Talk:Talk pages consultation 2019/Individual feedback

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About this board

Please start a new topic and reply to those two questions groups:

  • When you want to talk on-wiki, what tools work for you, and what problems block you? Why?
  • How do new users on your wiki use talk pages, and what problems do they run into?

Thank you for participating!

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)
MJL (talkcontribs)
RhinosF1 (talkcontribs)

Thanks for the ping @MJL

Reply to "Phase 2 report"
Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)


Since you said that you were interested in StructuredDiscussions, I thought I'd move this here. No need to sign, and there's a handy box for adding your reply to this post. ;-)

We did notify everyone with a big banner. After my experience with VisualEditor in 2013, I am not sure that "a big banner" actually works well (and I'd love to know what other people think about that). Back then, I personally posted messages to more than 100 pages, plus banners ran for weeks, and it was discussed on every Village pump and every other central page – and I still had people tell me that they'd never heard anything about it. Some of that may be individual prefs settings (like setting your language to en-GB), but I think a bigger problem is what we call "banner blindness". After a while, you just ignore all those banners. Or maybe you read them, but there's so much going on that you forget afterwards.

If you're curious, the first banner for this consultation ran for a week in multiple languages. The CentralNotice banner brought people to the main announcement, which had links to the list of local pages and links to the main page.

I decided that this might have been too complicated, so on Tuesday, they set up a second banner for me, which brought people directly to this page and ran for 24 hours and only in English (or perhaps there was a French version as well, although that should have pointed to the French Wikipedia's local page, because this page wasn't translated; I didn't set it up).

The consultation has also been announced at in-person events such as EMWCon Spring 2019, and I believe that every m:Affiliate group received at least one notice, so they could invite their members and talk about their group's needs. I've personally e-mailed a handful of user groups that deal with edit-a-thons, and it was posted to nearly all of the Village pumps and multiple mailing lists. I've been told that it's been mentioned on Facebook repeatedly, and on Twitter, for those who follow their communities there. But a way to actually reach everyone – that's hard. I'm always taking notes on how to improve that aspect, so if you've got ideas (today, next week, next year – seriously), please let me know.

Nicereddy (talkcontribs)

@Whatamidoing (WMF) This is a much nicer format for discussion :D Unfortunately it seems like you've made pretty every effort to get the word out, so I don't have much of an idea here. Maybe get every participant of past discussions around this topic and then post a message on their talk page? Though that'd bias toward people who are already involved in the discussions.

I wish I had better suggestions than that, thank you for reaching out and for all your work on this project!

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

It eliminates nearly all edit conflicts as well. It's by no means perfect in its current state, but there are some advantages. One of them is that if this page (or even just this one thread) is on your watchlist, you'll get an Echo notification about my reply, no matter which wiki you're on.

The next phase of this consultation is to bring people back to talk about tradeoffs (e.g., do you want auto-signing enough to put up with it sometimes signing the wrong thing?), so I'll have another opportunity to try out contact methods. Maybe I'll try pinging lots of people.

Pelagic (talkcontribs)

Running a banner for week on the high-traffic Wikipedias would reach a lot of eyeballs, but it's still only a subset (I didn't see the first one, but my attendance on WP is very patchy). I understand you have timelines and perhaps can't promote something for a full month, plus there's the rule of diminishing returns for extended times.

Yes, there is "banner blindness", but for me the phase 2 banner was more a case of "maybe interesting, I should look into that sometime". Even after a click-though, the reader needs to be motivated to take action. It's a challenge to find time in an often-busy life, especially when there's sooo much material to read through (not just the primary info but the talk).

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Work's underway on the report from Phase 2, so I get to think about this all over again. This time, I want people to come back to read the Phase 2 report, and also to put the (soon-to-be-created) project pages on their watchlists. Ideas for how to accomplish that goal will be gratefully received.

Reply to "Communication"

Helping newcomers find the talk pages – more details

Pelagic (talkcontribs)

I was going to post this under Individual Feedback, but it was getting too long and detailed.

  • Why should newcomers find talk pages (in the broad sense) and which ones they should be finding? English Wikipedia, for example, has a lot of venues: Teahouse, Helpdesk, per-article Talk, Village Pump, numerous Wikiprojects... Plus there's non-talk help content: help pages, Community Portal, guidelines and wiki-essays etc. So many places that it's hard to know where to turn, and not just for newbies. New user tests covered article discussion on English Wikipedia using the desktop site with Vector skin, so I'll focus on that for a start.
  • Yes there are two links on the page presented as "Talk". (French and German WP have discussion and diskussion in both places: are there any languages that have different words in the two places? I notice on this MW page I see page-"Discussion" and user-"Talk". Same on Commons in English, though on Commons in Italian the labels are discussione/discussioni.) In Firefox, if I hover my mouse over one, the tool tip says "Your talk page [Alt+Shift+n]", and the other says "Discussion about the content page [Alt+Shift+t]". I also get URL tips that say "https : //" and "". Maybe I'm a bit 'special' because I actively seek out these extra clues when exploring somewhere new? Once you get the concept that all the small links to the right of your name apply to you, it's much more convenient than having them hidden behind a drop-down. Understanding why a not-logged-in user still has Talk and Contribs is a bit more complicated, though the tool-tips do say "from this IP address". Those affordances would be harder to activate on a touch-screen tablet.
  • The content and talk tabs are right next to each other. I can't think how "the connection between article content and discussions" could be any more visible. Given that MW is page-based and the article-talk happens on a separate page from the article-discussion, the pair of adjacent tabs embodies the mental model that people need to develop to deal with the site.
  • If "discuss this page" is an action you do, then it would belong on the right with the other actions. But "page discussion" is a place you go. The test procedure says users were prompted to "talk about how they would find the discussion area", which is consistent with the place-you-go approach. Possibly they just don't see the pair of selectors on the left. If we move the Talk tab to the right, how are people going to understand that Edit source and View history now apply to the talk page not the content page? (Having said that, the grouping in Monobook is more subtle. Surely the change of tab placement was seen as an improvement when Vector replaced Monobook?)
  • Vector is confusing in that you have two groups of tab-like selectors and each group has an active tab. It's an elegant use of space but goes against expectations of what a tab does. The normal paradigm would be to have Read|Edit|History stacked underneath Article|Discussion. This could work in Vector if we pushed those tabs up higher (i.e. tabs on left, user-account links and search on right). It would also be interesting to test usability with the whole head section pinned to the top, but that could be less desirable on small screens than big ones.
  • It would be really interesting to have the user test repeated with Timeless skin in a wide-enough window. Article, Talk, View, Edit, etc. are more visible, are separated from the user drop-down, and are styled with underlines rather than as tabs.
  • Then there's Minerva and the "mobile site" where Talk is a button and is at the bottom of the page instead of top. I went for a long time thinking that there was no Talk or History on mobile before realizing.

[Should maybe have posted each dot-point as a separate comment to aid perma-linking?]

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

And to make it easier to reply to individual points, because several of these could be discussions by themselves.

Let's start here:

> The content and talk tabs are right next to each other. I can't think how "the connection between article content and discussions" could be any more visible.

Several people have suggested that it could work more like comments in a word processing doc. That would be more visible than a separate page.

Most of the users seemed to be looking for some system by which you could figure out (on the talk page) where the different parts of the article had been discussed. That's the system that the English Wikipedia used back in the day (see Talk pages consultation 2019/Discussion tools in the past). The article talk (sections) had summaries of prior decisions about what to put in each section of the article, according to article section/topic. That's a clearer (intellectual) connection than a date-based archive.

Pelagic (talkcontribs)

I just saw that Advanced mobile contributions is moving towards the desktop/Vector approach:

  • "selecting the “discussion” tab on the top of each page"
  • "rendering the Talk page as a tab of the article"
Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Would you like to make your suggestion about simplifying the tabs ("Vector is confusing in that you have two groups of tab-like selectors and each group has an active tab. It's an elegant use of space but goes against expectations of what a tab does. The normal paradigm would be to have Read|Edit|History stacked underneath Article|Discussion") at the talk page for Advanced mobile contributions?

Reply to "Helping newcomers find the talk pages – more details"
Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)


Welcome to StructuredDiscussions. :-) Do you think that using a system similar to this one would actually result in less "bite-y" communications with new editors? It might reduce the amount of nitpicking we (speaking in my volunteer capacity) do about "you have to sign!" and "add colons!", but is that enough to change the overall feel?

Markworthen (talkcontribs)

I really don't know. I'm not intimately familiar with Structured Discussions - the linked-to page was apparently out of date. I would just like to see something that's easier to use for all of us. I'm open to suggestions! :O) ~~~~

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

It was set to the default talk page format on this wiki a couple years ago, by popular demand. It has some advantages. It has some solvable disadvantages. And it has some aspects that probably aren't solvable (within any reasonable level of effort). For example, if it's really important to you to make our conversation be the fourth thread on the page instead of whatever it is, then that just won't work. (If memory serves, the ability to split threads was planned, but I'm not sure whether merging threads was.)

There are some other things that have been a little bit surprising. For example, you can edit comments (your own or others', if you have whatever priv level is set for your wiki), but there's no edit summary box. And so far, I haven't heard a single actual complaint about that. Edit summaries just don't seem to be important for most conversations. (No need to sign!)

Pelagic (talkcontribs)

So this is Flow? ... umm, I mean StructuredDiscussions!

Why don't people like it?

Seems that this could work in Wikipedia for low-volume talk about non-contentious articles. Outside article space, pages and talk-pages get used for all kinds of weird and wacky creative workflows that might not adapt well (at least on EN-WP).

Pelagic (talkcontribs)

Sorry, I didn't answer your question. It might help a little, but there are many other things that make EN-WP bitey.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Most workflows (e.g., adding messages with Twinkle) work in this system. The original plan was to build something powerful enough to handle the English Wikipedia's AFD pages and ARBCOM cases. (In 2019, there's no reason why anybody should have manually count up votes on a website.)

What doesn't work in the current version is that when I (volunteer-me) wake up in the morning, I want to see everything that was posted to w:en:WT:MED last night. That feature doesn't exist right now. (The then-product manager recently apologized for not building it.)

Reply to "New editors"
Summary by RhinosF1


RhinosF1 (talkcontribs)

When will the Qualtrics survey be posted?

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Next week at the earliest. I apologize for the delay.

RhinosF1 (talkcontribs)

@Whatamidoing (WMF) - No problem - I certainly have opinions and think that might be a good way to go to give them - I don't really have a home-wiki and some of the questions on individual feedback are getting busy

RhinosF1 (talkcontribs)
RhinosF1 (talkcontribs)

e Trizek's talk page - option has been withdrawne

Summary last edited by Tuvalkin 20:44, 10 April 2019 2 years ago

It’s fine in wikitext. Leave it as it is.

Tuvalkin (talkcontribs)

It’s fine in wikitext. Leave it as it is.

Roxyshorty3 (talkcontribs)

Keep it

Natovan4 (talkcontribs)

Keep the look of wikitext, but add an easier way to adding your comment.

Tuvalkin (talkcontribs)

What do you mean, «the look of wikitext»?

Natovan4 (talkcontribs)

I mean the look of wikitext

Tuvalkin (talkcontribs)

Wikitext is not about looks, it’s about how one enters data. The final look is determined i.a. by the skin in use. I started this thread to voice my adamant opposition against anything that’s not editable/viewable as a flat text source, like Flow and Wikidata (to make a long story short), and also against unavoidable middle layers between user and that flat text source, such as VisualEditor.

If you want «an easier way to adding your comment», presumably easier that what’s done in most WMF projects, which is wikitext, then you don’t want it kept and you need to go add your support to another thread.

Discussion page is hard to understand for the first time

Summary by 94rain

it is not easy to find "How to add comments", unlike other websites that have "text field"

Natovan4 (talkcontribs)

When i first meet the discussions page i didn't understand how to add my comment. I thought commenting page will be like on other websites, when user just click on text field, types and clicks send button.

Natovan4 (talkcontribs)

By the way this page feels very comfortable to me.

This post was hidden by MJL (history)
Jason M. C., Han (talkcontribs)

Just making them meaningful around certain topic or theme

Phase 1 report up; Phase 2 questions ready

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)
Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Oh, and the Phase 2 questions are on this page. Feel free to jump right into the middle and add your answers, or to post them here – whatever is easiest for you.

Reply to "Phase 1 report up; Phase 2 questions ready"

Hope to see flow topics able to be archived

Summary by 94rain
94rain (talkcontribs)

For example,

There are a lot of questions being asked at Project:Support_desk. If these questions can be archived to the exact extension/MediaWiki version correspondingly, it may be helpful and beneficial for other users for reference.

Trizek (WMF) (talkcontribs)

It could be done by using the summary (click on the ... close to the topic title) and adding there a category.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

What does "archived" mean to you? Or, what's the goal for archiving? To get it out of your way? To find all the old stuff in the same place? Something else?

A lot of people using that style of discussion will "Mark as resolved", which collapses the discussion. This causes problems with using your web browser's Find... function to search recent conversations, but it does get it out of your way.

94rain (talkcontribs)

It means finding the old stuff in the same place to me.

I wish flow topics could be moved from one page to another or moved up and down regardless of the time order (for now the topics with new replies are above). This would be helpful for arranging previous discussions and it would be more convenient for future reference.

If developers would like to continue to improve flow, I hope they could take this feature into consideration.

Thank you!

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Long discussions are problematic

InvalidOS (talkcontribs)

A particularly long discussion can make it harder to just scroll through talk pages and read them. Maybe making discussions collapsable could help? ~~~~

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

What device/browser/operating system are you using?

InvalidOS (talkcontribs)

I use a laptop and a phone.

Reply to "Long discussions are problematic"
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