Wikipedia:VisualEditor/Feedback

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VisualEditor is available here at the English Wikipedia alongside the original wikitext editor if you opt-in, by changing your preferences. VisualEditor is not available to unregistered users here at the English Wikipedia, or to users of Internet Explorer 9 or 10 at any Wikipedia. The developers are working on support for IE9 and IE10.


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This page is a place for you to tell the Wikimedia developers about issues that you encounter when using the VisualEditor here on Wikipedia. It is still a test version and has a number of known issues and missing features. We do welcome your feedback and ideas, especially on some of the user interface decisions we are making and the priorities for adding new functions. All comments are read, but personal replies are not guaranteed. If you have encountered a problem or have found a bug, then please include your web browser, computer operating system, and Wikipedia skin (usually Vector, sometimes Monobook).

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Group refs question[edit]

I couldn't figure out how to set up a footnote within a note. Comet (magazine) is the article I was working on; the single "note" has a footnote citation within it to Bleiler. This revision, created with VE, is close to what I wanted, but I also wanted to add a citation within the note (as the current version does). Inside the note editing dialog there's the option to add a cite, but there's no "cite basic" option at this level, so as far as I can tell it's not possible to do what I wanted to do. Is there any reason not to add "cite basic" and "reuse" to the cite menu inside this dialog? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 21:04, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

About a year ago, you could create nesting refs in VisualEditor, and they displayed as intended that way. However, the cite.php system itself doesn't support this: when you save the page, the nested ref disappears. That's presumably why the ability to (mistakenly believe that you were successful in your quest to) create nested refs was removed from VisualEditor.
Do you think it would be a widely used feature? If so, we could ask James F to put it on the list of non-VisualEditor editing improvements that we'd like to see next year. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:59, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
Can you clarify what it is that wasn't working? The current version of Comet (magazine) does have a nested ref; are you saying that is not something supported by Mediawiki, but instead provided by local template engineering on en-wiki? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 01:19, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
What doesn't work is <ref>Explanatory note<ref>Citation</ref></ref>. The solution you settled on uses a parser function. Where did you find that approach? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 01:25, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
It's all over WP:FA; I found it a few years ago and use it in almost every article I write. I haven't looked at the template code so I'm not clear on the underlying mechanism. See also the system used in Norman Conquest of England, which may be the same system underneath: it uses {{efn}}, but I haven't looked under the hood to see how it works. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 01:31, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
I remain astonished at how ignorant the WMF developers are of how articles are formatted, and the supporting templates such as {{efn}} and {{reflist}}. I guess that comes from none of them having any idea of how to write an article themselves, but that's hardy an excuse. How many FA editors have they consulted with? Obviously I realise that in the present climate every IP vandal is worth far more than any registered user, but surely even for the WMF there has to be a limit? Eric Corbett 01:48, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
That's where I would have gone to look, too, Mike. I have finally also found it documented at WP:REFNEST (aka "the obvious place" ;-). Do you think it would be worth adding a link to it at WP:CITE?
By the way, it's not a template; it's a parser function (part of the core software). Anything starting with {{# is a parser function. It looks like the {{efn}} template does the same thing under the hood. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 20:18, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
Re adding a link at WP:CITE: maybe, but I'd suggest asking there -- I don't spend much time at those internal discussion boards and am not very familiar with the page. Most of what I've learned has been by copying other articles.
Does the fact that it's a parser function mean that there is a chance VE will support this functionality in the future? I can see that the templates that make use of this might be harder to handle, but can the pure {{#tag:ref call be added to the options for insertion within VE? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 21:57, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
I believe that this will be included in the work for the "support parser functions" bug. However, I don't think that will happen any time soon. At that point, you might have to insert it as a "template".
Another approach would be to make nested refs functional. Would that be desirable, or cause more problems that it's worth (e.g., inexperienced people accidentally nesting refs when they shouldn't)? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:13, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't think it would be worth making nested refs functional; we already have a way to achieve this, so I think it would be better just to have VE implement what is already doable in wikitext. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 09:38, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Three tries, three fails[edit]

Random article, first I got was Results of the Victorian state election, 2010 (Legislative Council). Open in VE, takes somewhat long, doesn't look like the original page. Click on the first box on the screen, click on the "Australian elections/Title row" box, template opens. Try to move the box to the right, so I can see the template (in the article) and the template edit box next to each other, so I know which parameter is feeding which "box" in the template. Can't move the template edit box. Give up. Try to find a method to edit the numbers per party inside the template. Can't find a method. Give up.

Second random article: Malamarismo. Try to edit the tracklist in VE. Parameters are given in alphabetical order, not in order of article. Useless. Give up.

Thrid try. Charles Landon Knight. Open the infobox (infobox congressman). "An infobox for office holders. It is generally better to use a more specific template like {{Infobox politician}}." Strange. Can I convert this to another infobox? Of course not. Do I need to? Of course not, this is a more specific template. If you would use infobox politician (like on Maurice Duverger), you would get the exact same message instructing you to use "Infobox politician" instead of, er, "Infobox politician". Why? Because template data aren't made with redirected sub-infobox-templates in mind, even though these are used very frequently. Give up.

Three tries, three fails. One case where I can't edit what I want, one where I can but it is easier and more user friendly in wikitext, and one where I get completely wrong advice which I can't easily follow in VE anyway. In all cases, I would have been better off editing in the wikitext editor (and in all cases, I needed to know wikitext anyway to edit what I tried to do). Please drop me a note when VE really works. I won't hold my breath. Fram (talk) 06:58, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

  • Results of the Victorian state election, 2010 (Legislative Council): Opening the page in VisualEditor takes less than two seconds in Safari and about two seconds in Firefox. It looks like the original in both Safari and Firefox. I had no trouble changing the number of votes that each party received in the template-created table. It's a complex transclusion and works like any other complex transclusion: Find the template you want in the left, choose the parameter you want, and change the value in the field. Moving the box would not have helped you see which parameter feeds which box, because template contents do not auto-update as you type. None of the changes you made would have been visible in the table until after you clicked "apply changes". (Of course, if this were just a table, then you'd have no trouble changing the contents in VisualEditor: click on the number you want to change, and change it. But you couldn't add new rows to such a table in VisualEditor yet, and it would be much uglier to deal with a heavily formatted table in wikitext.) Whatamidoing (WMF)
    • Obviously, if you test it after someone has corrected the page so that it does work in VE[1], you won't have the same problems. And moving the box would have helped me, to see the match between current (pre-change) field on the screen and in the template... Fram (talk) 19:23, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
      • Broken tables are broken, regardless of whether they are created with templates or wikitext. Unclosed tables should not be tolerated by the community, because although it looks "correct" on some browsers, it is broken in others and some screen readers. Does it display correctly for you when you open it in VisualEditor now? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:32, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Parameter order is always given in the order that was specified in the TemplateData by an editor here at the English Wikipedia. Anyone who believes that a different order would be preferable is free to re-order the TemplateData into something more sensible. This is entirely under the control of the community. Whatamidoing (WMF)
    • And what if, like in this case, no template date is given? Oh right, then VE chooses the alphabetical order, not the order already used in the article or the order in the template syntax. Fram (talk) 19:23, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
      • Yes, if the community chooses not to add TemplateData, then you get the default. Whether to provide non-default order is up to the community. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:32, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
        • And the default is useless. Whether to use the order used in the template, or in the article, is up to the Ve developers. Alphabetical order is mindless and useless. Fram (talk) 19:42, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
  • The description provided by TemplateData was the choice of an editor here at the English Wikipedia. If you believe that the description is wrong, then you can certainly change it, i.e., by providing individual TemplateData for each infobox instead of re-using the same, one-size-fits-some TemplateData for all of them. This is entirely under the control of the community. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:30, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
    • Right... I added the template data description to the template[2], and it doesn't work. Perhaps I did it wrong, no idea, but the result is what it is... Fram (talk) 19:23, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
      • Did you purge the template afterwards? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:32, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
        • No, why? I did try it out on another article after changing the template though. Have you purged it and tried it, or are you just asking random questions instead of checking things? Wouldn't be the first time (see this very section, where you blamed template data for a problem, even though the template didn't have templatedata...) Fram (talk) 19:42, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
          • Maybe you would have done this because you read the directions at Wikipedia:TemplateData/Tutorial#Save, which say that TemplateData needs a null edit to purge the page if you want it to work right away, rather than waiting for whenever the database catches up with your edit? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 20:54, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
            • And that straw broke as well after you grasped it. Even though now a night has passed instead of the few minutes that page mentions, nothng changed. I now made a null edit[3], makes zero difference. Whatamidoing (WMF), you are consistently giving wrong, irrelevant or badly informed answers, never bothering to try if they are even correct or useful. Can you please just leave my questions alone and let someone else answer them? You are not helping me, yourself, the WMF, or other readers (apart from demonstrating your role and the waste of money it is) and are just one big annoyance here. How many attempts will you need to get it finally right, like a broken clock probably. Fram (talk) 04:38, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
              • If you don't perform the null edit, then I'm prepared to guarantee that it won't work for a while (especially given the state of the job queue earlier this week). However, while your failure to do that would have prevented your change from appearing, that's not the only way that TemplateData fails. (You may have noticed that I asked a question about whether you'd taken this step, instead of saying "if you make a null edit, it will definitely start working.") Only one TemplateData block is processed per template. Because {{infobox congressman}} is a redirect, the TemplateData block on the redirect page may be taking precedence over the one that you added. Providing custom TemplateData for different merged templates might require that the TemplateData be moved out of the common documentation page and placed individually on each of them. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 05:53, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
                • If you had bothered to check what I had done (and which I linked), you wouldn't talk so much bollocks. Bye, Whatamidoing, please don't reply, you are a nuisance here. Oh, and either a liar, someone with a spectacularly short memory, or someone who doesn't know what they are talking about. My money is on the third. "you can certainly change it, i.e., by providing individual TemplateData for each infobox instead of re-using the same, one-size-fits-some TemplateData for all of them. This is entirely under the control of the community." doesn't really match "(You may have noticed that I asked a question about whether you'd taken this step, instead of saying "if you make a null edit, it will definitely start working.")" You said what I should do, you said that I can "certainly" change it, that is "entirely" under our control, and told me what to do. It doesn't work. Then you proceed by saying that you never said it would work, and by giving all kinds of instructions and possibilities which don't match what I did (and what you suggested) at all. Either because you haven't checked and prefer your fantasies over reality, or because you don't understand what you are saying. In either case, just shut up. You have gotten enough chances to get it right here, you have failed miserably at each attempt. I have asked you after your first replies here to stop, but you simply continue. I have no idea what you are trying to achieve here, going out with a bang or something, but you are very fast becoming very disruptive. Fram (talk) 06:52, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
                  I haven't looked at these three issues myself, so I can't comment, but for the sake of anyone else reading this thread I think it's only fair to Whatamidoing (WMF) to say that she has been helpful, diligent, and knowledgeable whenever I have asked her a question. Fram, something you might consider is that the method you're taking of providing negative feedback is probably not as productive as you would like. Other editors may react differently, but when I read something like your comment above, my reaction is: "that editor lost their temper, so it's probably over-reaction; I doubt it's nearly as bad as that"; and I lose any interest in investigating the situation to find out if you are right. If you want to convince editors like me of incompetence at the WMF or by Whatamidoing (WMF), you'd get further by dropping the invective and being clear and dispassionate about the issues. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:52, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

(unindent)I asked Whatamidoing below to stop responding, after her first set of incorrect replies. I asked her again above ("Can you please just leave my questions alone and let someone else answer them?"). She then again responds with a totally incorrect reply. This isn't the first time that she pulled the same tricks. The time of being dispassionate and calm about this has long passed. You are lucky if she has been helpful, diligent and knowledgeable in your cases. When I encounter her, she is usually giving the appearance of being helpful, but by displaying a total lack of diligence and knowledge ends up being the exact opposite. Just look at my pst and her hopefully final reply here:

  • Me: "I now made a null edit[4]" She: "If you don't perform the null edit,[...]" I did, I just said so!
  • Her own post, further up in this discussion: ""you can certainly change it, i.e., by providing individual TemplateData for each infobox instead of re-using the same, one-size-fits-some TemplateData for all of them. This is entirely under the control of the community." Her final post: "(You may have noticed that I asked a question about whether you'd taken this step, instead of saying "if you make a null edit, it will definitely start working.")" No, Whatamidoing, you said that we could certainly change it and that it was under our control, you didn't just ask a question
  • Her post: "Because {{infobox congressman}} is a redirect, the TemplateData block on the redirect page may be taking precedence over the one that you added. Providing custom TemplateData for different merged templates might require that the TemplateData be moved out of the common documentation page and placed individually on each of them." She is so "diligent" and "helpful" that he hasn't bothered to check what I did, which is exactly what she suggested. I don't even expect her to try anything before she gives a suggestion, I have given up that hope long ago, WMF people are not interested in testing. But when one tries something out, gives the diffs, explains what has been done, the last response one wants is "have you tried doing the thing you have just done?" No, you utter waste of time, I haven't, how stupid of me, have a barnstar. This is just analyzing that last reply, but every single one before that had similar problems and show her total lack of understaning, her failure to grasp the individual problems, never mind the overall image.

If this kind of nonsense happened once, big deal, we all have bad days. But this happens way too often to be coincidence or bad luck. This is incompetence. And when you notice that someone is not competent enough to answer questions on a discussion and feedback page, you ask them to stay away and stop providing "answers". If that doesn't help, you make them stay away. Fram (talk) 13:16, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Fram, when I said "if you don't perform the null edit", I mean, "every single time you edit TemplateData on any template at all, if you don't perform a null edit", it's not going to work. I did not mean "You still haven't done it". I know that, after I asked whether you had performed this critical step, you did so.
However, contrary to your assertion here, you have not provided the TemplateData on "each infobox". You have provided (extremely limited) TemplateData on one. Did you move TemplateData out of the common doumentation page? No. (I have underlined some relevant phrases in your quotation above.) Do you still have two TemplateData blocks on that template "instead of" just one on the redirected template? Yes. Is the system still limited so that it pays attention to just one block? Yes. Is it going to work like you want while you've still got two blocks, each of which contain different and only partly overlapping information about the template? No.
Just to be crystal clear: Will moving the documentation out of the common template guarantee that your other block will start working? No. This is a JSON system. It's brittle. If you've got something so seemingly minor as a missing comma, it's not going to work. There are dozens of ways to break TemplateData. We have only talked about two of the most common errors, both of which you have made.
And finally, since your real problem appears to be the contents on the common documentation, which provides you with a one-size-fits-some description that tells people already using a specific template that they ought to use a specific template, why don't you just change that documentation? There's nothing stopping you from changing "It is generally better to use a more specific template like {{Infobox politician}}." to read "It is generally better to use a more specific template instead of {{Infobox officeholder}}." or "It is generally best to use the most specific template; see the documentation at {{infobox officeholder}} for the list." Or even "The documentation is [here]." (I wonder if that advice makes any sense, now that all the templates have been merged into it. The end result is the same no matter which you use.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 15:48, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
First, do not change anything in the post I made. Change your own post, or reply with your emphasis, but don't emphasis in my post that wasn't in the original and that I didn't want or need to add. You have a point to make, make it in your own post. Talk page rules 101.
Second, thanks for clarifying that this (your solution) simply won't work. You have nicely tried to wiggle yourself out of your own trap, but of course failed miserably. Why would I need to add templatedata on each infobox? On every single infobox that redirects to the central one, just to correct one of them? That absolutely makes no sense. Just like it makes no sense that you can't have templatedata on the central one if you want the templatedata on the redirect one to work. What if you want both? Basically, what you are saying without wanting to say it out loud (of course, let's not be open and clear, shall we) is that it doesn't work, that you have been and are still making things up as you go along, that you haven't got the foggiest whether anything you said and say will have any effect, never mind the wanted one, but that you just try to keep me busy in a fake civil way so that you will look patient and nice instead of bewildered and out of your depth. Why don't you have a go at correcting it, instead of making incorrect claims about what should be done and then claiming that of course this or that wouldn't work afterwards? Fram (talk) 19:09, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
Let me see if I can be even clearer about what you are calling "my solution":
  1. Do not ever have two TemplateData blocks. It will always discard extra blocks. (The most common problem is having one block on the template page and another on the template's /doc page, but it is location-independent; two back-to-back TD blocks on the same page cause the same problem.) The request to change this behavior was made and refused months ago. (If multiple blocks can be used, then the upcoming parameter dependencies, i.e., if there's a |month=, then you also want a |year=, can't be checked reliably upon saving the TD block.)
    • You can have different TemplatData on each template. If you want {{Infobox congressman}} to have TemplateData that is different than the TemplateData on its (common) doc page, you must remove the TemplateData block from the doc page. You might need to unmerge the template (how TemplateData does and will interact with this type of redirect is uncertain and may change; you will recall that I said there are still multiple ways for this to fail even if you correct the two errors we have discussed at length now), but you must reduce the number of TemplateData blocks to one.
    • If you don't want people yelling at you for removing TemplateData on the common doc page, and thereby removing it from the other 50-odd templates that are using that common TD block, then, yes, you are going to have to edit all 50-odd templates to give each of them their own copies of the TemplateData that you just removed from them.
    • If making 50-odd copies of TemplateData sounds like too much trouble just to change the description (it does to me, and that is why I never actually recommended that you create separate TD blocks for every template), then you could try a a very quick, easy, and simple copyedit on the existing description. As I said originally, the description supplied in that TemplateData block on the common documentation is entirely under the control of the community. Changing it is, by far, the easiest way to remove the description that you dislike, and it has the happy effect of fixing the description on all 50-odd templates at once. This is my actual solution for your complaint about the description: Change that one description.
  2. Make a null edit to every template (not the doc page) whose TemplateData you change.
Finally, the reason that I'm not going to change the description myself is that staff don't normally make content changes. What that description says is entirely under the control of editors. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 22:18, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
"I never actually recommended that you create separate TD blocks for every template". No? ""If you believe that the description is wrong, then you can certainly change it, i.e., by providing individual TemplateData for each infobox instead of re-using the same, one-size-fits-some TemplateData for all of them. This is entirely under the control of the community.". But I guess you'll wriggle your way out of this by claiming that that wasn't a "recommendation", simply a very misleading answer where you knew all along that it wouldn't work anyway. Get lost. Fram (talk) 04:34, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Fram, from what you said above it seems you want to make Whatamidoing (WMF) go away and stay away ("When you notice that someone is not competent enough to answer questions on a discussion and feedback page, you ask them to stay away and stop providing "answers". If that doesn't help, you make them stay away."). It's also apparent from her comment to you on her talk page that her job requires her to reply to you on this page. I think if you want to stop her from posting on this page, the two ways to do that would be to convince the community that she should be banned from this page, or to convince her boss that she is not doing her job. Do you realize that the tone you're taking makes it unpleasant for other users to read this board? I come here because I use VE as my primary editor and I want to get news and feedback about it. The interactions between you and Whatamidoing (WMF) frankly make me, and I would think others, want to avoid this place. Surely that's not an outcome you want? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 09:25, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
I have informed her boss yesterday, [5]. As long as the WMF person, whose job it apparently is to reply here to editors, gives way too often such incorrect or irrelevant replies, then yes, I don't mind that people want to avoid this place. Places where you routinely get bad advice are usually to be avoided. Fram (talk) 09:45, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
I think it would be better to start an RfC. As it is you're taking unilateral action to influence the editing of other contributors without having consensus from them that that's a good thing to do. How would you feel about starting an RfC to achieve what you want? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 10:04, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
I have no trust in RfC/Us anyway, and they are not binding. What would there be to achieve? The WMF doesn't respect RfC's with massive and clear consensus anyway, so having a small one about one employee is unlikely to achieve anything. As for "unilateral action", yes, that's what I'm doing. I haven't presented my complaint as a community issue or a consensus for which I'm the spokesperson, I have presented it as my complaint. The WMF didn't need consensus to appoint a so-called "community liaison" defending their product here, no matter if you want her to do so or not, as she is forced by her boss to reply, whether she knows the answer or not. You like her input, I don't. It is too often deceitful, wrong, or badly informed. The above discussion is a perfect example. Ignore the long discussion about the third example for a moment, and go back to the second one, about "tracklist". Her reply is "Parameter order is always given in the order that was specified in the TemplateData by an editor here at the English Wikipedia." Nice, seemingly helpful, probably correct, but... misses the point entirely. The template I was discussing doesn't have TemplateData, so the "answer" isn't an answer at all. It's like someone asking "why do lines that start with a space get displayed in a box?" and giving the answer "it's standard markup that when you start a line with a semicolon, the text is bolded". And that's the kind of "discussion" (if you can call it that) that you get way too often with Whatamidoing. Take a look at Wikipedia:VisualEditor/Feedback/Archive 2014 4#Autoupdate citation list, where Whatamidoing gives a way too percentage for the prevalence of "reflist" in our articles. Trying to correct her is fruitless, her rather definite claim turns out to be based on a very small sample of articles and a complete misunderstanding of where these templates are used, but no evidence to the contrary will change her view or make her redact her claims, which just happen to support what the WMF wants and not what enwiki uses... If she doesn't know a thing, she should just say so, or indicate that she will ask the devs or whoever; but making things up as she goes along in the hope that it will be correct or that no one will notice it is a rather dreadful way of acting. Fram (talk) 10:44, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

So, thank you Whatamidoing (WMF), three answers, not one of them relevant or correct. Can you ask someone from the WMF who actually knows what they are doing (if any can be found) to respond in the future? As this was simply a waste of time. Fram (talk) 19:23, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

All this has nicely deflected us from the main issue. Not what is wrong with individual infoboxes or articles or editors, but what happens when random, somewhat experienced editors start using VE. If you get an experience like described here, most people won't try to find the VE problem or edit the templatedata (yeah right) or come here to complain; they'll close VE, won't look back, and continue editing with the wikitext editor, probably muttering something about the stupid WMF wasting their money. Which probably explains in part why at the wiki's where VE is the default, almost no established editors have made the switch to it, and a vast majority of editors of who registered after VE became the default make their edits with the wikitext editor as well.

VE is still filled with many small and not so small things that don't work, work in an illogical way, don't give the expected result, or require wikitext anyway. It is of little to no benefit to most editors, so why should the vast majority of people ever want to use it? Correcting one page of the 4 million plus we have is nice, but it's a drop in the ocean. Fram (talk) 19:27, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Section editing and edit conflicts[edit]

I saw a note from a very experienced editor the other day saying that they prefer to use VE for copyediting, but because of the risk of edit conflicts they can't do so if they see someone else is editing (a vandal, in this case) because of edit conflicts. I think if it were a vandal I'd just go ahead, save at the end, and overwrite the vandal's edits, but the general case is an issue.

In bug 48429http://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=48429, the one for section editing, I suggested that hiding/collapsing other sections might be a way to give the appearance of individual section edits in VE. That would also address the edit conflict problem: the current wikitext editor is smart enough not to complain about conflicts when two different sections are being edited. If VE is restricted to a section, presumably the same intelligence could be used to avoid complaining about edit conflicts with VE. Is there any reason why that wouldn't work?

If that would work, then I'd like to see the team move this up on the schedule if possible. I understand the reasons for the low priority it has been given, but that seems to be because any form of section editing would not solve the speed or edit conflict issues and would be very difficult because of the risk of parsing partial HMTL. If the "hiding" option can be made to work, it means that two of those three issues would not be a problem any more. Issues that stop editors using VE for straightforward large scale copyedits (which is what VE is best at) seem like the sort of thing we should try to prioritize -- this is not a power user request; it's the sort of thing a new editor is likely to want to do. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:40, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

I don't think this will help as much as we all wish it did. If I blank the article while you're editing section #12, then you're going to get an edit conflict. I just tested this, using purely the wikitext editor: working in a section did not protect my edit from the "vandal" (my other account).
"Section" editing only protects you if the vandal is not editing the same paragraphs that you are–and there's nothing "magic" about the "section" part. If you are editing section #12 while the vandal is busy (only) in the lead (or, to be more precise, any paragraphs except the ones you're currently editing and the lines adjacent to them), then MediaWiki will correctly resolve the changes. It correctly resolves the changes if you edit the whole page in the wikitext editor, if you edit only section 12 in the wikitext editor, and if you edit the whole page in VisualEditor. (Check the page history for my sandbox to see some proof, or try it out yourself.) The vandal-versus-editor test has the same result in all cases.
I certainly understand not wanting to edit an article that's being actively edited, but you should be getting the same level of edit conflicts regardless of which editor you're using (assuming you're doing the same work: the main "problem" with editing the whole page in VisualEditor is that it's very tempting to fix a problem that you see out of your area, and the more lines [not sections] you touch, the more likely you are to encounter an edit conflict [no matter which editor you're using]). Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:08, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
If I understand you correctly, this is excellent news. Just to confirm I have it right: if you're editing a long article in VE, and you edit six of ten sections, and someone else edits one of the other four in wikitext, there will be no edit conflict? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:57, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
There should be no edit conflicts. There are a couple of things you could do that would throw the system off (some complicated rearrangements of the sort that diffs handle so poorly), but usually it will be just fine and invisible to both editors. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:06, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Stub (and other) tags[edit]

In VE, I have no idea how to remove a tag that indicates an article is a stub. I tried clicking on the text, which then turns blue. But delete, backspace, and ctrl delete do nothing. And there is no error message or tip. If I right click, one promising option comes up, but if I click on that (I can't remember what it's called, and I don't want to go there again), my entire screen gets messed up with meta-text scattered all over it, and I can't get out of it with-out leaving Wikipedia entirely. Kdammers (talk) 10:14, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Kdammers, this should be very easy: select the template and backspace. I've done it several times (example). Can you tell me which article you were trying to fix? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:14, 25 September 2014 (UTC)
I don't recall what the article was, but I now have a similar problem at Gross Lengden. I copied a photograph from the commons but mis-understood the labeling instructions with the near invisible box borders. So, I put what I thought was the caption in the wrong place. When I went back to fix it (after I had submitted the edit: I couldn't see the picture in the preview), I couldn't figure out how to get back into editing the picture's associated text. So, I uploaded another copy of the photo and properly labeled it. I thought I would then delete the original picture. However, that was not to be. I'm not sure what you mean by "select" - I don't see a button with that name. I can highlight the picture by mousing over it. But then none of my keys do any-thing. I just gave up and saved the mess, went over to the regular editor and in a second or two made the deletion. Kdammers (talk) 05:57, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
What you should see when you add an image and a caption
Kdammers, it sounds like you were having pretty serious problems.
When you added the image, you should have seen something like the image here. Did the dialog look significatly different? Would it help to make the lines around the boxes be darker?
I'm not sure why the image didn't display for you. Did you change anything in the Advanced tab? (Something there might have moved it to an unexpected position.) Is this a consistent problem for you?
"Highlight" and "select" are the same thing, but "hover" is different. If you click one time on an image with your mouse, or if you use arrow keys to move the cursor over it, the image should be selected (and turn light blue on most people's computers). Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:07, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Problems and minor issues[edit]

Categories; the dropdown doesn't work properly. When you are adding a category and you are unlucky enough that there is enough space to the right of the last category, you get a much too small drop down menu, where most of the category names is "..." (strangely, some suggested cats get a "..." in the middle and one at the end of the cat). The box isn't resizable. Worse is that the scroll bar doesn't work, when you click it the dropdown simply closes again. You can use the up- and down arrows, but that's far from optimal. The scroll bar problem has been mentioned already some months ago.

New categories stil are added after stuc templates and so on. It would be nice if they were added with the other categories.

Categories can't be reordered.

You can add a sortkey to individual categories, but it isn't recorded (not when adding a category and not afterwards)

Advanced settings. The first two, "Let this page be indexed by search engines" and "Show a tab on this page to add a new section" are as far as I know never used on articles. Can these be namespace-specific so that they aren't shown on articles (the main target of VE).

Page settings vs. advanced settings: Page settings should be the common three "redirect", "disambiguate", and "displaytitle"; all the others are very rarely used and should be "advanced" or not displayed at all (as mentioned above).

Categories should be the first among the options as it is the most commonly used of these options

As mentioned before; it makes no sense to have a dropdown with "options", "page settings", and so on, if the options then simply list the others ("page settings" and so on) again. Either remove options and only keep the other ones (in the order as described above), or only have "options" and "switch to source editing" and discard the rest in this dropdown.

Why do the dropdown menus on the left have a dropdown arrow, but not those on the right?

When I open a template, I can select the template name (in "show options" mode) and remove it (trash can icon). But I can't apply the change. Seems strange, this is a nice way to remove templates (e.g. hidden ones). Fram (talk) 13:21, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

The sort key problem needs a new bug report.
The scrollbar problem is a design problem: You can scroll with your fingers (on a laptop trackpad), mouse wheel, or with the arrow keys. If you click on it, it closes without adding a category. Design problem: if "click on it" is repurposed to become the third way to "scroll", then how would you close the search list without adding a category? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:36, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
Don't most modern systems show different behaviour when you click on the scroll bar (or its arrows on top and bottom) compared to anywhere else in the box? Thta's rather basic... How would I close the box? With an X in a top corner, or a "close" button, or something else? I know, revolutionary ideas, wil take some time for the WMF devs to get around to them probably. A bit like a special character inserter that let's you add more than one character probably. I'm willing to discuss design issues, but I don't think that "using the scroll bar as a close button" is really a design issue, it's a clear bug. No priority, not assigned... Fram (talk) 08:09, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

More problems and issues[edit]

More? Add a "basic cite" (or open an existing one), drop-down the "use this group", and you get the upper half of the text "general references". If you get multiple groups, like on William Shakespeare (be patient when opening this page please), then you can't even see the other groups. I then tried to open the references section in VE, but then the script just kept hanging.

Lakeland School District, Pennsylvania. Open in VE, scroll to "Eight grade", PSSA results. Change the results? You get a template box, with a lot of col templates. Go through them on the left (click "col-begin", "content", and so on), and you see the cursor move down on the right side. Go through all the fields in this way. What do you get? Nothing! Is the content missing? No, it is only invisible, you need to actually click inside the right-side content boxes. Try it with the first one! Oh, right, that one's empty... Only if you are persistent enough to also try it with the second or third one will you notice that the contents are there and editable. What percentage of users will have given up before this? Your guess is as good as mine... Fram (talk) 08:01, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Wikitext in TemplateData descriptions doesn't work, see e.g. the description of reflist (used in 65% of the articles, I guess you'll be able to find an example easily...) Fram (talk) 08:10, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Use positional parameters for templates with no parameter name chosen?[edit]

This is more a suggestion than feedback. I was helping someone edit Tarzan (1999 film) and they wanted to add the {{Main}} template using the visual editor. I didn't know how to do it, so we guessed. We selected Main from the templates then (as I would with a template edited in source) pasted in Tarzan (Disney franchise), what we got was {{Main|Tarzan (Disney franchise)=}} which renders as "Main article: <Whatever the current page name is>" (that specific quirk is due to how Module:Main falls back when parameters aren't supplied). After looking at the template field again I noticed that the first step after selecting a template is to post a parameter name, then the value. Strictly speaking this is PEBKAC, but if I know the value I want for the first parameter is there any benefit to inserting {{Main|1=value}}where the parameter name isn't in the template data?

Alternately, for templates with relatively few parameters (e.g. 1-4), there should be a way to specify in template data the parameter names which can be preffilled. So instead of having a dropdown list based on the user typing the parameter names, they can be rendered as a input fields with the parameter name on the left and a space to add the value on the right (with a little button saying "add" or something). This wouldn't work for large templates, but for smaller ones (where the template authors explicitly provide the prefill instructions in template data) a user can quickly get to adding the value that they want without typing out the parameter name. Protonk (talk) 14:16, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

Protonk, there's TemplateData on that template. When you Insert > Template for "Main", then you should get a list of parameters (the first says "Page 1, The name of the first page that you want to link to..." The idea is that you click on the parameters you want and fill them in. Would it be helpful enough to make the obvious one (people almost always want to add only the one) already appear in the list, so that instead of "Field" (for the parameter name) you're presented with "Page 1" and a blank for the article name? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 01:00, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Awesome[edit]

This is a very easy way to edit a page & extremely useful for non professional users. TrueOfficer (talk) 07:13, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback, TrueOfficer. I'm glad that you had a good experience. There are still some things that need a lot of work, and I hope that you'll let us know if you run into any problems or have ideas for making it easier to use. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:39, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Up and down arrow keys[edit]

Bug report VisualEditor
Description Up and down arrow keys produce erratic behavior
Intention: Move the cursor
Steps to Reproduce: #Edit a section
  1. Press up or down arrow
  2. Press up or down arrow more times
Results: Sometimes the cursor moves, sometimes the view window moves
Expectations: The cursor moves
Page where the issue occurs Add URL(s) or diffs
Web browser Chrome 37.0.2062.120 m
Operating system Windows 8
Skin Monobook/Vector
Notes: Any additional information. Can you provide a screenshot, if relevant?
Workaround or suggested solution Add one here if you have it.

Lfstevens (talk) 08:05, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for the note, Lfstevens. I don't have Chrome or Windows 8 installed, but Safari's similar to Chrome (both WebKit browsers). The window/view jumping every second or third time I pressed an up or down arrow key was annoying. However, I kept careful count, and it moved the cursor to a new line each time. Could you check this for me, and let me know if the cursor moves every time for you, too? I want to make sure the details are correct for the bug report. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:51, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
AFAICT the cursor does change lines each time. At the edge of the view area, an arrow key triggers the the view area to move and the cursor is no longer displayed. Lfstevens (talk) 01:56, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Unexpected behaviour editing a link[edit]

Suppose I want to insert a link to Foobar but mistype it as Barfoo. I spot the error and edit the text, which is now a red Barfoo, so that it says Foobar. What I get is now [[Barfoo|Foobar]] which is certainly not what I intended. This seems counter-inituitive. Deltahedron (talk) 08:19, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

I agree with you. How exactly to make this clear is a design challenge.
One of the recent proposals was to ask people. Imagine that you type "Barfoo" and make a link to it (or that you open a page that already has a link to Barfoo). Then you change the visible text (the link label) to something (anything) else, e.g., "Foobar". VisualEditor would ask, "Did you want to repoint this link from <Barfoo> to <something else>?"
This might get annoying, though: If you had a link to [[apple]] and you wanted to make a grammar correction, i.e., [[apple|apples]], then it would ask you if you wanted to repoint the link to the {{r from plural}} redirect apples. What do people think? Would it be worth it? Do you have other ideas that might be less annoying? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:48, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
I am surprised this "challenge" was not thought of and met a couple of years ago. Unfortunately I cannot support development resources for some of the design problems you've presented due to other large-scale priorities and resources. I will simply not be able to say yes to all requests. That is part of the process. This being said, for your suggestions for development ideas, this is an ongoing process, and you are welcome to present your ideas for how we include and involve all users in working on product development together in general. Deltahedron (talk) 06:48, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
I hadn't realized that this problem occurs in other situations than has been described last week. It makes me lean toward the conclusion that use of VE, creates sufficient errors, even by skilled editors, that it should not be allowed on en.Wikipedia (or any website which allows piped links) until the "challenge" is resolved. I don't know what the resolution should be. I can only see the present situation is intolerable.
My best guess as to acceptable solution would be to require a separate confirmation for creating a piped link, with no default option, if "status quo ante" cannot be determined. In other words, if no specific answer is given, the entire edit session needs to be cancelled. (In other words, [ESC] cancels the edit session, if there is no input as to which of [[Foobar]] or [[Barfoo|Foobar]] (or possibly [[Foobar|Barfoo]]) is intended.
A possible alternative is to violate the "visual" aspect by displaying a piped link as a piped link. At least, that way, the editor can see what is going on. In other words, displaying [[foo|bar]] as foo|bar, or something like that. (Note that what I wrote is not valid HTML 5.) — Arthur Rubin (talk) 10:43, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
I'm not clear why this is a problem. I just tried editing Ten Story Fantasy, which has a link to The Sentinel (short story), piped from visible text of "Sentinel from Eternity". When I place the cursor there to start editing, it says "Sentinel (short story)" right underneath my cursor, showing me that it's a piped link. If I edit a link that isn't piped, such as BBC, a few words later, again it shows "BBC" right underneath my cursor, and it continues to say that after I change the text of the link, indicating that it's going to be piped. What more is needed? Perhaps mark the pop-up in some way to mark it harder to miss the fact that it's piped? E.g. change "[link icon] BBC" to "[link icon] Note link goes to: BBC". The sudden change in the pop-up as the user types over the link would make this hard to miss. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:38, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
On wikis where VE has been activated by default, like frwiki, everyday there are many examples of actual edits performed by newbies or experienced editors, where this problem does happen. It's frequent enough that we even discussed adding a specific detection in Check Wiki project for this problem, but we could only catch basic errors like [[2013|2014]]. This problem has been reported several times, and each time the answer seems like the VE team simply doesn't want to handle it... --NicoV (Talk on frwiki) 13:34, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
Do you think the approach I suggest above would reduce the frequency of the errors you're seeing? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:46, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict) As suggested (and ignored) several times, the best solution would probably be to limit the "visual" approach here. A Wiki-link consists of two separate elements: the actual link and its visual representation. Both elements need to be displayed clearly and distinct from each other. Anything else leads to confusion and the mentioned errors. Admittedly such an approach will be slightly slower to edit, but it will be more user-friendly and less prone to errors. Another point: Separating redirect and direct links in the selection list is another bad idea, redirects are valid links and should not be listed separately. GermanJoe (talk) 13:52, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

(edit conflict)It has been suggested (quite a while ago, and a few times since) to have a link interface with "link to this article" and "display this text" fields (actual text to be decided, and the second by default the same as the first), to make it clear to editors what the link is, and what the displayed text. This hasn't been adopted (AFAICR, it has been rejected by Jdforrester, but I haven't checked so this may be an incorrect memory on my part). Fram (talk) 14:00, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

I agree; something like that would be a good idea. However, the errors that NicoV is reporting don't appear to be made by interacting with the link dialog, which is where the changes you suggest would be; they seem to be caused by editing the text on the page directly without going to the link dialog. I haven't found this confusing myself, but if others have (as is evidently the case) then I think the popup that shows up when you click on a link is what needs to be modified. Users who never get to the dialog won't be helped if the dialog is improved. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 14:11, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
I agree it's difficult to find a good solution here, the only thing I'm sure of is that the current design is bad. My first suggestion would be to modify the current link dialog to have both fields (destination and displayed text). My second suggestion would be to automatically display the link dialog when typing text inside a link so that users would really see what they are doing. --NicoV (Talk on frwiki) 15:32, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
What I would do is make the popup box for links have two fields, one for the actual link target (A) and one for the text displayed (B). B could be auto-filled with the text selected and need not be changed. This is clear, intuitive, and controllable.--Salix alba (talk): 16:09, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
The user interaction least likely to cause errors is to have link dialog that show both what will be displayed to readers and where the link goes to. (In Microsoft Word, the fields are labeled "Display" and "Link to"; I'll used that terminology.) The "Display" field should be on top, so it doesn't get in the way of the link-to search functionality.
When creating a link, the "Display" field should "echo" what is being typed into the "link to" field, unless (a) the user started by highlighting some text (in which case, the display field should contain that text until edited directly), or (b) the location being linked to begins with "http" (in which case, the display field should stay blank until edited directly).
The user should be able to edit an existing link only through a link dialog, one that shows both fields. Yes, that's slightly slower, and slightly less WYSIWYG. But, as pointed out many times before by developers, VE isn't explicitly intended to be a WYSIWYG editor. And, as the above comments note, letting an editor directly edit the display text of a link is a significant, recurring cause of errors. By forcing the user into a link dialog, we guarantee that he/she understands exactly what the link does, and exactly how it displays to readers. -- John Broughton (♫♫) 23:53, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
John, can you give me a clearer idea of how MS Word handles this?
Here's what I did in Google docs, which is very similar to how VisualEditor handles it:
  1. Type a "Display" label: Foo
  2. Make a link to a URL: Select Foo, press Command-K, see two-field link dialog, add http://example.com for the URL. (Close the dialog; go off and edit other parts of the document if you want.)
  3. Place cursor inside the "Display" label (e.g., in between the two o's of Foo), and change the text to say anything other than Foo.
It's that last step that's causing this particular problem. What does MS Word do there? Does it pop the link dialog open again, or just let you change the displayed label directly? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk)
Suport the two field approach. Lfstevens (talk) 00:25, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

Various VE errors in the recent changes[edit]

Hi, I've just checked what problems are visible in the last edits with VE on frwiki. Here's a list of problematic edits, a lot of them have already been reported several times, and still nothing has been done to fix them:

That's only in less than 500 edits done with VE, and I didn't report the numerous acts of vandalism which seem more frequent than with the wikitext editor. --NicoV (Talk on frwiki) 19:36, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for the list, NicoV. Elitre and I spent a long while trying to reproduce the Steven Moffat "linked space" error earlier this month, and we made no progress. Would you mind asking that user for browser and OS information, and if s/he has any idea what he might have done there? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:46, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
  • The "unnecessary" nowiki tag was added in Alphagel because l'''Alphagel'' is a mismatched number of single quotation marks.
    There was no nowiki tag before and it was working correctly, so the nowiki is unnecessary. And as discussed before, if it was necessary, it should be added around the single quote not around a part of the paragraph. --NicoV (Talk on frwiki) 09:37, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Empty list items in Matériau composite and similar are due to the user leaving an empty bullet item on the screen. This can't be fixed in software, or you could never create a list with blank placeholder items (which might not be wanted in encyclopedia articles, but is wanted in other types of documents).
    Wrong again, many editing sofwares are able to deal with this without keeping unnecessary formatting in the end result. By the way, an empty list item is incorrect, and you can see in the result produced by MW that empty list items are discarded. --NicoV (Talk on frwiki) 09:37, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Incorrect modification of links — I agree with your comment in the previous discussion: it's difficult, but we need to find a way to improve it.
  • Italic formatting with only a nowiki tag inside in Stromae will be due to blanking everything, but retaining the character formatting. This is probably "works as intended", because if you remove a word or line, people expect the character formatting to be retained.
  • Pawns in Marquis Surcouf are an attempt to retain the character formatting.
  • Poor formatting with sup tags added around whitespace characters in Henri Vackier is "working as designed"; it's irritating as an editor to have someone select everything, including the space, change the format, and then select only part of it and undo the format. However, the alternative is to forbid people from producing valid wikitext markup just because it might be a mistake, rather than, e.g., an effort to shrink the size of the space (which is done, although people shouldn't do that).
    I disagree: it's possible to handle this properly as it is done in many editors. Retaining formatting while editing without polluting the end result is possible. --NicoV (Talk on frwiki) 09:37, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

(More later.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 01:07, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but your answers seems to be as usual "It's not VE's fault but the users fault" while my opinion is clearly "It's VE's fault". Every time your answer is "working as desgined", I'm thinking that the design is bad because it's not working as it should. I disagree with you when you say that some problems can't be fixed in software, that's just that you don't want to fix them. Every problem I reported above needs an other editor to fix VE errors, that's a loss of our time. As usual, reporting problems seems useless. --NicoV (Talk on frwiki) 06:50, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

Have VE list all cite templates?[edit]

Currently, VE only lists the most commonly used citation templates. There should be a way to access a list of all cite templates from the citation menu (i.e., a "more" button). You technically search for other cite templates from the "Template" option, but most of these don't have the documentation brought over, so they are effectively useless.--¿3family6 contribs 23:34, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

You first go to Cite > Basic, and then to Insert > Template.
The Cite menu does the same thing in the end; it is just letting you do this in one click instead of two, and it only displays the template dialog. If someone had added a citation template to the Cite menu without first adding TemplateData documentation, then you would still have the same "effectively useless" problem.
I believe that the more common citation templates usually have the TemplateData (e.g., {{Cite press release}}), but that most of the less popular ones (e.g., all of the Vancouver templates) don't. Which ones in particular did you want to use? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:32, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
I did try adding the template that way, so I think it's a documentation issue. I was trying to insert a {{Cite AV media}} tag. I ended up switching to source text.--¿3family6 contribs 01:18, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

References[edit]

I thought this was solved a while back, but either I imagined it or it has regressed a bit. When you open a page like Bearden Waterworks, the refs switch position (what is ref 1 in the standard view becomes ref 2 in the VE mode and vice versa), but only in the text. The numbering in the infobox stays the same, which is totally confusing of course. Furthermore, you now get the "stop, no access" icon when you click on "ref 2" in the text, but you can open the "basic" ref anyway: you don't get to see it though, you get an empty screen.

Now, if you type something into that empty ref box, you create a ref with the text you just typed, but with the same ref name as the one in the infobox.

All this is very counterintuitive and confusing. This is not something happening on one or two pages only, things like Round Church (Richmond, Vermont) have this but also major articles like United States. Fram (talk) 08:29, 30 September 2014 (UTC)