Topic on Talk:Talk pages project/Replying

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Out of order reply

33
Summary by Whatamidoing (WMF)
Mannivu (talkcontribs)

Not sure if this is the correct way to say it, but if a user doesn't reply to the last comment, the reply should be displayed right below the comment replied.

e.g.

First comment

Second comment
Third comment
Fourth comment
Fifth comment

If I reply to the second one, my reply should be right below the third comment, not after the fourth with the indentation of the third comment. So, at the moment the system works like this:

First comment

Second comment
Third comment
Fourth comment
Fifth comment
Reply to second comment

But it should work like this

First comment

Second comment
Third comment
Reply to second comment
Fourth comment
Fifth comment
He7d3r (talkcontribs)

As far as I know this is the expected behaviour:

Comment

Reply to comment
Reply to "Reply to comment"
Reply to 'Reply to "Reply to comment"'
Reply to `Reply to 'Reply to "Reply to comment"'`
Another reply to "Reply to comment"

See also: w:en:Help:Talk pages#Indentation

Mannivu (talkcontribs)

On itwiki we use a different system: the reply goes right under the comment the user replies to and he must use the Template:Fuori_crono. No problem on the template (the user can add it while replying), but the order of the comments is important for us.

J. N. Squire (talkcontribs)

The expected behavior described by Mannivu is also the one used on the Wikipedia in French (for example on Le Bistro talk space).

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Can you all tell me what you expect? Imagine that I begin with this discussion:

One
Two
Three
Four

I want to reply to "Two". My comment will be "Five".

Please tell me where you think "Five" should be placed. For example, tell me that it belongs 'at the end, with three colons' or 'between Two and Three, with four colons', or whatever you want.

Mannivu (talkcontribs)

On itwiki it should be between Three and Four, with the same amount of colons of Three. So like

One
Two
Three
Five
Four
The222anonim (talkcontribs)

i guess you should replace 'five' with 'four' here ;)

Mannivu (talkcontribs)

No, Four is a reply to Three, so its position is correct in that position.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

But now it looks like Four is a reply to Five.

Mannivu (talkcontribs)

Yes, but that's why we have the in itwiki.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

At itwiki, you want earlier comments ("Four") to look like they are replies to later comments ("Five")?

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Imagine that it's not numbers. Imagine that it says:

One. There is a problem here.

Two. I agree.
Three. We should fix the sources. I think we should use Big Newspaper.
Four. I agree with you. That's a good source.

"Five" is now going to say "Five. I think we should use Bad Source."

Question 1: Do you truly want "Four. I agree with you. That's a good source" to be right after the comment suggesting Bad Source? How are you supposed to know what Four was a reply to?


Question 2: Let's imagine that this conversation happened in a slightly different order. Let's imagine that it begins like this:

One. There is a problem here.

Two. I agree.
Three. We should fix the sources. I think we should use Big Newspaper.
Four. I think we should use Bad Source.

You are going to add comment #5. Your comment will say "I agree with you. That's a good source." You want to agree with comment Three, about Big Newspaper. Where does your comment belong?

Mannivu (talkcontribs)

Question 1: we have the template "Fuori crono" exactly for this case: it warn the user that comment "Five. I think we should use Bad Source" was added after "Four. I agree with you. That's a good source."

Question 2: in this case, #5 should be placed right after #3, so

One. There is a problem here.

Two. I agree.
Three. We should fix the sources. I think we should use Big Newspaper.
Five. I agree with you. That's a good source.
Four. I think we should use Bad Source.
Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

With this example, I think that a sensible conversation reads like this:

There is a problem here.

I agree.
We should fix the sources. I think we should use Big Newspaper.
I agree with you. That's a good source.
I think we should use Bad Source.

and I don't think that this is a sensible conversation:

There is a problem here.

I agree.
We should fix the sources. I think we should use Big Newspaper.
[out of order] I think we should use Bad Source.
I agree with you. That's a good source.
He7d3r (talkcontribs)

In that case, where would someone else reply "Six" to the comment "Three"?

Mannivu (talkcontribs)
One
Two
Three
Five
Six
Four

EDIT: sorry, I misread your comment

This post was hidden by Mannivu (history)
Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)
Mannivu (talkcontribs)

That flow would work if discussions had grey outlines like in this and that thread. But on wikis those lines are not present, so having different answers scattered might be quite confusing.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Have you seen the blue lines that the French Wikipedia uses?

Mannivu (talkcontribs)

I see that frwiki uses yellow boxes to "enclose" replies, but not every language edition uses this tipe of discussion flow. On itwiki we don't have any visual help to follow discussions.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Do you think it would be helpful?

Mannivu (talkcontribs)

If the Reply tool's behaviour won't be changed, it would be helpful. Or people would simply fix their reply in the wikicode.

PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

hi @Mannivu – you can expect a response from me this week about how we are thinking about the tool in light of what you are raising here.

Mannivu (talkcontribs)

Thank you :D

PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

hi @Mannivu – we appreciate you continuing to engage here and demonstrate how you think the Reply Tool ought to behave at Italian Wikipedia.

Before talking about how, if at all, the Reply Tool's behavior could be adapted to work in the way you are describing, I'd like to better understand what's contributed to you starting this conversation.

With the above in mind, below are a couple of "Questions" for you. Please let me know if you think anything here could be made more clear.


Questions

  1. Can you please share links to a diffs on it.wikipedia where you see people commenting on talk pages in the way you are describing here? [i]
  2. Can you please share links to the policies/guidelines at it.wiki that are leading you to say this: ...if a user doesn't reply to the last comment, the reply should be displayed right below the comment replied.? [ii]


---

i. I checked a few pages and didn't immediately notice people using this convention.[1][2][3][4]

ii. Aiuto:Glossario#Fuori_crono : the "out of time" convention and template ({{fc}}), to me, seems to be intended for special cases where people are needing/wanting to interrupt the expected order of comments rather than the way people are expected to comment on talk pages in most cases.

Mannivu (talkcontribs)
  1. See for example in it:Discussione:Fær_Øer#Tabella riepilogativa or it:Discussioni_categoria:Personaggi_dei_fumetti: there's an "out of time" reply and then the replies to that
  2. There's no real guidelines, there's just a common knowledge that if a user needs to reply to a comment that isn't the last comment of the discussion, he should use the "Fuori crono" template. Bear in mind that usually on itwiki we don't indent the comments based on who we are replying to: we just increment the indentation and say "I agree with".
PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

These links and context about the origins of this convention are helpful – thank you for sharing them, @Mannivu.

In response, I'd like to share three things:

I. How we currently understand this situation (please let me know if you're seeing something that I have not included.)

II. The path forward I think we should try taking in response to this "situation."

III. The resulting question for you.

I. Situation

  1. At it.wiki, conventions state:
    1. "Each new post should be inserted at the bottom of the current discussion, so that the discussion is automatically organized in chronological order, from the oldest to the most recent." | source
    2. "Sometimes it may happen that you want to insert a comment that does not follow the chronological order of the interventions. This is an accepted possibility on Wikipedia, but avoid abusing it! Too many out-of-time comments make retrospective reading of a discussion page more difficult." | source
  2. If we assume the conventions at it.wiki (noted above) are widely understood and observed, we can assume people participating in conversations with the Reply Tool will do so in an expected way. Read: they will know to click the bottom-most reply link and in doing so, their comment will be added beneath it and one level of indentation deeper.
  3. In cases where someone is wanting to defy convention, and insert a comment that is "out of order" they are supposed to use the out of order template ({{Fc}}), introduced in 2008 [i].
  4. For people at it.wiki who: A) are wanting to post an "out of order" reply using the Reply Tool and B) are aware of the "out of order" convention, they can use the ({{Fc}}) template by inserting it in the Reply Tool's source mode. Note: it is not yet clear whether this is intuitive.
  5. For people at it.wiki who: A) are wanting to post an "out of order" reply using the Reply Tool and B) are not aware of the "out of order" convention, they may end up commenting in what some people would consider to be "out of order" without taking the recommended steps (e.g. adding {{Fc}}) to do so. Note: it is not yet clear if/when this is happening.

II. Path forward

Considering "2)" and "3)", in the near-term, I think we should:

  • Keep the Reply Tool's behavior as it is.
  • Commit to investigating the extent to which "4)" and "5)" are happening once more people have tried the Reply Tool at it.wikipedia [ii].

III. Question

Assuming all of the above sounds good to you, when do you think might be good for us to check back in about "4)" and "5)"?

One idea: we could check in on this when one these things happens: A) we are considering offering the Reply Tool by default at it.wiki or B) after 100 different people at it.wiki have used the Reply Tool at least once.

Note

I want to recognize, what I understand to be a core part of the concern you are raising here, @Mannivu: new tools, especially communication tools, have the potential to impact the culture of a community. We, the Editing Team, appreciate this and hope that together with you, other volunteers at it.wiki and volunteers other projects, can work together to monitor these potential changes and ensure they sum to newcomers having the know-how and confidence to participate productively in the conversations that make and shape our projects and connect the people who work on them.


---

i. https://it.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Aiuto:Glossario&type=revision&diff=15945660&oldid=15944215&diffmode=source

ii. Currently, it looks like 20 people at it.wiki have tried the Reply Tool, eight of which have used it to post one comment. See: https://quarry.wmflabs.org/query/49478.

Mannivu (talkcontribs)

Thank you for your complete summary. The situation you described are exactly what happens regularly on it.wiki. I think that, since the {{Fc}} use is very rare, having 100 testers won't be a suitable number to understand the expected behaviour of the tool. So, maybe, it's best to wait until it's deployed and see if someone complains.

PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

The situation you described are exactly what happens regularly on it.wiki.

Okay, great. I'm glad we now have a shared understanding of the potential issues here!

...I think that, since the Template:Fc use is very rare, having 100 testers won't be a suitable number to understand the expected behaviour of the tool. So, maybe, it's best to wait until it's deployed and see if someone complains.

Great point.

In stating the above, are you defining "deployed" as the Reply Tool being made available as an opt-out preference vs. as an opt-in Beta Feature as it currently is?

Mannivu (talkcontribs)

Looking at the stats of the other tools, probably it would be better wait until it's available as an opt-out preference.

PPelberg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

...probably it would be better wait until it's available as an opt-out preference.

This sounds like a good approach. Thank you for thinking this through with us, @Mannivu.

Reply to "Out of order reply"