Talk pages project/Notifications

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This page talks about the Editing Team's work to improve the notifications editors receive for the wikitext talk page conversations they are interested in.

This initiative sits within the Talk pages project. This is the team's larger effort to help contributors work together more effectively. To accomplish this, we are building upon existing community conventions to evolve wikitext talk pages. It is our intention to evolve talk pages in a way that gives experienced contributors more leverage to coordinate their work and connect with other editors, while making communicating on-wiki legible and intuitive for newer contributors.

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 how the feature is being used

Status updates[edit]

This section contains updates about the project's development.

1 April 2021[edit]

Topic subscription prototype is ready

A screenshot showing the topic subscription prototype.
A screenshot showing the topic subscription prototype.

An in-progress prototype of the new topic subscription feature is ready for you to try.

This prototype enables you to elect to receive a notification via Echo when someone posts a new comment in any conversation you have decided to "subscribe" to.

To try the prototype, please follow the instructions on the talk page: Topic subscription prototype instructions.

26 March 2021[edit]

Topic subscription prototype

Next week, the team will have a technical prototype of the new topic subscription feature ready for testing.

This prototype will enable you to elect to receive a notification via Echo when someone posts a new comment in any conversation you have decided to subscribe to.

We will post on the talk page when the prototype is ready for testing.

Special thanks to people like Enterprisey, GhostInTheMachine, Jack who built the house, Matěj Suchánek, Pelagic Sdkb, Timeshifter, and Vriullop whose feedback informed the decisions we made in building this initial version.

5 February 2021[edit]

First intervention

The first intervention we will be working on to increase the likelihood Junior and Senior Contributors receive timely and relevant responses to the things they say will be a feature that enables people to subscribe to be notified about new comments in specific talk page topics.

The team has started the design and technical research that will be needed to offer this functionality.  Next week, you can expect another update where we will share the requirements that will guide the first iteration of the topic subscriptions feature.

In the meantime, you can learn more about why we are prioritizing work on this particular intervention in the Background section below.

Note: we appreciate being able to more easily follow activity in specific talk page sections has been on peoples' minds for some time. If there are conversations, gadgets, research, etc. that you think would be valuable us to consider as part of this work, please boldly add it to the History section below.

20 November 2020[edit]

Project start

The Editing Team is currently in the planning and technical exploration phase of this project. We plan to focus on the user-facing components of the implementation during the first three months of 2021.

In the time between now and then, you can follow the research we are doing for this project in Phabricator here: phab:T233447.

Objectives[edit]

This work is intended to increase the likelihood Junior and Senior Contributors receive timely and relevant responses to the things they say.

Where "the things they say" in this context means, the comments they post and conversations they start on wikitext talk pages, regardless of the tool used to publish these comments and conversations.

Once defined, you will be able to read about the key metrics the team will use to evaluate the extent to which the enhancements made as part of this project have been successful in achieving this impact.

Evaluating impact[edit]

This section will contain the methods and data we will use to evaluate the impact of this feature.

Background[edit]

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 editors, while making the same communication and coordination practices and capabilities legible and intuitive for newer contributors.

A key part of these "communication and coordination practices" is people knowing when others are saying something relevant to you. Where "relevant" in this context could mean someone is talking to you directly or saying something in a conversation you have expressed an interest in.

The trouble is, people across experience levels find the existing notification system not as effective as they and we think it could be at making them aware when someone says something relevant to them.

Specifically, usability testing, the Talk Page Consultation, Community Wishlist Surveys (2015, 2021) and academic research has demonstrated people, across experience levels, find wikitext talk pages do not offer them a broad enough range of activity they can elect to be notified about. People also mention finding it difficult to understand how and where existing notifications are delivered.

"...pertinent changes to sections that interest me get superseded by subsequent changes to other sections."
"Sometimes the movement of the terrace is very large, and times when only one or two topics account for almost all editions on the terrace. When this happens editions in other topics may go unnoticed among others, then we don't even see that there are new comments, sometimes we don't even see that there is a new topic."

In offering people a greater range of talk page activity they can subscribe to and improving the ways in which notifications about this activity are delivered to people, we are striving to increase the likelihood Junior and Senior Contributors know when someone is talking to them and for the person who is talking to them to receive timely and relevant responses to what they are saying.

Design[edit]

This section will contains information about the design strategy.

Deployment[edit]

This section will contain information about how and where the Notification enhancements are deployed.

Usability testing[edit]

This section will contain information about usability testing the team has conducted to better understand contributors' experiences with staying up to date about conversations they are interested in.

History[edit]

Many projects, conversations and research have, 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.

Glossary[edit]

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.