Talk:Meta:Main Page Archives

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[edit] Which voice to use?

Just a brief thought - should we each be writing in a personal style here, or would it be better to use a more impersonal voice? I've used a personal tone for my OmniOutliner and Web Browsers pages, but I wonder if that's appropriate? --Fraser

I was wondering a bit about that too. I personally think that a personal style is appropriate in most places if one of the points of this wiki is for people to share their workflows, tips and tools. But I'm happy to edit if that isn't what's wanted. Oh, and hi, everyone ;-) --bsag

These are excellent questions. I think the canonical wikipedia notion is to be as neutral as possible. I think that's a great guiding _organizational_ principle, but I'm not married to it for capture, as we can always re-arrange things in such as a way that we can associate "systems" with specific people. Fr'instance I *love* Fraser's OO stuff, but I could see some of that moving to its own page under the rubric of "different people's systems."

My gut--and I'd love to hear from others--is that the most important thing is to "get it down" here, then we can worry about where the best place to put it is. Make sense? --Merlin 14:02, 5 Feb 2005 (EST)

On the other hand, some wiki communities have a definite sense of polyphony. Witness the original wiki: WikiWikiWeb and ThreadMode (not to the exclusion of singular editorial voice pages, of course). --RobertDaeley 19:28, 20 Mar 2005 (PST)

IMO, we should probably keep it impersonal for the program writeups (with possible an opinion bit below it where we can say what we want about it), but I don't see why a personal feel would be bad for lifehacks or other things where we don't really need an objective viewpoint. --Akchizar 16:16, 21 Mar 2005 (EST)

[edit] >= GTD

Just a reminder--as in the Google Group--that you all shouldn't feel restricted to talking just about GTD (please!). Points of orthogonality eschew from _my_ brain, not David Allen's.  :-)

Seriously, though, please also know you can link to and discuss anything that's germane to the general 43F mojo--there's lots of GTD sites, but only one 43F, and I'm pleased as punch you kids are here to help me flesh out what that means. --Merlin 20:04, 5 Feb 2005 (EST)

Are Windows subjects out of the question then? 8-) --K 14:08, 20 Mar 2005 (EST)

Heh. I wouldn't say "out of the question," but as I said in The Rules I do intend for this to remain a Mac-centric site. I'd say most Windows talk is better suited in the 43F Google Group. Candidly, I just know that there are about a dozen people/companies who have been really bugging me to shill their Windows crap on 43F, and I don't want them to be encouraged to regard an editable page as their implied permission to guzzle our tasty Google juice without really giving something to our base. :) Feel free to email me if you have concerns or ideas, K. Cool?

--Merlin 14:09, 20 Mar 2005 (EST)

[edit] Synchronize our chronographs

Not sure where else to note this, but here on the West Coast of the U.S., it's 4:10pm on February 6. Yet the time in the Special:Recentchanges section shows that it just rolled over to February 7--eight hours ahead of me. Maybe that doesn't matter. Maybe it does. Just thought I'd note it. --Bren

Probably GMT? That's the default time standard for time-stamping, I think. Could be wrong. --Merlin 13:38, 7 Feb 2005 (EST)

Default timestamps will all be based on whatever the server is running at. In this case it is GMT. (Which is now more properly known as UTC.) You can change how it displays for you in your Preferences. --JamesRifkin

[edit] Important Windows Reminder

Please remember: if you're adding content about anything that's not available to a Mac OS X or Unix user, it's very important that you frame why you're posting it and provide as much background info as possible. Are there features here that you'd like to see in a Mac product? Do you have ideas about how interesting elements of a program might be picked up by an Open Source app?

It's no fun to play cop, but I do want to be very clear from the beginning; 43 Folders and its sister sites cater to the vastly under-served users of Mac OS X. Products that cannot be used by OS X users simply don't belong here unless they can be framed in a broader fashion than "here's a nice thing for Windows users." There are thousands of sites that cater unapologetically to Windows users; please respect our desire to provide an unadulterated alternative for Mac users.

--Merlin 02:09, 21 Mar 2005 (EST)

There's a ton of great stuff potentially here. Is anyone else interested in having a section for MacJournal? How about Quicksilver? -Glenda

A Quicksilver hacks section would be great...there's a whole heap of tricks I found out while messing around with it that I wish I had read about. --Akchizar 05:59, 22 Mar 2005 (EST)

Merlin, in light of your update on the blog on Mar 24, I assume this section doesn't really apply any longer? I hate to think that you'd limit such a phenomenal resource to Mac folks only. Being productive and getting stuff done isn't a Mac-only thing, after all ;-) and I don't know of any Windows-specific resources that cover this topic as dynamically and throughly as you have on your blog, and as well as I expect this Wiki will also. --ecm 01:26, 26 Mar 2005 (EST)

[edit] Q: Changing the persistent nav?

Dumbguy administrator has a question for you MediaWiki gnomes of renown. Where do I go to change the items in the navigation bar? Knowing how well-abstracted this app is, I'm guessing there's a page or an `include` someplace. TIA --Merlin 10:48, 21 Mar 2005 (EST)

All the info you need right here --RobertDaeley 16:58, 21 Mar 2005 (EST)

[edit] GTD Consolidation?

How do we feel about consolidating all the GTD stuff into Getting Things Done? I'm thinking it might be healthy to encourage tighter clustering to start and then sort of break things out once we've gotten a critical mass of info. Thoughts?

--Merlin 12:37, 21 Mar 2005 (EST)

+1 on that idea from me. Better to run a tight ship on the front page, I think. Things will necessarily be messy for the first couple of weeks, I guess, but longer-term it would be good to make the front page a simple list with good pointers into the depths.

--Fraserspeirs 13:05, 21 Mar 2005 (EST)

[edit] License?

Why is the content here licensed with the "no derivative works" clause? Doesn't this mean that, technically, nobody can edit anybody else's pages?

[edit] Software eating up the main page

Even though it's been organised nicely, the software section is getting pretty long. Do we want a separate page to put it on? Or, alternatively, do we want to create a sofwtare category, possibly subdivided into application launchers, mind mappers, word processing, etc etc? That we we don't really need a page - just a link to Category:Software will do nicely. Incidentally, we can also put each program into the relevant software subcategory and the relevant OS category (Category:OS X, Category:Windows, etc. being subcategories of Category:Software, probably).

OK, it looks like some work has already started on this. Looks like it's time to do some major reorganisation of categories. I'll be using User:Akchizar/Software_to_be_Categorised as a checklist in case anyone else is interested. Lots of useful info on categories here.--Akchizar 16:26, 21 Mar 2005 (EST)

Update: A question to the general populus - it is standard practise on wikipedia that once you've defined something as a subcategory, it doesn't fall into the supercategory as well (i.e. Quicksilver falls into Category:Application Launchers, but not Category:Software). Should we do this, or should we put everything in software as well? It would give us a fair indication of what we have articles on software-wise, and would be useful if someone was searching for a certain piece of software whose name they would recognise if they saw it. OTOH, depending on how many articles we have, it may end up being too cluttered. --Akchizar 02:09, 22 Mar 2005 (EST)

Go with the principle of Least Effort. Just from the early movements, big chunks of the wiki are going to be taken up with software *ahem* discussion, and that'd be a lotta editing. --JamesRifkin

I agree that the software section is getting big, I think it would look better with just each major category on the front page - Unix, Palm, Windows, VIC-20 and the other one. 8-p --K 10:14, 22 Mar 2005 (EST)

[edit] Index Cards vs. Index cards

Ok, we already had an Index cards and then a newer article Index Cards showed up, linked to from the main page. I put the info from Index cards into Index Cards. The move feature couldn't be used because the new article already existed. So I put a link in Index cards to Index Cards. This is no good. How do I just get rid of Index cards forever?Yesno 00:30, 26 Mar 2005 (EST)

Remove all text from Index cards...put it into Index Cards if you want to, and then put the following text (and ONLY the following text) in it:
#REDIRECT [[Index Cards]]
Voila. Problem solved. And also covered in case some other idiot decides to make a new page there. I hope this is correct...let me check. Yup, it works. --Akchizar 04:00, 26 Mar 2005 (EST)

[edit] Maintenance

Hey sysop (cough), how about going over Meta:DELETEME (or rather its What links here?-page). Some of those pages have been marked quite a while ago and people start using, marking them as stub or linking to them. --arjenvr 14:35, 10 Apr 2005 (EDT)

[edit] Crickets

Things sure have quieted down over at 43F since the Wiki went live. Are those crickets I hear? :)

--Andy Thompson 14:09, 23 Mar 2005 (EST)

Chirp chirp.  ;-)
What you're mostly hearing/not hearing is me up to here (::points roughly at collarbone level::) with slightly overdue work.
God bless my non-paying projects. They are definitely going to kill me.
--Merlin 16:16, 23 Mar 2005 (EST)
Well, I'm ever so thankful for all you do. Please don't think I'm complaining! --Andy Thompson 10:58, 24 Mar 2005 (EST)

archive added May 16, 2005

[edit] Consolidate Gadgets

Does anyone else think the electronic/non-electronic division is pointless? It's pretty obvious that a Palm Pilot is electronic, and Pens aren't. --JamesRifkin 22:28, 14 Apr 2005 (EDT)

I think there's obviously a problem with it when you have kitchen timers in both categories because some are electronic and some aren't (and the distinction really doesn't matter at all for the purposes of this site). I also think referring to all of these things as gadgets is kind of odd considering that we're including notebooks and fountain pens. Maybe just a unified Tools section would make more sense. I suspect that a pretty large refactoring task lies ahead for anyone that wants to tackle it. --ThePolack 17:14, 21 Apr 2005 (EDT)
(and the distinction really doesn't matter at all for the purposes of this site)
I didn't pick that up, but I think that's the most important bit. I've done some of the heavy lifting, so he now have Category: Hardware. Next goal is to find more ways to interconnect things. --JamesRifkin 18:37, 21 Apr 2005 (EDT)

[edit] Cool Wiki Tricks?

I feel like I keep stumbling onto really neat tricks that might be useful to other gnomes (like "#REDIRECT [[Foo_page]]").

What do you think of an area like, say, Meta:Cool Wiki Tricks? How do other wikis share info like this?

--Merlin 20:15, 21 Mar 2005 (EST)

I don't think they do :)...a lot of that sort of thing was hidden away in several pages in wikipedia, meaning that when you're creating pages you generally have to search to find info on what you want. Maybe we could have some sort of tutorial for it? --Akchizar 01:48, 22 Mar 2005 (EST)

Do we / could we have an 'AnswerMe' tag? --RB 03:56, 1 Apr 2005 (EST)

[edit] Attribution

Are we to attribute ourselves if we add a new sub-section to a topic? I see some do and some don't.

--Andy Thompson 00:44, 22 Mar 2005 (EST)

I generally follow the guideline that if it's in an article, I don't attribute it, and if it's in discussion, I do. If you want to, you can see who's done what by hitting the "history" tab and checking from there, whether or not anyone's attritbuted the text. --Akchizar 01:50, 22 Mar 2005 (EST)
That seems sensible. (And thanks also for introducing me to the ":" trick! :) ) --Merlin 10:51, 22 Mar 2005 (EST)
Excellent! --Andy Thompson 00:02, 23 Mar 2005 (EST)
I've written a few things here, all anonymous, before just now setting up a user name. I didn't see a need for a user name on a public wiki. But I've been noticing that a certain percentage of regular articles or lifehacks, etc, have people's names on them. It seems a bit more like than a wiki. The last thing we need is some sort of attribution vs. no-attribution edit war. So maybe Akchizar's above suggestion could be formalized and linked to from the front page. Edits strictly to remove attributions should be avoided, but they should maybe be stripped out during reorganizations, substantive edits or additions, etc. My .02. Yesno 19:53, 23 Mar 2005 (EST)

[edit] Software Template

Just so everyone knows, we now have Meta:Software template for those of you wishing to write articles about software. Any smart ideas on how to publicise this? Perhaps we should have a major announcements page or something so people can check to see what's going on. --Akchizar 04:02, 26 Mar 2005 (EST)

I'm all for retro-moderation for something like this. I think it's OK for people to contribute their software links, then thoughtful mods can come in after and template it. People who are in-the-know will see the templates and use it anyway, I think. --00:45, 29 Mar 2005 (EST)

[edit] Books section suggestion

I wonder how people feel about the books section on the home page. While I (really) appreciate the AMZN links on the home, page (thanks, everybody), I think books like Home Comforts could definitely use their own page. For the GTD Book in particular, I wonder if it would be confusing to people that we're just linking offsite. Maybe we could try something like this?


Merlin, I like the new listing the way you have it. --Todd Dailey 00:44, 29 Mar 2005 (EST)

That looks good to me also. I also think that the only books that should be listed on the front page are those that merit their own wiki page. (Joy of Cooking, I'm looking at you.) --JamesRifkin 04:09, 3 Apr 2005 (EDT)

The books section has grown somewhat: move to a separate page? --RB 08:02, 13 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Template:ISBN works now. See GTD for how to use it. --JamesRifkin 13:59, 13 Apr 2005 (EDT)

[edit] Spamity Spam

Anyone else noticed that spammers have discovered this wiki? Depressing. I haven't seen anything past the front page, but checking the history reveals that it's happened twice in the last 12 hours. has some good information on wikispam as does Wikipedia. --Jeni 14:10, 29 Mar 2005 (EST)

I just fixed another front-page spam, looks like they're coming from .su and .ru, and don't know how to properly use a Wiki. :) Merlin might want to make editing available to "registered users" only. --Bill 23:21, 29 Mar 2005 (CST)

Another lot of spam from Anyone want to set up Meta:Vandalism for this sort of thing? I think that's what wikipedia uses. --Akchizar 18:52, 30 Mar 2005 (EST)

I set up Meta:Vandalism. It's not much right now, just a blacklist, but at least it's a start.--Jeni 13:53, 6 Apr 2005 (EDT)
It's super easy to make editing registration only. How do people feel about that? --Merlin 01:23, 1 Apr 2005 (EST)
Go forth and conquer. :) --RobertDaeley 01:34, 1 Apr 2005 (EST)
Please do! I'm sure I'm not the only one tired of being the WikiPolice :) --Bill Bradford 01:58, 1 Apr 2005 (CST)
Certainly gets my vote. --Rowlock 03:33, 1 Apr 2005 (EST)
Yes please. --RB 03:53, 1 Apr 2005 (EST)
Done! Where's the best place to announce the change? Should I change the templates anyplace to clarify? Thx. --Merlin 14:07, 1 Apr 2005 (EST)

What's the best / easiest / simplest way to revert spammed pages? I've been cutting and pasting, but I'm sure there's a 'proper' way... --RB 08:05, 13 Apr 2005 (EDT)

"Official" way to revert -- click on "History" for the page in question, then click on the Time/Date link of the version you want to revert to, then (once that version has loaded) click on its "Edit" link, then "Save Page." You'll get a warning about it, but just click on through. Once the reversion has taken place, activate the the time-traveling hunter-killer robots to travel back and terminate the spammers in the past. Messily. ;) --RobertDaeley 12:38, 13 Apr 2005 (EDT)

[edit] Electronic and Non-Electronic Gadgetry

I've been cleaning up the Non-Electronic Gadgets, getting everything categorized and whatnot, and may start on the Electronic Ones soon. I was thinking it would be spiffy to clean up the main page even more and get rid of the bulleted lists of gadgets, replacing them with links to the categories and a short blurb/description of what to find there. What do y'all think? A clean Main Page is a happy Main Page. ;D --RobertDaeley 15:06, 21 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Excellent, Sir! I've taken what you started, and consolidated all of the gadgets together. On the shoulders of giants, they say. --JamesRifkin 18:37, 21 Apr 2005 (EDT)

[edit] Table of Contents: Humans

A few times I've gone to the main page to get myself to life hacks and been temporarily stymied by the link not being in the Table of Contents section until I thought to look in the opening text.

So how about adding "Humans" to the TOC on the Main page? (I'm thinking at the top, because Humans should come before Computers) Scrim 17:51, 23 Apr 2005 (EDT)

[edit] Humans

[edit] Merlin's Concerns

(diff) (hist) . . ! Main Page; 07:38 . . Merlin Mann (Talk) (I'm concerned that to the new visitor, the page/site may appear to be exclusively about computers.)

I think part of the problem is that the main page focuses almost entirely on objects or things instead of on methods or frameworks. I also think Tools was a better name than Hardware (or Hardware & Tools) in the case of that one section, but I'll leave that alone. I tried to make the LifeHacks sections more prominent on the main page, but I know there's more to be done to really fix it. I'm going to be digging through the wiki via the index today to see if there are any pages that have gotten lost or any Big Concept pages that should be brought to the fore more. If anybody can think of what Lifehacks pages should be linked to directly from the main page, go ahead and add it to the list. --ThePolack 12:49, 26 Apr 2005 (EDT)

I tried a little indenting to break things up and I think it helps a little, but only a little... I'm thinking what the page could use is rework along the lines of Life Hacks, and Tools for Thought, and/or Tools for Time and Tools for Space. Gonna sleep on this before I make any more changes; anyone feel free to implement if you feel inclined and inspired to do so. :-) --AP 22:41, 26 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Tools & Books eh? I like it better than hardware. Should the books maybe be in a concept section though (like LifeHacks) instead of with tools? Books are objects, true, and they can be used as tools (propping up a table for instance), but aren't they really methods for communicating concepts? It might make sense to leave them where they are since they are something people have to acquire in order to use (like all the other tools) and they could be considered a learning tool or something to that effect. Really, I think it's fine as it is, I'm just naturally kind of pedantic I guess. --ThePolack 13:01, 27 Apr 2005 (EDT)

How about Dead Tree Hacks or Recycled Tree Hacks? :-) --AP 15:24, 27 Apr 2005 (EDT)

You've got to be honest, using something as uncontrollable as a wiki to create a reference about getting organized is a pretty radical idea when you get down to it. I don't think anything we do is going to wind up being optimal for everyone. I'd say it's fine now, though it could use a little more on the front page under the new(ish) Life Hacks section in the TOC. I haven't had the time to really dig through which of those pages are really front page worth though. --ThePolack 15:30, 27 Apr 2005 (EDT)

adding to archive --Merlin 10:18, 2 Jun 2005 (EDT)

[edit] Time to radically redo the home page?

Hm. I'm not loving the Life Hacks section on the home page. I like the idea, but I don't think it fits the format that's been evolving -- esp. the sub-sections, which sort of duplicate in part the categories. How do others feel?

Is it maybe finally time for a radical redo of the home page based on how the site is moving? It's the one thing I get the most complaints about--that the home page is too unwieldy. For instance, I like the idea of adding a table that would bubble more stuff higher on the page, and maybe shunt off some of my "blah blah" text at the top off to other pages (like maybe Community Portal?).

Also, it might be nice to consider a "one minute wiki"/"ten minute wiki" type thing, where we can give a quick guided tour (via a deeper level page, of course).

Let's talk about this before we move too much furniture around, but I would like to hear peoples' thoughts on making the home page better--esp. for new users.

--Merlin 12:25, 16 May 2005 (EDT)

I'm still not quite sure whether the problem is the main page (which seems to be pretty good) or the life hacks section, which seems to be pretty crazy. Within the Life Hacks section, I found it very hard to just simply read all the life hacks.

The unsorted ones are all on thier own seperate page (and not well linked to from the Catagory section), and it would be nice if on the catagory page you could somehow just click on "read all" rather than go to a catagory, read thru it, go back, pick another catagory, etc. The catagory section being the way it is also makes it rather dificult to look at all new tips, as you have to visit EVERY section (as updated ones arn't marked as such).

Perhaps a solution could work as follows:

a) the main page gives a brief overview of what life hacks are, with a link to the life hacks catagory page. b) the current life hacks page simply redirects to the catagory. c) the info that is currently on the lifehacks page is put as a header on the catagory page and taken off the lifehacks page (as it is to become a simple redirect). d) Unsorted is added as a subcatagory in the Life Hacks catagory. (Correction- it is already there...)

Good? Bad? Crazy?

-- Connor 12:59 16 May 2005 (EDT)

One challenge is that different folks have such disparate ideas about what the 43F site as well as the wiki are all about.
I'm frequently informed that the site is, to my surprise, exclusively about macs, GTD, life hacks, and the hipster pda. I mean that's understandable given that we're sort of all over the map, but I'm wondering if we can help wrangle the 43F Universe a bit more cohesively by presenting its disparate hemispheres more equitably on the home page. How we do that is a challenge I'm open to suggestions on.
As for the Life Hacks, sections, I think you're right on, although I'm not sure what the answer is there either. I'm pleased that folks have gone to the trouble they have to organize the hacks, but I share the concern that it's hard to see them all at once.
Maybe there's some MediaWiki fu that lets you treat sections like an INCLUDE in PHP--where we could keep them organized as they are but allow the creation of one "super page" combining all the separate sections. Anybody know if something like that exists. A kind of "Category:Foo, Show All"?
--Merlin 14:04, 16 May 2005 (EDT)

[edit] "include" templates to make a "super page"

allow the creation of one "super page" ?

Yes, MediaWiki can do that. During the discussion of Wikibooks talk:Forking policy, people were/are arguing over "let's split it up into lots of little chapters" vs. "I want it all on one big page". Someone noted that we can have it both ways. When creating a new chapter, put the text of the chapter in a "wikipedia template", and also update the "super page" to include that template. (Editing the "super page" shows it doesn't have any real text, just a bunch of wikipedia template references. But viewing that page normally shows all the text from all the chapters in one long web browser window).

This isn't quite as simple as slapping a "Category:Foo" at the bottom of a new page, but it has the advantage that it actually works now.

The main page of Wikipedia is already like that now -- most of the content of that page is imported in from some Wikipedia template elsewhere.

For example, we already have a few templates: Template:Stub Template:ISBN Template:Doy Template:Infobox Software . A "super page" can include any or all of those templates, like so:

 { { Infobox Software } }
 { { stub } }
 { { ISBN } }
 { { Doy } }

without spaces to get

Platform: {{{OS}}}
License: {{{license_type}}}
Cost: {{{cost}}}
Download Size: {{{dl_size}}}
Site: {{{site_url}}}

Buy this book from our preferred vendor,, and help support 43 Folders (or [[Special:Booksources/{{{1}}}|find other online booksellers]] who stock this title.)

Details at

 Hi. This is one of the countless areas of the site that has no information yet, largely owing to the fact that Merlin Mann can't understand what it's here for (or has nothing to put here yet). If you do, please help us out. Thanks!

--The Management .

(This may make more sense if you look at the source of this page)

--DavidCary 14:02, 26 May 2005 (EDT)

[edit] Deputizing the citizenry

I've made User:JamesRifkin a Sysop and will likely add a few other folks in the next day or three. I can use the help with banning spammers, plus, frankly, I'd like to recognize a few of the folks who do the lion's share of the work here. I am very grateful to them .

User:JamesRifkin wisely suggested that we have some rough guidelines for what the Sysops will do to ensure that everyone understands their role and mandate, if you will. Let's document that here and rassle over it here


--Merlin 10:06, 2 Jun 2005 (EDT)

[edit] Use a Forum for Discussion

Hi, I am new to wiki. Seems to me that Wiki's collaborative editing is a good fit for articles, but using this for discussions is kind of strange to me. Wouldn't it be better if we use some forum to discuss things? Nabble offers free hosted forums. It's clean and has a good search. --Moober 18:17, 18 Jul 2005 (EDT)

<tongue in cheek>People who are new to threaded forums might find them a bit strange. Wouldn't it be better if we had some wiki to discuss things? This wiki is clean and has a good search. :-) </tongue in cheek> (Thanks for the link to Nabble; interesting.) --DavidCary 23:40, 18 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Moober, welcome to wiki in general and this wiki in particular! I think you're on the right track. These wiki "Discussion" areas are for talking about their associated articles. For general discussions, there's the 43folders Google Group, which functions rather like the forum you're looking for. Let me know if you have any questions! --RobertDaeley 00:17, 19 Jul 2005 (EDT)

[edit] Wiki Print Option

Please activate the print option for a site. Like paper sometimes :) - Thanks.

Not sure I know what you mean. The pages should be "print-friendly" as they are. Did you mean something else? --Merlin 12:45, 14 Aug 2005 (EDT)
Oh, sorry. I wasn't aware that MediaWiki uses a medium=print css file, so I searched for a "print view" link. -- Schlaefer 03:47, 15 Aug 2005 (EDT)

Any possibility of getting some basic instructions on how to print for those of us who have no idea what a css file is? Love the wiki, and would like to print some stuff, but can't figure out how. --carikate 8:55, 24 Aug 2005 (CDT)

Printing - just use your browser's 'print' function - it should go get the right CSS stuff and format as needed. --pigpogm
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