Proposed new structure of the sidebar here on



  • Should the link to BugZilla be under development or communicate?
  • I have a few comments... first of all, I like the new layout much better, but I would make a few changes:
    1. I would change 'get MediaWiki' to download, and 'Download' to MediaWiki. I think this makes more sense structurally, since both the core MW and extensions are 'downloads', but not 'get MediaWikis'.
      Agreed, done. robchurch | talk 03:23, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
    2. I would restructure the support section to specifically include the word 'Help', because I think many people scan web pages specifically for that word when they have questions.
      How about changing the title from 'support' to 'help & support'? --HappyDog 00:10, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
    3. 'SourceForge Project Page' can probably be shortened to just 'SourceForge'. Anyone who would use the SF page for anything useful will know what it means. And because there is already a download link in the sidebar, we don't need to do anything to hint that the bits can be downloaded through this link.
      Done. robchurch | talk 03:23, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
    4. With the exception of the main page link, almost everything else is in alphabetical order. Consider alphabetizing the links in the development section too? --JMorgan (on WP) 14:43, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
      It wasn't intentional alphabetisation; that's just how it worked out. I ordered things in a manner I felt logical; for instance, users are more likely to want to know how to report problems and request features than how to get the code to do it themselves. For those users who want to give it a whirl, however, we next provide specific advice on that. Those users will likely feel swamped by code, and want access to documentation, so there's a link to that afterwards. SourceForge is included at the end because it has a historical involvement in our development, although it is now the least relevant development resource. robchurch | talk 03:23, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

Nice one!

The sidebar has been crying out for reorganisation for a while - cheers for bringing it up!

I was thinking about organising the navbar so that it reflects the main page (i.e. separate boxes for Users, Admins & Devs) but I think I prefer your example. I agree with all JMorgan's comments, except that I think "Bugzilla" is fine where it is. With regards "Help", I think we need a link to Help:Contents, so that's where it should come. Need to get good names that somehow make it clear what the distinction between 'help' and 'manual' is, but perhaps "Help" and "MediaWiki Manual" are sufficient (providing Help is the first item in the list).

Some other points:

  • Change "get Support" to just "support" (especially if we change "get MediaWiki" to "download").
    Agreed, done. robchurch | talk 03:26, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Is the bug tracker officially "BugZilla", or "MediaZilla"? I have seen both used - we should use the official title here. Alternatively stick to "Bug tracker" (or maybe "Report/view bugs"? - that might encourage bug reports to end up in the right place...).
    To reduce arguments and make it easier for people who might be used to reporting bugs using software of a different name, I'll change it to Bug Tracker. robchurch | talk 03:26, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
    OK, though if we want to encourage bug reporting 'Report/view bugs' might be better. --HappyDog 01:17, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
  • It is slightly odd to have 'Community portal' under 'navigation', though I agree it should be in that first box. Perhaps we can come up with a better title. Or perhaps we can just omit the title for this box altogether? Is that possible?
    No, I don't think we can. A better title might be plausible, though. robchurch | talk 03:26, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
    Well, I've just spent a while thinking about it and can't come up with anything better at the moment. If the box title can't be removed (what happens if it is left blank?) then we either need a better title for the box, a better title for the link, or we just live with the discrepancy. --HappyDog 01:17, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
    How about site? --HappyDog 01:45, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
  • We need some way of indicating which links are external, and which go to a MW page. Or perhaps all links should be on-site? I guess that would reduce their usefulness though. Also the linking is inconsistent - for example, the irc link will open your irc client (or cause an error if you don't have one...) whereas 'download' goes to an on-site page with links to the download pages. This may not matter that much but could be confusing for some people. Is it possible to have two links in the sidebar, e.g.
    In both cases the local link would be to a specific page about the mailing lists, rather than the general 'communication' page.
  • Do we need the Sourceforge link at all? As far as I am aware, all that we have there is the distributable files, and these are already covered by 'download'.

--HappyDog 18:53, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

  1. [Get support -> support] Agree
  2. [bug tracker] I call it BugZilla as do most people; "MediaZilla" is a cute old name from when it was established with a nice Monobookesque skin, but it isn't different software
  3. [cp, navigation] No, we can't omit the title as far as I know
  4. [external links] I'd avoid linking straight to an IRC channel, to be honest; can't we come up with a page containing some brief explanation and guidelines?
    Agreed. People who know about it won't come here to get to it, and those that don't should probably get a bit of explanation first. I have created MediaWiki on IRC as an initial draft of the page. However, what about the other external links? Should we link to local pages about the target (subversion/mailing list/etc.) or just straight to the external location? I find it odd for the site navigation to link off-site with no visible indication that that is what will happen. --HappyDog 01:17, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
  5. We can ditch the link if preferred; it's not like we use them for huge amounts of stuff any more
    That would be my choice --HappyDog 01:17, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
robchurch | talk 19:14, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Go live?

I have updated the example with all the changes that I think are needed. I also added a Bugzilla page which that link now goes to. Are there any objections to putting this live now? --HappyDog 01:45, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm in favor... let's go live with the new Sidebar. It will get more attention once it is live and can be adjusted further if such attention brings further quality ideas. It looks good to me. Good work everyone. --Rogerhc 05:28, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
OK - It's up! Plus I added some CSS styling to highlight external links. Let me know if you experience any problems... --HappyDog 02:15, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Here's one — the sidebar doesn't work at all with the Classic skin. :| -- Schneelocke 21:52, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Yap, see bug 2557. --:Bdk: 00:06, 5 June 2007 (UTC) 

MediaWiki User Feedback

Hey Rob,

I originally posted this comment on Talk:MediaWiki#Adding « Browse » to Main page but since I feel it's relevant here, I hope you appreciate the feedback : )

As a constant advocate of user experience improvement, one of the first things I do whenever I implement a local version of MediaWiki is adding a link to the root category of the wiki to the MediaWiki:Sidebar. I must admit I'm very surprised this has never been integrated in the default settings so I guess I just had to speak up a little!

Good wiki content management for me implies that there should only be one uncategorized category in any given wiki, the root category. I would love to see a new " Browse content " added to the sidebar that could in turn be translated directly in the localized language files.

I then categorize the main page to the root category for users expecting to find the category at the bottom of the article " as usual ". The main page should in most cases be the only one listed directly in the root category, so it also makes it very easy to notice if another user has categorized a given page as root simply because they didn't know where to put it. Obviously, it also makes maintainting a structured category tree a lot easier.

So this is my suggestion for the MediaWiki website but since I truly believe this is good practice that should make it's way all over the wiki world, please feel free to pass this suggestion along to the proper channels.

Ciao. Stéphane Thibault 07:14, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Search to far down

Of all the side links, I use search most of all, as do probably 99% of the visitors here. This new format causes the search to be off the main page, requiring scrolling down. If just three items were removed or condensed, then the seach would then be on the main page, alleviating the necessity of scrolling. Odessaukrain 17:27, 4 December 2007 (UTC)