Community Wishlist Survey 2021/Miscellaneous/Customizable sidebar

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Random proposal◄ Miscellaneous  The survey has concluded. Here are the results!

Customizable sidebar

  • Problem: Right now we have a "one size fits all" situation, where all users get the same sidebar menu. It doesn't matter if you are an occasional reader, a first-time contributor or a veteran with 15+ years of experience. For me (and probably many other long-time users) the sidebar is almost useless. To be quite honest there are only three positions in the sidebar of my homewiki that I sometimes use; I have to get to my "favorite" pages via the watchlist, search bar or URL bar in my browser. In my opinion users should be able to customize their own sidebars. Some might want to put there the articles they often check, some external links to often used references or tools, while some might prefer the default setting.
  • Who would benefit: Experienced users as they can have their workflow improved
  • Proposed solution: I'd have some ideas but don't know if any of them is good. I would see it as a Special Page (Special:Customize sidebar? Additional tab in Preferences?) because I don't think we can trust users to not break their sidebars if that was done in any other way (like creating own pages like MediaWiki:Sidebar). The special page can check if everything (or at least technical aspect) is okay with user's input. The special page could be a form that looks somewhat like this:
Customize your sidebar
Section: (Main) [buttons: create new, edit, remove] [checkbox: collapsible Y/N]
Link: [Text Input] Name to display: [Text Input] [Buttons: Edit Remove]
Link: [Text Input] Name: [Text Input] [Buttons: Edit Remove]
Of course everything done in OOUI, where you can drag and drop elements, with options to create new elements, edit them or whatever, decide whether or not to display the logo, etc. The "Tools" or other "page-specific" sections ("Print/export", "Languages") of the sidebar should not be customizable (so that users cannot break them).
  • More comments:
  • Phabricator tickets:
  • Proposer: tufor (talk) 22:04, 16 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  • It's really easy to add and remove from sidebars using CSS and Javascript. This doesn't seem like a good investment. --Izno (talk) 22:46, 16 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • It jumps and it is annoying. Also, not everyone can code in js. tufor (talk) 01:17, 17 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • I understand "jump" but "not everyone can code in JS" is not a barrier. It's a single line of well-known Javascript to add a single item in the sidebar, and then just repeat for each item you want to add. --Izno (talk) 19:49, 17 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        • @Izno: If you don't mind, I am apparently out of the loop on this and am wondering if you can post or link to an example of the single line of well-known Javascript here. I want to have it so I can make such changes for myself and I think it would be good to have just for the purposes of record keeping and for helping others. —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 19:33, 20 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I like this idea. I currently use my user page, in part, for useful links (and I know others do too), which would work much better as a proper menu, and would be really handy if it were accessible on any page (sidebar would be great). -EdGl (talk) 03:25, 17 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I like this idea. I can't write the code necessary to do this on my own and I, too, keep a list of things on my userpage that would, more usefully to me, be on the sidebar. Jessamyn (talk) 04:38, 17 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I have created a gadget for this on the Romanian Wikipedia: ro:Wikipedia:Unelte/Scripturi/Sidebar (sorry, no translation). You could probably use it in any wiki, although it requires non-trivial configuration. A nice Twinkle like control page could make it more useful.--Strainu (talk) 12:04, 17 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I like it. I never use the sidebar and I've been on Wikipedia for nearly 15 years. Livingston7 (talk) 16:06, 17 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I agree that we could that sidebar is too complex for beginners and too poor for advanced users. For advanced users, I've designed a new sidebar with useful informations and links. See the French version fr:w:Utilisateur:PAC2/Rock your side box and the English outdated version en:w:User:PAC2/just a click away PAC2 (talk) 07:41, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]