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A lot of my more nieve users don't understand what that clicking on a ? will create a topic.

One solution, demo'd at http://testwiki.mrjc.com/, is to make the ? take them through oopscreate (as per Koala's new button). This also has the advantage that you can create Web-specific help during the "new" process if you have applied my WebCreateHelp patch (see KoalaSkinDev).

The following patch preserves the old behaviour if you click on the preceding '.' and takes the new behaviour if you click on the following '?'.

lib$ diff -u TWiki.pm- TWiki.pm
--- TWiki.pm-   Sat Oct 11 23:29:15 2003
+++ TWiki.pm    Sat Oct 11 23:48:19 2003
@@ -2391,10 +2391,12 @@

     } elsif( $doLink ) {
         $text .= "<span style='background : $newTopicBgColor;'>"
+              .  "<a
               .  "<font color=\"$newTopicFontColor\">$theLinkText</font></span>"
-              .  "<a href=\"$scriptUrlPath/edit$scriptSuffix/$theWeb/$theTopic?topicparent=$webName.$topicName\">?</a>";
+              .  "<a
         return $text;
     } else {
         $text .= $theLinkText;
         return $text;


-- MartinCleaver - 12 Oct 2003

This behavior is described in CancellingANewPage as well. I only don't like the double link (dot and question mark). I guess you want to target power users as well as new users. I think everyone is helped by leading them to a "create new topic" page, because they can set the topic's parent and template there. For the occasional topic creation (this happens far less often than editing an existing topic) the trouble of going to an extra page is worth it - it will save the trouble of going to "More" and set the parent later, and selecting a template is not covered elsewhere. See NewTopicTemplate for my implementation of this page...

-- ArthurClemens - 12 Oct 2003

I know the preceding '.' is debatable, and I'd be quite content - or even happier - if it was omitted. I presume there is no means to detect shift being held down? I guess also we could make the destination a preference variable allowing power users to work around it. I've disabled it at testwiki.

I agree with the NewTopicTemplate approach.

In addition I added the ability to set the web of the new topic, with the default being the current one. See http://www.twiki.org/cgi-bin/rdiff/Plugins/KoalaSkinDev?rev1=1.200&rev2=1.199

-- MartinCleaver - 12 Oct 2003

I don't know if I agree or not. My feeling is that the "Create new web page" page will frighten users as it looks like at first like a error page. Having this page when clicking on "New" is OK (you are performing an operation, so you expect some process to begin). In my opinion, having a new page popping into existence by just clicking on "?" is part of the magic of wiki and should not be "geekified" with options, choices...

But there should definitely be user usability testing on this?

-- ColasNahaboo - 13 Oct 2003

Why should the behaviour be different if the action is to create a new page? You don't need any user testing for this, just support consistency. If anything shows in the usability tests I have attented it is that users hate inconsistency. They do not say it like this, they just become unsure and irritated.

And this is not just a feature for new users. Also power users can benefit from setting the new topic's parent right away. And no, CoffeeBreak is not the right parent if the ? appears there.

-- ArthurClemens - 13 Oct 2003

I further adjusted the demo to "correct" (IMO) plural links so that if it is going to make a topic it does so in the singular.

-- MartinCleaver - 13 Oct 2003

One solution could be to add a clearly visible one-liner message on top of the edit page saying:
"You are creating a new topic. Click on new for more options, or Cancel to abort creation"

(Of course, the bug on going in limbos when hitting Cancel should be fixed smile

We could decide to display this message, either by:

  • a parameter passed to bin/edit when coming from a non-existing WikiWord
  • code when creating a topic, in bin/edit inside the if construct ~line 142:
    if( ! &TWiki::Store::topicExists( $webName, $topic ) ) {

-- ColasNahaboo - 16 Oct 2003

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Topic revision: r8 - 2008-09-12 - TWikiJanitor
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