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Editor campaigns/Activity feed

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Activity Feed Redesign[edit]

The new activity feed design incorporates many ideas from user interviews. Major aspects include:

  • Customization
    • Many users expressed frustration at the lack of flexibility and static nature of the current feed. The new design offers improved flexibility through options for users to specify three variables:
      • The number of days to view (1, 3, 7, 14, or 30)
      • The grouping of activity items (by article or by user)
        • Grouping by article (default) displays items in a per-article order. This view is especially helpful for campaigns that involve tracking the progress of many articles, such as edit-a-thons.
        • Grouping by user displays items in a per-user order. This view is especially helpful for monitoring the specific contributions of individuals, such as teachers tracking students.
      • The type of activity to show (all, new article, edit article, create user page, edit user page, post to talk page, upload media, or edit sandbox)
  • Consistency
    • Some users expressed frustration at the feed not behaving as expected according to Wiki standards. To maintain consistency and simplify interpretation of new options, the new design closely follows the format of a similar existing Wiki feature: watchlists. The similarity between the new customize format and watchlists benefits both users and developers; users can easily transfer knowledge and familiarity with an existing feature to understanding a new one, and developers can leverage existing infrastructure to expedite engineering.
  • Conciseness
    • Another complaint was that the current feed is too cluttered and confusing to understand, especially with multiple courses and users. To simplify the interface, the new design consolidates each activity item into a single line that specifies the user, article, date, number of bytes changed, and edit summary.

The content of the new design is a superset of the current design, as it includes all information from the existing design. The key improvement is that the new design reorganizes the information to be cleaner and adds additional customization abilities.

Wiki Education Foundation plans[edit]

Wiki Education Foundation is potentially interested in contracting a developer to implement this for use with English Wikipedia education program courses, as a replacement for the view activity feed features of course pages.

Step 1: new activity feed design[edit]

JJ Liu's design above is ready to be implemented. It will do much better with meeting the needs of EP extension users; compared to the current feed, it presents essentially the same information, but in a more flexible and compact format. The key element of the design is to take the combined contributions of a set of users and group them either by article or by user. It also uses the same design language as the Watchlist and other activity feeds, which is a big plus for experienced users.

Since this new activity feed design will be useful for Education Program extension course pages as well as nascent editor campaigns, and potentially elsewhere as well, it should be implemented in a way that makes it easy to use beyond the context of the Education Program extension. That may mean it should be built as a separate extension that interacts with the EP extension, or it may mean building it within Education Program extension to begin with but with an eye toward making it easy to port later.

Step 2: inline diffs[edit]

After the initial redesign, we would like to incorporate a feature that is current available for watchlists and article histories via user script: inline diffs. This feature — try it out with Writ Keeper's script if you haven't, it's awesome — would make it especially efficient to monitor the edit-by-edit work of a group of student editors. Something very similar should be incorporated into the activity feed itself (without the need to install a user script), so that the diff of any edit can be loaded without leaving the activity feed.

Step 3: inline replies to diffs[edit]

This last feature is a bit more of a stretch: after loading an inline diff, a user should be able to leave a talk page comment in response (either on the article's talk page, or the talk page of the user who made the edit). The idea is to make it very efficient to leave individual feedback for a large number of newcomers, based on the details of their edits.

User interview notes

User Interview Notes[edit]


  • Daily usage of ActivityFeed
  • Likes
    • Find it useful for looking at contributions of users
    • Can see what people have done in the last few days
    • Can look at multiple classes at once
  • Dislikes
    • Big complaint: don't know if showing edit history is the best summary of what they did
      • Lots of new users don't provide edit summary, so the space isn't useful
      • Thinks it's better to not have the edit summary (but knows others would disagree - can be useful for specifying the section edited)
    • Terrible design - huge volume of classes, takes long load time
    • Top of feed is same class every time, so bottom of page classes aren't as commonly seen
    • Ordering is based on order the course pages were created
  • Suggestions
    • Wants a better way of showing what articles students are drastically impacting - maybe see how much content they added
      • Currently has to click on article and then go to history of article to see contributions - still leads into 4 or 5 other steps
      • Could show diff? But want to be useful for professors too
    • Maybe don't show bytes, but see chunk of added amount, or estimate of words added
    • Try to document and keep track of what articles students are impacting - see what the version of the article was before they edited it?
    • Have a "View history" link from activity feed? Program management use
    • Interested in larger edits and contributions students made
      • Wants to quantity angle of edits
    • Now that usernames are global (on other wikimedia sites) - show any edit or file they've uploaded to commons - not just text contributions
    • More consolidated? See class, less in a list, not with all edits (collapsed with title + summary (x editors edited x articles))
    • Develop a system of phases (sometimes all these people are editing into their sandbox)
      • e.g. this class is editing sandboxes
      • More useful for classes than editor campaigns
      • Within a class, all taking training this week, some professors have their students post on talk page of an article they want to edit (e.g. add 5 sources), then next 3 weeks editing in sandbox, then editing in namespace
      • Long convoluted page to show that students have completed training
      • If student enrolled in that class and made edit to student training page, know they've finished training --> show as an edit as they completed training
      • Sandbox space, draft space - all separate phases (7 students are editing articles)
    • Edit-a-thon: see tons of copy edits
      • Instead: show summary - where they're editing, magnitude of edit, format (picture?) - see actual type of edit
    • Phase: see trends over course of semester, or for an individual person (small edits to large edits)
    • Time frame for activityfeed: currently not customizable, 5 days, probably too short
      • Sometimes have 3 week timeline between assignments - can miss edits, 5 days too short for editors
      • Huge scrolling is a pain
    • Feed should feature links to Wikimetrics: way to upload a cohort of editors (e.g. upload a class)
      • Shows quantity - how many edits were made, what size their edits were
      • Feed could let you create charts showing trends over a semester
      • Reveal some trends - data and numbers
      • Program manager could set parameters for the data visualizer
      • Generally could have more quantitative summaries about what users are doing (maybe through Wikimetrics, maybe not)
    • Make data (long term) collapsable
    • Could offer option to look over longer period - how many edits total have my students made since beginning of semester? how many edits did they touch?
    • What's useful to see: title of article, link to article, size of edit, article they're editing, type of edit - create/edit/delete
    • Be more explicit about creating new article - in collapsed view, see what articles students created
    • Structure - instead of ordering by time, can structure by type of edit
      • new article, created user page (separating it from real edit), edit article, talk page, separate live space from the sandbox, image)
    • Have a peer review survey? Or some grading process - poll numbers
      • Need article quality criteria - quantitative measures
      • Peer reviews are difficult to standardize and class specific
    • Currently when student username is linked, it links to the user page - more useful to link to contribution page, especially with shorter time frame for ActivityFeed (more directly relevant)
      • Many students don't even create user page
    • Idea: summary boxes: have it per class, if you're following multiple classes, have summary of everything
    • Could have widget space where you rearrange ActivityFeed the way you want it to be
    • Have default settings - certain person who can create default customization (e.g. most relevant to classes, most relevant to edit-a-thons)
    • ActivityFeed becomes separate tab in preferences? Different features you can put in - more info, customize
    • Could have "Did you know?" in top right of ActivityFeed


  • Who: Founded program in Czech Republic / program manager / instructor
    • Has been using the extension for about a year
    • Current satisfaction on a scale of 1-10: 7
    • Views feed 5-10 times a day
  • Main goal of using the feature: monitor the changes that he sees - check users that edit the pages
  • Often clicks corresponding links to article or discussion page
  • Likes
    • It provides useful functionality
    • Before extension: took related changes and put them together into one page - more manual
  • Dislikes
    • Shows only a limited time frame
    • Wants a button or possibility to choose how long the log is (1 week, 1 month, etc) - could go in the My Courses page (under heading of My Courses page - rollout/options)
    • Each edit takes too much time to review
  • Suggestions
    • Split the types of contributions into edits, new pages, discussion posts, messages, etc
    • Wants users to see all edits prior to enrolling in course, not just after enrolling
    • Link from Special:My courses to Special:Student activity (meter showing edits)
      • Could transcoot the pages - put name of page in [[]] - page appears like it’s inserted into page
      • Summary of My courses
      • Shows all students
    • Edit summary is sort of useful - could put into project page of each course - course page
    • At end of page, have check box for having reviewed it
  • Separate problem: When you currently list an article in your course page, the link isn't active - it should link to article or display a red link


  • Usage: marks and follows pages that users work on
  • Currently uses Excel files separate from extension to write notes
  • Wants instructor to see actual names of users - took hours to find names of all students in Excel, had to have students sign up
  • Has to write down notes for herself
  • Dislikes
    • ActivityFeed is not simple to follow
    • Confusing with many courses and multiple users
  • Suggestions
    • Differentiate between 2 activities: user, and what’s relevant to the course (specific articles)
      • Current problem: When a user is listed for 2 courses, the feed currently shows activity in both courses
      • Wants extension to only show activities relevant to the actual edits relevant to course
      • Wants to track user to see what else he/she's working on
      • But also have a view to only show relevant article edits in course
    • Have a feature to send all users in a course a message at the same time
      • Could be in another tab - post a message that all students can see
    • Model design after the watchlist (Special:Recent Changes)
      • Wants to do it the Wiki way (keep community happy, easier to digest)
      • Better design could be like a watchlist for a course - every article added to watchlist is added to the list - lets users closely monitor articles that interest them
      • Can also add users and user talk pages - follow both pages and users
      • When using a watchlist for a course, automatically add everything (users and articles) related to course to the list
    • Have checkmark box for each article - to keep track of whether you’ve checked each article, notify users on check (see checked status, notes) - as another tab
    • Have another column to write notes (bookkeeping for herself)
      • Wants visual references to the status of the edit and a place for notes (with different visibility settings so users can't see)
    • Wants to be able to sort information - by name of article or by usernames
    • Wants to be able to export the information - users and articles they’re working on
    • Wants easy way to interact with students - currently need to user page, which is hard for users to use (leave message on user talk page or article talk page)
    • Wants to be able to see how comments and student activity interact
    • Wants to track changes users are doing and how they're interacting with instructor
    • e.g. sort by course --> see comments instructor made and then changes students made in response
  • General comments
    • Thinks the track changes feature is important
    • An academic course that requires a grade has different needs from a workshop - campaigns involve extra features
    • Upset that the Education extension doesn’t relate to Wikipedia?
      • Wants extension to behave like regular Wiki page
      • Linking to the extension behaves like external page
      • Categories don’t work? Have to go into category to see that message was added
      • Not being able to add categories is catastrophic
      • Wants more notifications for all users
    • Right now is quite depressed about everything happening on Hebrew Wikipedia - criticizing extension without even trying it, doesn’t know what to do about their complaints
    • Need to consult community - make them part of the process, community is a strong part of Wikipedia
    • Israel is a small community - have different needs than English (much larger) - need to be flexible and agile enough for the small community to make necessary changes
    • Permissions are a mess - different roles and assignments
    • Trolls are making a mess of the course - no real way for community to track it or to prevent/protect pages
    • Don’t need something outside of Wiki and doesn’t behave like Wiki - has problems in permissions
    • “Until they fix it, we don’t want it here” - community doesn’t want the extension because it doesn’t do much outreach, so they can’t appreciate it