This page is dedicated to the issues associated with visualizing clusters.

In particular, it talks about improving the system we have right now. (It also includes tips on working around some of its problems.)

Why Visualization Matters

Visualization matters:

When Clusters are Seen

There are many times when cluster visualization becomes an issue:

The changes are viewed from two locations:

Improvements to ClusterVisualization on CommunityWiki

Improvements In Terms of Ease of Use

There are two changes that would improve the wiki's ease of use: * Showing some of the cluster's RecentChanges next to the cluster's line on the main RecentChanges page. * Not showing when pages are dropped out of a cluster.

Showing Some of a Cluster's RecentChanges

From the perspective of easy of use, it would probably be best to make the most recent changes to a PageCluster easily accessible.

One way to do this would be to list the last editor, plus the three most recently edited pages pages on the PageCluster RecentChanges line (in lieu of editor and comments.)

We can omit the specific time, since that information is available inside the cluster itself, is inferable from surrounding changes, and isn't critically important.

For example:


 15:30 UTC Cluster: ExperimentalTechnology . . . . ChrisPurcell [en]


 Cluster: ExperimentalTechnology -- PageCluster (ChrisPurcell), CategoriesAndClusters, UnifiedClusters

Not Showing Pages Dropped Out of a Cluster

Presently, when a cluster is dismantled, all of the pages drop into public view. This isn't really necessary, and doesn't contribute to site security. It does, however, make a mess for the readers of RecentChanges.

If cluster users are not reading RecentChanges, then it is a security issue for the readers of the cluster. However, we generally assume everyone is observing RecentChanges.

There is, at present, a hack you can use to account for this situation: You can make the change that de-clusters a page into a minor edit, and thus it won't show up on the wiki's main RecentChanges page.

Improvements In Terms of Security

For security, we consider PeerReview's SoftSecurity; Users need a chance to observe and approve of the removal of pages from the public view of the main wiki RecentChanges list.

Public Notice of Clustering

When pages are placed into a page cluster, either from the public space, or even from another cluster, there should be some public notice.

It need not be elaborate, or even connected to time. You could simply have daily's list of which pages went into what clusters.

Since pages seem to tend to join clusters en masse, it may be best to group the changes by their target cluster.

 Page-Cluster Placements: to WikiPatternLanguage (WikiCategories,ForwardIndex,NoLeader,WikiPatternLanguage)

Why do we want such public notice, from a security perspective? Because if it isn't there, someone can take a page, stash it away into a cluster that they think nobody would be interested in checking, flood it with changes nobody cares about, and then insert a page along with a change that people would care about. Pawn the page off into another (more relevant) cluster at a later date, and you're done.

Visualizing Clusters as Mega-Pages

If we view clusters as mega-pages - a single page incidentally made out of several pages - then some visualisation changes suggest themselves:

Currently, we see:

We should see:

(The ExperimentalTechnology "history" link I chose is the best analogy I could find - not what I would ultimately want there.)


wrt security perspective: And again I say, so what? They can just flood RecentChanges with said nonsense and bury the change in there. I assert: Only someone who knew the Wiki well would do something so calculated, and there are better ways of defending against your friends. -- ChrisPurcell

Well, if they flooded RecentChanges with nonsense, people wouldn't stand for it.

I am curious- what system do you have in mind? As far as I know, wiki SoftSecurity rests on two pillars: RecentChanges, and a version history. -- LionKimbro

Right now, you can do all sorts of evil and a lot of people won't know: just stick it in as a minor edit. I suggest making all changes of cluster appear as a minor edit (if at all) on the RC list they left, but nothing else should be left behind. As to defending against your friends, well: make sure you never have to. -- ChrisPurcell

Perhaps I have put too much emphasis (personally) on security. Perhaps we should assume a relatively secure environment. In which case, we only want notices that people would want.

I am mostly persuaded that you are right.

I still want to see the top three items in a page cluster. {:)}=

-- LionKimbro


EditNearLinks: PeerReview