MediaWiki talk:Monobook.css/Archive 1

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Confusingly, the page mediawiki:monobook.css is also applicable for MySkin!

Tabs at top of page body

I have found the tabs to be extremely confusing. It has taken me 2 days to finally figure out that the leftmost tab is more or less randomly labeled (ok, ok, I know there's logic behind it, but it took me 2 days to figure it out--sort of--). Some of the labels used are not consistent with standard conventions. And the behavior isn't always consistent with standard conventions.

  • The "edit" tab should be changed to be the "edit this page" tab. Please. -- The Anome 18:11, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  1. Consistency of text in left-most tab. Right at the moment (for me) it says "message". I don't want to send or leave a message, so I'm never going to click on that tab. I'm not even sure what it does, although I *suspect* that it displays the current version of this page. I don't know why it doesn't say "current". Sometimes it says "about", sometimes "article", sometimes "special", sometimes all kinds of things, none of which mean anything in particular to me. I suggest that, if you're in editing mode, it should always say "current" or "article" to display the current version of the page. Do I or anyone else care whether the article is a special article or some other odd-case kind of article? No. I just want the current version.
  2. Word choice for left-most tab. "About" should always display the name of the software and the current version. That's by standard convention under Mac and Windows and I think X interfaces, too. "Message" should always allow you to type an instant message or email message. There's no reason for either of these text choices to be used except with those meanings.
  3. Behavior of tabs: Tabs in standard interfaces switch back and forth among different displays. So, at the moment, the Discussion tab is current for me. If I click one of the other tabs and then click Discussion again, I should return to where I am. But I don't; I am given an *empty* Editing page. I have to use my browser's back button to get back to this edit. This is not standard behavior for tabs and it's more confusing than NOT having the tabs. Secondly, clicking the Watch tab when it appears should bring up a different display (standard tab behavior). It doesn't; it actually *performs a function* and changes the status of something (adds it to my watchlist), which is actually a little scary. It wasn't scary when it was a link that said "Add to my watchlist", but I do not expect tabs to perform functions.
  4. I'm not even sure what all of the tabs do (e.g., the "+") because I have been thoroughly intimidated by the fact that the ones I *have* clicked do not do what I expect them to, and I don't want to be mucking things up by clicking something I don't understand. And I'm a bold, experienced computer user!
  5. Consistency of labels for same function. Argh, let's see, when I'm displaying the article, there's a tab called View Source but not a tab called Edit. Or--wait--is it only in MediaWiki that it's called view source and everywhere else it's called edit? Huh, hang on, if I go to the discussion page, there's an Edit tab. What the heck is view source, then? I'm confused all over again.
  6. Pop-up help messages for tabs are inconsistent. At the moment, they are:
    • Article/Message/Special/etc.: "View the content page". Very nice! Very consisent! Tab shld be this consistent and clear.
    • Discussion: "Discussion about the content page." First pop-up was a verb form (view...); this is a noun ("discussion"); make consistent. E.g., "View discussions about the content page".
    • Edit: "You can edit this page." Now it's chatty rather than a verb or a noun. How about "Edit this text" (so that it applies either to content page or discussio page)?
    • Move: "Move this page"; good simple verb form.
    • History: "Past versions of this page". Noun again. And not the most helpful interpretation; I think that for newcomers (and for me) the most important thing is that we can "View edit history of this text".

Elf | Talk 17:00, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)

+ is for posting a comment, view source is for protected pages. I am not sure there is a problem with these. Dori | Talk

Most of this isn't changed in the stylesheet.

  1. "Message" is what MediaWiki pages are called instead of articles. Suggest changes at MediaWiki:Nstab-mediawiki.
  2. "About" is the current name for the Wikipedia namespace. Suggest changes at MediaWiki talk:Nstab-wp
  3. Regarding behavior of tabs - they are not really tabs. They are links to separate pages.
  4. The "+" is a link to "post a comment"
  5. "View Source" is what you see on protected pages. All pages in the MediaWiki namespace are now protected.
  6. Pop-up help messages for talk pages can be discussed at MediaWiki talk:Tooltip-talk and MediaWiki talk:Talkpage
  7. The "You can edit this page" can be discussed at MediaWiki talk:Tooltip-edit
  8. "Past versions of this page" can be discussed at MediaWiki talk:Tooltip-history

Angela. 17:53, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Angela, I think you missed the point on #3. To any user familiar with standard interfaces, it looks like a tab, and the expectation is that it will behave like a tab. Elf's observations are on-target. If they are not really tabs, then they should not look like tabs, or else confusion will result. I like the idea of using tabs to get to the various pages associated with the content page, but this implementation needs some work.

There is a somewhat complex relationship between the content page, the talk page for the content, the edit page for the content, the history of the content, the edit page for the talk page of the content, and the history of the talk page of the content. The current tabbed presentation only obscures or confuses that relationship.

The Watch option should be an option box -- as it is under the standard skin. I can't think of any way to present Move other than either as a command button (like "Save page" is now), or as a tool in the toolbox box.

There is, perhaps, a better place to put each of these individual points, but I think we're using this page right now to discuss what the English Wikipedia-specific style sheet should be like. For now, let's keep these all together here. -Rholton 19:22, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Point #1 is very valid. Some more consistency would be nice, why not use 'article' for articles and 'content page' for everything else? (and 'user page' for userpages) ✏ Sverdrup 19:57, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Ok, I wasn't saying they shouldn't not look like tabs, just saying that there isn't a way to make them behave like tabs because they're not tabs. This is beyond the scope of changing the stylesheet. Perhaps a [

F sourceforge request] would be better. I disagree everything should be done on this page. Changing the interface text is not the same as changing the stylesheet. It will be a lot easier to do if separate discussions are kept on the correct talk pages. Angela. 20:01, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I rather agree with Rholton on #3: since those things are buttons, not tabs, they should look like buttons, not like tabs.
Jorge Stolfi 14:26, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I agree on #3 as well, and would like to suggest something else. I believe that the "watch" and "move" tabs at the top - which are, as has already been said, not rightfully tabs - belong in the toolbox on the left. (It should also be noted that, consistency aside, they are not used very often, at least not by yours truly.) On the other hand, "What links here" and "Related changes" belong alongside the tabs of the top - it would also be nice to be able to use tabs to get back to the article, rather than "< MediaWiki talk:Monobook.css". Other than that, the new skin is truly amazing. -- Itai 13:27, 6 Jun 2004 (UTC)

The look like tabs, but they do not behave like tabs on, say Amazon, or most good sites using them. The most important thing however is that they will not in any near future behave as tabs should because of the relative slowness of the Wikipedia compared to, say Amazon. In other words, though tabs are in theory a great interface facilitator (I agree completely with Steven Krug on this and I think everybody involved with the usability issues should read his slim book Don't make me think, by the way) they should be completely scrapped for Wikipedia. There are a lot of other usability issues, and the Wikipedia should really go through some usability testing with a few think-alouds, but all this is secondary to the tab problem. AlainV 03:58, 8 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I have also been confused by tabs, and still is sometimes. I can't tell exactly why, but the previous comments certainly give good indications. There is room for improvements, but this is probably a very difficult user interface design work. Marc Mongenet 05:57, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)

It does not have to be so in our case, since we are not a commercial site, depending absolutely on originality and perfect branding to drive all the customers to us and keep them. All we have to do is copy navigation practices on the average of good plain web sites (the average implies getting knowledge but also avoiding lawsuits that occur when you copy a single good site or two), adapt the general things to our variations and test it. Then after testing, do changes and tests again. And that's it. Web navigation design and Usability testing of Web interfaces are not rocket science. AlainV 02:07, 11 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Well, designing something that works well enough, like the current interface, is maybe not rocket science. But designing a really good interface for a site like Wikipedia is rocket science. For instance, while editing this comment, I could select an "edit" link, what does it edit? There is a "search" box with a "Go" and "Search" buttons, what does it mean? What is a "mediawiki"? Marc Mongenet 03:12, 2004 Jun 12 (UTC)


Issues related to default fonts.

Font size

Kudos for using relative font sizes. Default is a small font size, however; too small for comfort. So I can change my browser settings for this site but when I then click on an external link, the fonts there are overwhelmingly large. Sure, an experienced Wiki user can change his/her skin, but most readers will be hit and run, looking for info, not to settle in and customize their interfaces. I *like* the sizes of headings; relative sizes are now much clearer between the different levels of headings and much different from body text, esp. with the hairline for the top-level headers. Elf | Talk 17:41, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)

So--I guess voting has been suggested:

Make body text larger

  1. Elf | Talk 17:41, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  2. sannse (talk) 17:46, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  3. Angela 17:53, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  4. Michael Warren 18:02, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  5. Rholton 19:25, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  6. Fredrik (talk) 20:23, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  7. Dori | Talk 23:19, Jun 3, 2004 (UTC)
  8. Arwel 00:20, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  9. mav 00:43, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  10. Popsracer 01:04, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  11. jallan 02:13, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  12. Tim Starling 03:33, Jun 4, 2004 (UTC)
  13. Mikez 09:53, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) (what is a small font in MonoBook, is completely unreadable in Standard skin, and what is small in Standard, is ordinary in Mono... I think that's no good)
  14. NealMcB 16:39, 2004 Jun 4 (UTC)
  15. SimonP 20:07, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  16. Eurleif 06:22, 8 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  17. Zeimusu 13:10, 2004 Jun 13 (UTC) monobook font is much much to small for me, and I have good eyesight.

Body text size is fine

  1. blankfaze | •• 02:31, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) - mine is perfect
  2. Chopchopwhitey 03:45, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) Default size is good on Linux Firefox 0.8.
  3. Ezhiki 20:51, Jun 4, 2004 (UTC) - looks great to me.
  4. DO'Neil 10:05, Jun 5, 2004 (UTC) Looks excellent to me.
  5. Jamesday 20:51, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC) It's OK for me on Windows/ IE6/ 15"/ 1600x1200 notebook, Windows/ IE4/ 21" monitor/ 1600x1200 desktop and Windows/ IE5/ 1024x768/ 15" monitor.
  6. Gabriel Wicke 13:09, 8 Jun 2004 (UTC) - otherwise too big for the unlucky 90% or so that use IE and can't adjust font sizes really
  7. MrWeeble 23:15, 8 Jun 2004 (UTC) - works for me (Firefox 0.8, Windows 2000, 17" monitor @ 1024×768)
  8. Pt 22:37, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Do not interfere with my prefered font size duly set in my browser settings

  1. Marc Mongenet 04:32, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  2. Zeimusu 13:10, 2004 Jun 13 (UTC)
  3. Monedula 13:38, 26 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  4. pne 10:38, 7 Jul 2004 (UTC)

See also Let Users Control Font Size in Jakob Nielsen's well-regarded Alertbox usability column.

Can't consider size separately from font family

  1. Jeff Q 02:19, 11 Jun 2004 (UTC) (see comments)


I think the diff font size could use some increasing as well. Dori | Talk 13:09, Jun 5, 2004 (UTC)

I withdrew my larger vote. On reflection, it's more the greater line spacing than the text size which is the issue for me. Jamesday 20:51, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

It's not the size that's the problem, it's the readability of the font. Restoring default browser size AND font would make pages fine for ordinary folks (since that's why browser defaults are set the way they are -- duh!) and still allow the folks so anxious to customize Wikipedia the opportunity to edit their own stylesheets. How does that saying go? "If you want to change the world, first change yourself." ☺ -- Jeff Q 05:02, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)
The separation of votes between font-size and font-family is arbitrary and confusing. Verdana and Times Roman look like very different sizes using the same font-size setting. -- Jeff Q 06:29, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)
To get to the bottom of font sizes, I reviewed the current Monobook main.css file and some of the references quoted in it. I found two misleading size-related statements. First, it's asserted that "browsers won't go below 9px". I don't know what this is supposed to mean, but I have no problem displaying a 7px (not 7pt!) serif font in Opera 7.23. If this is an assumption that all browsers will provide a minimum height, regardless of setting, it's apparently wrong.
See also for more info on keyword-sized text. -- Gabriel Wicke 23:52, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Second, the referenced "" and its reference to the CSS2 spec recommend using a font with a high "aspect value", or ratio of font-size to x-height ("lowercase glyph height", to quote yet another reference). As far as I can tell (without becoming a typography expert), the case these references make for Verdana (sans-serif) over Times New Roman (serif), which I infer were used to select Verdana as the base Monobook (and subsequently default Wiki) font, completely ignore the legibility advantage that serif fonts have (as mentioned by quota in "Font typeface" vote #12 below). The relevant passage from the CSS2 spec says:
Verdana will therefore tend to remain legible at smaller sizes than Times New Roman. Conversely, Verdana will often look 'too big' if substituted for Times New Roman at a chosen size.
The second sentence is true, but the first one is inaccurate. Verdana will tend to look bigger at smaller sizes (and, indeed, at any size) than Times New Roman, but its legibility is subject to more than just its perceived vertical height. The thinner strokes of Verdana, combined with its lack of serifs, actually make that font harder to read at the same perceived vertical height, so it's actually good and even necessary that Verdana looks bigger (i.e., has a higher aspect value). It just isn't enough. As I mention in the "Comments on Font Typeface" section, there are good reasons that all major (and most, if not all, minor) browsers use a serif font, not a sans-serif font, as their body text default. -- Jeff Q 06:41, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I think changing the font size of the body of a whole page is always a bad idea. I did not notice the problem immediately because a long time ago I switched to a browser that let me override this kind of web design error... But most visitors use other browsers and visit Wikipedia only for a few minutes: this renders all argument about wikipedia user preferences, user style sheets (!) and so on, null and void. The only way to present Wikipedia in the visitor preferred font size is by not changing it. The current CSS is by construction presenting Wikipedia in a font about 20% too small. Marc Mongenet 04:48, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Font typeface

See also: Wikipedia talk:Serif or sans-serif

Don't specify a font. Leave as browser default

  1. Angela 17:53, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  2. Rholton 18:42, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  3. Dori | Talk 23:19, Jun 3, 2004 (UTC)
  4. mav 00:49, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  5. TreyHarris 00:58, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  6. jallan 02:21, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  7. Jorge Stolfi 03:30, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  8. Chopchopwhitey 03:50, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  9. Lupo 09:08, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  10. Jamesday 14:35, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) but if one has to be there, sans-serif of some sort.
  11. NealMcB 16:39, 2004 Jun 4 (UTC)
  12. quota Anything so long as it is a standard serif font. Serif fonts have been shown to be more readable; it’s as simple as that (check out any professional manual, or any major reference work and see what they use)
  13. SimonP 20:07, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  14. PLEASE put it back to the old font. I really really really hate this new font. And please don't tell me "change your settings" because it is much more complicated than that. Kingturtle 10:13, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  15. I may be old and conservative, but I feel stylesheets do more harm than good for users who aren't logged in. If they for some reason are to be used, then their use should be strictly limited to what is considered necessary. --Ruhrjung 17:12, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  16. Wapcaplet 19:44, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  17. Mpt 08:49, 6 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  18. ssd 04:23, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  19. Jeff Q 04:56, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  20. Back in the days when HTML was first written, the concept was to let the user determine how she/he wanted to interpret the markup. Of course, things have changed since then, but I believe this ideal is still worth embracing -- & it would avoid the inevitable arguments over wether serif or san-serif fonts were best. llywrch 02:13, 11 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  21. Vincent Ramos 05:13, 15 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  22. pne 07:54, 15 Jun 2004 (UTC) - different people have different preferences, both in face and in size.
  23. Monedula 13:40, 26 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  24. gracefool 11:06, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Combine serif texts with sans-serif menus

  1. till we | Talk 21:44, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  2. Please use the default font (and serif, if that is the default) for text. sans-serif is fine for menus and headers, on the other hand, to add contrast. —Steven G. Johnson 19:18, Jun 5, 2004 (UTC)
  3. Serif for text (or leave as default), but sans-serif is okay for headers and menus. --Delirium 00:11, Jun 9, 2004 (UTC)
  4. Marc Mongenet 04:52, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC) (do not change the user preference for body, but OK for isolated elements)

Arial Unicode MS for characters that are buggy in Verdana, else back to Verdana

  1. Gabriel Wicke 13:09, 8 Jun 2004 (UTC) - best readability (designed for the web), looks better than Arial (IE and Safari users can't adjust their sans typeface). Consistent size-wise at 123%.
  2. Rrjanbiah 06:32, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC) - Verdana is cute and best for any webpages. Or leave it to the user so that he can set it in a cookie

Comments on Font Typeface

I think I agree with Angela, though I'm not entirely sure what she means by "browser default". In IE6, if you specify sans-serif, you are forced to use Arial. That, to me, is not any better than forcing me to use any other font. IE does have a font preference, but it makes no distinction between Serif or Sans-serif. If no font (or font style?) is specified, then the user's choice is used. That's how the standard skin works. That allows me to use Arial Unicode MS, which eliminates all those little boxes, and which I now use as my "default" font for all browsing. -Rholton 18:40, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
My proposal is to use Verdana/Bitstream Vera for the bulk and substitute it with Arial Unicode MS (if installed) for special characters like the Combining diacritical mark range. Mozilla does this transparently already, ie would need a span in the source with a special 'troubleunicode' class. Could be done with a small regex that's searching for those byte ranges. -- Gabriel Wicke 16:53, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I think I mean just don't specify anything. Angela. 20:01, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Yes. Wikipedia should not be forcing any common font or any common font size on users who employ different browsers on different sizes of terminals and set their screen at various different resolutions. Some users may have visual problems and need larger fonts. The user should come first. jallan 02:21, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Note that the user font size is taken into account already, somebody who increased the IE default size gets a larger wikipedia. The question is if the IE default (equals 16px) is better than our own default (122% of 9pt minimum currently). -- Gabriel Wicke 11:52, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
The problem is, in order to see Wikipedia clearly, I need to set the text size larger than I normally have it. When I then go to almost any other website, the letters are HUGE and I have to switch back. In other words, I have to make a specific exception for viewing Wikipedia (yes, and for a handful of other sites that I don't visit very often). Do we really want to force this behavior on ourselves, let alone on people who are just using Wikipedia as a reference? OK. Maybe IE is messed up in their font size. But IE is what IE is. You can't fix it. LOTS of people still use it, and will probably continue to use it for a long time. Many people at work, or in libraries have no choice at all.
Unfortunately there's no such thing as a font size pref in IE apart from the 'larger'/'smaller' thing in 'view' which has massive steps. IE users can't really set meaningful font preferences, so good defaults are important to them. I agree that the current size is too small after the change from Verdana to 'sans-serif' (Arial), i'm about to increase the scale factor to 127% to compensate this a bit. -- Gabriel Wicke 16:53, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Verdana and Arial are about the same size for me - but to get Times to comparable character but still worse overall legibility I need to apply a 120% scaling factor. Jamesday 23:10, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Isn't the MSIE default taken from the system default? IMHO a general setting for all applications is the sane way to define a prefered font size. Marc Mongenet 05:24, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Maybe there are good reasons for Monobook to use fonts the way it does. I'm not a web developer. But if that's true, then we need to use some other skin as the default. -Rholton 05:47, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

For background on the font issues, please see [1] and [2]. The short version is that browsers do not behave consistently today and gwicke is using one possible workaround. But it's not a perfect workaround because it depends on how well the assumptions of the workaround match the specific display you're using. It's to be expected that different people will see different sizes - it's partly a browser/platform/dispaly difference. that is, it's not only people liking different sizes - people may be seeing different sizes for the same settings. Jamesday 07:24, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

That’s true—but it does not excuse overwriting the users’ settings... quota

The HTML math looks much worse in the new font. ✏ Sverdrup 11:00, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Not only does the HTML math look horrible, it clashes with the TeX-typeset math, which uses a serif font. —Steven G. Johnson 19:22, Jun 12, 2004 (UTC)

Everything looks much worse in the new font. quota

I just verified on my suite of untweaked browsers that Opera 7, Netscape 7, MSIE 6, Mozilla 1.5, and Firefox 0.8 all use serif fonts as default body text. Forcing sans-serif on everyone as a default is not only less readable (see quota's vote above), but also overrides all popular browser defaults. I respectfully suggest that those who are so keen to make everything look they way they want it and not how it is in untweaked browsers should be the ones who have to override defaults with stylesheet settings, especially since they are vastly more likely to know how to than people who haven't customized their browsers.
Let me back off a little from my boldface apoplexy in the above comment. ☺ I can see from the references that Jamesday quotes a few paragraphs up (which are also referenced in Monobook's main.css) that the proponents of all these font changes are trying to address some valid general issues, not just making Wiki conform to their views. But the question remains, are these issues that a consensus of Wiki users (or even just contributors) have considered large enough to make these changes, and have they decided to put up with the problems such changes cause? The first rule is, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". The less-known second rule is, "if it's broke, don't break it even more while trying to fix it". -- Jeff Q 07:06, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)

These are the font-family settings of the current top ten web sites according to alexa, checked with the firefox dom inspector for body text:

  1. font-family: Arial
  2. font-family: Arial
  3. font-family: Arial, sans serif
  4. font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica
  5. font-family: Verdana
  6. font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif
  7. font-family: verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif
  8. font-family: verdana, arial, helvetica
  9. font-family: arial, tahoma, geneva, sans-serif
  10. font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif

None of them specifies no font-family, none of them serif fonts. Looks like a trend to me. -- Gabriel Wicke 20:36, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Regarding the so-called better readability or serif fonts over sans serif, this is by no means clear cut. Many factors can affect readability, including print vs. online, as well as cultural familiarity with various fonts. It's been a while, so I don't have references handy, but I recall studies suggesting that in some countries where sans serif fonts were more commonly used in print, sans serif fonts scored higher in readability. In the U.S., where serif is more common in print, readability shows a bias towards serif fonts. Point is, there is evidence that familiarity with the fonts may be a more significant factor that any physiological factor related to the presence or absence of serifs aiding readability. And I seem to recall studies where serif fonts scored lower than sans serif in online readability, which was attributed to monitors not being able to display the fine lines of the serif cleanly (although that may have been before high-res monitors). olderwiser 21:46, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Note that home pages are basically made of headers, what should be considered is large blocks of content text. In the case of Amazon, it uses serif for user reviews. Yahoo uses serif for "Terms of Service" (but maybe it is to give a "legal" appearance). Marc Mongenet 05:19, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Concerning Gabriel Wicke's list… So the "most popular" sites should tell us what font to use here? Well, let's see…

  • Yahoo: As I recall, Yahoo! News changed from serif to sans-serif sometime in the past year. When they did, they had clearly spent considerable time testing their style settings to ensure that their very well-defined, common formats for all news articles continued to look very much like news articles. I remember seeing the switch from one day to the next, and though it was a surprise, it was not nearly as disruptive as the Wiki switch was. Wikipedia (and other Wikis) have neither the single well-defined format nor the central control of format that Yahoo! has.
  • MSN, Microsoft, Passport: These sites have popularity mainly because they're force-fed to the vast majority of people using Windows computers. I almost never use MSIE, but every friggin' time I open it up, I find something has reset its start page to, despite my explicit changes to use no start page ("about:blank"). (I've only had this problem since 6.0.) Passport is a security site, not a content-browsing site.
  • Google: Google has an even more limited variety and substantial control of page content than Yahoo!.
  • eBay: If you want to buy or sell through online auctions, you go there, whether you like its format or not. Just read all the hollering about the recent switch to "my eBay 2.0" (which, incidentally, they did a much better job promoting and testing than Wiki). To paraphrase Ernestine the Phone Operator (Lily Tomlin), "We're eBay. We don't have to care." And again, their content is much more controlled, even encouraging sellers to use a much more limited set of formatting options than Wiki provides.
  • Amazon: Amazon is the eBay of media sales. 'Nuff said.
  • DoubleClick: Do you seriously propose that people browse this site? It's "popular" because of their $%#@*($#! ads buried in other pages. A clear case of irrelevant statistics.
  • Never had any use for this. Can't comment.
  • OfferOptimizer: Never heard of it, but based on its main page, it sounds like another DoubleClick.

I'm sure you're not arguing that, if Wiki uses sans-serif, it will be massively popular. The fact is, sites become popular because of their content (or their viral infection rate), not because of their fonts. Common users (the ones who wouldn't know CSS from CBS) are completely helpless to affect how a site looks, and are at the mercy of the Powers That Be. If they want the content, they must put up with the format. The most popular sites will almost always be the ones who content is so critical (or so wired-in to basic computer use) that users have little choice about using it; e.g., the Microsoft Strategy that is so amply illustrated by this list.

If you're interested in Wikipedia user opinions, the vote above suggests so far an overwhelming majority want the browser default font, which is serif for anyone who hasn't customized their browser settings. Of course, one should keep in mind that this survey is heavily biased toward users who are Wiki-comfortable enough to…

  1. … find this page. As vocal as I've been on this topic elsewhere since the switch, I only found it myself a couple of days ago.
  2. … edit this page. Not every Wiki user is comfortable editing pages, let alone jumping into such heated discussions.
  3. … vote on this page. I have yet to see how Wikipedians are supposed to vote. One gets impression from reading about Votes for Deletion that there is some kind of formality. I decided to be bold and just add my vote line here, without instructions or any awareness of Wiki voting etiquette. If I'm worried about it after 9 months of Wiki use, just how many casual users are likely to make their opinions known here?

If these informal Wiki votes were being done in a social sciences course, we'd flunk on our inability to recognize massive systemic biases. And I'd bet good money (if I had it) that the vast majority of non-bold and new users would prefer to keep the interface simple until they get more comfortable with the content and the practices of participating in Wikidom.

Concerning older≠wiser's point, if familiarity breeds readability preference, then serif (which all the browsers use as a default body text font) would be the logical choice unless and until Wiki spends considerably more effort testing article appearances and locks down formats and layouts like the commercial sites do. Since the latter is absurd and the former ain't gonna happen soon, I again recommend we make the old Standard skin (with its serif fonts) the Wiki default skin. This prevents no one from selecting a fancier skin or changing any skin's font or other CSS attributes, but it puts the onus of extra work on the people who are prepared for and knowledgeable about it, not those who have enough trouble just learning to use Wiki. -- Jeff Q 05:13, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Details and screenshots

What we're doing currently:

  • we use font size keywords (x-small) on the body to establish a minimum font size of 9px (see [3]). This keeps the font size constant if the user configured it much smaller than 16px (the IE/win default that >85% of all users are forced to use).
  • Then we scale those 9px up to a sane base font size
  • Result: about 11px font size if browser setting < 14px
  • full scaling if font size is >= 16px

Initial setup

Keyword basesize, 123% Verdana/Bitstream Vera Sans/sans-serif

File:IE6 Verdana 123 larger font.png
IE6 with font setting 'larger'
File:Firefox Verdana 10px.png
Firefox 0.8 linux with very small 10px sans-serif user pref
File:Firefox Verdana 12px.png
Firefox 0.8 linux with small 12px sans-serif user pref
File:Firefox Verdana 14px.png
Firefox 0.8 linux with 14px sans-serif user pref
File:Firefox Verdana 16px.png
Firefox 0.8 linux with default 16px sans-serif user pref, about the same as 12pt on normal pc screens
File:Firefox Verdana 20px.png
Firefox 0.8 linux with 20px sans-serif user pref

Current setup

Only sans-serif specified (defaults to Arial in IE), else the same. Arial is harder to read for a given nominal size, appears at least 10% smaller. Certainly needs compensation if kept, but those using Verdana would have too big fonts then.

Same in Firefox linux, default font for sans-serif is Bitstream Vera Sans:

File:Firefox Bitstream 16px.png
16 px (default size)

Sans-serif, 127% instead of 123%

This is my proposal if we should keep the sans-serif/Arial setting

No font-size, sans-serif family

No font size specified at all, browser setting is used

Browser settings for both font size and family

'Medium' font size in IE (can't be adjusted apart from those larger/smaller steps)

File:Firefox default.png
default settings: 16px serif
File:Firefox 12px bitstream.png
12px user pref, bitstream vera sans

-- Gabriel Wicke 14:13, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)


The italics are very difficult to read (most prominently perceived in the Recent Changes edit summaries) KRS 17:38, 13 Jun 2004 (UTC)


If anyone else is bothered by the H3 level being bolder than H2 the following will fix it:

#bodyContent h3 { font-weight: normal }

Don't know if it should be applied en-wikipedia-wide. Dori | Talk 13:53, Jul 12, 2004 (UTC)


Color of links

The main problem I've seen here is that visited edit links are the same colour as visited articles. Which means if you have clicked on an edit link it is no longer possible to tell whether the article exists or not. -- sannse (talk) 17:49, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I would suggest the colour scheme presented at Wikipedia:Village_pump#Link_colours as best, which also seems to address sannse's problem. -- Michael Warren 18:00, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)

That doesn't change the problem with visited edit links I'm afraid (I have it on User:Sannse/monobook.css and still see the same problem). -- sannse (talk) 20:39, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Yeah, it looked like it did, but it must have been a temporary thing (if you hit Back, it does seem to stay red on the page you return to, but if you reload, it goes to the visited link colour). Can the CSS be that finely tuned? -- Michael Warren 20:44, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
The active link colour is set the same as the edit link - that's why it looks OK when you hit Back (I intend to change this on mine, and think it shouldn't be done this way on the default) -- sannse (talk) 21:21, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Even worse, links to stubs below the user-defined threshold and to unwritten articles have the same red color. At least that one needs to be changed. andy 07:48, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
This now seems to have been fixed. Warofdreams 18:10, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I'm not sure about stubs, but the other default colours were: a { color: #0000FF; } a:active, a:visited { color: #800080; } { color: #CC2200; } a.interwiki, a.external { color: #3366BB; } - which is slightly different from the example mentioned above. This doesn't solve the visited edit link problem though -- sannse (talk) 16:49, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)

While the default colors look normal on other pages, because of the shady backgrounds they look excessively bright on the Wikipedia pages. So, either change both foreground and background, or leave it be. Personally I think that the somewhat shaded backgrounds and text colors are fine. At one point we had something that was too pastel to be readable, but it's pretty much okay nowadays. --Shallot 00:09, 4 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Return to MediaWiki 1.2 defaults

  1. Angela 17:53, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  2. Fredrik (talk) 20:23, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  3. Elf | Talk 20:55, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  4. till we | Talk 21:44, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  5. Dori | Talk 23:19, Jun 3, 2004 (UTC)
  6. mav 00:51, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) (please, please, please!)
  7. jallan 02:23, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  8. Jorge Stolfi 03:34, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) (I suppose MediaWiki 1.2 is like the "standard" skin, is it?)
  9. andy 07:48, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  10. Lupo 09:08, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  11. Mikez 09:53, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  12. Jamesday 14:35, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) though some change for stub color is probably worth voting on later - just not the same as "completely missing article".
  13. NealMcB 16:39, 2004 Jun 4 (UTC)
  14. SimonP 20:07, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  15. Ezhiki 20:54, Jun 4, 2004 (UTC)
  16. Cyrius| 21:07, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  17. Ruhrjung 17:14, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  18. Tero 11:32, 11 Jun 2004 (UTC) ("Standard" skin should be the default)
    That's not what the vote is about (it's just about the link colors). I don't think there is a chance that we'll be going back to that skin as a default. Dori | Talk 14:49, Jun 11, 2004 (UTC)

Don't return to MediaWiki 1.2 defaults

  1. blankfaze | •• 02:34, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) - I just got things how I like them!

External link icon

No icons by default

  1. Dori | Talk 23:19, Jun 3, 2004 (UTC) (only if color changes between ext and int lks obviously)
  2. Maximus Rex 23:27, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  3. Arwel 00:21, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  4. mav 00:52, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) (only if MediaWiki 1.2 link color defaults are restored)
  5. jallan 02:25, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  6. 03:35, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) (only if color changes between ext and int lks obviously)
  7. Lupo 09:08, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) if link colors are changed to make the distinction
  8. Mikez 09:53, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) (even more important than adding more link colours)
  9. Jamesday 14:35, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  10. SimonP 20:07, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  11. Cyrius| 21:06, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) (assuming color change)
  12. Jorge Stolfi 21:36, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) (assuming ext links have different color)
  13. Mos def. Or at least a css fix to not display them. They're annoying. blankfaze | •• 05:41, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  14. RedWolf 21:21, Jun 5, 2004 (UTC)
  15. Ezhiki 15:19, Jun 14, 2004 (UTC) (indicate by link color; the icon looks ugly!)

Icons by default

  1. Timwi 23:24, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  2. Gabriel Wicke 12:45, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  3. Zigger 05:43, 2004 Jun 6 (UTC) (except for [4]-style links where I prefer a default of having it absent or inside the braces or the character ↗ inside)


  1. Angela 17:53, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC) (It depends whether the external link colour is changed.)
  2. Elf | Talk 02:24, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) (I like the idea of distinguishing external links. I think icon is OK. But it's confusing when everything not in the article namespace has this icon--e.g., "Edit summary" and "public domain" text on each edit page display this link, and to most people these are not external links, they're maybe help pages, so using the same icon is confusing. )
  3. Phil | Talk 11:02, Jun 4, 2004 (UTC) (I have already suggested—to User:Gwicke who originated the idea—the possibility of having a different icon for an Interwiki link as opposed to a link which is truly external to the wikipedia project. I wonder if it would be possible to present us with a selection that we can choose in our CSS file?)
Changed the default to no styling for interwiki now apart from the 1.2 colour (that's the same for external). That should eliminate most of those icons on meta. -- Gabriel Wicke 12:09, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Underlining links

I was among those who voted for underlined by default (I have since changed my mind), but now there is a bug and removing the check from the "Underline links" option does not change the behavior. Should we force it on users this way (this also seems to negate browser settings)? Dori | Talk 03:48, Jun 4, 2004 (UTC)

Yes this awful. If I want underlines on links I can set my browser to put them there. Why on earth does Wiki force the ungly things on users? Shall we change italic emphasis to all-capitals, next? And, as a next step, monospace fonts everywhere (green, on a black background, of course). quota

I wish I had known of a vote. This is disastrous! Little horizontal lines everywhere cutting through the text! AHHHHHHHH! My browser's no-underlining of links is even superceded by this! Ackbar! --AquaRichy 07:04, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Me too. This also removes the hover indicator. The link colour is changed already, so the main reason (links look too similar to text) should be mostly gone since yesterday. -- Gabriel Wicke 12:18, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Me2 Marc Mongenet 05:33, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I find hover underlining even more annoying than not having underlines at all. The skin should either respect browser defaults or the checkbox in user preferences. I think that's the only way to make people happy. -- Cyrius| 19:27, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Then why not just a { text-decoration: inherit } ? -- Gabriel Wicke 10:45, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I tried that on meta and it went right back to the default Monobook style. Used two browsers with different rendering engines. -- Cyrius| 18:29, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
You can override it in your user CSS. The rest of us like our underlines. -- Cyrius|
I doubt a site will ever cause me to change a browser preference just for it. Marc Mongenet 05:33, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  1. I don't know the css - syntax and don't really have time nor interest to learn it.
  2. And why why why is there a preference, if it is neglected??? I don't demand you to see links whithout underbars, but since I don't like them, please let me use the possibility to get rid of them, OK?
Mikez 09:53, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  • well, regardless of the bug in the userprefs, you can fix it without learning css coz I'll tell you how. Just insert the code below at this page: User:Mikez/monobook.css.
/* remove the ugly, recently-reinstated link underlines */
a { text-decoration: none; }
a:hover { text-decoration: underline; }
blankfaze | •• 23:58, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)

My vote is that link underlining in the default skin should respect the user's browser settings. Ditto for link colors (except of course for the external and missing-article link colors, which are not defined by the browser and so must be chosen Wikipedia.) Jorge Stolfi 13:16, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I did not know of a vote either, and can find no way to get rid of the awful things. Noone in their right mind would want them, still fewer would want not to be able to turn them off... Help! Mark Richards 21:10, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
You can get rid of them by adding "a { text-decoration: none; }" to User:Mark Richards/monobook.css. Maximus Rex 21:13, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I'm doing something wrong, I'm sure, can you help me out? Thanks! Mark Richards 21:35, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)

(moved from the village pump)

I wrote the missing pref system, new users will have to change the pref to get rid of the underlines after login as this setting is not per-skin but global. Not ideal imo- most users never touch their prefs- neither in the browser nor in MediaWiki, they have no way to get the default no-underline setting by default now. -- Gabriel Wicke 15:34, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)
May a distinctly non-techie-type user who understands almost nothing of the foregoing -- except that he has a nasty feeling someone has decided he will NOT be allowed to turn link-underlining off because it's not good for him -- be allowed to ask why, if turning the underlining off works perfectly well (as it does) in all the other-language wikipedias, someone can't just find out what everyone else is doing right and the English-language wikilords are doing wrong... and give us back our choice! -- Picapica 15:35, 20 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Picapica: You can easily turn it off in your Wikipedia preferences, so you have a choice. Gabriel Wicke above specifically suggested doing this.
No one said you're not allowed to turn it off -- read what Gabriel said again, he said you had to go into your Wikipedia preferences to turn it off. No one decided it's not good for you. Lucky Wizard 04:34, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for the replies (which took some tracking down - I didn't realize things got shifted about quite so radically at the Village Pump!). OK, I can turn underlining off in Internet Explorer. Trouble is, I use Opera and would much prefer to continue doing so. In Opera, my change of preference to underlining off will work only once (no matter how many CTRL+f5 's I do); all subsequent pages revert back to the default underlining on. The reason I don't have this problem in other languages is presumably (it now dawns on me) that, not being logged in to these other Wikipedias, I can't change my preferences anyway, so I benefit (from my point of view) from their underlining-off default style. So, unless anyone knows the appropriate Opera tweak, I guess I'll just have to learn to live with underlining always on (sigh). -- Picapica 20:59, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)
How odd. Underlining stayed off all day yesterday (10 July 2004), is back again today. Probably nothing at all to do with Wikipedia and just something I did / failed to do... but I thought I'd note it anyway. -- The profoundly untechie Picapica 18:55, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I've had link underlining turned off in my preferences for some time now, and yet as I use WP it seems to turn on and off, apparently at random. Surely this is happening to others? – Smyth\talk 15:43, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Okay, I have determined a pattern:

  1. If viewing a page where links appear underlined, following a link from that page always results in another underlined page.
  2. If viewing a page where links are not underlined, following a link from that page may or may not give you another underlined page.
  3. If viewing a page where links appear underlined, refreshing causes the underlines to go away. But because of cases 1 and 2, they will eventually come back, and stay.
  4. If viewing a page where links are not underlined, refreshing never causes the underlines to come back.

So we seem to have that refreshing always results in a nonunderlined page, while normal browsing randomly tends towards an underlined one.

I realise some or all of this problem may be client-side, in which case I'd be glad if someone explained it to me. I use Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.7.2) Gecko/20040820 Galeon/1.3.17 (Debian package 1.3.17-1). – Smyth\talk 15:58, 23 Dec 2004 (UTC)

This hasn't happened for several weeks now. Looks like it's fixed properly. – Smyth\talk 20:14, 23 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Link colour changes

Its good that the underlining has gone out of the monobook format. However, the blue has gone back again to being light blue. It was/ is very tough to read the light blue becuase of the lack of contrast, the darker blue was much more readable. Also the continuity between words in a page will be better if the colours are closer in value ( meaning dark/light). Now the continuity is not there. For all these reasons can we have a dareker colour please?

Is it under discussion? Can we have a page in which all the changes are recorded for the four major schemes when a change is made by the developer/ user who makes the change so that we can give our comments? The reactions are very scattered and no one seems to counterreact for any reaction. KRS 11:17, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)

P.S. the top tabs are of a darker blue with a good contrast. Either the same shade can be used(it looks like cobalt blue/slightly like ultramarine blue)in the place of all the lighter blues or if a different one is required then Prussian Blue can be used. Or the top tab can be the lighter blue( there is very little of it, only a few words) or Prussian blue and the rest can be the colour which is now the top tab colours.

Ideal design - Background Vs. words should have the most contrast, non linked words vs linked words should have a contrast that does not affect too much the continuity of the reading process and is lesser than the background vs. words contrast. What exists now- background vs. link contrast- too less, link word vs. ordinary word contrast too much. KRS 11:31, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Internal links acquire an "external link" icon when clicked

For some strange reason, clicking on an article link that I haven't visited before causes it to sprout an "external link" icon behind it (possibly rearranging the paragraph as it shifts the following text over).

This link isn't there if I reload a page, so it's not simply a "visited link" indicator. I assume this is a bug? -- pne 08:04, 15 Jun 2004 (UTC)

You haven't stated which browser you're using (I get the same thing using Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-GB; rv:1.6) Gecko/20040113 MultiZilla/ I think it happens when a link changes from being unfollowed to followed, so when you reload the page the link is still followed; maybe if you set your browser to forget links quickly? I have been pointing this out since the new skin was pioneered on TestWikipedia but I've not been certain whether anyone else ever saw it. --Phil | Talk 08:30, Jun 15, 2004 (UTC)
I see this with Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; WinNT4.0; en-US; rv:1.4b) Gecko/20030516 Mozilla Firebird/0.6 as well as with FireFox 0.8 (on another computer, so can't get at the UA string easily). NB when I reload, the link is coloured purple rather than blue, so the browser rememberes it's a followed link. Not sure what you mean with "set your browser to forget links quickly" (was it a suggestion or a question as to my current setup?). -- pne 10:51, 7 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I can't now recall exactly what I meant by that particular phrase :-( However the phenomenon is still happening, so obviously there must be more important stuff being worked on. --Phil | Talk 14:44, Jul 7, 2004 (UTC)

Color of non-main namespace pages

Should non-article pages have a different background color than articles?

(Non-article = talk:, as well as user:, wikipedia:, special:, MediaWiki:, template:, category:, and their talk pages)

yes, different background color for non-article pages

  1. mav 00:58, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) (this is needed to establish more differentiation between content and metadata and help ensure our article count is not inflated/polluted by pseudo-namespace pages like Sandbox:maveric149).
  2. TreyHarris 02:00, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  3. Elf | Talk 02:21, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) (I don't know that I care what color--except that gray with current scheme for rest of page would be wayyyy tedious.)
  4. jallan 02:26, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  5. Dori | Talk 03:28, Jun 4, 2004 (UTC) (making me vote again :)
  6. Jorge Stolfi 03:37, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  7. Chopchopwhitey 03:53, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  8. Lupo 09:08, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  9. Mikez 09:53, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  10. Timwi 13:30, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  11. KRS 13:36, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  12. Jamesday 14:35, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  13. SimonP 20:07, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  14. Jiang 21:29, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) Please!
  15. till we | Talk 09:13, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  16. This might be a reasonable use of css for users who are not logged in, and generally uninformed on Wikipedia, if it de-emphasizes links to non-encyclopedic destinations. --Ruhrjung 17:20, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  17. The Anome 18:08, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  18. Wapcaplet 19:48, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  19. Mpt 08:49, 6 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  20. Rmhermen 04:53, 8 Jun 2004 (UTC) especially for MediaWiki
  21. arj 14:46, 8 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  22. Ellywa 05:20, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  23. Badanedwa 23:34, Jun 24, 2004 (UTC)

no, same background color for non-article pages

  1. Yellow color is ugly. If you have any color, please make it something more tasteful. Latitudinarian 02:22, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
    • This vote is not a vote for any particular color (see below for that) - it is a vote to have non-articles be different color than white. --mav 04:05, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  2. Gabriel Wicke 12:22, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  3. I much prefer the new style. MUCH! If a colour change is made, users should have the option to keep it how it is now. blankfaze | •• 05:40, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
    • If the implementation stays the same, you would be able to set all background colors to what you like most in your user.css. So users wo really don't want to see a difference between articles and others things ;-) would be able to set them all to white. -- till we | Talk 09:21, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

If they did have a different color:

Color everything that is not an article yellowish, again

  1. till we | Talk 21:44, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  2. Dori | Talk 23:19, Jun 3, 2004 (UTC) (not that I care that much about yellowish, but anything different from articles)

Color everything that is not an article pastel orange

  1. Yay! Pastel orange! ugen64 01:17, Jun 4, 2004 (UTC)

Color everything that is not an article light blue

  1. Lupo 09:08, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) (BTW, see m:Gallery of user styles#Lupo's minor tweaks for something quite akin to what I voted for here.)
  2. Mikez 09:53, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) Probably better then light yellow together with the surrounding colours of MonoBook. (Changed my vote) --\Mikez
  3. Timwi 13:32, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  4. KRS 13:39, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  5. Wapcaplet 19:48, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  6. mav 21:53, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC) (I think light blue would work better for the MonoBook skin - plus lots of people did not like yellow. See Lupo's great example: at meta:Image:Wp-lupo-talk-screenshot.png)
    A question only: will blue make links hard to see?--TreyHarris 03:24, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)
    No. See meta:Image:Wp-lupo-talk-screenshot.png. --mav 05:01, 13 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Color everything that is not an article light gray

Comment only: if light gray is chosen, the color for the autogenerated edit summaries on RC will have to be changed (it's a light gray currently, and thus won't be readable anymore.) Lupo 10:03, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  1. KRS 13:39, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Different pale background colors for each type of non-article page

  1. Jamesday 14:35, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) (but pale yellow if not this)
  2. Mpt 08:49, 6 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  3. Badanedwa 23:37, Jun 24, 2004 (UTC)


In 1.2 I never saw a difference in color between the namespaces. It may be my monitor settings. Maximus Rex 02:15, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I eventually did, but didn't realize it had a meaning until somebody explained it to me. -- Gabriel Wicke 12:25, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Me too. Never really noticed it, and even after I knew it was there it was too subtle for me to take advantage of. I guess that means I don't really care. What I would like (though it not a big thing) is for the Edit page preview to be somehow very clearly marked as a preview 'throughout the page'. Too many times I've forgotten to save when I follow a link in the preview page somewhere. -Rholton 05:57, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Yes "Edit page preview to be somehow very clearly marked as a preview 'throughout the page'" that's a good ideaPedant 01:49, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Category page color

Should be the same color as other non-article pages

Should be the same color as article pages

  1. TreyHarris 02:00, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC) Categories are part of the content, not an ancillary. I'd also be okay with a third color.
  2. blankfaze | •• 05:38, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC) same colour.

Yet a third color (suggest one if you like; not part of poll)

  1. Ellywa 05:23, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC) seems usefull, in order to discourage inexperienced users to add lots of text.
  2. --GeneralPatton 10:52, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Annoying light blue tint on certain pages? (from the village pump)

Recently, as viewed by me with Safari 1.2.2, the text on certain pages, including this one, has acquired an annoying light-blue background tint. I find this quite irritating. I work quite hard to get all the monitors I use set for a pleasing-to-me color temperature of 5500 degrees, and I do not want Wikipedia undoing this by adding bluish casts to my nicely-tuned white. It reminds me of a magazine I read as a kid called "Children's Digest"—does it still exists\?—which was printed on a sort of light-snot-colored paper that they insisted was "eye-ease paper." How can I turn this off? Dpbsmith 11:16, 4 Jul 2004 (UTC)

you can change how your browser displays pages by editing your cascading style sheet at User:Dpbsmith/monobook.css. Guides to making changes can be found at meta at m:User styles. Gentgeen 11:32, 4 Jul 2004 (UTC)
It still looks awfully bad, especially when there are images on the project page. What is the CSS in question to eliminate this you say--?var Arnfj?r? Bjarmason 20:49, 2004 Jul 5 (UTC)
The color change also break my custom stylesheet (only works properly with non-article pages ATM), and I haven't figured out how to work around it yet :/ -- Fredrik | talk 21:05, 5 Jul 2004 (UTC)
  • I hadn't noticed, since I already had my custom stylesheet set to light blue for non-articles, but I'd presume it's a result of the voting that took place a while back, the consensus of which was to use a light blue background for non-article pages. -- Wapcaplet 15:32, 6 Jul 2004 (UTC)


Get rid of user.gif

I don't know why but the little person icon bugs me. It ought to go. When I see something like it on a web page, I brace myself to see some links titled "Solutions", "Partners", etc. --Yath 10:06, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Insert this code into your user CSS page: User:Yath/monobook.css
/* supress the person icon by your username */
li#pt-userpage { background: none }

blankfaze | •• 23:26, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Please generate HEIGHT and WIDTH tags for images

Please have the server insert HEIGHT and WIDTH tags for images so the page doesn't jump around when it is loading. --User:Juuitchan

Note: copied from Village Pump by anon user.

The fact that MediaWiki:Monobook.css only does a difference for logged in users

Try it yourself. Log in, and links are underlined, log out, and they are not. This is useless, I think we should give up changing the default skin if we are not changing it for everybody, it's just silly to log in and discover 20 small tweaks that make the overall UI much better. ✏ Sverdrup 07:54, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Hey, I didn't know that! If that's what it takes to get rid of the underlines, I will not log in on en: ! Mikez 09:53, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Rather, there is another option for me, I'll keep the standard skin from now on. \Mikez
It can be turned off too. For instance, if you want to turn it off in just the toolbar, try
.pBody a { text-decoration: none; }
Similarly, if you want to turn it on only in the body (assuming they remove the stupid global forced underline), you can put in this:
#bodyContent a { text-decoration: underline; }
I hope variations of this are obvious. --ssd 04:58, 8 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I expect that this will eventually change to reflect the decision here, since we are trying to decide what that default look should be. Jamesday 20:30, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I thought the underline stuff was suppose to be in a user preference? Is there any chance this could actually be implemented? Maybe turning the preference on/off just drops a line in user/monobook.css ? Anything would be better than forcing this on everyone globally. --ssd 14:30, 6 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Reduce the white space in tables and the side bar

Monobook's line heights are just too big in tables and in the side bar. Reducing them to 1em or 1.2em gives a much better layout. Lupo 09:08, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Agreed that the line spacing is too great. Jamesday 20:39, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
They look OK to me. But there is a spacing problem in thumbnail captions; here's an example (a screen capture so you can see what I see). Huge space between 1st and 2nd line but there is no break in the actual text, it's wrapping.
 [[Image:MiniDachshund1 wb.jpg|thumb|right|Black and
tan Miniature smooth-haired dachshund]]
Also--how did we end up with those rectangle thingies as magnifying icons? I thought that the vote a month or so back preferred the magnifying glass? Elf | Talk 17:54, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Amen, I didn't even work out what the rectangle thingies DID for a week or so! Magnifying glass much more intuitive for new users
Rissa 18:04, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Would much prefer a magnifying glass as well, for reasons stated above - siroxo 03:27, Jun 5, 2004 (UTC)
I think the new icon look SO MUCH BETTER. the magnifying glass was SO ugly. blankfaze | •• 05:32, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I like the new icon too. It's obviously a maximise icon... --Frankie Roberto 13:35, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
The new icon is clearly a flowchart diagram with a single action that loops unconditionally. (that is to say, I liked the magnifying glass better). -- Wapcaplet 19:54, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

The votes on the images can be found at Meta:Thumbnailed images archive for the overall appearance and Meta:Thumbnailed images/Feature Poll. Preferences for white (same as page) or pastel (different from page) border color were 50-50 split; the icon for the link to image description page is the one being used, a magnifiying glass for a "bigger version" of the image was favored but "bigger version" isn't implemented. Jamesday 20:39, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

the excessive border elements have caused me to not use |thumb| in many cases. Badanedwa 23:42, Jun 24, 2004 (UTC)

Interlanguage links back at the top

I find having the interlanguage links at the bottom of the sidebar a nuisance. Part of Wikipedia's strengths is the fact that many articles exist in several languages, and we should emphasize on that, not hide it! (I usually have to scroll—and I have a big screen!— to see them.) It would be relatively easy to have them back at the top of the article, either above the top "tabs" or just below them, but above the first header. Lupo 09:08, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Also: how many different language wikis do we have? 100? 150? We need a system for langlinks that scales well. I don't think the current sidebar solution works well at all with more than 10 langlinks ✏ Sverdrup 10:06, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
At the bottom, below any categories or other article content and metadata, would be good. The left column spot is too prominent. Jamesday 14:35, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I like them vertical, when they're horizontal they're a mess. Dori | Talk 18:06, Jun 4, 2004 (UTC)
Agreed, but perhaps the developers should develop a way for users to select which method they like better. blankfaze | •• 05:32, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I like them in the sidebar and would hate to have them back at top. Some articles have dozens of languages linked, meaning users with low resolution monitor settings would have half their first screen being a list of links to different language versions of the article. --mav 04:35, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)

No printable pages

It appears to me that the option of printable pages has disappeared. They also appeared to be the most saveable pages (if I wanted to save the article). Not popular enough? - Nilmerg 11:59, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)

WHen printing it switches to print automatically. What do you think of the option of offering "simple layout" and "high contrast/accessible" versions? Jamesday 14:35, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Previously it was useful to use the printable page in links that opened in other frames. For example an eLearning web application that takes the reader through a series of wikipedia pages could use the printable view. This way you can get the reader to focus on particular content without the distractions of the sidebar links. Mervynl 10:35, 22 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Then get your application to apply suitable CSS which switches off the bits you don't want to see. --Phil | Talk 13:42, Jul 22, 2004 (UTC)
Any clues how I would do that (not for myself but for someone who is not logged in)? Mervynl 10:00, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Better now

Now that the blue is darker, it is much better. However, the contrast between unvisited and visited links is almost nonexistent, the violet has to be made darker or a different hue altogether can be tried.

By the way, what's with the underlines for links suddenly appearing and as suddenly disappearing? KRS 13:20, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)

You can change the colour of all links with User css, which I think is the right idea. I think that rather than make a bunch of unilateral changes to the code, we should stay with what we have now, and develop tutorials on User css customisation. blankfaze | •• 05:30, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Yes, using User css to change colors is the right idea. But that is inconsistent with leaving things as they are, which changes colors, underlines, etc. without using User css. The default skin -- the one that non-logged-in users and new users will have -- should override as few as possible of the user's pre-existing settings. Why mess with underlines at all in the default skin? Let the user's settings prevail. Maybe we shouldn't even mess with link colors by default, or at least keep normal links (visited and unvisited) in their browser-setting colors
User css customization should never never never be used as an excuse. What is important is the default behavior for occasional visitors that don't know what wiki, CSS or even Wikipedia is. Marc Mongenet 05:48, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Section editing

While section editing is really convenient for serious contributors, they are distracting for people trying to read the encyclopedia. Not only do these people have keep reading "edit," attempts to copy/paste the text will also copy in the edit link. A serious contributor is most likely a user and and serious reader is most likely not logged in. Please do not make section editing available for anons. --Jiang 21:44, 4 Jun 2004 (UTC)

  • A valid point, but I'd worry then that casual users would be less likely to add to a section or make a small correction. The section edit feature makes it more likely that they'll contribute knowledge to the encyclopedia, since its so convenient to click on when reading a section. Maybe there is a better way to implement this while still allowing copy/pasting of multiple sections without retaining the "edit", but I think its a good feature. siroxo 03:25, Jun 5, 2004 (UTC)
What would really be cool is if the default behavior for double-clicking on the article would open the clicked-on section for editing. Editing the entire article could only be done by using the Edit button/tab. -Rholton 06:22, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I strongly agree with Jiang on this one. Dori | Talk 12:15, Jun 5, 2004 (UTC)
Me too. Those EDIT links all over the place are dreadful. Tannin 16:23, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
And me too. Ruhrjung 17:03, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Does anyone else feel that the edit link is in the wrong place. I expected the edit link to be at the bottom of the section, rather than at the top. Whilst the link is next to the header for that section, the header is underlined, creating the feeling that the link is for the section above it. It's also a lot more natural to read a section, spot a typo/mistake, and then click edit, rather than having to scroll back up to the top of that section. --Frankie Roberto 13:40, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Yes, I've been bitten by that too. Though I'd prefer it to be at the bottom, I think it'd be an improvement to at least have the link an em further down:
 *.editsection { position: relative; top: 1em; }

I know this goes beyond CSS, but I would like a div element containing the whole editable section. (Actually, most of this section would need changes in the HTML too.)

Alternatively, we could just disable section editing for anons in the article namespace and leave it available elsewhere. --Jiang 21:10, 28 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Edit/history/watch etc. on bottom

I am REALLY, REALLY happy with the new Monobook skin and MediaWiki 1.3, especially after instituting several User css changes. I like the skin, I like the font changes, and like the new features.

However, there is one nagging problem that I have. In the old software, there was edit/history/watch/whatlinkshere links at the bottom and side of the page. Now they're at the top only. I would really like to see these links at the top, bottom, and side, or AT LEAST at the top and bottom.

I've found often that when reading an article, especially long ones, I find myself looking intuitively for the link at the bottom. This is a small problem, but a nag nonetheless.

Anyone else have feeling on this? blankfaze | •• 05:37, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

One of the most common things I've seen pop up in user CSS and JS is the bottom tabs available on meta. -- Cyrius| 06:27, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Oh, duh, I'm aware of that, but it's ugly. It looks weird. I dunno why. I'm ALL ABOUT stuff looking good. blankfaze | •• 23:30, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
One important consideration in the new skin system is cacheability: multiple skins should be based on the same (cached) xhtml, the markup should be as slim, semantically meaningful and flexible as possible. Duplicate ui elements would mess up the no-css/handheld/mobile version, increase page size and would need to be hidden in many skins. You can style the links as you like and place them wherever you like (just change the element the script drops the tabs to). -- Gabriel Wicke 13:09, 8 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I really do miss the bottom links ( side I could do without, either way). Since I'm not a large CSS user at all... would have trouble putting them in myself. I at least, miss the links. Lyellin 09:59, Jun 9, 2004 (UTC)

Put the background color in the main namespace back to the non-white color it was before


  1. The white background hurts my eyes. Kingturtle 10:23, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  2. Jamesday 12:49, 6 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  3. I vote for { background: #fefefc; } for main namespace. Compare:
    Black text on white background
    Black text on non-white background
    -- till we | Talk 13:58, 6 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  4. The white is too bright. Rmhermen 04:46, 8 Jun 2004 (UTC)


  1. Light pink? *shudders* Dori | Talk 12:17, Jun 5, 2004 (UTC)
  2. like it as it is. --Frankie Roberto 13:41, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  3. Gabriel Wicke 13:09, 8 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  4. Doesn't seem to be much point in changing a difference I can't even see. *squints at Tillwe's example again* Am I going blind? -- Rissa 06:37, 13 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  5. I like it as it is. Thue | talk 00:05, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)


  1. Pure white is bothersome to a lot of people. Toning it down could be an option - preferably using a small fake paper/parchment background. -Stevertigo 23:18, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I'm not getting the new look!

I was looking for a place to ask about this - finally I've found one! I have seen a new style page, when I logged in to Wikipedia from work or from the local library - but it is inconsistent. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don't.... What's going on? I assume this is to do with a new stylesheet that you're trialing - is there any info posted anywhere?

For the record, I'm logged in at home using Safari 1.2 on Mac OSX 10.3.2. At work inevitably they use Internet Explorer on Windows ('98, I think).

If it is a Mac OSX compatibility issue, perhaps Mac users ought to have the opportunity to comment about the so-called "new look" - at some point!

Agendum 17:30, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

It's not a Mac compatibility issue. The issue is probably that you have a skin set in your preferences that isn't Monobook, and you're seeing Monobook when you're logged out. -- Cyrius| 18:19, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)


I notice the liberal use of the word "obvious" in this debate on styles. I feel compelled to suggest that the word "obvious" almost never applies in a discussion among a diverse population. When someone calls something "obvious", it nearly always says more about their own background and biases than about any universal truth. -- Jeff Q 05:29, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Line spacing for lists and indents

The larger space between lines not only disturbs some text all by itself, but it has secondary effects as well. The 1.3 software apparently changes how ends-of-line and blank lines are handled. Under 1.2, a newline (in the generic sense) would break a paragraph, indented line, or list item without adding extra whitespace between lines. One or more blank lines would do the same, but add a blank line between. Thousands of pages count on this formatting.

Under 1.3, the single line-break gets absorbed into the previous paragraph, for ordinary text. (I think this is bad, based on existing use, but I can see the argument for it.) However, because of the new style, indented lines and list items are properly broken but get a virtually-undetectable difference in separating space based on whether they have single break or one or more blank lines. This causes major problems for some text, like the following two dialog segments from Wikiquote:Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

Xander: I laugh in the face of danger! Then I… hide until it goes away.
Giles: Why should someone want to harm Cordelia?
Willow: Maybe because they met her?

Under 1.2, it was clear these were two separate quotes. Under 1.3, you can't really tell where the division is without looking closely or considering the context. (The confusion is even more apparent when looking at a long list of these quotes.) I used this Wikiquote example because it's compact, but List of self referential songs is a great Wikipedia example of a page whose size seemingly tripled and became horribly mal-formatted using the new software and styles. Any page that uses indented lines for song excerpts and/or HTML "pre" style formatting, and any page that counts on the difference between single line-breaks and blank line spacing is going to suffer from these problems.

This is all because someone thought that extra space looked nice using the new font that is also such a hot point of contention. Please keep the customizations and whimsical style choices out of the default style! -- Jeff Q 05:36, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)

To me, this just highlights the fact that we really need a better structural element to use for indentation. The colon is interpreted as a dd element (definition data) which was intended for defining a term; when the colon is used without a semicolon, you essentially have a definition with no term, used purely for the purpose of achieving some indentation. Unfortunately, the only other sort-of appropriate HTML tag we have is blockquote, which is block-level and cannot be nested (which makes it useless for nested indentations like we use on talk pages). It'd work for quotations like the Buffy one above, though. (Do we have wikicode for blockquote, or does it have to be in HTML?) There's a little discussion of this on meta. I agree with you, Jeff, that whatever style attributes are screwing up the spacing should be eliminated, until we use definition lists only for things that are actually definition lists; it plays havoc with the other things we're using it for at the moment. -- Wapcaplet 17:53, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I hadn't realized what HTML these colon-based indents were being converted to. (Where does one find a mapping of Wiki-to-HTML markup?) I've simply been going by existing practice and what I gleaned from Wikipedia:How to edit a page. To quote from the latter (using those colons again):
A colon indents a line or paragraph.
A manual newline starts a new paragraph.
(Italics mine.) Presumably, these markup shortcuts were created exactly to avoid having to manually insert full-blown HTML markup just to write text articles. With the new emphasis on custom styling using CSS, the mapping is intruding on everyday use of Wiki markup. I'm aghast, but not particularly surprised, that the colon indent abuses a particular HTML form for convenience sake; that's a common problem with everyday HTML use. Whatever the means by which we provide indents, however, it's clear from their considerable and varied usages that we must have them, and have them working consistently across non-customized styles, or provide the most common of the multiple purposes with separate shortcut markups (marksup?) that are individually consistent across styles. -- Jeff Q 00:25, 13 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Looks vs. Readability

A meta-comment: note that the graphical beauty of a document matters only when a new user opens it for the first time, and then only before he or she starts reading the text or using the buttons. After that fleeting moment, only three things matter: readability, readability, and readability.

That is why any book that is meant to be read (and not just looked at) is printed with serif fonts, black on white, with little or no decoration. Even a simple rule at the top of each page will begin to bother the reader, subliminarly, after a few dozen pages. That is why good books have "clean" page layouts, and no frames around illustrations and figure captions.

Graphical decoration is ok when it conveys useful information such as section boundaries, list items, links, etc.. However, the most efficient clues for that task are spacing and indentation, then font size and weight. (One serious problem with the current Wikipedia layouts -- both "monobook" and "standard" -- is that the spacing below sub-section headers is just as big as that below section headers.) Marking off sections with rules or color bars may already be in the negative payoff zone, more distracting than helpful.

Sans serif fonts look better than serif ones, which is why they are used in advertisements, brochures, flyers -- and their WWW equivalents. The neat looks of a sans-serif text are good at catching the attention of passers-by, which is THE main goal of avertising. However, compared to serif fonts of the same height, they are noticeably harder to read. That is not a problem in advertising, where the text has to be short and eye-catching -- but is a major problem for texts longer than a couple of paragraphs.

As I see it, the negative reactions to the monobook skin (above) are due not to locally fixable bugs, but rather to a single global problem: the skin was not designed for readability, but only to look nice. For example, the increased font size and line spacings give it a neat and "airy" look, but they also mean that less text fits in the page, which is bad. (BTW, the standard skin too wastes screen estate with all that whitespace between paragraphs.) Ditto for the subtly colored links without underlines: they make the page look cool, but make it hard for the reader to notice the link.

Whikipedia pages need not grab the reader's attention, but must be easy to read; thus they should be optimized for readability. The standard skin was already close to optimum in that regard; the only improvements I can think of are: (1) reduce the inter-paragraph space (2) reduce the space after subsection headers, (3) reduce the Wikipedia logo image to half its current size or smaller (except on the main page). Changes in other items, like like font and link colors, are more likely be for the worse than for the better.

All the best,
Jorge Stolfi 00:37, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I completely agree with this comment (except for "Whikipedia":-). Marc Mongenet 05:41, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Oops! that was just a typo, sorry. (Unless it was a Freudian slip... 8-) Jorge Stolfi 05:56, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Non-Monobook.css Comments

I'll admit that I don't care much for the new default look, so I excercised my freedom of choice & stayed with the old standard look. However, doing so has led to some issues:

  • I just noticed tonight that one feature in the Standard skin appears to be broken: when I look at the history of a page, changed words are no longer in red type. Where do I report it, & is anyone looking at bugs in non-Monobook skins? (If need be, I will figure out what is broken, try to fix it, & if successful, send the fix to the proper mailbox.)
You may need to do a forced reload (hold down shift and click reload or refresh, or possibly some other action depending on your browser). Just discovered this today. Jdavidb 21:41, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)
  • Is there an explanation of how to roll my own skin for Wikipedia? A look at the article "Skins" on is nothing more than a discussion of various proposed skins for Wikipedia.

Thanks, llywrch 04:45, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)

quickbar on the right

I love the new skin, but I've also grown to love having the quickbar on the right side. Is fixing this feature planned? Or is it not being implemented for some specific reason? --Danny Rathjens 09:00, Jun 12, 2004 (UTC)


Sannse and I were talking or IRC about the effect that the ability to have one's own settings might mask some site-wide problems. What is meant by this is that people find a problem, they are told to fix it in their own monobook.css, they do and they forget about it. New users are left out as they don't know about the many fixes that crop up. Ideally, the worst problems should be fixed in the site-wide file. Unfortunately, the only way for this to work out would be for people to keep having votes on changes. Also, at which point do we implement the changes that are supported? Have some of these changes been rendered moot because things have been fixed on the project-wide (main.css) file? Comments, opinions? Dori | Talk 13:50, Jun 12, 2004 (UTC)

Yes, that's a good summary of my concerns. I've seen people told to solve problems by using their own css page that really need to be done site wide. The personal pages are going to be great for changes that are a matter of preference, but we need to be careful about using them to solve other problems. It would be awful if the site looks wonderful to those in the know, and has big faults for everyone else. I think we need to look at some method of getting site-wide changes implemented quickly, perhaps by a time-limited poll to assess views and browser issues. Perhaps each poll for change could also include an option to leave the change to personal choice - so if it's considered a preference issue then it can be left to individuals to change their css page. That might help restrict the changes to ones that need to be set up and not leave us chopping and changing all the time -- sannse (talk) 14:12, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)
This doesn't sound like a generic Usability topic, unless one's view is so narrow that "usability" is defined as a problem with Monobook.css that affects only people savvy enough:
  1. to find this particular page ("MediaWiki talk:Monobook.css" doesn't exactly jump out at a relative newbie as the place to go when your Wikipedia pages suddenly change their appearance);
  2. to post a complaint about a style feature; and
  3. to edit their own Monobook.css files in response to a dismissive "fix it yourself" reply from people who talk about CSS as if it were their native tongue. (Accomodating variations in English usage and other writing style issues is a central tenet of en:wikipedia, but such sensitivity toward ordinary readers' programming skills seems to be lacking of late.)
Anyone who's gotten this far (and by now, we've probably lost 95%+ of the Wikipedia readership) might very well contribute to this very specific usability problem, but I'd be a bit more descriptive in a topic title, like "Incorporating fixes into main.css", to avoid confusing it with the more general problem.
In fact, this topic is only one aspect of a general style Balkanization, causing the mass of savvy Wikipedians to branch out into so many custom styles that no seasoned Wikipedian really notices anymore what a page looks like to the vast majority of readers. (See my recent MetaWiki posting for more.) The one saving grace is that the problem described here is limited to experienced users, but that provides its own dilemma: Since only experienced users know how to fix problems like this, are we going to expend all our experienced talent making things prettier primarily for people who already know how to adjust styles, leaving the unwashed masses behind? I would argue that that has already happened. -- Jeff Q 15:34, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)

The main page uses hardcoded background colours for the featured articles, the table at the top of the page [that says "Welcome Newcomers"], and the In the News box. As a visually-impaired user who prefers light colours on dark colours, this interferes with my ability to view Wikipedia. Please consider moving the background colours and formatting into the CSS sheets. Aphrael Runestar 00:59, 2004 Sep 14 (UTC)

On serif vs. sans and "readability"

I've seen quite a bit of fulmination here about how much more readable serif faces are as compared to sans, usually with a none-too-thinly-veiled hint that the rest of us are idiots for not knowing this.

No question that it all sounds completely logical. The serifs, we are told, are like little hooks, you see; they serve to "guide the eye" along the line of text, making reading easier. One imagines the eye, cleverly fooled by these little curlicues into following the straight and narrow path and digesting the words as easily as if they'd been lubricated with cod-liver oil. From screen, to brain, with a minimum of interference.

It's perfectly intuitive. Unfortunately, it's not like that at all.

We have an intuition that reading text should be something like listening to speech: a linear and serial process, moving ahead left-to-right as we listen to speech from past-to-future. We imagine that the brain sees a word, say "rutabaga", and grasps it first letter-by-letter, always strictly left-to-right, before putting together the word as a whole: "hmm, there's an 'r'... and a 'u'... and a 't'...."

But the eyes do not scan text like an old-fashioned typewriter, going left to right in a horizontal straight line, then snapping back to the carriage return and repeating. Studies with eye-cameras (devices that watch you watching something else, calibrated so that they can show the path your eyes take over a page like the chalk drawings of a football coach) have proven this conclusively. Your intuition that you read this way is irrelevant; a few minutes looking at optical illusions should prove to you that what you consciously think your eyes are doing has little bearing on what they actually do.

Instead of this imagined linear, repetitive process, the eyes actually do something far more interesting. They first sweep over an entire chunk of text consisting of two or three lines, in a vaguely flattened diagonal direction, from upper-left to lower-right, to get a general sense of orientation and bearing. They pause and fixate briefly on guidepost elements like punctuation, boldface and italics (and, one would assume today, links as well) and capitals, getting the overall sense of the "shape" of the chunk being read. Then they hopscotch from word to word, reading them, not letter-by-letter, but by overall shape and "color" (meaning the overall amount of grey defined by the black and white of the word's letter shapes). The eye then makes repeated passes over words that aren't recognized in this fashion, making whorls and spirals until finally, yes, reading letter-by-letter for unfamiliar words. But the point is, for most words we "read" in body text, we don't read them letter-by-letter at all.

This is why when we misread words, we misread them as other words, not as jumbles of letters. It's aslo why we do so well raednig wrod jmubles when the oevraell shape of the word — as defneid by the fisrt and lsat letters, alnog with the plceamnet of the acesnders and dsecneders — is held cosnsitent.

If serifs truly performed the function claimed, to guide the eye along the line of text — and if that were actually a desirable function in reading body text — one would imagine the type of triple-ruled text one sees in first-grade reading textbooks to be the easiest text to read of all. But it isn't; to the contrary, for an accomplished reader, it's maddening.

Putting aside the question of overall readability of serif versus sans faces (and I think the argument can be made that evidence does not show serifs are even more readable on paper), Wikipedia is not the first website to grapple with the question of which is more readable on-screen.

In reviewing examples online of sites and institutions that have made a determination on the serif vs. sans question, one is immediately struck by a fundamental difference. Those that come on the side of serifs do so by fiat, simply repeating the conventional wisdom that "serifs are more readable." They often give as evidence the "fact" mentioned above that the serifs "guide the eye."

While there are cases of sites coming down on the sans side for equally erroneous reasons (sans faces are "cleaner" or "more modern"), many sites have decided on sans because of usability studies — i.e., they have tried both in labs and have discovered which work best. A few examples:

I strongly believe that logged-in users should have a choice in the matter. If they believe that serifs work better for them, then they should be able to see serifs. I'm not myself a good enough web designer to know whether building a beautiful website precludes just letting browser options rule, though I know several web designers who assure me that that is unfortunately the case.

There are readability questions that are clearly answered by evidence — for instance, that extremely wide columns of text are more difficult to read than narrow ones, or that proportional typefaces are more easily read than monospaced ones.

But can we please drop this old chestnut that serif faces are always more "readable" than sans? The conjecture has no evidentiary basis.--TreyHarris 00:54, 13 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Bravo. I had wanted to write something on this point, but it has been awhile since I had reviewed the literature and didn't really want to delve too deeply into it. I seem to recall studies that indicated the readability of different typefaces may be based more on familiarity than on any sort of physiological or innate cognitive factors. That is to say, we tend to find it easier to read typefaces that we are familiar with. I worked at a place which changed the default typeface. At first, I and many others found the new face offputting and more clumsy to read--it looked strange to our eyes. But after several months, I happened to go back over some documents with the old face--and now these documents looked decidedly odd and more difficult to skim. I suspect that at least a few of the complaints about readability are just the shock of the unfamiliar--if we kept this look for a year and then went back, there'd likely be many of the same types of complaints. I'm not saying the font face/size and line spacing/length is perfect as is -- but I agree with TreyHarris that the supposed superiority of serif should not be accepted as gospel. olderwiser 22:14, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)
An excellent and creative post, Trey, which outlines a good deal of the background and explodes a few myths. There are, however, numerous studies which demonstrate that under the circumstances relevant to the test serif faces are more readable, and communicate more efficiently. From this, you will probably jump to the conclusion that I'm about to argue that we ought to mandate serif fonts. Not so! Like you, I firmly believe that reader choice is what it's all about.
I glossed over a key factor just now, however. The great majority of empirical tests of readability have been conducted with the printed page. Screens are not print! Screen fonts work in an entirely different way. Alas, technical issues prevent us using fonts that are actually designed for on-screen use. On-screen fonts are contained within the user's own computer. We can write a stylesheet that specifies a perfect font (be it serif or sans), but unless the user already has that font installed on his computer, it does not display. Essentially, there are only 4 main fonts that the web designer can rely on: Arial, Times, Verdana, and Courier. (There are minor variations which we need not consider here.) Let's consider them one by one:
  • Courier can be discarded right away: it's a fixed-pitch typewriter font and looks terrible.
  • Verdana is the darling of the trendy web designer. Verdana, the semi-bright trendy designer is fond of saying, has been empirically demonstrated to be easier to read than other fonts. And, up to a point, he is right. Verdana has been shown to be superior — but only for small and very small text sizes. Verdana is great for the fine print, but at larger sizes it's blocky and difficult to read. Verdana headlines are particularly poor.
  • Ariel looks clean but, like Verdana, degrades significantly at larger sizes. It's very blocky, consumes a great deal of space, and is significantly more difficult to read than a serif font — particularly when we are looking at large slabs of text. It does, however, resist the "blooming" that occurs on computer screens quite well.
  • Times, more than any of the others mentioned here, suffers by the transition from print to screen. All fonts designed for paper suffer from this, Times suffers more than most. Ink-on-paper serifs don't work properly on the small bright screen. But Times didn't get to be the only font used for books by accident. It got that way because centuries of hard work evolved it until it was the best, most readable print font possible. (I say "only font" in the sense that Garamond and Century Schoolbook and the other common printed-book fonts are all in the broad Times Roman family.)
So what we need is a screen font that is compact and readable and easy on the eye like Times, that stands up to tiny print sizes like Verdana, and looks clean and modern like Ariel. Such a font may well exist. In fact, I'll bet you London to a brick that there are dozens of them. But I have not gone looking for it for the same reason that we can't use it here on Wikipedia: we can only use fonts that already exist on the users system, and that means we are stuck with Times, Ariel, Courier and Verdana.
The only solution is to allow the user to make his own decision. All 4 fonts have problems: let the user decide which one is the least worst. Tannin 05:13, 13 Jun 2004 (UTC)
By the way, in amongst all this talk of fonts, we should not forget that most trendy web designers make another horrible mistake when it comes to laying out pages: they assume that because black text on a white background works best on paper, it must work best on screen as well. In fact, the opposite applies. Light text on flicker-free, low-glare dark backgrounds is vastly superior, especially for people who spend a long time looking at computer screens each day. Tannin 05:18, 13 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I beg to differ! Just the other day I had a huge argument with myself over whether to go with Arial or Times for a (paper) document which necessitated very small text - somewhere around 7 or 8pt, I think. In the end I went with Arial, because I have always found sans serif easier to read. I agree about light-on-dark over dark-on-light, though, I've been sat here for hours and I'm sure I wouldn't have this headache if I was reading light-on-dark. -- Rissa 06:43, 13 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Sorry, have just reread and digested what you're saying. Of course choice is best. For explanation of my apparent idiocy, see above timestamp. Rissa
I strongly prefer black-on-white to white-on-black. It may be a matter of monitor gamma, lighting conditions, antialiasing, the quality of my eyes or whatever, but light text on a black background is absolutely useless to me for any substantial amount of text. All my terminal windows, editors, and browsers are set to white-on-black for that reason, and I spend from 4-6 hours a day in front of the computer. It's all about choice; the only "horrible mistake" web designers make is assuming everyone is just like them, and deny choice to their site's users. -- Wapcaplet 15:58, 6 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Trey, I was not arguing from ideology, but from experiment. Sans-serif in sites like Google never bothered me, but I tried standard and monobook in Wikpedia, and I defintely find standard easier on the eyes. (For one thing, monobook's table of contents is too big.) That may be true just for my browser and font settings, I don't know. Ditto for the background color - white works best for me, and I see no flicker. Perhaps it also has to do with my CRT's resolution and refresh rate?
Jorge Stolfi 06:54, 13 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I would like to vote for serif fonts to at least for article text. I won't quote any readability studies, I'll just say that I found Wikipedia harder read after the font change. More important however is the fact that any article is extremely wide by default. It should probably be changed to something a lot less wide. (Maybe we can have articles in 2 column modes)

Fonts and inline equations

Previously, the sans-serif default resulted in in-line equations that clashed with the serif font used by TeX for equations. I noticed today that inline <math> now uses a serif font, but there are still problems.

  • The font size is way too small (especially for subscripts), since Times is smaller than e.g. Arial for the same point size.
  • Equations still clash with the surrounding body text.
  • This only works for inline equations that use the <math> tag. There are tons of articles that just use italics for very simple in-line math, like references to a variable x. Part of this is historical, and partly it's because <math>x</math> is a lot harder to type than ''x''. So, now we have three typefaces and sizes for mathematics: TeX, inline <math>, and "hand-formatted" inline equations.

Please just stick with the browser default typeface and point size, which seems to be the overwhelming consensus here. This will use a consistent serif font for the vast majority of users, and those users who want to play with fonts can muck around with stylesheets.

—Steven G. Johnson 16:32, Jun 13, 2004 (UTC)

The font size is way too small (especially for subscripts), since Times is smaller than e.g. Arial for the same point size. — This is true for some browsers on some operating systems (most notably IE under Windows) but not for all. Changing sizes so that 9-pt. looks more like 9-pt. on one browser is ridiculously catering to a particular browser's bug to the detriment of users of browsers that don't do this. --TreyHarris 20:51, 13 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I don't doubt that it's very difficult to make the serif and sans-serif fonts look the same size in a portable fashion. This is yet another reason why the same font should be used for both body text and inline equations: the browser-default (generally serif) font. —Steven G. Johnson 02:14, Jun 14, 2004 (UTC)
PS. It's not just an IE problem (which I don't use). The same size mismatch happens on Mozilla/Mac and Safari, as well as Mozilla/Linux.
It's impossible if we don't know which font-family the user will use. My Bitstream Vera serif font in Firefox on Linux is exactly the same size as the surrounding Bitstream Vera Sans text. If i used Times New Roman, it would be smaller. Ah- did i mention that this is another case where IE default settings suck? -- Gabriel Wicke 08:44, 14 Jun 2004 (UTC)
What's impossible? Having a consistent size for inline equations and body text? No, not if they are the same font, given by the browser default. Making sure the point size isn't too small? No, not if you use the user's default settings, which were presumably chosen to be readable. Making inline equations not clash too badly with TeX for most users? No, not if we use the browser default font, which is generally serif unless the user has explicitly chosen otherwise. Making hand-formatted and <math> inline equations match? No, not if you use the same browser default font for both. Is there a pattern here? —Steven G. Johnson 02:31, Jun 15, 2004 (UTC)
Yes, 90% of the users never change the browser defaults (or can't do so meaningfully in the case of IE). That's why most major websites specify settings that aren't 16px Times New Roman (IE default). -- Gabriel Wicke 00:17, 16 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I would argue that the browser defaults are fine for 90% of the users, so this is not a problem. And the browser defaults will work much better for math than anything you are likely to come up with based on forcing sans-serif, for the reasons above. —Steven G. Johnson 00:29, Jun 16, 2004 (UTC)

I miss the colored diffs

Yesterday, I could recognize which words were changed in an edit-diff. Today I can not. Is there some preference I ought to change to get this feature back again?
--Ruhrjung 02:51, 2004 Jun 12 (UTC)

I also noticed this. I think it's a newly introduced bug. The CSS rule to color differences must have been removed, or the HTML changed so that the CSS rule can no longer apply to these sections. I would've added my own CSS rule in my User CSS page but it seems to be protected. --seav 03:28, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Never mind... I was logged out. --seav 03:31, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)
As a temporary fix, add this line to your User:xxx/monobook.css page:
 .diffchange {color: red;}
Just to check, is this a top-level tag, or should it be contained within something? I currently have #content and #sitesub as top-level tags: should it be within one of those? (You will gather that my knowledge of CSS is strictly limited, much like I assume the majority of Wikipedians :-) --Phil | Talk 14:36, Jun 21, 2004 (UTC)
The above rule is in the default styles anyway, the poster above didn't have the current css yet. In doubt, do a reload. -- Gabriel Wicke 20:57, 21 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Although this should've been working in the first place. --seav 03:34, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Holy, somebody just changed the diff to a ginormous fontsize! How can I change it back? ".diffchange {size: NOT-OVERSIZED"? ;-) --Menchi 03:48, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)

It isn't so much a bug as a feature... before today, diff text was formatted with a tag like this:
<font color="red">diff text goes here</font>
We'd been discussing it over at m:Talk:User styles#Changing text style in diff, and User:Gwicke re-worked a few things so that diff text is now formatted like this:
<span class="diffchange">diff text goes here</span>
As far as I'm concerned, that change is a good thing; I couldn't always tell when text was red before, but now I can make it underlined, ginormous, and mauve (if I want) without having to interfere with other possible uses for the <font> tag. I think the default settings are still evolving, though. - jredmond 04:35, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Was the recent drop in the font size in the two parallel diff text columns (using Standard skin) part of this change? It suddenly became smaller and now I have to lean forward in my chair to peer at the screen and see what changed. Was that discussed anywhere? Can I change it back on my own? Hajor 13:36, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)

3 July as implementation date

Polling on this page started on 3 June so I strongly suggest that items with 75% or more support on 3 July will be implemented that day. We can, however, continue to vote and may even change some settings based on new votes. --mav 05:26, 26 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Broken styles

Something in MediaWiki appears to be broken, and this change makes it much more apparant. The styles in MediaWiki:Monobook.css are being imported even though I'm using "MySkin", not Monobook. Since this file now overrides my default background and link colours, but not some other things, everything looks quite awful. Would it be possible to revert these changes until the MediaWiki bug is fixed, or perhaps move them to MediaWiki's style/monobook/main.css where they'll only affect Monobook users? Lady Lysiŋe Ikiŋsile | Talk 15:51, 2004 Jul 3 (UTC) 테스트

Custom monobook vs. wiki-width monobook

Somehow related: how can I set my favourite colors for non-article backgrounds overriding the mediawiki:monobook.css in my User css? The copy, paste and change the color value method doesn't work. -- till we | Talk 23:03, 6 Jul 2004 (UTC)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I don't understand why the message "From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia" was ever removed from the monobook skin. Are there any objections to adding it back in using #siteSub { display: inline; font-size:120%;font-weight:normal;}? It already appears in the other skins. Angela. 06:19, 16 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I wish that would come back as well. The good thing is that it apparently is visible to the crawlers. Dori | Talk 14:11, Jul 17, 2004 (UTC)
As there were no objections for five days, I've added this now. Angela. 14:05, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I don't understand why it is necessary. It already seems to be on the logo at Image:Wiki.png.Brianjd 07:15, Jul 22, 2004 (UTC)
Not everyone has images on. The WWW is not for graphical users alone, and neither is Wikipedia .--Golbez 08:18, 22 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I know this may not be the best place to ask about Indonesian Wikipedia. But how can I put a tagline (like the "From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia" in English Wikipedia) in the Indonesian Wikipedia? Can anyone take a look at it please? Thanks! Hayabusa future 06:02, 3 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Encouraging newcomers

I suggest ca-edit a{font-weight:bold !important;} is added to make the "edit this page" link bold. This is being used on the German Wikipedia and makes it more obvious to newcomers that they can edit a page. Angela. 11:11, 17 Jul 2004 (UTC)

As there were no objections for five days, I've added this now. Angela. 14:05, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)
If anyone wants to disable it in their own stylesheet, they can add #ca-edit a{font-weight:normal !important;}. Angela. 19:58, Jul 21, 2004 (UTC)

It's a good change I think, the edit link had somewhat disappeared with the new skin -- sannse (talk) 20:00, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Chaning font colours

What would be the proper procedure for proposing a change to font colours (as this has already been voted on)?

Acegikmo1 17:40, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)

pre autoflow

Can we make the monobook css file include autoflow for pre sections? The bottom one is autoflowed:

IF a line starts with a space THEN
  it will be formatted exactly
    as typed; in a fixed-width font; lines won't wrap; ENDIF this is useful for: * pasting preformatted text;
 IF a line starts with a space THEN
   it will be formatted exactly
     as typed; in a fixed-width font; lines won't wrap; ENDIF this is useful for: * pasting preformatted text;

If you resize your window so it wraps, you can see that the bottom one has a scroll bar instead of resizing the whole page uglily with an overlapping border. I know I can put this in my personal monobook.css (and i will) but it should be global shouldn't it? - Omegatron 17:04, Aug 2, 2004 (UTC)

I think this is a good idea. Angela. 07:54, Aug 4, 2004 (UTC)
I noticed it doesn't do anything in IE, but it doesn't make it worse, either. Maybe there is an alternative syntax for IE? I don't know CSS very well. - Omegatron 13:25, Aug 4, 2004 (UTC)
I'm using Mozilla and when I re-sized the window I got a static scrollbar (i.e. it wouldn't move or respond in any way) which did not revert when I reverted the window. HTH --Phil | Talk 13:38, Aug 4, 2004 (UTC)
I am in Firefox, and it works well. The original format does not work well, for that matter, with a border line overlapping the text:
- Omegatron 13:43, Aug 4, 2004 (UTC)

IE workaround

There are workarounds for IE. Setting the width of the pre section sort of works:

 WITH pre style="{ overflow:auto; width:95%; }"
 IF a line starts with a space THEN
   it will be formatted exactly
     as typed; in a fixed-width font; lines won't wrap; ENDIF this is useful for: * pasting preformatted text;
 IF a line starts with a space THEN
   it will be formatted exactly
     as typed; in a fixed-width font; lines won't
 wrap; ENDIF gives a better description. - Omegatron

Diff overflow

Also I think the old and new columns of the diff page should each be put in a div, which could be autoflowed, to avoid long foreign page names making the diff page super wide. I tried just doing it with CSS, but each line is a different table cell, so it wouldn't really work, giving each long line its own scrollbar. - Omegatron 14:16, Aug 10, 2004 (UTC)

It'd be very cool, yes, but sadly I don't think it will work.
2000px-wide table columns don't display so well, after all.
James F. (talk) 14:51, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Hmm? Why wouldn't it work? I am saying that we should put all of the old cells in one div, autoflowed, and all of the new cells in one tab, autoflowed. So if someone needs to, they can scroll over to look at all the characters in the long name, but if not, they will just have a regular diff window which happens to have two scroll bars at the bottom and some foreign characters getting cut off to the right. Either way, something needs to be done about this:
- Omegatron 21:19, Aug 10, 2004 (UTC)

How do I change my Wikipedia Skins

On the default of monobook skin is not working correctly. I had to go change it to an older 'blue' to be able ot use the links. I like the monobook style - if it would work. What do I need ot change. I see references to 'user can change' the .css files - where are these. I tried using the myskin option under preferences and got a while linear page without any formatting. Any help - pointers about some basic discussion about this topic would be helpful. Shree 17:09, 11 Aug 2004 (UTC)

How can I make that work on Romanian wiki too? --ro.Danutz | pt.Danutz Vive o 2004!
What is not working? Both hi and ro seem fine to me. See m:user styles for instructions on changing your own CSS. Angela. 17:01, Aug 12, 2004 (UTC)

MSN TV Really Broken - Proposed Fix


MSN TV may garble pages.


MSN TV Viewer 2.8 (Build 20) fails spectacularly due to its willingness to @import and subsequently destroy stylesheets. Additionally, an @import that again performs an @import will so confuse the engine that nothing (worth viewing) renders, such as when the user stylesheet @imports the MediaWiki stylesheet.


Fortunately, MSN TV 2.8 will use only the last @import within each <style> </style>. Thus, a workaround is to gather the @imports into a single <style> </style> with the addition of an MSN TV-safe @import. (In my tests I imported an empty file.)


    <style type="text/css" media="screen,projection">/*<![CDATA[*/
      @import "main.css";
      @import "user.css";
      @import "null.css";

MSN TV will ignore the first two stylesheets and process the third. It may be useful to install MSN TV-specific properties here. (BTW, the software seems to ignore media types.)


Not having the actual device, I was unable to verify if this problem affects the consumer (hardware) version of the MSN TV software. However, I believe the viewer (is said to) accurately represent the actual device software. Can somebody confirm if the actual hardware exhibits the described behavior?

--John Robinson 09:18, 28 Aug 2004 (UTC) (PS: no idea if this is the right page for this--if not, please help me get it to the right people. Thank you.)



Watch/unwatch typo?

It looks like

li#ca-watch, li#ca-watch { margin-left: 1.6em; }

should actually be

 li#ca-watch, li#ca-unwatch { margin-left: 1.6em; }

User:Mulad (talk) 06:39, Aug 29, 2004 (UTC)

External link color

moved from the village pump
I don't like the new green external links. Please change it back.

I didn't see that, but I think it's a splendid idea, about time. Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 02:23, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Linking to Main Page

Crossposted from MediaWiki_talk:Fromwikipedia#Linking to Main Page —— Please Reply there

Would anyone have any objections to linking "Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia" to ?

Why? Well...

  1. Currently there isn't a link to the Main Page in the source HTML, which means if any non-visual-CSS (screen reader/text-only/mobile users) want to go to the Main Page, they have to go all the way through the content in order to find it.
  2. It may well improve search engine rankings, having "Wikipedia" and "free encyclopedia" pointing at the Main Page.

I propose styling the link so MonoBook users simply see it as plain, ordinary text. I can't really see any downsides to this... can anyone else? Tom- 22:07, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Okay... nobody objected so I've tried it, seems to work ok. Feel free to moan if you dislike it! Tom- 19:46, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I understand that clicking on the logo isn't intuitive or universally available to all users, but I don't like this link. I think it distracts from the article to have the very first thing be a red, underlined, bold Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. I propose reverting and and having a much broader discussion about this. (Crossposted to Talk:Main Page and MediaWiki_talk:Fromwikipedia) Thanks, BCorr|Брайен 20:57, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Want my icons back

Okay, so now someone has switched off the little external link icons, and I want them back. How do I sepcify this in my personal CSS file? --Phil | Talk 12:03, Oct 1, 2004 (UTC)

I want them back too. Without the icon it is very hard to tell the difference between internal and external links. olderwiser 13:05, 1 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Indeed, it's hopelessly confusing. Typical Wikipedia page has a very large number of links and hovering over all of them just to check where do they lead to is very tiresome. I'd like the icons back, at least as an option. -- Naive cynic 23:03, Oct 1, 2004 (UTC)
There was evidently some bug causing the icon to be displayed incorrectly for some users. It appears they've returned, though, and Guanaco's latest edit summary for monobook.css suggests that link color will be used to distinguish between internal, interwiki and external. Ðåñηÿßôý | Talk 00:00, 2 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I have no objection against using the link color. However, in Mozilla at least, the override results in ugly spaces between links and consecutive characters. This makes the remedy worse than the disease. Unless that can be fixed, please do not override the link icons.--Eloquence*

I wondered where the icons were too. I don't want to lose them! The arrow icons make it easy to spot external links. change the color if you want, but don't remove the icons. If I didn't want the icons I'd hide them in my monobook.css, but the icons have been around for a while now so people are used to them. the "plainlinks" class already exists for areas where icons are inappropriate anyway. [[User:Norm|Norm]] 19:19, 3 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Tabs at top behaving strangely

This section was moved here from Wikipedia:Village pump (technical).

This has actually been an issue for me ever since the new Monobook skin was implemented; I just haven't complained about it yet. I'm sure there must have been others who have experienced this same problem, so sorry about bringing it up again, I just don't know where discussion of this bug is. Anyway, the bug is this: the "Watch" tab at the top of the screen always appears below the other tabs, and then, when I move my mouse pointer over the tabs, all the tabs at the top move away from their horizontal row and instead stack vertically in the top left, just to the right of the Wikipedia globe image. I'm using IE6 on WinXP in an 800x600 res. --Lowellian 06:59, Oct 4, 2004 (UTC)

Similar results with IE5 and IE6 under Win98SE. The workaround I use is to eliminate the background, see User:Andrewa/monobook.css and feel free to copy it.
IMO the default skin should support a large range of platforms and give preference to the popular ones, but the facts are that our volunteer developers use Unix and/or powerful and skillfully customised platforms, so that's what Wikipedia works best on too. It appears to be currently broken on both IE and Mozilla in various ways.
Anyway, please let me know if my workaround helps you, I'm interested. Andrewa 21:18, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)
IE6 on WinXP SP2, no problems here, and had no problems before upgrading to SP2... (I use Firefox at home, no problems there either) My resolution here is 1024x, though; that might be your problem, 800x might be too small? --Golbez 21:43, Oct 4, 2004 (UTC)
Hmmm... My monitor/graphics card combination won't go beyond 800x600, so yes, the resolution is probably a factor. Andrewa 22:18, 4 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Andrewa, unfortunately your workaround didn't work for me. However, your suggestion gave me the idea that it was basically a stylesheet problem, so then I delved into the monobook stylesheet. The odd thing about this bug is that it looks like there's plenty of blank space in an 800x600 res to fit in all the tabs, but nevertheless the display screws up by "wrapping" the tabs for some inexplicable reason. After studying the code for a while, I was able to locate the source of the problem:

#p-cactions {
    width: 76%;

The above line applies only to the tabs at the top of the page, and to no other elements on the page. The problem the width statement creates problems is that 76% of the width of a 800x600 screen is not enough to hold all the tabs. Therefore, I then changed my stylesheet by adding this line to my personal monobook.css page:

#p-cactions { width: 100%; }

Now the tabs display properly in an 800x600 resolution! (Even better: this change does not create problems—or even change the display at all—in larger resolutions. In fact, I don't understand why the stylesheet developers even chose to make the width 76% in the first place; unless I'm missing something, it should always have been 100%. 100% doesn't screw up the column to the left, either.)

Anyway, thanks for the comments. You helped me find a solution.

--Lowellian 05:25, Oct 7, 2004 (UTC)

Argg, okay, I spoke too soon. There is a slight problem with what I posted above, and now I see why the stylesheet developers chose to post a value less than 100%. It creates blank space to the right of the page, so that in an 800x600 res a horizontal scroll bar will appear at the bottom of the window. However, though 100% does not work, the following does (without being so wide as to create a horizontal scroll bar), and it fixes the stacking tabs problem.

#p-cactions { width: 80%; }

Now it works! (I think.)

--Lowellian 05:35, Oct 7, 2004 (UTC)

I submitted a fix for this - see MediaWiki bug 288 Tom- 22:36, 9 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Until your submission is actually implemented, I've added my patch to MediaWiki:Monobook.css. It's a simple one-line patch, and after having tested it for nearly a month, it seems to not create other problems. Lowellian (talk)[[]] 07:16, Oct 25, 2004 (UTC)