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Why Is Wikipedia So Ugly?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the looks-nice-to-me dept.

Wikipedia 370

Hugh Pickens writes "Megan Garber writes in the Atlantic that aesthetically, Wikipedia is remarkably unattractive. 'The gridded layout! The disregard for mind-calming images! The vaguely Geocities-esque environment! Whether it's ironic or fitting, it is undeniable: The Sum of All Human Knowledge, when actually summed up, is pretty ugly.' But Wikipedians consider the site's homeliness as a feature rather than a bug. 'Wikipedia has always been kind of a homely, awkward, handcrafted-looking site,' says Sue Gardner, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, adding that the homeliness 'is part of its awkward charm.' Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr have built followings in part because of their exceedingly simple interfaces. Everything about their design says, 'Come on, guys. Participate. It's easy,' while Wikipedia, so far, has been pretty much the opposite of that. 'The free encyclopedia that anyone can edit' might more properly be nicknamed 'the free encyclopedia that any geek can edit.' This is particularly problematic because one of the Wikimedia Foundation's broad strategic goals is to expand its base of editors. While the editing interface is friendly to the site's super-users who tend to be so committed to Wikipedia's mission that they're willing to do a lot to contribute to it, if Wikipedia wants to make itself more attractive to users, a superficial makeover may be just the thing Wikipedia needs to begin growing in a more meaningful way."

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Simple is not ugly. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647529)

Most websites that look awesome have almost no content which is hidden on several pages with lots of ads in between. No thx like it simple.

Re:Simple is not ugly. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647583)

That's the philosophy of the author of the Best Page in the Universe:

The Best Page in the Universe [slashdot.org] /

working link - Re:Simple is not ugly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647783)

ftfy

http://maddox.xmission.com/ [xmission.com]

Re:Simple is not ugly. (5, Informative)

del_diablo (1747634) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647639)

Indeed. I don't get the article at all, what is there to improve on? The layout works, there are images when needed to be informative. The only flaw is that some times it can be hard to find a spesific topic even with knowing a few keywords.

Learning markup (5, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647815)

The PCWorld article appears to claim that the barrier to entry is taking the time to learn wiki markup as opposed to pointy-clicky WYSIWYG bold, italic, heading, and link insertion. (Another barrier mentioned in other articles is taking the time to learn to discuss changes on the talk page to get past a perception of undue ownership [wikipedia.org] , but that's not what this article is about.)

Re:Simple is not ugly. (5, Informative)

runeghost (2509522) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647645)

I agree. I've never had a negative thought about Wikipedia's look. I like the way it looks. It's clean, useable, and easy on the eyes. It doesn't need anything more. I'd even say it shouldn't add anything more. Clutter is the opposite of information. And the charge that it's difficult to edit is ridiculous.

Re:Simple is not ugly. (5, Insightful)

SternisheFan (2529412) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647737)

I agree. I've never had a negative thought about Wikipedia's look. I like the way it looks. It's clean, useable, and easy on the eyes. It doesn't need anything more. I'd even say it shouldn't add anything more. Clutter is the opposite of information. And the charge that it's difficult to edit is ridiculous.

Sometimes, less is more.

Re:Simple is not ugly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647883)

Wikipedia is extremely difficult to edit if your brain is calcified from refusing to learn anything since you finished school.

Megan Garber doesn't value functionality (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647675)

Decoration gets in the way of functionality. Wikipedia is probably over-decorated as it is, and adding what Garber wants would make it both slower and less accessible.

In a nutshell, she's clueless on this topic.

Re:Simple is not ugly. (5, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647679)

If Wikipedia is ugly, what does that make Slashdot?

By her measure we should all be running away screaming instead of reading useless comments like this one.

Re:Simple is not ugly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647793)

Mod this one up. I think Wikipedia is way better looking than /.

Re:Simple is not ugly. (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647941)

Wikipedia's certainly more functional and less bug-ridden.

Re:Simple is not ugly. (4, Insightful)

santax (1541065) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647909)

Slashdot looked really good with the my little pony theme though! So it can be done!

Re:Simple is not ugly. (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647915)

By her measure we should all be running away screaming instead of reading useless comments like this one.

I tried screaming, but the lameness filter wouldn't let me.

Re:Simple is not ugly. (4, Insightful)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647687)

Adding images will also increase the bandwidth costs.

An encyclopedia is not a dating site !

Re:Simple is not ugly. (5, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647725)

Most websites that look awesome have almost no content which is hidden on several pages with lots of ads in between. No thx like it simple.

Exactly. I wouldn't even call it ugly; I'd call it utilitarian. That is a good thing for a tool used to search for knowledge. It also makes it much more readily available to minimalistic and text only browsers without much extra work on the part of the maintainers.

Functional is not ugly either. (4, Insightful)

KreAture (105311) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647821)

Don't forget functional.
Today everything has to look like it has been released by apple or it's ugly.

I cringe when I see all the resources and battery consumption that go into features like false reflections in metallic buttons on a friggin screen.

I want a website that is designed for quick lookups to be just that, quick! And, it is!

Re:Simple is not ugly. (1)

fluffythedestroyer (2586259) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647845)

Although I think your whole existence is a spam I have to agree on you with that one (what ?? me agreeing with him ?? wtf). In comparison, I tried gnome 3, kd4 and unity desktop management and I have to say that I hate it. The way they use the tools is bad...and not simple in lots of way. I hate the design because it's not simple enough for what I need and I think most of the design is considered bloated.

So I turned my back on those 3 desktop management software and I use XFCE now. This one is very simple, no bloated design. Just what I need. Hell give me the look of windows 3.1 and I'll be happy. Give me Windows 7 and I'll rant and be bitchy all the time (thats what I use at the office..and I ain't happy about that one)

Re:Simple is not ugly. (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647951)

Most websites that look awesome have almost no content which is hidden on several pages with lots of ads in between. No thx like it simple.

Yea, tell it! So damn fed up with overcoded, bloated, whizzy and utterly useless websites and pages. Megan can just cram this one. Geez.

Re:Simple is not ugly. (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647959)

Yup. I've had more trouble getting twitter to work in Chrome than I care to detail. I'll take standard html over AJAX any day. Sure, if you're building a fancy application I can see the value in AJAX, but to present content, forget it!

If they wanted to build an AJAX WYSIWYG/M page editor for WP I could see the logic in that. However, the site layout is perfectly readable as it is right now...

Comparison to Facebook (5, Funny)

fleeped (1945926) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647539)

"There's one thing Wikipedia could learn from Facebook, which is less about attractiveness and more about user-friendliness. Facebook -- and Twitter, and Tumblr, and similar sites -- have built followings in part because of their exceedingly simple interfaces"

Yes, but at what cost?

Re:Comparison to Facebook (5, Funny)

syockit (1480393) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647597)

Intelligence barrier to entry.

Re:Comparison to Facebook (5, Funny)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647609)

At the cost of having everybody mediocre and below in there and loosing anybody smart.

Re:Comparison to Facebook (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647709)

losing

Re:Comparison to Facebook (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647939)

At the cost of having everybody mediocre and below in there and loosing anybody smart.
So, will you be visiting the new spiced up Wikipedia then?

Re:Comparison to Facebook (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647669)

And unlike Facebook, Wikipedia's UI seems relatively stable and bug-free, and to me is easier to use. Wikipedia does a great job at presenting information without getting in the way. It's not flashy and doesn't need to be flashy, and can stand alone on the strength of its sheer usefulness without having to have a lot of useless eye candy. The markup they use isn't particularly difficult to work with either.

Re:Comparison to Facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647741)

When it comes to an encyclopedia, I want it to be written by geeks.

The selection of contributors by the wikipedia's editing interface's idiosyncrasies seems to work as intended.

Written by subject geeks or computer geeks? (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647853)

When it comes to an encyclopedia, I want it to be written by geeks.

I want it to be written by geeks in the subject of the article, not necessarily computer geeks if the subject is not information science or information technology. For example, there used to be (still is?) a perception that articles' "in popular culture" were overpopulated with entries from works loved by the demographic of computer geeks who are willing to take time to learn the markup. When I read a chemistry article, I want it to be written by chemistry geeks. When I read a linguistic theory article, I want it to be written by language geeks. When I read an article on psychology or religion or other social sciences, I want it to be written by experts in the field, not people with a vested interest in discrediting the field.

Re:Written by subject geeks or computer geeks? (0)

fluffythedestroyer (2586259) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647935)

Theology [wikipedia.org] is the word your looking for in terms of the experts in the field of religion. Those guys have good knowledge and rather gives a neutral type of information on religion as well since they have intel on more than 1 religion anyway. Anyway, just wanted to tell you about the word...not my opinion on it.

Re:Comparison to Facebook (4, Insightful)

adamchou (993073) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647833)

I'd beg to differ with that statement. How much simpler can you possibly get than what Wikipedia has? There are no drop down menus in obscure places you have to find. There aren't a bunch of different settings to look for. Functionality from one page to another is the always the same, unlike all the other aforementioned sites. Wikipedia is the epitome of simplicity. The writer is just delirious.

Re:Comparison to Facebook (4, Insightful)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647855)

The big difference between Facebook and Wikipedia, is that Facebook is filled with people trying to be nice to you to spread posts about nothing, and Wikipedia is filled with people trying to be nasty to you to write articles about everything.

Why is Jimmy Wales so ugly? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647547)

An appeal from slashdot.org - get some hot employees to pose for the photos

Subjective nonsense (5, Insightful)

simplexion (1142447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647549)

is all this is.

Re:Subjective nonsense (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647743)

Absolutely. Someone should mark the article for speedy deletion.

Re:Subjective nonsense (4, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647899)

As a Wikipedia contributor and editor, I didn't find the article offensive so much as I thought "I really don't see where she gets that from".

Had I never used Wikipedia, I'd probably expect it- going by her description- to look like something basic and ugly from 1997. I mean, "Geocities"? It's nothing like the stereotypical Geocities page (garish and tasteless decorations and backdrops).

I must admit that I hardly ever think of Wikipedia's appearance- it doesn't look plain or boring to me, which would suggest it was underdesigned in the way she implies- it simply isn't a factor. That suggests that they got it right- it's nice and clean, and doesn't distract from the content, while not being gratuitously over-plain.

No, it's not covered in Web-2.0 shading, and there isn't an excess of distracting widgets. In all honesty, I get the impression that the author is really criticising the lack of *cutesiness*, over-designed attempts to appear friendly with "helpful" candy.

I'll definitely concede one point; editing is still too technical. I'm a geek, so I'm happy to directly edit markup, add templates with parameters, etc. However, I have thought quite often while doing this that it's almost certainly not friendly to average non-techie users. The visual editor is a step in the right direction, but it still probably needs more. I'm not talking about dumbing down things, simply saying that if something can reasonably be presented in a non-technical way without too much compromise, then the choice should be there.

Of course, I'd probably rather just edit the markup directly, and I'd want *that* choice to remain too, if it was so wanted. :-)

Re:Subjective nonsense (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647977)

is all this is.

The disregard for mind-calming images!

I think she's off her meds.

WTF? (2)

Rob Riggs (6418) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647559)

Wikipedia is beautiful! Besides, do you really want non-geeks editing an encyclopedia?

Geeks != geeks (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647863)

There are geeks, and then there are geeks. See my reply to an IP editor [slashdot.org] .

So ugly? (5, Informative)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647561)

This is so subjective. As an encyclopedia, I like Wikipedia as it is. Providing that much information, from so many fields, in a homogeneous and pleasantly readable way, keep up the good work ... Of course some design enhancements may be welcome. But ugly? Definitely no.

Re:So ugly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647971)

You're exactly right. It's actually not the content's layout itself that I don't like. It's the stuff that's WP-specific. I'd like to see them take the top menu (the tabs, for edit/read/etc) and put it on the left; take the left menu (main page/contents/etc) and put it on the top; collapse all the (new) top menu items which aren't absolutely essential (e.g. a list of possible languages; just make a dropdown); get rid of the errata boxes (NPOV etc), or at least make them less obtrusive; and collapse the references/external links sections by default.

If you do all that -- and this is a pretty simple list of suggestions upon which others can doubtless improve -- then the result will be a page that's almost entirely content.

It does prove that, (5, Insightful)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647571)

If your site has good content, the people will come regardless. Much better than a really pretty site with crap content, in my opinion. Another example here is, craigslist. I can't stand to even load up craigslist. It looks so freaking awful, yet they have made a fortune off that 1995-html1.0-looking crap.

Re:It does prove that, (2)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647773)

Craigslist has crap for functionality though. I understand wanting to keep things local although I completely disagree with it, but how hard can it be to do away with the assumption that everyone lives in one of their predetermined zones (or even close to it) and implement a radius search by zip code?

As it is, it's completely useless to me as I straddle two areas and most listings are too far away. I've tried to buy on there with limited success and little convenience, selling is a excercise in frustration and dealing with a lot of idiots who'll waste your time and are never serious to begin with. About the only use I've had for it was finding a few free items, and I guess other people use it to find fuck buddies or what not.

betamax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647901)

Yea, because betamax's superiority alone worked really well. Or let's look at PC vs. Mac - whose design && functionality is selling like hotcakes right now?
Imo, wikipedia is ugly as sin. It could be designed better. Simpler. Even more minimalist like an art gallery, since all it has are words - its core product.

As for craigslist, I'd argue they could be making even more money. Unless you live in a very large city, people don't use craigslist as much. The listings (such as Atlanta) are full of false ads and useless crap, not to mention untrustworthy. Craigslist in NYC or Bay area works much better I think. However, in my mind, craigslist as a brand reeks of cheap crap.

Functional (5, Insightful)

Irishman (9604) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647577)

This is a complaint I have heard a lot in my programming career. In my own experience, most coders I have worked with are focused on functionality and simplicity; getting as much information out there in as straightforward a manner as possible. Often, this means "ugly" to non-CS people. Personally, I find Wikipedia easy to read and easy to navigate. Sure, it may not have graphics popping out everywhere or things dancing across the screen but when I hit WP, all I want is information.

Now, could it be better? Possibly. It is easy enough to create a new skin for it and give it some zip but I doubt the team would ever make it a default. WP is meant to be accessed on any device, through any type of connection (although it does have some issues in that department).

If I want lots of useless clutter, I will go to any number of large news organizations' websites.

Re:Functional (5, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647605)

I guess anyone who thinks Wikipedia is ugly will also consider books ugly. Think of it: The typical book has a big, mostly uniform block of text surrounded by unprinted space except for a page number. Most books don't even have images (except on the cover).

Re:Functional (2)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647727)

I do think it's important to distinguish between Joe Sixpack thinking something is ugly because it doesn't have dancing kittens and lots of colors and someone with knowledge of design and user interfaces saying something is ugly because it's needlessly complex and is confusing to anyone who hasn't memorized the entire 217-page manual (the UI manual that is, the actual back-end processing daemon obviously has its own 831-page manual with references to important 3rd party documentation explaining just what it is that the back-end processing daemon processes).

A lot of times I do hear geeky "CS people" dismiss both of the above opinions with blanket statements about how "non-CS people" just want "graphics popping out everywhere" (I'm not saying you're one of them, I'm just using your words because they do fit quite nicely into how some of these people justify not caring about user interfaces).

And the manual bit, well I've actually come across "enterprise" software like that a few times. The kind of software entirely designed by business people and developers with a UI so complex (and backwards) that it actually required its own manual to be usable (even though the target user was someone who already understood what the software was supposed to be doing and the terminology used by the software).

Re:Functional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647921)

TFA didn't provide any example or proof of concept of what the UI should be like. It only suggested a WYSIWYG editor for editors but didn't suggest how it should look.
Whoever wrote the article have no clue about flowing text and different browser sizes.

Ugly = subjective (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647579)

Personally, I think it looks clean.

shift ctrl s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647595)

The number of sites that 'look great' but are impossible to actually read increases daily. Wikipedia is clear and easy to read. Don't make me turn off or customize the css.

Form vs. function: Many people do not get it (5, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647599)

Wikipedia is all function. It is efficient, loads fast, list information well. Improving aesthetics to the detriment of functionality is something seen far too often in the web and it is something done only by idiots. Of which there are many, unfortunately.

Bottom line: Wikipedia is only for those seeking knowledge. All others, please go away, you are not welcome and your criticism is misdirected.

In other words (1)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647607)

AJAX and scripts that bog down the server and make it inaccessible to chunks of the population. But it'll be prettier...

Ugly, your ass. (1)

ftfsis (2681207) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647611)

'nuff said.

Pretty encyclopedia? (2)

snsh (968808) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647613)

30 years ago your typical young kid would say "Britannica is boring. Everyone should use only World Book encyclopedia and only World Book encyclopedia."

Today a young kid might say you should only use About.com.

Wikipedia ugly? (5, Informative)

khoonirobo (1316521) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647615)

From the full article :

Here is an empirical truth about Wikipedia: Aesthetically, it is remarkably unattractive.

How is that an empirical truth?

Personally I find the site's design really suited to it's purpose. It's clean, no bright colours or extraneous graphics. The content even though dense is easy to read. It is as far as I'm concerned, perfect for the job it is intended to do.

Now the article after making this broad unsubstantiated statement makes one and only one specific complaint. That editing wikipedia pages is too complex. I agree, it could possibly be easier but wiki markup is the best we have come up with so far. If you have suggestions on how to improve that. That is concrete steps that can make writing wiki pages easier, please share them, most of us are all agog.

Re:Wikipedia ugly? (5, Funny)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647719)

How is that an empirical truth?

It's an exact comparison learned by observing Wikipedia from more beautiful websites [timecube.com] . Too bad it's a subjective comparison.

Then again, if that person finds a Wiki page ugly, then he's more than free to use CSS or other stuff to make it look beautiful. perhaps floating elements (already in use), rounded corners, etc. If it remains ugly, then it's obvious that presentation isn't an issue.

Re:Wikipedia ugly? (1)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647879)

I know, let's put mafia wars gadgets on the pages and hire the Myspace people for user customizations.

How is that an empirical truth? (1)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647887)

Because it doesn't belong to a publishing empire. Look at all the wasted space that could be filled with ads for adult diapers and instant weight loss elixirs.

Bizarro world (5, Insightful)

dingen (958134) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647619)

if Wikipedia wants to make itself more attractive to users, a superficial makeover may be just the thing Wikipedia needs to begin growing in a more meaningful way.

What? Because it looks pretty, people will start reading an encyclopedia? Are you nuts?

First of all, last time I checked Wikipedia was in the top 10 of most visited websites on this planet. So they seem to be attracting users just fine. And obviously, the one and only thing that matters is the quality of their content. As long as Wikipedia continues to provide great information on basically any conceivable subject, a simple uncluttered layout to access that information is all they need.

Now I get the impression (also by the screenshot) that the article is mainly talking about Wikipedia's homepage. There might be some room for improvement there, but seriously, who goes to Wikipedia to look at the homepage? It's all about the articles. And those pages simply look fine.

If it aint broken (2)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647635)

Please dont dont try and 'fix it'. And by fix it I mean make it worse. Adding alot of visual cute feature that slow down download of page will only make it take longer to download. For all that pay per MB of download - its better the less frills the more information. Lets keep wikipedia as a place with a high signal to noice ratio (SNR).

I love wikipedias simple and elegant design that puts the fokus on the information available on a page and with a high SNR. Please dont destroy it.

Perish the thought... (4, Insightful)

Akardam (186995) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647637)

To paraphrase a favorite character of mine, "... I'm so sick of (article writers like this) I could vomit...".

Wikipedia has at its core one basic job to do: convey information. Setting aside for the moment the questions of validity of content, sources, spats between editors, astroturfing, etc, the prime question is, how quickly and easily was one able to find what one was looking for and absorb it. This is a task at which I personally feel Wikipedia does a fine job. It is a simple, straightforward visual style that doesn't bolt on any extraneous flash (no pun intended) or style just for flash or style's sake.

By the way, when the article author compares Wikipedia and Geocities visual style and finds similarities, I'm prompted to wonder where the author actually was when Geocities was in its heydey.

As for the complaint about the complexities of editing on Wikipedia: Heaven forbid that when editing one of the great repositories of human knowledge, that the editors should take the time required to learn the skills necessary to do so... seriously, if Wikipedia ever "redesigns" itself to appeal anywhere near the lowest common denominator of the Facebook/Twitter/Myspace generation, I quit.

SPARKLES, and IN COLOR!? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647641)

Uh, no. The appearance is fine as it is. I think the goal of making it more user-friendly for people who may want to contribute edits is a good idea, but I see nothing wrong with plain, black text on a white background, and a simple grid-like presentation. It's simple, to the point, and not distracting. As far as I'm concerned, sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr are the ones that are ugly. I mean, sure, they aren't using Comic Sans, but I still think their interface is gaudy.

For similar ugliness, take a look at the frames filled with fluff around the margins of the linked "The Atlantic" article. Gaudy and distracting with flashing ads, "subscribe now", "facebook" something-or-other, "newsletters", blah blah blah. There's so much crap on the right side of the article that it protrudes way down the page, beyond the bottom of the actual text, where you also find the standard navigation/credits baseplate far at the bottom (so far down that it's nearly useless). Oh, and look at that. If I enable JavaScript I also get a pop-up that renders on top of everything else and doesn't scroll.

Clean up your own damn site. Then we'll talk about "ugly".

Why it needs to be easier for non-geeks to edit (1)

BradGwart (961302) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647643)

We really need it to be easier for non-geeks to edit so that people can add all the pearls of wisdom they have learned throughout their life, no matter what the quality. Example: Alligators are ornery because they got all them teeth and no toothbrush. [Source: Mama]

wikipedia's just fine. (1)

annumina (1794404) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647649)

Haven't these people used encyclopedias before? They didn't have fancy bells and whistles (Britannica, for example, was quite plain) but they did their job just fine - knowledge repositories. I don't see why the virtual, editable version should be any different.

Gender Thing. (1, Funny)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647653)

I think it's telling that both TFAs linked in the post are by women. Please keep the creeping feminisation of the media out of Wikipedia!

Re:Gender Thing. (1)

Mystra_x64 (1108487) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647693)

Your Trolling skill suffered permanent -2 penalty due to being too obvious.

Need to pick their priorities (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647661)

So Wikimedia needs to make a choice:

-If they simplify the site to make it more accessible, they will probably build a larger, more diverse population of contributors, and will also probably move Wikipedia some distance down the spectrum from "academically valuable tertiary resource" towards "Youtube comments section".

-Or they can keep it the way it is, with a relatively small community of dedicated contributors, which has allowed it to become one of the most valuable and extraordinary creations of the internet age.

Personally I value excellence over political correctness, so I would take the second route.

Less is more (5, Insightful)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647665)

What's ugly about a site that at one blink of the eye shows you exactly what you need? A site that is meant to be informative. A site that loads like the wind blows!

May the rapist web designers stay away from one of the jewels of the internet. Less bloat is more usability.

SIGH, Function over Form. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647671)

Enough with iPretty shit, it's an encyclopedia NOT an APPedia.

The sooner we burn pretty( Models, Socialites, Celebrities ) people who put form over function, the sooner we can have better engineered products.

Is the criticism on information delivery or edit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647697)

The summary sounds confused, to me.

It would seem that the criticisms are more properly directed at the edit/contribute interface, rather than the information presentation.

But then it is a "wiki" and the interface available for editing a "wiki" is not that of facebook/tumblr/twitter.

Summarizing two different articles (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647917)

The summary sounds confused, to me.

That's because it's summarizing two different articles: one about the front page and one about the editor.

But then it is a "wiki" and the interface available for editing a "wiki" is not that of facebook/tumblr/twitter.

That's the problem. A lot of people who are experts in the subject of a particular article are not also experts in information technology who are willing to sit down and learn the markup to wikify an article.

No, it's not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647711)

Wikipedia is fine the way it is. It's clean, it's fast, it works for what it is. If they do redesign it, as they already have in the past, it should still focus on speed and usability, and not be bogged down by scripts and images to "enhance the user experience". Also, the social comparison is completely unsubstantiated. Facebook and Twitter don't have more followers because it's easier to post -- it's because your posts don't even have to be meaningful, let alone well-researched and neutral (would you really invite the #yolo crowd to work on Wikipedia?).

WYSWIG (1)

xcombelle (1968532) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647715)

In fact there is a wysiwig interface on the road wich will make the editing less geeky

First look at yourself (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647723)

The website on which the original article is posted also has boxed layout, not-so mind-calming images, some fake popup, and all kinds of annoying mouse hover effects.

Ugly? Realy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647739)

Dear god no. One of the best looking sites out there! Why must you gussy up all sites with noise? Can't simplistic form be beautiful too?

Who said that it is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647749)

"Why is X ugly/bad?" -- typical stupid american style question to make impressions. Moron, it's not ugly. In order to ask why something is ugly/bad we have first to establish/agree that it is and then ask why. Idiotic "psychology" involved questions.

megan garber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647751)

could have a pretty face but no brains.

Convoluted anyone? (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647763)

I consider myself a geek, but I want to edit and contribute when the tools are at least as easy as a wordpress blog. I tried to amend something once and it was a waste of my time. It's not intuitive at all.

Easier to edit means more stupid edits in this cas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647769)

Easier to edit means more stupid edits in this case - it's not broke, so...

Form and function (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647771)

I notice that the author of the original article fails to provide examples of sites that she finds not ugly.

Personally, I find Wikipedia pretty easy on the eyes. It's not a web site that makes you say "wow, look at the design!" but, like typography, the best web design is the one that you don't notice and doesn't get between you and the information you seek.

Let's also not forget that a goal of Wikipedia is to be accessible by all, including people who use old computers and slow dialup lines. Making it "more beautiful" (according to some arbitrary idea of what is beautiful) would make it harder to use.

Facebook's UI is not exceedingly simple... (4, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647781)

Indeed, Facebook's UI is too complex and dense for its own good. Profiles that use the timeline are nearly impossible to navigate easily. On the other hand, I do like Wikipedia's simple UI. Simple does not mean useless.

Re:Facebook's UI is not exceedingly simple... (2)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647893)

Facebook is horrible. I find myself googling instructions for the simplest functionality. "Geeky" programming is simpler.

It's not the site thats ugly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647785)

It's the unaccountable admins and their checkuser weilding arbcon thugs. Deletionists are also the real vandals eho delete things even then they are notable and encyclopedic.

Wikipedia is the online equivilent of a decaying city with a corrupt police force.

Too hard to add pictures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647787)

If Wikipedia needs improving it's simply to fix the almost impossible system they have of adding pictures. Text is easy. Why are pictures so hard?
As for the appearance of the site - I like it just as it is.

Considering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647789)

... function is primordial in this case; ... yet aesthetics are not to be disregarded; ... more pics would increase spendings; ... and that decorative elements might add to readability,

I propose simply the use of a few (e.g. 3) CSS alternatives.

Keep in mind that too many choices might increase costs. Also, Wikipedia must be democratic by nature and not all browsers can render everything. Just caring about the different platforms&browsers is already somewhat expensive, I think.

No. (0)

zapyon (575974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647805)

According to Betteridge's Law [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org] of Headlines this is the correct answer.

The Atlantic Continues to Publish James Fallows (0)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647813)

Among assorted other predictions from this great sage is how Japan would overwhelm the US.

Then there is the unforgettable scare mongering of Jeffrey Goldberg and torture apologia from Christopher Hitchens.

Never trust a magazine named after where it gets dumped.

Functional not Ugly (2)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647817)

Add me to the droves of people also saying that Wikipedia is functional, not ugly. I am sick to death of stupid sites that have crap all over them and no content. Pop up s**t, f***ing animated junk on the sides, irritating mouse-overs, and countless other distractions and things to make the site non-functional and slow to load and use.

And each year it is getting worse and worse with all the "web 2.0" so-called innovations. And unlike the past where you could block Flash, or limit Javascript, now we have pretty much no control anymore, other than just breaking the site completely. So PLEASE LEAVE WIKIPEDIA ALONE.

fix the editor first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647829)

Yes, Wikipedia is ugly., but the real problem is the custom markup language instead of using a pretty WYSIWYG editor or HTML. There is no reason why someone should have to learn another language just to contribute to Wikipedia

Yeah, well... (1)

toudaimori (2505788) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647837)

I think Megan Garber is unattractive.

it's called "information", stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647851)

Wikipedia is a great example of classic no-nonsense information design. Get your fluffy feel-good eye candy elsewhere.

i have an idea (1)

jsh1972 (1095519) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647859)

maybe they (Wikipedia) should make the default font Comic Sans....

I only want geeks editing anyway. (1)

Theovon (109752) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647875)

But then I categorize as 'geek' anyone with sufficiently deep and detailed knowledge of a subject that they can write intelligently on a topic. That includes charismatic lawyers.

Ugh. (1)

roka (211127) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647877)

Are scientifc papers ugly too?
What's your take on improving them, Megan.
The whole world is intrigued by the insight you gained from browsing social media sites all day.

Wikipedia has skins you know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647933)

If anyone thinks they can build a better looking front end for wikipedia, I'm sure they are free to do so. Then the form over function crowd can just pic the iWiki skin and be happy.

I have to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40647937)

...while I am too much of a gentleman to call her "ugly" I certainly don't find ms. Garber particularly attractive.

Just sayin'

Lol? (1)

trifish (826353) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647945)

one of its broad strategic goals is to expand its base of editors

You must be joking. Several times in the past people tried to change the tagline shown below each article tag from "From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia" to "From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit"

And each time the attempt failed when some group of assholes with hidden agenda reverted or opposed the change. They actually do NOT want people to know everyone can edit it. That's the whole truth.

Disagree. (1)

superdude72 (322167) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647947)

If I need information about something, I go to Wikipedia before I go to the "official" website. That tells you all you need to know. Wikipedia provides the information you want without a lot of cruft. Nothing ugly about that.

Slashdot has Improved My Vocabulary (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647965)

Thanks to you guys on slashdot, I learned that "monetize" does not mean what the author of TFA thinks. Wikipedia obviously isn't "monetizing" its patrons because the author is using the term incorrectly.

Also, this is probably a revenue-per-click article, as the premise is that Wikipedia is somehow awful, but then lavishes praise throughout TFA. I hate that crap. I can't opt out of their crappy revenue generation mechanism until I've already generated revenue for them...bah!

I disagree (1)

UPZ (947916) | more than 2 years ago | (#40647967)

I dont blame the author, my first reaction to the article was that the author *needed* something to write about that day. I use Wikipedia and I am pretty happy with the way it looks. My whole family uses it, probably because it's easy to use.
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