Please stop

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I will try, but English is not my native language, sorry. I hope I do not come across rude, that is not my intention.

The system is based on the false assumption that people's opinions are actually valuable, even if that opinion is simplified into a rating of 1-5 stars. Their opinion would be more valuable if they just wrote the pro's and con's on the talkpage instead of using the pro's and con's to determine a score via an undisclosed process and then give an appropriate amount of stars.

The system discourages users from using the talkpage. Giving a bad article a 1-star rating is easier than fixing it yourself, tagging it or explaining what should be improved on the talkpage, but far less useful. People who see a bad wiki article have two options: fight or flee. This box is just another way for people to complain and leave, and even gives them the impression they did something useful.

Basically asking for a rating is asking the wrong question. Compare the answers that you might receive with these two questions:

  • How many stars would you rate this article on a scale of 1-5?
  • What made you decide to rate this article in this way?

The answers to the second question are much more interesting.

Usability/interface problem: the location of this box is wrong. It should not be shown in the articles themself (do not trust me, ask an usability expert!). The box is much bigger than it needs to be, and very ugly.

Wasbeer16:34, 7 June 2011

You made some good points about the hit'n'run. Not to mention that only IMDb has a working rating system (calculating the average technically, ignoring beginners, etc). I left some thoughts on a proper rating extension here. --Subfader 21:13, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Subfader21:13, 7 June 2011

"You made some good points about the hit'n'run. Not to mention that only IMDb has a working rating system (calculating the average technically, ignoring beginners, etc). I left some thoughts on a proper rating extension here. --Subfader 21:13, 7 June 2011 (UTC)"

I'm one of the people who finds the tool (and its results) completely useless. As I've said in another thread - I've seen well written, well-sourced articles rated very low because 10-year-old girls don't like a character an actor plays on TV, and I've seen mere stub articles consistently given high ratings because people love and remember their work from 50 years ago. However, I wanted to chime in on the discussion I see emerging here about the IMDb rating system. This is something I've thought about before. If people absolutely INSIST on keeping this useless feature, then there should at LEAST be a 10 vote minimum before the votes show up (like there is on IMDb). This would at least provide something of fighting chance of there being a somewhat impartial vote result before the votes show up on the page. As it is now, the ratings tool is just another (and now sanctioned) way for vandals to operate anonymously on Wikipedia.

Crakkerjakk23:27, 18 September 2011

Since the excessive size of the rating box was mentioned also on English Wikipedia (see this topic), I opened the following request on Bugzilla:

  • Bug 29303 - Improve layout of ArticleFeedback tool
Helder22:19, 7 June 2011

@Subfader: Thanks! I agree; IMDb has had a long time to figure out which rating system would work best, and instead of inventing the wheel again we should learn from the mistakes they have made in the past.

@Helder: Good work! Because you included a link to this discussion in the bugreport we can try to give suggestions for a 'compact' version of the design here.

Maybe it is a good idea to move the ArticleFeedbackTool to the talkpages. The "normal" article feedback should also be on talkpages, not on the articles themselves...

People who give 4 stars only send the message: "I like the article this much". Instead we should ask them to tell us why they decided to choose that rating: what did they like about the article, what did they dislike, what should we improve to turn the 4-star rating into 5 stars? If we know that most people rate an article 4/5 for "completeness" that fact alone does not help us. We want to know what they felt was missing from the article, but we force them to use a 1-5 star system without a textbox where they can leave a comment.

I think we lose valuable information if we ask the people who rate the article to turn the pro's and con's list they have in their head into a rating of 1-5 stars: an actual textbox where they could express their opinion would be far more flexible and give them the opportunity to be a lot more specific and helpful. But we already have that, its a talkpage. So I suggest moving all the boxes to the talkpage. Ofcourse, this means there will be a bit less input and a lot less eyeballs on the article feedback tool. On the other hand I think you might get a bit less vandalism and more people who take the time to make a serious and informed rating.

Another problem is that it slows down page loading quite a bit. Maybe we can test it with software like Yslow.

The sentence "Your ratings have not been submitted yet" appears in green, a color that tells me the exact opposite of the message.

That sentence and the arrow icon in front of it should be removed imho (if we can not move all the article feedback boxes to the talkpage) because they make the box way too big and I think they do not have the positive effect they are supposed to have: the people who fail to see the huge blue button will also be unable to see the small green sentence, probably because they need to scroll down.

Its better to put the stars and the submit button next to eachother if that fits so that people see them at the same time when scrolling down.

This user will likely not submit the ratings, and the warning will fail as well.

If you put the four rating bars and the submit button next to eachother the box needs to be quite wide and it doesn't look good


Comparison of current design (bottom) with redesign

The redesigned interface is less cluttered because I removed the trashcan icons (they should be added back in) and the sentence that warns people they need to submit their rating with the green arrow (because you need to have scrolled down enough to see the submitbutton in order to see the warning and the warning is smaller than the submitbutton) and the icon behind "View page ratings" (no longer necessary because I changed the position of the text).

After I made the redesign I realised its probably better to swap "Objective" with "Trustworthy". Ofcourse you can move the "expert" checkbox to the bottom and the submitbutton to the top if you prefer that. Is it possible to replace "What's this?" with "Help" or "Info" or "How to rate?" or "Info about rating"?

redesign v2

Ofcourse, this is a very ugly and messy image, but you get the idea.

The endresult looks something like this. The fontsize and styling of the links on the lefthandside has changed slightly.

Wasbeer03:06, 8 June 2011

I think we can use this as an example:

The image contains a mistake, the text on the right side should be black instead of gray.

At the bottom I made two extra versions of the "expanded" version for "experts", with or without a solid line in between, I prefer the one on the bottom.

Wasbeer13:09, 8 June 2011

Design is an iterative and fluid process and we'll continue to take a look at it moving forward.

Jorm (WMF)17:42, 8 June 2011

Of course. What do you think of compared to the current design?

Wasbeer21:05, 8 June 2011

I believe that design is a bit too cluttered. It is trying to jam everything into as little space as possible, which radically reduces its usability. The design requires that the user's eyes constantly be roving the entire set of elements in order to complete the task at hand, rather than flowing in a predictable manner.

Further, the overall color scheme appears to have been muted, which is not desirable.

I personally had little to do with the current design and may choose to revisit some elements in the future but for now we are going to continue with the current design path.

Jorm (WMF)21:12, 8 June 2011

Why are you going to continue with the current design path? Is it set in stone? If so, please tell me, I will stop giving feedback.

If it is not set in stone: adapt. Things don't always work out the way you imagined them to be, we have to accept that. In a community this large its normal some people will oppose changes like this.

The current article feedback tool is not yet developed enough to implement on a large number of articles. If people want to continue development on it they should try and reach consensus, even if that means they will have to adjust their goals a bit so the people who dislike the articlefeedback tool think it is acceptable.

Wasbeer21:34, 8 June 2011

We are not going to apply significant resources towards the design path at this time because:

a) We're not convinced that this is a poor design path b) We do not have the resources available to iterate deeply on the design at this time

I'm going to disagree with you that it is not yet developed enough; many man hours have gone into ensuring that it is quite capable of handling a full-scale roll out.

And no, nothing is set in stone, and we do adapt. However, as I've said, there has not been sufficient data to indicate that a direction change is required.

Jorm (WMF)21:39, 8 June 2011

Do you want me to provide that indication? I may be able to do that if you want me to. Does "we" mean the WMF?

Wasbeer21:41, 8 June 2011

"We" means the WMF in this case, yes.

Jorm (WMF)21:44, 8 June 2011

OK, do you want me to provide that indication? I can rally the troops if you want me to.

Wasbeer21:47, 8 June 2011

I'm sorry, but vague threats along this line are not constructive. If you wish to continue talking in a constructive manner, I will do so.

Jorm (WMF)21:53, 8 June 2011

That was not a threat, I probably should have added a smiley (sorry I am not a native speaker), it was an indication that I am not the only person with this opinion. If I would be the only person that opposes the article feedback boxes as they currently are then I would have no troops to rally.

You wrote: "...there has not been sufficient data to indicate that a direction change is required.". If you want me to I can help by asking the community for input. If, for example, < 33% agrees that we should change direction then you have the indication that a direction change is required. But if, for example, < 66% agrees that we are on the right track then I will focus my attention on something else.

Wasbeer22:02, 8 June 2011

I think there is no problem in starting a pool to ask this to the community, since it is a valid question. There is no need of WMF approval before you ask other wikipedians about something you think it is important to have more opinions about.

I would suggest you to just be bold and start a topic somewhere on en.wp asking requesting comments about the tool, if people like/dislike it, if they want it or not, and so one...

Helder14:31, 15 July 2011

I agree, the design proposal is too cluttered. But the current one is indeed waaay too high. What about a toggle link? Furthermore I think it doesn't matter how many people dislike this feature since it will improve things. No? --Subfader 21:50, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

Subfader21:50, 8 June 2011

A toggle link is problematic for several reasons (many of which surround anonymous readers).

For registered users, there is now a preference that can be set to hide the tool from view.

Jorm (WMF)21:57, 8 June 2011

Toggle links are NOT a problematic. All navboxes use the show/hide link.

Subfader21:07, 9 June 2011

If an anonymous user clicks the "Hide" link on the item, and then later wishes to see them again, how do they go about re-enabling the tool?

Answer: they can't. They don't have preferences pages. So they have to delete the cookies that hide the boxes, or wait for those cookies to expire.

That's only one of the design problems inherent in this.

Jorm (WMF)21:15, 9 June 2011
Edited by author.
Last edit: 03:52, 10 June 2011

I'm not sure if Subfader was talking about a toggle link to hide the whole box (which would be problematic for the reasons you've mentioned), but just to hide show part of it. I added a similar suggestion on this comment

Helder22:19, 9 June 2011

Right. So, the reason we aren't exploring a "toggle down to a 'closed' state" feature is that we have found that when users want to have the tool removed, they want it gone forever. It's not a case of "oh, I'll get back to this eventually". Since it's at the bottom of the page, it doesn't cause interface clutter unless you're specifically looking at the bottom of the page.

With that logic in place, having a "toggle to closed" control doesn't make a lot of sense - in fact, it actually makes the tool more complicated, because now we have yet another control that the user has to understand and be able to interact with.

Jorm (WMF)00:53, 10 June 2011

Uops... I was thinking in the opposite action when I wrote that: I meant a toggle button to show part of the interface. As I mentioned in the other comment, the bottom half of the box could stay invisible until the user interacts with the tool clicking in some of stars (note: this saves ~50% of its current height). This wouldn't require any extra control (the first click made would serve both to define a rating and to display the remaining of the interface).

Helder04:01, 10 June 2011

@Jorm: You wrote: "Since it's at the bottom of the page, it doesn't cause interface clutter unless you're specifically looking at the bottom of the page."

That is not true, unfortunately. Especially short pages suffer a lot of interface clutter because of the AFT.

Wasbeer11:05, 10 June 2011

Well. You know. If you're on a short page, and you can see the tool, then you're looking at the bottom of the page.

Jorm (WMF)18:17, 10 June 2011

I understand. Part of the interface is in the sidebar, part of it is at the top of the page, and the AFT is a huge box that you want at the bottom of every page. I hope no one suggests putting a part of the interface, or even worse, a skyscraper ad, on the right side of the screen (slippery slope).

Please move the AFT outside of the div that contains the content. Separating the interface from the actual articles is very important.

Is it a good idea to put the AFT directly beneath div#content, so that the top of the AFT touches the bottom of the border around div#content?

Wasbeer23:50, 10 June 2011

To make sure this is noticed by the developers, I've copied your request to the bugtracker: see Bug 29704.

Feel free to follow this link and request specific changes/report other bugs directly on bugzilla, so that it goes to the current list of open requests.

Helder12:16, 4 July 2011

Thanks Helder! I love you!

Wasbeer12:27, 4 July 2011

FYI: you can use the following JavaScript code in your vector.js as a workaround while the AFT code isn't fixed:

$(function() {
        .css('font-size', '0.8em');

On monobook skin it would require more formatting, I believe.

Helder20:48, 25 July 2011
Edited by author.
Last edit: 01:20, 11 June 2011

If its too cluttered: please make your own suggestion with paint or photoshop. The screenshot is just an example that shows how we can position the elements, the amount of padding is a different subject but I agree it should be increased.

We can use toggle links, we can add a link called "rate this page" in the sidebar, if we ask for one rating per page instead of 4 we can put 5 stars in the sidebar, we can use a lightbox effect, there are many options and only popups is explicitly disallowed. I do not know why they chose to put this huge box on lots of articles, it is far from necessary, and some of the other possibilities seem much more userfriendly.

Unfortunately the article feedback tool will not improve things. I think it wastes a lot of time devs could spend on things that actually matter.

Afaik there is no consensus to implement the article feedback boxes, and I have yet to see consensus for the important designchoices (but I am still reading).

Wasbeer22:00, 8 June 2011

I think the definition of what are "things that actually matter" is very subjective and during the Strategic Planning the community helped to determine what are those things. Since the assessment of article quality is among them, I don't think it is a waste of developers' time to put some effort in creating/developing a system which may help all Wikipedias to get that. Whether the tool will or not be able to improve things, and how the tool could be changed in order to achieve that, are questions which I believe are being considered by the researchers. But I don't think we can deduce the answers without having the data which is being collected during the research. It would be just a guessing game.

As for the "lack of consensus for implementing the feedback boxes", this is not generally true: some wikis reached consensus for implementing it.

Helder03:19, 9 June 2011

I am unable to speak Spanish. When I wrote: "Afaik there is no consensus to implement the article feedback boxes, and I have yet to see consensus for the important designchoices (but I am still reading)." I was referring to EN wiki.

I think we can (at least try to) give meaningful answer to questions like "Will this tool be able to improve things?" and "How could this tool be changed in order to achieve that?" without having the data which is being collected during the research.

Wasbeer11:10, 10 June 2011

"But the current one is indeed waaay too high"

I agree. Is it really necessary to display the submit button even if the user didn't click in any of the rating stars? Wouldn't be better to hide it and also the text "I am highly knowledgeable about this topic (optional)" (since we can exclude that hiding or displaying the expertise checkbox may significantly affect the number of ratings submitted by readers) until the user interacts with the tool?

Helder02:54, 9 June 2011

I think this proposal may not fit well with some other languages, since the text may be longer than it is in the English version (e.g in de, the text "View page ratings" was translated to "Einschätzungen zu dieser Seite ansehen").

Helder02:49, 9 June 2011

Good point. In this case it can probably be fixed by using "Einschätzungen ansehen", which means "view ratings" instead of "Einschätzungen zu dieser Seite ansehen" which means "View ratings for this page".

Disclaimer: I am unable to speak German, sorry.

Wasbeer11:16, 10 June 2011

/me neither ;-)

Helder13:16, 10 June 2011

After I made the redesign I realised its probably better to swap "Objective" with "Trustworthy".

Why? Because of the lenght of the words? (If so, consider this comment about the translation to other languages).

Helder13:06, 9 June 2011

Nope, I swapped them because I think the question if something is trustworthy makes people wonder if it actually is. I think the proverb "let a sleeping dog lie" applies. ;-)

Wasbeer11:37, 10 June 2011

I completely agree with Wasbeer's assessment, and reiterate that the tool provides readers a lame excuse for not posting an actual feedback comment on the talk page. The box could possibly be made much more useful if an extra comment field were available; at least it would provide encouragement to justify a rating.

I want to add that I feel that most casual readers do not care for citations at all, so if you are asking whether the page is trustworthy but by that mean to ask whether the article is well sourced you will most definitely get the wrong or a random answer. It also does not consider that outside readers are usually not familiar with our strict sourcing policy, and what they might find well sourced may not be so for us – in fact, we as editors will know best whether an article is sufficiently sourced or not.

Nageh21:16, 12 August 2011

The box could possibly be made much more useful if an extra comment field were available;

This is already being considered, as you can check on these pages:
Helder21:58, 12 August 2011

Thank you Wasbeer - you echo my thoughts exactly on article rating, but if this is going to be pushed on us at least it's better than the thumbs up/thumbs down style "assessment" that other websites provide. This being said, it was a great idea to plug the "did you know you can edit this page" message in at the end of the review. Hopefully this will encourage new editors. Themfromspace 20:12, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Themfromspace20:12, 31 August 2011