Why are Wiki’s so darn ugly?

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I am a Wiki-virgin. Not in the sense of being a wiki-reader/contributor, but today I set up my first Wiki which is about to go online. Wiki’s based on the MediaWiki software (which is also used for WikiPedia) are actually skinable, but as content usually is king in Wiki land, very few operators make an effort to change skin before going online. The well known default Monobook skin is used almost everywhere (you know – the one where the monochrome image of an book is the back-drop).

This has one obvious benefit: People recognize it as being a Wiki-type site immediately. Indeed a strong argument to keep things as they are. I may be running my mouth of as the green first day Wiki operator, and maybe I have actually used Wiki based sites that I did not recognize because it used some great unknown skin. But doesn’t the Wiki deserve it’s Kubrick skin – which was considered the defacto blog-look a few years back. People would look at the skin (which is beautiful) and say “Ahh – that’s a weblog”. These days I (and probably a few other) say “Yuck – It’s a Wiki”.

Michael Heilemann did such a great job with Kubrick. Isn’t it time for Wiki’s to have their own updated slick skin? Do you have it or know where to get it? There is one Wiki-skin I like: Cavendish. I would love to be able to create one myself, but my graphic skills are unfortunately only focused around my eyes – not in my hands.

Posted in Geekyness, Open Source, Web, Wiki

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