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Length and structure of page[]

Page is getting a bit too long to be useful; so I encourage all contributors to replace paragraphs by links to separate pages for the content. That's what even old-fashioned paper tables of contents do! Robin Patterson 20:36, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Some weeks later: a couple of steps forward and maybe a couple backward, as some paragraphs were reduced to links, as suggested above, while both Bill and I added some text. See the "standard" http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Help:Contents for an ideal sort of Help:Contents page: lots of links grouped under headings. I've done a bit of that on the Help page (because I had prepared notes for that sort of layout at odd moments while away from the PC and wanted to preserve it while it was fresh in my mind). I'll continue to work on ways of making the Help:Contents page easier for scrolling and finding links to what one wants on it. Maybe the longer textual paras would be better on "Help"? Robin Patterson 05:44, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Page format[]

Columns or boxes?[]

If we get most of it down to headings and lists, the page could be shortened by the use of two columns.

Thank you, chaps; those boxes look great - even the one that says it's still being worked on! Robin Patterson 19:15, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

How much of it centered?[]

Not sure that I can easily relate to having everything "cent(e)red", particularly when the centering changes after one gets past the table of contents. I'd like to see a variant that keeps the distinctive symbol and background while retaining the standard "flush left" for headings and lists. Any other opinions? Robin Patterson 05:44, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Onwards and upwards[]

Thank you for the recent work addressing the above and other matters; improvements all around. Amazing what a return after 36 hours' absence can reveal. (I'm not sure about one of the recent "edit summaries" that mentioned simplifying the TOC; at about 15 items long, the TOC looks OK to me.) Robin Patterson 19:15, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Thanks Robin. Still working this. The TOC's are always something of a problem, in that they can get in the way of the box format. The dodge of isolating it in the First Right Box, separating it from the Top Center Box, seems to do the trick. That way I can leave the distinguishing "logo" in the Upper center Box with out creating a lot of dead space.

The content in the very lowest box is simply a place holder, until I figure out the best scheme for organizing it. I personally prefer simple TOC's for these pages because a) I think we need to give folks limited choices (easier for the information to flow unobtrusively if they don't have to read anything more than the essentials) and b) I find long TOC's with long captions, intrusive.

At anyrate, I expect to finish this off this evening. Bill 19:28, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Format changes[]

Robin,

I realize that you don't really like the box formating that I use. I've no problem if we want to go with a different organizational structure, but the current change to boxes-within-a-box is something I don't think works very well at all.
Also, unless you really want to see this here I think its time for that "other matters" box to go. Here, its sort of a left over from reorganization. Its already on the main page. We might want to remove it from there, and put it elsewhere, but it really isn't a "help page" item, and probably needs to be elsewhere than here.

Bill 14:33, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Bill, I like your boxes when they work. But when one "left" box and one "right" box somehow have too much width between them and therefore don't sit side by side it's not good. I think that's why I reduced them all to plain 100%. The box within a box was an accident. I thought the result was OK so I left it; If you can "fix" it I'll be happy. TOC - in December (above) you said "The TOC's are always something of a problem, in that they can get in the way of the box format. The dodge of isolating it in the First Right Box, separating it from the Top Center Box, seems to do the trick. That way I can leave the distinguishing "logo" in the Upper center Box with out creating a lot of dead space." To get the TOC out of the way but still near the top (which is necessary if it's to have maximum use) seems to need the removal of the Celtic symbol. Can you bear to leave it off a few pages, such as this one?
I agree that some of the lower material should be elsewhere (or nowhere if it's fully duplicated on Help or the main page). Chop what you like before I have another go! Robin Patterson 10:18, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

I've reorganized, eliminated, made things more consistent. I believe it looks better now, though there's a problem with the side by side display within the General Help box. (Cell borders need to dissappear.). One of the problems that we often encounter is that we get mixtures of information on a page---things dealing with vastly different subjects, or conflicting organizaiton principles. For example, having a list of links to various help links PLUS discussions of how to solve specific problems, all on the same page. So I've reorganized this page mostly with a "Go here for this, and go there for that" approach. There's still a bit of that since I left the "Getting Started" box on this page, rather than provide a link to another page. Seemed "high enough order need" to justify the slight mixed message. Bill 14:54, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

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