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Improvement of the result list

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Related: T171757 (talkcontribs)

Having edited non-wikimedia mediawikis for years it was always clear that the special:recent changes was a nightmare. Aside from the filters that were all over the place, the biggest issue is the actual result list. Browsing the list of results is a pretty complex experience with revision data moving about randomly.

Some concrete issues with it:

  • The location of the user name isn't consistent
  • The extent of the changes are always unclear - bytes added or removed aren't a good enough indicator of anything. Someone can easily alter the whole article, and still only "add" 20 bytes.
  • Hard to identify individual editors - one or two editors might be vandalizing and thus editing a lot, yet it is not possible to sort the list to see this easily.
  • Cluttered content - everything is jumbled, and it sometimes becomes hard to see where one revision ends and another begins

Some ideas:

  • Organize key elements of the revision data into a grid like layout
    • Username at the end - truncated to certain characters , expand on hover or click.
    • Use symbols to indicate some changes - use colors and an icon or symbol to denote extreme changes, e.g page blanking
    • Tags - could also be truncated with hover, or click to show more, or use symbols for some changes, e.g. visualeditor (✎) , mobile (📱), etc
  • Show a summary of visible recent changes - e.g. top editors (Joan, pierre, Yu)
  • Separate content - put it in predictable areas so that users always know where to look for them.

Even the best filters can't help when the result set is a complex mix of content.

Pginer-WMF (talkcontribs)

You are right, there are many aspects that can be improved from the list of results. The current efforts have been around helping reviewers to find the contributions of interest for their reviewing activities, so we mainly focused on improving the filtering system.

The list of results is a piece of information that many reviewers got their eyes trained to scan and we need to learn more about how are those used before proposing changes in this area. Your input is already useful in this regard, thanks for sharing it!

JMatazzoni (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thanks for your comments. The Collaboration Team completely agree.s I have to say, though, that the Edit Review Improvements project is not strictly about fixing Recent Changes; the goals are broader. So, as much as we'd love to dig in and make RC page results more clear and consistent and just useful, without a lot more community demand I honestly can't say this is on our roadmap at present. Maybe try suggesting a redesign of the results on the Community Wishlist next year. As I say, we share your pain! (talkcontribs)

Yes, this is something that requires a lot of thinking and research, so I don't blame you for not getting into it (if ever), as you'll likely also face resistance even if the implementation is considerably superior to the current state. Humans (and all or most animals really) are creatures of habits, and they've gotten used to the current layout.

There is also already support for improving such lists in general, assuming you mean the Community wishlist survey ( That one focused on the the history page, which is mostly the same result layout used for most lists containing updates to pages / revisions.

The proposed mockup ( seems like a good starting point to (although an obvious user complaint will likely be extra unnecessary whitespace).

It is still an important part of reviewing in general, so even if extensive changes are never be made to it, some minor stylistic touch ups would certainly improve matters.

JMatazzoni (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thanks for these links. I'll check them out. And yes, the issue of user resistance on this layout is certainly one that factors into our thinking. But it is something that should be done...

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