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Template talk:MLS

As part of the Meetinghouse technology initiative, I would like to make some changes to this nav box. I would like to re-arrange some of the sections, and add a few items to bring this into compliance with the How to create a meetinghouse technology wiki page guidelines.

I would suggest reducing the size of the nav box in the process, and creating some "summary" wiki pages that would contain these links instead. - Ken 15:36, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Hi Ken, if your talking about major changes, perhaps you could create a mockup first for discussion. --Steve 15:46, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree that we should discuss this first. Simply adding the {{MLS}} template to lots of pages doesn't seem like the right approach. We have far too many MLS-related pages now for that to be practical. I think what you are suggesting in regards to "summary" wiki pages might help give us some structure. But a single-level MLS nav box is not going to work for navigation to dozens of pages. Coming up with a hierarchy and adapting the nav box to fit it is something we need to plan before implementation. -- Aebrown 16:15, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

proposed structure

Agreed - I just hadn't formalized my thoughts on the exact structure yet. Here is what I am now thinking. Update the template per the guidelines in How to create a meetinghouse technology wiki page. This would add Benefits,Policies, Requirements, Availability,Get started, Get training, Get local insights, Get answers to the nav bar. Next, we create the following new pages MLS Finance, MLS Membership, MLS Reports, and MLS Administration and put these as related links in the Nav bar – again, following the new Meetinghouse technology guidelines. The new pages would contain many of the current wiki pages, as follows:

  • Get Started would contain Download, Installation and repair and Test data
  • Get Answers would contain Lost user names, Frequently asked questions and Keyboard shortcuts
  • Get local insights would contain Suggestions
  • Benefits of MLS would contain History of MLS
  • Policies would contain the Policy and Guidelines for computers used by clerks
  • Availability would contain Download MLS

We would also include the following pages in the appropriate MLS Finance or MLS Membership page. These currently are not listed in the nav bar, but seem to be as related to MLS as any pages that are in the nav bar: Membership audit, Donor statements, Special requests, Record management tips, Name changes, Callings, Recording events, Recording ordinances. I added this template to these pages today, as they are all related to MLS.

These changes would provide the following benefits:

  • Follow the new Meetinghouse technology wiki pages guidelines, creating better alignment with other Meetinghouse technology wiki pages
  • Reduce the number of items in the nav bar by about 50%
  • Provide better consistency for MLS pages (some pages are currently linked from the nav bar, others from a “see also” section in the page – doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to which is where)
  • Create a better structure and organization to all of the MLS – related pages

- Ken 16:56, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Although I can see some of these benefits, it has one huge disadvantage: If we were to do this, practically every page with useful content would then be at least one extra click away. That seems contrary to the philosophy of a nav box; a nav box should generally be taking you directly to the closely related pages.
I think it is a good point that there is too much MLS-related content to be included in a single nav box, but I think we can come up with a better solution if we don't constrain ourselves to have the same nav box on every single MLS-related page. We could indeed use a high-level MLS nav box similar to the above proposal for the high-level summary pages. But I think we have reached the point where we should have more targeted nav boxes for the detailed content pages. For example, we could have an MLS Finance nav box for all the pages related to finance. Such a nav box would have a single link back to the MLS page, but all the other links would focus on closely-related financial pages. Then a financial clerk could pretty much live in the world of the financial pages. I think that would result in a better user experience.
A nav box is only one way of navigating through a wiki. Although there may not be perfect consistency in how we use all these elements, there are very good reasons for:
  • Nav boxes
  • Categories
  • Links within the text
  • "See also" sections
These have varying levels of connectedness. Where these are not used ideally, let's fix them, but I don't think it is a good idea to require that every related topic be accessible through a nav box. -- Aebrown 18:33, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. I like the idea of second-level nav boxes, but would like to ensure that they at least also have a link back to the highest-level Meetinghouse technology page if possible. - Ken 19:44, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I think the idea of a mocked up page is good. Ken, do you have access to the test wiki? It could be used as the playground to show off these proposed changes. -- Rick 16:10, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
I am not aware of the test wiki, but would be happy to make the proposed changes there if someone points me to it. - Ken 16:49, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
The best place to try and test out wiki articles/template is in your own sandbox. Users are welcome to create subpages in their userspace. For example I have just created User:Cottrells/Sandbox. --Steve 16:53, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Samples of new outline

In order to help visualize this a bit more, I have created new template for the 4 proposed pages. It may be that some of these don't make sense to use the Template:Meetinghouse base meta-template, (because they may not have specific benefits, requirements, etc) but that is easily changed. At the very least, the main MLS page should use this template, and all sub pages should have a link back to the Meetinghouse technology page. This should provide some idea of what the new proposed structure would look like. The templates I created are: Template:MLS Membership, Template:MLS Finance, Template:MLS reports and Template:MLS administration.

These new templates are not being used anywhere yet, and the associated pages that are implied by the title have not yet been created. I wanted to get reaction here before making any such changes. -- Knaptonks 16:27, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

I like the subdividing of the MLS product into areas, and creating templates to facilitate that subdivision. However, I feel that the Template:Meetinghouse base is far too heavy for these sub-templates. Using that base template would imply that we are going to make the 8 standard related pages for every one of these subdivisions, and I don't think that makes sense. So I would prefer to make the nav box templates for these areas rather simple; they would just link to each of the pages in the area, to the parent page for the subdivision (in the nav box title), to MLS and perhaps to Meetinghouse technology (in a "Related topics" section). -- Aebrown 18:52, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Alan. Simpler is better. Lindsayre 18:56, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
Oh, and one more thing: In the template names, why are the words "Finance" and "Membership" capitalized, but "administration" and "reports" are not? -- Aebrown 18:55, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree. I have modified each of the templates to no longer use the meta-template. I would suggest that the main-level MLS page nav box use the meta-template, but these sub-pages don't need it. With regard to the capitalization - it was an oversight on my part. I did ensure the caps were correct in the page titles, but didn't think about it for the template names themselves. - Ken 20:00, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

MLS product title

The current product title is "Member and Leader Services." I would propose that it be changed to "MLS" for the following reasons:

  1. The Template:Meetinghouse base automatically uses the product name for the category. We already have a category called Category:MLS and so now we have duplicate categorization (and the Category:Member and Leader Services pages doesn't exist, has no parent, etc.).
  2. "MLS" will fit on one line, whereas "Member and Leader Services" wraps and takes two lines in the nav box.
  3. I daresay that a huge proportion of the people who use and talk about MLS don't know what it stands for; it is simply "MLS" for them. So using the title "Member and Leader Services" obscures what it is talking about.
  4. I would even go so far as to say that "Member and Leader Services" is the wrong title. Although I certainly understand that MLS does stand for "Member and Leader Services," in common usage, MLS is the name of the software application. "Member and Leader Services" sounds like it could be some support organization or a generic term for various services to help members and leaders.

If we simply change the product parameter in the {{Meetinghouse base}} template in this template, all the above issues will be corrected. Thoughts? -- Aebrown 15:01, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Alan, I agree with each of your arguments. Not sure if this makes a difference in our naming scheme, but keep in mind that very soon there will be two applications: "MLS Web," which will be part of the new LDS.org site, and "MLS Classic," which is what they're calling the old application. Lindsayre 15:06, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree. I like "MLS" much better.- Ken 15:39, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
This page was last modified on 8 July 2010, at 08:39.

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