Talk:Talk pages consultation 2019/Structure and updates

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Alsee (talkcontribs)

@TMeadows (WMF contractor), I was just reading the May 1 status update. I understand that the ideas being discussed are conjecture and spit-balling. Nonetheless I'd like to ask some questions, even if it only serves to help the team focus on key questions to better define and categorize the various design options.

You wrote: it seems the best approach might be to have a system whereby wikitext - for those who want to use it - will be an "under the hood" feature, accessible for more advanced users, with a "surface" interface more user-friendly for lay users or simply those that have no desire to use wikitext.

I really want to say that sounds promising. However I would be unsurprised if those words were literally copy-pasted from some original Flow announcement. One big issue with Flow was that the project manager's idea of "wikitext" was not compatible with what the community believes that word means. When the Flow project was first announced, many editors gave dire warnings that Flow was going to fail unless it had genuine wikitext support.

My first question: Have team-discussions considered that the definition of "wikitext" is an important design question?

My next question is whether the team has an idea in mind on that design point. When the team suggests "wikitext", does that mean that discussions would continue to use the current PHP Parser? (Providing genuine and accurate rendering of article-content in discussions.) Or were they thinking of switching discussions to Parsoid, like Flow?

My next related question: Were they suggesting that new features would be added on top of existing wikitext pages? Or did they have in mind the Flow approach, trying to replace existing talk pages? I think everyone would agree that trying to replace existing talk pages is the higher-risk approach. People will call that Flow2.0, putting the project in a deep hole on day one.

TMeadows (WMF contractor) (talkcontribs)

Everything is pretty ephemeral right now, and I'd hate to put words into anyone's mouth. I'll pass along the questions and see if there's anything more definitive; I sort of doubt it at this juncture, though :P Phase 2 is coming up, and those questions are vital to askk and discuss with the team so everyone is on the same page as to operational definitions of things.

Alsee (talkcontribs)

Thanx. Community processes are 100% onwiki open and visible, so if feels like peering through a keyhole trying to understand how the team views the soup-of-information, and which ideas are drawing interest and which are being set aside as unlikely.

DannyH (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Hi Alsee: we're working on the summary of findings and product direction right now, ready to publish next week. I'm sorry about the keyhole-peering, I know it's frustrating to not know what's going on behind the door. We're doing the writing out of public view, because we don't want folks rushing to discuss the conclusions before we can present all the findings and supporting evidence to back them up.

What I can tell you right now is that the sentence that you quoted means what you think it means. Wikitext means wikitext; we're looking to build on top of existing features rather than replacing existing functionality. There's still more things to talk about and figure out -- Phase 2 will involve some more specific questions about how we can get that to work, and find the right balance. We'll have more info next week.

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