Release status: experimental
|Implementation||Page action, Ajax, Notify, Skin|
|Description||Reflect provides a second column to threaded talkpages. In the second column, anyone can add a bullet point summarizing some point that the commenter was making. The goal is to help make large discussions more meaningful by improving the experience of participating as well as making it easier to identify the takeaways.|
|Author(s)||Travis Kriplean (tkripleantalk)|
|License||GPL v2 / MIT (X11)|
|Example||Installation at abstract.cs.washington.edu|
Translate the Reflect extension if it is available at translatewiki.net
|Check usage and version matrix.|
Presentation at Wikimania
Jonathan Morgan gave a presentation on Reflect at Wikimania 2010
- Make sure you have Extension:LiquidThreads installed
- Download and place the file(s) in a directory called
- Add the following code at the bottom of your LocalSettings.php:
- Run the update script which will automatically create the necessary database tables that this extension needs.
- Done - Navigate to Special:Version on your wiki to verify that the extension is successfully installed.
While it would be great if we could have intelligent, engaging, meaningful mass discussions online, the reality is often bleak. It can be hard for discussants to make sense of all of what is being said (particularly newcomers to a discussion). It is easy to feel overwhelmed, powerless, not heard. Juvenile interactions and flame wars are common. And at the end of the day, it is often difficult to identify the takeaways.
One problem may be that our interfaces have not evolved effective listening mechanisms. Consider everyday experience. When we talk with each other, we give evidence that we understand each other. This evidence helps us debug our messages, as well as helping us feel recognized and heard. Web interfaces, however, largely do not afford the backchannel that is often used by listeners to communicate such evidence. Threaded forums allow us to respond by saying “uh huh”, but it clutters up large discussions. We can sometimes hit the “like” button to signal some affinity for a comment, but does not contain much information.
Reflect implements a subtle interface change to a LiquidThreads-enabled Mediawiki installation that helps people listen, while at the same time producing useful summaries. Instead of a single column of threads, two side-by-side columns are provided. The first column contains the original raw comments that we all know and love. The second column has a list of concise summary bullet points for each respective comment. Other readers and discussants add these bullet points. Commenters can engage with summarizers to make sure that the summarized points accurately portray the points they were trying to make. Adding a summary bullet point is an act of listening somewhere between clicking the "I like this comment" button and responding to a comment.