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Why is the color of usernames different to the color of normal Wikilinks?

Patrick87 (talkcontribs)

I just noticed that the usernames of Flow posts have slightly different colors than normal Wikilinks.

E.g. User:Patrick87 has a color of #0645AD and User:Unknown User has color #BA0000.

However the usernames used in the headers of Flow posts have colors of #3C68B1 #A55858.

Why this inconsistency? Please change the code to use the same Link colors as are used everywhere else. Otherwise it's not only inconsistent but can be easily mistaken as an already visited link.

This post was hidden by Patrick87 (history)
SPage (WMF) (talkcontribs)
Patrick87 (talkcontribs)
Nicereddy (talkcontribs)

I also noticed this and it bothers me quite a bit. #A55858 looks washed out and ugly to me, hopefully it's just a minor oversight or bug.

WhatamIdoing (talkcontribs)

I don't think it will be confused with an already-visited link, because those are purple, not light blue. It might be confused with an interwiki link (like the link on your userpage to the German WIkipedia). And since it's possible that a discussion could happen cross-wiki, then this may not be entirely inappropriate.

Patrick87 (talkcontribs)

WhatamIdoing: I already mistook a redlinked Flow-username with a visited Wiki-redlink (visited Wiki-redlinks have color #A55858 which is exactly the same color as redlinked Flow-usernames!). Therefore it is a serious problem for redlinks. Blue links are better, but I see no reason to introduce inconsistencies on purpose. Using different colors only makes the UI less clear for no real reason.

Besides that the chosen colors look somehow washed out (they're lacking color saturation). Therefore it even looks bad from a design perspective.

P.S. I didn't get what you were trying to say with the second/third sentence in your reply above?

P.P.S Why did you (and also User:Nicereddy) reply to the topic instead of my post? You posted answers to my post so you should have replied to it, right? Are you already "playing the system" to compensate for the limited nesting depth of Flow? If you are, this is a design fault in Flow and should be accounted for.

Nicereddy (talkcontribs)

Patrick87: I've done this somewhat consistently and always accidentally. As WhatamIdoing said, we used the box that is opened by-default at the bottom of each thread. In my rush to comment, I forgot about the reply button. This is my own mistake, and something I've commented on previously.

I think Flow could do very well to improve its structure. The first comment should be part of the header-title, not a comment itself. This causes the exact problem we're currently discussing, that being that the first reply is at the same depth-level as the main post itself. Obviously, this kills any attempt at proper organization of content, as Flow is and should be trying to do.

I should also note that, because I'm posting this comment now, the thread will be even less organized because it will go between your post and WhatamIdoing's reply. Hardly her fault, simply a mistake caused by the current iteration of Flow.

WhatamIdoing (talkcontribs)

We are using the very convenient box at the bottom of the thread, rather than clicking on the little "Reply" button.

For the rest, compare the colors Special:Random vs w:cs:Special:Random (on a regular wiki page; I don't think that Flow distinguishes between them). These are not the same on a non-Flow wiki page. But the second is at least similar to the color that Flow is using for usernames.

Patrick87 (talkcontribs)

Sorry, but this totally does not make sense. You're actually giving up the point of threaded discussions (which Flow is supposed to offer) and are using Flow as an ordinary forum works (without any nesting). I'm a little scared, that even WMF employees "misuse" Flow like that so early in it's development. How is Flow ever supposed to work efficiently if it's not used as it's supposed to? Edit: I'm not blaming you for it, don't understand me wrong. But if you "use the very convenient box at the bottom" (which is meant to be used to reply to the topic) when you're actually replying to a post of me (for which we specifically have the "Reply" button), then we have a design problem regarding Flow!

Regarding "the rest" (the actual topic, I assume I'm going to create a new topic for the above): You're right, actually Wikilinks and Interwikilinks have different colors (#0645AD for Wikilinks compared to #3366BB for Interwikilinks). This difference is so slight at normal text sizes that I was never able to spot the difference at my display. Actually a useful feature (font colors might have to be tuned though)!

This however makes it even more important to change the color of Flow-usernames. Since they are leading to the local userpage, they are Wikilinks and should therefore never be given the same color as Interwikilinks!

Klipe (talkcontribs)

Patrick87: I agree 100% with your point about threaded discussions: Replying to a certain post should be the usual interaction on an existing topic.

Regarding the actual topic, I agree with you as well, except about the point to make the colour fixed like you seem to consider in the end. I think that the same set of colours should be used on usernames as on any other links, with the same meaning for each colour. In the future, when we'll have topics possibly on multiple Flow boards on multiple wikis, it would make sense to have the same link appear in "local blue" on a board and in "remote blue" on another board. And the same would apply to usernames if the target transwiki implementation of Flow would make use of something like a "home wiki" preference associated with the SUL account.

WhatamIdoing (talkcontribs)


Who says that they'll always be local wikilinks? Flow is supposed to handle cross-wiki discussions (e.g., people at a Wikipedia can comment on a deletion discussion at Commons without leaving their home wiki), so the userpage might actually be an interwikilink from the perspective of a person reading from Commons.

Also, there's an interesting bug open about having centralized user pages (hosted at Meta), in which case some people's "normal" user page would almost always be an interwikilink.

WhatamIdoing (talkcontribs)

Klipe: Why exactly should people be pushed into replying only to one person's comments instead of to the whole thread and/or multiple posts in the thread?

Also, if you have a discussion involving people from multiple projects, do you think that it's a good idea to visually distinguish "locals" from "tourists"? It seems to me that this might have the unfortunate effect of some people's comments being unfairly disregarded because they're "not part of the community".

Patrick87 (talkcontribs)

WhatamIdoing: Nobody says that. The moment the username links to another project we can use the Interwikilink colors for that username as far as I'm concerned. Currently however all usernames are linking to local userpages. Therefore they are clearly normal Wikilinks and therefore should use Wikilink colors.
Anyway this still does not explain how we suddenly got different colors for redlinked usernames which look like visited redlinks (when they are not). Since there never was (and maybe never will be) an Interwiki-redlink it's inconsistent at this point for sure.

Klipe (talkcontribs)
Klipe (talkcontribs)


About username colours

In trans/cross-wiki discussions, I would just consider it normal to have the username colours follow the same conventions as any other wiki links, i.e. distinguishing between local and remote wiki, knowing that these notions depend on the perspective since the same topic may be viewed as part of boards on multiple wikis. Honestly, I didn't even think of a risk to consider some users as "not part of the community"... An interesting point, indeed.

If that's the reason to make all usernames appear the same, then maybe the colour dedicated to usernames should be significantly more different from other wiki links. Not because it's useful to usernames themselves but rather to avoid breaking the convention established for other wiki links. But does it even make any sense to point to a certain user page? Which one to choose?

I think that Flow should be built for a target situation where each user would have just one global user page instead of one user page per wiki. Probably these would then be stored in a dedicated wiki. Keeping the established wikilink convention, the username colour would then be "remote blue" anywhere, except on user talk pages (stored on the dedicated wiki for user pages) where it would be "local blue" for all usernames. Alternatively, a dedicated username colour could still be picked as in "another approach" above. In both cases, the risk to view some users as "not part of the community", vanishes.

Patrick87 (talkcontribs)

User:WhatamIdoing & User:Klipe on a side note: If being afraid to make people unequal by differentiating link colors is an issue, making everybody a "stranger" by exclusively using Interwikilink colors is not really an improvement I assume.

If you want to express equality and unity then making all links colored like internal Wikilinks would be the way to go.

Anyway I think we got to a point were the discussion is rather academic (I'd never have come up with the idea that the link color is expressing the relation of a user to the project he's posting to). My initial idea of the topic was purely technical in that the very first priority should be to make link colors distinguishable and unambiguous. A fundamental web-design paradigm which we're badly violating right now.

Klipe (talkcontribs)

Patrick87: I agree. The main point is that different colours should mean different things while the same colour should mean the same thing, plus the fact that different colours should actually be significantly different from each others.

About the community, well... I also don't think of colours in that way, and in general I wouldn't consider anyone -- including IPs -- participating in a discussion as not being part of the community (except in most cases of vandalism). I may however conceive that some people could react in another way. WhatamIdoing, did you see such situations happening? Or do you know of any study on that matter?

WhatamIdoing (talkcontribs)

Klipe: It happens with IPs all the time, but you'll find it in AFDs (on, say, BLPs about people who are not famous in English-speaking sources, some "single-purpose accounts" are actually people with hundreds of edits at non-English projects). You'll also find it happen at Commons, usually as a claim that a person's view is completely invalid because they think Commons works like the English Wikipedia.

Additionally, there are a number of Wikipedias who have specific requirements for voting (most non-en.wp projects actually use straight out voting for many purposes). I believe that it would be "illegal" for you to vote in RFCs at both es.wp and de.wp, despite having made 3600+ edits so far, because only edits at their specific projects "count". But don't feel too bad: I believe that it's nl.wp that would not only refuse to count my view, but actually bans people like me, because only 28% of my en.wp edits are in the mainspace, and all "good" editors maintain at least 33%. Your contributions at fr.wp would be considered much more respectable by their standards.

Klipe (talkcontribs)

WhatamIdoing: OK, I understand better. I know about such cases as well, but I don't recognise them as being considered "not part of the community", except indeed the case you mention about Commons. For instance, I find it normal not to have a right to vote in a project where I almost never contribute, while probably I have the right to participate in the discussion and bring arguments to the attention of those who have the right to vote. This is just a certain member status, as autopatrolled or sysop: the community decides on the rules to apply to itself, including granting some of its (would be) members some advanced tools or the right to vote. And those rules and rights have not much to do with colors! Especially now with SUL and later on with trans-wiki Flow boards...

WhatamIdoing (talkcontribs)

Klipe: I find it normal to participate in any decision that affects me, even if I'm new to the group. I find it silly to exclude the voice of a subject-matter expert, merely because the expert is new to the group. People make bad decisions when only "the right kind of people" are allowed to participate.

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