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What metadata should be displayed (article quality, last edited, user views, settings icon etc.)?

Summary by Edwardj 123

This discussion topic is about what metadata should be displayed in the Page Previews/Hovercards feature along with the summary content. The most discussed metadata items are:

  • Article quality (a brief piece of text/icon tool-tips and optional icons indicating the how reliable and good the article is, perhaps showing its particular status such as featured article)
  • Last edited (a brief piece of text stating the date and time that the article was last edited, typically short local format with standard long UTC format as tool-tip text)
  • User views (a brief piece of text stating the number of users who viewed the article within a certain amount of time which can be abbreviated to units such as K - kilo or m - million)
  • Settings icon (an icon linking to a tool to configure personal user settings for the display of the preview box which can include opt-in features that only editors would want to enable)

Currently (February 2017), only the settings icon is shown in this feature.

Bush6984 (talkcontribs)

Upon hover, the hovercard display of content seems great, but it seems unnecessary clutter that the settings "gear/wheel" and "Last edited X days ago" display. Those could be gotten rid of, on account that very few people hovering for info probably care whatsoever about the recency of editing status. This would further allow room for more worthwhile text summary to be displayed.

Edwardj 123 (talkcontribs)

I think the settings icon is a valuable feature in the Page Previews hover card box because most users will want to have easy access to the settings to quickly change the size of the hover cards or disable them.

The last edited status text seems fairly important and is only a small bit of text so should be kept, particularly for editors' benefits.

The text summary could perhaps be extended, by a maximum of 8 words (not too many to make it visually bad and more than a summary) - particularly when the image is displayed horizontally to the right providing a gap between the summary text and the toolbar.

Bush6984 (talkcontribs)

I would think that changing those settings should be in a more generalized location, such as the "Preferences" or "Beta" link in our upper-right-hand corner, rather than cluttering the space in each and every single drop-down info box upon hovering.

My rationale here is that when people are hovering to get a quick summary of a topic in order to be able keep reading their main article, "Settings" and "Last Edited" are some pretty useless/ancillary bits of information. If I care that much to know a page's last edit, I can click the page itself to look at it. Likewise, if I care that much to change my "Page Preview" settings then I can go to my "Preferences/Beta" links just like I did in order to enable them initially. Point being, the "cost" of having those two items clutter screens is not offset and countered by the negligibly small "benefit" of the tiny few number of users who actually want to use those features directly from the Preview drop-down.

Hopefully that makes sense; that my point is not that those are 100% irrelevant, but that they are instead just rather poorly-placed to "cost" and take up space on every single Preview. To my logic, that is not the purpose the Preview tab serves, and therefore it's irrelevant clutter.

Edwardj 123 (talkcontribs)

Getting rid of the settings icon seems too much - it's such a tiny addition to a large box mostly filled with content, improving user experience because it simplifies accessing these important settings and needing less time to do things is a feature many people in society value. Although they are settings that would be infrequently used, the small icon is hardly cluttering up the space.

Bush6984 (talkcontribs)

If you say so. I disagree, but I'm not gonna waste my time in a back-and-forth.

The purpose of the Preview is quickly viewing a short summary of information, not having bells and whistles. There's no sense in retaining lots of side-bar and bottom-part miscellany when the primary function the Preview is supposed to serve is to: preview.

Edwardj 123 (talkcontribs)

Alright. I won't continue this back and forth debate between us and I partly agree with your point that the Page Preview settings could be accessed elsewhere despite the use case of quick access for inexperienced users using a small icon.

It would be valuable to have a few pieces of small metadata information in the preview box such as article quality, user views or last edited though.

Places for Wikipedia to provide access to Page Previews settings/preferences: user "Preferences" link in the header, link in the footer next to "Mobile view" when not logged in, optional settings icon in hover box.

Nick Moyes (talkcontribs)

I'm obviously in the minority here. I find "Last Edited" very useful indeed, but could happily lose the Settings icon. Last Edited gives me a really quick sense of how inactive the article is. I'm then much more likely to follow through from the preview on the page I'm currently editing if the previewed link shows that page has not been updated for some time. I can probably make some quick, useful edits there.

I do agree with Edwardj123 that it would be valuable to have Article Quality in the preview. From an editing point of view, both pieces of information are valuable. I recognise that a recent bot edit affects the Last Edited date. But if it shows a page is stale, clearly neither bot nor editor have been active there. So maybe I can usefully contribute something there, and the Hovercard Preview info helps me make that decision.

Fixuture (talkcontribs)

I too think that the "Last edited" info is unnecessary and just takes away space that could be used to show something more useful (for instance info on the article's quality-status, geo-coordinates or maybe even meta-information such as views the last 30 days etc).

Marc J Francis (talkcontribs)

"Last edited" is useful. It could show the user how active that specific article is. If the user sees that the article was last edited long ago, he would be able to quickly conclude and go view the article, edit it with the most-recent updates for that specific topic of that article.

EG : Let us say that there is a user/editor that was reading an article about some medicines. The article recommends another article, which states the side effects of that same medicine. He wants to view that article, however, he sees that that article was last edited 5 years before. He then realizes that it might have included that it has info which was recently proved wrong. He could check it out on some hospital website then edit the article with the correct, up-to-date info.

Edwardj 123 (talkcontribs)
TBMNY (talkcontribs)

As an editor, "last edited" is all too important. The overwhelming number of edits I make on Wikipedia rely on that feature, and to not have it would impede greatly on my edit frequency.

TheDJ (talkcontribs)

"As an editor" ... I'd like to point out, that you have the option of using the navigation popups gadget, which has tons of editor specific information.

Fixuture (talkcontribs)

-> simply make it an option what to display

TheDJ (talkcontribs)

"simply make it an option what to display" adding options introduces lots of complexity though. Take the navigation popups gadget. It has about 50 options, greatly complicating it's code base. In reality, only about 5 options are used by more than a dozen people or so. I think it is no problem to be very conservative with adding options to this previews feature and to take the time to do so. It's always easier to add options, than to remove options.

TBMNY (talkcontribs)

As I had predicted, my Wikipedia edit rate has naturally plummeted without the "last edited" feature.

Nick Moyes (talkcontribs)

Just as long as "last edited" is available as an option for editors to turn on, then I shall be delighted. If it's not, I suspect many editors won't bother with it, and that would be a real shame for productivity, as TBMNY has indicated.

Until recently it has been really great to quickly run down a list, mouseover, check the link is correct with some visual assistance, and to see how recently (or not) the target article was last changed. Try it on this list of 940 speciest, for example. How many of these articles haven't been touched for some time?

No, I don't know either now.

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