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Starting conversion of LiquidThreads to Flow at mediawiki.org

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Summary last edited by 189.144.52.114 17:26, 10 August 2015 3 years ago

See also: Discussion at wikitech-l and at Project:Current issues

Planned process at Flow/LQT conversion process

Quiddity (WMF) (talkcontribs)

LiquidThreads (LQT) has not been well-supported in a long time. Flow is in active development, and more real-world use-cases will help focus attention on the higher-priority features that are needed. To that end, LQT pages at mediawiki.org will start being converted to Flow in the next couple of weeks.

There are about 1,600 existing LQT pages on Mediawiki, and the three most active pages are VisualEditor/Feedback, Project:Support desk, and Help talk:CirrusSearch. The Collaboration team has been running test conversions of those three pages, and fixing issues that have come up. Those fixes are almost complete, and the team will be ready to start converting LQT threads to Flow topics soon. (If you’re interested in the progress, check out phab:T90788 and linked tasks.) The latest set is visible at a labs test server: http://flow-tests.wmflabs.org/wiki/Testwiki:Support_desk and http://flow-tests.wmflabs.org/wiki/VisualEditor/Feedback. See an example topic comparison here: Flow vs LQT)

The VisualEditor/Feedback page will be converted first (per James' request), around the middle of next week. We’ll pause to assess any high-priority changes required. After that, we will start converting more pages. This process may take a couple of weeks to fully run.

The last page to be converted will be Project:Support desk, as that is the largest and most active LQT Board.

LQT Threads that are currently on your watchlist, will still be watchlisted as Flow Topics. New Topics created at Flow Boards on your watchlist will appear in your Echo notifications, and you can choose whether or not to watchlist them.

The LQT namespaces will continue to exist. Links to posts/topics will redirect appropriately, and the LQT history will remain available at the original location, as well as being mirrored in the Flow history.

There’s a queue of new features in Flow that will be shipped over the next month or so:

  • Table of Contents is done
  • Category support for Flow Header and Topics is done
  • VE with editing toolbar coming last week of March (phab:T90763)
  • Editing other people’s comments coming last week of March (phab:T91086)
  • Ability to change the width & side rail in progress, probably out in April (phab:T88114)
  • Search is in progress (no ETA yet) (phab:T76823)
  • The ability to choose which Flow notifications end up in Echo, watchlist, or both, will be coming up next (no ETA yet)

That being said -- there are some LiquidThreads features that don’t exist in Flow yet. We’d like to hear which features you use on the current LQT boards, and that you’re concerned about losing in the Flow conversion. At the same time, we’d like further suggestions on how we could improve upon that (or other) features from LQT. Please let us know what you think!

He7d3r (talkcontribs)

What happens to my LQT list of "New messages (123)", which I can check periodically at Special:NewMessages, once this conversion is done? Will I lose the list? Will it be moved to my "Messages (1234)" in Echo's menu, so that I can continue to check the list periodically to see what I missed in the last few days/weeks in pages I watch?

DannyH (WMF) (talkcontribs)

We're going to be doing more work on notifications and watchlists over the next month. Right now, you can subscribe to a board and get Echo notifications for new topics, and new posts on topics that you're following show up in Echo and your watchlist.

There are several things that this notification system doesn't do -- one of them is giving the LQT-style overview of what's happened on the page since you were there last. That's one of the things that we need to spec out and build.

Quiddity (WMF) (talkcontribs)
John Vandenberg (talkcontribs)

Who will be the main point of contact? How long is the entire conversion process expected to take?

Is there a compiled list of all pages which are planned to be converted, and has any thought been put into determining which pages will be after the first and before the last page to be converted? Is LiquidThreads Test Page going to be converted (it might be a waste of resources to undertake this in production, however it would be a useful test case for being undertaken in a test/qa/beta environment), or is there a list of pages which wont be converted?

Is there an opt-out procedure, where a person/group can opt to restore a page to wikitext?

Is there a process in place to rollback the conversion if bugs are found in the conversion script or Flow software (single page and/or entire conversion)?

Also, I request that user_talk: pages of unsuspecting (i.e. not opt'ed-in) users are not done *early* in the migration. While they might be smaller and easier to migrate, selecting them early in the process will cause a lot of grief as these are a cohort of people who are unlikely to be prepared to be beta testers on their own user_talk page.

Quiddity (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thanks for the good questions and suggestions. User:DannyH (WMF) and I are the main points of contact.

There's now a (draft) of the planned process, including timeline, at Flow/LQT conversion process, which should answer all of your questions.

Ciencia Al Poder (talkcontribs)

An edit toolbar is definitively handy in Support Desk, and I assume it would be also handy in other boards. Specially to escape markup (<nowiki></nowiki>) and the charinsert extension with other things like <code></code> and <syntaxhighlight></syntaxhighlight>

Florianschmidtwelzow (talkcontribs)

I understand it so, that you still can switch between the actual source editor and the editing toolbar. But i agree: We need a way to edit the plain wikitext (or the editing toolbar needs to support _all_ possible wikitext constructs (VE doesn't actually)).

DannyH (WMF) (talkcontribs)

We're about to release v1 of a VisualEditor toolbar; it should be on Mediawiki in the next couple of weeks. This first version is only going to have four items -- Bold/Italics, Links, Mentions and a switch for wikitext editing. We're definitely going to do more work on toolbars, but we want to see how this first one works before making any solid plans.

Florianschmidtwelzow (talkcontribs)

Sure, but there should be always a switch to view the wikitext version of an answer :)

WhatamIdoing (talkcontribs)

If you're going to add Bold and Italics, could you please also add Code? That gets used a lot on this wiki, and it should be just as easy to add as Bold and Italics.

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)
Ciencia Al Poder (talkcontribs)

Editing other people’s comments is also needed, since new people often paste PHP configurations or logs, without wrapping them inside <pre></pre> tags, so someone needs to fix them to make the posts readable

Florianschmidtwelzow (talkcontribs)

I'm not sure, but i can edit comments from other people, so i think there is an user right, which is currently set to sysop only?

Ricordisamoa (talkcontribs)

Yes, flow-edit-post is only granted to administrators.

Quiddity (WMF) (talkcontribs)

That is changing very soon, per phab:T90670 ("Enable Flow post editing for autoconfirmed users on MediaWiki.org, English, Russian") as a first step. (Currently in code-review, so nearly here).

Be..anyone (talkcontribs)
Petrb (talkcontribs)

Hi,

I think you all missed some old good rants. So here is one :) why the hell is the URL Topic:Sdoatsbslsafx6lw and not something easy to read and remember?

DannyH (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Yeah, I agree that's annoying. We need a unique ID for topics, so that we can do things like moving a topic from one board to another, or generating a feed of the discussions you're involved in. But that gives us ugly links that are impossible to make sense of. There are a couple ideas for how to make them easier to read -- either adding extra text at the end that has the topic title, or generating links that automatically display with the correct title. It's not at the top of the list right now, but it's something we'll need to build.

He7d3r (talkcontribs)
Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

Yes, please! Will an opt-in kind of feature ensue, or should I create some LQT discussion pages only to get them converted to Flow soon? 0 :-)

DannyH (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Assuming the LQT conversion goes smoothly, we'll start talking about turning Flow on for pages that don't exist yet, and then the wikitext pages. But feel free to use your own workarounds. :)

Jdlrobson (talkcontribs)

Yeh this works on mobile! Liquid threads 0 flow 1!

He7d3r (talkcontribs)
Kghbln (talkcontribs)

Is there an equivalent to "Special:NewMessages" for Flow? I use this to keep important threads sticky in privacy. I probably could use personal categories for this once it is implemented (for MonoBook?) but these categories would not be private. I cannot really use my watchlist for this since I follow much more threads which only pop up when action takes place. So basically something inbetween inintial notification of a new post and watching all interesting threads will be cool.

Kghbln (talkcontribs)

Admittedly I did not read the talk following the initial post till now. So I am not the only one missing this and I believe that phabricator:T93109 addresses this.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Quiddity, have you tested Flow with MassMessage delivery?

Quiddity (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Yes. It works, but the only problem is phab:T86812. (It pings the sender, if a signature is included)

WhatamIdoing (talkcontribs)
Mattflaschen-WMF (talkcontribs)

In general, please specify the problem you're referring to, as it may not be evident to everyone, or may be fixed later.

I'm assuming you mean {{subst:#ifeq:{{subst:CONTENTLANG}}|en||I apologize for sending this message in English.}} (no subst support). This has been fixed since that post (phab:T68307).

Ciencia Al Poder (talkcontribs)

Am I the only seeing that link as a red link (with redlink=1)?

Florianschmidtwelzow (talkcontribs)
Mattflaschen-WMF (talkcontribs)

Thank you both for reporting the red link issue.

Florianschmidtwelzow (talkcontribs)

I have another question: Why doesn't Flow use the entire screen width? There is a lot of free space on the right side :(

He7d3r (talkcontribs)
Florianschmidtwelzow (talkcontribs)

Oh, haven't found this :( But that looks good, would be great to have this design! :)

Quiddity (WMF) (talkcontribs)

After a number of more rounds of testing and tweaking, this has now started, with the first two pages converted per Flow/LQT conversion process.

Please let us know if you can see any problems.

I've heard one comment about there being too many notifications sent, and would like to get more feedback on that. [Update: Bug filed for getting too many notifications - phab:T98996 - they were only meant to show up for threads that we still had as "Unread" in our Special:NewMessages list. Apologies for the noise.]

Thanks.

Quiddity (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Update: The "Day 4" list of the process has now completed.

Some more imperfections were revealed or better understood, and new blocking tasks filed against phab:T92303, particularly including:

Please let us know if you have any other feedback or noticed any problems with these pages. Thanks!

He7d3r (talkcontribs)
He7d3r (talkcontribs)

Are the "watch" stars supposed to be unchecked on each of the LQT topics which were still in my Special:NewMessages? (I continue watching the whole talk pages, but none of the individual topics are marked as watched)

Mattflaschen-WMF (talkcontribs)

It should remain watched if the LiquidThreads thread was watched (we are copying this over).

Special:NewMessages is not the same thing as whether a thread is watched. If a LQT thread is watched, it will say "Unwatch", and otherwise "Watch" (since it's giving you a link to change the status).

Quiddity (WMF) (talkcontribs)

@Mattflaschen-WMF: I believe He7d3r is concerned about pages where he had watchlisted the LQT page, without necessarily interacting with any of the existing threads. LQT would still keep notifying him of any new activity. We plan to do that as a user-option, via phab:T100528 ("Improve organisation and control for (flow) notifications" - see phab:F169936 mockup in particular - feedback there would be appreciated!), but it isn't ready yet.

In the meantime, it would be good to automatically add all old LQT threads to a user's watchlist, if they're watchlisting the whole page. Is that possible? (Both for already converted pages, and for future LQT conversions).

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

My Talk page in Flow! I'm trying to suppress a show-off behavior here, staying civil and humble.  :P

I got more notifications than needed this evening, but if I understand correctly all of them were related to LQT -> Flow conversions, right? Since LQT is not widely used in Wikimedia, this would not be a big problem or a problem at all in most wikis. For wikitext -> Flow conversion of discussion pages, no notifications should be sent for regular pages, but one notification would be welcome to notify users that their Talk page has changed to Flow.

Also, what happens with subpages of Talk pages with discussion? I don't think I have any (definitely not with LQT), but as a theoretical case...

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

Mmm, in fact User talk:Qgil-WMF/LQT Archive 1 is not "an archived LiquidThreads page" as the template says. Only the wikitext part is there, the LQT was converted to Flow topics, and they are in User talk:Qgil-WMF. A small detail, since the text of the template can be simply edited.

Also, the format of the title of the converted LQT topics containing a link (Tech News) looks bad now, but maybe this is also a transitional problem? I'll wait till next Monday to see how the new Tech News topic looks like.

Ciencia Al Poder (talkcontribs)
He7d3r (talkcontribs)
Mattflaschen-WMF (talkcontribs)

All the LQT content is in fact archived (not just the Flow version, but also the original versions), but it is not shown on that page because it's no longer a LQT talk page. Like you suggested, changing the template is possible.

Flow topic titles do not support wikitext.

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

The script leaves a comment in the description of the new Flow Talk page: "Previous page history was archived for backup purposes at User talk:Qgil-WMF/LQT Archive 1 on 2015-06-10."

In future migrations, I think it would be useful to use this chance to link to a Flow help page, for the owner of the Talk page and whoever lands there. The description can be edited, so users can just remove it whenever they want.

Ciencia Al Poder (talkcontribs)

With LQT, following a talk page automatically gave you notifications on every LQT post/edit of that page. But this doesn't seem to be true with flow posts (at least in Project:Current issues in my case)

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

Actually this is for me a key feature of Flow over LQT or wikitext discussions. While I am not able to follow i.e. en.wiki Village Pump Technical (and every time I watch that page I end up unwatching it because I can't cope with that rhythm of updates), with Flow I could receive notifications for new threads, and then subscribe only to those I care about. It makes a whole difference, which is almost critical for more casual contributors with less time to invest following discussions.

Ciencia Al Poder (talkcontribs)

I wasn't aware that Flow notifies about new threads. If that's true, that's fine, then. A good idea, indeed.

The problem is that is a changed behavior over LQT, not sure if well documented, and unexpected over existing messages that were converted to flow which weren't automatically followed when the conversion was done, so I had to manually subscribe to them (after noticing I received no notifications)

He7d3r (talkcontribs)
Sänger (talkcontribs)

No, you only have two choices:

  1. Watch the whole page and get informed over new topics (but not new posts)
  2. Watch a thread and get informed about any new post in it

If you want to get everything, you have to watch every new thread manually after being informed about it via #1

Quiddity (WMF) (talkcontribs)

At phab:T100528 there are some ideas around increasing the control that editors have, beyond what we currently have with wikitext/LQT/Flow. See the 3rd and 4th image in the description, for the TL;DR.

Rich Farmbrough (talkcontribs)

You asked for comments here. Which shows a problem in that there is no-where to comment, only reply - and which comment should I reply to?. I'm not sure if this project has been abandoned or not but if not:

  • I thanked someone I was then unable to reply to his thread.
  • I can't see the date stuff was posted - oh it's a mouse over.- hidden information is not useful
  • The use of a "..." icon is not intuitive, I stumbled across it. There's a reason we have "v t e" on navboxes, it works and is relatively clear. Unfortunately we were forced to have V T E which goes completely against the WP style..
  • No preview WTF? - ohh unless I swap editors form the one it gives me - which breaks the markup even when I fix it.

Rich Farmbrough 17:21, 14 September 2015 (UTC).

Mattflaschen-WMF (talkcontribs)

You can reply to a post, or reply to a topic. To reply to the topic, you can use the textbox at the very bottom of the topic.

The project has not been abandoned. Per the announcement, "Flow will be maintained and supported".

I was not able to reproduce the 'thank' issue, and I have not heard that reported before. Please provide exact steps, and your browser.

The intention with the dates is that you can see the most commonly wanted information (human-readable dates) immediately, while getting the exact dates by mouseover or on the history page. But see phab:T94648.

If you are having issues with switching to VisualEditor, please let us know or file them in Phabricator. We will track down the underlying issue.

He7d3r (talkcontribs)
Rogol Domedonfors (talkcontribs)

Is there a browser support matrix for Flow? (I would have added this as a new topic, but it seems that my browser is imperfectly supported ...)

Mattflaschen-WMF (talkcontribs)

I don't think this is explicitly listed anywhere, but our matrix is in practice similar to Grade A at that link (for JavaScript support). More browsers have full no-JS support.

To help us figure out the problem you experienced, please note your browser, browser version, what you tried, and what happened.

You can file on Phabricator or reply here.

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