Provide a ladder into the rabbit hole
Open, Needs TriagePublic


I am quite new to apertus (following various aspects of it for a longer time now though), so I want to share a little bit of my outside view.

I obviously symphatize with the ideas and paths apertus has chosen, but still it wasn't (and isn't) that easy to find your way around what the current states are with each project. Before hearing about the lab and the wiki my sole means of information was the apertus site, as a frontfacing thing. I would've been quite interested to read and participate in many discussions here in the lab if I only knew it existed.

When I first heard of the labs 3 days ago I found it astounding what actually happens here. I wondered: how come I never saw this despite reading every update and watching every team talk..?

Is this split intentional?
If this is not the case, I would maybe start mentioning certain ongoing questions (where a community opinion is useful) in the team talks, maybe even with a short screenshot of said question beeing discussed in the labs. This would have not only the effect of focusing ongoing questions (and maybe finding just the right experts who wanna help), but it would also showcase much of the stuff that already happens.

I can imagine there have probably been a lot of discussions about the teamtalks taking all colours and shapes – I think the crucial question is not what kind of humor you use/have (quite funny actually!) or wether you read or improvise, but how well we manage to represent what is going on in the whole team. If you mention a complex topic like FPGA-blah, why not giving a hint where this topic is beeing discussed or worked on? Where stuff is documented and so on? If people think it is boring they will not click the link, but for those who find it interesting it is a good thing.

Of course the documentation is far from perfect and a lot of stuff is not written for the outside person, but that doesn't matter as long as we make clear it is a work area here.

d0 created this task.Mar 1 2017, 10:27 AM
d0 updated the task description. (Show Details)
d0 raised the priority of this task from to Needs Triage.
d0 moved this task to Website on the Web Content & Documentation board.
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RexOr added a subscriber: RexOr.EditedMar 2 2017, 5:41 AM

"...with a short screenshot of said question beeing discussed in the labs"

Yeah this is a good idea. With the URL overlayed in the bottom left of the screen for ten or so seconds even after the screenshot has been removed.

There are gradual improvements being made in this area, I've been trying to improve the Wiki for a while now, but where the website is concerned it's quite technical. Nevertheless a need for revision has been pretty obvious for some time... Over a year probably. The main problem with this in my view is that it's quite difficult to incorporate web designers into the community. The nature of what they do dictates that they do a job then move on to something else. A happy medium would be someone who's motivated to revise the site but who's also very keen on contributing towards project development, whether that be through ideas/discussion/product-use. Moreover, most web designers are primarily motivated by cash... which isn't a luxury we can afford. We may have found someone, there's been a few communications but difficulty adapting to how we typically communicate here.

... which brings me onto the labs actually. It's a bit strange isn't it? (The platform I mean) We've scratched our heads for a while regarding why it isn't used as much as it could be. Sebastian and I have set-up a phpbb forum because our key demographic are familiar with that platform... However, no matter which way you spin it phpbb and its main adversaries are clunky and outdated. I'd prefer for people to use Phabricator, but it has it's own design issues. It's only recently that I've redesigned my dashboard to be more in accordance with my tastes and it still has its shortcomings.

Phabricator is terrible on mobile. In fact, and I run a flagship device, it doesn't run at all. Oftentimes I'm scrolling to get to the bottom of a page and it just keep bouncing back to the top in mobile or forced-desktop modes. Given that 80% plus web traffic is mobile based it's clear that this is one of the main reasons. However, we have no control over phabricator's architecture. It has no mobile application available.

What we'll certainly find is that when Beta II's are in the wild there'll be a marked up-tick in contributions across all channels. Our priority should be optimizing those channels for when that happens, or as soon as possible in the meantime.

Very interesting insight.
Do I assume correctly that you did see the Participate -> AXIOM Lab link on the main website but without context (what the hell could happen in an AXIOM lab?) you did not consider it interesting enough to check out?

Refering to links and topics from inside youtube is quite difficult unfortunately as they forbid outgoing links as clickable annotations. We sometimes put stuff in the video description but I dont think anyone actually reads these. The idea with the screenshots is really good. I think we can try that with the future TTs - at least on our website.

I cleaned up the sidebar of a bit and removed the donation banner and replaced it with a lab invitation.

Please take a look.

d0 added a comment.Mar 4 2017, 6:54 PM

I think for me the problem was the following:
In order to know if I can/want to participate, I have to have a better insight into current topics and tasks. I even read the "Join the team site", but for me it was still necessary to know if I could even contribute in a way that doesn't create more work for existing team members, before deciding on things.

I think a low key approach is better here – people should feel that they are part of it before taking the decision. That is why the hint to look into Apertus Labs with it's "see what's cooking" is a good thing. Maybe it could even be more focal by using a animated gif:

sebastian added a comment.EditedMar 5 2017, 11:59 AM

love the bubbles to attract attention, the animated gif looks very "blocky/pixelated" (missing antialiasing maybe?) though.

RexOr added a comment.Mar 5 2017, 12:32 PM

I've always disapproved of auto-DM's on Twitter, however, I've decided to employ it through Crowdfire. You'd sign in with API permissions on a desktop and configure 'Auto-DM's at the bottom of the settings menu. I'll email you the message with all corresponding links when I'm done.

d0 added a comment.EditedMar 5 2017, 1:39 PM

This is a format problem with gif (which indeed only has a 1 Bit Alpha channel). A fix for this would be to use APNG, which sadly isn't supported by Chrome (Google wants to push their own WebP format). Another way would be to not use transparency but to gif it the same background color as the sidebar, that way we could circumvent the format limitations.

APNG works in Firefox, Opera/Vivaldi and Safari. On all other Browsers it falls back to a still PNG without movement.

There seems to be an alternative way to do this with HTML5 video and an seperate Alpha Channel video and a Canvas.

Can someone verify there is no change in background color? then we could go with gif

We can simply use the background grain from the website and do the gif without transparency.

d0 added a comment.Mar 5 2017, 6:27 PM

We can simply use the background grain from the website and do the gif without transparency.

I will deal with it and upload it here once I have it.

RexOr added a comment.Mar 7 2017, 3:46 PM

If someone works out the Phabricator menu on mobile, and clicks on home, they're met with a welcome message. The first link is "Existing questions" - leads to "No results found"

Second link is "If you have a question as it here" - Link leads to a log-in prompt (in other words you might as well say "Register an account here"

Third link is "Look at all the wonders that await you" - that works.

Fourth link is "browse projects" - that works.

I think this welcome message could be structured better though.

You wanna make sure you use /home on the end of the lab link is what I've come to realise.

Otherwise it's likely to send someone to a blank screen with the application list, particularly on mobile. is the same as but without the left menu sidebar.

I made the changes to link to /home on the right sidebar and Participate menu link.

RexOr added a comment.Mar 11 2017, 6:57 PM

I notice it doesn't show poll creation in recent activity.