Rosetta Code:Village Pump/Site usability

From Rosetta Code
Site usability
This is a particular discussion thread among many which consider Rosetta Code.


Discussion of how to make this site (and especially its content) “usable”, particularly in relation to how to find things and understand them.


I've seen a few people try to use RC and there seems to be a fundamental problem arising: there's too much stuff to sift through. People are finding it difficult to find the kind of code they're looking for. Some tasks aren't named exactly how some people would name them, and the tasks aren't organized very well (this was started long ago, but was abandoned and wasn't really that good to start). I think we need to make a big effort to make this site a bit more usable. We need a way to organize tasks, we need to set up redirects for different names of tasks, and maybe we need a better search function. We seem to have good pages in place to direct new users through adding content, so I don't think we need help there unless solutions to these problems will change those processes. Use this page to record usability problems with the site and then brainstorm solutions. --Mwn3d 23:05, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

It would be nice to see a "This page is in these categories" box, and be able to (from there) see what other pages are in those categories. It could be done with Javascript and the MediaWiki API. --Michael Mol 06:48, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
This box is kind of already at the bottom of the page. I think it would take some weird programming-fu to move only certain categories to a new box at the top. --Mwn3d 16:30, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
I thought that's what programming was supposed to be. :) Besides, sets make it calculate which should be brought up. --Michael Mol 19:04, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
People should be more liberal about adding pages to categories, whether or not those categories are subcategories to the "Solutions by Task" category. As better-defined categories are found, populated, reorganized and repopulated those can replace the current subcategories in the "Solutions by Task" category. --Michael Mol 06:48, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree that it didn't really catch on and that it should catch on. The categories that are in place now are just an ad hoc solution. We need some discussion on what kind of system we want for categorization. I liked the category tree idea, but if we go that route I think it would be better with the category tree MW extension. I'm not sure what other options would be. People who want to get involved in this should review the current category structure of Category:Solutions by Programming Task and evaluate it. --Mwn3d 16:30, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
I wholly disagree that the categories should be planned in advance. Different patterns and associations are apparent to different people, different people see different tasks, and not all of those with the relevant bits of discussion will even see this bit of discussion, and I've found that things tend to work best if you let people apply their own solutions, and then promote the ones that work best. The first step is to get people to apply their own solutions. I tried to do something like that with the user collections template, didn't have time to go farther, and nobody else tried it. The other side of the problem is considering how many people want to be involved in the planning of the site; just about all planning takes place in the wiki/pump before it goes into effect, but I can count on one hand the number of users who regularly chime in on anything other than syntax highlighting issues. --Michael Mol 19:04, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
Planning categories in advance is a nice idea, but rather impractical given the amount of effort it takes to write a task. Moreover, one of the key advantages of a Wiki is that you don't have to plan everything in advance; you can retrofit things afterwards. There is also one thing wrong with planning categories; that tends to lead to a tree rather than a web. I'd rather see every task being in at least two task-group categorizations so that people who think about the problem in different ways can still find what they're after. (But a plan for what categories you'd like to see, that's fine but don't just plan it, get on and do it. ☺) –Donal Fellows 09:44, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
I would love to see an individually-customized sidebar navigation box where one would find links to those languages that the user has marked in their user page's langbox. --Michael Mol 06:48, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
I would love to be able to automatically add pages to categories based on noted keywords within the language examples. (This is more of a GeSHi integration thing, or perhaps a duplication of some of its internal code. I've talked with BenBE about it once or twice, but it's unlikely to happen soon.) --Michael Mol 06:48, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
I would also like to see more categorization of languages based on the parameters in the language template and the LCT. This is especially important with new, less-mainstream languages appearing on RC. --Mwn3d 16:30, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
Awkward. The people adding those languages tend to also not understand the template. –Donal Fellows 11:30, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Ummm ... ahh ... yeah ... like me. I'm still a bit hazy actually. --Axtens 13:53, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

But looking on the bright side: It's great to have content worth categorizing! :-)
--Paddy3118 12:00, 25 March 2010 (UTC)