Thursday 1 October 2009

Wikipedia Beta

For what it's worth -- and even though not a single person asked me for it -- my opinion is that Wikipedia's new Beta skin is... not that bad, really. There are no drastic New Monaco-esque changes - only the colour scheme and sidebar have really been altered.

Probably best of all, though, is that the search box is now in the upper right hand corner of the screen. This does require some getting used to, but on the whole I think it lets the sidebar breathe a bit better. As you might know, I'm a bit of a fan of the old grey-and-black colour scheme, so I suppose this was always gonna sucker me in.

In all, it looks a bit cleaner and, save the funny gradient colours behind the page tabs ('edit this page' etc.) -- I'm not sure what the general Internet obsession with those is all about -- is probably a slight improvement on the classic Monobook.

Wikia, take a good hard look. This is what good practice is all about - not rushing out half completed skins and using the public as unannounced beta testers, rather taking time to get opinions, and most importantly, leaving it up to the users to decide.

Think I more than made my point there. Anyhow, I'd love to hear your opinions on the new beta skin. Just log into your Wikipedia account and select the 'try beta' option next to your user control panel at the head of the screen.


  1. it is actually not that awfully horrible. Its pretty sweet.

  2. Know what else sucks? A vacuum cleaner.

  3. black hole, your mum, the list goes on

  4. The skin itself should be available on pretty much any MediaWiki 1.16a site, including Illogicopedia or any of the non-Wikia languages in UnclePete. Just go to [[special:preferences]] and select "vector" as the skin.

    Some of the other "usability initiative" code, such as the editor, are part of an extension. That code is not built into MediaWiki 1.16a but open-source is provided on so that it could be installed on non-Wikipedia projects.

    Certainly a 'bot account (such as a pywikipediabot used to auto-generate interlanguage links) needs to use the default MonoBook skin, but any other individual logged-in users do have a choice to use the new or old skin.

  5. For instance, a preview of the new skin:

  6. Oh, the Anonymous is BACK baby!

    Also, I will give that new skin a try on Illogic, I think.