[SciPy-dev] ASP: comments on the web site

Joe Harrington jh at oobleck.astro.cornell.edu
Thu Oct 28 09:12:22 CDT 2004

Things have been quiet since we posted the ASP RFC, at least on the
concerns it raised.  It really is a request for your comments, and not
just a private plan of Perry's and mine.  Success in this area will
require everyone's participation, even if it's just evaluating what
others have done or said and expressing your opinions on this list.
All we're asking for at this point is for you to read the RFC, make
some comments in email, and help populate some wiki pages with links
and concerns.  If you're willing to do real work later, we're also
asking for you to sign up in the area you can work in.

So far only one discipline (astronomy) has posted a page of links on
the "Topical Software" wiki.  Subsequent to posting his page, Russell
Owen offered a critique of the web site, which we identified in the
ASP RFC as needing a makeover.  He's not on this list but hee allowed
me to post his comments here.  Please chime in and respond with your
own ideas of how to make the web site better, both to serve your needs
and to serve those of potential new users.

Finally, would someone from biology and from graphics please step up
to maintain similar pages for those areas?  We need someone from
*every* field, but I know there's lots of good application software in
both those areas.  Maintaining a wiki or a regular page takes only a
small amount of time, an hour a month or less once the page is up, but
it's a crucial step in attracting a broader user base.



------- Start of forwarded message -------
In-Reply-To: <006301c4bba0$8c284f70$9c01a8c0 at SWISHER>
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 2004 14:48:16 -0700
To: "Janet Swisher" <swisher at enthought.com>,
        "'Russell E Owen'" <rowen at u.washington.edu>
From: Russell E Owen <rowen at u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: Help with SciPy.org Wikis
Cc: <joneric at enthought.com>, <jh at oobleck.astro.cornell.edu>
X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 2.63 (2004-01-11) on 
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At 4:12 PM -0500 2004-10-26, Janet Swisher wrote:
>>  On the edit tab for a wiki page, a set of options near the bottom
>>  determines which format the wiki uses to interpret the page. If you
>>  edit an existing page, notice which format it is in.
>>  "
>>  So..."notice which format it is in". Sounds good, but HOW?
>What I had in mind is that, when you edit a page, you can note which of the
>format radio buttons is selected. I guess I need to make that more explicit.
>>  Better yet, how to change it?
>You can change the selected radio button, but that does not change the
>contents of the page. If you want to change a page, for example, from ST to
>RST, you would have to make the formatting changes manually.
>When you click the Edit tab, the contents of the page are full of HTML tags,
>and the HTML radio button is selected.

OK, I tried with Safari as well and I see no radio buttons, so I 
think they really and truly are missing (or I am being spectacularly 

I suspect one needs more god-like privileges than I have to see them, 
perhaps because if a user can see them, a user can toggle them. (If 
so, not allowing just anybody to change how a page is parsed is 
certainly reasonable).

In any case, this is a problem because every editor should be able to 
clearly see what format a page is in.

>>  Request:
>>  - Permanent links to "Topical Software" and "Help with SciPy.org
>>  Wikis" would be a big win. Right now they are only visible because
>>  they are new enough to appear in "recent items".
>"Topical Software" is permanently listed in the navigation tree under
>"Wikis". The user does have to know to click "Wikis" to see it. "Help with
>SciPy.org Wikis" is now linked from the root page of the Wikis folder and
>from the root page of the published wikis (except the one for the SciPy 2004
>Conference, which is now mainly historical).
>Do you have suggestions about where else these items could be linked that
>would be more visible?

Since you ask, here are my impressions and suggestions.

First the impressions:
- - From the SciPy home page, there is no clue that this site has any 
general "science with Python" information. It just seems to be a site 
about the SciPy software project.
- - One has to first go to "Other Wikis" and then look way down through 
a page that is mostly about SciPy to find "Topical Software".
- - "Topical Software" is not evocative.
- - Burying it so deeply and not mentioning it on the home page give 
the impression that it is very much an afterthoght and not integrated 
into the site.

- - Rename "Topcial Software" to something like "Python Tools for Science".
- - Explicitly mention "Python Tools for Science" in the text on the 
home page. Try to briefly explain that it exists and perhaps WHY it 
exists. Just a sentence or two should do it. *Talking* about it and 
not just

Further cleanups to consider:
- - Consolidate some of the items in Navigation.
- - Get rid of "Wikis" and those pages to other, more obvious, sub-headings.
- - SciPy should be a recognized link on every scipy wiki (to the SciPy 
home page).

The navigation bar might look like this (with changes noted under each topic):

About SciPy
- - no change (except as mentioned for the body text above)
- - includes "Wikis" links: "Troubleshooting", "SciPy User's Guide 
Wiki" and "Help with SciPy.org Wikis"
   this is touchy and may not fully work because I realize you have 
non-wiki versions of the docs as well,
   but I have seen success with offering users both versions 
side-by-side (let them choose
   if they want docs cluttered up with user comments or not)
- - include CVS and get rid of the CVS link (i.e. bury the CVS page one 
level deeper)
Bug Tracker:
- - include the standard navigation panel that we are discussing
Mailing Lists
- - no change
Science with Python
- - This is the "Topical Software" page, renamed and brought up one level

Anyway, there are my 2 bits, such as they are. Best of luck with the 
site and the project.

- -- Russell

P.S. Regarding the gaps I was seeing before every link; it turned out 
that enabling background images displayed the icons. If those really 
are background images I am truly amazed, but however it's being done 
seems to work (except for leaving gaps when one doesn't want to see 
------- End of forwarded message -------

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