Over these past few months, one thing I've been trying to do is fix the welcome message. What is the welcome message? Well, it looks like this (basic MediaWiki template with $ variables) and looks like this when applied to someone's page. I first realized that the problem with the welcome message was its links to learning about editing were not sufficient.
The template links to the Editing Help page, which is rather impractical for new users considering how the page deals with source mode content when most users would just be learning the ropes of Visual mode.
The link to the help tutorial borders on... not being that good. The problem with this is that users may come to it needing help on how to do something, but get annoyed having to go through so many pages, and likely just give up.
And finally, if we really had a welcome message that instructed people how to edit, then why are blog posts like this being made? This was the first sign I noticed that the welcome message needs revision.
The Help index
To tackle this problem, I created the Help index page. This page lists all important help pages on Wikia and gives a very short description on what the page is about. Along with that, the list prior to the source section was designed to list important content first so new users could get a good understanding on how to use Wikia features.
I primarily left source mode content out of this aforementioned section because I thought it was a little complex, having to go into source mode to do this stuff and being hit with a whole bunch of weird code. The source mode section details important stuff about source mode, however, it doesn't contain all Wikia help pages about source mode, only those pages which contain important basic information.
Editing pre-existing pages
I had to edit some pages as they had content which was aimed at new wiki founders or content that wasn't applicable to the Nitrome Wiki. This index is supposed to be for new users, not new Wiki founders. The pages edited:
- Help:Templates - I removed the "How to create a basic template" section, since you were directed to actually go and create a template
- Help:Templates/Parameters - I revised the first part of the first section so it didn't direct you to go and create a template
- Help:Cite - I edited a few sections with Nitrome Wiki specific information and removed the "Citation templates" section, as it didn't apply to the Nitrome Wiki
- Help:New page - Changed a few occurrences of "your wikia" (and/or other terms) to "Nitrome Wiki", edited the page so that all the images are embedded from Community Central (including the thumbnail)
What you can do to help
I created this blog post not only to highlight the Help index, but to get people to go and look at it to give feedback. If you're willing to help, you can go over to Project:Help index and see if:
- The page is logically constructed
- The short description for each page is okay
- The pages listed are satisfactory in covering the subject, including covering everything about the subject, and the page being easy to understand
- The Help index is complete in listing everything about basic Wikia editing
And about the individual pages:
- Is this page clear in explaining how to substitute templates? I found it was a bit hard to understand until I remembered doing it on another wiki
Further helping the welcome message
I think there should be a few more links to some general important content about the Nitrome Wiki. Any suggestions?
I also think there should be a notice about the Fan Fiction Wiki, so people (if they ever read that far) know what it is and that fanart is uploaded there and not here.
Perhaps links to some fun things on the wiki should be listed? Battle of the Week, perhaps?
I think places where user's can easily participate should be reduced to a few projects. I'm fine with Project:Helping out staying, but I think Special:WantedPages should be removed due to being difficult to use for new users (names given without game they are from), and the Stub and Revise categories removed to as they are already contained on Project:Helping Out.
Any other suggestions for what could be added? I'm trying to make the welcome message better suited to new users. If you need ideas, try thinking back to when you were a new user and listing what things on the Nitrome Wiki you thought were great/important.
The Nitrome Wiki welcome message needs fixing up, and could do with some new additions.
Thanks for reading this far! If you would like to help, please consider posting a comment:
- Answering the questions at the What you can do to help section of the article
- Sharing your opinion on my suggestions for the changes to the welcome message mentioned in Further helping the welcome message
- Sharing your suggestions for the welcome message
Thanks for your help!
Here are what the welcome templates look like (just for easy reference)