'degeekify' the diaspora UI

I hope I don’t offend anyone with my title! It’s not meant in a derogatory way.

While working on the getting started tutorial, I’ve had occasion to look at the sign-up screen on several pods.

On each of them the sign-up fields are filled with placeholders which are Star Wars references (email: luke@hoth.net, username: jedi_guy).

There’s also ‘these aren’t the kittens you’re looking for’ on the 404 error page, which is also a Star Wars reference, although I suppose that has a charm of its own.

I would like to remove such geeky/fan-boy references from diaspora, just as I would like to remove geographically or culturally specific language (such as ‘awesome!’) as it can be off-putting for people not in that particular group. I myself find it very off-putting, for example. I’ve already removed such language from the project site when I rewrote it, and I think it reads better as a result.

We want to encourage as wide a range of people as possible to use diaspora, so we shouldn’t use language which is exclusive to one group, wherever possible.

Concerning the sign-up page, it is also a reference to the ‘beta’ features which were never implemented and which later became Makrio, so I think it’s in need of a redesign in any case, to reflect more what diaspora is about now. But that’s a separate issue.

Note: This discussion was imported from Loomio. Click here to view the original discussion.

I personally find that it’s important to show that diaspora* is different, that we are not a serious company, but friends who offer you to use a free web. kittens and Star Wars are not only geek thing, everybody get the reference, and this is the important point.

I really like th charm this has and don’t want to lose it. As far as dummy-entries go (luke@ …), I don’t care (but it’s better than johndoe!).
But the kittens you are looking for… this is important. Everybody in the internet knows the internet likes kittens and will understand that.

If something is inaccurate, fixing it is good. But if it’s not broken and just not to your liking, don’t change it.

deleting kittens kills the internet. i don’t think the placeholder names do any harm, and the little messages like the ‘awesome!’ think are quite nice and i guess everybody should understand the meaning…

everybody get the reference, and this is the important point.

That’s not true. It’s only likely to true for people from a certain cultural background, and age, and not all of those will like the reference. It’s a very male-centric reference, for a start. Most of the people I know would, I’m sure, recognise it but find it off-putting and many might decide not to join Diaspora as a result (thinking it’s just for fan-boys).

Early adopters and those contributing to diaspora (including those of us who use loomio) are likely to be interested in software development, and this is a cultural group also more likely to enjoy Star Wars references. But we have to consider the wider population who might want to use diaspora. It’s also part of getting away from it being the pet project of four young men from New York and becoming a global collaborative project to try to change the social web. The references just don’t fit in to that, in my view.

I think the interface needs to be as culturally neutral as possible so that it is accessible to as many as possible, just as the design is neutral and therefore universal. The design is a triumph of minimalism, and I think we need the language to match that.

deleting kittens kills the internet.

Hee hee! Love it.

I can almost hear Sean thinking: 'with all the things that need to get done, someone’s worried about this?'
P.S., I’m with Waithamai when it comes to the defense of kittens and the internet

@hewiak everything is important and this does not represent a lot of work

@goob maybe star wars is not a reference for everybody. I’m okay about removing it. But my point is, diaspora* is different. diaspora* is not a corporation, diaspora* doesn’t care about money, diaspora* is young, dynamic, awesome. Users have to get that on the very first page, from the beginning. “Wow, you look terrific” when the user chooses his profile picture is the best example of what I want to say. diaspora* is your friend. diaspora* likes the same thing than you. So it was star wars, maybe we can find something more accurate, but a world wide reference for every young people is pretty hard to find…

@goob even if people don’t get the reference it’s no problem, because it’s just a placeholder, right?
I guess the ones who recognize the reference won’t have a problem with it, and the ones who don’t recognize it won’t think about it and will just regard it as some kind of placeholder, which it actually is.
I really don’t get your problem with this stuff …

I like the way Diaspora is geeky :slight_smile: It’s really nice that web apps build character with small things like this. The “you look awesome” is one great example how D* has this done in a great way. As such I don’t like the idea of forcibly making the app more boring :slight_smile:

@goob, I agree generally. As much as it appeals to me, I want this to be accessible and inclusive which means some amount of de-geekifying. Not to be bland though! It’s to be inclusive. I’m confident we can make something people love without losing our charm.

I really don’t get your problem with this stuff …

I, and many of my friends, didn’t get why it was written “Sofaer” instead of my name. We don’t get it was an example because in France no last name looks like that. That’s why I proposed to replace by “Skywalker” because more people will get it. But it’s still possible that this stays weird in some countries.

I think the real problem with the placeholder is, that it’s not really different from acutal text, visually.
If it was light-grey there would be no doubt about it being a placeholder, regardless of the contents. :slight_smile:

Maybe adding some “geekifiers” recognizable by other cultures would be good. And/or perhaps some alternatives dependant on location and language of user? It could be a part of translation process.

Let’s translate Diaspora first, then Goob can add whatever “culturally appropriate” references he wants on his own pod.

Well, Star Wars is one of the very few movies, which is known by at least three generations of people. Of course, I can only speak of Germany/Europe. Don’t know, whether people from Asia know it, too.

I tried to get my mother to register yesterday, and she got puzzled by the placeholder text.
She obviously thought she HAD to type jedi_guy in the username in the box (and did not know how to type “_”… no comment).
There seems to be a potential for improvement of the user interface here.

D* UI in general is quite complex even for me, male, tech-aware in his late 20’s. I took me some time to fully understand how D* works.

@flaburgan I agree on the point that diaspora* should be friendly, but I think that it really should be culturally neutral, and also respectful. The references are nice, as long as they’re just kept to the background (like placeholders).

I wouldn’t want diaspora* to be overly familiar, though. As examples, the registration text “Hey, make something!” didn’t make sense to me, since I was there to join a social network, not a workshop. And when I registered a while back, I had diaspora* in czech language, but it roughly said something like “Woo, hello there!”

My point is that while diaspora* can be friendly and different, it shouldn’t be way too familiar and informal. To some point it’s nice, but if it’s too much, it can easily get annoying and repellent.

Make something felt not appropriate anymore (even if I really like the idea behind it: to be an actor, not simply a user) so we dropped it in the 0.5 which is coming really soon.


I invited people to Diaspora* for many years, never ever, even once, it has happened that small references to Star Wars cause problems, I know many fans of war stars, then we are indifferent, but I know not a single who hate him, people are stupid, but not so much, know what a simple example, and this is a small Diaspora tradition worth preserving.


I was born in Argentina, I live in Spain and visit other countries, I watch television, radio and newspapers around the world not only for news, also looking at other cultures, I can be absolutely sure that stars war is known in most of the planet, if at any side do not know, they know the first day they have internet access, if not internet not diaspora, if yes internet shure know that movie.