Contributors

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The Contributors team of the Wikimedia Foundation's Audiences department works on extending and improving the editing tools used at Wikimedia – Editing tools, Collaboration tools, Language tools for translation, content and communication, and Parsing and other infrastructure. We exist to support new and existing editors alike across desktop, tablet, and phone platforms.

Progress on annual plan, quarterly goals and other work[edit]

Below we provide brief narratives of our status on each of Contributors's quarterly goals, and alongside them the department's teams do a lot of other work to support the annual plan, from support work for other departments to preparations for future quarterly goals.

Analysis[edit]

2017-06-13:

  • Our main piece of work is to support the new Contributors Audience Research project between Communications and Contributors, "New Editor Experiences". The team are currently in Czechia undertaking user research.
  • We're working to consolidate our various data sources into one place. Our next item will be to move Notifications and VisualEditor-specific numbers previously shown on the now-deleted "ee" dashboards, so that they can seen again.
  • Our team continues to spend a lot of time working to support other teams in Contributors and more widely.

Collaboration[edit]

2017-06-13:

  • We're working on our quarterly goal, to support users of the new filters on Recent Changes beta feature. The desktop Beta Feature is now available on all wikis, and we're received generally positive feedback. We've added saving of users' favourite filter sets, and we're working on adding several extra requested features to the filters.

Design[edit]

2017-06-13:

  • We're continuing to provide and apply a style guide which all teams in Contributors and more widely follow, as part of the "Improve editing experience by reducing technical and product debt" program in the annual plan. We have implemented all of the principal changes into OOjs UI, focussing especially on accessibility- and mobile-related improvements, and are now gathering feedback and considering documentation whilst we continue to make further improvements, especially to more consistent mobile support.
  • Our team members continue to spend most of their time embedded with other teams.

Language[edit]

2017-06-13:

  • Our quarterly goal, under "Invest in new types of content creation", is to replace the contentEditable editing component of Content Translation with the VisualEditor platform, preserving the current functionalities of Content Translation. We continue with this work in collaboration with the VisualEditor team; at present the CX classes are being reorganized to be used with OOjs. (T152586)
  • Our work on deploying Compact Language Links out of beta (T66793) is paused. Deployments have been completed for all wikis except the English and German Wikipedias. (T136677)

Parsing[edit]

2017-06-20:

  • Support for red links in Parsoid is merged. On an attempt to deploy to production, we discovered a problem and we decided to defer deploy till this issue is resolved. This is now likely be deployed to production in the first week of July.
  • As part of addressing technical debt in MediaWiki, we're planning to replace Tidy with RemexHTML. But, this requires assessing the impact of the replacement on rendering of pages and ensuring editors have the necessary tools to fix up pages that might be impacted. As of April 3, 2017, we have enabled the ParserMigration extension on all wikis. This lets editors compare the Tidy version of the page with the RemexHTML version of the pages. With help from CLs, we will be reaching out to editors to start fixing templates and wikitext to render correctly with RemexHTML. Editors have already been fixing up some wikitext usage patterns that are deprecated. We have implemented a dashboard for editors to monitor the status of these patterns. To support editors doing these fixups, we are investigating solutions to a long-standing complaint about maintenance categories not getting populated in a timely manner. We are also exploring other solutions for some other potential changes when Tidy is replaced.
  • We're working with Reading and others on support for multi-script wikis (like Chinese), initially just for reading but later for editing too. This work is now awaiting review and related additional fixes before we can declare it completed. We made a bunch of fixes to the core parser to fix some edge cases. Based on visual diff testing of a patch that fixes some edge cases in the preprocessor, we identified pages and wikitext patterns that need to be fixed up to render properly when preprocessor edge cases are fixed. We announced the preprocessor changes in Tech News and editors have been fixing up these. The change has been merged and deployed as part of 1.30.0-wmf.2. Concurrently, Parsoid-side patches are being reviewed and worked on to parse language converter markup and represent it in the DOM to enable conversions and a lossless roundtrip back to wikitext. This Parsoid side code will likely be merged this week for additional testing before deploy.
  • We have started working to finish up and provide to editors the output of the GSoC "linter" project to spot wikitext mistakes and issues for editors to fix. This should help improve the quality of the wikitext corpus and reduce errors for users. We are rolling this out to production in a phased manner. The linter extension is currently deployed on small and medium wikis. We had to temporarily roll back its deployment on large wikis after running into some performance impacts. This has been now fixed and is expected to be deployed to large wikis this week. On the Parsoid side, we have been adding new linter categories to (a) more accurately identify wikitext to fix (b) identify wikitext patterns that will break when Tidy is replaced so that they can start fixing them. We have also been getting bug reports and feedback from editors who have been already fixing up pages based on linter output. So far, it looks like this is going to be an useful tool for editors. Based on feedback, we have improved documentation and guidance to editors about fixing markup issues exposed by the Linter extension.
  • We have resumed mass visual diff testing comparing rendering of PHP parser and Parsoid output. Based on initial testing, we have identified a bunch of issues that could be fixed in Parsoid. This page will be continually updated (and phabricator tickets filed) as we examine test results and investigate the sources of rendering differences. The testing infrastructure will also let us track our progress in closing the rendering gaps between Parsoid and PHP parser.
  • We've paused our work on providing a system to balance templates, due to competing concerns.
  • We've paused work from earlier this year on reducing the bandwidth demands of read-mode pages by considering how to move data-mw out of inline HTML. After discussions between us, Services, VisualEditor, we collectively decided that there is no urgency to deploy this since Reading has its own version to strip this in production, and VE prefers the inlined data-mw in HTML. This will be revisited when we are closer to adopting Parsoid HTML for read views.

Editing[edit]

2017-06-20:

  • Platform Our main work right now is supporting the Language team in using the visual editor platform as the technology underneath the Content Translation tool, consolidating and simplifying experiences for users and also reducing software complexity to reduce bugs and maintenance cost.
  • Visual diffs – We are looking for feedback on our tool giving users visual diffs inside the visual editor. This lets editors see the changes they and others have made without needing to know the intricacies of wikitext, augmenting the current two-column wikitext diff interface. We're making improvements we've identified, and eventually, we will provide it outside the editor too as an option when looking at diffs in any context.
  • Wikitext editing – We're also working to provide a unified, consistent editing interface between mobile and desktop Web, and between visual and wikitext editors. The initial version of the new wikitext editing mode was released as a desktop Beta Feature for opt-in testing in December. Work on adding further features for this, and providing this for mobile Web, is underway. We expect to have completed sufficient additional work here to ask more users to try the tool out in June or July.
  • Other work
    • Our work to release the visual editor to all Wikipedias is now almost complete. There are now outstanding only the eight multi-script Wikipedias (including Chinese) which are technologically blocked, on which we're working with Parsing. There are also three other Wikipedias in incomplete deployment states (English, Spanish and Dutch), for which work is paused pending the new wikitext editor release, and won't resume until some point, probably in mid-2017.
    • Our work to release the visual editor to sister projects is now paused. Work on the blocker bugs to Wikisource working had stalled as we'd put resources elsewhere, but has recently resumed following the Developer Summit 2017. We hope to get this ready in mid-2017.
    • We paused work on the single edit tab integration on other wikis in June 2016, pending the new wikitext editor release, and so won't resume until some point later in 2017.

2017–2018 Annual Plan work[edit]

Annual Program, Outcome Annual Objective Current work Dependency Status
3: Increase device support for editing Improve and consolidate our unified editing platform so that it's great on all devices Complete conversion of CX editing surface to use VE platform. Roll out second beta of the VE wikitext edit mode. Enable non-JavaScript editing on mobile devices. Remove the 2006 wikitext editor entirely. Community Liaisons To do To do
In emerging communities, engagement and number of participants increases, and the proportion of mobile contributions continues its strong growth. Invest in our future by researching a radically better multi-lingual content system (both reading and editing), compatible across all devices No active work planned during this quarter.
Collaborate with Reading to create new mechanisms by which to contribute edits with lower context or in small ways on mobile devices TBD Community Liaisons

Readers

To do To do
Maintain editing technologies with very high up-time for all our users. Reduce product and technical debt to modernise our tools and technologies, and to make future changes more effective and efficient On-going maintenance. Community Liaisons and Tech/News volunteers To do To do
Modernise user interface technologies to encompass mobile and desktop platforms, with continued work on the Wikimedia-wide adoption of a standard Web user interface library Expand roll-out of converted OOjs UI buttons in the 2010 wikitext editor to all wikis in desktop. Convert the desktop Special:Preferences to use OOjs UI, and explore options for providing said page on mobile.  Community Liaisons

Readers

To do To do
Support work towards unifying MediaWiki's parser implementations, in liaison with Technology's MediaWiki team Pursue work to switch from Tidy to RemexHtml in Wikimedia production. Continue the parser output compatibility improvements. Community Liaisons

MediaWiki team

To do To do
4: New editor success Expand and deepen our understanding of the experiences of new editors in emerging communities based on generative research Produce a prioritised list of possible interventions based on the New Editor Experiences project and generative research for wider discussion and then selection. Community Liaisons

Audience Design

To do To do
In emerging communities, increase the retention of new editors, and the quality of their contributions. Improve, adjust, or create features geared at the needs identified in the research project. The features will be chosen based on research outcomes, but likely will be aimed at the following:
  • Providing better contextual guidance to new users facing social or technical obstacles during the editing process (such as a perceived lack of permission to edit, a lack of understanding of citations and linking, or a desire for real-time assistance)
  • Better supporting existing editors in mentoring and nurturing new users (such as by improving communications, helping identify good-faith newcomers, or helping new users express their interests and needs)
No active work planned during this quarter.
5: Increase current editor retention and engagement Develop a deeper understanding of how communities share, surface, and select contribution tasks on their wikis by researching community-built systems, especially focused on larger wikis  No active work planned during this quarter.
Recommend where new and tenured users can contribute Improve, adjust, or create features geared at the needs identified in our research. The features will be decided upon based on the findings, but will likely be aimed at the following:
  • Supporting users by surfacing recommendations with community-wide contribution tasks, such as in a dashboard
  • Provide users with recommendations for contribution tasks personalised to their activity and interests
No active work planned during this quarter.
Give better ways to monitor contributions Apply the new recent changes filters technology with Machine Learning to other contexts like watchlists and history pages Roll out the recent changes filters to all users on all wikis. Make it possible to use the filters on watchlists. Support new wikis taking on use of ORES. Community Liaisons To do To do
Improve the productivity of tenured editors through fixing long-standing issues with change-monitoring tools, in collaboration with Community Tech TBD Community Liaisons

Community Tech

To do To do
Provide better workflow and communication experiences Evaluate initial opportunities for improving common workflows, consolidating and updating all the existing research on on-wiki behaviors No active work planned during this quarter.
Improve structured discussion features for the communities that use them, based on user feedback and prioritising technical debt Triage the list of planned changes to Structured Discussions, sequencing them for they year, and begin work on at least one of them. Community Liaisons To do To do

Contact[edit]

Discussion about major things happens on the ​wikitech-l mailing list. For specific IRC channels, see the team subpages linked above.

See also[edit]

Quarterly check-in notes and slides
Fiscal year Jul–Sep

"Q1"

Oct–Dec

"Q2"

Jan–Mar

"Q3"

Apr–Jun

"Q4"

FY2016–17 Minutes; Slides Minutes; Slides Minutes; Slides To come
FY2015–16 Minutes; Slides Minutes; Slides Minutes; Slides Minutes; Slides
FY2014–15 Minutes; Slides Minutes; Slides Minutes; Slides Minutes; Slides
FY2013–14 Minutes; Slides Minutes; Slides Minutes; Slides
FY2012–13 Minutes; Slides Minutes; Slides

Other documents[edit]