Template talk:Page layout/Feedback

Latest comment: 13 years ago by Brian McNeil in topic Fatally flawed

Please use this page for feedback, comments, bug reports, etc. on Template:Page layout and the Wikinews page redesign trial. Click here to leave a new comment. Thank you.

It doesn't look so great with short articles. Perhaps the image(s) should be centered, like other agencies do. —Mikemoral♪♫ 16:29, 28 August 2010 (UTC)Reply

I think it's because the double image is too wide. However, adding the sources at the bottom here seems like a good option. Perhaps we can do it both ways (in the sidebar for longer articles and at the bottom for shorter)? fetch·comms 20:07, 28 August 2010 (UTC)Reply
That was my original idea. Sources in the sidebar should only be used when it doesn't make the sidebar longer than the article text. Δενδοδγε τ\c 07:38, 29 August 2010 (UTC)Reply

Beck story edit

  1. It had too many images, jammed up against each other.
  2. Why are the Newsroom, and Style Guide, on both the left and right?
  3. Why does this article use the dateline template? Does it feature original reporting from someone in Washington, DC?
    I may have additional comments, once I've loaded it on my phone. --Brian McNeil / talk 17:39, 28 August 2010 (UTC)Reply
  4. The replacement for social bookmarks has too many links, and they all show the offsite link graphic that was previously suppressed (This is a "bug" in the Simple skin I was using for on-mobile convenience). --Brian McNeil / talk 17:44, 28 August 2010 (UTC)Reply
  1. You fixed that, it's not related to the template at any rate.
  2. Some of the current infoboxes have the "Collaboration" section (like the Aviation one). It was based off that.
  3. That can just be removed, not related to this template.
  4. It has less than the current social bookmarks template. I would say remove the newstrust link and add the identi.ca, which I have done for now in this template.
fetch·comms 20:13, 28 August 2010 (UTC)Reply
RE 1. Perhaps we should have a 'graphical competence' requirement for reviewers? No? ;-)
RE 2. Yes, you're right, but there is less of a differentiation with the new layout style; it's become a needless repetition where, slightly moreso, it was a distinct re-emphasis.
RE: 3. NewsTrust, whilst not used much, is one where we'll get good, constructive criticism from on longer articles. The additional point I'd put in about this re-tooling of social bookmarks is that it should be further down the sidebar. People should have read some before clearly getting the opportunity to share the story. --Brian McNeil / talk 20:40, 28 August 2010 (UTC)Reply
OK, so I've removed the collaboration section and readded newstrust in, while moving the social bookmarks links to the second-bottom (optional sidebar text will be last). Funny enough, both Reuters and the NYT have their Twitter/Facebook links at the top. fetch·comms 21:03, 28 August 2010 (UTC)Reply

This looks a little better, but a point that nagged at me with the Beck one; what on earth are "Related stories" supposed to be? Where do you put "Related news"? The two are quite distinct, and I really dislike the blurring between the two here. Related news is supposed to be where Wikinews sources from earlier articles on the same item, such as an ongoing political crisis. --Brian McNeil / talk 17:48, 28 August 2010 (UTC)Reply

Related stories should be things in the same category (like the infoboxes). I have changed "Related news" to "See also", as has been used before.
Where does it say "From Wikinews"? The template defaults to "By Wikinews". fetch·comms 20:18, 28 August 2010 (UTC)Reply
  • "See also" is from The Other Place, please do not use this!. There is quite an important distinction you seem to be missing; it is not referring people to encyclopedic articles on related items, but to earlier points in the unfolding progression of a long-ish-running story thread. Using "Related stories" on, say, the European Union is piffle; you can have stuff from Sweden, and from Greece in there with zero real interrelation. --Brian McNeil / talk 20:35, 28 August 2010 (UTC)Reply
  • NYT uses "Past Coverage", does that sound a bit better than "See also"? And, would "Other stories: <category>" seem like a better replacement for "Related stories"? fetch·comms 21:06, 28 August 2010 (UTC)Reply

Sources/External Links edit

Rather unintuitive. Sources and external links are very similar. Why separate them? Perhaps we should group them back together. :| TelCoNaSpVe :| 18:29, 28 August 2010 (UTC)Reply

What the hell? edit

  • Where did this come from? Doesn't look too great, and also buggy - I've just tried to review an article and discovered that the review box now appears behind the text of the article, without moving it, so I actually can't edit using EzPR. Fix it, or remove it until it works. BarkingFish (talk) 23:32, 28 August 2010 (UTC)Reply
  • Personally, I think the new layout is OK; however, what's going to happen to infoboxes? Are they going to be replaced by that Other section? Just wanted to know. However, I don't really have a problem with the new sidebar, it looks more "pro" then our existing format. --Shankarnikhil88 (talk) 04:01, 29 August 2010 (UTC)Reply
I'm strongly opposed to adopting this. I'm not happy with the layout; and fundamentally, I think there should not be a single master template like this.
I agree with assessment "too much whitespace, too cramped and frankly unappealing to the eye" (except that I'd put a comma after "cramped" :-). The two-column format both sqeezes the body of the article, and smears together the other items, that used to be visually distinct form each other, into a generic mass.
I think it's a mistake to bury the layout into a master template, regardless of what the layout provided by that template might be.
  • It puts too much power into a single template, with no upper bound on how badly things could go wrong when it's tinkered with. I'm also uncomfortable with making major format changes to large swaths of archived articles (which would eventually be the implication of changing the template), even though one might argue that technically it doesn't change the "content".
  • It's fundamentally inflexible. A format that's out in the open is easy to make common-sense adjustments to on a per-article basis. Pulling haveyoursay generically off to the right, instead of having flexibility to place it for best effect, is just one case in point. Another is the loss of expressiveness in what used to be the infobox. It's also illustrative of the general problem that, as far as I can see, there's no way to apply the {{archive}} template.
  • It's awkward, and highly accident-prone, to have to wrap a template call around the entirety of the article.
--Pi zero (talk) 07:33, 29 August 2010 (UTC)Reply
I fixed that interview article—somebody had put the OR template in the sidebar, which stretched it (please don't do that!). The template is pretty flexible, I think: Most sections can be removed if you want, and the ones that can't are already in almost every article (and with good reason); and you can add whatever extra sections you like to the sidebar, even if there's no code for it. I think it's a good idea to have a fully standardised layout—it puts us more in-line with what the mainstream media have (and I personally think our articles are, by default, too wide). Haveyoursay can go anywhere—what we have moved to the sidebar is that ugly white box that we have to put at the bottom of every article (I prefer it this way). I would like the option to add some more stuff to the infobox, but they had previously been rather non-standard and dissimilar—if we have a space for an image and a caption, it might look nicer (we could even have a standardised format where, if a parameter is set to "country", it automatically sets the image to File:Location-{{{other}}}.png or whatever it is. Δενδοδγε τ\c 08:27, 29 August 2010 (UTC)Reply
And just put {{archive}} at the bottom of the article text—there shouldn't be any problems that way. If that doesn't work, just stick it outside the template. Δενδοδγε τ\c 08:41, 29 August 2010 (UTC)Reply
I agree with Dendodge—if you look at other news sites, like Reuters, the NYT, WSJ, etc., they use even more cramped column-style layouts than Wikinews. The old format is wide, which makes it look like an encyclopedia (and a bit more tedious to read, for me at least). Going to columns isn't that bad of an idea, as it makes us look more mainstream and professional. A bit of whitespace can help keep the article from looking like a big blob of text, and help the words flow by the reader's eye (well, that's how I imagine it). This study discusses the advantages of using columns in text, and although we're not actually dividing the text into separate columns, a more narrow approach seems to be better.
We aren't going to change the archived articles, that's per the older WC discussion. But one template, I feel, gives a more "fit-together" look. Everything flows into a single clean layout. We're probably going to fullprot the template if completely adapted, and changes won't be made without testing in a sandbox first. Nothing should go wrong unless an admin decides to be stupid (I mean, if someone tinkered with the main page, how badly could that go, as well?). I also concur with Dendodge that this template is really quite flexible. We can move sources, external links, and "see also" into the sidebar for longer articles and out for shorter. We can add extra text to the sidebar when needed. We can credit articles that are wholly OR and not credit individuals for regular articles. I'm not sure what you mean by "expressiveness" for the infobox—the old ones don't seem expressive to me, they seem clunky and out of place with the rest of the article. For archiving, the template would work fine at the bottom of the text, or it could be added as a sidebar parameter. It should work fine both ways.
One single template makes it harder to forget things like adding an infobox, and this could be advantageous for new editors. Brianmc has proposed writing a sort of article wizard, like the enwp one, and this could be integrated with that, as well. For accidents, people will obviously need to be careful when editing published articles, as usual. I see no increased risk of accidents; I could just as easily blank half an article during an edit conflict as I could typo a template parameter.
I realize that some people will not like this design, but I think that making Wikinews appear to be more of a professional, mainstream, and respected news organization means making our articles look more clean and professional-looking themselves. fetch·comms 19:47, 29 August 2010 (UTC)Reply

Wrapping the entire article in an template is possibly the stupidest thing I've ever heard edit

I know there has been discussion on making the articles look nicer, but I've not paid too much attention to it. This just caught my eye... and when I realized that there was an attempt to wrap the ENTIRE article in a template... Wow... That is just a shitty shitty shitty idea. Think about it. Let me count the ways that I can come up with off the top of my head:

  1. In order to make any reasonable changes/upgrades/improves to article designs, you're going to have to change this template. That will force the servers to repop EVERY article. With a few articles that isn't bad, with 10k? You're seriously gonna piss off the ops people.
  2. It will become an extremely high usage template, thereby making people extremely reticent to change it, thereby locking us into a setup that wont suit us down the line.
  3. Someone will make a mistake changing the template once and break EVERY SINGLE ARTICLE on the site. Sure, you break {{published}} now and it'll screw things up, but it will only partially look bad - you can't "break" the entire article.... unlike this "solution".
  4. This will just make it even freaking harder for people to get in and start writing.

I think that is a good start. Now, that all being said, if you want to redesign the articles, be my guest. But for the love of god and server kittens, do not so using an entire page template. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 08:37, 29 August 2010 (UTC)Reply


  1. Absolutely. This won't be applied to old articles, but if used from here forward every tiny tweak will be an unbearable server load in a few years.
  2. I would not like to be stuck in this format.
  3. Very, very valid point.
  4. This is the important one. MediaWiki was developed because 'raw' HTML was too daunting for mere-mortals; you're putting the scary back into editing.
  1. Wouldn't need to do that if we used several templates and updated one of them anyway? I mean, this template can be broken down into two or three separate ones, but updating one is going to affect all articles anyway, right?
  2. Can't we make a new design later? I don't foresee this being used for another five years, but I don't see it being tossed aside after eight months. I mean, if we don't update archived articles this time around, why do it later? Anyone can propose new ideas any time they want.
  3. That's why we have sandboxes, and the template should be fully protected later on. If we broke this template into several smaller pieces, this issue could be avoided, but then we have multiple templates just like before, which is just harder to deal with for new users.
  4. Seems easier for me. If we add an article wizard-type thing, then we just tell users to "put sources where it says sources= and put the text where it says text=", etc.
I'm not opposed to using several templates, as long as the end result is a design in which every part fits together nicely and doesn't look out of place or unprofessional. fetch·comms 19:55, 29 August 2010 (UTC)Reply
With a template this complex, so much as forgetting a single curly brace, will frag the entire thing. That in turn will then frag every article on Wikinews. As for a "Wizard" type thing. Are you making the Wizard? Yea... Get on that one first. Even if you did, have you not noticed that you can goto WN:Newsroom, punch in an article title, and it gets pre-filled (like this example) with all the info/templates you need. Great... except for the fact most of the new articles (that aren't spam, and aren't done by experienced editors) lack all those templates. People don't know what they're looking at, don't understand, and thrash it. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 21:51, 29 August 2010 (UTC)Reply
I understand that—that's why a guided wizard would be more helpful (at least, I've never had this problem in enwp's Articles for creation process). Yes, I can make it, and fairly quickly, I'd say. fetch·comms 22:01, 29 August 2010 (UTC)Reply

Mobile - hideous edit

Finally got my Nokia to load the Beck article; the body text 'allowance' is not more than four words wide. --Brian McNeil / talk 08:47, 29 August 2010 (UTC)Reply

Nothing looks great on mobiles, but it looks fine on my BlackBerry: In page view it's no worse than the rest of Wikinews, and in column view (my browsing method of choice) it looks nothing short of awesome. I think we need a special version of Wikinews for mobile devices, though, and we have for a long time. Δενδοδγε τ\c 08:52, 29 August 2010 (UTC)Reply
Once we get the true-mobile gateway, like Wikipedia has, this will look FANTASTIC!!!!shift+1! See... the Mobile gateway, it strips all templates. --ShakataGaNai ^_^ 18:14, 29 August 2010 (UTC)Reply
I know, the WP mobile gateway is my BlackBerry homepage. That's not the kind of mobile gateway I am suggesting for Wikinews—we can do better. Δενδοδγε τ\c 22:06, 31 August 2010 (UTC)Reply
Reads fine to me on an iPod Touch. This is what we really need. fetch·comms 20:00, 29 August 2010 (UTC)Reply
I've created a mobile Wikinews page; however it's definitely in alpha. --Shankarnikhil88 (talk) 00:43, 30 August 2010 (UTC)Reply

Horrible edit

The new "style" just looks awful. Diego Grez return fire 19:57, 29 August 2010 (UTC)Reply

Leaving constructive criticism on how it could be improved might help. In what ways is it awful? In what ways is the old version better? What ideas do you have, for improving this or making a new design altogether? etc. fetch·comms 20:00, 29 August 2010 (UTC)Reply

Separate templates edit

I've made separate templates at Template:Page layout/top and Template:Page layout/sidebar. The text goes between the two. Would this be good, or break it up into another template? fetch·comms 01:20, 31 August 2010 (UTC)Reply

If there are just two templates, that go at the top and the bottom, call them /top and /bottom. That's easier to remember, and more likely to be used correctly.
As for how far to break things down into separate templates, I think that depends partly on what appearance one is going for, which seems not to be settled yet — there's no reason for us to simply polarize the community into those in favor of a particular change, and those in favor of not changing anything.
I see two somewhat distinct motives for breaking up the master template.
  • Whenever possible, elements of the article should by outside template calls rather than inside them. The single biggest case of this is that the article body should not be inside a template call.
  • Templates should, when possible, each perform a single function, so that different functions are insulated from each other.
Here's where the appearance comes in. When multiple elements of the page are to be tightly coordinated with each other, that's a reason to bundle them into a single template that makes sure their coordination is done correctly — even though, layout permitting, one would have preferred to separate their logical functions into different templates. When I tried to articulate what was bothering me about the appearance of the proposed layout, I identified the fact that various elements that used to be visually distinct from each other were now being "smeared together" in the side bar. That directly impacts decisions about breaking up the template, because the sidebar seems to want to be a single template no matter how many elements are in it.
In hopes of formulating a way out of this aesthetic impasse, I'd like to understand better the underlying factors that the proponents of this are aiming for. Looking back at the water cooler thread didn't really help me, alas. I'm honestly not sure what "outdated" means, in this context; the BBC's article layout, for example, has some similarities to this proposal, but in some aspects it's more like the existing layout than the proposed one. It seems I'm just missing a point somewhere. Would any proponents of the proposed appearance be willing to attempt to explain to me what's driving it? --Pi zero (talk) 16:17, 31 August 2010 (UTC)Reply
I think that part of the goal is to bundle a few things together. I personally envision a layout that simply fits together, as the current infoboxes look sort of out of place in comparison to the rest of the article. The haveyoursay and social bookmarks are left floating by themselves, too. The article should look clean, smooth, fitting together. Sort of why our main page is not individual boxes floating around (like the enwp main page). I'm not sure how to best phrase it, but the goal in designing this was to make it seem more "modern", like a news article and not an encyclopedia article. fetch·comms 01:12, 1 September 2010 (UTC)Reply

Fatally flawed edit

To suggest this be changed to an opening and closing template does nothing to address the serious concerns raised by ShakataGaNai. It's just a little sleight of hand to make what's one template into two; all the other problems remain.

I, personally, am very unhappy to see Wikinews try to mimic the mainstream, who are trying to mimic print. Wikinews is not paper.

The distinct advantage our current layout has is that the only near-universally used templates are date, source, publish, and archived. They're distinct, not lumped into one wiki-explosion-waiting-to-happen. Go ask Brion what happened when someone tried to do something odd like delete the wnWP sandbox to find out the risks you're introducing.

As it stands, I'm opposed to this; please look to what can be salvaged from the effort. The reason so many articles don't look that great is how short they are - the solution to that is not to hide the paucity of detail, but to be more in-depth.

Shaka's point about article creation from the Newsroom is even closer to home; if you've not zapped my Howdy template off your talk, there's a 'start an article' tab in there.

I'd rather see effort on newswriting, and reviewing, than what feels like 'rearranging the deckchairs on the titanic' - content is king, so I'm off to look for some other homeless people to talk to. --Brian McNeil / talk 21:44, 31 August 2010 (UTC)Reply

Well, it solves the part about just being one template and not wholly breaking every single page. But I realize there are some other issues; splitting up the template was intended to just address one single issue of having one template.
We're not trying mimic the mainstream completely. Doing a complete paper-type design is illogical for the project's goals, I agree. But we can still do with a more visually appealing design (looking less like an encyclopedia/Wikipedia article) as well as a modern/up-to-date organization.
Universally used templates are unavoidable, but I don't understand how this is an explosion waiting to happen. Using separate templates was intended to help avoid major server load on every change or breaking things if a mistake was made. Obviously, they can be separated even more, but this is just a start.
I agree that this may not be the best for all articles, but that's why it is flexible, as the sources can go in either the body or the sidebar, things can be added, left out, to make it look better lengthwise, etc.
The last bit can be addressed with an article wizard-type system; this would be extremely helpful in showing people exactly where to write, what not to remove, etc. fetch·comms 01:22, 1 September 2010 (UTC)Reply
  • You're tring to make MediaWiki do something it was never intended to. Even as two templates, a change to either flags every page they're used on to be regenerated and recached. People love Wikipedia for the way it is, which is closer to what Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Calliau intended than any other content management system on the net. I got partway through a portal redesign, but software development is required. This seems similar; you're pushing the template system beyond its design limits for asthetic reasons. Content, content, content - not 'if you build it, they will come'. --Brian McNeil / talk 21:36, 2 September 2010 (UTC)Reply
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