We are no longer using a sidebar. The discussion below shows how people were happy to have a sidebar. Ever since the wiki was fishballed (see 2012-08-07 Talk), we’ve had practically no edits. The “current editors of the wiki” is a practically irrelevant list.

Discussion from 2006/2007 when we introduced the Sidebar

We’re using the Oddmuse:Sidebar Extension. Thus, if you edit the SideBar page, it’ll show everywhere.

You bet I like it. Beining used to it from oddwiki I welcome the sidebar here very much. It clearly gives everybody the possibility to take major influence on the main structure. On Mediawiki it is far more complicated and it take admin rights to do it. Spam on the sidebar is annoying and happens sometime but that’s repairable. A clearly openly editable sidebar is an important step in the [DeadministrationOfwiki? deadministration of wiki]. Better common spam-protection allows for more of it. Cool. The way I styled sidebars on oddwiki - an example is city-wiki-center: recent changes. An all open pointing to neighbors by having the wiki-node in the side-bar is the same attitude of seeing the the whole, wikilandia as opening the sidebar to easy editing by the public. We can show more trust to people, give them more possibilities (and responsibity) I think. It’s interesting to see what people copy of what they saw on oddwiki-hive: sandwiki to the wikis they create later. Really opening the process of growth of a (or several) structuralization(s) to public access is essential.

Lion: yeah! That was a side-bar edit it I liked! It felt like having a way to adapt the sidebar on every page in the first moment to me. I just changed from recent changes to recent near changes when you saved your edit and for a second it felt like there is a way to define different sidebars to different pages. More widely pointing out the further you move away from the center - recent changes, recent near changes - two different orbits, two different sidebars.

I hope I’m not leaving out any communities or people! It’s not intentional- I’ve just been going fast. :)

I think the new sidebar is a very nice pice of work that really does make a great ‘first impression’. I was impressed when I first saw it and I’m sure new-commers will be too. I also thnk it adds some additional useful information , even for regulars. “Good work!”

I would be in favour of having it as a page option, rather than having it on all pages

  • deprecated (since it does not persist beyond its length so it does not …force more scrolling on long pages.)
  • but I still like the idea of it being possible to have a different sidebar for each page.
    • Assuming I understand the way TransClusion has been implemented here, I think this may be easy to do. If it’s not, I would really appreciate being enlightened as to the problems since I am also dealing with these issues in other environments.

The current implementation just inlines a page with a particular name as the sidebar. Independently of that, however, I believe that on a wiki, it makes no sense to have a different sidebar for different pages, since structurally, all pages are alike. Therefore, having the navigational structure vary defeats the purpose. Now, if you really need just a way of richer layout of wiki pages, including extra columns for sidenotes, that would be a different discussion. On my one page, I’ve used a special CSS for tables to do that. [1] I don’t think that such “asides” or “margin notes” would work well for this wiki, however.

What about adding a section to the sidebar:

pages currently featured on our front-page

  • page1
  • page2

It should automaticaly correct when we change the aggregation on the front-page. Maybe this increases the communities will to repesent itself adequately on its own front-page? ;)

I’m at a conference right now, and don’t have much time, but:


ChristopheDucamp, I strongly agree: We should figure out how to get presence stuff integrated.

Have so much more to say, but I simply don’t have the time!

Take care!

My first reaction was, “Wow, what’s that?” and then “Hmm, that’s either really cool or really ugly.” and then “Both!” Now I kind of like it and don’t think it’s ugly.

Hey, this is really neat ! (Especially since I seem to have missed the previous more experimental versions). Opens loads of possibilities ! And no, it’s not ugly :)

I too would like page-specific sidebars. The current sidebar looks like a good thing to have on the FrontPage, but I don’t like seeing it on every page. Consider the information inside of it now; it’s not a “navigational structure” for navigating this website. It’s not the kind of information that you use while you’re browsing within the CommunityWiki website; rather, it’s the kind of stuff you want to see when you’re entering (or leaving) the CommunityWiki site.

When I’m browsing normal wiki pages, I don’t need to see “Announcements” (I’ve already seen them), “Connected Community” or “Connected Blogs” (I don’t want to leave this website right now), or “Current Contributors” (I know who they are already). And the sidebar takes up lots of valuable screen real-estate – I feel that it gets in the way while I’m reading text. So, I suggest the sidebar just go on FrontPage and RecentChanges – because these are the two places that people will see when they “come in the door”.

This suits what I see as the current function of it, to visually distinguish “birds-eye-view” information (announcements and information on how this website is related to the wider community) from the content on FrontPage and RecentChanges.

But if we are going to restrict it to FrontPage and RecentChanges (and of course other pages being used as RecentChanges, such as RecentFarChangesEnglishOnly), we may as well be as general as possible and just make them page-specific sidebars. If Alex thinks a special CSS for “asides” is the best way to do that, that’s cool.

Here’s my suggestion for a CSS that makes the SideBar look nicer (in my opinion; note that I don’t have much of an eye for graphic design though):

Adding one simple line of code improves your css in IE6 a lot:


under the ‘h2’ selector. It’s a quick fix, definately not a long term solution, but seeing the messy css you use, you might want to consider rewriting it completely…

- I love the sidebar. I love the version that Alex got to. I like the version Bayle has suggested, but not enough to vote the other off the island! I like the idea of being able to decide in cookies which I can view. Also the idea of having pages inside the wiki have edited sidebars is fab!!! Great work Alex and others. --Best, MarkDilley

hmmm, seems as if I am stuck with Bayle’s sidebar. I don’t think I am appreciating it as much as I was, it seems to be just this block that is imposed while I traverse the wiki… did I get it to stay, or did someone (Alex) flip a switch? Best, Mark


yeah, as Alex indicated, once you change the CSS with a cookie it “sticks” until you reset it (or lose your cookie).

I don’t quite understand what you mean by “it seems to be just this block that is imposed while I traverse the wiki”; isn’t the sidebar like that no matter which CSS you use? (although I would still like to see a page-dependent sidebar, and make this one show up only on the FrontPage and RecentChanges).

One issue that I did notice is that my sidebar won’t sit next to the edit box. I think it used to not sit next to portraits, but now it does, I don’t know why it works now. I don’t know how to fix the edit box thing; I think the solution might be to change the css for “content edit”, because previews and edit boxes are inside a div of class “content edit”, but I don’t know how to access (“select?”) divs whose classnames contain spaces.


were you referring to my css suggestion or to the std green.css file? did you mean the h2.sidebar or the h2 section? I put the line you asked under the h2.sidebar thingee in my css; it doesn’t change anything in firefox, but maybe it helps for ie6.

i’d love to not write such messy CSS but i don’t know anything about CSS; can you suggest a link I could read about how to write clearer CSS? thanks

to all:

i’m not intending to maintain a separate CSS version, as I don’t know that much about CSS and would basically have to ask y’all for help for every little change. So I’m not going to fiddle with my suggestion too much more to make it perfect; it was just a suggestion. Unless there is a way for the community to help out in maintaining various CSS versions… (see below).


I prefer to keep the listing of the connected communities here; why conceal it in the WikiNode?

It’s okay to double-list, that’s not a problem.

We want something so that people who read the FrontPage as a blog, can get a quick sense of where our “neighbors” are.

(That’s my justification, at least.)

Yeah, I like connected communities too. (but then, I don’t want the sidebar on pages other than FrontPage and RecentChanges).

So strange; The first link on the SideBar keeps pointing to FrontPage on the rendered version, but CommunityMaintainedCss on the edit version?

It points to to CommunityMaintainedCss for me. Maybe a cacheing issue?

Oh, I’ve figured it out; You know what it was?! It was that the CommunityWikiLogo, which is linked to the FrontPage, was hanging over the “Help us fix…” text.

That’s all. ok.

what’s going on w/ the side bar? I looked at the side bar history and this page, but I can’t decipher what’s been goin on. it doesn’t look “terrible” but it lookz “kinda messed up”. for me, the CommunityWikiLogo is totally still hanging over the “looks terrible? help us fix…” text. I’d help but I’m a lil lost.

The sidebar is in a smaller font for me today (don’t think I looked yesterday, so this may be a couple of days old) and the logo is hanging over, as people have mentioned. I copied Alex’s presence indicator and Edgar then asked my jabber client for permission to see if I was online. It works on CW now!

The logo overlapping other elements in the top right corner is ok if it doesn’t overlap the “use Firefox” link. I’m using Firefox 1.5 on a Mac, and the Sidebar looks very nice!

BayleShanks made the CommunityMaintainedCss, so that you can try and fix things out yourself, if you like. :)

Well, I just had the idea; Alex figured out how to do it, and it’s thanks to the flexibility of OddMuse that it’s even possible.

Dear lord ! This is frightfully ugly with InternetExplorer :P The main reason seems to be png transparency; nothing we can do about that :P Ironically, the CommunityWiki logo covers most of the “look ugly?” message (though I can still read “use Firefo”) :P

It is neat to have an overlapping logo, but maybe the part that overlaps shouldn’t be clickable ? That’s probably not easy to do. The bottom of the logo could be cropped, there’s a few pixel’s width of white/transparent space that’s still clickable and that, even on firefox, covers some of the CommunityMaintainedCSS? link.

(Ok, it’s not that ugly, but it doesn’t look as smooth)

Oh and those jabber presence icons are cool ! :)

I don’t know exactly what you InternetExplorer folks are seeing, but you say the logo is overlapping the sidebar? Maybe we can move the sidebar down? I changed div.sidebar’s “margin-top: 3em”. If that’s not enough, try going to CommunityMaintainedCss and increase the 3 to something bigger.

This is what it should look like:

Transparent Community Wiki Logo

But now I remember that IE doesn’t know about transparent PNG files…

Eek, Christophe, don’t put me among “InternetExplorer folks” – once, bored at an uncle’s home, I installed firefox, then replaced all the IE icons I could fins with links to firefox, and changed the icons and the names so that everything looked just as before O:-)

So no, I don’t think we should use.gif images instead of .png just to get the transparency right; however we could crop the logo, because there’s some space (maybe about five pixels high :P) at the bottom that’s completely invisible under firefox, but shows up in white on IE; try selecting the logo to see what I mean.

(I’d put up a screenshot, but I’m on a Linux machine now :P)

Funny how we all call our home on the web a blog, a weblog a wiki, or a wikiblog. I guess it shows our priorities. Anybody feel like using “bliki”? ;)

OK. I don’t know what to call mine anyway, since it’s running OddMuse with only comment pages editable. I’d call it a “half wiki” but I don’t wanna confuse people. Anyhow it’s not quite a half wiki as Lion was describing it.

Seems like bliki is something new. The missing-link-thing, kinda? I’m fascinated by what Christophe Ducamp made his bliki look and feel like and I translated on his manual draft how to make yourself an own bliki. Later the evening I’ve been puzzeling around on Mattis-Manzel-bliki: wiki-forum (blog). Maybe even the page that I for now called wiki-forum (blog) should be the actual home-page of a bliki? I don’t know. I hope to get a propperly “blogish” css done tomorrow. Maybe we should have a page [[bliki?]] on it?

Well - caugh -, it doesn’t seem to be quite that new, wikipedia-en: bliki

The sidebar is read-only, and I’d really love to have a link to RoCoCoCamp (RecentChancesCampMontreal?) in the Announcements area. Can someone add it for me, or give me rights to add it?

Could we add three links to the side-bar, please:

  • [[connected_web-services?]]
  • [[day-page-sets?]]
  • [[search_queries?]]

I’d also recommend an inclusion of the [[changes-feed?]] into the side-bar. It lags for a few hours but looks nice. ;)

Alex, could you unlock the side-bar for a moment so I can add the three links. It’s essential wiki navigation stuff, I’d say …

Define external redirect: RecentChancesCampMontreal CommunityMaintainedCSS bliki DeadministrationOfwiki connected web-services changes-feed search queries day-page-sets

EditNearLinks: InternetExplorer