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Javapedia impediments

Posted by jonmountjoy on October 18, 2004 at 9:15 AM PDT

Javapedia is killing itself by erecting unnecessary barriers to entry. It should be easy to locate and it should be easy to search. These things are critical to achieving critical mass. Here are three steps to happiness.

I love Wikipedia. Why (besides the obvious content)? Well, first of all it has a nice domain name, so I can remember where it is, and I can tell people (verbally even) about it, and they can remember the name. This allows me to spread the word, making it even more of a success. The Javapedia is buried under some obscure domain name: **. I'd like to suggest an easy fix: get an admin to register and point to the current home from there.

Secondly, Wikipedia is useful as I can search it without jumping through any hoops. Most users are read-only. Allowing an accessible search allows more eyes, this increases the probability that someone will find something that they want to change, this increases participation. Right now on Javapedia if you hit "Search" (just next to "Go") you are presented with a search screen. If you type something in, say "wiki" in the "Simple Seach" and hit "Search Text" it then asks you to log in!!! This will be an enormous turnoff to just about everyone. I imagine that this wasn't intentional, and is simply a bug. A big one though!

Finally, Wikipedia just looks good. We can't expect the same on Javapedia in terms of graphics, but we can do something to help. Why do we have the left bar for example? Do we really want to encourage people to start a new project while they are trying out the Javapedia? And why have the creative commons logo graphic in the middle of an otherwise text filled page?

I guess that fixing these problems won't be difficult, and that it will increase the chance of success.

[While I'm on this rant :-/ , I have to add that I could not find a link to create this weblog item from my pages (where I was logged in). I had to look it up in an email, and log on again for a second time. Nor could I find any obvious link to text formatting help - I still don't know how to italicise a word.]

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