From skipvia and reesetee: Make sure that Wordnik allows fart jokes.
From yarb... well, I'll just quote him: "What makes wordie fun is having the majority of the 'homepage' devoted to comments, and the rest to other recent activity. Commenting and perpetual motion is the lifeblood of it - you've got to keep that interface as the default, not just tuck it away as an option."
OK, now I’ve come up with a few—three—rather general suggestions for Wordnik.
Paul, the man behind dict.cc might be interested in cooperating with Wordnik (if he doesn’t already). It would be very convenient to have a personalized word page whose modules include one showing translations from dict.cc.
And what about Wiktionary? An IPA pronunciation that distinguishes /ɚ/ and /əɹ/, and /�?/ and /ɜɹ/ would be much appreciated.
Perhaps a compilation of regional pronunciation variations in full-blown phonetic IPA notation is a bit much to ask right now, but it would certainly be quite intriguing.
This is the sound of me not rising to the bait. These days I'm just a peaceloving foxy, trying to get through my days without passing any more counterfeit bills. (When I went to the bank this morning to double-check that the fakes were, in fact, fake - sadly, they were - the teller refused to touch them, making her adjudication from a distance. Apparently, had she touched them, the law would have required her to confiscate them and start some kind of hideous bureaucratic rigmarole which might or might not have involved my being charged with trafficking in fake bills, even though I had make it ultra-clear that all I was interested in was a determination of their status as real or fake. I count my lucky stars that it's Argentina, in Germany I'm sure I'd be behind bars by now).
Why Germany? I’m not saying that Germany isn’t gradually degenerating into this idea of a police state that so many politicians seem to have grown fond of throughout the recent years, in fact I’m marching against* this exact thing tomorrow, but I think that many other (industrialized) countries have gone much farther into that direction already, and in that respect I’m rather glad to be living here...
*However I like to call it marching for freedom; “against�? doesn’t accord with my Aikidoish inclination. :-)
So--here's what I love about Wordie. I love that the joyfully organized chaos of conversations and comments takes a preeminent spot in the interface. I love that we can list whole madeupical phrases, play with book titles with one letter changed, make lists like My Little Phonies, Sweet Tooth Fairy, and Firmament-Clogging Rotteness, and apply the Wordie Treatment as necessary--or whenever we just feel like it. I love sionnach, chained_bear, plethora, reesetee, prolagus, uselessness (miss him...), treeseed (ditto), bilby, pterodactyl, dontcry, rolig, frogapplause, yarb, whichbe, mollusque, gangerh, seanahan, fbharjo, jennaren, brookdale_chick (still laughing), trivet, vanquishedone, and all the other Wordies that I've forgotten to mention--and, of course, our own slack bastard John. I love the black and white (and blue) pages with no pictures except when sionnach gets the urge or when the occasional emo kid appears. I love panvocalics, specific excrement, and random words. And I love being goaded.
I'm not necessarily making suggestions for Wordnik. I don't find much of this there, though. I've joined, and I'll give it a fighting chance, but I'll sure miss Wordie.
Telofy quite reasonably asks me "Why Germany"? And it might have seemed that I was picking on Germany for no good reason. Chalk it down to the combination of bloody-minded bureaucracy, weird obsession with the letter of the law rather than the spirit, and overzealous policing of the populace that were prominent features of life in Berlin when I lived and studied there. Granted this was in the late 1970s, but I have equally horrid memories of the reaction to my trying to redeem discontinued banknotes after - I forget which, reunification or the conversion to the euro or whatever. The ability of German "Beamten" to make one feel like a criminal even for making the most innocent of requests has always seemed unique to me. Though the Soviets were pretty good too in their day.
Skipvia, I'd like to take a hunk of phony umbrage, but your post is just too...touching. Right back atcha. I think you summed up the place nicely. But so far I don't see any reason to think that Wordie nuttiness won't survive the transition, so I plan to think that it will.
Sionnach, would you like the...chocolate fuflun? You've had a rough day.
Yes. For a bush kangaroo, Skippy is pretty sagacious.
r_t - that's awfully kind, thanks. But I'm all better now, and besides, I think Pro kind of has his eye on el fuflun de chocolate . The sound of his Sardinian salivating is audible all the way down here in the southren hemisfere.
Hi all, sorry I've been a bit absent, just packed up our house and sent it off in a truck. We're driving cross-country right now and taking a few extra days to visit family, who conveniently live in a straight line between Pittsburgh and Chicago.
I'm cataloging and trying to absorb all this good stuff, and enjoying, as always, the digressions. A little surprised no cupcakes have been flung.
One question: yarb & c_b, would you mind if the comments and perpetually moving snapshot did have its own page, but it wasn't necessarily the homepage? Think Librarything's 'zeitgeist,' or the way Twitter and Facebook don't really have homepages when you're logged in. When was the last time you looked at Wikipedia's homepage? I'm wondering if the 'official' homepage could be a basic intro to new folks and a jumping-off point for searches, and regulars could use a different page as their home base?
What is the reason that suggests this change? If it's just that the introduction is unnecessary for the regulars and just pushing the relevant part (comments, etc.) down by a couple em, I agree. Then you could just make a shiny big introduction that is deflatable and automatically—and smoothly of course—becomes a little bar once you're logged in. Or are you even planning personalized customized homepages for registered users à la iGoogle? (Not that I'm using that, but with Wordie I think I would enjoy it.)
sionnach: Yeah... Mostly they are just afraid because as long as the stick to every inch of protocol they can blame whatever goes wrong on the paragraphs; when they use their own judgment and intellect however, they are personally liable and potentially doomed. (I'm going to have to renew my ID soon, wish me luck. ^^) Yet, luckily, I observe the latter rather more frequently than I expect. And it's good to hear that this kinda thing is different in other countries.
As I kind of figured would happen, 90% of the serious suggestions/comments are over my wittle bitty head. But to answer your question, John... I kind of like that the home page of Wordie is a long list/snapshot of what's going on right now. I do actually go to Wikipedia's home page frequently (I type the address in the bar instead of googling for whatever it is I want to read), unless I'm getting there from a Wordie page (I have a couple Wordie lists that were spawned from seeing the article of the day, in fact). But I don't spend a lot of time on that site generally.
On Facebook, my customizable "home page," which is just the feed page, is where I spend most of my time. However, I do worry about the "Daily Me" aspect of it—and although I appreciate it on Facebook, I use that site for something very different than what I want from Wordie. The thought of carrying over this type of self-limiting customization to a Wordie-like site frightens me, simply because of the huge world of randomness that I'd miss by not seeing EVERYTHING scroll by. Getting to pick and choose can be great and all, except for when you just want to see what's going on with everyone.
I think the fun-lovin' comment world of Wordie—the propensity for outrageous off-topic conversations that wend their way all over the place and eventually come back to the point, the gems of citations or comments on really unexpected pages—would dissipate greatly if people could customize their Wordie-nik home page to the extent that they can on Facebook (for example).
However, if you're talking about a single kinda "standard" or "regulars" home page for those who choose it, rather than an ultimate individually customizable page for everyone... Maybe that could work.
I would prefer to put this question to other Wordizens. I often think my imagination for this type of web design is rather old-school and limited.
P.S. I second skipvia's comment. I really really appreciate that us "regulars" are being asked for input—not that I think any of mine would be useful, but it's the thought that counts—and I'll give the whole enterprise a fighting chance. I'm also very happy for John. :) And like reesetee, I hope I don't have to miss Wordie, because I hope to see its best parts carried over. But... I'll sure miss Wordie.
Skippy's earlier ode to what he finds endearing about Wordie moves me to copy from somewhere else on the site something I had written a while back:
I think of Wordie as a giant, ongoing potluck of verbal delicacies. You can show up at any hour of the day or night; it's nice if you bring something to the party, but perfectly acceptable just to browse and see if what other people have contributed tickles your fancy. You never really know what you might find: the buffet tables aren't particularly well-organized, at first you're not even sure where to drop off your own delicious covered dish, or whether anybody even appreciates the larks' tongues in aspic you've slaved away at.
But the locals seem friendly, in that low-key Lutheran Lake Wobegon kind of way, and you've always had a hankering to find out whether ludefisk is really as disgusting as it sounds. Next thing you know you're deep in conversation with that cute exchange student about something called casu marzu, while trying to eavesdrop on a conversation about otter poop at the next table.
Before the night is over, you will know more about specific names for animal excrement than you ever thought possible. Or maybe it's terms from heraldry. Weird phobias. Really satisfying insults. Horrible jobs of yesteryear. Truly bizarre placenames. Certainly nothing that you expected when you stopped by.
Sure, it's all a little random. And if you are on the prowl for some specific topic, it might take a while to track it down. But you can always plant a seed and see what develops. In the meantime, you never know what you might learn. After a while you start to realize that it's precisely the slightly random nature of things that gives the site its particular goofy charm.
All of that still pretty much holds. I am encouraged by the discussion so far that serious efforts will be made to try to keep that same freewheeling spirit. If there is anything I can do to help, I am more than willing.
With respect to the whole 'front page' thing, I don't know a whole lot about web design, nor am I on Facebook. but it seems as if one reasonably feasible (?) possibility would be to have a link on the wordnik main page that would lead to a page that maintains most or all of the features on the current Wordie front page. Knowing that I am seeing the same page as other members kind of appeals to me - I have no great desire to customize it so that I see a personalized version, which would seem to me to have great potential for diminishing the overall sense of community.
on edit: My suggestion is exactly what dontcry proposed earlier - thanks, dc!
Still on the road (hellloooo Indianapolis!) and won't be regularly online for a few more days, but wanted to pipe in about the dashboard page ideas before sacking out.
I should have phrased it better, but there aren't any plans right now for anything in the way of 'daily me'-style customization. I was thinking of a 'zeitgeist' page that would be the same for everyone. Similar to the current Wordie homepage, but also including snapshots of what people are doing with the Wordnik data--words being looked up and favorited, pronunciations added, etc. It would be in the spirit of 'Wordie' tab, but it wouldn't be called that, and it would have more and more kinds of info on it. I think it would be a disservice to both sites if Wordie was just sort of glued onto the side of Wordnik. I think there will be sections that are very clearly derived from Wordie (list pages being the most obvious), but others where a careful integration makes more sense. A 'Zeitgeist'* page is one of those--if the idea is to be awash in recent activity, might as well dive into a deeper river that includes material from both current sites.
The reason I think this should be on its own page, and not the homepage, is that to someone new to the site, a wall of stats and comments is impenetrable and intimidating. With Wordie I didn't really care about that, despite the fact that the vast majority of visits weren't from regulars, because I built it strictly for our entertainment :-) But Wordnik is both entertainment and a utility. So rather than try to square that circle on one page, it seemed a better idea to have two pages tailored to different purposes and audiences. The homepage might have a subset of recent additions, but not the full firehose.
As telofy intimated, this could be done by changing the state of the homepage when you're logged in. But right now my inclination is to keep it simple and just separate them.
* totally stole that page title from Librarything**
** as i did these little sotto voce footnote asides. thanks tim!
Sionnach: Yes that's Wordie! And so wonderfully eloquent.
John, what you’re planning sounds like a very sensible (series of) next step(s) to me. Also the discussion appeared to imply that future (or Future?) Wordie and Wordnik are to be operating on the same database—at least in appearance—so I think is would be only consistent to equip them with the same range of functionality. Of course we Wordizens want to keep our design (or the structure underlying that design) and we want to be able to behold it (split!) seconds after typing “wordie.org�? into the address bar (or clicking the bookmark or typing “w�? and using the auto-complete). So my idea—for the moment forgetting all about those personalized pages*—would be to hide the functions and widgets that Wordnik brings into the marriage just one click away, and on Wordnik to, if necessary, do the same with the functions and widgets Wordie provides. Once you have a good overview over the structure and the programming of the Wordnik page, I'm sure you or the whole team will have no problem devising a design that integrates seamlessly with Wordie's minimalist approach without leaving gaps when it is hidden.
This suggestion, as I see it, has no influence on your idea of a “Zeitgeist�? page as I mostly have word pages and list pages in mind right now.
*I still like that idea though. Also a module displaying data gathered from other websites of one's choice by means of powerful regular expressions searching the source code would come in handy. ^^
I wouldn't mind having a less tedious way of tagging, especially when it comes to entire lists. I've found that when I try to tag a whole list but I've already individually tagged some items, the tags double, thus creating a big mess.
Hey folks, question for you. Comments on Wordie were originally called 'citations,' because I thought that's what the feature would be used for. As we got more social the labeling slowing migrated towards 'comments.'
The Wordnik equivalent is 'Notes.' As it stands it's not clear if a note is public or is a communication between you and Wordnik (they're public), and the word itself has too many related but different meanings: endnotes, footnotes, private notes, etc. The whole feature is being overhauled to be more clear, including the labeling.
So the question is, when Wordie and Wordnik are merged, what do we call them? My inclination is 'comments,' but if anyone thinks otherwise, I'd love to hear it.
A quick status update on the whole shebang: kad, spawn (hat tip c_b :-) and I landed in CA last week. I'm in the midst of helping redesign Wordnik, which should hopefully be completed sometime in October. It'll be a big improvement over the current site, and will incorporate many of the ideas expressed here. That will pave the way for Wordie integration, which will happen some time not too long after the redesign launches (actual date TBD). As always, please email me comments, concerns, and suggestions.
I think it would be great to have a separate space for actual citations, so we can see how a word is being used, and then have another place for "comments". I suppose "comments" is the standard name for such things, though I would like to see people encouraged to discuss the words and not just comment on them. I would therefore suggest "Discussion" as a header.
I was with you up until "discussion," rolig. I think I shy away from that term because it's *every*where now, on every site: "What do you think of this? Discuss it!" And that reminds me of the shouting matches and flame wars that erupt elsewhere. Even if such a thing wouldn't happen on a word-oriented site (perish the thought!), it does give the impression that the Wordie/Wordnik "comments" boxes are just like a discussion board (I'm talking more about the tone of contributions here than the appearance or other aspects). Which I would really hate to see happen.
To me, "comments" is a little more amorphous and open-ended than "citations," "notes," or "discussion," and for that reason seems to work best (among these four, at least)—if your goal is to have users understand that they can post just about anything there (whether citation, note, rant, phony umbrage, etc.).
John, what are the possibilities of having two names for contribution areas? E.g. "Comments" and "Usages," or "Comments" and "Citations"?
Also, will we get a heads-up BEFORE the integration happens? And when the integration does happen, will Wordie just be suddenly gone one day?
C_b, I wasn't aware that "discussion" as a term had become ubiquitous on the Web. Sigh. Of course, my suggestion was meant to encourage just the opposite of ranting. For mean, discussion involves listening and consideration (in both senses of the word); it's a two-way thing, whereas "comments" and "commentary", etc., seem one-way, i.e. "let me tell you what I think about this." That said, you are right, I think, that "comments" is a fairly "neutral" word. Still it would be great if we could come up with something that did actually encourage people to discuss things, since after all Wordie has been the site of many excellent discussions, as well as fuflun-combat, and it would great if people understood that from the get-go.
Colloquy, confabulation—mmmh! While “confabulation�? sounds kinda funny I think, “discourse�? could perhaps serve as a more serious alternative.
And what about marking citations in some way instead of splitting comments into citations and foobar?
And while I'm at it, is Wordie going to be redesigned? I don't mean—in this case—any changes affecting the structure or appearance of the site, but perhaps changing the (base) font-size values in the css to pt, sweeping out some of the redundancy, assigning IDs and class names to elements to set their properties in the style sheet, etc.?
(I've always been using Wordie with the Stylish add-on to make it look the way I prefer. ;-))
To Pro's question, and something I was going to mention today: it would be a good idea to register for Wordnik using the same email address and username you used when registering for Wordie--that will make things easier all around when the sites are merged. We'll have a system in place for handling conflicts, and will try to make it as equitable and simple as possible.
Telofy: we're working on a redesign for a combined Wordie/Wordnik site. The html/css will be more semantic, with few to no embedded styles. And fonts will be sized with em's or some other scalable unit, so people can more easily size them as they wish.
I prefer the term "comments": it's the current name on Wordie, it's relatively neutral, and it's a standard database name for a field that contains discursive information.
I'd like to be able to mark comments as definitions or citations in the same way that we can mark parts of speech under tags. That means that anyone could mark a comment as a citation or definition (or both, or presumably unmark it), so that past comments could be categorized. That would allow one to view only comments that are definitions or citations if desired.
I don't want to see many options for marking comments though, because as Prolagus suggests, it could be deadening. Imagine marking jokes as such *shudders*.
How about more access to the underlying database? So that one could query, say, for words appearing on lists with "bird" in the name and also on lists with "panvocalic" in the name. Or for adverbs tagged as palindromes (if any exist). Or English adjectives derived from Swedish. Or words with the repeat pattern for letters of 12345234.
Mollusque, re: the tagging idea, do you mean a personal-use tag? (e.g. someone tags stuff as a private-comment-type deal, so that the tagger him- or herself can view it that way)
Or that any user can decide to tag any other user's comment as whatever he determines it to be? (e.g. citation or definition, or both)
I'm not sure about the second, but the first seems like it would require quite a bit of work before it would function as intended.
But if each commenter, him- or herself, could tag the comment as definition or citation (or both)... that would be less disconcerting to me than Option 2 above, but I can see how it also would seem pointless (as well as ignorable).
This is me, publicly displaying my incomplete grasp of tagging in general. :\
Ah, mollusque, that is an idea near to the hearts of a few of us. It's a bit down the road and for performance and feasibility reasons will be something closer to facetted search than wide-open database access. But something along those lines is planned.
Seems like comments is in the lead, possibly categorizable. Thanks.
C_b, I meant that anyone could mark anyone's comment as a definition or citation. I suppose that could be misused, but I don't see people have been intentionally marking, for example, verbs as conjunctions. Another possibility might be to allow multiple people to mark a comment as a definition, which could bubble it to the top in a subtler way that Urban Dictionary.
How will the links between pages work in Wordnikie? I like the current system of brackets in Wordie, but perhaps a more expressive system could be made. It would be nice to link to the Wordnik page normally, or to link to the comments section when referencing another comment, as well as to have special ways to reference lists or tags.
Special use of these would break existing comments that use them e.g. to replace square brackets in quotations. But see a related discussion five months ago on features, where I mentioned LibraryThing's double square brackets as as possible source of influence.
Double brackets seems like a more elegant solution than using curly brackets because, as VO points out, that would break a whole lotta pages. (I use them for the purpose VO points out, but surely I'm not the only one.) I do think that some elegant solution would be great in which brackets link to word (or comment) pages, double brackets link to, I don't know, tag pages, etc.
Though I can see how it would help some users avoid whatever stuff they want, or to find what stuff they are looking for more quickly, I'm still not convinced that allowing anyone to tag any comments as "comment/discussion" or "citation/usage" would be entirely beneficial. It seems to me that many, many comments on Wordie mix these two purposes in the same posting. In that case, how would the comment be best classified, and who decides? Again, perhaps I'm just displaying my ignorance of the meta-purposes of tagging.