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Archive:Wikia's new look - FAQ

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Why are you changing Wikia?Edit

It’s time for an upgrade! We want to give Wikia an up-to-date look that will enhance every wiki and encourage new users to join the site.

We love being the best place for gaming and entertainment information, but we want to expand our success to other topics and types of communities. Our goal is to be a place that attracts the widest possible range of people to read, write, and connect.

We are not changing what Wikia is or does, but rather opening it up to a broader audience.

When will the new design be ready?Edit

We have a ways to go yet. We are now part way through beta testing, and are working on the design as we start to see the results of that. Then it will be time for a staged roll-out across Wikia. We hope to start moving wikis to the new look in mid-Fall.

There have been so many negative comments on the blogs, so why are you still moving ahead with this plan?Edit

Because it’s the right thing to do for the future of Wikia. We understand the caution of many of those commenting on the blogs, but we are also keeping in mind that this is just one of the many groups or types of users on Wikia. We are also looking at feedback from the beta testers, from focus groups and direct measurements of activity on wikis, and listening to our in-house experts in web design and user interaction. We are working to gather *all* the information we need to make this the best look possible for Wikia.

Can I keep my color scheme?Edit

Yes. The new design will be fully customizable and it will be even easier to create the look you love on your wiki. We are also creating a bunch of fun new pre-set themes from which you can choose. If you currently use a pre-set theme, that will automatically be carried over on to the new look.

Why does the new Wikia look kind of like Facebook or Wordpress?Edit

There are always some similarities among websites that have modern, frequently updated design. In other words, when companies use best practices for the web and adapt to what users demand, their websites tend to contain similar design elements and functionality. The current modern look is to appear clean and bright with horizontal navigation and fixed width. However, that layout still leaves plenty of room for individual stylistic choices; your customizations and color choices will give your wiki its own special look and feel.

Is the new design going to be mandatory?Edit

Yes. The new look will be the default for Wikia. We will continue to support Monaco as a personal choice for a limited time while people move to the new version.

Why is it mandatory?Edit

The main reason for requiring everyone to move to the new look is that it’s simply not practical or economical for us to maintain and develop features for multiple skins. As we create new features, or update existing ones, we will only be doing so for the new look and Monaco will be left behind. This will especially be an issue when we upgrade to Mediawiki 1.16. This upgrade will involve checking each feature against the new code, and we don’t have the capacity to do that twice!

We recognize that some people would rather use the unsupported version of Monaco, but one of our biggest goals is to provide a consistent, high quality experience for all users, and we believe having everyone on the new look is the right way to do this.

What about Vector?Edit

Vector is Wikipedia’s default skin, and as we’re not them, we won’t be using Vector on Wikia.

What about Monobook?Edit

There are currently a few wikis using Monobook. When we transition from Monaco to the upgraded version of Wikia, we will not be including wikis that use Monobook to parody Wikipedia, namely Uncyclopedia and its sister projects. We will also continue, for now, to support the skin as a personal (viewing) choice for those readers that have a strong preference. However, many of the new features we will be creating for the new design will not work in Monobook.

Why are you allowing us to use Monobook and not Monaco?Edit

As noted above, we are keeping Monobook for the time being as an admin option for Uncyclopedia and its sister projects. We are also allowing it as a personal user choice, for those that prefer to view Wikia sites in that format. However, we as a company cannot afford to continue to support older versions of our design. If we allowed all outdated skins, there would be at least 5 very different looks in which our technical and community teams would have to invest time and energy. Monaco is also by nature a complex, sophisticated skin that requires more resources to run correctly.

How long are you going to support Monaco?Edit

While we don’t have an exact timetable we will continue to support Monaco as a personal preference while we complete the rollout of the new look and ensure that it is completely stable. During this time you will be able to switch between Monaco and the new look in order to transition between the two. Once we determine that everything is stable and there has been ample time to transition we will remove the Monaco personal preference.

How can I be involved in the testing?Edit

We are still taking applications for the Beta program. Please let us know if you are interested in helping with this.

What are the technical specifications, like logo size, width, or modules? Edit

We expect to be making adjustments to the prototype as we go through testing. This means that we can’t give you technical specifications on the final design yet. We will make these specifications available to you as they are finalized.

Why is there a big bar at the top of the screen? Edit

One problem we’ve seen on Wikia is that people often don’t realize what wikis are available on Wikia. This Wikia navigation is intended to help visitors find and discover other wikis that they may be interested in.

What is that floating toolbar about? Edit

The toolbar will make sure all your tools are in reach as you move around the site. You will be able to add links to special pages (including Recent Changes) to this bar, to create your personalised tools.

Are you doing this for advertising?Edit

Ads are an integral part of Wikia as they provide the revenue with which we operate. The new look is focused on enhancing the user experience and functionality on wikis. Ad modules were considered in the design but were not the primary focus of the change.

What features are being phased out completely with the new skin?Edit

We are assessing the use of all features on Wikia, and those that are not actively used by the majority of Wikians will not be incorporated into the new skin. As of now, we have identified the widget dashboard -- which includes the shoutbox -- as one of the most underutilized features. So, the widget dashboard will not be available on the new skin. "Report a Problem" links will also be discontinued with the new skin. We may identify a few other features that are not used widely across Wikia and therefore may not be included in the new design this fall. However, we’ll be sure to let you know by updating here.

Does the new look use comments or talk pages?Edit

Both comments and talk pages will be fully incorporated into the new look. The link will go to whichever is active for that wiki -- that’s usually comments for very new wikis, and talk pages for older ones.

What is happening to the MyHome page?Edit

MyHome is being merged with the equivalent page for logged out users: the Activity Feed. This has all the wiki activity information that was on MyHome, as well as the community corner for admin messages. The Activity Feed also has a link to Recent Changes, which lists extra activity for the wiki.

How can I prevent categories from showing up in the "Read more" section?Edit

A bunch of regular maintenance categories (e.g. "Stub", "Template", ...) is already prevented from showing up in this section. If you want to exclude further categories in your Wiki you're able to edit the message MediaWiki:Categoryblacklist.

Another possibility is to add the magic word __HIDDENCAT__ to the category. (Not live yet.)

How can I prevent images from showing up in the "Images in this Wiki" module?Edit

If you don't want some images to show up in the "Images in this Wiki" module you're able to add add them to the message MediaWiki:Photosblacklist. (Not live yet.)

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