Over the past year or two, some leading members started experimenting with "inline" images, i.e. images inside the biography of a profile.
This has seemed like a generally good idea.
Some months ago we went ahead and added copy-and-paste code to image pages to make it easier. But then a couple days ago we removed the code, pending this discussion. Having the code essentially means we're officially recommending doing inline images. We don't generally recommend things as the style or standard
without carefully discussing them here and considering the pros and cons.
What are the pros? The obvious one is that it can look good. It's also possible that Google might like it, i.e. they might see the profile as a richer page that's more worthy of ranking in search results. But that's a small issue. What are other pros?
What are cons? One potential problem that I realized the other day: Encouraging inline images is encouraging creative design.
How, you may ask, can creative design be a bad thing? Why wouldn't we want to encourage members to be creative with the appearance of profiles? It can certainly produce good results.
There are technical problems that emerged in the long, painful discussions on CSS and HTML
. But we could make coding mistakes unlikely with clear instructions and copy-and-paste code.
The larger problem is that there's a tension between design creativity and content collaboration.
Creative design isn't really something that you can work with others on. Beauty is in the eye of beholder. Trying to collaborate on creativity opens up a realm for disagreements that can't easily be resolved. Again, this came up in the CSS and HTML
WikiTree was designed for collaboration, not as a hosting service.
WikiTree exists so that genealogists can work together to grow a single family tree. Our primary challenge is putting together the content with careful sourcing. Design is secondary, at best.
If creatively designing profiles distracts our community from its core mission, that's a problem.
Some content formatting is necessary. Members need to create footnotes, make text italicized or bold, do subheaders, lists, blockquotes, etc. This is necessary to make the content clearer and more readable.
Do inline images support the text in the same way as these other formatting things? Or are they mostly about making a profile pretty?