Topic on VisualEditor/Feedback

Elitre (WMF) (talkcontribs)

You can test the single edit tab project at

If you have previously created an account at test2, then you may need to reset your preferences. If the visual editor is disabled in your preferences, you will not be able to test this.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

A few pieces of information that may be helpful:

  • With a brand-new account, on your first edit, you will see two boxes: the normal welcome box followed by the preferences dialog. If you want to see the preferences dialog again, then reset your preferences. (The link is at the bottom of the page under Special:Preferences, next to the Save button.)
  • If you choose to "always take me to" one editor in this dialog box, then the page will be opened in that editor.
  • For both logged-in and logged-out editors, the initial preference is "Remember my last" (whichever editing system you were using when you saved or exited from the page). Clicking "OK" in the preferences dialog does not change your preferences.
  • If you are editing as an IP, then you will not be asked to set a preference (IPs don't have access to Special:Preferences). However, the last editing system you used will be automatically stored in a cookie, and whatever system you used last will be the one it gives you next time.
    • The preference stored in the cookie will be updated even if you don't save the page after switching.
    • To start over as a "new" logged-out editor, clear your cookies.
  • The visual editor is not offered in some situations, such as when UNDOing edits. The wikitext editor will always be opened when the visual editor is not available, regardless of your settings.
Alsee (talkcontribs)

This was discussed on Pharicator. Jdforrester-WMF SPECIFICALLY ASSURED ME THAT THE WMF WOULD NOT USE THE THE SINGLE-EDIT-TAB DEPLOYMENT TO TRY TO SNEAK IN A VISUAL EDITOR DEFAULT. I went to test2 and clicked edit. I then did a double check, I logged out, I created a new account, I clicked edit again. I assume I don't have to tell you which editor came up by default.

Please tell me we're not going to have to start an RFC here.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Alsee, are you aware that IPs already have access to the visual editor at most Wikipedias? Test2 is not the English Wikipedia. The configuration at Test2 reflects what happens at most Wikipedias.

Alsee (talkcontribs)

I know IP's have access to VE. I don't understand what you are saying or asking??

I said I logged in with a new named account and it gave me VE by default.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

At this point, I think it might help if you explain – in detail and with concrete, specific examples – what "VE by default" means to you, and what it doesn't mean.

Alsee (talkcontribs)

I'm not sure how I could have been more clear?

I created a new account.

I clicked EDIT.

VE loaded.

As I understand it, "Default" is what the software gives you the first time, when you haven't yet assigned something other than the default.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Update: The preferences dialog doesn't seem to be showing in Firefox (at least on Mac OS). (talkcontribs)

Firefox Win7. New account: Default VE.

Firefox Win7. IP edit: Default VE.

Chrome Win7. New account: Default VE.

Chrome Win7. IP edit: Default VE.

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Alsee (talkcontribs)

IE8 test. New account. Blocked completely. All that comes up is the report-problems link.

TheDJ (talkcontribs)

IE8 Javascript won't be supported anymore in January, before this change is planned to land, so users will then fallback to plain HTML interfaces. Thanks for testing IE8 however, it's often hard to find people who can test with that in real life editing.

Alsee (talkcontribs)

Note that attempts to access Wikipedia using old versions of IE may spike any time there's a Firefox problem. There are still a very large number of WinXP machines, and the latest version of Chrome refuses to install on XP. I spent absurd time trying to find a version of Chrome that could install.Google appears to have hunted down and eradicated all mirrors for old versions of Chrome. So it was either Firefox, or pulling out the long-ignored IE.

TheDJ (talkcontribs)

I personally find it absurd to support an OS that not even it's manufacturer is still supporting anymore, but it's the reality that many people simply cannot upgrade. They will receive a reduced functionality set because of that however. The cost of maintaining full support for such an end of life product is insanely high and no longer justifiable.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Yes, that particular test wiki is configured to open the visual editor first, unless the editor chooses to make the wikitext editor the preference. Were you able to switch between the two editors? Did you try changing your preferences?

Alsee (talkcontribs)

Whatamidoing, when I tried it I didn't bother trying to switch modes or change prefs. The default was VE and I quit to comment about it.

Regarding that particular test wiki is configured to open the visual editor first, are you saying the WMF planned that other wikis would be configured the opposite way, to open Wikitext first unless the community requests otherwise?

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Did you see the big dialog box asking you which editing system you wanted to use? It looks like this:

And if you did see it, then what did you choose?

Yes, the team expects different wikis to have different configurations. To give an example that hasn't even been discussed (to my knowledge), the initial configuration for Commons will almost certainly start everyone in the wikitext editor, unless users individually change their preferences.

Alsee (talkcontribs)

I did not get that menu.

However to discuss that menu, it's completely meaningless to a new editor. With the current two-tabs, an editor who clicks one will see that there's another edit button and they will naturally explore it. With that menu, editors who click "Always wikitext" or "Always VE" will have a hard time discovering the other one. And with zero knowledge, a new editor is clicking randomly. They will probably be distressed that they are being asked to answer a question written in Klingon.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Well, I'll be setting my own preferences to two tabs, but that's because I'm used to it, and because I know what I can do faster and easier in each system.

None of these options actually disable either editing system. You'll be able to switch between them whenever you want. I believe that there will be a significant fraction of experienced editors who will set "always give me the wikitext editor" and only switch to the visual editor for specific purposes, like adding, deleting or (soon) re-arranging columns in a wikitext table.

Now to de-bug the problem: Can you tell me your web browser? If it's Firefox, then that's the problem. (It worked in Firefox for me a few days ago, but nobody seems to be able to see it in Firefox today.)

If you're not running Firefox, then please go to and tell me what it says about the visual editor in the Editing tab. Then re-set all of your preferences (link at the bottom, next to the save button), and try to edit any page again. You should first see a welcome screen, and then the huge menu.

Timeshifter (talkcontribs)

VisualEditor News #6—2015 sends me here. Asking for feedback here for the single edit tab is a bad idea. The discussion format here is broken in so many ways. When I tried to comment here just now it said I wasn't logged in, even though I could clearly see my user name at the top. I clicked the login link in this comment form, and now I am OK. Then you are asking me to use yet another talk page system. I don't even know what this one is. Is this LiquidThreads, Flow, or what. I have no clue. The editing toolbar is different too. Copying and pasting is not standard plain text. Everything is different. And I really miss the easy scannability and compactness of regular talk pages as at Wikipedia. And where is the preview button?

I suggest you ask for feedback on the single edit tab on a dedicated talk page on Wikipedia. Dedicated to the single edit tab. Create a subpage there for the single edit tab:

Wikipedia:VisualEditor/Feedback/single edit tab

Wikipedia talk:VisualEditor/Feedback/single edit tab

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

This page is Flow. If you want to use wikitext, then click the "[[ ]]" button on the lower right. You can edit your comments by choosing the "Edit" item in the "•••" menu (upper right).

If all else fails, then you know how to find my user talk page. ;-)

Timeshifter (talkcontribs)
Thanks. "..." only showed the edit link for awhile, and then it was no longer there. I am going to see if this wikitext allows me to indent my response to you. In preview it looks like it is OK. Except that my username is not indented enough.
Alsee (talkcontribs)

In wikitext we use the full screen width, and we intelligently manage unlimited levels of indenting with manual outdents. Flow hardcodes indenting. Flow originally crapped out at 3 levels. I think they raised it to 8? That's why most replies get no indent, the WMF tries really hard not to apply an indent-level if they can avoid it. In real use I expect our complex discussions will still crash badly into the indentation cap.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

You can use the full screen width in Flow, too. I am; just go to the top of the thread the click the little gray box that points to the side of the screen.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Flow is @Quiddity (WMF)'s problem. They keep testing different configurations for indenting. At the moment, I believe that it doesn't keep indenting you're replying to the last item in that sub-thread. (This could change at any moment – well, once the normal deployment trains start again.)

Also, Quiddity, when I pinged you here, I get a red link (because your userpage is actually on Meta), which doesn't thrill my soul, and there's no way to click through to the user page to make sure that it's the correct one. (Merry Christmas, it's a bug!)

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TheDJ (talkcontribs)

@Timeshifter, regarding your login issue... I suspect this is because you were not logged in when the page initially loaded (causing flow to display it's error and login link). The CentralAuth software then automatically logged you in on this wiki using the crosswiki session, updating the UI of personal tools, but not the UI of Echo. I can reproduce this if I visit en.wp, then, then remove all cookie settings of then reload the page (at which point it will use my logins on the other wmf properties to automatically log me back in).

I see below you experienced this a second time, did you restart your browser in between ? Or did you perhaps login afresh on another wiki ? Or do you use very strict cookie settings (possibly by using adblocker or something?)

I'll file a ticket about the Echo login issue, because that's an annoying side effect of the Login architecture changes of last year.

Timeshifter (talkcontribs)

@TheDJ. My Firefox addons (several) delete all cookies and supercookies except those in "exceptions" in my Firefox privacy options. This happens most thoroughly when I close all Firefox windows.

When I come here fresh (new browser window) I get this message at the top of the edit window that shows up after clicking reply:

"You are not logged in. To receive attribution with your name instead of your IP address, you can log in or create an account."

I click on "log in" in that message, and then I can post.

If I come first to a standard talk page on

I am able to post without problems.

No matter where I go on I always see "Timeshifter" at the top of the page. So standard single user login is working even though the only mediawiki-related cookies I allow to remain all the time in Firefox are for and

I probably also need to allow

I notice that if I first post on the above-linked standard talk page, and then come here without closing the browser window, I can post without problems, without having to click that login link.

TheDJ (talkcontribs)

@Timeshifter Right, this totally explains what you are observing. Due to the cross domain logins, and you not retaining cookies, but because you ARE retaining wikimedia and cookies, then this is exactly what I presumed. I have filed this issues as phab:T122654.

  • You can accept cookies permanently and that would make this problem extremely rare
  • You will also note that as long as this page is the 2nd page you visit (not even edit) you will not experience this problem

Note that your setup is a rather uncommon configuration (relatively), but it should be supported of course.

Timeshifter (talkcontribs)

There is also discussion at Wikipedia:Village pump (technical). I can't figure out how to get an internal interwiki link to work here, or I would link to the village pump topic.

I came back to try to edit my first comment, and add a link, and now see that both are not possible. This talk page format is looking worse and worse. And I again get this message upon clicking in the reply box: "You are not logged in. To receive attribution with your name instead of your IP address, you can log in or create an account." And this is even though I see that I am logged in at the top. And I was hoping this 2nd comment would be indented from my first comment.

Alexiaya (talkcontribs)

You can just enter "en:Foobar" as a link literally, or you can switch to the wikitext editor with the icon in the bottom right.

Adam Cuerden (talkcontribs)

I think this is a good start, but worry that the loading time could be problematic for users on slow computers, albeit they'd have to be quite slow. I'd say a method for turning off VE is probably needed as a solution to that, but it looks very good otherwise.

Vojtěch Dostál (talkcontribs)

Hello, just came here to say that I like the idea of a single tab and choosing the environment by saving the last used editing environment! That way conservative users can stick to Wikimarkup with no problems and progressive users like me, or newcomers, can easily use VisualEditor :) Thanks for bringing up the idea - a very neat solution.

Kurt Jansson (talkcontribs)

I agree with Vojtěch. Two edit buttons are confusing for newbies, better show them VE first. The technically inclined can always choose the much more complex and confusing wikitext editor as their default.

Timeshifter (talkcontribs)

Kurt Jansson. You wrote: "The technically inclined can always choose the much more complex and confusing wikitext editor as their default." If they are on Firefox, they may wait up to 30 seconds for VE to load for serious article pages such as the Barack Obama page. That's how long it takes for me. How will they know how to try the wikitext editor if the "edit source" button is hidden? Newly-registered editors are usually afraid to change their preferences for awhile.

Vojtěch Dostál (talkcontribs)

Hi Timeshifter, the speed of VE loading has increased a lot in recent months/years and I believe this process will continue. The button which switches to Wikimarkup will not completely disappear - anyone can always switch to Wikimarkup editor using a button in VE edit window. It is much more confortable because you usually start editing with something you know (VE) and then find out that some feature is only available in Wikimarkup, so you switch in the middle of editing and your changes done in VE are retained in the markup.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

It also depends upon your geographic location. The visual editor is faster in Europe and Africa than it is in North America.

Timeshifter, do you know where the "edit source" button is in the visual editor? Do you think that's "hidden"? What do you think about a user-education feature that points out its location?

Timeshifter (talkcontribs)

Trying to link to Barack Obama page. Brackets manually added in wikitext editor here do not create links (at least within preview). And this Flow wikitext editor is reformatting my text after every preview. The brackets disappear along with the text within the brackets. Text laddering is introduced at that point. After I click the preview link within the wikitext editor, it goes back to Flow's Visual Editor. When I try to create a link within Flow's visual editor I can't get rid of the popup window.

Mediawiki software is being hurt by Flow driving away people from reporting and commenting on Mediawiki bugs and features.

See en:Barack Obama (can't create a link). I just timed VE loading for me using Firefox. Took 30 seconds for the blue loading bar to disappear. I watched the clock count off the seconds on my PC. So I wasn't guessing on the time.

You are asking a new editor to choose a default editor. Then after choosing VE they try to load it on a page like the Barack Obama page. Then this new editor is supposed to now know how to choose between the 2 edit buttons that now show up. And they only show up at the top of the page. They may not be at the top of the page.

Layers and layers of confusion for new editors. It is well known that any delay in page loading causes people to move on. At least it is true on the web in general. Many studies show this. So why would it be different on Wikipedia?

I say the lesser of evils is to show the 2 edit buttons from the beginning. It is likely newly-registered editors started as anonymous IP editors at first. So they know that the wikitext editor is fast. So they will naturally search for it if they get stuck waiting on VE to load. But not from within VE. Not as newly-registered editors.

They are more likely to X-out the page, and come back later, and choose the other edit button among the 2 edit buttons that show up on every section. Cause they know that one of them has to be the fast wikitext editor they know from IP editing.

Once they get experienced they can choose a single edit tab from preferences if that is what they want. Many experienced editors will not do that. They will keep both edit buttons. Because even I find VE useful for some purposes. Editing tables in my sandboxes for example. VE is good for removing unwanted columns. Or for adding blank columns and rows.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I think you're forgetting that IPs at most Wikipedias already have access to the visual editor. Consequently, many newly registered editors are already familiar with both options. They can already switch between the two editing systems right now. (See it for yourself: edit in a private/incognito window. You'll see exactly what a new IP sees at the French Wikipedia – including the same switch-to-wikitext and switch-to-visual buttons.) The question for the majority of wikis is whether one button or two is preferable.

I agree that some IPs at the English Wikipedia might be confused if they were offered a choice between an editing tool they had used before and an editing tool that is not only unfamiliar to them, but also one that they do not actually have direct access to. (Some IPs are already confused by why the English Wikipedia doesn't have the same options that their home wiki has.) Fortunately, there are no plans to ask logged-out editors whether they want to use a tool that's been turned off for logged-out editors at that wiki. This plan has no significant effect on IP editors at the English Wikipedia (also Dutch, German, Chinese, and a couple dozen others that are late in the deployment list). The relevant questions about this plan for IP editors is what's best for IP editors at other wikis.

Alsee (talkcontribs)

The rationale for building VE was that wikitext was a confusing obstacle, and that VE would help more people get on board with editing. The theory was proven wrong.

The WMF did a research study when VE was activated as a second tab (actually they confusingly hijacked "edit" for a conflicting meaning and moved wikieditor to a different name). Offering VE helped an additional 0% of new accounts make their first edit. There was a 0% increase in 1 week and 3 month new editor retention. There was a 0% increase in total contributions.

The WMF is planning a study to see the effect of defaulting some new editors to VE, but given the above results there is no reason to expect positive results. Offering VE as an equal option, with many new accounts clicking it first, had zero effect. In fact I expect that hiding the wikitext editor from new accounts will probably have a negative impact.

FocalPoint (talkcontribs)

No need for a single tab. Each editor has its advantages and it is better to have both options easily available, as it is now.

Vojtěch Dostál (talkcontribs)

Oh yes there is need. You cannot imagine how confusing it is for newbies seeing two different edit buttons.

Liuxinyu970226 (talkcontribs)

I should say that I oppose hardcoded "Always give me the visual editor" by default, we should have somewhat to configure the default value. Probably $wgVEdefault (or other proper name?) in our InitialiseSettings.php.

Because, It's nonsense that you can mislead new users to only have knowledges about ve, but no knowledge about the wikitext.

Vojtěch Dostál (talkcontribs)

There is a well-visible button that links from VE to Wikimarkup. I am sure we can make it even more visible if there is need.

Timeshifter (talkcontribs)

The "edit source" button within the VE editing window is only at the top of the page. The editor may not be at the top of the page. And so new editors may never see that "edit source" button.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I'm not sure what you mean by 'hardcoded "Always give me the visual editor" by default'. Nothing is hard-coded. It's all configurable.

Liuxinyu970226 (talkcontribs)
Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

VisualEditor isn't generally available at zh.wikipedia, and it probably won't be for a long time due to IMEs (language-specific issues). While the single edit tab could be deployed there, it would only affect the small number of editors who have personally chosen to have access to the visual editor via W:zh:Special:参数设置 .

Alsee (talkcontribs)

I viewed Chinese Wikipedia comments with machine translation. The translation was awful, but the general points came across loud and clear. Hostility at the WMF trying to push new users into VE, both past and future. Single edit tab "must not be deployed", although it looks like that doesn't apply if you default new users directly into wikimode.

There was a separate comment about IE11:

For help VisualEditor IE11 does not support it? Even once a trial, it appears warning directly and does not support the browser. Even for WINDOWS10 version of IE11 browser.
Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

IE11 is neither whitelisted (known to work stably) nor blacklisted (known to be broken). Therefore, all users of IE11 (also IE10) receive a warning message about the possibility of browser-related problems.

Alsee (talkcontribs)

Liux's use of "hardcoded" was a poor term from a technical point of view. The meaning here is that, from the community's perspective, there's little practical difference between "hardcoded" and a configuration option that is only accessible to WMF. It would ease a lot of fears and tensions if things like per-wiki default settings were wiki-accessible either to Admins or Bureaucrats. It would also eliminate the risk of the Community trying to apply a javascript hack to change a default.

TheDJ (talkcontribs)

I don't think so, since Liux is specifically pointing towards that exact configuration file in the line following his use of hardcoded. So what Liux wants is already possible.

Alsee (talkcontribs)

Ah, I'm not familiar with the configuration file. Are you saying that file currently holds the VE-default options, that the community can edit that file, and that the community could have used it to set opt-in during the initial-buggy-VE deployment and the Media Viewer deployment, instead of the javascript that the community used in each case?

TheDJ (talkcontribs)

Many elements of the software stack are configurable, the community can propose 'local' changes to those defaults if they can show consensus on their local wiki and if those changes will not have negative technical side-effects (Although WMF has final say over everything. It's their servers). The process of making changes can take anything between half a week and a few weeks. It's not a switchboard (definitely not a community editable switchboard), these things can bring entire datacenters down (actually, half of the major downtime situations over the past year were because highly experienced people made a mistake right here in these files).

"that the community could have used it to set opt-in during the initial-buggy-VE deployment and the Media Viewer deployment" well.... yes and no. The problem with rolling out these new elements is often that these kind of configuration switches initially are simply not in place and only afterwards you realize you need them. They then might have to be written (including the change in behavior they trigger), before they can be switched in some of those cases, causing it to take quite a while. This leads to people getting impatient...

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Config changes have to be made by devs, not admins (different buttons/different user rights).

There are more volunteer devs than there are WMF devs.

ClemRutter (talkcontribs)

You have flashed my talk page with a message. It seemed to be a good idea so I followed the link- I landed at a test wiki- with nothing to try and no immediate instructions on what to do. I am editing on Chromium- and have all my permanent setting set to avoid leaving wikitext. I am just the sort of editor you are targeting! But can't help today.

All I want from an editor is a system that allows my trainees to add an interesting fact, forces them to provide a reference, and forces them to provide an edit summary.

This editor prevents me from signing and there is no preview! --~~~~

TheDJ (talkcontribs)

Yes, I believe this is a bug. I have filed it a couple of days ago as T122394. Should be fixed before this lands on production I'm sure.

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Mysha (talkcontribs)

I was asked about my experience with single edit tab, whatever that may be.

The page I was linked to didn't actually seem to allow editing, oops. After some further clicking I landed on a page with an edit tab, which I clicked. This resulted in lots of pop-up panes, and other changes, but absolutely no feel that I was editing the page at that time. So, I gave up (and went looking for the feedback mechanism). ~~~

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