: Re: Should we add links to articles on sensei's library' s articles or not?
(2009-10-26 23:02) [#6495]
I'm the guilty party for undoing your changes to Go Problems on the Internet. So that will give some context for my following comments.
I put quite a bit of work and thought into the page Go Problems on the Internet, (if you look through the old changes on it), but it isn't 'my page', in a number of senses. Velobici created it, and 4 or 5 others made significant contributions. So by editing history it is a group work. Also, by the essential wikiness of SL, everything is editable by anyone, and so that definitely doesn't make it mine. So it is editable by anyone, and I have no more right to it being my preferred way than anyone else's preference.
I'm sorry for the unfriendliness of undoing your changes. I don't mean it as challenging behaviour or deliberate intent to upset. It was just trying to protect my original concept of how I envisioned that page. There were some subtle editorial decisions that I made implicitly in that page. I shall try to be more explicit about them here, to allow you to be sure that your idea is the best way forward for this particular page.
I believe that a knife is sometimes better than scissors, that obscuring a mirror with the writing Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear reduces the utility of a mirror, that less is sometimes more.
Let's look at the version you created.
Taking a representative example, you changed:
- Tasuki collection includes (Gokyo Shumyo, Igo Hatsuyoron and Xuan Xuan Qi Jing)
- Tasuki collection http://tsumego.tasuki.org/?page=tsumego includes (Gokyo Shumyo, Igo Hatsuyoron and Xuan Xuan Qi Jing)
A change to the wiki source of one character, removing a single vertical bar | . This causes two changes of interest:
- The phrase 'Tasuki collection' gets a question mark, inviting a user to click on it to create a page with that name. I suggest that is not what is wished for from a bookmark collection. The user of a set of internet page bookmarks just wants to click through to the content they haven't seen before, not to a blank page. For many of the links the phrase is entirely made up, as I can't read the CJK languages. Of course, this would be easily fixable by removing the square brackets, so perhaps a minor issue.
- Makes the url http://tsumego.tasuki.org/?page=tsumego visible. So adds 38 characters designed for computers, not humans, to read. A few of these in an average page maybe be fine, but think of the peculiarity of this particular page. The urls are significantly longer than rest of the text of the page, and yet they are not intended to be read by the human. An essential part of writing is thinking what is easiest and best for the reader, not what is quickest for the writer. Often the answer is to cut out the deadwood to create clarity. In this case, I believe the function of the page for the reader is best served by hiding the urls as links under the text, leading to clarity.
You quite rightly point out that the normal preference in a wiki is linking to an internal wiki page if there is an opportunity, rather than directly out on to the internet. This practice helps the wiki have a consistent feel, helps new pages get developed, and keeps to the design philosophy of not surprising the user. So your general point is correct. However (you knew there was going to be one of these!), in this particular case, I don't think applying that philosophy is correct. I believe this is an exceptional case where the actual purpose of the page is to provide links that jump out of the wiki straight out to other internet pages. The user is then expected to use the browser back button to get back here. I have recognized the importance of internal wiki linking by including the relevant internal links after the initial external link, e.g. (Gokyo Shumyo, Igo Hatsuyoron and Xuan Xuan Qi Jing) in the above example, so that the reader can easily find the related SL material. But for this page, the external material is the most important to the reader.
The minimalist philosophy was again used for the numbers in brackets after a link. I didn't even describe anywhere on the page what those numbers were, deliberately. So they were intentionally implicit. Any user of the page would quickly work out they are the number of problems on the linked page. If this was a scientific paper, or a bottle of pills, it would be necessary to explicitly label the meaning of the numbers, but this is not. At one point dates were added for when the number of problems had last been counted. Again, I thought, yes that's accurate data, but is it informative? Is the addition informing the reader with what he needs at that moment, or just making the writer/editor happy?
The page as is does flow nicely in a variety screen resolutions. This is not always true of tables.
So, a somewhat verbose explanation. Hopefully clarifies some of the reasons for how we got to here.