User talk:Whatamidoing (WMF)

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Working for the WMF now... what are you doing?!! — This, that and the other (talk) 09:51, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

Hi, TTO. It's good to hear from you. At the moment, I'm trying to put off the day of reckoning, otherwise known as setting up a Bugzilla account. There just isn't enough of Oliver to go around. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 09:54, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
No, there isn't; hence why I've been lending a bit of a helping hand as well :) It took me a while to learn the ropes of Bugzilla (this was back in the days when I was active on Mozilla's Bugzilla installation) but one learns from experience pretty quickly.
I also find it interesting that, as someone being paid by WMF, you don't seem to have disclosed your real name. — This, that and the other (talk) 11:04, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
Then see this link from The Signpost announcement, but nobody here knows me that way. (Also, I check for replies on some pages by using Command+F on Whata, so if people leave a note under my real name, then I'm slightly more likely to miss it.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:39, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

VE switch over needs more visiblity[edit]

Hi WAID. Thanks for the support you're providing to the community for the Visual Editor. I'm asking you—because you know how the community is. I think there's a HUGE number of people that still don't know about the switch over to VE, hence my posts's at Oliver's a month ago and my post at the feedback page yesterday. I think it would be really helpful to have a {{Sitenotice}} or even a m:CentralNotice to let folks know that the switch over is happening soon and they should be prepared. This is such a dramatic change that will effect everybody that I believe it's warranted. I'd like to know your thoughts, and everybody else's too (I'm hoping Philippe and everybody have your page watchlisted.) I would have made a request myself at MediaWiki talk:Sitenotice, but you know what the community thinks of IPs. Thanks. (talk) 01:22, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for your note. Some banners are in the works (for logged-in users; IPs will switch to VE at a somewhat later date), but I'm not seeing them. I'll ask them what's going on. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 07:41, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
It turns out that they're up, and say "VisualEditor will soon be enabled for all logged-in users. Learn more, help out and give feedback." There's a link to WP:VE. They're meta:CentralNotices. This is in addition to the WP:Watchlist notices (e.g., here). You don't have a watchlist, so you won't see that one; I don't know how the other is arranged, so I don't know if you should be able to see them. I had to clear all the cookies from in Firefox to see the banner. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 08:29, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
Face-smile.svg Thank you. I found it at m:Special:CentralNoticeBanners/edit/VisualEditor_deployment. Please tell Guillaume thanks for getting this set up so quickly. I'm hoping this will keep the grumbling down to a minimum. Best. (talk) 02:50, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
I've passed along the message. If all goes well, the default switch will be made in about two and a half days. It still won't be available to you, and there may not be a simple opt-out prefs switch as was originally discussed. Among other things, they're concerned that adding an opt-out might introduce complexity, which means the possibility of new bugs. But anyone will still be able to get to the old one, by simply clicking "Edit source" instead of "Edit". (There have never been any plans to let anyone opt-out of easy access to the old editor. Some edits simply can't be made in VE.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 07:13, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the update, WAID. (talk) 02:52, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment "I'm hoping this will keep the grumbling down to a minimum." responding to my own comment above my hopes were dashed by the community. I really did hope the community would be better this time, but they're at it again. For those who have WAID's talk page watchlisted, you have my sympathies. I think Pat and WAID and Sumana and Steven and Maggie and Oliver and Philippe and everybody else have been doing an outstanding job and I'm very sorry you have to deal with a community like this. You folks put in sooo many long hours and are incredibly helpful. I truly believe the community treats the WMF folks worse than newbies and IPs and that is really sad. So I will say thanks to all the WMF folks. You certainly have my appreciation. I'm sure it doesn't make up for all the difficulty you have to put up with, but maybe it helps a little. I am very thankful for the support the foundation provides the community. Kind regards. (talk) 02:52, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Re: your edit[edit]

to Wikipedia:Visual Editor and your edit summary... Cripes. My POINT is that words and how we describe things matter...isn't there some NPOV term, something other than "OLD" that WP could user to describe the previous/wikitext/whatever-generation method of editing? To describe it as the "OLD" method implies that it is outdated/not as good/unimproved and that is certainly not the case. Thank you. Shearonink (talk) 04:22, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Hi Shearonink,
I suppose that considering "old" to be pejorative is a cultural thing. It's not really a bias that I happen to share, but I understand it's pretty common among some groups, like American Baby Boomers and teenagers. Personally, I tend to think of "old" in positive ways, e.g., comfortable old clothes, aged wines, and antiques. Getting old beats the alternative hands down.
The editing system we've been using dates back to early 2002. That's pretty old for web software: the world wide web itself was barely ten years old when the editing system in question was deployed here, and that was eleven years ago. So I think that "old" is truly neutral, in the sense that it's undeniably accurate and states the facts plainly.
I've seen someone else call it the "classic editor", which you might like on the grounds that it's a positive bias. I've occasionally used the actual date as a substitute, i.e., the "2002 editing system", but you might like that less, since some younger users might react to that by thinking that it's really, really old, rather than just the one that isn't the newest. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 14:03, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
Then maybe "old" should be changed to "previous" (or whatever is appropriate) if some people (like some of our readers) regard it as a pejorative term. The article is Wikipedia's VE calling-card to the world and, for all intents & purposes, it is also a calling-card to the present/working wikitext system. Even if the edit is verifiable, I think your reversion of "original" to old is somewhat pedantic, since the overwhelming majority of Wikipedia's editors have come onboard since 2002...I doubt that there are many folks around now who were editing pre-2002, so to everyone who started editing after the wikitext-system was put into place, wikitext is the original system. The article refers to the wikitext editor as old three times, perhaps the WP:WIKITEXT article should be characterized in its own article as old as well? I think the word "old" as it refers to the wikitext/MediaWiki editing system should be removed from the article completely, it's an unneeded adjective with POV overtones. Shearonink (talk) 16:15, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

re: VisualEditor[edit]

re: User_talk:Piotrus#VisualEditor

I am sorry I don't have time (currently travelling at countryside without good comp or net access) to help (nor is this something I am usually interested in). I'd suggest (re)posting your request at WT:POLAND and at pl:Wikipedia:Kawiarenka/Babel. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 15:35, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Watchlist notices[edit]

I didn't want a completely unrelated comment to get buried in our frequent disagreements over VE. You asked how people could miss watchlist notices. It's easy: just set your interface language to anything other than English and all watchlist notices disappear. I never see them. I haven't tested it, but I doubt they even show up for people using British English or Canadian English.—Kww(talk) 06:38, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the note. Has this always been true, or is this a recent change?
It seems that they are also dependent on Javascript, but that's true for VisualEditor, too, so if you don't see the notice due to a lack of Javascript, then you won't see the VisualEditor, either, in which case missing the announcement about a change that doesn't affect you seems unimportant. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:08, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
It's been true since watchlist notices were introduced. So far as I know, they only work if the interface language matches the primary language of the wiki. I haven't experimented to see where it breaks down. It's probably fixable by providing some translation files. I kind of enjoy how peaceful and quiet the Dutch interface to English Wikipedia is, so I haven't been complaining. I've learned to keep an eye out for things, though, because people expect me to be aware of things that I'm not being told about.—Kww(talk) 00:15, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
Kww, I agree that omniscience, or even a reasonable subset of omniscience, would be handy. Face-wink.svg
Before bothering with translations, it seems like it would be useful to know how many people have a non-English setting. If there is a sizable minority for one or more languages, then having routine translations for those languages might be appropriate.
I wonder if it's possible to not define a language for the watchlist notice, or to define it as being everything/multiple languages, so that everyone (with Javascript) would get the notice. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:04, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Database reports/User preferences. It's a somewhat surprising list, with Spanish trumping British English 21503 to 11498. French comes in next at 10911. The next 32 positions have between 1000 and 10000 editors, the next 47 between 100 and 1000, and the next 79 between 10 and 100, 144 between 2 and 9, and 50 single-user languages.—Kww(talk) 19:36, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
I wish that these reports differentiated between "all users" and "active users". Perhaps we should all be considering at least Spanish and French translations (I'd have thought German would be higher up...), and at least copying over the "English" into en-gb. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 20:47, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

This edit[edit]

Rollback may have been harsh, and I apologize. But this diff confused me. All that that preference does is hide VE. It doesn't actually disable it. It's still loaded on every page. I get that there's very little load, that's wonderful, and the page goes on to explain how it's hardly anything. But it's still there. Red Slash 18:35, 19 July 2013 (UTC)

Hi Red Slash,
Is this issue really so important that we need to emphasize it in the lead? It produces an absolutely trivial effect on users. The fact that this is absolutely trivial is not at all apparent in that sentence. What you've restored makes it sound like the entire editing environment is loaded: it says "VE will still be loaded", not "an absolutely trivial little hook that provides little more than the existence of the buttons and the possibility of loading the whole thing, will be loaded, one time". So why should we have such an unimportant fact presented in such a misleading manner in the lead? Is this bit of trivia—or people's emotional problems with VisualEditor, so that every opportunity to blow it out of proportion must be seized—really that important? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:17, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

Engaging with the mathematics editor community[edit]

I wrote this [1] at Wikipedia talk:VisualEditor/Default State RFC but thought it was probably now off-topic for that page and more for you in your liaison role. So, just to repeat myself:

Thanks for that — glad to hear you have already started to engage. Could I ask how and where you wish to engage with the existing community of mathematics editors? Will you post on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Mathematics‎ with the contact details, please? It would be interesting to know what the developers plans are for the VE mathematics interface, and I'm sure you'll find there's a lot of useful experience and expertise in the mathematics community available for you to tap into if you would share your thinking with us as early as possible.

Looking forward to a productive discussion. Spectral sequence (talk) 21:51, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

Let me find out who is handling that at the moment. Last I heard (which might have been two weeks ago now), there were some general ideas about the likely path but nothing set in stone, and someone (one of the volunteer devs?) had started work on the early versions. This would be a good time to hear about needs, preferences, and ideas. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:18, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
Quick update for you, Spectral sequence: The (very early and definitely experimental) math stuff is actually up at Mediawiki at the moment. If you want to take a look, go there (if SUL's set up for you, then your account/password are the same) and edit the Sandbox in VisualEditor ("Edit"). The center-right of the top toolbar will show an icon "Σ" (images, refs, reflist, templates, math as you read across). (Click in the test area first, if you're in the main sandbox.) Please let me know what you think of this beginning stage. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:37, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
Thank you - trying it now. Spectral sequence (talk) 06:28, 3 August 2013 (UTC) Update: I was able to add a formula successfully using the Σ icon but when I went back to the page to edit it again, VE just hangs. Google Chrome 27.0.1453.110. Spectral sequence (talk) 06:37, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for giving it a try. From the little bit you could tell before it hung, do you think they're on the right track? The dev contact appears to be Jiabou Wu, by the way. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 20:50, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
I certainly support the decision to use LaTeX markup: I had feared that VE was going to try to use a point-and-click interface for mathematics like MS Word, which would have been a huge step backwards. LaTeX markup will be completely familiar to anyone seriously writing mathematics, and the LaTeX engine is far more sophisticated on mathematics layour than anything else. There remain issues over the way LaTeX (or any other form of mathematics) is rendered in browsers, though. Spectral sequence (talk) 17:17, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply. As you have probably seen by now, I posted links over at WT:MATH for people to reach the developer directly.
I think there might be a role for a simple point-and-click interface (that role being "exclusively when you're doing simple stuff, like 2+2=4"), but I think that LaTeX is a better choice for complex equations. When you need to handle complex equations, I don't believe that a truly simple interface is actually possible. Of course, choosing LaTeX means that we're even more reliant on a very small corps of LaTeX-savvy people to produce equations for the >99% of editors who don't know how to use it, so there are some accessibility trade-offs there. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:33, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
It's interesting to note that, regarded as a typesetting or rendering problem, this is not such simple stuff! The + is a binary operation and the = is a relation, so need to be treated in slightly different ways when it comes to spacing or splitting across lines. There is also the issue of whether you want the point-and-click interface to emit LaTeX markup, as 2+2=4 or wiki markup, as 2+2 = 4, or mixed wiki and HTML as 2+2 = 4. If you mix them up, they look different, and that difference looks odd, as you'll see in this very post. Something I wasn't able to test was whether and how VE would handle inline equations and displayed equations.
Your point about reliance on LaTeX-savvy people is true, but we can assume for all practical purposes that maths-savvy implies LaTeX-savvy, so it's not really a restriction. In the opposite direction though, using anything other than LaTeX markup sends out a pretty clear message to the mathematics/computer science/theoretic physics community: and it's probably not the one you want to send. Spectral sequence (talk) 18:12, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Math equations turn p in articles that aren't frequented by maths-savvy people, like articles about books and education reform. For example, I haven't seen too many LaTeX users at Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, and there are equations on that page. I hope that whatevr is ultimately worked out will support the schoolteachers and regular editors, too. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:44, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Intrigued by the use of the term "regular editors". In what way would I, for example, not be a regular editor? Spectral sequence (talk) 21:19, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
There are two common uses for "regular": frequency and typicalness. You took a nine-month break from editing, so you might not be "regular" in the frequency sense, although you have edited steadily since then. In terms of typicalness, which is what I meant, knowledge of LaTeX is not typical. You are not typical not only because you know LaTeX, but also because you do not edit articles about entertainment (films, celebrities, television, music) or sports. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 21:33, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Ah, I see. I'm not sure how that relates to the need to find the best way of representing mathematics on Wikipedia, though, or why articles on entertainment and sports would be accessing the mathematics components of VE. This all seems to be diverting the discussion from the questions of (1) whether VE could or should support point-and-click mathematics (for which you make a case) (2) whether VE should allow access to underlying LaTeX markup (which is presumably planned and which I strongly support) (3) whether access to underlying markup should continue via Edit Source (which has been stated by Jimbo Wales) (4) whether point-and-click interface should translate into LaTeX, Wiki or Wiki+HTML as underlying markup (I support LaTeX) (5) whether underlying mathematical markup should indeed be LaTeX or anything else (I maintain anything else would be very very sub-optimal). Spectral sequence (talk) 21:45, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
My point is only that you (and I) are atypical because you don't edit pop culture articles.
I have no personal opinion on most of these things. I think you're right about question #2. On question #3, there are no plans to remove 'Edit source'. There is no promise that it will continue until, say, the heat death of the universe, or even a century from now (the entire web could disappear during that time), but there are no plans in existence to remove it, and I don't see anyone interested in making any such plans. Perhaps #4 and #5 are things that you should discuss with someone who is more technically qualified than I, e.g., the dev working on this. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 01:09, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Flow and VE[edit]

I may very well have misunderstood the discussions about VE under Flow and given an inaccurate summary at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Mathematics#Mathematics_in_VE. If so, I hope that you will correct that misunderstanding, give an accurate and authoritative statement of your plans and continue to engage with the community of mathematics editors as fully as you can, on the WikiProject page. This particular message is from me to you personally about the tone of your comment, which frankly I found rather too sharp.. If I was wrong, the fundamental reason for my error was a lack of clarity from WMF about their plans and, in this case, about how the plans for Flow and VE inter-relate. This is hardly my fault. I would have preferred your edit summary to have read "not correct" rather than "not true": formally the same no doubt but with more agreeable undertones. The rhetorical question "Do you really think ..." comes across as a rebuke, which is not merited when I am trying to promote a constructive engagement on the subject. Indeed, what I think the WMF is doing is beside the point: please will the WMF tell us what it is doing, and engage with us in a civilised and constructive manner. Spectral sequence (talk) 16:09, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Hi, Spectral sequence,
I'm sorry that my comments seemed too sharp to you. We've already had one long, multi-project round of this particular unfounded myth, and you may easily imagine that my interest in repeating it is extremely low.
Flow isn't technically my job, or indeed anyone's in any community-facing role. It's honestly too early in the design process to be talking about single features or exactly how anything will work, so nobody's been assigned to it. The designer is good people and, like most software types, something of a math geek himself (although I don't know if he'd publicly identify that way).
In terms of Flow's non-VisualEditor editing options, nobody actually knows exactly what the ultimate result will be. The only thing that has been firmly decided about this issue is that Flow will store its material directly as HTML5+RDFa rather than as (exclusively) wikitext that has to be transformed into HTML every time someone wants to read the page. (This is supposed to do Good Things™ for speed.) The consequence of this decision is that anything that produces "illegal" HTML cannot be stored in HTML (well, unless you're willing to have Bad Things™ happen when you try to read the page, which they aren't). If math markup doesn't create that problem (and it doesn't seem very likely to do so, does it?), then you should expect it to work more or less exactly like it does now. This is, naturally, just my guess, and here is the logical basis for it: I can't see a bunch of math-oriented developers bothering to deliberately break the math markup that they personally are familiar with, if leaving the code alone doesn't create problems for their software.
I hope that you can have some sympathy for the position that the staff is in here: you are simultaneously demanding exact, precise, firm answers to the tiny area that interests you (math markup matters to less than 1% of articles and less than 1% of editors), and also demanding that there be no exact, precise, firm answers because you want the ability to change the answers to whatever suits you best. We can't do both: either there are firm answers, in which case input is pointless, or there are no firm answers, in which case your input is useful, but you will have to accept providing that input into an uncertain environment.
At this point, it's important to talk to Jiabao about math in VisualEditor. If you ever happen to have some free time and any some thoughts beyond saying that no change at all to the math wikitext system would be ideal (that part's already assumed), it will be useful to talk to Jorm at WT:Flow about your preferences for math markup in non-VE editors. Don't expect to be given a promise that your suggestions will be implemented, even if Jorm strongly supports the idea himself. There is always the possibility of an unexpected practical problem.
At this point, it is absolutely impossible for anyone to provide any firm answers about what will or won't work, and where math is concerned, it's even somewhat likely that it will continue to be impossible even until after the initial opt-in testing begins. I realize this isn't the answer you want, but it's the only one that we've got right now. The good news is, this is also the answer that is most compatible with the devs being capable of accepting any concrete constructive suggestions you have, whether your suggestions are made now or six months from now. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 22:47, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for that. I appreciate the frankness of your comments and let me be equally frank. I understand the position that WMF employees and contractors are in. Now let me point out the position that I, as a contributor, am in. I contribute my time, energy and expertise for free in order to build an encyclopaedia, with a specific interest in improving its coverage of mathematics, a key component of human knowledge which underpins much of science and technology, and which no encyclopaedia worthy of the name could afford to neglect. What I want is that my continuing to contribute should not be seriously disrupted.
I am not nearly so foolish as to demand exact firm precise answers and simultaneously demand that there be no such answers. That is at best a misunderstanding and at worst a misrepresentation of my position. I am asking that WMF commit explicitly and clearly to a top-level goal making it possible for me and my peers in mathematics editing to continue to do so without serious long-term disruption. Asking for that commitment that is entirely consistent with asking that WMF engage with the community to shape the detailed and precise plans that will make it possible to achieve that top-level goal. That seems an entirely reasonable request to make. Your response appears to be that the WMF makes no such commitments, does not currently know whether it will even be possible to achieve that particular goal, and indeed has no clear idea how Flow is expected to work. This strikes me as odd at this stage in the project, and there is no doubt that it is causing significant disquiet in the various communities of contributors.
Please do not put words such as "no change at all to the math wikitext system would be ideal" into my mouth. I am not demanding that nothing should change ever. I am strongly suggesting (demanding if you like) that it should be possible to continue to contribute mathematics effectively and that with minimal disruption. I have already indicated, for example, that I think there is scope for improvement in the rendering of mathematics in wikitext, and that there is expertise in the Mathematics Project that might be useful. Of course, there is currently little point in pursuing that specific point in the face of the protracted uncertainty about what is going to happen to the various interfaces that contrbutors will be using in the future.
I am concerned by the comments you make suggesting that mathematics is a minority interest. Are they your personal view or the WMF position. Should I understand from this that as far as WMF is concerned, contributing mathematics is not important enough to the encyclopaedia and you can afford to seriously impede it? If so, please say so frankly and as soon as possible. Spectral sequence (talk) 06:51, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
It's not a question of whether math is important on an absolute scale; it's a question of whether there is anything more important than math on the developers' scale. Based solely on past decisions, it appears that the devs rate features involving reference citations (affecting, in theory, 100% of articles) and images (affecting a majority of articles) as being higher priority than features involving math (affecting a very small minority of articles). The more commonly used features will almost certainly be handled first. Math is, in practice, lower on the list. The same can be said about features that you don't care about, but other people do, like creating sortable tables and templates for reporting UK election results.
So, no, math is not "a top-level priority", unless your idea of "top-level" expands to encompass basically everything. (I had a boss once who routinely gave people multiple assignments in the same staff meeting and announced each time that this assignment was "your top priority". I don't believe that I ever received any assignment that was not "top priority" from him.) If we take the approach that "top priority" means "what you do first", then the top priority appears to be the database design. The next priority appears to be making sure that plain old messages can reliably get sent from one person to another, with proper attribution to the commenter. Lower on the list seems to be things like including citations and images in these messages, or sending pre-formatted messages (e.g., a standardized welcome message). And even lower on the list—things to be done later—seems to be special support for unusual needs, like tables or math markup. (And, yes, there are things even lower on the list, e.g., making rainbow-colored text and discussion avatars, and things that are off the list entirely, including some very odd templates and fancy signatures in messages.)
What's ultimately important is not that math be "a top-level priority". What's ultimately important is that math is on the list at all. We need support for math-oriented discussions. We do not need support for math-oriented discussions first. If the math editors need to use the old talk page system for another couple of months, rather than being the very first people to use Flow, then that's okay. In fact, given the WMF's commitment to agile programming, I suspect that many of your fellow math editors would be quite happy with a delay that puts the burden of initial bug reporting primarily on other users. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 15:50, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
I'd like to add that the reason I keep suggesting that you focus on the math editor for VisualEditor is that the story I've heard is that Flow will automatically support anything that VisualEditor can do. The only question is when and how Flow will support non-VE editing. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:37, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
(ec) It does seem like we're talking past each other sometimes. To me a "top-level goal" is something at the top level of generality like "Write an encyclopaedia", "Ensure that all existing contributors can continue to edit", "Don't bother about existing contributors", "Improve the editing experience for all", "Minimise disruption", "Maximise user buy-in", or whatever, which can be used to formulate lower-level, more detailed plans and specific objectives. I don't mean "top-level priority", and I did not use those words, even though you put them in quotation marks as if I had. I was also careful not to claim that mathematics is your highest priority, nor that it has absolute importance to the project. Of course I think it's important, but I was very careful to say "important enough". Please don't make fun of my comments by suggesting that they are similar to those of your Pointy-Haired Boss.
However, you have answered my questions, so thanks. We need support for maths-oriented discussions -- agreed. Mathematics is on the list -- glad to hear it. Mathematics is not "a top-level priority" -- not unexpected. Mathematics is an "unusual need" -- not a helpful thing to say: if it is needed, it is needed. It is probable there will be a transitional period during which mathematics discussions continue to be possible but not integrated in the new system -- that's a price the community will probably be willing to pay. It would help to articulate all this ahead of time, as early and in as much detail as possible and prepare people for how the changeover is going to happen and be frank about any short-term pain for long-term gain. Spectral sequence (talk) 17:00, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
I added the comment about my old boss (who was really not pointy-haired, just a bit oblivious on the one point) precisely because I don't think you meant that.
Back to the main point: It is not possible to provide any true details at this stage. We all have to live with near-complete uncertainty on the details. "As much detail as possible" is an empty page, unless you are counting 'negative features', in which case the total number of known details is exactly one: The designer promises that the first version will not contain avatars. This is not a happy place for communication, but this is reality: you are not being told any details because there is nothing to tell you. You are being told about grand, slightly vague visions, because the grand vision is the only thing that is actually known. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:11, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
Again thank you for being so frank. You say that the designer does not currently have anything to tell us. I wonder whether there is anything he would like to ask us? Or is community input not required? Spectral sequence (talk) 17:30, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
Sorry to jump in here, but I believe that this entire question will be answered by what the devs (either of VE or Flow) reply to my comments at Wikipedia_talk:Flow#Supported_Wikitext, including the additional example that you added there (thanks for the good link, and for keeping it brief!). I imagine it will be a few days yet, as many of the developers are still in Hongkong, staying briefly after Wikimania.
The discussions at that Flow talkpage, are the best way to get our comments/concerns/suggestions in front of the devs eyes, for them to either answer directly (if there is a precise answer already, which as WhatamIdoing explains there generally isn't at the moment) or to read and contemplate whilst they're designing/programming the software itself. For what it's worth, I'm fairly confident that "Minimise disruption" is a core priority, and that the list of examples we wrote will be well-handled by either VE directly or the fallback editor (whatever that turns out to be). HTH. –Quiddity (talk) 18:32, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
I do have to admit that I'm concerned that while there's lots of talking going on, there's rather little discussion. Spectral sequence (talk) 18:38, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
If you mean direct-feedback-from-Jorm, I'd suggest that is because for the last month: 1) he's been programming the prototype, 2) he's been preparing presentations for Wikimania, 3) he's been preparing for his own wedding, 4) I gather he reads almost everything, but he doesn't have time to respond to much of it - hence I phrased it as "getting examples in front of the devs eyes". ;) I am hoping for a brief reply from him or a VE dev, to that specific comment, within the next week or two, and I'll nudge them if it takes longer than that.
Tangentially: The developers (both volunteer and WMF staff) often interact with the community at a different speed/tempo than the community interacts with itself - replies will come, but they might take days or weeks, or they might come simply in the form of an improved prototype or a changed documentation page. HTH. –Quiddity (talk) 19:08, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) There doesn't seem to be anything to discuss right now. If Jorm were to ask for specific requirements for math support, would you have anything to offer beyond what he already knows? Let's start with the accurate assumption that he already wants to deliver to people, to the maximum extent possible given the constraints of the database format, the ability to put into a discussion whatever math-related information you want to discuss, regardless of which editor was last used on the article or which editor is being used by the person writing in Flow. You don't have to convince him of the importance of math or the need to discuss all the contents of an article or the pain of learning a new system: he's already figured out those parts. Do you actually have anything specific to add to that for mathematics? Or does that pretty much cover everything you might want to tell him today?
I know that there are some people who would like to be consulted merely for the sake feeling like they were consulted, but I am assuming that you don't fall into that category. Realistically, at this stage, a request for your advice on Flow's support for math would be a request for you to waste time making a needless speech about the importance of math and the disruptiveness of change. When and if some information beyond the general goal is needed, then you'll hear about it. Specifically, if it's not going to be possible to simply use both full, unrestricted math wikitext and full, standard VisualEditor TeX, and so decisions have to be made about how to cope with the resulting problems, then you'll have plenty of opportunity to provide your views about the specific situation. (If it all works, then there isn't any need for more information. The answer to "should it work like normal, or shall we deliberately cripple it?" is already known.) At this stage, I can't think of anything that you could tell Jorm about math-related discussions that would be useful or news to him. (Feel free to prove me wrong; I haven't learned anything new yet today.  ;-) Now is not the time for specific comments about details on Flow's support of math: there is nothing specific to comment on and no details to consider. Now is the time to help Jiabao get VE's math support up to par. For Flow, come back in a couple of months and try again, when they've gotten past the semi-functional prototype stage and are prepared to get down to brass tacks with you. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:29, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
You know what, I'm going to take a break before I respond more fully to this comment. I don't think I've been patronised to this extent for quite some time. You might want to seriously rethink the way you address the volunteers who are doing theie best to offer you their time, effort, energy, expertise and experience. Spectral sequence (talk) 19:39, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
Spectral sequence, I am very sorry that I've offended you. My actual attitude is exactly the opposite of what you received: I believe that you are too valuable a contributor to get anything other than the straight facts about the situation, plainly stated, so that you will not lose time on pointlessly frustrating discussions, like trying to discuss specific details before any specific details exist. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 20:37, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for your apology. You make it clear that you see no place for my expertise and experience at this stage in the design process and I shall not waste your time and my energy by discussing it further. Spectral sequence (talk) 21:26, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
I'll keep an eye out for progress on Flow so that you'll know when it reaches a useful point. As I have said, right now is the useful point for Jiabao's work on math in VisualEditor. I know you two have been in touch, and I hope that it results in substantial improvements. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:58, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Hey Spectral sequence, tl;dr (too long didn't read) but I see you note a tension between community desires and WMF priorities. I've perceived this gulf myself from time to time, and that's why I created WP:WMF. Perhaps you'll find it useful? Biosthmors (talk) 08:26, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Is it time ...[edit]

This is not an acceptable response from a representative of WMF to a serious attempt to engage with the process of design and development of the new editing environments. If you genuinely cannot see why it is patronising and insulting then you need to consider your position as responsbile for "ensuring that our community is represented in the decision-making process and that our planned software adequately reflects user needs". If on the other hand you intended to be offensive then you owe the community in general and me in particular an apology. Are you actually trying to drive people like me off the project, or do you simply not care whether or not we stay? Spectral sequence (talk) 18:35, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

Spectral, I am getting a little frustrated with your determined pessimism. You seem to be unable to believe the answers you're given. Can you explain why you believe the accurate answer that "yes, math equations will be supported in Flow" is so hard for you to accept? HTML5 can handle math. The Parsoid team has already written that bit. Jiabao's work in VisualEditor would be impossible if that weren't true. What does it take to get you out of this sky-is-falling pessimism mode? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:49, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
So do you stand by the comment I complain of as being, in your view, an acceptable response? Spectral sequence (talk) 18:51, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
There were multiple replies in that diff, and I do not know which one(s) you are complaining about. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:01, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
My grounds for optimism are basically having more experience with Wikipedia than you do. I've been around for seven years or so, compared to your one year. Problems routinely appear in early versions, and they just as routinely get fixed. People regularly make assertions that something is going to be completely disastrous (like your assertion that HTML5 is incompatible with math, but NB that it happens on policy and guideline pages even more often than in software development discussions), and almost every time, it turns out that these assertions are either wrong or that the problems can be addressed in other ways.
Spectral sequence (talk) 19:33, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
You know, Spectral, I was going to assume that I knew why this upset you, but perhaps it's time for me to stop assuming anything. So are you upset that I'm willing to name seven years' of watching the devs in action as the main source of my optimism about their skills and this project? Are you upset that I've classified your (erroneous, as it turns out, but not unreasonable) belief that HTML5 cannot handle math equations as being an assertion that Flow would be completely disastrous for math discussions? Or is it something else? I don't think I should assume that my guess about your concerns is accurate. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:55, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
My specific question to you was "do you stand by the comment I complain of as being, in your view, an acceptable response" (from a representative of WMF to a serious attempt to engage with the process of design and development of the new editing environments). Would you please answer that? Spectral sequence (talk) 20:00, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm looking for a path forward here, Spectral. I'm not looking to draw lines that divide us. If you believe that there is a problem in this statement, then I wish you would tell me what it is. If I agree, then I'd like to have an opportunity to make it right. If I don't agree, then I'll tell you that, too. If you don't want to explain your reaction in public, then you can send e-mail to me. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 20:11, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
I find it hard to understand why you find it so hard to answer the question. (After all, you posted it and may be presumed to have thought it appropriate at that time, even if on reflection you might wish to change your view.) However, let me explain why I think you might have preferred not to post it.
  • My grounds for optimism are basically having more experience with Wikipedia than you do.
The implication is that you are able to contradict my concerns (which you admit were "not unreasonable") based not on meeting my arguments, or addressing any evidence I adduce, or adducing any further evidence of your own, or bringing forward arguments of your own, but solely on the basis that you have been editing longer. Since you have less relevant experience, ie editing mathematics, than me and have no idea whether you have more experience of major software projects than me, this is an invalid argument.
  • Problems routinely appear in early versions, and they just as routinely get fixed.
We were talking about the design process not coding, so this is irrelevant.
  • People regularly make assertions that something is going to be completely disastrous (like your assertion that HTML5 is incompatible with math, but NB that it happens on policy and guideline pages even more often than in software development discussions), and almost every time, it turns out that these assertions are either wrong or that the problems can be addressed in other ways.
It is quite false to claim that I said that HTML5 is "completely disastrous". I pointed out a difficulty, it was accepted as valid by developers, who proposed an alternative at the time and subsequently discovered that in fact the issue was addressed in another project. To treat this as if it had been a reflex and unconstructive rejection of change when it was a constructive comment on a genuine issue is to misrepresent my attitude and demean my contribution.

In summary, you preferred to argue away my points rather than understand and address them, by a series of rhetorical tactics that are intellectually dubious, misrepresent my position significantly and are aimed at belittling the possibility that I or the other editors could be capable of making any kind of constructive contribution to the design process. Furthermore you decided to do this on a public project page. This is offensive to me, discourteous to the other participants in the discussion and unworthy of someone charged by WMF with a liaison role. Now after all this let me ask you my question again. Do you stand by the comment I complain of as being, in your view, an acceptable response? Spectral sequence (talk) 20:39, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

OK, I'll bite. Spectral, you may or may not know me - I'm the Director of Community Advocacy for the WMF, a long time community member (prior to becoming a staff member) and I am (for the purposes of the VisualEditor program) Whatamidoing's supervisor. I have to tell you, I've read and re-read what you say, and I'm having a hard time finding something so offensive in what she said. Would I have said it differently? Sure. But my responses are frequently accused of being curt and brusque, even when I don't mean them to be.
I've watched this discussion as she has tried to find ways to move forward, and you keep demanding an answer to a question that she's trying to dodge. I suspect that's because she's too polite to say what I'm about to, which is: "yes, I think her response was appropriate".
I regret, more than you know, that we can't deliver to every community member everything that they want. Even when we know that we're eventually going to be able to deliver a feature, we have to be very careful about how and when we commit, because organizational priorities and resources change. I think Whatamidoing has been careful to tell you what she thinks and what she knows, and the difference between them. I'm now going to say clearly that you're asking the wrong person. She's not assigned to that project. She's been engaging because she's a diligent community liaison who wants to really help the community with ANY challenges, regardless of whether she's assigned to them or not, but - and please understand that I mean this as a resource allocation decision only and not to minimize the value of your questions - Whatamidoing has spent a number of hours on this topic, and frankly, I need her attention in other places. So I'm going to ask that the two of you wrap this topic up, and suggest that you, Spectral, address any further questions to User:Jorm (WMF), who's spearheading the design on that project. Again, I hope you understand that I'm not trying to diminish the importance of the question, merely to redirect it to a party that can answer it. Thanks. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 22:06, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
Thank you, Philippe, for that response. Since you, writing as a senior member of WMF staff, endorse this response as appropriate, then clearly there is nothing more to say. Spectral sequence (talk) 05:41, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
I have something else to say: You asked me why I was optimistic ("It would be really helpful for Whatamidoing (WMF) to explain the grounds for her optimism"). You did not ask me why my optimism was better, more reasonable, more appropriate, more evidence-based, or more logical than your pessimism. I answered the question you asked. I never said or meant that my source of optimism should invalidate or contradict your own beliefs, or even have any relationship at all to your beliefs. You asked for the source of my optimism, and I told you why I'm optimistic. As it happens, my optimism is well warranted in this case, since the technical problem you were worried about has already been solved. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:46, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Spectral sequence, FWIW I've never seen Whatamidoing say anything inappropriate. Would you please post the diff here so I can take a look at it myself? Thanks. Biosthmors (talk) 08:23, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

The diff is at the start of this section. He objects to the part of that diff that begins "My grounds for optimism are basically having more experience with Wikipedia than you do." Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:10, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Ah, well maybe it wasn't ideally worded. In hindsight, perhaps it could have been softened with "I think my grounds for optimism are basically having more experience with Wikipedia than you do." Or to be really soft about it, "I hesitate to say this, but I happen to believe..." Then follow it with a "Please let me explain..." To be really really soft. That's just my 2 cents from looking only at that one sentence. Biosthmors (talk) 07:28, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
Except that I actually know what my personal grounds for optimism are; I'm not guessing (and he'd specifically asked why I personally was optimistic). To save you the trouble of reading everything, Spectral was very concerned that the devs (who use math markup themselves) would decide that it was unnecessary to be able to discuss math equations on article talk pages. I suspect that you, too, are not at all uncertain about the likelihood that the WMF would refuse to permit equations on talk pages. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:46, 3 September 2013 (UTC)


Hi. The bot should've started at :20. The fact that it didn't means that it hit a problem with your /Spam input.

Check over this diff and try to see if you can figure out what went wrong. Hint: there's a bold all-caps warning about this exact issue in the instructions. --MZMcBride (talk) 17:24, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

Hmmmmm. The red links here weren't indication to you to double-check your input list? Seriously?

The bot just started its delivery. It'll be hitting User talk:Spartaz Humbug instead of User talk:Spartaz and User talk:CarolMooreDC instead of User talk:Carolmooredc. You're going to create a real mess of ownerless user talk pages. Sigh.

I suppose the best way to track your newly created mess would be via Special:NewPages, filtered to the User talk namespace. --MZMcBride (talk) 21:29, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

I apologize for the hassle. The list was given to me in this form. I believe that it was autogenerated and includes some people who are new users (i.e., redlinks are expected and appropriate). Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 21:46, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
I hate to be wrong, so I make every effort to ensure that when I post, I'm not. It wasn't an "autogenerated" list, someone ham-handedly copied and pasted a list of user signatures and transformed them into user talk page links. The two examples I provided ("Spartaz Humbug" and "CarolMooreDC") pretty clearly demonstrate exactly what happened (you can check the user signatures at User talk:Carolmooredc/Archive VIII and User talk:Spartaz/Archive17 to verify). Spartaz and Carolmooredc are long-time users (Spartaz is even an admin here), by the way, but if we want to pretend that his and her step-siblings are new users here, I suppose I can play along. Wikipedia:Database reports/Ownerless pages in the user space will pick up these new user talk pages eventually. Ugh. --MZMcBride (talk) 21:56, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
No, my point was only that when I saw a handful of redlinks, I didn't worry about it, because some old users deliberately don't have userpages (e.g., JzG and The Red Pen Of Doom, although I don't know if either of them happen to be on this list), and of course many newer users also don't have pages.
Do you think that I should tag the bad pages with {db-nouser}? I just saw someone decline a CSD for an IP's talk page on the grounds that user talk pages are basically never deleted even when they contain only profanity, but surely this is what that tag is for. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:45, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Deleting old IP talk pages is a tangential issue (WP:OLDIP is relevant). Most of these pages don't belong to IPs, they belong to no one. You (or someone checking the database report) will tag and/or delete the pages under WP:CSD#U2. --MZMcBride (talk) 03:48, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
It was neither an old IP page (three minutes does not constitute "old") nor an IP page associated with an IP that had made any edits, but I'll post the tags. It's my mess, so I get to clean it up. However, I'll probably have to do that ~12 hours from now. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 05:24, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Hi. I went ahead and deleted 16 pages that didn't belong to any user (25% of your delivery). However there are random users you've managed to notify that are clearly not the indented recipient, like Span or Piotr, or even Fiddle Faddle. Legoktm (talk) 05:36, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Sixteen pages is about three or four percent of that delivery. I suspect that there are more problems than that. (pause)
There are seven more problem deliveries. Of the 28 remaining newly created talk page messages, 21 of them are people who have done nothing except process feedback, and who therefore were intended recipients. I need to figure out which 16 pages you deleted (thanks), get the other seven tagged for deletion, and find who the intended target was for these 23, so that I can get the messages delivered. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:07, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Your revert[edit]

Why would an opening quotation mark without a closing one be "correct"? 28bytes (talk) 17:21, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

Hi 28bytes,
Thanks for your note. We are both right, then: I was looking at the period you moved, not at the quotation mark that you correctly added. Apparently I am not quite awake this morning. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:34, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
No worries. 28bytes (talk) 17:40, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

edit classic and edit beta[edit]

FYI, I remember seeing somewhere the suggestion that we go with edit classic and edit beta instead of edit source and edit beta. Do you know where that discussion was? That appeals to me. Might it be in the works? Best regards. Biosthmors (talk) 08:19, 2 September 2013 (UTC)


Hi there, I seem to recall you own a Mac, can you try to reproduce this? Feel free to do so in my sandbox. Thank you! --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 14:50, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Hi Elitre,
So I was sort of able to confirm it. It failed on the first try. But after that, it worked properly. One odd thing that I noticed is that on the first try—and only on the first try—when I clicked on the |immagine=, there was nothing there. It should have given the file name for the existing picture, but it was blank. All the other times, the current image was shown properly in the field. You might ask him if he's noticed the field being blank when it misbehaves for him. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:45, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
Will do, thank you so much. --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 17:00, 6 September 2013 (UTC)


Is the WMF planning a response to the closure of Wikipedia:VisualEditor/Default State RFC?--Gilderien Chat|List of good deeds 22:11, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Hi Gilderien,
I was just reading what appear to be the final comments by NE Ent when you posted this. Yes, they seem to be planning a response, but I don't know how far along they are. So much depended on exactly what the request was. This week is unfortunately the annual all-hands meeting, in which nearly all of the regular staff meet in San Francisco to talk about everything under the sun. Because of that, I really don't know how long it will take to get a response out.
The usual thing to do when a change needs to be made to the software or its settings is to file a "bug" at Bugzilla to make the request. That gets the request in front of the people who can actually make changes to the software and puts it in the tracking lists. So I think the next step for the community is probably to ask around to find someone with a bugzilla account (or set one up yourself, but NB that the email addresses are public, so be sure to use a disposable email address) who is willing to file the request for exactly what is wanted. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 22:17, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

VE question on help desk[edit]

I saw your note on the talk page for the help desk. Can you please look at this question? Wikipedia:Help_desk#Problem_with_Template_Box_on_editing_page RudolfRed (talk) 01:06, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

Face-smile.svg Thank you, RudolfRed, for this note. I really appreciate it. It didn't actually have anything to do with VisualEditor, but it's a problem that I'm interested in anyway, and it gave me a good opportunity to tell more people about the design work that's underway for VisualEditor. Thanks, Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 01:26, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

VE Cebuano translation[edit]

Heya, just letting you guys know the Cebuano translation is good to go. Good luck on the launch. :) -- OBSIDIANSOUL 16:05, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

Thanks! That's fabulous news. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:49, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

In light of recent events...[edit]

Note, I've crossposted this to User:Mdennis (WMF) just for the sake of hoping I'm posting it to the right people.

Some, on both sides, have complained that there was a lack of notice and discussion between the WMF and the community. After discussing with User:TParis, we feel that there are a number of things that can be done to improve the community and WMF's communication. Hopefully these can be looked at as improvements, not us trying to impede your day or make it harder for you.

  1. The first thing we thought of (rather, the most major) is a weekly "what we are going to do this week" update. This would include things such as technical changes (implementation of new extensions, or other switch flipping) that has any effect on the community (but not minor technical fixes like most bug fixes). It'd also include anything that is in discussion in the WMF, no matter how early the stage. Lastly, it would include updates on the development of any features that are already in development. Hopefully this way, the community can voice it's concerns before it's too late, and not get into a spit fight afterwords.This weekly update would be conducted similar to WP:AC/N, with announcements on WP:WMF/N or similar, and then a "discuss this" link to WT:WMF/N. The comments would be read by someone (preferably a community liaison or other active community member), and if any ideas are floated that receive any support, they would be passed up to the WMF for continued discussion (i.e. a WMF started RfC) on the issue. If any major changes are to be implemented between a weekly update and were not included in the previous update, a special update should be issued, and 24 hours given for comment (where feasible). I can further detail my preferred design of this sort of thing if you wish, but I'd rather not tl;dr this more than it already is.
  2. Secondly, the WMF should start RfCs liberally that would be advertised via sitewide notice to all readers, editors, etc. logged in or not for development of ideas and consensus. This would a) make better consensus, and more ideas, but b) also show the WMF cares about the community's opinions and wants to take them into account.
  3. Thirdly, I'm not sure how much TParis shares my sentiments on this one, but I'd like to see an improvement in the community's role in the WMF's decision making process. There's been backlash against almost all of the steps of the VE rollout the entire way, and I'd like to see the WMF take a more active role in determining community consensus for things before they do them, ex. starting their own RfCs or discussions. This would probably also include giving the community liaisons more power to stand up for what they believe the community wants, and turn discussions toward the community instead of internally if they feel it's in the best interest of the community.

Hopefully these things can avoid this sort of thing in the future. I'm available on IRC as Charmlet if you want to talk more, and I also welcome email (through EmailUser). Thanks ~Charmlet -talk- 01:00, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

For the record, my role in this has been as a open ear for Charmlet and a few ideas for the concerns he's brought up. I think some of the ideas are good but I know very little of the premise itself to share it.--v/r - TP 01:16, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
As I posted at Maggie's page, I think you're looking for WP:WMF and WT:WMF?, which is was what I created out of Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Wikipedia:WMF noticeboard. Also try m:Forum. Best. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 11:53, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

Help test better mass message delivery[edit]

Hi. You're being contacted as you've previously used global message delivery (or its English Wikipedia counterpart). It doesn't feel so great to be spammed, does it? ;-)

For the past few months, Legoktm has built a replacement to the current message delivery system called MassMessage. MassMessage uses a proper user interface form (no more editing a /Spam subpage), works faster (it can complete a large delivery in minutes), and no longer requires being on an access list (any local administrator can use it). In addition, many tiny annoyances with the old system have been addressed. It's a real improvement! :-)

You can test out MassMessage here: testwiki:Special:MassMessage. The biggest difference you'll likely notice is that any input list must use a new {{#target:}} parser function. For example, {{#target:User talk:Jimbo Wales}} or {{#target:User talk:Jimbo Wales|}}. For detailed instructions, check out mw:Help:Extension:MassMessage.

If you find any bugs, have suggestions for additional features, or have any other feedback, drop a note at m:Talk:MassMessage. Thanks for spamming! --MZMcBride (talk) 05:23, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

VE opt-in screen for new editors[edit]

I've heard rumors that WMF is planning on implementing a series of welcome screens that encourage new users to opt-in to VE. Can you point me at any official discussions about it?—Kww(talk) 23:56, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

Hi Kww, I haven't seen any significant discussions on wiki. The subject was barely mentioned at today's staff meeting. I don't think that they are very far along in their plans. A CentralNotice could be set up quickly; something coded into an editor would presumably wait until a regular update.
Given that use by experienced editors (accounts more than three months old) has dropped from about 800 editors a day to seven (7) since the editors' prefs were changed without (most of) their knowledge or consent, I would not be surprised if messages were directed at everyone, or even specifically at experienced users, rather than solely at new users. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 04:05, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. Just wanted to keep track of it: you'll have to forgive me for being concerned that the description of VE in any such notice may glow a bit more brightly than reality would warrant. Ironically enough, I didn't implement a turnoff for existing editors, so they may have been better off with my change.—Kww(talk) 04:13, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

re: VisualEditor[edit]

Thanks for reminding me. To be honest though, I'm not a real big fan of Visual Editor. Too much of a hassle for me. – Michael (talk) 18:49, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

No problem. If you ever want to try it out, then you can turn it on whenever you'd like. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 20:04, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

Same here. I appreciate the notice, though it would have been more useful a bit earlier - I thought VisualEditor had been turned off completely, it took me a little while to find the option to turn it back on again, which I'd done by the time I received your message.

However, the time I spent using the basic editor again made me realise that at the moment, it's still better than VisualEditor. I've been one of those arguing for VE, but for most edits it's just too slow - if you're an experienced editor who knows what you're doing, you can do things quicker on the wikitext editor. As an example: adding a stub template, using the wikitext editor, takes three mouse clicks and some typing. Doing it using VE takes seven (and that's not counting the longer loading time). There are edits that are easier on VE, but for me they're few and far between. Robofish (talk) 22:03, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

re: Opting in to VisualEditor[edit]

Thank you for reminding me. Terima Kasih... Thicknick 5 (talk)

I wanna collaborate in translating pages[edit]

Hi, I'm JD3rulo. I'm interested in collaborating to translate articles from Spanish to English or contrariwise, so if you can assign me some articles I would be pleased to translate them. I'll wait for your answer in my talk page. Que tengas un buen dia!JD3rulo (talk) 23:32, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

Hi JD3rulo,
Welcome to Wikipedia! In my job, I'm looking for people to do translation for the software and help pages for Wikipedia:VisualEditor. Everything is written in English originally, and needs to be translated. You can see how far along we've gotten at mw:VisualEditor/TranslationCentral—it looks like the Spanish translations are at about 80% or so finished, and need someone to help make those last steps. We also need people to make screenshots, so that the images in the Spanish help pages show Spanish articles, rather than English articles. There are instructions on that page (your Wikipedia username/password works there), and you can say hello to Patrick, who is the main translation contact.
If you are looking for articles to translate, I can (strictly as a volunteer, just like you) tell you that there is a list of more than 2,000 articles here that would benefit from translating some or all of the page the Spanish Wikipedia article into English. You can see that list at Category:Articles needing translation from Spanish Wikipedia. Also, if you have an interest in medicine, then Wikipedia:WikiProject Medicine/Translation Task Force might interest you. Look for User:Jmh649 (Doc James), who knows a lot about it. Wikipedia:Translation is another place to look for ideas and practical advice on how to go about it.
Good luck, and thanks for your help! Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 02:03, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

Beginning of MassMessage, end of EdwardsBot[edit]

Hi. You're being contacted as you're listed as an EdwardsBot user.

MassMessage has been deployed to all Wikimedia wikis. For help using the new tool, please check out its help page or drop a note on Meta-Wiki.

With over 400,000 edits to Wikimedia wikis, EdwardsBot has served us well; however EdwardsBot will no longer perform local or global message delivery after December 31, 2013.

A huge thanks to Legoktm, Reedy, Aaron Schulz and everyone else who helped to get MassMessage deployed. --MZMcBride (talk) 02:37, 22 November 2013 (UTC)


I gather that you have taken a position that puts you somehow "in charge" of the VE stuff at wp-eo. I am concerned, as a regular user (and at one time a regular editor, which I hope to be again) of the Esperanto Wikipedia, that your approach to our community is completely in the NPOV English language. I am not sure if you are aware that many Esperantists do not have an active command of English, and you may not be aware that Esperanto is a real language used daily by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. Even those of us who are fully competent in English find "krokodilado", especially by those placed somehow in a position of what feels like authority over us, off-putting. I hoped for more respect than this feels like. What can I do to help that doesn't involve quitting my day job? --Haruo (talk) 16:40, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Hello, Haruo. :) I'm not WhatamIdoing (WMF), but I am also helping to announce VE stuff to different language projects, so I hope that I can offer some insight into this, especially as I have also been forced to address the Esperanto Wikipedia in English.
While it would be fantastic if we were able to reach out to all the projects who are receiving VisualEditor in their own languages, it is simply not feasible. A non-profit organization, the Wikimedia Foundation has to rely on volunteers helping out with translations, and that includes in our messages to those communities. I myself had to place messages in English on dozens of projects last week, hoping that the communities there will understand that we're doing our best to make them aware of this software deployment so that they can help prepare their communities for this deployment. This kind of collaboration is foundational to our projects, of course, and really crucial for an international operation like the Wikimedia movement. :) It is not intended as disrespect and quite the opposite reflects the knowledge that we have that the volunteers who work on our projects are capable partners. I'm delighted to see that an editor in that community has taken her up on her request to translate her note. :) [2]. I hope somebody will translate mine ([3]).
If you have the time, what we really need at this point is for people to help translate the user interface and the documents related to the software before the deployment next Monday. I'm really happy to see that the Esperanto community has made good progress - 64% of the User Interface is translated already. (See this list and look for Esperanto.) If you're willing to help with that, we would have to ask you to start by creating an account at TranslateWiki (if you haven't already). As soon as your request for an account is approved (that's a community process and not up to us), you'll be able to pitch in. Selecting the language will give you a list of individual lines and paragraphs. The English original will be on one side, with the option to “edit” on the other. Pressing “edit” will open an edit window where you can work.
Unfortunately, the UserGuide has not yet been translated into Esperanto at all. You can find this at mw:Help:VisualEditor:User guide. To help there, all you need to do is click "translate" at the top of this page, and it will show you the translation interface. Use the pulldown menu to select "Esperanto" from the langauge options, and you will see the individual lines and paragraphs that need translating. Pressing "edit" on the side of the page will let you enter in the Esperanto translation. This way, when the software goes live on December 2nd, people will be able to read directions for using it in Esperanto.
Once it does go live, it would be very helpful if you could raise attention to any problems you encounter. Bugs are being tracked at "Bugzilla" - if you're willing and able, please report any issue in bugzilla in the "VisualEditor" product. If you would prefer not to do that, please explain the issue you found on the central feedback page on Once VisualEditor is made available, if there are any urgent problems, like an unexpected bug suddenly causing widespread severe problems, please e-mail James Forrester, the Product Manager, at for immediate attention.
Anyway, I'm sorry if you feel our approach is disrespectful. :) Again, it's not our intent; we are doing best to reach out to everyone, even where we do not have language abilities, since we know that many of the volunteers who work on the projects can help. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 17:16, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks you Maggie for your long description of the issue and the proposals! I would like to thank you both (and WMF) for helping to Esperanto Wikipedia community with adoption of VisualEditor as well.
I understand than looking for technically capable community members for small language community (as User:Whatamidoing (WMF) is aligned to such communities) is not a simple task. The more that there would be need for 10 persons for 10 languages. But, as my colleague Haruo have mentioned, we hope that the collaboration will be real collaboration with possible discussion and not a "conclusion" of in-advance-predefined feelings of community, as it was problem i.e. on Polish Wikipedia.
Another part of the problem is the conflict between support of WMF for VE in small Wikipedias and statement of Asaf Bartov (in relation to grant request) that the existence, cultivation, and growth of the Esperanto Wikipedia does not advance our [WMF] educational mission (in Meta). The more that there is community liaison for Latin and Volapuk Wikipedias (Volapuk speaks about 30 persons worldwide so I don't understand which education mission have WMF in this field...). But this is not the right place to discus it... --KuboF (talk) 18:56, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
Hi Haruo and KuboF,
Thanks for leaving me a note. Yes, there are serious limitations in our ability to reach people who speak less-common languages. Wikipedia exists in about 280 different languages, and there are only seven people working on contacting them about changes to MediaWiki software (VisualEditor, Beta Features, Echo, and others). That's an average of 40 languages each, and I don't think you will except us each to speak even 4 languages well, much less 40. We know this is a problem. That's why I ask people to translate my comments.
In addition to the translation work that Maggie outlined above, there is one thing you can do to make this a real collaboration at the Esperanto Wikipedia: tell me what happens with VisualEditor at the Esperanto Wikipedia. Collaboration between the WMF and the Esperanto Wikipedia community requires the WMF finding out how things are going.
I don't know how much people at eo.wp will want to use VisualEditor. At some Wikipedias, it's barely used; at others, most people use it at least part of the time. But whether eo.wp uses it a lot or a little, if you run into problems with it, or if you have ideas about how to make it better for the Esperanto Wikipedia, then please tell me. You can leave a note here, or at en:WP:VEF, or at mw:VisualEditor/Feedback, or even at eo:User talk:Whatamidoing (WMF). I check all of those pages a couple of times a week, and I will make sure that your problems and suggestions get in front of the product manager.
Thanks again for caring enough to contact me, Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:47, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Proposal for Wikimedia VisualEditor: Wide edit window[edit]

Proposal for Wikimedia VisualEditor: Wide edit window


I meant to give you this screenshot when we were engaged in the discussion about the size of the review window of VisualEditor. But I went to an exam session and it went clean off my mind. Anyway, late or not, here it is. .oo-ui-window-frame-small and .oo-ui-dialog .oo-ui-window-frame are both hacked in this proposal to yield the result that you see.

Think you can still attach it to Bug #49969?

Best regards,
Codename Lisa (talk) 09:32, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

Wonderful! Thanks. I've added a link to it in a comment at the bug. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:01, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

Vicipaedia and VE[edit]

Hi, WhatamIdoing! Thanks for asking for my comments. I can't think of any serious issues for Vicipaedia. If any occur to me, I'll report.

I need both edit methods, depending on what I plan to do on the page, so for me it's important to be able to select either with equal ease.

I normally use Opera 15, and I find that in practice, in spite of the warning, VE works pretty well in Opera. That's good. I guess I would prefer the confidence of knowing that Opera 15 was "supported", but I know that there are lots of other competing demands. Andrew Dalby 12:46, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for your note, Andrew. I believe that the plan is for Opera to be officially supported in the end, but they haven't gotten there yet, and the work so far has been done by a (very good) volunteer dev. I'm glad that it's working all right; I hadn't heard from any Opera users for a while.
And yes, if you run across problems or hassles or whatever, then please let me know. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:13, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

Computer Operating system and Web Broser[edit]

Hi Whatamidoing,

While I was using the visual editor, I was using google crome and windows 8. Have a great day and thank you for your concern about the visual editor, Robert (talk) 04:56, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

Glad Tidings and all that ...[edit]

Bolas navideñas.jpg FWiW Bzuk (talk) 23:28, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

Re: VisualEditor bugs[edit]

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span tag additions[edit]

I am using Chrome on Ubuntu Linux and the vector skin. I'll keep an eye out for whether I leave dirt behind in the next few edits I do. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 17:16, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

(responding to your post with a question) It sounds like you've encountered this multiple times -- across about how many people have you seen it? I can do some testing on multiple browsers and platforms (Linux chrome, firefox; ios7 (iPad) chrome, mercury, safari; win vista ie9, chrome) if you think that would help. There is a visual editor enabled sandbox, correct? ... I've not looked for it yet myself and that is where I'd do the testing. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 00:39, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

(starting the experiment) see User:Ceyockey/sandbox spantest -- already found that the problem is not with the ref-tags but with citation template ... addition of Template:closed access in a ref did not invoke the span, but subsequent addition of Template:cite web did. Wondering if this might be a meta-template effect; the citation templates are very complicated and invoke secondary templates and processes all over the place. --User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 01:20, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

Latin Vicipaedia: drop-down edit menu[edit]

Hi, Whatamidoing. You were telling Robert Baruch at Vicipaedia how to insert a template via Visual Editor, and mentioned that the un-intuitive term is "transclusion". I thought, I can change that to "formula". So I looked at the Visual Editor drop-down edit menu and realised it's still entirely in English (for me anyway). Is it possible to translate these terms? Where can I go to do that? Am I being silly? Andrew Dalby 21:21, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Hi Andrew Dalby,
It's possible to translate it, because I can see that some other languages have done so (see my sandbox in Italian). But where is it? I don't see it in the translatewiki list. I'll have to ask. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 01:43, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
Hi Andrew Dalby,
They're apparently sorting out the problem. I don't know when the fixes will appear for us, but perhaps it will all be fixed with tomorrow's update. Thanks for letting me know about this. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 20:49, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

how does VisualEditor work?[edit]

im sorry, im new to the program that i got. how do i use this? Aozz101x (talk

Hi Aozz101x, and welcome to Wikipedia!
I think the best thing for you to do is to read Wikipedia:VisualEditor/User guide. Remember, this is new software that they're still working on, so there are some things that can't be done or aren't working quite right. If you run into software bugs or things you can't do, then please let us know at Wikipedia:VisualEditor/Feedback. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:18, 17 January 2014 (UTC)

Accept Revision bug[edit]

FYI: Accept Revision bug happening now at Huntington's disease and Disaster. —Anomalocaris (talk) 19:44, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Hi Anomalocaris,
It looks like User:EvergreenFir was able to accept those revisions. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 22:53, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Sorta... more just able to make them go away from the Pending Changes list :) EvergreenFir (talk) 03:33, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
How did you do it? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:53, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

VE bug 49844[edit]

Hey, I'm trying to reproduce a VE/Parsoid bug based on your edit to beta enwiki on 27 feb. I can't manage to reproduce it at all. Can you add any more information about what you were doing that might have caused the extra link= to show up? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cscott (talkcontribs) 18:14, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Page[edit]

To the attention of WhatamIdoing and edgar181 -- We have previously advised Edgar181 that the alleged association between PCBs and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a key issue in controversy in an ongoing jury trial. Kdelay13 recently made edits to various Wikipedia entries that have been excerpted verbatim from court submissions authored by a paid witness for the parties and their lawyers claiming a connection between PCBs and NHL. Kdelay13 has acknowledged his or her role as a party to this ongoing litigation, but has nevertheless continued to make and/or suggest edits that further his or her interests in this case, including edits that refer to Dr. Kramer and her paper. Dr. Kramer is also a paid witness hired by the same parties, including kdelay13, and Dr. Kramer has been paid over $1.3 million by plaintiffs in this case. Kdelay13’s attempt to manipulate the content of Wikipedia has persisted, despite Edgar181’s efforts to present neutral, balanced and fair entries. We remain concerned that, although the Court in the jury trial in progress has admonished jurors to refrain from conducting any research into the issues of the case, including on-line research, jurors or members of their families might conduct research on line. The recent edits or suggestions by Kdelay13 can only be viewed as a clear attempt to improperly influence sitting jurors. The Wikipedia entries should be restored to the neutral and balanced approach settled on by Edgar181. (Note: I’ve left this same comment on the page for polychlorinated biphenyls.) Glynn Young — Preceding unsigned comment added by Glynn Young (talk— Preceding undated comment added 13:55, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

Everything that I do at that article is as a volunteer, not in my capacity as a staff member. This isn't related to my work. If you believe that you need official attention for this content dispute, then I suggest that you contact Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:10, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

Reply to your email[edit]

Hello and thank you for your email. I am replying here for a number of reasons -- I have nothing to say that I would not be happy to have others see, and the discussion is, as far as I'm concerned, about the project in general rather than myself or any other editor or staff member personally.

You asked why I found this comment "disturbing". Both part of the comments are assumptions and I think that both show a discrepancy between the view of English-language mathematics content editors, insofar as I can judge them, and WMF staff.

Firstly, participants at Wikipedia:WikiProject Mathematics are not particularly likely to know what is going on with mathematics rendering and editing software on Wikipedia, although they are likely to care. The simple reason is that it is extra-ordinarily difficult to find out. (Indeed, I think you hit this particular nail on the head with your option 5 "It disturbs you that you feel like you know very little about math software development, and apparently nobody else knows any more than you.") In particular, I think it fair to say that no-one from WMF is pro-active in telling those participants what is happening. (If I'm wrong, perhaps you could point to some postings on WT:WPM in the voice of WMF that are not responses to direct questions from participants?) The effect of this assumption is negative feedback: WMF assume WPM is uninterested and so tell them nothing; WPM get told nothing and assume WMF has nothing good to say.

Secondly, the assumption that participants at WPM had chosen not to support the development of mathematics software. That packs up too much into one assertion. For one thing, the participants are individuals with their own views and levels on expertise and enthusiasm. Probably many members are willing to participate in the sense of commenting on plans and pointing out possibly-unforeseen implications. Probably fewer are willing to actually write code. That doesn't mean they don't care, just that they choose to devote their time and energy to supporting the project in other ways.

I am not disturbed that WMF staff describe WMF plans in public -- on the contrary I welcome that transparency. The content of those plans is another matter -- as I say, I find it disturbing the WMF has no plan for ensuring the the sustainability of mathematics rendering and editing, let alone its future improvement.

Deltahedron (talk) 18:35, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

I personally asked WPMATHers last year to "participate in the sense of commenting on plans" for the formula editor in VisualEditor, and the total support provided to the developer was that two editors posted comments on the pages I linked for them. (One of them has since stopped editing, and the other is so heavily involved in VisualEditor that I can't be sure that the WT:MATH discussions are why he commented.)
More discussion about math software development has happened at WT:MATH than at any other page, including VPT. Anyone who has read that page over the last year is (very unfortunately) "the expert" on what's happening. Some of those discussions have been initiated by WMF staff; some have been initiated by volunteer devs; some have been initiated by editors here. As a practical matter, "the WMF" can't really tell you what a volunteer might or might not be doing for math, because volunteer devs are not required to contact the WMF to start their project, so "the WMF" doesn't necessarily know what the volunteer devs are doing. Large open-source projects are inherently chaotic this way. It's not too different from starting articles: a new editor doesn't have to tell anyone that he wants to start an article. Unless he voluntarily chooses to talk about it in advance, no one finds out that a new page has been written until it's submitted. Similarly, a volunteer dev can write whatever he wants, and, unless he voluntarily chooses to talk about it in advance, no one finds out until the code is submitted for review.
As for solving the problem, you need to find someone (maybe you?) who is willing and able to track down the (known) math devs and to act as a long-term tech ambassador between WPMATH and those devs. Offhand, I'm not sure who the best starting point would be. Jiabao Wu (wrote the math extension for VisualEditor) doesn't seem to edit here and may not be actively developing anything any longer. Pkra knows about MathJax but hasn't edited for a couple of months. I'm not sure who else might be worth contacting. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 20:01, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
Interesting. As I understand it, the WMF with an income of tens of millions of dollars and a staff of over a hundred is unable to coordinate maintenance and development of mathematics rendering and editing software, and I need to solve the problem. Thanks, but no. Deltahedron (talk) 20:46, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
Open-source software development by volunteers is controlled and coordinated in exactly the same way that open-source encyclopedia writing by volunteers is. The WMF cannot force any volunteer, including the volunteer developers, to coordinate their plans with the WMF. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 21:02, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

VisualEditor beta program[edit]

Hi -- I'm following up to your comment on my talk page regarding the proposal of using a watchlist notice to publicise the VisualEditor beta. Before getting into the job of drafting the wording of the message, I thought I'd sum up the background of where I think we are, how we got here, and what I think is needed to make progress.

This, I believe, is the story so far:

  • the original deployment of VisualEditor was done far too early in the development process, with the software being alpha- or pre-alpha test quality
  • this annoyed experienced editors (many of whom were clearly professional software developers) who correctly indicated, right from the start, that the software was unusable in its current state, and gave copious feedback about exactly how and why, and what might need to be done to fix it
  • the WMF then ignored them, and pushed ahead regardless -- this is not how a beta program is supposed to work
  • this was taken very badly by the community, and there was a furious row
  • the VisualEditor deployment on enwiki was rolled back

Since then:

  • I think the WMF has now learned from the experience
  • the devs have done a massive amount of work and greatly improved VisualEditor, including fixing all the awful show-stopper bugs that were identified the first time around, and it's now true beta-quality software
  • the editor community has calmed down again

I propose the following long-term plan:

  • recruit as many experienced editors as possible to the currently existing VisualEditor beta program
  • condition their expectations appropriately this time -- no claims that the software's production-ready, or that deployment is imminent
  • use their feedback to improve VisualEditor further
  • then, once the new beta test phase is going well, and it's clear that the devs, beta testers, and WMF are all communicating well:
    • start a community-led discussion of what the community's criteria would be to consider VisualEditor production-ready, and how the production-ready VisualEditor might be introduced for general use -- this discussion will go much better if there are lots of happy beta testers in the discussion, not lots of angry beta testers like last time
    • WMF to then plan the production release of the VE in a way that meets the community's wishes
    • community ratification of the above
    • VE deployment!

The first step is then recruiting beta program members. What messages should that campaign convey? I think the salient points are the following:

  • That the devs and WMF have listened to the community, and that the devs have put in a vast amount of work in response, to make the VE better (appeal to sympathy)
  • That VisualEditor is much improved, and worth a second try (appeal to curiosity and altruism)
  • That this is the opening shot in a larger plan of getting VE deployment right for enwiki, and lessons have been learned from last time: this time, the WMF not only wants beta testers feedback about the software, but also wants community feedback about when and how the community might approve the wider deployment of the VE. (implicit apology, appeal to forgiveness, appeal to reason and self-interest)

Does that seem reasonable to you?

-- The Anome (talk) 12:32, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

Yes, The Anome, overall I agree with you, but I'm a little skeptical that it this much information can be packed into a watchlist notice. Something very short, like, "You can opt-in to VisualEditor via Beta Features" seems to be pretty typical for a watchlist notice, and I don't think that its Twitter-sized length permits very much explanation or nuance.
By the way, have you seen this draft? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:41, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
How about something like this: "We've been improving the VisualEditor, and we're looking for volunteers to test it. You can opt-in to it via Beta Features." 124 characters including the full stop. -- The Anome (talk) 20:25, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
Regarding the draft RFC: I agree with User:Jdforrester (WMF) that this is the right approach, but that this is too soon to do it. Let the beta program win hearts and minds first, by convincing experienced editors that the VE is actually approaching release-readiness. -- The Anome (talk) 20:52, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
I predict a complaint about using the pronoun "we". Would a passive voice work for you, like "VisualEditor has improved, and volunteers are needed"...
Also, someone decreed last year that it's "VisualEditor", not "the VisualEditor". Because that's the sort of thing that trademark people fuss about, I assume that the legal team is the source of the decree. So it's really only 120 characters.  ;-)
I share your view of the RFC. I'd rather wait (at least) until autofilling is working for citations, and I want a bigger "installed base" of editors familiar with it before then. But I'm not really in charge of the timeline, as any community member could start a discussion at any time.
Here's another question for you, The Anome: Would it be useful to set a target goal for the number of people opted in, or perhaps the number of people saving one edit? Beta Features says that 34,610 are currently opted in. This includes a lot of people who rarely edit here at the English Wikipedia. If we set a target of having X more people opt in, then we could set the length of the watchlist notice to match (shortening or extending it as necessary, or, if the goal is far from being met, looking for another way to advertise it). Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 22:54, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
I can't easily put a number on it. For the moment, I'd concentrate on getting experienced, frequent editors involved, particularly those with a history of community participation: I'd consider the 10,000 editors who have been most active in the last 12 months to be a good example of a group to recruit from. The aim is not elitism, but to recruit the kind of people who are highly invested in Wikipedia's success, will kick the tires vigorously, and generate useful comments and suggestions. Because of Wikipedia's demographic, it's quite likely a lot of them will be developers. Canvassing at WikiProjects for things like programming and computer science might also help get more developers with beta testing experience on board.

Testing on naive users for usability studies is a good idea, but it's been tried already, with dismal results apparently showing the VE actually discouraged editing in new users -- not surprising considering the state of the software at that time. Naive-user usability testing should only be done again once all the major bugs have been ironed out with the help of experienced users.

Oh, and on the matter of the notice, I think the passive wording "VisualEditor has improved" is exactly the sort of statement that would annoy people. The sentiment should be an active but modest message from named parties (like the devs!) saying "we think we've improved it, we'd like to know if you agree", not an ex cathedra statement of highly contestable fact from an unidentified entity that could easily be taken as arrogant or dismissive by readers with unpleasant memories of previous messaging by the WMF on the subject. It's always better to under-claim and over-deliver, rather than the reverse. Try this:
"An appeal from the developers: we've been improving VisualEditor, and we're looking for volunteers to test it. You can opt-in to it via Beta Features"

(pedantry corner: 158 characters. all from the 7-bit ASCII set, so it still fits, bit-packed, into the 140 bytes available within an SMS: see GSM 03.38)

This is old-school PR stuff: appeals should always come from an identifiable source, see for example, the wording "An appeal from Jimbo Wales" that works so well for fundraising.
Oh, and by the way, the issue of branding — "VisualEditor" vs. "the Visual Editor" or whatever — that's exactly the kind of marketing-led thing that needs to be stopped! You have no idea how crazy this sort of thing sounds to outsiders: please make it work properly first, before you decide how to manage the "brand messaging". -- The Anome (talk) 23:10, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't believe that most people will be upset with following directions from the legal team, especially since maintaining some consistency between language editions helps editors who are not native English speakers.
I like your "appeal from the developers" idea. In my check of recent watchlist notices, all but one used passive voice, but I think that your marketing sense is better than the previous posters there.
Formal testing on naïve users is already being done; you can see a brief report on the latest round at mw:VisualEditor/Design/User testing. In addition, VisualEditor is being used, with apparent success, by thousands of IPs and newly registered users each day at other Wikipedias. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:01, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Hi -- sorry about the tetchy tone of my previous comment. Subject to the approval of the developers themselves (since we can't speak for them without their permission) I don't see any reason why we shouldn't be WP:BOLD and put it up. Can you check with the dev group that they're fine with this? -- The Anome (talk) 18:01, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
I've asked, but I don't know if I'll get a reply this afternoon. It will need a link to Beta Features. Anything else? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:35, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Not really -- did you get a reply from the dev team? More beta testers for the VE has to be good for absolutely everyone. -- The Anome (talk) 19:13, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
Sorry; it slipped my mind with the endless set of planning meetings that are being inflicted upon us right now. Yes, I asked James F, and he's basically fine with making this kind of request in the name of the devs. I wonder if User:Risker's idea about a list of suggested things to test would be useful here. We could link to it more or less like this: ...we're looking for volunteers to test it. You can opt-in to it via Beta Features. What do you think? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:48, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
@The Anome:
Testing on naive users for usability studies is a good idea, but it's been tried already, with dismal results apparently showing the VE actually discouraged editing in new users -- not surprising considering the state of the software at that time.
Hey, I'd be interested to read up on this testing that was done that had "dismal results". All the testing we've done has been quite the opposite, even in the early days with a few missing features, usability flaws and irritating bugs… Did we miss an investigation that someone did?
Naive-user usability testing should only be done again once all the major bugs have been ironed out with the help of experienced users.
We've been doing sporadic user testing with VisualEditor for a while, and we've started regularly posting the outcomes of the testing we've done.
Jdforrester (WMF) (talk) 20:31, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
I assumed that The Anome was talking about the June 2013 A/B test that had so many problems (like not working when they first tried to turn it on). Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:05, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm going to start a new section down here to respond to Whatamidoing (WMF)'s post of 19:48 on 12 June. I'd suggested on the wikimedia-L mailing list that we create an in-house user test to ask people to try certain basic editing tasks that would allow us to see whether it is able to handle the kind of editing a new or inexperienced editor is most likely to perform. I've drafted up a "test instructions page here and a standardized test sandbox here - feedback very welcome. I'm thinking that if we can get half a dozen people together to sort of organize and manage the user test, and collate the results, it shouldn't be too hard to get at least 10 people to try each test group and give some feedback. If we're really lucky - even more. (There's an irony here - when creating the test sandbox, I encountered an error that's been reported on the VE feedback page.) The Anome, what do you think of this idea? Risker (talk) 04:47, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Forgot to ping Template:UPine who is also interested in this. Risker (talk) 06:26, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Risker, it might be good to add a link to Beta Features and instructions for enabling it, just in case anyone who is interested doesn't know how.
Why did you add strike out as a test item? That really shouldn't be used in the mainspace.
The item "Add a "piped" link to another article" is probably going to confuse some people. Something like, "choose an existing word or phrase in the article, and make it link to a different article, so that you'll get the result [[Example|Once upon a time]].
The item "Remove a link to another article" is a little ambiguous: I expect a couple of people to wonder whether you mean delete the link and word vs leaving the word, but remove the link. I assume that what you mean is that we're starting with [[Example]] and want to end up with Example.
Finally, a link to the user guide would probably be a good idea. The one on the English Wikipedia might be a little better written, but it's probably not quite as up to date as the one on Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:14, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Risker, The Anome, where do we stand on this project? Is there anything I can do to help? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 15:28, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

Re:Hackey solution[edit]

Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately, I have not yet had a chance to evaluate it as I am currently juggling my dads new job's paperwork, the family finances, and the recent discovery that there is literally a lethal level of mold in my room's two closets and the bathroom. I promise when i get a moment I'll look into your suggestion fully and unconditionally, but for now my attention is understandably needed in other places. TomStar81 (Talk) 00:42, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

That sounds like enough work for two or three people. Don't worry; Wikipedia will be here when you get back. Good luck with all that work! Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 03:23, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

A barnstar for you![edit]

Vitruvian Barnstar Hires.png The Technical Barnstar

VisualEditor is supreme!

Codename Lisa (talk) 05:13, 25 June 2014 (UTC)

Feedback sent, has it been seen?[edit]

I appreciate that you are reaching out and asking for ideas about referencing. (Wikipedia:Village_pump_(technical)#Looking_ahead). However, I spent some time putting together what I immodestly think are good ideas, posted on 21 June and six days later, not only do not have any comments, but not even an acknowledgement that they have been seen. I am anxious to work with you on this, as I think it is one of the more important initiatives I've seen ever.--S Philbrick(Talk) 16:12, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

I appreciate your effort to post everything there, because that's the place that the devs are most likely to see the comments. I agree with you that this is one of the most important intiatives. Unfortunately, I've spent little time over at MediaWiki myself this week beyond a quick glance (it looks like I've got four more bug reports left between me and having time for a proper visit to MW). What's important, though, is for James F and the devs working on citations to see it, and I will personally make sure that James has seen your messages. I know the answers to a couple of your questions (e.g., ISBN databases are external, and part of the problem is the existence of that final "s" in "databases") and will post them there when I can, which will probably be over the weekend or on Monday. I apologize for the delay. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 22:49, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks--S Philbrick(Talk) 14:25, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

Finally joining the 20th century. Still working on the 21st.[edit]

Hey WAID, I'm automating some of my copyediting advice. I asked for tech advice in February at VPT, and got a code snippet that I've tweaked at User:Dank/wishywashy.js. If you add that to your .js file, then every occurrence of wishy or washy on WP will appear in bold for you ... and if you hover over the bolded word, you'll get some helpful style and usage advice. Since those functions are built into mediawiki, I'm hoping they'll execute faster than some of the other suggestions for long lists ... and I've got a very long list of customized usage advice. Trouble is, I need as much of regex (or the lua version of regex) as the devs can give me ... those functions don't even allow me to search for spaces (so I can't search for multiple words). If I need a bugzilla request to handle this, I'd really prefer to find someone the devs already know to submit it for me ... I'll probably get a faster answer that way. Are you game? - Dank (push to talk) 19:37, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

Hi Dank!
(A) Is that script (or a cut-down version of it) something I could use to highlight "WMF" whenever it appears on a talk page? (If you're thinking that I'd use this to notice whenever my boss had posted something, then of course I'll have to publicly deny any such accusation.  :-)
Yes, but you didn't hear it from me.
(B) I'd be happy to file any bug report or enhancement request for you. Just post what you want it to say here. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 21:36, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
To the devs and volunteer coders: please see this snippet that uses mediawiki functions. If you add that to your .js file on en.wp, then every occurrence of wishy or washy will appear in bold for you ... and if you hover over the bolded word, you'll get some helpful advice. People would like for me to automate some of my copyediting advice using this script, but highlightText, as coded in Mediawiki, won't even let me search for a two-word phrase. Ideally, I'd like to have arguments that are regex searches (or the lua equivalent), but at a minimum, I need to search for letters, numbers, spaces and punctuation, if I'm going to be using highlightText. (If your solution allows something like regex, I only need highlighting for the initial phrase that appears before any special regex functions.) - Dank (push to talk) 22:03, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
It's now bug 67784 If there's anything else that should be added, then I can post comments for you whenever you want. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 01:00, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
Fantastic. - Dank (push to talk) 01:09, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
It's a little tough to come up with single-word scripts that are useful, but I'm giving it a shot at User:Dank/Scripts. The first one helps WP:TROP find words that copyeditors usually flag that I found in their recent A-class articles and FACs (and of course, they can customize the script). I'm working now on flagging words that aren't problems, but that I've seen in the vicinity of other problems. I don't know if this is useful info for the devs ... they might want to see that I'm working on something non-trivial :) - Dank (push to talk) 19:17, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
You might try "patients" as a one-word sometimes-problematic word, since WP:MEDMOS prefers "people" most of the time. Quite a bit at WP:WTW might work for a proof of concept. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:42, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
I did WTW in regex at User:Dank/Highlighter/list, but I avoided the words and phrases that weren't necessarily a problem (but if the devs can give me regex, I'm willing to tackle the whole page, if there's demand for that). If I also limit it to one-word searches, I probably don't have enough right now to interest anyone. On "patients", I'm anticipating that every wikiproject will present its own challenges and require some attention, so I'm doing one at a time. I'm thinking I'll hit ROADS after TROP, because that and my home project (Milhist) will cover all the projects with an active A-class review. MED would be a good next step after that. In the meantime ... anyone can steal the script and pencil in "patients". - Dank (push to talk) 20:23, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
Actually ... now you've got me thinking. Per Cunningham's Law, it might make sense to briefly sketch what I'm trying to do here for anyone or any wikiproject that's interested in "rolling their own" until I have time to research what they're saying. The thing is ... there are so many conflicting constraints here that doing it right is harder than it looks. But I'm willing to give it a shot ... add whatever you'd like for the popup text at User:Dank/rollyourown, I've added "patients" to the list. - Dank (push to talk) 21:22, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
Would it make sense to talk to WPMED about this? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:50, 11 July 2014 (UTC)
No objection, I just don't have much time to be involved myself until I'm done with WP:Trop and WP:Milhist. But I'm available to answer basic questions, tweak software, etc. - Dank (push to talk) 01:16, 11 July 2014 (UTC)