Mobile Talk Page Improvements
Help contributors instinctively recognize and use mobile talk pages as spaces for discussion.
This initiative sits within the Talk pages project, our team's larger effort to help contributors, across experience levels, communicate more easily on Wikipedia using talk pages. To accomplish this, we are building upon the Talk pages consultation 2019, and existing community conventions, to incrementally evolve the visual appearance of talk pages in ways that ensure backwards compatibility with the current talk page experience.
To participate in and follow this project's development, we recommend adding this page to your watchlist. We will use this page to:
- share and invite feedback on designs
- announce deployment plans
- share data about these features' use and impact.
This Wednesday, 8 March, the suite of all DiscussionTools will become available as default-on features at en.wiki. See more in T328942.
This Wednesday, 15 February, the suite of all DiscussionTools will become available as default-on features at all Wikimedia wikis except en.wiki. See more in T328940.
The Editing Team recently finished analyzing data from an A/B test of the suite of mobile Discussion Tool features.
The test ran at 15 Wikipedias from 3 January 2023 through 23 January 2023 and included people who were both logged-in and out.
What follows are the conclusions we are drawing from this analysis and the next steps the team is taking as a result.
- People shown DiscussionTools by default published more edits
- People who were shown the DiscussionTools version of talk pages by default published more cumulative edits (3,701) than people who were shown the existing MobileFrontend talk page experience (3,069).
- With this increase in the number of edits people published, the rate at which these edits were reverted increased by 4.4 percentage points (3.78% vs. 8.16%).
- People shown DiscussionTools by default were more successful publishing the edits they started.
- Across experience levels, the people who were shown the DiscussionTools version of talk pages by default published the edits they started at a rate (60.82%) that was 56% higher than the rate (38.89%) at which the people who were shown the existing MobileFrontend (Minerva) talk page experience by default published the edits they started.
- People shown DiscussionTools by default were more likely to successfully publish ≥ 1 edit
- 48.3% of people who were shown the DiscussionTools version of talk pages by default and made an edit attempt published ≥1 edit throughout the course of the test compared to 15.42% of people who were shown the existing MobileFrontend (Minerva) talk page experience and made an edit attempt on the "Read as wiki page" version of talk pages. This amounts to 3x more unique people publishing talk page edits using DiscussionTools than the existing experience.
The full A/B test report can be found here: Mobile DiscussionTools AB Test Analysis Report
The Editing Team will move forward with plans to offer mobile DiscussionTools by default for all volunteers (logged in and out), at all Wikimedia Wikis. This work is happening in phab:T298060.
Start of A/B Test
Today, an A/B test began to evaluate the suite of mobile DiscussionTools we introduced on talk pages: Reply Tool, New Topic Tool, Topic Subscriptions, and the suite of design changes. See more details in T298062.
A/B Test Wikis
In the coming weeks, an A/B test will begin to evaluate the suite of mobile DiscussionTools we introduced on talk pages: Reply Tool, New Topic Tool, Topic Subscriptions, and the suite of design changes.
The wikis participating in this A/B test are: az.wiki, de.wiki, es.wiki, fa.wiki, hi.wiki, id.wiki, it.wiki, nl.wiki, pl.wiki, pt.wiki, ro.wiki, ru.wiki, th.wiki, tr.wiki, uk.wiki.
When tapped, any page notices that exist on the talk page in question will appear.
In doing the above, volunteers will also gain the ability to customize how these talk page notices appear. See T312309 for more details.
This week, we completed an analysis to learn how A) the rate at which people published the mobile talk page edits they started and B) the rate at which the mobile talk page edits people made were reverted before and after the Reply an New Topic Tools were made available.
In summary, after the Reply and New Topic Tools became available on mobile talk pages at the Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Hebrew, Japanese, Haitian Creole, Korean, and Vietnamese Wikipedias, the edit completion rate increased and the talk page edit revert rate decreased.
These results are leading us to be confident making the mobile Reply and New Topic Tools available at more wikis in the near-future.
The Editing team is working to enable the mobile Reply and New Discussion Tools for all editors at these 8 Wikipedias: Arabic, Bangla, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese. The Reply tool is already available to all editors using the desktop site at these Wikipedias.
Initially, volunteers at ht.wiki will not be able to turn the mobile Reply and New Discussion Tools on/off. The Editing Team will consider adding mobile-specific settings for DiscussionTools features in T302341.
This work to improve the experience people have using talk pages on the mobile site is intended to cause:
- Junior Contributors to immediately recognize talk pages as places to communicate with other volunteers.
- Junior and Senior Contributors to be able to intuitively and with greater ease:
- Respond to something someone else has said
- Start a discussion about something new
- Know when someone is saying something relevant to them
Theory of Change
If the activity happening within talk pages is easier for people to see and understand and the steps for participating clearer, then people, across experience levels, will recognize and use talk pages as spaces for communicating with other volunteers about how to make Wikipedia better.
This section will contain information about how this work impacted the Objectives of this project.
Analysis 1: Reply and New Topic Tools Impact
In this impact analysis of the mobile Reply and New Topic Tools, we sought to answer two primary questions:
- After the mobile Reply and New Topic Tools were introduced, how – if at all – did the likelihood that people would successfully publish the new talk page topics and comments they started drafting change?
- After the mobile Reply and New Topic Tools were introduced, how – if at all – did the likelihood that people would publish talk page edits that are reverted within 48 hours of being published?.
To answer the questions above, we compared the rates at which people published the edits they started and the rates at which published edits were reverted before and after the mobile Reply and New Topic Tools were made available at the following Wikipedias: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Hebrew, Japanese, Haitian Creole, Korean, and Vietnamese. The results from this test can be found in the "Findings" section below.
This analysis was completed on 1 September 2022. These results include data from the two weeks before and after 29 June 2022.
- Edit Completion Rate Increased
- There was a 53.4% (12 percentage points) increase in the rate at which people who are logged in and logged out published the mobile talk page edits they started.
- There was a 155% (14 percentage points) increase in the rate at which people who have made <100 cumulative edits published the mobile talk page edits they started.
- Revert Rate Decreased
- There was a 5.6% decrease in the proportion of mobile talk page edits people who are logged in made that were reverted.
- There was a 10.2% decrease in the proportion of mobile talk page edits people who are logged out made that were reverted.
The Editing Team is committed to evolving wikitext talk pages in a way that gives experienced contributors more leverage to coordinate their work and connect with other volunteers, while making the same communication practices and capabilities legible and intuitive for newer contributors.
For these wikitext talk pages to be valuable, Junior Contributors need to intuitively recognize and use them as spaces to communicate with other volunteers about improving the wiki and Senior Contributors need to be able to spend minimal effort understanding the conversations happening on a given page.
The trouble is, volunteers across experience levels find that the current mobile talk page experiences lacking. Specifically, user feedback, usability tests, and the Talk Page Consultation (see: #Mobile users and #Design) have highlighted the difficulties people have reading and using talk pages on the mobile site:
Recognizing talk pages
"I felt I had to scan the page a lot for what i needed, as different elements didn't really stand out. It wasn't really obvious that i was looking at a message from someone..." – Junior Contributor, Usertesting.com
Responding to comments
"I can reply only to the last comment. Replying is not clear, I cannot see how many colons (:) is there (I must count them)." – Patrik L., Czech Wikipedia
Starting new discussions
"Mobile editing is very confusing and difficult, as others have said. There is no mention of signatures when editing a mobile talk page." — そらたこ, Japanese Wikipedia
Evaluating activity and navigating talk pages
"...desktop lets me 'see' the whole of a talk page at once. It gives me an overview, allowing me to determine at a glance, not only the topics, but also the number and depth of replies a user has received. Whilst mobile view gives me a nice tidy page and big text to look at, it gives me absolutely no idea of whether any given topic has been answered by anyone." – Nick Moyes, English Wikipedia
Many projects, conversations, and research have worked to, and are working to, improve contributors' experiences with talk pages. This project is better off for their existence. Some of the projects the team continues to learn from are listed on the main project page and below. If there is a project you think we should be aware of, please boldly add it here.
- Custom section calls to action at it.wiki: Wikipedia:Bar/2021 04 14
- People using custom CSS change how talk pages appear: https://global-search.toolforge.org/?namespaces=2%2C4...
- Convenient Discussions
- Flow satisfaction survey
- Moderated Testing, November 2014: talk pages and Flow
- Talk pages consultation
The Talk pages project glossary is intended to help us all communicate about talk pages more effectively by making sure we have a shared understanding about the words we use in our discussions and documentation throughout the project.