDashboard page
By this I mean let the 4 sections (Activity feed, My contributions, Hot spots and Community corner) be tiles or boxes that can be rearranged on the page and even removed from the page. It is nice how the choice is given for Activity feed to be based on either recent changes or a user's watch list. A fair compromise might be that the My contributions, Hot spots and Community Corner each have show/hide links to the right of the section title.
Other ideas for these tiles might be:
  • Recent activity (already there)
  • Watchlist (already there as an alternative to RA)
  • Top content sub menus
  • Contributions (already on page in RH column)
  • Forum index
  • Community portal (not quite the same as Community corner)
  • Community news (really just a section from the main page but it could also be a blog feed for blogs in a specific News category.)
  • Featured article (ditto)

The recurring theme here is to reuse existing content (via tranclusion) rather than duplicating content. I imagined that this might be the perfect application for several custom WikiPage widgets however featuring such custom widgets in a Special:WidgetDashboard type of page is problematic right now.

Use DIV tags for each section
This would become necessity if the abovementioned show/hide idea is implemented but for now the My contributions and Hot spots sections are merely ad-hoc paragraphs rather than identifiable divisions. (Yes, my motive is to single them out for Stylish filtering at my browser - I mean what choice have I been given but to clean up what Wikia staff choose not to?)
Contributions tab is already in plain view
It beggars understanding why a section titled My contributions appears within 20 or 30 pixels of a tab titled "Contributions" ... am I the only one who finds this amusing? (The same can be said for the "Watch list" link at top right being within 200 or 300 pixels of the "Watch list" section when that is selected for the Activity feed area.)
Downplay the "scorecard" please
It bothers me that an unwarranted emphasis is placed on quantity/number of articles/edits and that this is unilaterally shoved in the face of every visitor to a wiki regardless of the maturity of that wiki. I am quite sure that when wikia started out they did not boast the number of communities currently hosted because that would have been small initially and nobody wants to join a fledgling wiki hosting service that "might not stay the course". Well if those on Wikia staff who can remember those early days would now put yourself in the shoes of younger wiki communities just starting out then you should understand that making it an option to emphasize such figures is better. (Yes, this is easy enough to hide via MediaWiki:Monaco.css or Special:MyPage/monaco.css with thanks to Danny and Chris for Help:Customizing_Monaco#Customizing_My_Home_and_the_user_masthead.)

Allow MediaWiki:Welcomecreation to function as intended
This was written about elsewhere. Essentially if this MediaWiki message has been defined at a wiki then let that page override any redirect. This only affects a new user who has just created a Wikia account while browsing a wikia community.

--najevi 06:21, November 5, 2009 (UTC)

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