Talk:Talk pages consultation 2019/Phase 2 report

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Please check the translations of your comments[edit]

笔尖留痕, RonnieV, ParaBenT, JAn Dudík, O.Taris, B25es, KaiMartin, O. Morand, Aschmidt, Mautpreller, Cimbail, SwissChocolateSC, Sänger, Berlinschneid, Mathieugp, Ankry, Cedalyon, VladXe

You have all been quoted (some of you more than once) in this report. Please check the English translation, and make any appropriate corrections.

Also, if your name appears as a red link in this message, then please consider creating a m:Global user page. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:24, 15 August 2019 (UTC)

  • I‘m totally fine with the translation of my comment. Thanks for including my (doubtlessly controversial) viewpoint! --SwissChocolateSC (talk) 20:14, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
    • Thank you for writing it! This team tended to choose quotations that were particularly clear or did the best job of representing an important perspective. It was very important to them to show the diversity of the discussions. Different people and different communities wanted different things. This particular project can only address some requests, but every comment was read with interest, and every perspective matters. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 20:42, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I wonder why the second half of my statement has not been translated into English? Could you please add the second sentence in order to make the translation complete? I said: Following a well-known dictum by Gertrude Stein, a wiki is a wiki is a wiki, and that applies to the discussion page, too. The only improvement I could think of would be an automatic signature because then other authors would not have to sign their co-editors comments any more that were made without signing. – Thanks!--Aschmidt (talk) 21:55, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
    • Thanks for spotting that, Aschmidt. I have removed the second sentence, as I don't think it was originally meant to be included. Not having them match was my fault. Sorry about that. BTW, I picked yours to be first for that section because I thought it was such a lovely way of expressing that idea. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 14:47, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
      • Thank you for elaborating, Whatamidoing (WMF)! I am happy and grateful that you also like the idea of Gertrude Stein's quotation, and I must admit that I am a great fan of hers. ;) I think we can leave it like this because the basic idea lies indeed in this analogy. However, I also think that some kind of making signing easier in discussions should be included in MediaWiki core. We have not had a signature bot in German Wikipedia for years. Now, thanks to user:Count Count, user:CountCountBot has finally filled that gap. If anything should be changed about the way discussions are done in Wikipedia, automatic signatures should be introduced. Could you please make this another point in your summary? – Thanks, again.--Aschmidt (talk) 22:04, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I‘m fine with the translation of my comment. Thanks! B25es (talk) 13:16, 16 August 2019 (UTC)


The section about "fine control" reminds me of some of the debates over WYSIWYG editing versus other forms of editing that allow better control over the structure of the document. Including, for that matter, some of the debates over VisualEditor (although finding that wheat among the chaff of criticism over the way it was initially deployed or bugs it has or had in the past may be difficult). Anomie (talk) 13:27, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

Executive summary[edit]

Wicki Hand001 edited.JPG

I admit and acknowledge, this post-Flow topic is sensitive and important, there were many discussions on a number of wikis, and various positions in those discussions. It's difficult to reflect that in one paragraph, so you made a Featured Article-like report with a Good Article-like summary, which (the summary alone) is 3,5-screen long on my 27" monitor. Thank you so much for this proof of honesty and diligence. Good job! My God, no. Excellent, superb job, chapeau bas!

But. (Someone said everything before "but" doesn't count, eh? ;)))

Could you please provide an executive summary in 2-4 paragraphs? Key answers to key questions: what happened, what's the decision, what should be expected, and when? Something that could be easily sharable on newsletters, village pumps, bulletins, but longer than a twit? Something that other liaisons could easily refer to without reading the entire documentation? Thanks in advance!

Congratulations & hugs! Tar Lócesilion (queta) 21:26, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

Hi, Tar Lócesilion! Let me try: "You know that problem when the newbie totally screws up the page formatting, because it's so confusing if you don't know what you're doing? We're going to try to make less of that happen. Also, please put Talk pages project on your watchlist."
Oh, it looks like Twitter increased the size of their tweets, so that's too short to meet your requirements. 😁 I'll try again:
  • The Editing team is going to try a couple of things. The over-riding goal is: Don't Break The Wikis. Ideas that work out will be kept. Ideas that don't work will be discarded. The exact details will be settled at Talk pages project and subpages (so watch that!).
    • The scope is a couple of small-to-medium changes. This is not a five-year epic project. It is probably not even a two-year project. It's (therefore) still going to have wikitext underneath it.
    • They don't expect to solve all the problems. They're hoping to make it "less bad", not perfect.
  • One idea they're going to try out is to make it easier for people to find and use the talk pages. In PaulSch's words, "in Wikipedia aktiv zu werden, ist auf Diskussionsseiten niedriger als auf Artikelseiten" (it should be easier to become active in Wikipedia's discussion pages than on article pages). In other words, if you don't know what you're doing, it should be not easier to break the article than to ask someone for help.
    • There are a lot of ways to address this general goal, but this is probably going to be a small project focused on the appearance of the page – maybe something that makes it obvious that the article-writing activity happens over here, and the asking-how-to-help activity happens over there. It is probably not going to be, say, a project that creates #tags or ways to track questions that didn't get a reply.
  • A problem they're thinking about is the weird mechanics around posting. People should be able to think more about what they're saying and less about how to type it. For simple comments, you should be able to click a button, type your comment, and have the computer figure out the rest for you.
    • If you all want this to work in 99% of cases, then this is probably going to require changes to wikitext conventions. If you're happy with it working 50% of the time, then it's probably fine.
    • See Talk pages consultation 2019/Convenient Discussions notes for one idea they're looking into.
Is that more useful? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:48, 20 August 2019 (UTC)
Hi Whatamidoing, I'll try to shorten/alter and translate your ES to German, then post it to our de:WP:Kurier: * Das Bearbeitungsteam wird einige Dinge probieren. Übergeordnetes Ziel ist: stört die Wikis nicht. Ideen, die funktionieren, werden beibehalten, andere werden verworfen. Die exakten Details kommen unter mw:Talk pages project und Unterseiten (beobachten!). ** Es geht um ein paar kleine-bis-mittlere Änderungen, kein episches Fünfjahresprojekt, vielleicht nichtmal ein Zweijahresprojekt. Darunter wird es weiter den gewohnten Quelltext geben. ** Das Team erwartet nicht, alle Probleme lösen zu können, es soll nur "weniger schlecht" werden. Es wird zunächst versucht, Diskussionsseiten leichter auffindbar und benutzbar zu machen. Wenn man sich nicht auskennt, sollte es leichter sein, jemanden um Rat zu fragen, als den Artikel zu beschädigen. ** Es gibt viele Wege zu diesem Ziel, aber voraussichtlich wird man sich auf die Optik konzentrieren - um offensichtlich zu machen, wo man am Artikel schreiben, und wo man um Hilfe fragen kann. * Die verrückte Syntax ist das zweite Thema. Man sollte sich auf das konzentrieren können, was man schreiben will, und nicht wie es zu formatieren ist. Für einfache Kommentare sollte es genügen, einen Knopf zu drücken, den Text zu tippen... und um den Rest kümmert sich der Computer. Wenn ihr wollt, dass es künftig zu 99% so läuft, müsste man vielleicht die Quelltextkonventionen ändern. Wenn euch aber 50% genügen, ist vielleicht schon alles gut so. Näheres zu einem Vorschlag in der engeren Wahl steht unter Talk pages consultation 2019/Convenient Discussions notes. --MBq (talk) 14:22, 4 September 2019 (UTC)
Danke, MBq. Es scheint mir alles in Ordnung. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:25, 5 September 2019 (UTC)


Accept what it is: a workspace, not a forum. So, now the page is called 'Talk', as is on the tab. What about changing that name to 'Workspace'? Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 19:06, 21 August 2019 (UTC)

SwissChocolateSC, Aschmidt, Tar Lócesilion, B25es, Anomie: What do you all think of Ad's idea? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:13, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
Please don't break our user experience. On German Wikipedia we are used to the term Diskussion (Talk in English) for discussing what happens in Wikipedia articles as well as what happens else within the community. There is no need to break this. What matters is that everything keeps happening in a wiki, writing articles and discussions. No one on German Wikipedia wants or even needs something that would look like a web forum of sorts.--Aschmidt (talk) 10:07, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
This is a proposal to change the name, not to change what you find in that namespace. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:55, 28 August 2019 (UTC)
@Whatamidoing (WMF): Sure. But the name talls you what this namespace is for. – I've done some field research. ;) Over the weekend I've asked a friend who has never contributed to Wikipedia about discussions. First, she was surprised that anyone can discuss any topic on-wiki. When I explained it to her, we had to find out first how to navigate to a talk page on her smartphone. I do not use a mobile device regularly, so I was surprised to find the link to talk pages in fact is hidden on the bottom of the page. That's bad design. Period. Then we had to manage to create a new page because we were the first ones to comment an article. That's my background knowledge without which we had probably gut stuck here. Then, if I had not known how to create a heading in wikitext we had not managed to do so. We saved our comment without signing because there was no button to do so, and typing in four tildes on a smartphone keyboard seemed way too complicated to us. The summary suggested by default we had probably corrected a spelling mistake which obviously we had not, so it did not make any sense here. I managed to change that. Finally, we managed to save the text on-wiki. It was a real adventure for both of us, and I have been a Wikipedian since 2005. This mobile interface is really bad design, it is crap. It is neither a "workspace". My friend said "Diskussion" still fits the purpose of the feature best. She did not like neither "workspace" nor "talk" or "comment", the latter because it is mostly used in blogs, not in wikis. So, all in all I think there is still a lot more to do than changing the name of a namespace if you want to make commenting easier.--Aschmidt (talk) 20:20, 1 September 2019 (UTC)
Personally, I don't much care what the tab is named; I note the tab is named "Discussion" in English by default (overridden on enwiki though) rather than "Talk" though. If the actual namespace name is changed, "Talk" would need to remain as an alias to avoid breaking millions of existing links and I wouldn't be too surprised if it remained the more used in English since it's so much shorter and has the weight of habit. Anomie (talk) 11:22, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
From a Spanish-speaking point of view, "Talk" sounds more friendly and polite than "Discussion". Of course, we old editors are used to "Discusión" and know that it doesn't (or at least, shouldn't) include flame, insults, etc. But for the newcomers is not always so obvious. B25es (talk) 17:40, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
If a separate tab dedicated for metadata (like quality assessments etc.) was created, "workspace" wouldn't fit due to the broad definition of this word. I find the idea itself to be attractive though. I wouldn't say "No one on [insert language] Wikipedia wants or even needs" this sort of thinking. Tar Lócesilion (queta) 14:05, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
I think the term "discussion" works best. "Workspace" sounds kind of irritating, because the tab is supposed to serve primarely as a communication plattform. "Talk" works fine too, however; that could also be interpreted as an invention to just "chatter" about a topic, without actually discussing how the article could be improved.--SwissChocolateSC (talk) 09:00, 25 August 2019 (UTC)

Signing on mobile[edit]

What, on the mobile version autosign is already enabled! So you're talking about problems with the desktop version. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 19:08, 21 August 2019 (UTC)

Good Job[edit]

More than a bit late to the show, but I thought I'd drop a thank you to @Whatamidoing (WMF): and the team. While there were a couple of issues (and of course time will tell how well community viewpoints are followed with product development) I felt I had to call out the superiority of this review over pretty much every other community consultation handled by the WMF. Ever.

The multi-lingual side was handled very nicely (kudos to the fr-wiki and de-wiki who seem to sneak in a lot more pithy lines into their discussion), and there doesn't seem to be exclusion of the more dissenting views. I also got a feeling that there wasn't such a cast-iron end-goal, whatever the discussion, as has shown up in IP Masking and the various Working Group discussions.

If you get a chance, could you spread some lessons to others when they come to run consultations (WG recommendations in particular!)? I truly feel it would be improve the Community and help with the troubled Community-WMF relationships.

In any case, I look forward to seeing how this plays out.

Nosebagbear (talk) 19:51, 28 August 2019 (UTC)

@Nosebagbear:, thanks for the kind words. We're happy and relieved that this consultation brought us to a good direction; not knowing what the end goal would be was both exciting and somewhat nerve-wracking. :) I've been talking to other people in the Product department about using this as a model for future work. The IP masking project is going to be very much shaped by community consultation too -- it may not look like it yet, because the team wanted to get the original announcement out as early as possible, but that's where they're going. Thanks again. -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 18:31, 3 September 2019 (UTC)


The last part of section 1 ("In Phase 2, we asked a series of questions ... have shaped our understanding of this project."), and the headline of section 2 ("Summary of findings") somehow don't show up in the translation tool. --MBq (talk) 16:12, 3 September 2019 (UTC)

Thanks for the note, MBq. I think I've fixed it. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:10, 3 September 2019 (UTC)

Using Template:Quotation with original[edit]


You should have used the appropriate template for the quotations… We created it after the report for Phase 1 was published, to clean the source code and adapt the interface for translated versions. And I wrote a comment about it.

I’ve just modified the report so that it uses the template — it’s quite an adventurous work as I use regexps for it, but hopefully I haven’t broken anything. Now the quotation elements need to be marked for translation.

Don’t you like our deeply thought template ? Face-sad.svg

Frigory (talk) 16:48, 18 September 2019 (UTC)

‘A wiki page is a wiki page’[edit]

I don’t agree much with the philosophy which is developed in the section that has this name. I like the intention behind it which is to defend the necessity of looking forward to provide modern and friendly interfaces. But then you say that it would be complex to get in mind that a simple tool could be used for several usages which imply very different processes.

No, it’s not complex. It’s completely natural, and it might even be fun to think like this. I.e. you’ve got familiar with some tool, in our case it’s wikitext, and you’ve learned it for one use case which for us is e.g. writing Wikipedia articles. So you know the tool, you like it, you can claim to every people around you that you are more skilled than them with this tool. And later, you discover that this beloved tool you master so well can be used for something else than writing Wikipedia articles! You can use it to discuss with people, too, and to organize and shape the discussions in quite funny manners. So it’s really a matter of point of view and willingness.

Indeed, compared to usual forum/discussion interfaces, the wikitext has this advantage of working like the canonical computer editor, which is like a sheet of paper with the bonus of those fantastic insertion, suppression and copy functions. If we forget about this bonus (or we can imagine having it by cutting the paper and pasting other pieces in it), the wikitext can be seen quite like a sheet of paper. So you can use it either to write a general article or a specific message, and in the latter case of discussions, you have to sign your message just like you do it on a postal letter. So it’s perfectly understandable to read that the wikitext (or even the visual editor, as opposed to a restrictive but automated discussion interface) has something natural. And this certainly explains the success of the Wikimedia projects.

What to me is less natural is the concept of coding to generate your document or message. It’s something specific to computing! Coding has something natural (i.e. non-computer specific) in this ways:

  • When you define procedures, i.e. when you write a computer program or a script e.g. in JavaScript. It’s like writing a juridical code, for example. Well, there’s a major difference: when you write a juridical code, it’s very difficult to get it to be applied, while when you write a computer code, it’s usually very quickly applied.
  • When you write a format specification, e.g. the HTML specification. Similarly, you may define the semantical structure of non-digital documents.
  • When you define a visual style for your semantics, e.g. with CSS.

So writing JavaScript, CSS and the HTML specification is natural, by this I mean that it’s not specific to the digital world. But writing e.g. HTML code to generate web documents is not natural, it’s the specific skill of computer specialists. When you write on a sheet of paper, you directly see the result of your work as you write. This is why it is really appropriate to have visual, WYSIWYG editors (but, please, being a good WYSIWYG editor does not prevent from having the good features of a WYSIWYM editor too – Face-smile.svg).

But our main object is not to have a visual editor for talk pages, but to have a more automated discussion interface for talk pages. This is what many contributors and people who don’t contribute yet want. Then, I’d say it should be compared to slavery. Indeed, even with a sheet of paper, you could imagine having a slave (let’s say a Black person to fit with the common picture) who will do all the repetitive work for you. You’ll say: ‘Write this text to this person,’ and your slave will automatically shape the letter sheet, with your signature, the address of the recipient, etc. So there’s this normal dream of humans that would only manage the evolutionary, non-repetitive things, and the repetitive things would be handled by slaves who ideally would be embodied by minerals i.e. computers and robots (no more humans, please). That’s the existence of this dream which explains the desire of people like me to have a modern and automated interface.

Then, beware: computer engineers are not your slaves either! They are the humans who build the automation. It’s a complex intellectual affair that leads to progress. Thanks to this, you’ll no longer have to bother your mind with the need to recall those repetitive processes, because computers can execute them for you. This is progress: simplicity and safety added in the life of humans.

Note that I didn’t involve in the discussions about the visual editor, even though I’m not satisfied by it… Because I’m quite annoyed by the fact of having a debate about the components of Wikimedia, while the debate about our discussion tool is not finished! Indeed discussing is just the more fundamental thing, so I need this to be rightly thought before I can talk deeply about something else.

Thank you for reading. Face-smile.svg

Frigory (talk) 18:32, 21 September 2019 (UTC)