Wikipedia:VisualEditor/FAQ

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
If you would like to try VisualEditor without editing an article, here is a page where you can freely do so. You don't need an account to use it.


Shortcut:
What is VisualEditor?
VisualEditor is a software development initiative by the Wikimedia Foundation that will display text being edited as if it were already saved.
How do I enable VisualEditor?
VisualEditor is available alongside the original wikitext editor if you opt-in, by changing your preferences. Please note that it is currently not available to unregistered users.
Why is this change being made?
The wikimarkup text in the old editing window is so complex that some people who could become productive, experienced members of the community if the editing system were simpler are turned off upon attempting their first edit; read our longer explanation for more details.
Where do I go to learn more about how to use VisualEditor?
Please see the VisualEditor User guide.
Does VisualEditor make automatic fixes to pages?
In most cases, VisualEditor will not change or reformat lines that are not being directly edited. If markup already on the page is handled incorrectly (for example, with tables that are not closed) then it may attempt to correct these.
Will it still be possible to edit articles using wikitext after VisualEditor becomes available?
Yes. While VisualEditor will become available to all users as an editing environment, a method for editing the underlying wikitext "source" will continue to exist. There are no plans to remove the "Edit source" option.[1]
Why is my browser not supported?
Modern web technologies and standards allow us to build a modern editing interface for Wikipedia and its sister wikis, but some browsers don't support many of the features needed for VisualEditor. Nevertheless, we're doing our best to support the most common browsers: VisualEditor works well with the most recent versions of Firefox, Chrome and Safari, and support for Internet Explorer 9 will be offered in the future. We encourage you to upgrade to a supported browser, or failing that, continue to edit using the source wikitext editor because we will not divert resources from improvements that will benefit the majority of users by trying to work around the limitations of older browsers.
As of 14 August 2013, the supported ("whitelisted") browsers are Firefox 15 and up; Iceweasel 10 and up; Safari 5 and up; and Chrome 19 and up. The unsupported ("blacklisted") browsers are all versions of Internet Explorer; Android 2 and below; Firefox 14 and below; Opera 11 and below; and all versions of BlackBerry. Browsers not on either of these two lists, including Opera 12 and higher, may see VisualEditor as an option, but it is not known whether VisualEditor will function normally in them.
Should we worry about a potential large increase in vandalism?
One of the goals of the randomly-selected new user testing done in June on the English Wikipedia was to discover if one will occur. We think that those who come with the intent to vandalize are probably doing it now because hitting the “Edit source” tab and blanking a page using the wikitext editor is just as fast (if not faster) than doing the same thing with VisualEditor.
Won't this slow down reading and editing for people who have slow connections or computers?
VisualEditor loads the bulk of its code only when you edit a page in the VisualEditor mode. So if you keep using "Edit source" or are a reader, the effect on your user experience should be negligible (~4KB of additional JavaScript payload before you click "Edit", or about 0.5% of one typical page). Your web browser will typically cache the JavaScript, speeding up future uses even if you are on a slow connection. However, using VisualEditor as the editor may cause problems for those on slow computers or connections. The VisualEditor team are attempting to speed up VisualEditor's loading and performance to make it work better for these users. For these users, opting-out for now may be the best option.
Does VisualEditor work with Wikisource's ProofreadPage, or Wiktionary's templates, and other features that Wikipedia doesn't have?
VisualEditor is currently only enabled on Wikipedia sites, but we have designed it to be flexible enough to be used on all Wikimedia sites. After deploying to Wikipedia, we will work to make sure VisualEditor works well with features specific to sister sites.
When will VisualEditor be enabled on my wiki?
VisualEditor is already available on most of the largest Wikipedias [English (en), Spanish (es), French (fr), Hebrew (he), Italian (it), Polish (pl), Russian (ru) and Swedish (sv)]. The current schedule for others (it may change) is as follows:
  • 24 September: Deployment to about two dozen mid-size Wikipedias, available for logged-in users only.
  • 30 September: Addition of anonymous users at these mid-size Wikipedias.
  • October?: Deployment to most other Wikipedias, minus a few wikis (such as the Chinese Wikipedia) where VisualEditor does not yet handle language characters correctly.
Currently, the plan is to deploy to Wikipedia sites first, and to deploy it to sister projects at the end of 2013, due to the complexity of some of the changes necessary. Deployment to all projects for some languages may be delayed even longer due to bugs affecting the specific language.
Why did you deploy the software so early? It doesn't look ready.
The software definitely isn't finished; it has features to be added, and we're still finding bugs. That's not because it's bad software, or because it's not ready, it's just because it's software to start with. Bugs are inevitable: MediaWiki itself is 10 years old, and we are still finding things that could be better, or things that are unexpectedly broken. If we wait until VisualEditor is completely bug-free to enable it, it will never be enabled. Ultimately, the best way to detect bugs and other problems is to have as many people as possible looking at, using, and playing with the software, and then telling us what they like and dislike about it. While we understand any bugs will be disruptive, they will be fixed: your reports from this preliminary deployment lets us identify them.
I've found an issue with VisualEditor or a feature that is missing. How can I tell you to fix it?
If you're willing and able, then please report the issue in bugzilla in the "VisualEditor" product. We also have a feedback page here on the English Wikipedia. There are four main kinds of issues that the developers especially need to hear about:
  1. Something breaks: The failure may only affect a particular type of browser or computer, on a particular page, or after doing something else. Please post your problem at Wikipedia:VisualEditor/Feedback. In your description, it is helpful to include information about what you were trying to do, your web browser, computer operating system, and a link to the article or a diff of the edit if it was possible for you to save the change.
  2. Performance problems: VisualEditor is currently slower than we want, although improving. However, if something seems unexpectedly slow on loading or on performing a particular task, or if it used to be faster and has recently gotten worse, then please report this.
  3. User experience issues: If it didn't make sense, or if it was awkward, or if you couldn't figure out what you needed to do (Wikipedia:VisualEditor/User guide covers the basics), please speak up, and feel free to offer your suggestions for improving the design.
  4. Missing functionality: Is there something you need to do, but it currently can't be done in VisualEditor, like editing mathematics equations or seeing hidden comments that contain instructions to other editors? Make sure that it's on the developers' list of needed features. If you'd like to know which missing features have been reported before, you can search the talk page archives and feedback archives. Some features are currently being developed or planned (like formatting images, adding columns and rows to tables, and editing mathematical formulae). The Roadmap and the Wikimedia engineering draft goals for 2013–2014 provide some additional information as well. If you can't find any reference to the new feature you'd like to suggest, please report it at Wikipedia:VisualEditor/Feedback.
How do I disable VisualEditor?
To continue to edit the wikitext directly, simply click the "Edit source" button instead of "Edit". On section edit links, you can open the classic wikitext editor for that section by clicking "edit source" instead of the regular "edit" link.
  • If you would like to remove VisualEditor from the user interface, then you can do so. Depending on whether VisualEditor is out of beta or not:
    • If it is a beta feature: go to the Beta tab of your preferences page, untick the checkbox "Visual Editor", and click the Save button near the bottom of the page. (This is how you do it on English Wikipedia, for instance.)
    • If Visual Editor is already out of beta: go to the Editing tab of your Preferences page, untick the checkbox "Enable VisualEditor (only in the main and user namespaces)", and click the Save button near the bottom of the page. (This is how you do it on some sister Wikipedias, for instance, Russian Wikipedia, as of August 2014.)
See Wikipedia:VisualEditor/Opt-out for other options.
Can the editors here order the developers to turn this off?
No. By the official policy of the English Wikipedia, editors are not in charge of the website or its software. See WP:CONEXCEPT: "Some matters that may seem subject to the consensus of the community at the English-language Wikipedia are, in fact, in a separate domain. In particular, the community of MediaWiki software developers, including both paid Wikimedia Foundation staff and other volunteers, and the activities of Wikimedia Commons, are largely separate entities, as are the many non-English Wikipedias. These independent, co-equal communities operate however they deem necessary or appropriate, such as adding, removing, or changing software features, or accepting or rejecting images, even if their actions are not endorsed by editors here."
However, the developers are paying close attention to the deployment; if something goes critically wrong, then we can and will delay the deployment (as we have done previously, with the A/B test) or, after deployment, temporarily disable the software.
Can I install VisualEditor on my personal wiki outside Wikimedia?
Yes, at your own risk. The VisualEditor and Parsoid extensions are available for download, but they're still experimental; note that Parsoid requires nodeJS. If you do install and use them, then please let us know what worked and what didn't in Bugzilla.
I've heard that VE will be the only way to interact with Flow, and there won't be a wikitext editor. Is this true?
No. It's true that to get the benefit of all the features of Flow, you'll need to be able to use VisualEditor; however, there are no plans to disable the standard wikitext editor. There will continue to be a need for a wikitext editor in the future (for those without JavaScript, using screen readers, etc.), so there are no plans to disable the standard editor available now for editing articles or talk pages. For editing Flow, there are plans to create a new "fallback" source editor with somewhat limited functionality.
The FAQ didn't answer my question. Where may I ask it?
You can ask on the VisualEditor feedback page on your wiki (see the list on Wikidata) or on the central feedback page on mediawiki.org.


  1. ^ <<And no, we're not taking markup-level editing away. Some users may always prefer it over visual editing, even if the exact nature of the markup changes, and even if VisualEditor becomes the best tool it can possibly be.>> Erik Möller, deputy director of the Wikimedia Foundation, The VisualEditor Beta and the path to change, op-ed for Wikipedia Signpost, July 31st, 2013.