Wiki A is the sister site for wiki B. From time to time wiki B will fetch the list of pages that exist on wiki A. Whenever wiki B shows a page that is also defined on wiki A, it will add a special link to the page on wiki A. For an example, at the bottom of this page is a link to MeatballWiki’s page on SisterSites.
The page on wiki A is the twin page of the page on wiki B. Twin pages have the same name. Sometimes WikiNameCanonicalization is used to match pages that aren’t an exact match.
Links to twin pages are traditionally a logo of the sister site at the bottom of the page. If there are twin pages on several sister sites, the logos of the various sister sites link to the respective twin page.
Logos are nice, but they don’t say much. I only understand the sister sites mechanism after I read the SisterSite page on Meatball. Before that I was just thinking they were ordinary links (like an advertisement) to sites related to the one I was reading, not that the very subject of the current page I was reading was also discussed on the other wiki. As a result I never followed the link, while with a simple phrase like “This subject is also disscussed on Meatball” I might have give a try.
Here it is even worse because I thought that the logos were part of the edit link bar, and even after reading this page and while being aware of the mechanism, I still needed a minute or two to figure it out. Before that i didn’t even noticed that the logos were links. (well you have the right to think i’m a bit slow). I think this sites now uses a lots of tricks that should appear more clearly. Writing an help page to explains how to navigate doesn’t work because most people never reads the fucking manual anyway.
Note that I think this also true for more “traditional” functionality. For instance, I think I will use more often the backlink functionality, if a more explicit link in the goto bar, saying “Pages linked to the current one” or something like that, reminds me of it. Users not accustomed to wikis just don’t know that it exists, so you end up writing a phrase like “Click the title for a list …” so that people discover this hidden feature, why not make it visible in the first place?. --PierreGaston
You are right. I now added a little text with a note; the logo had a popup help text, but it was not enough. (The title also has a popup text, but that was also not enough.) Perhaps a small text below the title to say this? – AlexSchroeder
I disagree. While on the one hand, too many mysterious icons clutter things and don’t explain what options are available (I don’t like MoinMoin’s icon bar on the upper-right hand), on the other hand, too much mishmash of icons with text clutters up stuff and makes it look scary. I think the bottoms of CommunityWiki pages are reaching this point.
While in general I like SimpleView, I think that another good way to make an interface simple, unscary, and uncluttered is to do things like have inconspicuous icons that do something (such as SisterSites without text). The beginner doesn’t notice it, while the advanced user can still reach the feature in one click.
To make a more concrete recommendation, I think all the text below the Search: field needs to go. The SisterSites icons can stay, though, and maybe an extra link can be added for the copyright license (maybe the CommunityWiki logo, with the text “copyright information” superimposed).
I can’t think of a good place to put the “edit nearlinks” bar. I still think that should be disabled by default. But OddMuse doesn’t have preferences, did I hear that correctly?
Don’t feel the need to actually do any of the things I’m suggesting here. When WikiWindow is done, we’ll be able to set up multiple wiki client interfaces to CommunityWiki, and each one can have different config settings, different UIs, etc.
Try the simple theme I just wrote for you: Self:action=browse&id=SisterSites&theme=simple – if you don’t like it, you can always revert to the default theme: Self:action=browse&id=SisterSites&theme= – the power of CSS. – AlexSchroeder
neat! thanks – BayleShanks
BillSeitz: I think things are a bit busy at the bottom. And one would hope that in a couple years there will be lots more wikis, and thus each site will have more SisterSites, and each page will have more matches. So it will only get uglier - I don’t think the logo model scales. I’m a lousy designer, but I’d be inclined to make a simple box with an intro blurb of “see TwinPages at:…” (kinda like I do with the “visible BackLinks” at the bottom of my WikiLog pages)