Topic on Talk:Growth/Personalized first day/Structured tasks

Newcomer task removing redlinks?

Summary by Whatamidoing (WMF)
Mike Peel (talkcontribs)
Trizek (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Hello Mike

No, there is no such task.

Most tasks we offer are edits suggestions, where we guide newcomers to work on something with full editing capacity remaining. Here, I guess by the banner that the newcomer was asked to fix the tone of the article. To do so, the newcomers can edit the entirety of the article.

Our guidance don't tell them to remove red links, so I think this user thought it was a good idea. I see that you left a message to this user explaining why it wasn't a good idea, which is the best thing to do.

We have some other tasks where users are much more guided, and edit Wikipedia through precise tasks. See our Add a link project for more information.

MMiller (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thanks for pointing this out, @Mike Peel. Putting myself in the shoes of the newcomer, I think perhaps they might have interpreted the red link as a "broken link", i.e. "links are usually blue, and this one is red, so something must be wrong". Do you know if removing redlinks is something we see less experienced do erroneously? Maybe @Sdkb may have seen something along the lines?

Sdkb (talkcontribs)

Thanks for the ping. This hasn't been something I've seen, although I'm not sure I see enough newcomer edits that I would've noticed it if it was happening.

To give some context, redlinks are a tricky area, because they often indicate a problem (e.g. adding a non-notable person to a list), but not always. The circumstance in which they're warranted is when there's a notable topic that should have an article but just doesn't yet. So the decision of whether a redlink should exist or not requires an understanding of notability, which is obviously a fairly advanced skill. I see even many more experienced editors removing them overzealously, sometimes citing w:WP:Write the article first. There's just this natural pressure to take something that's normally bad and easy to identify and overgeneralize to it being always bad and try to eradicate it at scale.

VE redlink experience

In terms of the beginner experience, I think it'd be a good idea for the VisualEditor to do a better job explaining what redlinks are when you click on them. For instance, in the screenshot at right, there's nothing telling an editor what the redlink means. I think it'd be good to put something just below the title, where the short description would go for a bluelink, saying perhaps Unwritten article (learn more) ("unwritten" hopefully connotes both that the article does not currently exist and that someone thinks it should exist).

One last thing to note about redlinks is that quite often, they reflect articles that do exist in other languages, and the best way to handle them is with w:Template:Interlanguage link. For instance, at the instance Mike came across, there's an article in Dutch, and I've added an interlanguage link to it. If we wanted to get fancy, we could add a "search for this in other languages" tool that'd assist with the creation of interlanguage links. But I think that's much farther off/lower priority than just helping folks understand what they are.

Mike Peel (talkcontribs)

Thanks - good to know that this wasn't a specific newbie task, I agree with Sdkb that this is a tricky area that's best to be avoided by newbies. I also agree that VisualEditor should explain these better.

Trizek (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I shared this feedback with the Editing team.

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

There's an AbuseFilter at enwiki that tags edits by IPs and newcomers who are removing links from Wikipedia articles. I looked at some of the recent results, and they were not bad. In most cases, it looked like the link should have been removed. In a few, it would have been ideal to replace the link rather than removing it ("Chimney Stack" vs w:en:chimney stack), but overall I don't think these were generally bad edits. Looking more statistically, about a quarter of such edits are quickly reverted.

Also, less than 10% of these edits used the visual editor. This suggests that even if the visual editor handled this better, it might not make a significant difference.

Trizek (WMF) (talkcontribs)

> less than 10% of these edits used the visual editor.

At en.wp, you mean?

Whatamidoing (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Yes. (Mike and Sdkb are both enwiki editors.)

Trizek (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Problems shared here can be universal. :) You certainly have wikis with an higher use of VE, and all edits made using Growth features are using VE. Users would certainly benefit some changes regarding red links there.

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