User talk:Whatamidoing (WMF)

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Old discussions: June 2013 to May 2014

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)

@The Anome:: I've just come to this talk page on another issue, but this thread caught my eye. I'm interested that you say "including fixing all the awful show-stopper bugs that were identified first time round". No, my show is pretty much stopped by (at least) one bug I reported a year ago: inability to shrink or move the dialog box to see what's behind it, while entering stub templates or categories. I've responded to the watchlist message by having a shot at using VE these last few days (see umpteen messages on the Feedback page) but am going to give up soon: none of my concerns get taken seriously, as the priorities are tables, Chinese, galleries, and newbie editors, not my kind of everyday Wikignoming. PamD 07:55, 14 August 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)

VE User Guide tweaks needed[edit]

In the user guide at MediaWiki, I added a level 3 heading, “Editing images”; and a new level 4 heading, “Using the “Basic" citation”. I didn't wrap these in translation tags because I don't know how translation numbers are assigned, and if there are other parts to the system besides HTML tags and numbering.

There are four problematical images I've found, going through sections 1 to 6 plus the beginning of section 7:

  • At T:218, the “Cite book” screenshot (File:VisualEditor - Editing references - Cite book required fields.png ) is wrong - the image in the User Guide shows the EDITING of an existing citation. The image should be of ADDING a new citation.
  • At T:222, the image has been overtaken by events - it should be of the “Insert citation” button, not of the “Apply changes” button.
  • At T:75, the image is outdated. The New template dialog has changed (File:VisualEditor - Template editing 4.png).
  • At T:77, the image (File:VisualEditor - Template editing 1.png) should be replaced. It would be better to be of the entire infobox, not the upper two-thirds, or, if that is too much to put into the image, it should be of the bottom two-thirds of the infobox (of the article Helmand River). (A new screenshot is needed anyway because the template edit icon is now near the bottom of the template, not the top.)


-- John Broughton (♫♫) 03:29, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for the note, John Broughton.
I'll get the images (tomorrow?). For the first, do you want a completely empty dialog box? For the last, I was thinking about finding a shorter infobox. Dorothea Dix and Emily Blackwell's are both moderately short, but I was kind of hoping to find something even shorter. (Further searching...) How about Josephine Brown or Frances Harper? Do you think that including an image is important?
Translation numbers ("T:123") are assigned automagically when the page is officially sent to translators. The plain tags (<translate>...</translate>) you can add if you feel like it, but don't even try to add the numbers; that's done by script. Also, adding the translate tags is why section editing doesn't work. Right now, section editing for the two new section headings [1] and [2] work, if you want to use them to "only" edit the last half of the page at once. When they're marked for translation, the section editing will break. So my recommendation is to not do that for a while. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 01:47, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
John, I've removed #2 and updated the other three. I've also marked some of the auto-translated labels. (The "int:long-messy-string" things do auto-translation; the "<tvar|mess>" stuff gets the auto-translating stuff out of the translators' way.)
There are still more to go, but I think those were the highest priority. If you decide that you don't like any of the images, then just tell me what you want. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 21:04, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
I'll take a look at the new screenshots, and continue working on the User Guide. I'm not that concerned about finding ideal screenshots - I just want ones that are current/accurate.
On that topic, you said:

any image containing a "<" in the upper left corner or an "X" in the upper right corner is out of date

By my count, that means at least five more of the existing images in the User Guide are not current. I'm really reluctant to work around such problems; I'd rather know exactly what screenshot the reader of the Guide will be looking at, as I revise the text. Any idea when you'll be able to finish updating all the screenshots now in the Guide? -- John Broughton (♫♫) 01:12, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
Hi John, I think it was seven or eight, actually, but I believe they're all done now.
Note that I hid the stuff about subst:ing templates (and didn't update the screenshots): it's not working for me. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:27, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
Okay, I'm finished, I think. Here are what I see as open issues:
  • The discussion of the Insert menu includes the following:

    The "<visualeditor-mwhieroinspector-title>" icon (an ankh symbol - ☥) allows you to enter the hieroglyphics inserter. (See below.)

    There are two problems here: the name of the icon is NOT displaying correctly, and there is no information below, in the User Guide, so “(See below.)” is wrong.
  • File:VisualEditor - editing existing mathematical formula.png is out of date.
  • There is nothing in the User Guide for one of the items on the Page settings menu, “Advanced settings” -- John Broughton (♫♫) 16:58, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
I'd noticed the hieroglyphics problem; I need to talk to James F about it. I'll update the math image. I don't know what's up with Advanced settings. I'll have a look later this week.
Finally, Face-smile.svg Thank you, at least a hundred times. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 22:46, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

Accidental revert[edit]

I think that's the second time I've done that to you and I apologize. It was entirely an accident. --NeilN talk to me 06:49, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

It's okay, really: if you and I make mistakes on only 1% of our edits, then we'll have made literally hundreds of mistakes over the years. Thanks for noticing and fixing it. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 06:54, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Unsubscribing/deleting past Virtual Editor "newsletters" on one's talk page?[edit]

Perhaps I was just hiding behind the barn door on this one, but how does one unsubscribe from the Virtual Editor messages on one's Talk page and delete past Virtual Editor "newsletters" on one's talk page? loupgarous (talk) 09:53, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Hi loupgarous,
You remove the old ones just like you would blank any section on any page. The WP:Talk page guidelines allow editors to remove almost any talk page message from their own talk pages.
To stop future deliveries, then remove your name from the list at Wikipedia:VisualEditor/Newsletter. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 22:01, 13 August 2014 (UTC)

Dropping the mobile...[edit]

Thanks for reminding me of the bug number about accidental thanks. It's very depressing to see comments like "a load of fuss about a non-issue.". I do quite a lot of watch-list checking on my phone in the small hours while mildly insomniac, so liable to nod off and drop my index finger onto the green button, or half-drop the phone and hit it that way. But it's a non-issue. Same sort of reaction as I'm used to in my comments on VE dialogue box. Ah well. PamD 07:47, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

I've just raised this at Wikipedia_talk:Notifications/Thanks#Thanks_and_mobile_view, having found that page for the first time! PamD 08:23, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Your Thanks log is here. It might be interesting for you to look it over and guess how often this has happened to you.
I'd add that even if it only almost happens, that is stressful. Imagine if your bank's website had a zero-confirmation "donate $5 from your checking account to our choice of charities" button. Even if you only almost clicked it by accident, its existence would be needlessly stressful. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:51, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

Re: Odd Thing From Visual Editor[edit]

I didn't add the link, if that's what's causing the problem, I just tried to tidy the English in the opening paragraph. Sorry if that's not much help. Red Fiona (talk) 23:37, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Page numbers in ref tags[edit]

About your suggestion on Wikipedia_talk:Citing_sources, I think the simplest way to implement it would be like {{Rp}}, which displays the page number after the footnote number in the text. The documentation for Rp says explicitly that Rp won't be needed if <ref> is ever expanded this way. But some people don't like that and prefer short form cites. To accommodate short forms, we could require that a short form be defined whenever a <ref> page number is cited. For example <ref name=Foo short="Bar 2010" page=10>. Then throw an error if someone uses a page number with no short form defined. The logical place to define it would be the cite that gives the bibliographic info. It wouldn't necessarily have to be the first cite. The system already has to look up which <ref> defines the "name =", because that's where the "abc..." links go. This would be for cases where the full info appears in the footnotes, and still wouldn't satisfy the people who prefer an alphabetical reference list.

I don't think I would support repeating the full info every time, because that defeats the purpose of the name= parameter. You'd have to read the full info every time, only to discover that the only thing changed is the page number. Anyway, this is one of the most basic tags in wikitext, so any change would have to be considered very carefully. --Margin1522 (talk) 14:40, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for your reply. I agree that we need to consider this carefully.
I believe that it would be possible to produce footnotes that looked like [1]:10 from this, but I think you're right that this is a less popular approach.
What do you think of using the ref name itself (which is often in the form of "Bar 2010") as the short name, assuming a short-name system were what people settled on? I believe it would be possible to then link the "Bar 2010" part of the short citation to the full citation. Then you could have a <references group=short /> that separated the short citations from full ones. It would "require" ref names that you didn't mind looking at, in the sense that it would expose the ref names to readers. (James F is far better qualified than I to tell you what's technically feasible.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:34, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
Use the same string for the ref name and the short name? A Perl programmer would like that :) But that's kind of an implementation detail. I think first we have to make the case for how this would make editors' lives easier. For example, one thing you often see is this: <ref name="Smith2010 p10">Smith 2010, p. 10</ref> and <ref name="Smith2010 p12">Smith 2010, p. 12</ref>. They have to define a ref name and ref content for every page they want to cite more than once. Wouldn't it be handy if they could define it once and for all as say <ref name=Smith2010 page=10/>Smith 2010</ref> and then refer to it with a different page number, say <ref name=Smith2010 page=54/>?
I understand that the cite templates are coded in Lua, which is a regular programming language. It seems like it wouldn't be that hard for the system to remember the content of the 1st ref as the short name, build footnotes for each page from the short name + page number, and even keep track of which pages in "Smith 2010" it has created footnotes for, and put subsequent references to a particular page together with ones that came before, as abc links. IMO that would definitely make life easier for editors. --Margin1522 (talk) 22:40, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
That sounds like an interesting approach. The citation system is written in PHP. Citation templates that are popular here at en.wp (so popular, in fact, that their inefficiencies were a driving force behind using Lua for templates) are not necessarily Lua-based at other wikis, or even not necessarily used at all. We'll need a system that works for manually formatted citations as well as those with citation templates. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:16, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
So it's not so simple. It occurs to me now that this is only the simplest case, assuming everyone wants to use short references, which is definitely not true. And once ref starts to print page numbers, you'd run into myriad formatting issues in different languages. I guess it was this easy it would have happened long ago. --Margin1522 (talk) 03:33, 16 September 2014 (UTC)

Recent No-Wiki Issues[edit]

I think I might have some useful data. I had a similar problem on one edit ( What had happened was that my mouse button had got stuck and I'd highlighted the gap rather than selecting it before editing it. Not sure if that's what's happening with all the others, but it's similar to what you do when you copy and paste things. Not sure if this helps but thought it might be useful.Red Fiona (talk) 09:44, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Visual editor[edit]

Hey WAID, gave it another try. Referencing is getting their. It needs an autofill function though. How far out is this?

Also when one hits "enter" it should take you to the next line rather than to the i and garbage can IMO.

The ref occurs over a continue line, thus I am happy here.

Would be nice if the edit summary occurred beside insert rather than on its own page.

Best Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 11:07, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

Thanks, James. It'll be a couple of months, from the sounds of it.
The annoyance with the i and garbage can is already on the list. The problem is how to get it out of our way without making it impossible for other people to WP:ACCESS it. Last I heard, someone had a clever idea, but it hadn't been tested yet. I'm hopeful that it will work.
Whether there is enough room to put the edit summary on the toolbar depends on how wide your computer screen is. There is already so much stuff there that some people are having it wrap to two fat lines. Zoom in a few times, or make your browser window narrow, and you'll see how annoying that can be. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:23, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
Doc James, if you'd like to test the autofill, then you can match this edit and give it a try. This is "pre-alpha" testing, with absolutely zero guarantees that it will work at any given moment, and it's only available for testing here at the English Wikipedia. What you see is definitely not what the final product will look like. However, it ought to give you an overall idea. The script adds an item in the Cite menu "Cite from URL". Get a PubMed URL (the whole thing, with the PMID number in it, not the generic one). Paste it in to this tool as if it were a regular website, click the Insert button, and then open the new citation to see what it inserted for you. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 21:04, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

Please don't reply to me ever again[edit]

Whatamidoing (WMF), I would be grateful if you could stop replying to comments and questions I make which aren't directly and explicitly meant for you. If I have a question for you, I'll ping you. But otherwise, I don't want your "help" ever again. You are a total waste of time, getting things wrong so often that it has gone from funny to extremely annoying and embarassing. Please do not reply any more to comments, questions, reports, .. I make, anywhere. Fram (talk) 06:57, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

If that's what you like, then you may stop communicating with me. You will need to remember that any comment about VisualEditor that is posted on any page at en.wp, Meta, MediaWiki or Commons (and occasionally other wikis, either as assigned by my boss or as requested by my teammates) is directed to me in my professional capacity, regardless of who posts the information and regardless of whether the message contains my name or not. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:58, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't give a flying toss about what your job is. It is a waste of money anyway. Act professional and I may care about your "professional" capacity. As it stands, all you'll do is annoy me and make a fool of yourself. My posts are not directed at you, and I don't want a reply from you. You can absorb the information in them and file bugzilla reports to your hearts delight, but any reply you'll give will either be treated as non-existant or be mercilessly exposed for the piece of crock it usually is.
And whatever you do, do not change my posts ever again. Not a comma, not a typo, nothing. Fram (talk) 19:14, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
If you choose to post about a problem in a public forum, then a reply is usually appropriate. Other people read those pages, too, and they may need the answers or responses even if you choose not to read them. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 21:10, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
They need correct, useful responses, not yours. There are more than enough people who can reply, and who do it better than you. But I see that you have a rather inflated sense of your importance wrt VE and of the quality of your responses. I'll have to expose you for the fraud you are again and again then, I guess. Fram (talk) 04:29, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Fram, if this is the way you treat another human being over a disagreement about a software feature, then there is something seriously wrong with your sense of perspective and your approach to social interaction. No employee (no person, in fact) should have to put up with being treated the way you're treating WhatamIdoing over something as inconsequential as a software feature. You're free to disagree, and to criticize even in strongly worded terms, but this is straight-up verbal abuse and it needs to stop. MastCell Talk 16:35, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
No customers should put up with being the way the WMF is treating them over and over and over again. Strangely, some do. More and more people no longer accept it though. I treat someone over a software feature in the context of that software feature. That's all my perspective here. I don't comment on or care about Whatamidoing as a real-life person, she may be nice or nasty, I don't know and I'll not comment on it. As an employee responsible for communication about this software feature, I treat her based on het actions, her edits, her replies here (Wikipedia), and she gets the response she deserves. Defending "something as inconsequential as a software feature" is what her job is based on, perhaps if it is that inconsequential we can just get rid of all jobs used on it, and get the WMF to use that money on something less inconsequential though. Fram (talk) 19:32, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
First of all, you're not a customer. You're a volunteer. Inherent in the idea of volunteering is that your association with Wikimedia is voluntary. If you don't think you should have to put up with the treatment you've received here, then don't put up with it. Leave. Alternately, stay and provide constructive criticism, as opposed to belligerent vitriol. The hostility and venom contained in your remarks here are grossly disproportionate to the issue on which you're commenting. I'm not sure whether you can see that, but either way, the verbal abuse needs to stop. MastCell Talk 21:18, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
Volunteers can't be customers? Customers usually can leave and choose another shop as well, that doesn't mean that they don't have the right to complain of course. Never mind that wikipedia and the WMF are two distinct entities, and that I'm not going to leave Wikipedia over problems with the WMF.
Apart from that: have you even followed the whole VE situation and the VE feedback page, or are you only looking at the end result? I have spent more time debugging VisualEditor than the WMF combined probably (not that that is much of an achievement). I have contributed many suggestions. My aim is to improve Wikipedia. This is not the aim of many people at the WMF though. I don't think that this chasm is an inconsequential item, and the people representing and personifying that issue are one of the major problems Wikipedia faces from the inside (vandals and the like are from the outside). Whatamidoing is not the only one, nor the worst (that honour probably goes to Erik Moeller), but people like her would have converted Wikipedia to a VE paradise long ago, with force if needed, with misinformation if that was sufficient, if not a large group of people had stood against this. But she simply continues to poison debates about VE or aspects of it with PR talk, deflections, errors (deliberate or not), and so on. Never mind small stupidities like editing the comments from the person who has just asked her quite clearly not to respond. I don't know whether that was deliberately done to bait, or whether it just showed a total disregard for standard talk page rules here, but it was hardly helpful.
We don't need a "community liaison" who makes and defends statements like "I know that some people find the Agile approach irritating, but since you systematically search for incomplete features, you are consenting to it and supporting it. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:21, 29 January 2014 (UTC)"here. Asking her not to reply to me seemed the least intrusive thing to do, but clearly this was not acceptable to her. The WMF voice has to be heard always and everywhere, no exceptions allowed. Fram (talk) 21:37, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
I object to your false statement that "people like her would have converted Wikipedia to a VE paradise long ago, with force if needed"; it's not true about me or about anyone that I work with. It might also be considered misleading to describe formatting a direct quotation of my own words (and only my own words) as editing another person's comments.
I do encourage you to consider the effects that your messages have on other editors, who are likely to be more comfortable posting their suggestions or complaints in a less hostile environment. MastCell isn't the only person to have mentioned this concern to you recently, and I urge you to consider their advice.
Finally, I also thank you, again, for your voluntary, practical support for the development of VisualEditor, despite your disapproval of the way it is being done. As always, you are free to quit providing that support whenever you choose to. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:22, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
Don't you work with Erik Moeller? Or the other people who didn't implement the VE RfC (to make it opt-out) until they were forced by the community here? Erik Moeller, who also tried very hard to force the MediaViewer onto Wikipedia despite similar protests? Thanks for your reply, it clearly shos your role and the truthfullness of my remarks. "Formatting a direct quotation" is changing my comments, certainly becaues you added emphasis that wasn't even in the original. That you don't recognise the problem with that action is concerning as well. My posts may make some people uncomfortable, but I also get private thanks and messages from peole who want to say the same but don't dare to. Strange, isn't it, that some people don't dare to post their concerns about the WMF and its employees? Perhaps take that situation into account as well. Finally, there is a huge gap between supporting VE and supporting the software approach the WMF uses for it (which is what you stated and refused to change despite multiple protests). But I don't support VE, if the WMF would pull the plug I'ld be happy; what I support is Wikipedia, and an editing environment that doesn't generate too many problems and doesn't disappoint too many editors. I try, with my error reports, to improve the WMF and to protect Wikipedia and its errors. Spotting the bugs in VE is the lesser of two evils, but has given me long-time exposure to the toxicity of the WMF though. And their utter lack of quality control. And the lack of respect for the editing communities. And so on... Thanks for the very helpful links to wiktionaru though, I didn't know the meaning of "support" and "disapproval" until now, you've been a great help there. About as great a help as I have come to expect. Fram (talk) 04:37, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
The WMF never rejected that RFC, despite claims by angry editors to the contrary. The page corruption problem was so significant that they knew it needed to be dialed back dramatically, even further than the significant drop they had engineered in early August. There were also WMF staff advocating for a complete removal. The WMF made a counter-proposal in an attempt to negotiate a compromise that would provide them with the benefit of having a small fraction of inexperienced editors using VisualEditor, since the needs of power users and inexperienced users are very different. The community rejected all attempts at compromise.
The thanks log isn't private, and it's long been obvious who thanks you for your statements. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:54, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
No idea what you imply with "it's long been obvious who thanks you for your statements", if you have something significant to say about those (at least those who used the thank me function), feel free to do so. And your interpretation of history is noted. Nicely indicates again your position. The needs of the WMF above all else, and screw the community. The "significant drop they had engineered in early August", that would be the option to opt-out, but keeping it as the default for everyone (and no possibility to opt-out for IPs of course)? Or do you mean something else? The "we'll put it as second option, but no opt-out for IPs"? I am just now rereading Wikipedia talk:VisualEditor/Default State RFC#I've given up testing V/E, and the same complaints about you were present there, and voiced by many other editors. The "compromise" presented by Jdforrester was comparable to the "compromise" about Superprotect. "We do something completely deranged, the ommunity wants us to turn it off, so we offer the compromise of making it semi-deranged". Instead of "the community rejected all attempts at compromise", it would be better to describe it as "the WMF refused to implement the clear results of the RfC". You can't expect people who have been forced into something nasty to then accept a "compromise" where it is made less nasty. Of course, in the months after that RfC, it became more and more obvious that the only reason the WMF needed enwiki as a testing ground, was that they had no plans to test anything themselves, hence the many completely botched releases, which you and Jdforrester invariably and unsuccesfully tried to defend. Any news on the character inserter, by the way? It still looks to be the very same piece of shit you all needed so much feedback on 8 months ago. Then again, if "using a scroll bar as a close button" is a design issue that needs lots of thought and can't be considered simply a very stupid bug that needs fixing ASAP, then we shouldn't be surprised about most of this... You are not a community liason whose job is "ensuring that readers and editors are represented in the decision-making process and that our planned software adequately reflects user needs.", your job is selling VE to us no matter what. Fram (talk) 20:36, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
The special character inserter is waiting for the design team. The just-ending quarter was focused on technical debt, so even with a good design in hand, it might not have been implemented immediately. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:40, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

The other most prolific "supporter" of VE seems to also have trouble with the replies given by Whatamidoing (WMF), as evidenced here. I stopped correcting errors caused by VE a long time ago, but others are still wasting many hours on them. For them, these issues are not inconsequential and the lack of helpful answers is troubling. My approach to it may be different, but the underlying issue doesn't seem to lie with me. Fram (talk) 07:59, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

Bugzilla discussion for updating with reflist[edit]

Hey, I'd post this on the feedback page but you answered here pretty confidently so I was wondering if you had some pointers to the technical discussion of updating references live while using reflist (including at least a tracking bug). Seems like a hard problem but seeing as reflist is widely used it's one we need to find a solution to (somehow). Thanks! Protonk (talk) 14:03, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

Hi Protonk,
It's not specific to the reflist template; it's all templates. I suspect that the inability to see refs transcluded from other pages is closely related, although I've never asked. I'm not aware of any onwiki discussions. I hassle the devs about it every few months, just to make sure nothing's changed, but the answer so far has always been "can't be done" (and now with a hint of "give it up already, the answer's not going to change").
On a related note, maybe the best thing we could do is to stop using the reflist template when its only value is providing an expensive way to put the plain contents of the references tag on the page. {{reflist|30em}} is my personal favorite for displaying refs, but plain old {{reflist}} should probably be discouraged as a completely pointless (although very small) drain on performance. (It used to change the font size, but that was years ago.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:41, 28 September 2014 (UTC)


Hello. I am the user trying to correctly credit Rick Azar for dubbing that Buffalo Sabres hockey line the French Connection. Thanks for your input on how to try to go about securing adequate verification. alanez5011Alanez5011 (talk) 10:48, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

French Connection[edit]

Apologies that I put my "thank you" in the section above. Thanks you, again. I am trying to work on your suggestions. alanez5011Alanez5011 (talk) 11:08, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

It's okay, and it's easy to fix. Good luck with your editing, Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:40, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

Please comment on Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals) Media Viewer RfC[edit]

You are being notified because you have participated in previous discussions on the same topic. Alsee (talk) 20:15, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

Replacement for the entire pawn-based system[edit]

Hi, at Wikipedia:VisualEditor/Feedback/Archive_2014_4#Pawns? still you mentioned the pawn-based system is likely to be replaced soon. Sorry I didnt respond sooner, and thank you for the reply. Do you have a gerrit link or bug number for that? Much appreciated. John Vandenberg (chat) 14:43, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

Hi John Vandenberg,
I don't see anything obvious in Bugzilla. It ought to be in this list, because it's fundamentally about supporting input method editors for complex language scripts. Pretty much everything that David does, and about half of what Roan's working on at the moment, is related to the pawn-replacement work. In this list on Gerrit, the patches that mention unicorns and slugs are part of the replacement system. I was listening in on one of the dev meetings, and if I understood them correctly, the plan is to merge the "slug" stuff next, make sure everything's stable, and then add the "unicorns" in the following round. (Then I believe there's a third piece, at which point the pawn system gets removed, but I'm not certain about that.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:28, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

Login vs. log in[edit]

A sentence in the Visual Editor newsletter incorrectly uses the phrasal noun "login" where it needs the phrasal verb "log in": "Login [sic] and click the pencil icon to open the page you want to edit." --Teratornis (talk) 22:00, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

You're right. That was sloppy of me. Unfortunately, it would probably annoy people to go back and change all of them now. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:54, 6 November 2014 (UTC)

Autovalue substing[edit]

Hi! Any idea of why didn't that work? --Stryn (talk) 17:17, 15 November 2014 (UTC)

Hi Stryn,
That is due to bug 2700, which is a very old bug in the wikitext parser. James F has put this on his list, but until it's fixed (if it's fixed? It's a difficult problem), I recommend against including any autovalues in templates that you expect to be used inside any sort of tags (ref tags, gallery tags, etc.). Autovalue should work exactly as expected on templates that aren't inside ref tags, like the {{citation needed}} template. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 06:29, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

Valuable tools[edit]

You wrote:

If you made a list of the "valuable tools" that should be turned into MediaWiki core features or MediaWiki extensions, what would be on the list?

Tools for assisting in detecting copyright violations. Duplicate Detective is a great example which has unfortunately been down for the last twelve hours, I would guess this has resulted in halting accepting new articles at Articles for Creation, moreover, the various tools for automated detection (e.g., CorenBot and it's descendents) are deeply hamstrung because nobody will pony up a few bucks to allow those tools to use Google, which means that all the automated copyright detection tools are at best about half as effective as they need to be.

I know this, because I do this entirely repetitive, entirely automatible, core function over and over and over and over again at AfC, and I'm sure NPPers do it as well, or should be even if they forget to. There are days where I consider just giving up on trying to help new users create new articles because doing it in the current environment is essentially working with one if not both hands tied behind my back by a lack of very simple automation.

I would only add that any functionality to help there would have utility on any use of MediaWiki open to the general public. --j⚛e deckertalk 18:59, 28 November 2014 (UTC)

Merry Merry[edit]

To you and yours


FWiW Bzuk (talk) 21:36, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

VE searching problem[edit]

Hope you got a nice break for the holidays! Firefox, Win 8, speedy computer. With this as with all VE issues, I never have similar problems using any other editor. VE now grabs Ctrl-F and initiates javascript intended to help me search ... and every time, I get a javascript error message that the script has stopped working. - Dank (push to talk) 16:24, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

Ouch, Dank. How long has this been going on? Is it happening at (They supposedly just changed it there to make it more performant.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:04, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
Ever since their code shadowed (grabbed) Ctrl-F. Don't have an acct at ... will they be bringing the upgrade to meta or here? - Dank (push to talk) 19:02, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
Hi Dank,
  1. Please go to Special:MergeAccount and see what happens. DerHexer just moved an account out of your path last week. With a little luck, when you go to mw:, you'll be able to login at and everywhere else (and also not have to deal with WP:SUL-related issues later).
  2. Yes, everything goes to first (on Thursdays), and then to non-Wikipedia sites (including Meta, I think) five days later (Tuesdays), and the next day to the Wikipedias (Wednesdays). It's a dogfooding system: if something's going to break, then it needs to break the devs' site first. You can use VisualEditor as an IP there, even if the account merge fails; just go to mw:Project:Sandbox and click on 'Edit'. (Then grumble a bit, because the sandbox template there is a little awkward. You need to click under the section heading to type anything useful.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:09, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
Okay, I was able to log in to, and Ctrl-F worked in VE. Thanks! - Dank (push to talk) 00:02, 11 January 2015 (UTC)

Please explain.[edit]

Why did you delete the expansion of my father's entry Sir EE Pochin?? (talk) 10:44, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

You can see my rationale in the edit history for the page. The material I removed (strictly in my capacity as a long-time volunteer) was apparently a copyright violation. Copying material off of other websites and pasting it into Wikipedia is illegal. It would be very nice to have more material about him written in your own words. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:54, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

Visual editor on breton Wikipedia[edit]

I've been told you will launch a test for "the special character inserter" on Visual Editor. I'm a breton user and I would like to be part of this test.
--Y-M D (talk) 20:57, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

Thank you, Y-M D! Yes, there will be a test for the special character inserter. Right now, they're working on a bug with the window that the special character inserter uses, but I hope that it will be ready within a week or so. I will contact you as soon as it's ready. Trugarez! Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 21:46, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

citation needed[edit]

[citation needed] -I simply wrote: citation needed -surrounded by: {{ }} -without a date.

Does that help? --Emborion 01:46, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

Thanks! Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:56, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

Just noticed....[edit]


only now did i actually read your comment in the discussion archived here: Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)/Archive 133#Sigh... why does WP add extra steps to report a bug ?. i was somewhat intrigued, and tried the tool you described. guess what? the original complaint is very relevant: if you do it as anon (in enwiki you don't get VE as anon, but you can do it anyway by appending "?veaction=edit" to the address), and as an anon you click "report a bug", you are teleported to phabricator, and guess what? phabricator won't let you report a bug until you login... this misses the point of "report a bug" tool: people with phabricator account already know how to report bugs, and they do not need this crutch. the whole point is to collect bug reports from anons.

best example i know is google chrome: click Alt+ Shift+I when browsing with chrome, and you'll see what i mean. (ff has something too, via "submit feedback" from the help menu, but chrome's is better, IMO) peace - קיפודנחש (aka kipod) (talk) 23:26, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Hi קיפודנחש, thanks for the note. I realize that's a problem. It's also a problem for people who are logged in but haven't used Phabricator before. That's one of the reasons that I think that it's better for the feedback tool to post to a wiki page. The little "report a bug" link might be convenient for some (it adds the correct Phab project), but most people will want to steer clear, and use the on-screen report form instead. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 01:24, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

Fram's TP[edit]

Any special reason why you had left a message on his TP when he doesn't want to talk to you? OccultZone (TalkContributionsLog) 17:52, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

  1. Because I'm seriously worried about him.
  2. If Fram currently didn't want to talk to me, then he wouldn't have started so many conversations with me since the conversation you allude to (e.g., this one). Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 04:17, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for describing it. OccultZone (TalkContributionsLog) 06:44, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

Heads up[edit]

If you make this change: [3], based on that "performance improvement" rationale, then I despair. I certainly won't know "what you are doing" if you endorse that. As to the "verbs" argument, what? I get you guys want to do this, but, really, put something better than that forward. I'm embarrassed for you. Begoontalk 16:07, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Hi Begoon,
The change was made yesterday. As for whether I endorse it: It should be tolerably obvious that I personally need no label on the button to remember that VisualEditor has problems, so why should I personally take any associated performance hit, no matter how small? I don't usually even click the button, since the keyboard shortcut of ctrl-option-v is faster.
Actually, I don't really care about the tag one way or the other. It is a pointless tag, but it is really unimportant.
I see that you've not used VisualEditor for about six months now.[4] Why don't you give it a try for a while? This week's improvements will appear in about two hours, and that would be a good time to see how much has changed since your last look. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:31, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
I used it more recently than that. Check my deleted edits, it was on a page for an Arbcom case that was deleted and moved. It screwed up a valid edit at the time, which pissed me off. Regardless of that, I'd like to see you justify the "performance" and "verbs" stuff, if you can. Begoontalk 16:43, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
What counts as "justifying"? The devs say that the label slowed down pageload (for reading pages) by 20 ms per page. Do you want proof that it really did cost 20 ms to load the label? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:33, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
No, that's fine. You've been very helpful. I beg your pardon for questioning the obviously solid rationales. "View" and "read" are verbs by the way, if the devs are struggling, on the other question, "There isn't any action associated with "Project page", so I don't think that it could be a verb.", but I can clearly see how loading an extra 5 ASCII characters could utterly kill performance. No point just blindly adhering to "standards" when "performance" is at stake, eh? Thanks. Begoontalk 00:18, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
Just wandering by, but I am equally confused. Whether or not I'm interested in using Visual Editor, removing the Beta tag because of 20ms performance issues seems odd, and an attempt to sort of unofficially push things along while evading criticism. I don't really mind the removal of the tag by itself, but I do find it very unlikely that the only reason this is being done is because of a 20ms performance difference. And Virtualeditor remains near entirely useless for complicated template-dense pages (such as Arbcom task pages). I understand that's an eventual thing, but that's the main reason I see no motivation to use it. (plus familiarity) And I'd think that for somebody who is having issues with Virtualeditor (and who is a new user, those who benefit most) might benefit from knowing it's very much a work in progress. NativeForeigner Talk 02:38, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
Loading 5 ASCII characters doesn't kill performance; loading a separate tag, after the rest of the tabs have been drawn, does affect performance. (See also the many complaints about flickering tabs when Twinkle and other user scripts do the same thing.) Changing the main label to say "Use at your own risk" would have no measurable performance cost compared to "Edit", even though it would add 15 more ASCII characters. The cost isn't in the letters; the cost is in constructing "Edit beta" out of two separate tags.
NativeForeigner, I agree that template support is poor. On the other hand, table support isn't too bad, and the main reason that some complex pages use templates to build tables is because table editing in the wikitext editor is so difficult. Perhaps at some point those will be turned back into plain old tables, and you'll use VisualEditor to update them. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:00, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
Ah, yes, as you said "Changing Mediawiki:Vector-view-edit to whatever you wanted would have no effect on performance. It's the Mediawiki:visualeditor-beta-appendix label itself, not the letters in it, that matters", my apologies. So why was the word "Beta" removed at all, in that case, if the performance issue could be solved without removing the warning, simply by editing Mediawiki:Vector-view-edit at the same time as disabling Mediawiki:visualeditor-beta-appendix? Begoontalk 01:29, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Because "Edit beta" wasn't in Mediawiki:vector-view-edit. "Edit" was in Mediawiki:vector-view-edit and "beta" was in Mediawiki:visualeditor-beta-appendix. And the reason why you can't change Mediawiki:vector-view-edit to say "Edit beta" now (well, any local admin can, but it'll get reverted quickly and people will come yell at you) will be obvious if you disable VisualEditor in Beta Features and look at the labels on the page: Mediawiki:vector-view-edit is "the edit button", not "the button that takes you to VisualEditor". If you have VisualEditor disabled, then you see Mediawiki:vector-view-edit (only), and it takes you to the wikitext editor. Last week, if you had VisualEditor enabled, then you saw two buttons:

  1. "Edit beta", constructed out of Mediawiki:vector-view-edit and Mediawiki:visualeditor-beta-appendix, and which took you to VisualEditor and
  2. "Edit source", which is Mediawiki:visualeditor-ca-editsource, which took you to the wikitext editor.

This week, if you have VisualEditor enabled, you still see two buttons. The only difference is that button #1 is just one tag, rather than being constructed out of two.

Your next question is probably "Why is 'the edit button' being used this way?" and the answer is largely because experienced editors at this community refused to change the button that leads them to the wikitext editor." I recommended (back in 2013) that these buttons be changed—so that "Edit source" would always take you to the wikitext editor, and (whatever you want to call it) would always take you to VisualEditor, but the community here at the English Wikipedia rejected that proposal. They wanted just plain "Edit", zero changes, if VisualEditor were disabled, and for "Edit source" to only appear if VisualEditor were enabled. That's what they got. This is a consequence of their choice.

Almost years ago, if the community hadn't been so insistent, we probably could have gotten engineering resources to make a button that always took you to VisualEditor and a separate one that always took you to the wikitext editor. Now I can't. It would require forking the code for the English Wikipedia, and it's irrelevant in the face of the long-term plan, which is to figure out which editing environment the editor normally prefers, and to automatically minimize the other (you'd still be able to switch, probably similar to the way the 'Move' item is in the dropdown menu). Then everyone will have only 'the edit button'. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 20:08, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

Thanks. So, the end result is that the 'edit-source' button can still be conditionally labelled "edit" or "edit source", but "beta" can't appear conditionally in a label because it kills performance, and that's all the community's "fault" for having a preference? Pesky community and its opinions. I guess you're pretty much not going to do what I hoped for, and say "and honestly, we just really wanted to remove 'beta' too, and this seemed like a good opportunity". No worries, and thanks for taking so much time to explain the technicalities of something a simple mind like mine imagined would be, well, simple... Begoontalk 04:30, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
  • There is no 'edit-source' button. There is only "The One True Editing Button™", which sometimes leads to the wikitext editor and sometimes leads to VisualEditor, depending on what your preferences are set to. Sometimes, again depending upon your preferences, there is also another button (which always leads to the wikitext editor). The label cannot be "conditional". You can change the label to whatever you want (=this button always says "foo"), and you can make new labels (=this button says 'foo' and should only be used for X; that button says 'bar' and should only be used for Y), but you cannot change the label based on the behavior of the button (=this button says 'foo' if clicking it takes you to X but 'bar' when clicking it takes you to Y). Basically, the label doesn't know what will happen when you click the editing button, so it can't adjust its contents.
  • As for your assumption that they "really wanted to remove 'beta'", I think that the devs honestly don't care whether it said "beta" or not any longer. In 2013, that might have been true. However, I've asked around about this several times since the 'beta' kludge was added (just to see what the devs are thinking about it), and I don't believe that anyone has really cared one way or the other about it for a year now. I suspect, that like most humans, they just got used to the way things were and didn't (until very recently) think that there was any reason to change it. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 21:49, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
Yes. You are right. Begoontalk 17:45, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

Re: Invitation[edit]

Hey WAID, thanks for the invitation to comment on VE. None of the things that I mentioned to you before have been fixed ... but I can't find my list. (All I can remember is: menu bar takes up much more space than is helpful at the top of the screen at the zoom I normally use, and paging down skips around 3 lines.) If you have better organizational skills than I do, you can re-submit the list, or reproduce it here and I'll submit it. One new VE problem: it no longer saves my place when it saves edits, it jumps to the end of the screen, which is a pain. While I'm here, I've got an invitation of my own to extend ... I'm looking to invite a few folks who have skills sets I lack to be part of a team to comment on copyediting issues at WP:TFA, and I need someone who knows (in general terms) about WMF initiatives, particularly efforts to pull in underrepresented groups (such as women), and who communicates well with devs. The role wouldn't take much of your time. If you're interested in theory, I'll give you some specifics. Btw ... are there any WPian copyeditors you really love? - Dank (push to talk) 15:42, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

I still have your list, and I reminded them about the zoomed-in menu bar just two days ago. They are planning to deal with that, but in the meantime, they've just gone and made it slightly worse. (Ah, progress.)
  1. Paging down is broken.
  2. The menu turns enormous when you zoom in a lot.
  3. The screen got shifted over so that the first half of each letter wasn't visible.
  4. Re-loading lost all your work.
  5. "Clear styling" kills links.
  6. Adding unstyled words next to styled text is a pain.
  7. (and now) scrolling to the wrong point upon save. (The end of the page? That's even less useful than scrolling to the top.)
I'm always interested in theory. However, I think you should talk to User:Moonriddengirl first. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 20:13, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
Okay, I've saved all that to its own file now and tied a string around it so I won't forget. I'll check in with MRG after I've got some initial responses to my questionnaire. - Dank (push to talk) 20:34, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
I would like to answer your second invitation and I feel very honoured by your request. Following your first invitation I thought about leaving a comment, but after I checked my former comments, I thought I already said what I have to say. The tool as it is now, works very well, but it is not very useful for me and I do not really use it. Platonykiss (talk) 15:00, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for your kind comment. I apologize for the multiple invitations. We've been trying to sync lists, but it appears to be an imperfect science. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 15:56, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
There is no reason to apologise and you are always welcome. At least, I could find my former feedback unlike other users, because nothing gets lost on my talkpage (I do not delete your posts, I just move them to the same section which I reservated personally for you). But for the moment it is pointless to work with me, because you decided for another direction as the one I suggested. My advice is to check it with other languages and you will probably rethink some of your former decisions. Platonykiss (talk) 14:24, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
I am sorry that this last comment was not up to date. Like the character tool is now, it is very useful in many languages, but the editor is now a little bit unstable, especially at the beginning. We will continue to work on it. Platonykiss (talk) 13:18, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
I left a description of current problems with the beta editor here.Platonykiss (talk) 08:14, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

Since you've got lots of free time[edit]

... the bug you and I reported a long time ago that's now here is just sitting there. I don't know, of course, but the fix might be creating a duplicate function that varies by a single character (replacing the space in pat.split(" ") in line 12 by, say, a tab character). Do you know if anyone has checked yet to see if that works? - Dank (push to talk) 18:18, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

I've marked it as "Stalled", which will generate bugmail for User:Krinkle at least. I wonder if User:Krenair would know whether your proposed fix would work. He's pretty awesome with MediaWiki interface stuff. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:27, 23 March 2015 (UTC)


Was bringt Dich auf den dünnen Ast ich würde dieses Mistding verwenden? Ich habe es mir angesehen, traurig den Kopf geschüttelt und es abgeschaltet. Grüße Weissbier (talk) 05:14, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

Since Google Translate is less than helpful on this one: What makes you think I'd use this piece of crap? I've had a look at it, I shook my head sadly, and turned it off. - Dank (push to talk) 14:24, 25 March 2015 (UTC) P.S. On second thought, perhaps you didn't need a more precise translation of that ... - Dank (push to talk) 14:52, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
As the message said, he was invited to provide feedback because he provided feedback in the past. I invited everyone who provided a certain level of feedback, not just the people who are friendly to VisualEditor. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:00, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
What? I thought we were only allowed to canvass people who will say nice things. - Dank (push to talk) 17:04, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
Technically, the messages were sent from Meta, and I don't believe that Meta has any such rule.  ;-) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:22, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

Leute, könntet Ihr eventuell eine Sprache benutzen, die ich auch verstehe? Und ich habe in meiner Frage nicht die Redewendung "Stück Scheiße" verwendet. Mist mag sich etymologisch auf Tierexkremente beziehen, hat aber inzwischen eine abgeschwächte Bedeutung. Weissbier (talk) 07:09, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

Ich glaube, dass crap eine treffende Übersetzung von Mist ist. Crap wird zwar im Wörterbuch als "vulgär" eingestuft, wird aber nicht als besonders anstössig oder derb empfunden. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:28, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
Du sprichst offensichtlich perfekt Deutsch und schickst englischsprachige Massennachrichten an deutschsprachige Benutzer? Das muss ich nicht verstehen... Egal, Hauptsache mein Hinweis ist nicht vulgär angekommen. Grüße Weissbier (talk) 10:02, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
Ich spreche genug Deutsch, um dunkle Schokolade zu bestellen. (Was braucht Mann denn sonst?) Schreiben ist viel schwieriger. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:59, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Invitation for VE survey[edit]

Hello Whatamidoing

I've recived your invitation for the VE survey on my talk page on frwp. Thank you!

But this message was in English. An other guy on frwp get it a few weeks ago, in English too. Something may be wrong on your mailing. Face-wink.svg

Best, Trizek from fr: 16:08, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

I have also recv'd the mssg cited above. There is a lot of Brazilian editors that can not understand your message, for this reason, I decided to translate to Portuguese to help the project. In this vein, find below your translated message to be sent to Portuguese speakers. Thank you, Luizpuodzius (talk) 17:24, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
Thank you! User:Elitre (WMF), can you use this in today's messages, or have they already been sent? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:56, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
I have one group left from which we could take out the pt. users, if there were any, to message them separately, but those would not be feedback givers, so the translation would partially not apply to them. Thank you, Luizpuodzius. Trizek, we don't have an invitation message in different languages. Our valued translators have worked hard enough on the survey itself. We may consider translating the invitation messages in the future for other kind of initiatives. --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 18:10, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
Well, I don't understand, because the invitation message is translated (see below)..., but, anyhow, the message in English has to be corrected. Where you read "More information (including a translateable list...", it should be spelled "More information (including a translatable list...". Thanks Luizpuodzius (talk) 18:59, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
Sure, the pt.wp editors will get the translated message, thanks to you. --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 19:54, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for your answer, Elitre; my mistake! :) Do not hesitate to ask if you have a lack of French translators, I'll be happy to spread the word. Trizek from fr: 20:58, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
I am always greedy for translators, and I hope to be doing something about that soon. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:29, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
Ciao WhatIamdoing, It seems that the main complaint is of your friendly invitation message is that's not translated (yet). There is a team of translators active. Why not contact them first, before to share your thoughts everywhere? Perhaps a tip for the fiture? I like the direct way of contacting editors on their TalkPages. In bocca al lupo,  Klaas|Z4␟V:  09:21, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
It's not a question of translating "my message". It would have been a question (in this case) of translating five messages, which seemed like it might be a an undue burden. We prioritized the detailed survey page over it. (And the translators were indeed awesome.) However, if you think it wouldn't be too much of a burden, then I'd be happy to send them messages, if we ever do anything like this again. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:36, 27 March 2015 (UTC)


A gummi bear holding a sign that says "Thank you"
Obrigado por usar VisualEditor e compartilhar suas idéias com os desenvolvedores do programa.

A equipe de edição está pedindo a sua ajuda com VisualEditor. Eu estou entrando em contato porque você saiu do VisualEditor várias vezes. Por favor, diga-lhes o que eles precisam mudar para fazer o VisualEditor funcionar para você, para que você não precise mudar para o editor wikitext. A equipe tem uma lista de problemas de alta prioridade, mas eles também querem ouvir sobre probleminhas. Esses problemas podem tornar a edição menos agradavel, tomar muito do seu tempo, ou ser tão chato como um beliscão. A equipe de edição quer saber e tentar corrigir esses pequenos problemas, também.

Você pode compartilhar suas opiniões, clicando neste "link". Você pode responder a esta rápida e simples pesquisa anonimamente no seu próprio idioma. Se você responder a pesquisa, então você concorda suas respostas podem ser utilizadas de acordo com estes termos. Esta pesquisa é feita pela Qualtrics e o uso de suas informações é governado pelos política de privacidade da Qualtrics.

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Confused about reflist support in VE[edit]

Hello Whatamidoing, not exactly a bug report, but has anything changed with VE support of reflist and efn/sfn templates lately? My reason for asking is Otto I, where numbering of references seems completely OK for the first time in VE edit mode, despite the usage of reflist and harvard templates (even in infobox). Mind you, I am not complaining ;) - but I am confused about the current status. Your last information a few weeks ago sounded like a solution would be pretty unlikely in the near future (or I have missed a newsletter). If VE would support such reference templates, nested references and the reflist template, this would be a nice step forward. GermanJoe (talk) 17:52, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

That would indeed be nice, but it's still broken for me. "[1]" is in the infobox, and "[3][b]" at the end of the first paragraph, but I get "[1]" in both places when I open it in VisualEditor. Can you check again, and tell me your web browser if it's working for you? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:00, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
The overall numbering in the list seems improved a bit: apparently no ref is missing in the reflist. But you are correct, the numbering of the separate refs in the main text is still broken. Must have looked on the wrong references while checking. Oh well, I have already mentioned this basic problem in the survey - even if chances for a fix are currently slim. Thanks for double-checking this, Whatamidoing. GermanJoe (talk) 18:21, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for mentioning it in the survey. I really appreciate it. I understand that there will be a couple of staff reading the survey responses who don't normally look in at the feedback pages, so this is another way to get that information to them. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:23, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

Real life[edit]

I am having a serious attack of RL over the next 14 days (new grandchild) - compounded by Wiki life. When I surface I will take a serious look at VE.-- Clem Rutter (talk) 20:20, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, and congratulations! What a happy reason to take a wikibreak. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 05:17, 6 April 2015 (UTC)

Documentation Citoid[edit]

Hello, I shamelessly copied most of your Citoid information from the latest newsletter and added it to Wikipedia:VisualEditor/User guide (I couldn't find any other actual information about the topic on en-Wiki). I hope, this is OK - please let me know, if anything is wrong or needs updating. GermanJoe (talk) 01:26, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

Thank you, GermanJoe! The docs need a complete overhaul. It's on my list, but I've got to get through the things I've missed at WP:VisualEditor/Feedback first.
Here's a question for you: From your perspective, does it make more sense to keep adding citation-related information into the main doc, or is that information a good candidate for splitting into a subpage? The user guide can't grow endlessly, but I don't know if this is the best information to split off, and even if it is, I don't know if now is the time. (John, I always want to know what you think, too.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 02:49, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
A split is a good idea to keep the information organized, and it would allow a better, more detailed coverage of complex sub-topics. "Referencing", "Templates" and "Table editing" (incl. row/column/cell functions within the table) are all good candidates for separate topic-specific subpages (not sure, which one I'd pick if I had to choose). The main documentation page should still contain a complete description of the main toolbar, its primary submenus and a brief summary of all functions in those menus (basically WP:SUMMARY for documentations). GermanJoe (talk) 09:47, 17 April 2015 (UTC)


I was looking at {{sfn}}, trying to figure out how to add TemplateData to it so I can use it in VE. As far as I can tell, the parameters are interpreted on the fly and don't have fixed meanings -- e.g. {{sfn|Smith|2001}} links to Smith 2001, but {{sfn|Smith|Jones|2001}} links to Smith & Jones 2001. It looks as if the meaning of parameter 2 depends on whether there's a parameter 3. Can this be sensibly put into TemplateData? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 10:02, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

Update: I got an answer at the template talk page that, I think, allows me to make sensible TemplateData parameter definitions. I've done so but the TemplateData is not showing up in a VE edit session; as I recall a null edit is needed to make the TemplateData appear. Can you (or a helpful TPS) do that? Thanks. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:05, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
You need an admin to do that, and I'm not one. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:39, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
OK -- what do I need to ask them to do? A null edit to the template itself? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 17:50, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
A null edit on the template itself. It's just open the page and click the save button, without making any changes and without adding any edit summary. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:29, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 18:58, 17 April 2015 (UTC)


Hi What. This happened when I changed the capitalisation on a couple of piped links using the VE. Would you mind passing it on to the developers for me, please? --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 04:59, 18 April 2015 (UTC)

Belay that. I found Wikipedia:VisualEditor/Feedback. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 15:49, 19 April 2015 (UTC)