Topic on Talk:Talk pages project/replying

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Adding outdent option?

23
Summary by Whatamidoing (WMF)
Épine (talkcontribs)

I am loving this new tool, it made discussions a lot easier to have, however, I suggest adding the Outdent template to the tool so we can use it when conversations get lengthy, or the tool adds it when the conversation reaches a certain point.

Patriccck (talkcontribs)

Hello, how it works?

Épine (talkcontribs)
Patriccck (talkcontribs)
Épine (talkcontribs)

It is actually very practical. What does the tool do if we continue a discussion for a long time? it can't indent it forever, we would need to outdent to the beginning of the page at some point, and we'd have to do it by using source editor because the tool does not contain the option. If it did the outdent at some point automatically, that would be even better.

ESanders (WMF) (talkcontribs)

@Épine thanks for the suggestion. The tools support conversations that already use outdent templates. Having the tool insert these template is a bit more complicated because the template name can be different on every wiki, or may not exist. We will have to consider if this is a priority right now given that they are relatively rarely used and can still be inserted by experienced users using the edit button.

Épine (talkcontribs)

The template can easily be exported to all Wikis where this feature is available and when it's available site-wide we can export to the rest. It is not a hard thing to do imo, minus the technical difficulties of actually incorporating it into the tool, which I do not know about.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

The templates don't change the formatting of the page. They just draw an arrow or some lines. You can stick them in the middle of a sentence like this: ┌─────────────────────────────────┘
As you can see, they don't change anything. What actually changes the "indentation" is that people learn to not manually type so many colons when they want to change the indentation. The template is a signal to the reader that this non-indented comment is related to the previous, heavily-indented ones, but it's just a visual symbol. It does not change the formatting.

62.201.243.135 (talkcontribs)

I know that, but when a pipe is added plus the colons corresponding the previous comment, it stretches from that one to the new one. I want it there for the visual cue likewise.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I like the appearance, too. Some people prefer (←) or other signals instead.

Épine (talkcontribs)

Other users rarely edit other people's discussions. I have never seen anyone outdent the comment of another person (I don't think that is even allowed according to the talk page policy). Anyway, I think it is very necessary to have. Speaking on behalf of the ckb wiki, we actually have redirects for all our templates from English to Kurdish, many of them still remain in English anyway.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

> I have never seen anyone outdent the comment of another person

I've done it. The rules at the English Wikipedia allow this in most cases. However, it usually isn't necessary to outdent someone else's comments.

Épine (talkcontribs)

But why would someone else do it when the person themselves can do this with a click if the tool made it available? Many people skip doing it because of the awkwardly long time it needs to perform traditionally.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Because changing the colons in the existing wikitext is the only way to change the visible "indentation" for existing comments.

ネイ (talkcontribs)

For your info - we have the same request regarding usage of Template:Outdent in jawiki (see w:ja:Wikipedia:井戸端/subj/返信ツールをベータ機能として導入する提案). Also, according to d:Q5841554, Template:Outdent exists in 70 Wikipedias. As for usage count, enwiki has 60k, frwiki has 5.6k, ja/ko/nl/zhwiki has <1k (data per templatecount.toolforge.org).

I think there are much more usages where Template:Outdent is not called and users simply reduce the level of indentation when needed.

ネイ (talkcontribs)

A suggestion from jawiki by User:お好み焼き星人: Perhaps adding a checkbox in the Advanced tab, for the user to indicate when to reduce the level of indentation?

Even if allowing Template:Outdent is difficult, there at least needs to be a way to reduce the level of indentation.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I think that ネイ has a good idea. We can skip the template (at least, in the beginning), and change the indentation directly.

Imagine a conversation that has reached 12 indentations: ::::::::::::. What should the editor do? Click a button to start over at :? Click the button 11 times to get to :? (Then you could click the button once to get back to :::::::::::, or five times to get to :::::::, or whatever you want.) Something else?

ネイ (talkcontribs)

Answers from jawiki:

  • User:Keruby: Click the button 11 times to get to :, then click the button once to get back to ::::::::::::. (12->11->...->1->12)
  • User:お好み焼き星人: Perhaps make it a drop down box (where each choice is the level of indentation) instead of a button. If we use a button, then click the button once to get to :, and increase the indentation level by one per button click afterwards. (12->1->2->...->11->12)
  • User:Portal18: Either of these two are fine.
    1. Click the button once to get to ::::::::::: (reduce by one level), then click once more to get to :, and increase the indentation level by one per button click afterwards. (12->11->1->2->3->...->12)
    2. Click the button once to get to :, then click once more to get to ::::::::::: (reduce by one level), and decrease the indentation level by one per button click afterwards. (12->1->11->10->...->1->12)
  • My opinion is that if we start with 12 indentations, then usually we dedent up to 1 (lowest level) or 11 (same as previous comment), so we probably want one of them to show up with one button click instead of 11 clicks.

Numbers at the end of the line are indentation levels after each click, where it always starts with 12 before any button clicks.

All three users stated the need to have some kind of preview, presumably because the current preview screen of Reply Tool does not show the level of indentations.

Pelagic (talkcontribs)

The edit box itself is visually indented, but that can be non-obvious at low indent levels or if you’re not already aware of it. People who are used to working in wikitext can get confused that the ::: isn’t displayed. I recall some people mentioning it in the early testing stages of this project also. On the other hand, once you do know how it works, I feel the usability is pretty good. That's one of the reasons I thought having a [?] button with some hints could help.

Alternately, at the risk of more clutter, you could render the appropriate number of “:::::” in the space to the left (or right in RTL scripts) of the editing box when in source mode. (Would people find the indicator intuitive or more confusing? Should it be non-editable or click-to-edit?)

To increase/decrease indentation, you could have three buttons: [ |< ] [ < ] [ > ]. Do you hide them under Advanced? Or have a single in/outdent drop-down button in the toolbar, with three menuitems?

PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thank you for raising this @Épine and for adding this additional context @Pelagic, @Whatamidoing (WMF) and @ネイ.

Before getting into how and when the Reply Tool could be augmented to address the issue(s) this conversation was prompted by, can you all please let me know what – if anything – is missing from and/or inaccurate about the "Situation" below?

Situation

  • Comments, and by extension conversations, become difficult to read and understand once they contain comments that are "heavily" indented.
  • To address the issue mentioned in the bullet above, wikis have created templates, like {{od}}, to outdent replies in order to preserve the semantics of conversations while making them easier to parse/understand visually.
  • This issue around conversations becoming difficult to read and understand when heavily indented is fairly common across wikis, as evidenced by the number of projects that have created outdenting templates. See: Q5841554 (thank you, @ネイ).
  • To adjust the indentation level of comments posted with the Reply Tool, "you" must do so in source mode (read: this cannot be done manually with the Reply Tool) which requires, what “we” see as, an unnecessary level of effort.
  • If nothing is done to address this issue, “we” could end up in a situation where people who are not familiar with the outdenting convention (e.g. Junior Contributors) are likely to participate in conversations and unknowingly make it difficult for other participants/observers to follow said conversations.
ネイ (talkcontribs)

{{Od}} is not always used (probably not well-known enough) and in many cases users simply mention that they are outdenting in the comment itself, or just outdent silently. Other than that I think the description above is accurate.

PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Template:Od is not always used (probably not well-known enough) and in many cases users simply mention that they are outdenting in the comment itself, or just outdent silently.

Understood. Thank you for adding this additional context, @ネイ.

Other than that I think the description above is accurate.

Okay, great. You can expect a follow up comment from me next week about what I think we should do to address the points being raised here.

If anything urgent happens about this between now and then, please ping me.

PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

@Épine, @Pelagic and @ネイ: thank you for being patient with us as we thought through this use case.

We understand outdenting as belonging to a broader category of issues that can make it difficult for people to recognize, read and understand conversations, particularly those with many comments.

Considering the above, we will plan to revisit this particular topic around outdenting when we focus on the visual enhancements to make the actions, activity and content within talk pages easier to understand. You can read more about this work here: phab:T249579.

By not addressing the outdenting issue at this time, we are acknowledging and accepting the following:

  1. There is a greater risk that : "...people who are not familiar with the outdenting convention (e.g. Junior Contributors) are likely to participate in conversations and unknowingly make it difficult for other participants/observers to follow said conversations." See: https://w.wiki/nTB.
  2. Senior Contributors using the Reply Tool in heavily indented contexts will need to take extra steps to outdent comments.

If you do observe cases where "1." is occurring, we would value you sharing a link to the conversation you noticed this happening in a comment on this thread or on this ticket in Phabricator here so we can decide whether work on this issue ought to be prioritized more highly.

Reply to "Adding outdent option?"