- This content is prepared for inclusion in the June 2013 Wikimedia Foundation report. It is a shorter and simpler version of the full Wikimedia engineering report for June 2013 that does not assume specialized technical knowledge.
Major news in June include:
In June, the team completed major new features for VisualEditor (the visual interface to edit wiki pages without markup) in preparation for making it available to most Wikipedia users in July. The editor is now capable of letting users edit the majority of content without needing to use wikitext: it supports text, as well as adding and editing inclusions of references, templates, categories and media items. We organized an A/B test for new user accounts on the English Wikipedia, with half of them getting VisualEditor ahead of the wider release. There were also a number of user interface improvements, and many bugs uncovered by the community were fixed. The team was expanded with four dedicated new members, who will help community members use VisualEditor, and ensure that feedback will be focused and lead to rapid improvements.
VisualEditor relies on Parsoid, the software that converts wikitext to annotated HTML behind the scenes. This month, Parsoid was activated on a new set of servers, and started to track all edits and template / image updates from all Wikipedia sites. The goal was to test Parsoid's performance in preparation for the activation of VisualEditor on almost all Wikipedia sites. Optimization improvements made earlier (notably using caching) proved effective, as servers seemed to handle the increased load well. Good performance allowed the team to focus on improving the conversion to wikitext, in order to avoid conversion errors and wikitext corruption.
In June, we released more features and bug fixes for Notifications on the English Wikipedia and mediawiki.org. We added a confirmation button for the "Thanks" feature, and added a link to the difference between versions of the page for talk page and interactive notifications. Development of HTML Email notifications, as well as of new metrics dashboards, continued. We ran a week-long A/B test of new user activity, and results show that new users who received notifications made more edits than those who did not, but their edits were reverted slightly more often. Later this Summer, we plan to enable notifications on more wikis, starting with Meta and the French Wikipedia.
This month, we also activated features and fixed bugs for the Article Feedback Tool (AFT5) on the English, French and German Wikipedia. An opt-in feature now allows to enable or disable feedback on a page. The metrics dashboards show how the new moderation tools are being used: for example, about half of moderated feedback is marked as 'no action needed', and about a tenth as 'useful'. The team supported a wider activation of AFT5 on over 40,000 articles on the French Wikipedia; as for the German community, they decided not to adopt the tool. Feature development has now ended for this project, and we plan to make AFT5 available to other wiki projects in the coming weeks.
The Editor Engagement Experiments (E3) team continued work on its experiments related to onboarding new Wikipedians, and launched several new tools to Wikimedia projects. The team began running campaigns to learn about how many editors sign up on the top 10 Wikipedias, and how many sign up via the invitation to "Join Wikipedia" on the login page (see the list of active campaigns and analysis). Another tool, the CoreEvents extension, now logs MediaWiki core activity, like preference updates and page saves across all projects. For the Getting Started project, the team conducted usability testing of new designs. the E3 team also improved and refined the guided tours extension, including adding usability enhancements like new interface animations, support for community tours, and bug fixing. Work has begun on an experiment to deliver guided tours to all first-time editors. After the VisualEditor launch on the English Wikipedia, we started a micro-survey of newly-registered users to give us a first systematic look at the gender diversity of those creating accounts.
This month, the Mobile team launched a new Wikipedia Zero partnership with Dialog in Sri Lanka. On the technical side, we fixed user interface bugs and enhanced the tool to configure partnerships. We also improved logging and debugging for identification of anomalous access.
We also focused on improving education around mobile uploads, including an interactive Commons tutorial and first-time user copyright and scope check. The "Nearby" feature was activated on the mobile, allowing users to find articles near them that are in need of images, take photos and upload them via mobile.
In beta, we started working on an improved navigation for the site and for articles. This includes design tweaks to the left navigation menu, and a new in-article contributory navigation that combines article actions (edit, upload, and watch) with a talk page link. We also experimented with integration of user Notifications, which now work on the English Wikipedia mobile site. We hope make this feature available to all mobile users in July.