Topic on Talk:Talk pages project/Updates

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PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Read the update: 15 October 2019


A few questions came up in the course of our work that we would value your input on:


1. What templates and/or gadgets do you use most on talk pages?

Context: the team wonders whether these gadgets will give deeper insight into how contributors use and/or would like to use talk pages.


2. What non-Wikimedia projects/services do you think handle commenting/discussions well? Reddit? Discourse? Something else? What about these product(s) do you value?

Context: as the team begins to design the first set of improvements, they are curious to know what functionality you have found to be helpful in contexts similar to talk pages.


3. What do you type on a talk page when you want to notify someone in your post?

Context: the team is looking for conventions that might be specific to certain wikis. More context: T234472

HHill (talkcontribs)

1. Benutzer:FNDE/secWatch is currently not working, but I found it very useful and would love to see something like it integrated into my regular watchlist

3. I often use Vorlage:Ping

PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

> Benutzer:FNDE/secWatch

Oh! This looks like it would be quite valuable. When this gadget was working, do you recall whether notifications for the specific section you were watching appeared on your normal watchlist or were they collected on a separate page?

...thank you for sharing gadgets and templates...this is the first time I'm hearing of them.



HHill (talkcontribs)
Alsee (talkcontribs)

Is there a good place to discuss what functionality is or isn't expected in section-watchlisting?

PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)
Sadads (talkcontribs)
PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Interesting...

Can you explain in a bit more detail how this gadget enables you to, "...circumvent...looking at the talking page all together."?

Asked in a different way: what information does this gadget make accessible to you that you would ordinarily need to visit an article's talk page to see?

Also, thank you for adding your thoughts, @Sadads

Sadads (talkcontribs)

I have found that 99% of talk pages on English Wikipedia are empty or not of interest for me when editing an article page (people askikg newcomer questions or trying to fix something 5+ years ago): except for talk page templates for article evauluation and classroom assignments etc.

I use the Article metadata gadget w:en:Wikipedia:Metadata gadget to read the current assement of articles, xtools gadget to read ORES assessment and other key stats and rater.js to add/remove and update assessments by Wikiprojects. By updating WikiProject info I theoretically queue up all kinds of other monitoring, backlog and worklist processes (I.e discovery for destubathons, editing drives on article templates by theme using tools like Citation Hunt or BamBot: https://bambots.brucemyers.com/cwb/bycat/Women_scientists.html). But without this kind of custom interface i, and a lot of enwiki editors, have wrangled (the metadata gadget and xtools are really popular installs) and finding out about rater.js it is really easy to miss the WikiProject assessment worflows all together. Also this is only really a Enwiki workflow as far as I can tell, because WikiProjects are super hard to maintain.

Ideally the interface would have a little notification for recent talk page messages near the talk/edit buttons so I could see that if I was actually interested in working on content: but as a more full spectrum, free agent generalized editor (wikignome+ occassional full articles) I am never too invested in discussing the topic itself, but care that people who would like to discuss it find it and have a baseline evaluation against the communities' 1.0 assesment standards.

Jc86035 (talkcontribs)

I'd also note that WikiProjects are essentially only useful for three purposes: article tagging, the forum that exists on the WikiProject's talk page, and collective coordination/organization. Very few WikiProjects (e.g. w:en:WP:WAFC, w:en:WP:MED, w:en:WP:MIL) are active enough to feature the latter, even though in theory this is supposed to be the primary purpose of WikiProjects. On the other hand, the forum is often very useful for issues that aren't specifically related to the content of a single article (so, for example, transportation WikiProject forums might be used for identifying images of trains). As Sadads mentioned, most article talk pages are unused/inactive, so centralizing discussion also serves to increase the likelihood that someone else will reply.

Sadads (talkcontribs)

Yeah, I think the argument for Topical Neighbourhoods is far more persuasive, than trying to "fix" talk pages -- being able to first separate out the metadata that creates sets of topics and allows us to maintain the quality control workflows throughout the projects, then make it easier to track conversations within that set of topics -- you end up with a much more manageable and social environment for knowledge production.

Dvorapa (talkcontribs)

3. On the Czech Wikipedia, Ping projektu is often used to ping the whole WikiProject

PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

This is neat...do you happen to have a link handy that shows the context in which you typically use this template?

I have questions about how it works, tho I figure a real world example is best...

And hey, thank you for dropping by to share your thoughts @Dvorapa!

Dvorapa (talkcontribs)
Jc86035 (talkcontribs)
  1. I think my most-used template would most likely be {{ping}}, the version on the English Wikipedia being the most useful variant. I've also used (more rarely) {{outdent}}, {{collapse top}}/{{collapse bottom}}, the Twinkle user warning templates, and certain templates that indicate that text is being quoted (e.g. {{tq}}).
  2. Discourse and Reddit certainly do it better, but I haven't looked hard enough to know whether there's something better than those.
  3. Typically, I use the "reply to"/"ping" template, which works reasonably consistently across different wikis. I may also choose to write [[User:Example| ]], which effectively hides the notification (if used correctly). Alternatively, I may use the {{User link}} template or just [[User:Example|]]; I think the latter approach is currently preferable due to the lack of consistency in the naming of the former template across different WMF wikis.
PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Before responding to the answers you shared, I wanted to say thank you for all of your thorough and thoughtful responses about this project, @Jc86035. From the Talk pages consultation to the After Flow session at Wikimania, your contributions seem to move discussions along in a productive direction.

Ok, now to templates and gadgets...

> {{collapse top}}/{{collapse bottom}}

Have you noticed a pattern of what you tend to use these templates for? My first thought was maybe you'd use these templates for collapsing the "Coffee Roll" that can appear some talk pages....


> Discourse and Reddit certainly do it better, but I haven't looked hard enough to know whether there's something better than those.

Fair enough. If there are particular aspects of these service you think are particularly good, we'd be keen to hear. Please feel no obligation, tho.

> I may also choose to write [[User:Example| ]]

Hmm, can you think of situations when you would want to link to someone's user page, but not have them notified?

Jc86035 (talkcontribs)

I generally use the collapsing templates for just about any large blocks of content that aren't necessary in order to understand what I've said; for example, I would collapse a block of code, a long list or a large table.

More generally, this template – and other templates enumerated in w:en:Template:Warchivenav (particularly the second-last section) – may be used, e.g. on w:en:WP:ANI, to collapse/archive completed discussions or parts of discussions (or, occasionally, rambling/irrelevant comments that don't add anything to the discussion), with this being done or undone by whoever thinks/knows it would be appropriate for them to do so. (The linked navbox template also contains a lot of other templates that are used on English Wikipedia talk pages.)

Could you clarify whether the first question is being asked in order to inform the development of additional built-in functionality (i.e. in order to supplant templates), or for different reasons? If the feedback is going to be directly used in the creation of new features, I imagine you would potentially get significantly different answers if you were to directly ask what new built-in in-text features would be useful; some things might not be possible with the current functionality of templates (or it might require a significant amount of additional investment to make them work with the currently available wikitext and Lua functions).

For me, the main difference between the Discourse and Reddit layouts is that Discourse employs a linear approach, whereas Reddit (and Wikipedia) use indentation to indicate replies. I think sticking with the latter approach would be the least disruptive (I imagine a Discourse-type layout would cause certain difficulties for processes like RFCs and deletion discussions), although there are definitely Discourse features that would be useful in a Wikipedia context (such as comment permalinks and the overview sidebar/scrollbar).

In the cases where I've notified someone while hiding their username, it's usually been to notify them that the conversation is occurring (for example, because their input might be useful) while avoiding additional emphasis on their notification. However, I've generally done this quite rarely, and the users who are notified in this manner often don't respond.

A more common use case for hiding usernames is exemplified by Wikidata's {{Ping project}}, which notifies users linked in the list of participants of a given WikiProject; the whole list is hidden and only the name of the WikiProject is shown. I think a more useful way of doing this, especially within a larger community where many WikiProjects would have more than 50 members, would be to formalize/build in that sort of functionality by having separate mailing list-style notification "inboxes" for such WikiProjects and other groups of users (similar to the group notification functionality in Discord servers); aside from avoiding the 50-user limit, this would perhaps allow moderation of the notifications to avoid spam, and allow a viewable public log of said notifications (e.g. on a new special page). (It's possible that this would be seen as redundant to MassMessage, but the redundancy would be in almost the exact same way that Echo is technically redundant to talk pages for the purpose of notifying users.)

JAn Dudík (talkcontribs)

2. I like forum on forgeofempires.com (XenForo), because I am always able to recognize discussions with new messages (which is problematic on phpBB)

3. every ping template have problem on czech keyboard, because of characters {{}}, which are not on standard czech layout.

I often use equivalent of {{template}}.

Alsee (talkcontribs)

I have two approaches to notify someone:

  • I most cases my notifications aren't typed. I use the mouse to highlight the user link or user_talk link in their signature, and copypaste.
  • If it's a short and familiar username sometimes I type [[user:NAME|]].

A lot of people use {{ping|NAME}}, but it's just not my habit.

The comment by Jc86035 gave a pretty good list of the most common templates. I'd add {{tl}} to the list, which Jc used while writing his comment but ironically forgot to mention. I also close RFCs, so semi-regularly use {{archive top}} and {{archive bottom}}. There's also {{reflist-talk}}, {{diff}}, and a wide range of icon or icon+text templates like {{done}} and {{no}}. (Redlinked templates refer to EnWiki.)

Hopefully I don't need to mention this, but an important results of the Talk page discussion was that any talk-page-overlay not disrupt the underlying wikitext-talk-page functionality. A template may appear as an arbitrary piece of article content copied to a talk page for discussion, as part of work on developing the template, as part of a policy discussion how the template should or shouldn't be used, it may appear within evidence being presented against an abusive user, or as part of any other work we do.

Any and all templates can appear. They must continue to work if someone uses the normal edit link for the page. They should almost certainly should continue to work if entered into any new reply-interface.

Tortliena (talkcontribs)

Quickly :

1) For about 100 edited articles (manually), I only talk on the corresponding page only once (and without having an answer, most of the time :p), so I don't need them, like at all. On French wikipedia though, there is a template to indicate the current state of the page and its relative importance in the world.

2) My favourite one is Stack exchanges, which focus on answering questions, yet I bet could be used for almost any subject oriented discussion as well. Here's three reasons : 1) It's easy to look for specific things (tags, search by popularity, etc.). 2) It's easy to follow the last questions. 3) You are cleverly invited to answer and ask things with the community-based score system, with even bounties for more difficult questions and/or less interesting things. I bet some people are just going there to reach a new highscore ^^.

3) There is a template called "notif", or "notif discrète" (for sneakier calls) on French wikipedia.

PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)
PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)
Jc86035 (talkcontribs)

For some reason it didn't occur to me, but one template that's used fairly often is {{Edit protected}} (as well as the other associated templates which do pretty much the same thing). New users most commonly use it from clicking the "Submit an edit request" button (which preloads w:en:Template:Submit an edit request/preload) from one of the templates in w:en:MediaWiki:Protectedpagetext. I used to use it fairly often before I was granted template editor permissions on the English Wikipedia, though I added the template manually instead of using the preloaded form.

PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

This is a great spot, @Jc86035.

Accommodating preloads is something we will need to consider in the context of improving the workflow for starting a new discussion (see: T233446).

PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)
Guarapiranga (talkcontribs)

1. What templates and/or gadgets do you use most on talk pages?

Thanks, @PPelberg (WMF). A couple of weeks ago, I asked at en:WP:VPT whether there was a page that listed the most popular scripts. @Enterprisey brought up @Facenapalm's Most imported scripts script, @SD0001 resuscitated it, @Johnuniq moved it to en:WP:User scripts/Most imported scripts, and @Evad37 tasked it for a bot to be built to update it regularly. Not sure if it's ready yet. Also, I had a look at the top 25 most used scripts, and unfortunately they are mostly all either obsolete, deprecated, superseded by gadgets or simply no longer working. So there is some talk of breaking down that ranking by active and inactive users (and/or user rank).

3. What do you type on a talk page when you want to notify someone in your post?

I use {{u}}, which is also the standard in @Enterprisey's reply-link script.

Evad37 (talkcontribs)

Something that would be nice to have, but doesn't yet exists as a script or gadget, would be to link timestamps to diffs of the revision that added them (see discussion). I tried to do this at w:User:Evad37/TimestampDiffs.js, but didn't quite get it working well enough, and it interfered with other scripts/gadgets like w:WP:NAVPOPS.

Guarapiranga (talkcontribs)

Here's something else that could be changed in Talk 2.0… Not sure about others, but I find the whole 'don't reply to archived threads' a useless charade. I've ran into archived threads when searching for a solution to a specific problem or question, to which I wanted to get back on to share the solution I found with others interested in the same topic, but was impeded to by the 'don't touch the archives' policy. And sometimes those archives were only a few weeks old! Conversation should be ongoing, not archived. And bubbled back to the top when updated (it doesn't need to go to the very top for every single comment; other rules based on activity and number of people involved are also possible).

Dvorapa (talkcontribs)

+1 for bringing this issue into the discussion!

Guarapiranga (talkcontribs)

Something else: it'd be great if we could watch (or be notified) of particular threads (or sections) only, rather than a whole talk page.

Jc86035 (talkcontribs)

Flow more or less uses this approach already. I don't think it really works for me as implemented in Flow, actually, because what seems to happen is that I don't realize that new discussions are active (because if you watch the talk page you only get notified for new discussions).

Guarapiranga (talkcontribs)

Ideally, both options should be available (as they are in many forum platforms):

  • subscribe to a thread (or section)
  • subscribe to topic (or talk page)
Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

For this discussion system, when you are notified about a new thread, then you have to click the watchlist/star icon for the new thread, if you want to get Echo notifications about future activity in that thread. There's a Phab task about fixing this, but no promises that it will actually happen.

Guarapiranga (talkcontribs)

Just realised I can't delete a comment here. There's another suggestion.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

This system calls it "hiding". It's similar to blanking a comment (e.g., still visible to anyone who wants to find it).

Guarapiranga (talkcontribs)

Another thing: I just thanked @Whatamidoing (WMF) for his reply to me above. It's great to be able to thank replies. @Evad37 recently created a script to do that at enwiki on watchlists—it's great. Thanking on talk pages would be even better. I see that's already done here—excellent! Now, it'd also be great to see how many people thanked someone for a comment (or edit), as social platforms typically do (facebook, twitter, reddit, disqus, etc). It'd also help identify consensuses.

PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)
FF-11 (talkcontribs)
  1. No other project uses wiki talkpages. If you want to have the same as those projects, use StructuredDiscussions.
  2. The {{Ping}} template that does the same as the English "reply to" template. The word "Ping" means the "mention" feature of the echo feature.
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