Talk:Requests for comment/Future of magic links

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About this board

Nuno Tavares (talkcontribs)

I believe it is aligned with the discussion around this topic. Either way, I had the particular need to create such an extension (to extend with more "magical links"), everyone is invited to improve it in any way.

Ghilt (talkcontribs)
Reply to "Extension:MagicalLinkers is now available"
Bináris (talkcontribs)

Nice plan. I think it is no big deal to change them with bot. Templating is the usual and maintainable way.

Matthiasb (talkcontribs)

Sorry, no, within the German WP templating within flow-text is usually a no-go. And with the advent of lua templating isn't maintable as easy as it used to be. (ceterum censeo: lua is bad, really bad for usability by normal users)

Rich Farmbrough (talkcontribs)

People need to understand a load more to use the templates, than just type "ISBN blah" . I don't have an issue with RFC being demagiced since its a speciality item. But for ISBN this is a stupid move. Rich Farmbrough 08:19, 8 June 2017 (UTC).

Reply to "Opinion"

Where was this announced in the mayor, say, 50 projects to partake in this discussion?

Sänger (talkcontribs)

Um es ein wenig deutlicher zu machen, schreibe ich das auf Deutsch, weil die enWP eben nur ein einziges, und definitiv nicht das bestimmende Projekt hier ist. Wo wurde das hier also in den 50 größten Projekten angekündigt, damit diejenigen, die betroffen sind, auch an der Diskussion teilnehmen können?

I've written this in German, to make the English folks clear, that the world doesn't revolve around them. Where was this announced, so that all projects that are affected are made aware of this in their language, not just this stupid English?

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)
Sänger (talkcontribs)

Das ist aber nicht irgendeine technische Petitesse, die allein irgendwelche Devs im Hinterzimmer entscheiden sollten, oder? Die Abschaffung eines einfach und intuitiv zu nutzenden Features ohne Sonderzeichen und der Ersatz durch eine nerdige Vorlagenlösung mit schwer erreichbaren Zeichen; wurde das in irgendwelchen Portalen, die viel damit zu tun haben nachgefragt? Von welchen Vielnutzern dieser automagischen Links wurde deren Abschaffung gefordert? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 19:29, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

I should say: Look for someone to translate this, but... This ain't no small change, that should be discussed only in some devs back room, or should it? The ditching of a simple and intuitive usable feature without the use of any special characters and replacement with nerdy templates with rare special characters; was it asked for by any portals, that use them a lot? Who of the heavy users of those automagic links asked for the abolition?

Reply to "Where was this announced in the mayor, say, 50 projects to partake in this discussion?"
Fano (talkcontribs)

I just read for the first time the announce in wp:de (and not even an official announce) that you consider removing the ISBN feature. Don't you have anything better to do than to delete features that people use? --~~~

Reply to "Outraged"

The perfect strategy for producing future edit wars

Matthiasb (talkcontribs)

Removing magic links and forcing users to use templates will result in dispute where editors think that the ISBN does not need to be linked.

And it produces more edits since editors will forget using the templates, so other editors will add them.

The removal of magic links just is producing workload for bots, now and later, when bots have to comb through all articles to add the template brackets whereever users forgot them.

Sorry folks, but the proposal of magic links is the worst idea since the invention of the Internet.

Reply to "The perfect strategy for producing future edit wars"

Special:Booksources and ISBN

Summary by Wargo

Special:BookSources will still be available.

Pspviwki (talkcontribs)

Please do not remove this functionality until there is a stable and full replacement. One part of my wiki is a bibliography of books from the field and Special:Booksources and ISBN is used on every book page and that is going to grow into thousands. Not a problem with a change itself, a bot can change the page link if necessary, but the functionality itself would be sorely missing.

2A01:E35:8A8D:FE80:1CD9:4D4C:E151:F1C7 (talkcontribs)

I agree. Removing it without having and teaching to users a full replacement is a suicide. We would feel totally helpless.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I understand that there is already a stable and full alternative. Just type [[Special:Booksources/0-7475-3269-9|ISBN 0-7475-3269-9]] wherever you would have previously typed ISBN 0-7475-3269-9.

Danny B. (talkcontribs)

Or create Template:ISBN with content

[[Special:BookSources/{{{1}}}|ISBN {{{1}}}]]

and then instead of typing ISBN 1-234-567-89-X, type {{ISBN|1-234-567-89-X}}.

Pspviwki (talkcontribs)

That is not what I meant by my comment I probably worded it wrong. I have a simple template like that [[Special:BookSources/{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]]. I mean NOT having ISBN functionality at all, regardless of way it is going to be invoked. I would rather welcome its enhancement (ISMN).

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

The International Standard Music Number?

The point of this change is to stop having simple plain-text letters that cause unexpected, uncontrollable links in the text. These magic links are being removed, and no new magic links are expected in the future.

Jytdog (talkcontribs)

Nice statement of the fait accompli and the "who cares what editors actually want" mentality.

Wargo (talkcontribs)
Jytdog (talkcontribs)

"These magic links are being removed". In other words, The Developers Have Decided, no point in discussing, etc etc. Jytdog (talk) 18:51, 30 December 2016 (UTC)

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

This appears to be a case of what the English Wikipdia has, for many years, classified as a "CONEXCEPT" issue.

As for "no point in discussing", it's been publicly discussed for many months – far longer than the typical RFC at the English Wikipedia. It might be fairer to say "despite announcements in multiple forums, most Wikipedia editors didn't notice the existence of the discussion until after the decision was taken".

Pspviwki (talkcontribs)

Guys, come down and thanks. Problem was rather in my imprecise wording, Special:BookSources is still with us and that is all that matters.

Musings on ISBN and possible parser function

This, that and the other (talkcontribs)

The RFC and PMID ones should obviously go away, I think everyone has been wanting this for many years. The ISBN case is a bit more interesting, since it links to Special:BookSources, so interwiki linking can't be used as a replacement. I wonder if it would make more sense to have Extension:BookSources implement a parser function {{isbn:123456789X}} that does the automatic linking. Making people type [[Special:BookSources/123456789X|ISBN 1-23456-789-X]] or whatever is silly, and it seems just as silly to require each and every wiki to create Template:Isbn with the contents [[Special:BookSources/{{{1}}}|ISBN {{{1}}}]].

LeadSongDog (talkcontribs)
Legoktm (talkcontribs)

TTO probably meant "everyone" in the sense from a MediaWiki developer perspective. But many of the requests regarding problems with magic links have come from users - see the various bugs linked in the "Problem" section of the RfC.

This, that and the other (talkcontribs)

Do some people actually like magic links? I'm quite surprised. I think most people would agree that they're an anachronistic abomination whose purpose is much better served today by interwiki links (pmid:12345) or custom templates. See MZMcBride's comment at the WPMED talk page.

Additionally, we're talking about a MediaWiki core feature here. Feedback from users at individual MediaWiki installations is certainly useful, but by no means a driver for decisions that are made. There are a wide range of MediaWiki sites out there with a range of different needs, and many of those needs will be able to be better served if the wikitext parser is more rational and less bloated.

Spinningspark (talkcontribs)

Did you not read my post on this page before you made that comment? Yes, some people do like magic links, particularly the ISBN one. And as you have clearly been reading the WP:MED page, and seen objections there as well, I can only assume you are being sarcastic.

This, that and the other (talkcontribs)

No, I'm not being sarcastic. I am genuinely surprised that there are people that want to keep the RFD and/or PMID magic links. (The ISBN ones are kind of a separate issue, as I mentioned in my original post.) I wrote the first part of my comment before reading the talk page discussion.

SlimVirgin (talkcontribs)

There's concern on enwiki (here, for example) about the loss of the ISBN and PMID magic links and about the lack of discussion. Can the disabling of the links be halted so that a wider discussion can be held first? People who don't use citation templates, for example, rely on these links.

Legoktm (talkcontribs)

That sounds pretty reasonable to me. Would we introduce such a parser function in core during the deprecation period before we split Booksources out to a separate extension?

This, that and the other (talkcontribs)

Yes, I think that if we wanted to bring in that parser function, it would have to be brought in straight away, so that wikis could replace their magic links with the parser function straight away.

Spinningspark (talkcontribs)

I am horrified that the ISBN magic link is going. That is so convenient. The ISBN can be pasted straight from gbooks or wherever without having to do any extraneous markup like add curly brackets. That is something I do all the time and taking it away is adding to my workload.

Legoktm (talkcontribs)

Hi Spinningspark, could you explain how you normally use ISBN links on wikis? Are they going into citation templates? Or as raw text? Or?

Spinningspark (talkcontribs)

I generally don't use citation templates unless I am adding to an article that has them as standard. For articles I write, I construct the references manually. That is very simple for me, the only markup usually needed for a book is a pair of italics markers for the title. If I got it from gbooks everything else can be just pasted in from the book information page. I know going to a template is only four curly brackets and a pipe (so five) extra characters, but I do a lot of this, and having to go back to the beginning of the paste to add curly brackets breaks the flow of typing, I have to take my hands off the keyboard to move the cursor with the mouse. Constructing the bibliography section is the most labour intensive part of writing an article for me. I don't want the workload added to.

PamD (talkcontribs)

I use the ISBN magic link frequently, and would be very sorry to see it disappear. The most common scenario is that in the flow of a paragraph about an author where a book is mentioned I will add the publisher and ISBN in brackets, the date too if not in the flow of the text. The magic linking provides direct access to information sources which verify the book's existence and publication details. ISBN information may well be added by a naive editor who doesn't know about templates etc, but the magic link picks up the most natural presentation and links automatically to this useful resource. On the (infinitesimally?) rare occasions when someone wants to follow "ISBN" by a number which is not an ISBN to be linked, Template:Nbsp does the trick just nicely.

Reply to "Musings on ISBN and possible parser function"
Kaldari (talkcontribs)

The proposal as written sounds reasonable to me. In the long run, I imagine ISBN, PMID, and RFC links will be handled the same as DOI, JSTOR, IEC, NGS, ITIS, and IMDB links. In other words, with dedicated templates. The current behavior was a good idea at the time, but I think we've outgrown it.

Strainu (talkcontribs)

I personally would prefer to extend the number and reach of magic links, with Magic Words or any other wiki-configurable method, to just removing them. Templates are good, but writing "RFC 1234" is shorter and much simpler (especially on mobile) to type than "{{RFC|1234}}". I'm not even talking about how hard it currently is to insert a template in VE.

Legoktm (talkcontribs)

But really, how many times have you wanted to link to an IETF RFC? I've been editing for how many years now, and have used the RFC magic link functionality exactly once.

I agree that making it easier to link to references or external websites is a good thing, but I don't think the current implementation of magic links is the way to do it.

Strainu (talkcontribs)

Well, you're asking the wrong person - I've linked hundreds of times to RFCs, but I'm clearly way above average since I'm writing articles about different networking protocols.

But just like I'm writing articles about things described in RFCs, others write articles that use other external ids (to use Wikidata terminology) and should benefit from such shortcuts. If the current implementation is non-scalable and hard to maintain, the solution should be to replace it, not dump it.

Saper (talkcontribs)

I'm a bit surprised: it's a feature that actually makes something easier and effortless to the users and we would like to remove it.

I spend some time editing non-Wikimedia wikis (sometimes being invited to solve an ad-hoc problem somewhere) and it is always a pain having to find out a list of available interwiki links, which I find extremely unfriendly.

Templates are even worse: their syntax is cumbersome and finding out what kind of template a particular MediaWiki install is using is a challenge. If somebody desires a Wikipedia-like look and feel of their own MediaWiki install the most painful thing is to import some set of "standard" templates into their own wiki, for example to be able to create infoboxes or navigation templates.

As per actual issues - hardcoded links, non-extensible - I fully agree, but maybe this can be fixed?

Kaldari (talkcontribs)

Personally, I find the magic link behavior to be a pain in the butt, since I commonly discuss RFCs on wiki, but not IETF RFCs. So I always end up linking to the wrong webpages and confusing people. The assumption that magic words make things easier only applies if you happen to be using the magic words as they are intended to be used, which isn't always the case. Also, you have to remember which words are magic and which ones aren't. I would rather have a consistent, flexible system that is less magic.

LeadSongDog (talkcontribs)

So far, the dual meaning of RFC (IETF vs MW) seems to be the only viable argument in favour of this change. I've seen no meaningful argument that supports killing the PMID or ISBN functionality. So, will they continue to be enabled on WP and WD after they are no longer the default installation?

Legoktm (talkcontribs)

Hi @LeadSongDog, did you read the various Phabricator tasks linked in the "Problem" section? I think those are valid arguments for removing the other 2 magic links as well.

The default has already been switched to disabled, but they are still enabled on Wikimedia sites currently.

LeadSongDog (talkcontribs)

Yes I've read them, but it was not clear whether or not established usage on en wp will eventually be disrupted. It's nice to confirm that it hasn't happened yet, thank you, but not enough. The "unlocalizable" argument seems to be at most weakly supported, in a forum that goes largely unseen. It is certainly not clear why it is "unlocalizable".

As is often the case, the issue is that when devs make a decision without consulting the affected volunteer users, those volunteers experience the results as an unwelcome surprise breaking change. Such actions cost us editors. It is a real issue. If the change does not break things for users then why make them think it will?

Reply to "Proposal"
Danny B. (talkcontribs)

Although rfc is not valid ISO code for any language at this moment, we should generally avoid three-letter interwiki prefixes for the sake of preventing posssible conflicts, as various codes are being added and changed during the time. (IIRC such conflicts already happened in past.)

Legoktm (talkcontribs)

RFC existed as an interwiki prior to this RfC.

Danny B. (talkcontribs)

I didn't say the opposite. I was pointing out that it should be considered to not use interwiki as a final solution due to possible conflicts.

Reply to "rfc: interwikis possible issue"
Jytdog (talkcontribs)

You started this two months months ago and you don't even notify WP:MED which uses the pmid link extensively? We just found out because someone posted at WT:MED.

Don't do this. We use it all the time.

What does this actually hurt?

Did you all actually do something on the back end already? Is that why the autofill no longer works in the citation template that is part of the toolbox in the editing window?

ARGH. I deleted a lot of swearing before I posted this.

Quiddity (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Sidenote: I just saw a task about "pmid autofill is broken in RefToolbar" was filed and rapidly resolved at phab:T150821. That bug is unrelated to this proposal. The fix is already live.

Jytdog (talkcontribs)

Great, I am glad they are separate things, and I did see that the other problem was fixed.

That doesn't change my reaction to this proposal.

Reply to "What??!!"