Topic on Talk:Flow Portal/Archive2

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Yair rand (talkcontribs)

I know that the topic of avatars has been discussed already, and really, I can't see at all how it could work. We have an enormous amount of users, from a huge amount of cultures. Some users might react to someone's avatar in ways that would damage the community's ability to work together. Throwing in someone's personal identity into every post is asking for trouble. Most users are anonymous, and people like this. And some users are minors. How would we manage if all our younger admins/bureaucrats/developers/editors had their face attached to their comments? I don't even know if it would be legal. Loads of older users would immediately start behaving differently toward them. And what of our many users who don't look, say, respectable, to certain other users? We have enough drama as it is. Please don't add to it by attaching bad first impressions set by whatever prejudices users inherit from the cultures they come from.

Having no significantly visible external identity is kind of important for Wikimedians to work together. In some communities, personal stuff is actively repressed. On the English Wiktionary, userboxes are prohibited. I wouldn't be surprised if some communities banned mentioning one's real name. Anonymity is valuable, and the fact that currently barely anyone knows each other's names or genders is a plus. Avatars would throw all that away, and for what? What's the potential benefit?

Technical 13 (talkcontribs)

I have no issue with avatars. Avatars are graphical representations of how a person feels about themselves. I'm a member on many forums that use them, and I have never seen it as an issue. The Stack Exchange networks are a fairly well known non-social media that uses avatars. All of the social media sites allow this. My concern and proposal on the matter is this: If the avatars for people are hosted remotely, like how the avatars shown on the SE networks use W:Gravatar to host the avatar then that would probably be fine. If the WMF site had to hold them, it opens the door to all kinds of copyrighted images and other legal concerns that I would be opposed to having to have a group of users to "play God" and decide which ones are fair and good and which ones aren't.

Isarra (talkcontribs)

Acceptable legal concerns will be sorted out by the Wikimedia Legal team, though from what I understand if the images are small enough they probably won't be a concern in general. Whatever the case the projects themselves would also be able to police things further if it comes to it.

WhatamIdoing (talkcontribs)

If you don't want an avatar, then just upload a blank white square as your "picture".

Technical 13 (talkcontribs)

Ummm... Wouldn't it be more appropriate for it to use a default shadow-head and not upload anything if you don't want an avatar?

Quiddity (talkcontribs)

Main problems with avatars:

  • how much space they take up on a screen (ie. this thread would be a few inches longer, if we all had 200x200px images. The entire page would be vastly longer.)
  • knee-jerk / subconscious reaction to image content (as well-expressed by Yair rand, above. Personal photos leads to easier Ageism/Racism/Sexism/etc)

Lesser problems:

  • policing content (there are going to be thousands of people choosing borderline-offensive/inappropriate images. Pixelated porn. Photoshopped celebrities. All with plausible deniability and hence lots of arguments. Plus the thousands of national flags, team/company logos, hilarious lolcats, etc.)
  • distracting visuals (even if we ban/disable all gifs/apngs, a sea of garish colors is not helpful)
  • updates/changes (Will all our saved (old) comments get changed if we update/change/delete our avatar image? Or will we have users who have a folder of avatar images that they choose from (for each post they make) based on mood/context?)

I'm sure there will be an option to "Turn off avatar images", but I'm very worried about leaving "avatars-enabled" as the default. The text-only style of Liquidthreads/reddit/metafilter/etc seems much safer and preferable.

(The same goes for garish colorful signatures... I was hoping to see the end of these. Personal-aesthetics should be confined to one's own userpage, not forced into every discussion thread.)

Lastly, where was the older discussion(s) about Avatars? Thanks

Jorm (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Just going to drop a quick comment here about signatures: Flow will disable "garish" signatures. We'll probably want to have an option for you to display a different "text" name instead of your actual user name (so I could be "Brandon Harris" instead of "Jorm (WMF)") but not allow for wikitext, html, or (especially) templates.

Technical 13 (talkcontribs)

Please explain that better? Flow will disable custom signatures?

Jorm (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Correct.

Gryllida (talkcontribs)

Are there technical means to add support for custom signatures? Could this be filed as a bug to estimate technical feasibility? Thanks.

Technical 13 (talkcontribs)

← This is flow that we are discussing this in, right?

WhatamIdoing (talkcontribs)

We are talking about Flow.

We are using LiquidThreads.

Flow does not exist yet. It has not been written yet. There is no Flow software yet. It cannot be installed because it does not exist. Nobody has ever used Flow.

Technical 13 (talkcontribs)

Ah-ha, I was confused. Thank you for clarifying it multiple times in the same sentence for me. :)

Technical 13 (talkcontribs)

On top of actually changing the signature using the (edit signature) link that is right below the edit box (which seems to revert itself after every post), couldn't people just disable their signature or create a template to subst: in? I see lots of workarounds here at this time. If it is truly intended to disable custom sigs, it should disable /~{3,5}/ and not allow the sig to be changed below the edit box, but instead just insert → "link to username" ("link to talk" separator "link to contribs") ← or something of that sort.

Jorm (WMF) (talkcontribs)

We will probably allow you to have a "display name" variable (so that I could show up as "Brandon Harris" instead of "Jorm (WMF)"), but we won't be allowing templates or HTML in the identifiers. There are two primary reasons why:

  • Consistency
  • Performance
Technical 13 (talkcontribs)

Yes, I understand that, my point was, what will prevent people from setting their display name to blank and just tagging the end of their comment with something like {{SUBST:User:Username/sig}}??

Jorm (WMF) (talkcontribs)

It's fairly trivial to detect wikitext and throw an error if it is included. So that's pretty much what will happen.

Also, the identifier will not be parsed. So there's no point to including wikitext in it.

Kephir (talkcontribs)

In the comment body.

Well, how about asking the offending user "will you please stop transcluding 666K of markup to your every discusion post?". Or redacting it? (I assume post editing will be more restricted)

Though if we really want a technical fix, I would suggest simply defaulting to the login if the display name is blank or contains whitespace characters only. Or preceding the name with "posted by", because "posted by [BLANK]" looks ugly.

Jorm (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I'm confused by this comment. In Flow, signatures will not be parsed with wikitext. And the comments themselves will not allow for template tranclusion likke you're mentioning.

Patrick87 (talkcontribs)

And therefore Flow will be totally useless for many tasks. But you still refuse to believe that.

Technical 13 (talkcontribs)

Oh, so no template transclusion whatsoever? So no more {{Done}} or {{Not Done}} or {{Tick}} or {{Working}} or {{Help me}} type templates will work with Flow?

Jorm (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Probably not, no. I explained why in a different thread in more detail but it has to do with performance and future-proofing with the Parsoid and VisualEditor.

Ignatzmice (talkcontribs)

Jeeezus H. Christ. That is all.

Pigsonthewing (talkcontribs)

So, how will we discuss the appearance of templates?

Nigel Ish (talkcontribs)

So no-one can add a standardised template to a user page - for example see for examples of what the sort of warnings that need to be added. This system will make it much harder to warn editors about behaviour. This can only be damaging. Please reconsider.

KumiokoCleanStart (talkcontribs)

How will templates like WikiProject banners and article history be handled under the new system? I can tell you that flow isn't looking too good if we can't use templates and if WikiProject Banners and others can't be used that will pretty much be a showstopper for Flow. If templates can't be used you may as well stop developing it and move the resources elsewhere. (talk) 00:02, 2 June 2013 (UTC)

Quiddity (talkcontribs)

See Flow Portal/Use cases#Talk namespace (#3), and see the other subsections for further insights. (Yes, they do understand how most of our work is done, both on English Wikipedia, and on all the other languages/projects.)

Gilderien (talkcontribs)

This would completely disable ClueBot and Huggle and whatever else. If people cannot warn automatically it will be a disaster.

WhatamIdoing (talkcontribs)

Transcluding a template is not the only way to get information onto a page. I don't see any reason at all why ClueBot and similar scripts couldn't be arranged so that the script appears to "type" the messages rather than subst:ing a template. (Does the no-transclusion point include no subst:ing?)

Sven Manguard (talkcontribs)

I'm not sure where this talk of Avatars is, but I want to bring up two points:

1) Commons' incoming image vetting system is overloaded, with far too many things falling through the cracks (both copyvios not being spotted and legitimate images not being properly categorized so they can be found later). English Wikipedia's incoming image vetting system is critically overloaded, as it has only a tiny fraction of the number of image workers Commons does, but the second highest upload rate across WMF all projects. If users are able to upload avatars locally, image workers, already strained, might buckle.

2) The "policing content" and "distracting visuals" comments from Quiddity in this thread are valid points in need of serious consideration. English Wikipedia, at least, already has enough enforcement problems and wannabe dictators to cause tension, and... well... also massive numbers of vandals.

Please take these things into consideration.

Technical 13 (talkcontribs)

I wouldn't be opposed to avatars if they didn't cause additional strains as Sven is concerned with. Is using a service like w:Gravatar like the w:Stack Exchange Network does out of the question? Just curious. :)

NaBUru38 (talkcontribs)

I support allowing avatars, given that users have options to manage them.

First of all, displaying avatars should be disabled by default. Users would freely opt in, and freely choose an avatar.

Then there's the issue of copyright. Since images must be freely-licensed, I suggest offering a few generic, well-designed avatar options before allowing customised images. Then, the community should decide which rules will apply to them. Bye!

Jorm (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Avatars are most definitely not on the table at this time.

There may come a day when they are (and I hope it comes, to be honest), but if they do it will be part of a larger thrust at discussing identity and profiles. With regards to Flow, avatars are not necessary and serve mostly to pollute the conversation.

So here's my Official Word(tm): Avatars will not be rolled out as part of Flow.

Quiddity (talkcontribs)

Good to know. Thanks.

(For future reference/readers, I suspect all the questions in the thread were regarding the old concept mockup image, File:WMF-Flow-Concept-open.png, which is why we assumed avatars were (or might be) part of it initially.)