Talk:Turning off outdated skins

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Saying "because of our limited resources" sounds like sheer mockery, as if WMF would be hard-pressed for money and desperately in need of removing the extremely expensive skins. --MF-W 21:15, 28 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What the text is about is the cost of the time and energy of paid developers doing support and maintenance based on bugs that are specific to skins. When you add up the hours potentially spent by designers and developers bit by bit supporting compatibility with certain skins or browsers etc., that can in fact add up to thousands of donor dollars. The question begged by it all, and part of the core justification for the change, is whether it is really worth spending donor dollars on supporting skins used by a relatively tiny number of people? If we're not going to really support those skins in MediaWiki, then leaving them up creates an unfair situation where "official" skins listed in preferences are not in reality supported. Perhaps it could be improved in the text if explicitly mention that we're talking about paid employee time supporting skins? Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 22:54, 28 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Steven is correct, here; resources refers to more than just 'money' (although indirectly it does add up to that). We have a limited number of paid developer and designer hours to build things. If we want to support, instead of four skins, or two skins (Monobook and Vector) nine skins, with vastly different levels of technological complexity and vastly different ways of doing things, we have to choose between delivering incredibly limited software or delivering software that is not only more limited than necessary, but also late. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 23:49, 28 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for clarifying. I understood the reason for stopping providing the 4 skins as outlined in the page, but didn't understand really how the first sentence could be brought in line with that. --MF-W 17:03, 29 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What if you leave the other skins (especially the "minimal" rather than "alternative") ones but have them marked "unsupported"? That removes the support cost on maintainers but doesn't leave users in the lurch. Vsync (talk) 18:07, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Except we're implicitly saying "this is fine to use!" by making them available, and setting the expectation that we will support them. Are you telling me that if we mark them as 'unsupported', editors will all abrogate their rights to oppose deploying $extension if they've got outdated skins? I somehow suspect it would cause more drama than it solves for. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 18:11, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hm, well, has there been anything like that lately (with an extension etc.)? Also if there's a fat warning "UNSUPPORTED SKINS" (maybe even collapse that part of the list by default or so) I can't really imagine many new users will ever choose one of the "unsupported" skins, and the existing users will probably understand that the skins will eventually stop to work (after all, these are likely experienced users, around for years)? --MF-W 19:35, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Extensions that don't work with certain skins? I think we had some problems with en:Special:NewPagesFeed, for example. And, yeah, we could issue that warning - but that doesn't do anything for users already using the skins, and MediaWiki's preferences and skins setup is not vigorous enough to really tolerate things like collapsing certain skins or loading them differently without substantial coding (as I understand it, anyway). Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 19:37, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


A couple interesting points:

  1. Almost 3 millions with monobook in preferences. I don't think this figure realistic and I bet you'd have to divide this by dozens or even hundreds to have "real users": most of them are probably from Special:PrefSwitch that automatically switched you back to monobook on all wikis if you wanted; it almost always failed above a few dozens/couple hundreds wikis, but did its job for many.
  2. Subpage says «our conclusion is that Chick, Classic, MySkin, Nostalgia, Simple and Modern are so rarely used as to only questionably justify support»: this doesn't mention Standard, that is used more than Cologne Blue and represents the 70 % of power users affected by the switch off (probably all of them using it since before monobook existed, i.e. some ten years?).

--Nemo 22:26, 31 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  1. Standard and Classic are the same skin. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 10:08, 1 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Right. And I even know that, just thinking with half neuron; will now fix the text. --Nemo 12:38, 1 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Suggestions for "Classic" user?[edit]

Does anyone have ideas as to which on the new approved list would be the easiest transition? I've used Vector every now and then, but I really dislike the grey background, and the fact that it's loaded down with so much scripting (more than my browser can easily handle sometimes)... AnonMoos (talk) 15:50, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Classic is the only one whose appearance I find tolerable. The rest look awful. This is a stupid decision (although I'm not going to threaten to quit the project over this, as that would also be stupid). DS (talk) 16:08, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's a perfectly rational decision; if you can put together an argument about why we should reconsider, I'm happy to listen.
AnonMoos: Personally, I use monobook; tried it? Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 16:16, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You could also try CologneBlue or Monobook with special CSS... πr2 (t • c) 17:24, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've been told that some features can be duplicated in .css. If these features -- for instance, the use of serif fonts, or the 'toolbox' links being located in a bar off to the left side of the page instead of up top, or the pale yellow background on all non-article pages -- can be replicated, then I might withdraw my objections. However, I've spent my time on Wikipedia working on articles and patrolling newpages for inappropriate content, so I don't know how to edit CSS myself. DS (talk) 17:35, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Try cologne blue, Cologne blue? πr2 (t • c) 17:45, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How to move the mw-panel to the right ? (I've managed to fix it (as not to move with the rest of the page), I used the classic float in the right option. I've based my new setting on the default vector (hopping that as the default I would not have to tweak it more in the next years to come). -- 23:34, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So do you have it working already? πr2 (t • c) 23:51, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nope, waiting for someone here to help. I think as part of removing the old skins the proposals here regarding helping users customize the surviving ones (since nostalgia will also go) should have preceded the notice for removal (that would probable occurred had there been a more public discussion of the move to reduce the offering). -- 00:00, 4 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To just move #mw-panel to the right, copy User:PiRSquared17/vector.css, but the result is not pretty. πr2 (t • c) 00:20, 4 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Got a solution working (mixed that hint with the javascript to hide the side bar and put an show/hide on the same location as the page move. It now even better than the default Classic, got the nav bar on the right, can hide it and have a full screen display. Thanks. -- 01:20, 4 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Looks like Monobook is the least worst option... I'm not as picky about fine details of the placement of things as other people seem to be, but I'll definitely miss some of the unobtrusive yet quietly useful features of Classic (as opposed to the flashy bells-and-whistles direction which seems to be the future of skins). AnonMoos (talk) 01:42, 15 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply][edit]

Will this affect Doesn't it use the "Nostalgia" skin? --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 17:02, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It does, and so we've forked off the Nostalgia skin into a standalone extension which can be present on without causing inconsistencies in our deployments. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 17:05, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I hope this means I can continue to use Nonstalgia. I use it because I use text zoom, and horizontal space on the screen is very valuable to me. None of the to be supported skins put the navigation links at the top like nonstalgia does, and with large amounts of text zoom(200-300%) the links take up half or more of the page space :( Tim
No, it doesn't, it means will have it. You'll note the main page on this explicitly says Nostalgia will go. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 11:16, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

could have used an RFC[edit]

Why wasn't there any request for comments on this? If there was, I missed it. It would have been nice if a call had gone out for volunteers to maintain well-loved skins. As it is, only a 2-week notice and it's already set in stone. Vsync (talk) 17:42, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The message informing people that we were going to do this went out to wikitech-l...I don't have a precise date (I can find one if you want) but: at least 3 months ago. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 17:45, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Informing? Still sounds like it was already set in stone by a cabal :( Thanks for the pointer though, is that the place to subscribe to get a heads-up on future changes? To be honest I wouldn't even have known to look for that... Obviously Wikimedia is more than just Wikipedia but I'm primarily a Wikipedia user and even if I visit "Site News" that link doesn't jump out at me. I'll search for it though, thanks again. Vsync (talk) 18:04, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If by 'cabal' you mean 'it was publicly discussed by both staff and volunteer developers, since September, with links to that discussion being sent to several mailing lists' - yes. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 11:15, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A notice on the Wikimedia Forum or a notice like the one we have now (or even on CentralNotice for a day) would have been nice, but having a notice on wikitech-l is certainly sufficient notification. πr2 (t • c) 15:13, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

all skins left are extremely prescriptive[edit]

The usefulness of "MySkin" and to a less extent "Simple" aren't in what they impose but rather what they leave up to the user-agent. I have my preference set accordingly because I want to have my browser set up once with my display prefences and not worry about it.

Allowing user CSS on top of these other themes is a nice feature but it still means I have to manually set each preference to what the browser had originally, not to mention that there's now no way to handle different settings on different browsers (for e.g., different display devices). There's a big difference between a skin which sets fonts, colors, etc and as you say has to be maintained; and one which simply stays out of the way and allows the user's preference to work.

I would be interested to see how much work has to go into supporting MySkin since as far as I can see it's so minimal that display just degrades to show the actual content. And "Simple" seems like it just creates the content boxes and lets color highlights show up and again, gets out of the way.

Thanks for all the hard work the designers do. It is notable though that as was pointed out earlier on this page, all the styles left force small sans-serif fonts on a bright white background. I have to wonder how much of this is the work of supporting and how much is ensuring that look is forced on everyone everywhere?

Some of the challenges in this change might be avoidable if checkboxes were present such as "avoid imposing fonts", "avoid imposing background color", "avoid imposing all colors". In this way the overall theming and layout work could still be compatible across-the-board (though, again, MySkin serves a purpose) but non-essential portions wouldn't be forced on the user. This is something I'd be more than willing to contribute code and/or testing to; I just wish I had known about this more than 13 days in advance. Vsync (talk) 17:59, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In regards to "I have to wonder..." - absolutely zero. Our decision-making process went "which skins are not used by many users? Of those skins, which don't have anyone willing to do active maintenance?". As much as I'd love to be conniving and secretive enough to pull off a conspiracy, you give me more credit than I deserve. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 18:06, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fair point, glad to hear it. I may have missed it but I just didn't see the step between the usage stats and which ones are maintained, and assessing which of them need maintenance as such. I'd love to hear if I'm wrong but I can't imagine the minimal (i.e., nonprescriptive) styles require much. And regardless, how can I volunteer to do active maintenance and then we're both happy? Vsync (talk) 18:13, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
this should help, but frankly I'm not sure if "an untested and unknown developer (if you're known to the devs, my apologies!) is willing to maintain this skin, let's leave it live for N more months" is going to be accepted. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 18:18, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not already known. However if the reason for removal is "no one wants to adopt it", well, here I am. And if the only people affected by it are those few that choose that skin (especially if you just change the display name to "MySkin - unsupported", what's the impact? Vsync (talk) 23:23, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For me personally, the problem I have with most of the skins is the over-riding of the (Windows) system default behavior. Alt is to get to the menu. Alt-F is therefore, the File menu on most windows applications. And you use script to hijack this to Find. I use Alt-F-C to close windows or tabs, and can't do that on Wikipedia. As a result, I found a skin that doesn't hijack the menu system this way, and of course you're discontinuing it.


Sorry, but I'm bloody furious about this decision. And it takes a lot to make me swear. Has this been discussed anywhere, or is it just being imposed from above? Are there any advantages in removing skins? You WILL lose editors by imposing this without good reason.Optimist on the run (talk) 19:01, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The advantages are simple; as explained on the page, at the moment we've got three options:
  1. Build things to support 9 different skins, some from 2001 and with 2001-era levels of technology, some of which aren't actually maintained properly by developers, in which case we find ourselves moving at a snail's pace and releasing software that has fewer features than it needs, late;
  2. Stop supporting the old skins but still let people use them, in which case we're going to annoy every user who uses those skins every time we hit the on button;
  3. Disable the old skins, thus annoying every user who uses those skins once.
We picked the third; we can't cripple our ability to upgrade and improve MediaWiki, and we can't be annoying people constantly. The change was publicly listed in Gerrit from September 2012, and commented on by many developers - the people who ultimately get to shift the situation, since the primary limitation is "nobody maintains these and building code for them slows everything down". Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 19:26, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It should be fully discussed on all wikis, and consensus obtained before making changes - otherwise this is not a Wiki. Putting an announcement on an obscure developer page is analogous to the old Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy joke about a notice in a locked filing cabinet in abasement marked "Beware of the leopard". I'm fully aware that not everything works on Classic skin, and I'm happy to live with that.
All 800+ wikis? By that standard we'd never deprecate anything ever again. Technical changes are not, by default, subject to community consensus, particularly when they have substantial knock-on effects for our software development process. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 19:36, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think it needs to be fully discussed on all wikis (after all, the devs are allowed to choose what they will support and what they won't), but maybe option 2 is better than option 3 here. Instead of the current notice, just put up a new note saying, "we're not going to support this skin any more, bugs can and most likely will start to show up, if it bothers you, switch skins". Then, if and when people get mad, you cna just tell them "that skin isn't supported any more, switch to one that is." Maybe separate them out in the preferences page, too. Writ Keeper (talk) 19:43, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The latter isn't easily done, I'm afraid, which is part of the problem; it's hard to say "we don't support this" when you're offering them the ability to use it - which, well, is an implicit claim of "we support this". Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 19:44, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh, come on, you can't put in an ugly CSS hack with liberal use of the dreaded [value="nostalgia"]:after{ content="This skin is deprecated, do not use!";} ? ;) Writ Keeper (talk) 19:56, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Plausibly, but we then raise the question of "so, you're not meant to use this, why is this an option?" - it causes issues of consistency. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 21:34, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Because why not? Who's it hurting to have it there? Particularly "MySkin"; I'm particularly curious how a skin which doesn't dump a bunch of extra CSS and HTML on the page can have significant integration requirements. Vsync (talk) 23:13, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Calling it a "technical change" is a bit of a dodge; this isn't some RPC signature getting refactored but entire user interfaces disabled with degradation in user functionality. Vsync (talk) 23:13, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

using css and JS to help adopt[edit]

I think it would be nice if mw would provide a "cookbook" with JS and CSS that users of various skins can copy to their personl JS and CSS to make it look as similar as possible to their current skin.

for instance, "classic" has the talk page link inside the "toolbox". this can be accomodated by adding to personal JS

$('#ca-talk').appendTo('#p-tb ul')

this is just one example, of course. the total change include changes to the actual text, which is language-dependent, of course.

it would be much nicer if we could tell users "copy these 2 files from mw to your userspace, to make the transition slightly less painful". this includes fonts, colors, UI controls placement and text, and probably a tiny bit more.

i think mw should make this one-time effort to come up with these 5 (?) recipes for the 5 dropped skins.

peace - קיפודנחש (talk) 19:57, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It would help a bit, but I want to avoid CSS and JS entirely; I want it neither in the skin nor in the user-defined. I can try to make one if you want; I can try to maintained if you want to -- 20:29, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
iiuc, you say basically "everybody should learn to live with one of the surviving skins (preferably vecotr)". i do agree with the sentiment - i use verctor ever since it became the default. however, building the proposed CSS and JS will be a small concession that mw can (and should) make to the people who are grumbling and complaining for the loss of their favorite skin. peace - קיפודנחש (talk) 21:11, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I did independently come up with this idea; the response I got was along the lines of "we wouldn't be able to replicate a not of it, and replicating the remainder would be non-trivial". Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 21:35, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
there is no question that it's possible to twist vector so it looks and feels closer to any of the skins on the extinct list (that is, "closer" then vanilla vector). i do not think anyone expect the change to be unnoticable (i.e., nobody expect to recreate identical experience solely by use of css and JS - this *would* be very difficult), but it would be corteuous to at least allow people to keep the fonts and colors they are used to (and it would be pretty easy, too). i gave an example above how one can migrate the "Talk" link from the top tab-list to the toolbox on the left, where it currently lives in "classic" skin. this was just an illustration, but any competent developer will find it pretty easy to do the same for most, if not all the UI elements.
Even if it is possible to twist it to look/feel closer to the others, it still adds a lot of overhead, and a lot of extra features which we don't want. Even Nostalgia replaces the audio/video players with its own, and I want to turn that off! -- 01:24, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
i think you should go back to the people who told you "it's impossible/impractical/too difficult", and gently persuade them to try harder. i know they can, and they know they can. unfortunately, it seems that "they" also know they can shirk it by claiming "they" can't. again, nobody expect 100% on-to-one replication of the lost skins, but at least do fonts and colors, and try to move the UI pieces around to emulate old behavior. should not take more than couple hours per skin - prolly much less. peace - קיפודנחש (talk) 21:55, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Unfortunately this is missing the point as I feel some of the discussion is generally. People aren't necessarily complaining because they prefer one aesthetic over another. I, at least, am concerned that there will now be no "unstyled" option. And at that point you can only layer on. Vsync (talk) 23:16, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with you; I too am not complaining that I prefer one aesthetic over another. I also want a "unstyled" extremely minimal option. Something like this, perhaps: (a mockup of a rendering of a part of this article; as if a few of the sections were missing!) And specifically, I don't want all the new functionality they add. I don't want it overloaded with CSS and JavaScripts, when HTML will do. For such minimal skin I also mean to have, no edit toolbars, no popup messages, no icons, no section edit links, etc. Even to Nostalgia they added too many things, I think. Others may agree with me, possibly. -- 01:06, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Try action=render. πr2 (t • c) 01:25, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That action=render is good. It should be made not deprecated, add the HTML/HEAD/BODY (but no CSS and JavaScript and all that other junk), make similar simplicity for the editor and history and so on, add the very simple heading like what I have, and make a skin which uses that by default, and then it is done (I don't like section edit links but I think that can easily be removed using the preferences menu). I can try to do that, but perhaps I can discussion with the developers? Are they on the IRC? I can discussion on the IRC, too. -- 04:41, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
#mediawikiconnect and #wikimedia-techconnect might be what you're looking for. There are many MediaWiki devs in #mediawiki (on freenode). Maybe you could convince them to keep myskin or classic, or to make an option like action=render (also try printable=yes). πr2 (t • c) 15:05, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
printable=yes force-sets background color Vsync (talk) 17:19, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some people above extressed the sentiment that i "missed the point" - using the defunct skins is not about aesthetics, colors, fonts, page design etc. - it's about simplicity and "less bloat".
these people may be absolutely correct for some of the users of these skins, and maybe even for most, but not for all: at least some of the users of these skins use them specifically for aesthetics, fonts, color and page design reasons, and care less (or not at all) about JS and CSS bloat. this conclusion is based on (some of) the complaints i read on wikis i frequent. my request/suggestion will help those users, although, addmitedly, it will do absolutely nothing to reduce the bloat. peace - קיפודנחש (talk) 15:02, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Using the full screen width[edit]

I would like to keep using the full screen width for the page body (especially on a smartphone), while keeping the section edit links (which are missing in the mobile view and the printable version). How do I do that with the remaining skins? - Patrick (talk) 20:35, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I believe (although I'm not quite sure) that mobile's Vector skin does that - I'd check, however :). Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 21:32, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The default mobile skin (well, there's only one skin on mobile!) does go full width, and if you enable the beta mode, you already get section editing links! Yuvipanda (talk) 21:45, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you like full width use Vector and a custom css like mine Thomas d stewart (talk) 23:09, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks. And how do I put links such as those in the toolbox at the bottom? - Patrick (talk) 09:17, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To answer my own question provisionally: from some old code I managed (without being very familiar with this) to find that e.g. the following js can be used to add the what-links-here link at the bottom:
// get the page title
var pageTitle = document.title.split(" - ")[0].replace(" ", "_"); 
// create div and set innerHTML to link
var divContainer = document.createElement("div");
divContainer.innerHTML = '<ul><li><a href="/wiki/Special%3AWhatLinksHere/'+pageTitle+'">What links here</a></li></ul>';
// insert divContainer
document.getElementById("footer-places").insertBefore(divContainer, document.getElementsByTagName("h5")[0]);
Patrick (talk) 22:13, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Update: while something like this may still be useful for adding extra links, for moving the links in the sidebar see Tech#Move sidebar links to bottom (similar to MySkin). - Patrick (talk) 08:08, 4 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have done work on Cologne Blue ([1]). Reubot (talk) 05:06, 4 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Full screen width on laptop/desktop[edit]

I really like to use full screen width when reading wikipedia articles, and I hate having a big part of my screen occupied by a big sidebar I never used. Is there any way I can keep full screen width? Thanks! - Sekyinb

See the section immediately above this. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 17:54, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See how many people find it easier to read articles in full screen? I think it would be good if you could at least try to get a full screen browsing option for each of the existing skins. (Dr. Blofeld)

Focus on features; ask for help[edit]

Hi. I personally use a minimalist version of Monobook (screenshot here). It requires a bit of one-time setup for the relevant JavaScript and CSS, but then you're good to go.

It would be helpful if people using these no longer supported skins could post to m:Tech with discrete items they'd like to see adjusted. For example, "I was using the Classic skin and I'd like to use Monobook now. How do I adjust the font to be serif?"

If you post clear, actionable items to m:Tech, I'd be happy to help you make this adjustment and/or find others who would be willing to help. Please do try to post sooner rather than later, though. Attempting to replicate certain behaviors of the old skins once they're completely disabled is not an enjoyable task. Meanwhile, attempting to replicate most behaviors of the old skins right now should be fairly easy. --MZMcBride (talk) 22:51, 2 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I can understand you, but see my comments above. It isn't changing the font or things like that I am trying to change. What I want to do is to remove nearly everything (including fonts just in general). If I write such a skin, would you use it? -- 01:24, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No. I'm happy with minimalist Monobook. I think hiding things is fine here. Does it not work for your purposes? For a minimalist output, there's always the printable version (e.g., <>) or the raw version (e.g., <>), of course. And even a render version (e.g., <>), though the render action is deprecated according to mw:Manual:Parameters to index.php. --MZMcBride (talk) 03:16, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Can you tell them to make it not deprecated? I think render version is good (except: see above). -- 04:41, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

can you tell how to make options like printable=yes oder action=raw as my default skin? in fact, simple/my skin once had been designed to be that: keep screen and plain output similar:

de:Hilfe:Skin:. Eine Besonderheit stellt MySkin dar. Der HTML-Quelltext ist aufgebaut wie in Monobook, allerdings fehlen sämtliche CSS-Dateien, sodass man sich hier die Oberfläche von Grund auf selbst gestalten kann.

thats whats it all about, and on what we based our adaptions -- W!B: (talk) 05:25, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Why is MySkin being removed? Surely the whole point of this skin is that users can develop their own custom styling from scratch. Any user using MySkin would be aware that they are responsible for making it look decent, and so it should not use up any developer time to support this skin.

MySkin should be adjusted so that the page HTML (class names, page structure, etc.) matches the Vector HTML - as such, new MediaWiki features will work on MySkin, even if they look dodgy. Users can then write their own custom CSS as they see fit. How does that sound? This, that and the other (talk) 01:33, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If that happens, or if I can help it happen, it will stop my whinging anyway :) Vsync (talk) 02:57, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, it is good that it will stop someone's whinging anyway! But not mine. -- 04:41, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd like to reinforce this point. Please keep MySkin! The upkeep must be minimal and the whole point of MySkin is to allow users to maintain their own CSS so that other users don't have to. Will people consider? Will there be documentation to explain how I might provide my own custom Wikipedia theme on top of one of the remaining skins? —mako 17:22, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd like a comment from Okeyes on this specific point. I agree totally. πr2 (t • c) 17:47, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Actually, no; the point of MySkin was to allow wiki developers to have a base template from which they can write their own skin (it is apparently terrible at this - I can't comment). Documentation such as this and w:Wikipedia:Customisation may help. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 17:52, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh! Maybe I've misusing it all these years. The reason that I use MySkin is that I wanted an effectively empty non-CSS template on which to build so that I don't have turn off all the CSS in MonoBook/Vector first. Maybe I'm just being clueless but is there way to do that easily without building off of MySkin or doing some tedious process of writing CSS to unset all the stuff in built-in themes? (To get an idea of what I'm talking about, you can check out the default template on my personal wiki which using the same template I use on Wikipedia. —mako 20:55, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nice wiki! It's not cluelessness ;p. As far as I'm aware there's no particularly easy way to do that. This is...annoying, I appreciate :/. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 21:03, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I didn't realize I was in such a small minority of people doing this. A lot of the themes on the gallery of themes start out from MySkin because they want to style things from scratch. I think eliminating MySkin makes that impossible. If we we work out some simple way or configuration option to simply have MediaWiki drop the CSS so we could start from Scratch within Vector/MonoBook/whatever, I think this would be allow the same thing. Otherwise, I feel I'm going to be looking for complicated CSS/Javascript solutions to turn off all the stuff I don't want so I can being to style things from a blank slate. If I need to, I'll do this, but I'd love it if I didn't have to. —mako 00:42, 4 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In my opinion, input should be solicited from any active users using MySkin on WMF wikis, to determine their reasons for using this unusual option. This, that and the other (talk) 10:55, 4 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In a slightly surprsing way, I think that's sort of happening now! —mako 13:06, 5 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I use MySkin in exactly the same way as mako. In fact, I have a custom skin that I built from the ground up, that I have put dozens of hours into. The main reason I wrote my own skin was for accessibility and readability, but it became quite sophisticated and ironically I was planning to publish it to Github just as this announcement was made. I've already tweaked around a little and there really isn't a way to simply and cleanly strip down another skin to start from scratch again. Is it actually a sizable maintenance effort to maintain a completely blank skin? I understand that we're in a tiny minority, but this kind of leaves us out in the cold. Jrajav (talk) 14:29, 5 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Share it, and if it's useful in general, we could try to get it merged into MediaWiki (or packaged as an extension that could be deployed). Matma Rex (talk) 16:25, 5 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Related: "light" mode[edit]

I think the motivation for many people to use an "old" skin generally falls into one of three categories:

  • Some people prefer a linear skin, for whatever reason. All of the four remaining skins will have a "sidebar" panel on the left of the screen, which is disappointing for those who wish to access the full screen width.
  • The plainer skins, like Chick, are less resource-intensive: fewer images, fewer gradients, fewer CSS rules to load, and fewer scripts (no popup menus, no fancy search bar, etc.) This is easier on the browser. MediaWiki wikis, particular WMF wikis with all their extensions, are script-heavy and style-heavy. It can be quite resource-intensive to have many (say) Wikipedia pages loaded in a browser at once. Older browsers and older machines are less able to handle a large number of resource-heavy pages at once, which is sometimes required as one edits the wiki.
  • Some users may use an old skin for accessibility purposes. Screen readers should be able to handle Vector, but I am no assistive-technology expert, and there may be other accessibility reasons for using a simpler skin.

These concerns are not answered by this proposal. To accommodate users in all of these categories (but particularly the second and third), a "light" mode for reading Wikipedia should be considered. This would include only the bare minimum scripts, and perhaps optionally a lighter style sheet that is less image-heavy and resource-intensive.

I'm not talking about the mobile view: that is not suitable for use on desktop computers, and has its own accessibility problems.

Is this worthwhile? This, that and the other (talk) 02:06, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with you and my reasons are mostly given by your first two points. Still, I prefer to have one that lacks scripts and stylesheets altogether; such as "ultra-minimal" mode. -- 04:41, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I like that idea. This, that and the other (talk) 05:27, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would also very much appreciate this. Jrajav (talk) 14:34, 5 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Absolutely agree.(Dr. Blofeld)

third point will be most important, skins designed for accessibility reason are based on simple/mySkin. removing them will be one step further from minimal w:WCAG recommendations: the more we propagate documenting all the good "open" content itself, the less we care about accessability to it W!B: (talk) 05:40, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Could you explain what parts of the WCAG guidelines Vector fails? Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 11:12, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'll let W!B: reply to that one. I was just surmising about accessibility reasons - perhaps there is older accessibility technology that doesn't like pages full of extraneous bits, like Vector. You, Oliver, probably know more about accessibility than I do.
Still my other two points stand. A minimal/light mode would be appreciated by some users to make up for the removal of the old skin-cruft (which, incidentally, I support). This, that and the other (talk) 10:52, 4 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Let us add a new skin![edit]

I mean, it would be nice to have a skin that is exactly like Vector, with the only difference that the main article text will use the browser's default font. So it will require almost no additional development, but will be more acceptable to some people. — Monedula (talk) 11:03, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Or, if this is a feature you want, you could simply...write some CSS to change the font ;p. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 11:13, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Changing skin is much simpler. Not everybody knows how to write CSS and where to put it. — Monedula (talk) 11:24, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's fairly simple to explain, however, and we're not talking about "everybody" - more "people who have been around for so long that they're on Classic" :P. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 11:35, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ersatz skins[edit]

Okey I've known this was coming for a while and I know that on a practical level classic is already broken in a number of areas. Still would it be possible to get developers to support Ersatz-classic basically vector (which is closer to being classic than monobook) with as many as possible of the following (I doubt the first 4 have any dependencies so shouldn't be a problem):

  • 1)No gradients (should be fairly easy)
  • 2)That beige yellow colour on any page that isn't an article (should be fairly easy)
  • 3)Bluelinks including those in the sidebar underlined (should be fairly easy)
  • 4)Switch to whatever font setup classic uses.(should be fairly easy)
  • 5)Categories at the top at least on commons (rather useful but I suspect tricky)
  • 6)Second search box at the end (tricky and not critical)

I would say make new upload tools break so you get dumped into the older upload systems but I assume there is an alternative workaround. Not sure what other people like about the older skins. This has the advantage that there would be fewer random CSS setups floating around that you would have to worry about breaking.Geni (talk) 11:27, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So to rephrase; in order for us to avoid having a billion dependencies and things we need to maintain for, we are turning off the least-used dependencies. You would like us to invest engineering effort in essentially rebuilding these same dependencies, with the same tiny user base. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 11:34, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What dependencies would the first 4 on the list create? If those are able to break things something is badly worng with your code.Geni (talk) 11:36, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's not about individual elements being dependencies, it's about this "Ersatz-classic" skin being a dependency itself. But, to make clear: we have no interest in solving issues caused by a tiny number of users on a massive number of skins we have to support by shifting that group of users to a different set of skins. If some of these things are that easy, I'm sure they can be hacked in at the user CSS level Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 11:39, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
They can be but you are then betting on people doing it in a way that is update friendly.Geni (talk) 11:42, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not in the slightest; my entire point here is "having to support a billion ways of doing things is leeching energy". If users care enough about having these stylings that they want to risk problems when we update, they're welcome to do so - it's user CSS, and if it breaks it won't muck it up for anyone but them. That's very different from building it into MediaWiki, as a skin or extension or "Ersatz-skin", where the obligation is on us to maintain it. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 11:48, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Which I'm fine with in theory, but how can users do this with MySkin being deleted? Vsync (talk) 17:21, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Try cologneblue (compare with classic)! πr2 (t • c) 13:34, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
for (5) - "categories on top, at least for commons": commons has a gadget that moves the categories to the top (i know, i use it). works for vetor. peace - קיפודנחש (talk) 15:39, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that the Cologne Blue skin matches all your criteria. πr2 (t • c) 17:44, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Cologne Blue looks broken in my browser. Moreover, it uses a very small font size, which is barely readable. — Monedula (talk) 05:11, 4 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some new skins[edit]

At least create some decent new ones to replace them. The options are very limited as they are. We should have the option to create our own skins to improve usability. Also we should have the option on each of the skins which we'll keep to be able to use a full screen option on our PCs and then hover over the side to get the itinery. Seems the developers aren't that concerned about useability, otherwise they'd have thought of this and would have responded to my earlier messages on this. (Dr. Blofeld)

To make up for turning off old skins, the rationale for doing so being "very few people use them and we have to support 9 of the things", we should (a) create some new skins and (b) allow every editor to create as many skins as they want, too? This seems to magnify, rather than mitigate, the problem we're attempting to solve (without going into the technical changes that would be necessary to allow any user to create their own skin). I'm not sure how a full-screen option has any impact on ease of use. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 12:46, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Would improve readability by ridding of the side bar in my opinion. Many of the options given here should be made available to editors in their preferences without having to code their monobooks.(Dr. Blofeld)
I've just discovered the alternative skin options on here and I found that "My Skin" is being deleted too so would render all of the programmable ones all useless. Has it not occurred to anybody that some editors might like the option of customising their own skins with a better choice of options? The Nullbook option of this is quite brilliant and I quite agree with the creator about the "wasting space" and not following a more standard web design. (Dr. Blofeld)
You're missing the point: we want to avoid having to maintain a pile of different standards. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 14:27, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The designers should invent one skin like the Nullbook option then which is centralised with minimal border fuss, and one in which you can hover at the side to make the itinery and search box and links appear and then disappear. I've edited wikipedia for 7 years and find the centralised option of the Nullbook to be the best skin I've ever seen for improving readability of wikipedia. It is a pity that I will no longer be able to use that skin once you nuke the MySkin option. If you're going to do that, why not create one new skin based on it which centralises articles and reduce navigation fuss? I'm sure I'm not the only one who would like to have a central alignment option for improving readability. (Dr. Blofeld)

The designers are few in number and highly busy. I've edited Wikipedia for 7 years as well, and find Nullbook impossible to use; the conclusion we can draw from this is, well, people differ on usability. And, based on that, we probably shouldn't build an entirely new skin, which is a non-trivial piece of work, because you're sure you're not the only one who'd like central alignment. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 14:33, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your job is to ensure " the Foundation takes the needs and perspectives of editors into account". Your response here I find quite the opposite. Many editors have long been critical of skins and main page design which many see as dated and bland and not up to the standard of web design on other websites. That you will not even consider brainstorming for ideas from different people to offer one or two new skins based upon editor feedback to try to address the issues a lot of people have, you're clearly not doing your job properly. I'm not arguing against the removal of skins which only 0. somethign percent use. Makes sense to me, but it concerns me that you don't accept that there are flaws in the current designs and that you aren't trying to better them. Things like central alignment of articles, full page option, hidden task bar etc are features I'd like to see at least on the skins you narrow down to. I can see it is waste of time posting here as was my Concise wikipedia proposal which has support but lacks any momentum. I've emailed you Okeyes. (Dr. Blofeld)
I do accept there are flaws in the current designs, but ensuring that the Foundation takes the needs and perspectives of editors into account is not the same thing as ensuring that every individual editor always gets from the WMF precisely what they want and nothing else.
Let's be clear here; this is not a brainstorming discussion about skins, and usability, and how our interface looks. This is a notification that we are going to be turning off several skins. It's a focused and specific decision. We're not currently looking into creating more skins, and our budget and timetable don't leave us with the resources to just up and dedicate a designer or two and some developers to doing so. :::This means that if I sit here and go "please, tell me all of your ideas for skins"...well, I'm wasting your time, and I'm doing so disingenuously, because I'm giving you the impression that this is something we're planning to work on. I don't consider that fair or reasonable. I'm sure you'd agree.
A lot of editors think there are problems with our skins, yes - I'm one of them. A lot of staffers think there are problems with our skins too (I'm one of them, as well). But we are, given the many things we have to support, a very small organisation. There are 1,000 things we need to fix, and we have the resources to do 10 right every year. In an environment where people need to learn a markup language to contribute, accounts aren't even unified across projects, there is (at best) an inconsistent notifications and watchlisting system, talkpages are essentially sandboxes....those are our 10 projects for this year. Skins are a problem, but not as big of a problem. It would be unfair for me to sit here and tell you "yes, this is something we are currently interested in exploring" because we're not; if and when we prioritise improving our interface site-wide rather than improving individual components, the notices will go out far and wide and you'll have a chance to provide feedback and suggestions. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 14:59, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with removing most of the old skins and I thought they were dated even when I joined wikipedia and probably should have gone years ago. But I think trial and error is very important to overall improving on wikipedia and I think we should be striving to better ourselves. OK skin and main page is not the most pressing problem on wikipedia, that of course is the unevenness of quality and vandalism, but I would like to see something being done which assesses what most editors dislike about the current skins and what seems to be the most desirable features and trying to produce a skin as an ongoing development which more and more people can be content with. I believe presentation of information and readability are extremely important, and the readability problem is one of the main reasons I proposed the concise wiki edition.(Dr. Blofeld)
We had an entire project to review usability, improve it, and accept feedback so that editors and readers could be comfortable. It produced Vector ;p. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 15:07, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
True, but how many people prefer monobook to vector? I think a lot of people consider it too bland as a skin, despite its obvious improvements from an editing perspective.(Dr. Blofeld)
The answer to that is available in the documentation - heck, I'm one of them. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 15:11, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Turning off outdated skins/stats seems to indicate 77% user vector but that's probably because it's standard. Yep I use monobook mostly too as do 20% of all users as do "63.62% of power users".(Dr. Blofeld)

Indeed, although as explained Vector is unfortunately underrepresented there. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 15:43, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree to add some new skins and I will write one (I did partially, already) called "UltraMinimal". -- 19:20, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

New skins which we then have to support. You can write skins if you want - there are very many. This does not mean we will deploy them on Wikimedia sites. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 19:31, 3 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You just lost a good chance to be a little more diplomatic. The WE you used includes we all and that same WE also prevents you to assume what gets deployed or not. I'm fallowing suit here and being as diplomatics as you were above. Chill out dude. -- 00:04, 4 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not sure I understand your point; could you clarify, please? Technically, no, I do not decide what gets deployed - but this decision is not me acting on my own, it's something that a large number of volunteer and paid developers commented on and participated in. When those developers, who do play a role in deciding what gets deployed, have concluded "we do not want to adopt a vast number of skins with few users", it's fairly improbable that we'll be deploying more skins. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 16:16, 4 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A compromise?[edit]

So, a lot of people have (very reasonable!) objections to this change. One of the things that does keep reoccurring is the idea of a very stripped-down skin that can be built out via user CSS and JS, or left alone for people who want a minimalist browsing experience. We've also got quite a few offers to maintain skins, which solves for the problem of unmaintained code that we then have to look after, but doesn't necessarily solve for additional effort on the part of people integrating new features with skins. So, one idea for a compromise proposal would be this:

If people want a minimalist skin, and can find volunteer developers willing to maintain it, we're perfectly happy to set them up with a git repository to store the code and work on it. However:

  1. The minimalist skin should be based on the Vector codebase, to minimalist (pardon the pun) difficulties for other developers when it comes to writing code that interfaces with a user's skin;
  2. We cannot guarantee deployment. While we're happy to set up a repository and, hey, even a Labs instance so that any volunteer has a prototyping and testing project, any deployment of this skin would have to go through the normal code review process and get consensus within our developer community.

Does this sound like something that could work? Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 17:59, 4 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For the record, I've offered to set up and support a Labs project for that purpose. MPelletier (WMF) (talk) 18:17, 4 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And is responsible for the proposal :). All credit to Marc, if this works for everyone. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 18:19, 4 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"One of the things that does keep reoccurring is the idea of a very stripped-down skin that can be built out via user CSS and JS, or left alone for people who want a minimalist browsing experience." ← Can you explain how this is different from "MySkin"? --MZMcBride (talk) 19:47, 4 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As I understand it read: I may be totally wrong MySkin is built on different principles from, say, Vector, resulting in it being a bugger to support. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 19:51, 4 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Right... MySkin was basically exactly what you're proposing, except it was a clone of Monobook, not Vector. You can see the file here, which reads "MySkin: Monobook without the CSS. The idea is that you customise it using user or site CSS." Even the most novice coders can see how simple this skin was. I'm not sure it made sense to remove it. I may actually file a bug to restore it. --MZMcBride (talk) 20:44, 4 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
See "I may be totally wrong" :). If it does what we need, I'm (personally) happy to just say "we'll keep MySkin around, for as long as there is someone willing to do whatever minimal maintenance it will necessitate", but I'll poke the other people behind this and see what we can see. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 20:51, 4 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Chad has pointed me to this change, which indicates people may be, ah, skeptical, about keeping MySkin or a like-for-like replacement around, unfortunately. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 20:53, 4 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How would it be to use the output of Vector.php, without any included CSS (possibly also without most of the JS)? Surely that would satisfy people? This, that and the other (talk) 08:46, 5 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I should probably point out that a new skin may well be designed to have a minimalist look and layout, but it should be functionally compatible with Vector (and maintained to remain so) if it is to be likely deployed since that is the feature set that features are coded against. MPelletier (WMF) (talk) 21:41, 4 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yep: functionally compatible with Vector is the key here. Otherwise we may as well just keep broken old MySkin lying around. This, that and the other (talk) 00:39, 5 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
One thing that would be nice to specify is whether this would be intended to be simply "minimalist" from a design standpoint or actually stripped down as much as physically possible from a CSS and JS perspective, to allow skins to be built on top of it. Personally I think that the latter would be much more useful, and would also enable those who prefer a certain minimalist design for preference or accessibility to adapt it to their own needs more easily. Jrajav (talk) 15:19, 5 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Being the author of the change mentioned by Oliver above ( which attempted to introduce a new skin (which was essentially Myskin, but for Vector), I've got to agree with the reviewers that it's not really a viable solution. *But*, as it was also pointed out on the change, adding a new Vector-compatible skin *would* be viable – and if there is anybody with some design abilities out there willing to create a streamlined skin for MediaWiki, I'd be happy to help from the programming and getting-it-merged side (although be warned that my free time is limited :( ). Matma Rex (talk) 16:33, 5 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would be more than happy to adapt my own skin, if that's welcome. It's very streamlined - but perhaps some might think it's a little too streamlined. I don't know how many CSS changes there would be going from the Monobook-based Myskin to a Vector-based skin, but I could probably handle that. Here are some screenshots:,W35VoPW,z88z9Gq And my current source, based on Myskin: Note that all of the JS and a few properties in the CSS are just for the feature I added of expanding images to their full resolution without leaving the article, by mousing over them. That would probably be left out of a new minimal "Clear" skin. Jrajav (talk) 17:15, 5 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(Bear in mind that I am no Mediawiki skin expect) Part of the maintenance of a skin is the associated PHP that actually generates the HTML; this is the part that needs careful compatibility checking with Vector – I would expect that the best approach is to maintain that to provide for a minimalist and plain output while implementing the same interface to the core, and leave most of the customization to user CSS; providing only the minimal amount of visual coherency in the default.

Whenever someone is willing to step up to design and maintain that, I'll be more than happy to provide them with a good development and testing environment. — Coren (talk) / (en-wiki) 03:58, 6 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am an experienced general developer with decent web experience, but I am not a designer (though I have been interested in design and learning for the past few months). However, if the skin I just linked is mostly acceptable, I would definitely be willing to step up to polish that, ensure Vector compatibility, and maintain it. There shouldn't be a huge amount of work involved - most of it would be disabling all of the Vector CSS and then reconstructing that MySkin on top of the Vector CSS classes instead (if they're really all that different, that is). Would there really be any PHP changes at all? I mean, since that only generates the HTML, and you can construct a different skin with just CSS. Also, what do I need to do to onboard as a developer? Feel free to contact me at my G+, linked in my profile. Jrajav (talk) 23:06, 6 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd like to make one last appeal here. If "deployment is not guaranteed" can we at least have a window of time before MySkin is killed? Right now the plan is for a guaranteed regression and maybe the fix can get deployed later. It would be nice at least to have a deadline that if volunteers can meet it, there's a possibility of a smooth transition. Vsync (talk) 17:02, 15 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In case it's useful, here is a user who uses MySkin for accessibility reasons. These users shouldn't have to use user CSS; as WMF people have said before, it's never an acceptable solution to any problem. This, that and the other (talk) 01:14, 6 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sounds better, yes. I'll see how it works. DS (talk) 21:33, 6 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The one skin I ask for is indeed the minimalist look. Most important requirement I think would be to have a hidden taskbar which sappears when you move the mouse to the side which utilises full screen space. Second requirement I think would be the option to align the text in centre or somebody form of readme book style option like you get on Safari which improves reading. (Dr. Blofeld)

Is there any way other than Chick skin to have a Wikipedia article take up the whole page width?[edit]

So today this message popped up "You are using the Chick skin, which is being removed beginning on April 15, 2013. More information." I really enjoy chick skin, and use it on all my wiki sites. The main reason is that I find it much simpler to read articles, when the text takes up the width of the entire page. I don't like having reading space wasted with menus and other distractions.

I also greatly enlarge the font, which creates problems with menus bleeding into article space.

IS there any way to have articles take up the entire width of the page on one of the approved skins- Vector, MonoBook, Modern and Cologne Blue? --Gary123 (talk) 03:50, 5 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See this section :). Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 11:26, 5 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Just wondering[edit]

What will happen if I refuse to change it myself? After the shutdown, I assume it will automatically switch me to another, which one? Silver seren (talk) 01:42, 7 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This document already explained, it is changed to Vector.-- 02:59, 7 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Rather than (or perhaps in addition to) refusing to change the skin yourself, I'd recommend posting to Tech about any features you'd like seen moved to your new favorite skin. :-) --MZMcBride (talk) 15:33, 7 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I don't know much about these skins, but when coding w:Module:ImportProtein I encountered a situation where the div/style markup I'd worked on while logged in failed to work when I was logged out. [2] This is because the Monobook skin I think I'm using while logged-in allows you to give a div a negative z-index to put it behind all other elements, while for the other one the element apparently has to have a zero or positive z-index to be visible. If you're narrowing the set, is it desirable to make all the skins work the same way for displaying these elements? Wnt (talk) 05:33, 8 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It'd be nice, frankly; I know we have some devs who are particularly aggrieved by the z-indexes - but I'm not sure if we have resourcing to do it. If you'd like to start smoothing out the kinks in Monobook, though, I'm sure we wouldn't mind! :). Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 15:31, 10 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please keep nostalgia[edit]

Is there a way you can leave nostalgia alive? Please don't force your users to use crap they don't care about, like those "new features" mentioned in the "why" page. Many software projects keep old functions, but with an "unsupported" annotation. I would really love if you did that instead.

I absolutely agree. However, I think even Nostalgia added too many new features, which I would like to be disabled. -- 18:53, 9 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What happens for users on older devices?[edit]

I am concerned at this proposal, particularly for people who have devices which use mobile OS's, especially older ones such as Windows Mobile 6.1 and 6.5 - being someone with one of those older devices, I know the pain of sitting and waiting for Wikipedia to load in a usable interface, in anything other than Chick or Simple. Will you actually be making a skin which is suitable for browsers where there is nothing physically better, short of buying a new device? Humblesnore (talk) 22:05, 11 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, frankly people shouldn't have to rely on using desktop skins at all on mobile, because they shouldn't need to use the desktop version. The Mobile team is currently doing a lot of excellent work around mobile editing that should (indirectly) solve this problem. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 12:49, 13 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Not quite happy about the wording[edit]

Not quite happy about the wording "The skins we will currently keep available – Vector, Monobook, Modern and Cologne Blue – were selected because they currently work with the features we provide.". Cologne Blue is still using hacks to add navigation, etc... that only applies to it. While simple, basically just used MonoBook's template. Strictly speaking, Simple has better support for our features than Cologne Blue. Dantman (talk) 00:34, 12 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is, strictly-speaking, correct, but Cologne Blue has someone to maintain it, which is something that isn't the case with Simple, for example. I'll tweak the text to make that clear, however. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 12:47, 13 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is that really the case? Do MonoBook and Modern have actual, actual, maintainers? In my experience none of our standard skins really had actual maintainers. It was just up to whoever was adding new interface features to ensure they work for all skins. Dantman (talk) 14:47, 13 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Eleventh hour appeal for clemency[edit]

This is a last ditch effort to ask the developers to re-consider this decision. I'm pleading - no - begging for a reprieve. Sorry, I've really tried to get on with Vector, and been switching back and forth for the last couple of weeks, but despite attempts to make it look more like Classic (some of which work, some don't), the fact is, it isn't the same. I know things don't work properly in Classic, and I'm fully prepared to live with that. Label it as an outdated, deprecated skin - make it unavailable to new users if that's possible, but please, please, let those of us who are used to it keep it. By you're own admission, we're a very small minority, and I don't see how keeping it in any way harms the project. Optimist on the run (talk) 17:30, 13 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Classic is built on a legacy skinning system. One that was written for MediaWiki 1.1 and has been absolutely obsolete, rotting, and festering inside the codebase since MediaWiki 1.4 was released back in 2005. This legacy skinning system has issues, hacks, and differences that practically make it incompatible with the new system. It's existence in the codebase has continually gotten in the way of fixing bugs in the SkinTemplate system that every skin besides a small set of ancient skins use. Dantman (talk) 19:01, 13 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I know it's rotten, festering and bug-ridden, but I still prefer it. Why not leave it as a legacy skin, with appropriate warnings that it won't be updated? I don't want to leave the project, but if there's no interface I find usable, I don't see what my options are.Optimist on the run (talk) 19:30, 13 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

suggestions for improvement[edit]

  1. It does not mention that it is a WMF statement. Please make this clear.
  2. If changing a wiki page is not allowed, please indicate this. It is still a wiki.
  3. Rendering gradients and background images which are used a lot more in vector skin than e.g. in classic skin requires more CPU power at the client. Whether it is a direct call to a GDI function in Windows or just an additional effort for the rendering engine does not matter. It adds workload. If you ask me to prove this, I ask you to proving your statement that slow and old computers would benefit from RL.
  4. Encouraging people to put a lot of stuff in their personal skin or javascript files is a worse idea: Often mistakes are made and as a result not only the user's style but also the usergroup style could be affected by the user in concern. Also, when changes to MediaWiki are made, the user's additions can cause trouble and the user perhaps forgot that they've customized their skin. Here I'd like to quote TheDJ, a software developer: „As far as I'm aware, most issues have always been in the unofficial (not supported and user developed) parts of the software.“ — While I don't think that most serious errors or disruption happened due to user created software (Commons is one of the big wikis where new MediaWiki versions are rolled-out and we suffered from so many bugs made by professionals, which usually take >>1d to be fixed), it will certainly make it more difficult to debug and reproduce errors.
  5. I am sure there was a previous discussion about removing the skins (e.g. on IRC or the mailing list). It would great if a link to that could be added.
  6. As a community-js-writer at Commons, I understand that you want to get rid of these styles.

-- Rillke (talk) 21:00, 13 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Your edit was a little problematic, but I think this is a reasonable compromise. Let me know if you feel otherwise. --MZMcBride (talk) 03:11, 14 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you. Yes. When using my slower, old machine, scrolling and page loading is usually faster and smother with e.g. "modern or standard" than with vector. Especially scrolling is important: A difference of milliseconds can change a lot here (if it makes the difference between visible delay and smooth scrolling). Could someone knowledgeable do #5? -- Rillke (talk) 23:29, 14 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Accessibility and customizations[edit]

I've provided an extensive list of the changes of my problems with Vector and what changes I'd like -- one thing I've realized is that Classic is optimal for my accessibility, as it's the only akin that allows me to both have the font large enough for proper painless legibility, and have the page layout elements not obstruct each other. Many of the other issues are cosmetic, but I strongly want them anyway.

Anyone else who would like to retain Classic may be interested in that discussion (and in copying the elements of my vector.css and vector.js that have been provided to make Vector more useable and less ugly). DS (talk) 21:25, 13 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

DS, if you'd like, I can try to help you fix up your vector.css and .js to make it more compatible for you. I can't promise that it'll be perfect, or even work, but I'm willing to help. --Jorm (WMF) (talk) 22:05, 13 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Also, can we have an extension of, say, a week, before this apparently irrevocable decision is implemented? DS (talk) 21:51, 13 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How to customize so I can have nostalgia after the deadline?[edit]

If we are capable of customizing the wiki appearance for our individualized accounts, can someone tell me what specific steps I would need to do to get the nostalgia skin after the skins are turned off? I know that I may sound a tad lazy asking this, but I have no clue how to do stuff like this myself. --Thenewguy34 (talk) 00:42, 14 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The browser’s default font[edit]

I have found out, at last, how to make Wikipedia use the browser’s default font for the main article text (this is what many people want). One should put the following to the user’s vector.css page:

html, body { font-family: inherit }
p, li, dd, div#bodyContent, #bodyContent { line-height: normal }
#bodyContent { font-size: 100% }

Somewhat weird, isn’t it? — Monedula (talk) 19:15, 20 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is there an easy way to apply this globally across all sites? Reubot (talk) 09:15, 23 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This can be done browser-side. I don’t know well Firefox (although I know it’s possible), but on Opera (desktop version) you can write some css file on your computer and define it via site preferences (Tools > Preferences > Advanced > Content > Manage site preferences > (site name) > Display > My style). But obviously this works only on computer where it is configured, so not a good solution if you frequently change of computer. ~ Seb35 [^_^] 13:40, 1 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Also sad of the decision and method[edit]

I’m also sad of learning this, after viewing mw:MediaWiki 1.22/wmf2 after being related on the system messages maintenance page of frwiki. I spent hours to develop my own skin some years ago based on monobook to use a full-width screen and chosed to put it on myskin because it was empty, HTML-compatible with monobook and I didn’t want change monobook with such an heavy way in order to be able to quickly switch between this skin and monobook because I managed changes of system messages on frwiki and have to see the exact changes on the standard interface, as well as see exactly what newcomers see since I was doing some IRL trainings. Also I don’t use it anymore and use vector mainly because a lot of things stop functioning with monobook and my skin, although I’m not really happy with vector.

I’m sad of seeing this announce and no discussion really possible, as an RFC or discussion on wikitech-ambassador would have be; since the change is partly technic-economic as it is said but also involve personal tastes and specific use cases by the users. Now, if a user want to completely rethink a skin, he will have to css-revert parts of a skin, manage to stop loading of some js functions and so on, which is very hard (I did some things like that by blocking with Opera some urls of individual js, but it was before RessourceLoader, and so easier). So I find some really alternative options, as suggested in this talk page, are to keep some blank skin (as MySkin) or give possibility of creating new skins, possibly inheriting of some existing skins, in order to reduce maintenance work for developers and arrange users who really want a custom skin. (And for these users, they could have to re-develop new work-arounds in order to re-create their skins, and thus spending time on it instead of on the articles; so, from this POV, time and money gained by paid developers is spend by volunteers efforts.)

~ Seb35 [^_^] 13:32, 1 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wouldn't it be better?[edit]

To change the skinning system so that it is suitably orthogonal to the functionality, resulting in a more maintainable whole. Rich Farmbrough 19:47 17 July 2013 (GMT).