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Splitting notifications into Alerts and Messages

35
Quiddity (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Next week's software update will include the first steps of some significant updates to the Echo system. We need your feedback, to plan the next steps.

There's going to be a change to the icon that opens the flyout, (the list of items etc). There will be two icons: one for alerts and one for messages. (see phab:T108190 for extensive details). You can see an example here:

The first flyout ("alerts") will still contain most of the notifications, for now.

The second flyout ("messages") will contain notifications about your new usertalk-page messages (and flow messages on the wikis using it).

This change is based on longterm feedback from highly active editors, that they would like a clearer indication than just a "red number", of what type of notification is waiting for them. (See phab:T58476 and linked tasks.) A number of options were suggested, and this is the first step towards that.

We'd appreciate further feedback on this change: What other notification types should be moved into the "messages" section? The list of existing notification types includes: usertalk messages, thanks, mentions, page-links, page-reviews, edit-reverts, system messages. There are more types being discussed.

(Some editors have suggested splitting every single notification type into a unique icon, but there are already a dozen sub-types of notification, with more expected in the long-term, so that is unfeasible.)

Thank you!

Side-note: Work has also begun on Cross-wiki Notifications (phab:T67661).

בנימין (talkcontribs)

A very good idea! Much more convenient than the current notifications system.

Davidwr (talkcontribs)

Make it a "preferences" choice.

I would like to see each type of message have 4 choices: "alert icon" (which would need to be developed), "notice icon", "message icon", and "off."

If it's not feasible to have a separate choice for each type of message, then at least consolidate messages that are logically similar to each other in one group. At a minimum, I can see 3 "groupings": 1) messages on your talk page, 2) notices/messages that mention you by name such as en:Template:ping, and 3) everything else. A possible 4th grouping would be "official notices," but that would require a way for functionaries to mark a message or other notice as "official."

Nyuszika7H (talkcontribs)

I agree, separating mentions and things like thanks would be nice.

Quiddity (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I've just updated the main project page, with a complete list of all the existing notification types, and a complete list of all the proposed/partially-developed notification types. ("complete" as far as I could find). That should help give more context to the scale of the potential increase in the long-term, and clearer details for this discussion about how to group the existing notification types.

Personally, I'd also like to see the "mentions" and the "course talkpage edited" moved into the "messages" list, plus any future notifications that involve discussion/signatures and where a discussion-edit is the expected or desired response.

Johan (WMF) (talkcontribs)

There's a discussion on the Swedish Wikipedia Village Pump where several users have said it would be nice to be able to choose between one and two flyouts. I've replied to the discussion and pointed out that they're welcome to add feedback here as well, if they want to.

Nizil Shah (talkcontribs)

I like the change but now we have three titles of conversation pages: Talk (eg. Wikipedia), Discussion (eg. Wikidata) and now Messages in Notification. Can we unite all three in one title? Separate Alert is good than all combining Notifications.

And yes, crosswiki alert is much awaited. :)

Nizil Shah (talkcontribs)

And yes what will happen to Notifications in Mobile view? They still not divided.

WhatamIdoing (talkcontribs)

I am so happy about this change. It makes dealing with mw.org in particular much easier, because I can see at a glance, without clicking, whether the notification is yet another thread (I've got a pair of active pages on my watchlist) or someone actually looking for me. This is great.

DESiegel (talkcontribs)

I would like to see this change reverted. I found the combined list easy to deal with, now there are two separate things to deal with. But more importantly, the previous lsit could be opened as a separate page in a separate browser tab, whcih is whow I routinely did it, leavign the tab open asa I attended to the various notifications. Now I can't do that, and I see thsi loss of functionality asa larger than any possible gain from differing icons. I also feel that the additional space the icon takes up isn['t sorth it. Can a user preference be added that woudl restore the old system, please? ~~~~

Quiddity (WMF) (talkcontribs)

The bug about not currently being able to easily open special:notifications in a new tab, is tracked at phab:T112004. Sorry about that. In the meantime, you can click the link at the bottom of either 'flyout' menu, "All notifications".

Nikkimaria (talkcontribs)

I also would like the option to use the old version, please. I find the new version takes up a lot of space, among other issues.

Jdforrester (WMF) (talkcontribs)

[Reposting on behalf of Peridon for whom the "Reply" button apparently doesn't appear]

As I can't find any other way into this not exactly clear threading system, I'm posting here. I'd like to have an opt-out as well. I use Monobook as I find Vector appalling, and those two black blots on their little grey boxes are distracting. I also can't see any point in separating the lists. Previously, you needed one click to see all. Now, if you have both sorts of notification, you need two clicks. That's progress? Looks more like finding something to twiddle... This is Peridon, as the signing code doesn't work, and I can't find a way to start a new post. I would like an option to open in a new window, never mind tabs. I hate tabs. I can find no way of signing or making bold on this page, so <bold>Peridon</bold> 17.28 BST 11th September 2015 will have to do.
Jdforrester (WMF) (talkcontribs)

[Reposting on behalf of Peridon for whom the "Reply" button apparently does appear, but they choose not to use it.]

I didn't consider myself to be 'replying', I considered I was 'posting'. Gawd knows where this comment is going to go... Ah. There's a </> thing that reminds me of those esoteric symbols on clothing labels - supposedly clear for all languages but understood by none.

[Peridon, please stop editing other people's comments. On most wikis such actions are very much frowned upon and might even get you blocked. :-)]

Nyuszika7H (talkcontribs)
Roan Kattouw (WMF) (talkcontribs)

That's likely due to local CSS, I'll look into this later today.

Roan Kattouw (WMF) (talkcontribs)

This change should fix it; it'll take 5-10 minutes for it to propagate though.

Peridon (talkcontribs)

It would be rather nice to get a little help with editing on what to me is a foreign system. I don't frequent MW - the notifications I received when signing in here were from four years ago. I saw ... at one side of a post with the option to edit, and 'Reply' at the other. Not wanting to reply to the actual post I went for the ... with Edit. This method of operation may be common in forums and places like Facebook that I don't frequent either. A little bit of helpful advice on where to click would be similar to the advice I am frequently giving to newbies to wikicode and procedure at enwiki. If this is Flow, I am very glad we apparently aren't getting it. If it's something else, you can keep it here and I'll stick to enwiki completely. If this ends up in someone else's post, you can move it or leave it, and block me or not as you choose.

So that's how it works. To others, probably logical. To me, counter-intuitive.
PerfektesChaos (talkcontribs)

I do appreciate the separation into alerting and less urgent issues.

I would recommend the following classification, ignoring the interpretation that a blue bubble is reserved for conversation:

  • thanks
    • Definitely not alerting, shall not distract from work.
    • blue
  • own talk page
    • May trigger orange bar, too, if not out-opted.
    • Also present on watchlist.
    • Keep blue, even if important for me.
  • page-link
    • Please do not bother me.
    • blue
  • page-review
    • Fine, like thanked, but I would not feel urged to react if I would be a newbie.
    • blue
  • edit-revert
    • Ooops. What's going on here? Scandal! Who the f...
    • RED
  • system message
    • My user rights changed? Revocation or advancing? Pretty important.
    • My email is changing, or my password or whatever? Not on a daily base.
    • RED
  • email was sent to me
    • T56130 is heading for that.
    • Seems to be an important private message.
    • RED
Dhtwiki (talkcontribs)

This multi-colored scheme is what I think would be helpful, but possibly with green for "Thanked", and possibly other types where blue has been suggested.

Quiddity (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Temporarily reverted

We've had to temporarily revert the Echo changes due to an unintended performance regression (phab:T112401) and a severe bug for Safari users on Commons (phab:T112552). Very sorry about the disruption. :-(

Please continue to give suggestions on ways to group the various notification types, to ease the horror that many editors feel at a regularly refreshing/incrementing red-badge that they're never sure if it's urgent or not, or might want faster access to. A partial list of proposed notification types is at Echo (Notifications)#Suggested new notification types, with more to come. Much thanks to all who have, already.

DrKay (talkcontribs)

There seems little point in having a separate "Talk" link as well as the message notification button. They seem to serve much the same function: notifying you of a message (with an orange bar in one case and a blue flag in the other) and both linking to the same page.

PerfektesChaos (talkcontribs)

@DrKiernan:

These are two issues:

  1. The orange bar, which alerts me that something happened to my own talk page, which concerns me personally.
  2. The blue field, which indicates that one of many less urgent events happened. For the moment and on your wiki there might be no other activity, but I presume this will change quite soon. Please see the text above.
Ningauble (talkcontribs)

Much ado about nothing. Foundation resources and volunteer efforts are not being well spent on this sort of fiddling with the interface.

CFCF (talkcontribs)

Great improvement, hope you get it running soon again. I don't really think it needs more tweaking than this, these are the two main notification types.

The Drover's Wife (talkcontribs)

This is receiving a significant amount of criticism and should never have been implemented without an RfC and an actual consensus to implement. It should be opt-in if existent at all. I came here wondering why the site had been fixed and was a bit shocked that those responsible had actually listened and was upset to discover that it had just been because of a bug.

IJBall (talkcontribs)

I'd personally like to see the various different types under 'Notifications' (in the new system) leading to a "color coded" Notification icon: e.g. Reverts=red, Thanks=green, Mentions=blue (or some other color), etc. If you can get the new system to do that, I'll consider it a fairly significant success as it would be much more functional, and a definite improvement over the old system.

Quiddity (WMF) (talkcontribs)

@IJBall, Thanks, and that's been suggested before, with comments and links to older onwiki threads at Phab:T57359 - iirc the main difficulty is regarding how to color the icon, if there are multiple types of new notification, though if there was a hierarchy of importance we could potentially just use the color of the highest-priority (e.g. 'red' types would take priority). There were also some concerns about added code-complexity, but I'm not sure how severe those were.

WhatamIdoing (talkcontribs)

The bugs have been marked as resolved. How much longer do we have to wait to get this back?

Mooeypoo (talkcontribs)

The code will be pushed in the next deployment train on Tuesday (to MW) and Wednesday everywhere else.

Roan Kattouw (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Slight correction: it'll go to mediawiki.org on Tuesday (today), to non-Wikipedias on Wednesday, and to Wikipedias on Thursday.

Dan Mihai Pitea (talkcontribs)

Has anybody given consideration to the fact that the color red might increase aggressiveness in Wikipedia users?

Trizek (WMF) (talkcontribs)

@Dan Mihai Pitea That's why we want to split notifications between alerts (red) and messages (blue).

WhatamIdoing (talkcontribs)

I'm so glad that this is back. Now I can go to Mw: and see at a glance that there's really only one thing for me, and everything else is basically a watchlist item (new Flow threads on multiple pages). Thanks.

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