[Wikimedia-l] Apparently, Wikipedia is ugly

Svip svippy at gmail.com
Sat Jul 14 19:42:03 UTC 2012

On 14 July 2012 19:37, Michel Vuijlsteke <wikipedia at zog.org> wrote:

> On 14 July 2012 19:13, Svip <svippy at gmail.com> wrote:
>> And I don't think Wikipedia is ugly or lacks user friendliness, which
>> is the premise of this article.  And I speak from a reader's point of
>> view.
> In the words of a far wiser man than you or me: "Yeah, well, you know,
> that's just, like, your opinion, man." :)
> For one thing, Wikipedia is *objectively* ugly, typography and design wise.
> It is hard to read -- and that's not talking about the content, it's just
> about the form. Sue, you'll get people saying that it's all a matter of
> opinion, but the thing is: it's not.
> We've been at this "laying things out" and "making readable pages" thing
> for a couple of centuries now, and there's no dark magic involved.
> (Quite apart from the main point, that we make it hard for people to engage
> with the content, i.e. edit pages and add stuff.)

I am still not convinced that Wikipedia is any harder to read than any
other website with information.  I find Ars Technica hard to read at
times, same goes for Slashdot or Facebook, for that matter.

I try usually to fix it by enforcing narrow text for the content with
my browser window alone, but I doubt that is the main problem.  Is it
the choice of font?  Is it the font size?  Is it the usage of links in
text and footnotes everywhere?  All I hear is; it's ugly, from a
typography and design perspective, but I have yet to see some concrete

Furthermore; Wikipedia is not suppose to be a showcase of what CSS can
do with beautiful websites.  It certainly shouldn't contain more
gradients, round corners or other nonsense stuff.

>> And we may want to consider if it is really _everyone_ we want
>> to edit our articles.
> I don't believe you actually said this.

I did say that, and I stand by it.  There are editors out there,
although well intended, who will create more damage than good.  They
are likely to be people who are limited in technical knowledge
regarding how to edit wikis.  And those who wish to become better,
will certainly be worth it, but they are not everyone.

And let's be honest, I don't think every newcomer is looking forward
to taking an edit war with an established editor.

Fortunately, a lot are already scared away by the Manual of Style and
the wikicode itself.  There are plenty of things to scare people away
from editing Wikipedia before we get to the interface itself.

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