Talk:MediaWiki

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Former good article nomineeMediaWiki was a Engineering and technology good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
DateProcessResult
February 11, 2008Articles for deletionSpeedily kept
April 25, 2010Good article nomineeNot listed
Current status: Former good article nominee

External links modified (January 2018)[edit]

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Is there still some "HOPE" for ... (this certain idea about improving "What links here") -- ? --[edit]

The answer at this place seems to have been "<< No, it's not possible." >> (at least, "as of" << 03:36, 21 December 2017 (UTC) >> ... according to the first reply).

But it really means that, having a certain feature work (or not work) a certain way, is not possible, given the current state of the MediaWiki [software] design and implementation. But that [current state] is not a principle of the universe! So ... it could become possible, in the future! (right?)

But ...should it become possible, in the future -- ? --

If not, then is this: "well, it would be very difficult" ... the only reason? (to dismiss the idea) -- ? --

Just an idea; ... from: --Mike Schwartz (talk) 15:39, 15 July 2018 (UTC)

As stated at the top of this page, "This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the MediaWiki article. This is not a forum for general discussion of the article's subject."
Questions like this are better asked at Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)
Sure, it is technically possible to do that. Your problem is finding a developer willing to put the time into developing the tool, which would probably run as an appendage to the MediaWiki software.
See Wikipedia:Bug reports and feature requests.
You could suggest the idea in the next round of the Community Wishlist Survey. I wouldn't want to raise your hopes too high for success there, though. wbm1058 (talk) 18:49, 15 July 2018 (UTC)
OK, thank you, wbm1058, for that "speedy" (well, "faster than I expected") reply; and for [making "some" progress towards] answering my question, even though (apparently), that question probably should have been asked ... somewhere else.
I do not know much about moving (or, -- perhaps better? -- inserting a link to) a section (or question) like this.
Would it be OK to insert a link to this section, some place? If so, then should I do it? ... or, -- perhaps better -- someone else, who might know better how (/how "much") to explain things there, and (how to decide) where to put it, and how [and whether!] to guide the follow-up comments ("if any") to be there instead of here, etc. -- ? --
THANKS for your patience, if (in my ignorance) I am ["also"] asking these questions wrongly (e.g., in the wrong place).
Perhaps there are even some other questions [that I should be asking now, but] that I do not even know I should ask. (Please feel free to answer those questions, too ... either here or somewhere else [if the "super amazing" faster-than-light "answer-it-before-they-even-ask" setting of your "crystal ball" goes up that high...] << smiley / "magician-slash-comedian" emoticon typed in as text >>). --Mike Schwartz (talk) 17:01, 30 July 2018 (UTC)
@Mike Schwartz: Hi, I replied on the same day, but I guess you weren't watching the page. So I'll ping you with this reply, to make sure you read my reply sooner this time. Since this page doesn't get a lot of traffic, and you previously did ask the question at a better venue, but didn't get response(s) to your satisfaction, I suppose a little more "off-topic" discussion will be tolerated here. I understand you are asking questions about "what links here" generally, and more specifically, section-linking. But, to me your questions are lacking some focus which makes it harder give a specific, well-focused answer. But first, generally speaking I find it easier to work within the constraints of the existing MediaWiki software to find creative solutions to editing problems, rather than to request, and hold out in hope for, improved MediaWiki versions that implement new solutions. I believe you expressed concern about section links that were broken because the section heading was subsequently changed, thus breaking the section link. More on that below.
This article does give an answer to your question, since April 2010. See MediaWiki § Database: Some software enhancement proposals, such as a proposal to allow sections of articles to be watched via watchlist, have been rejected because the necessary schema changes would have required excessive Wikipedia downtime. (T Dumitras; P Narasimhan (2009), No downtime for data conversions: Rethinking hot upgrades (PDF))
Broken section links are a common problem. A bot generates a weekly report listing them: Wikipedia:Database reports/Broken section anchors. The report is huge: Over 61 thousand broken section anchors. Obviously we have a gargantuan imbalance between editors who mindlessly break section links without checking "what links here", and gnomes who actively work this report to manually fix the broken links. An imbalance that will likely only be overcome by a more sophisticated bot that actually works to repair the broken links that it detects. Would be nice if someone could be paid to develop such a bot, but don't hold your breath.
The best way to prevent section links from breaking is to follow the advice at MOS:SECTLINK: add a hidden comment to the target section such as <!-- The article ArticleName links here. --> so that if another user edits the title of that section, they can fix the incoming links (alternatively, use {{Anchor}} in cases where a section has a large number of incoming links).
And use {{R to section}} to mark section-link redirects. So, if there are a dozen redirects to the page, you might check which of those dozen transclude {{R to section}} to find say, the three of them that are section links.
Does this help? You can follow up with a more specific problem you're having, and maybe we can figure out a way to solve it. wbm1058 (talk) 18:38, 30 July 2018 (UTC)
Wow! Those are some very helpful answers! (and they also appeared pretty quickly). Thanks! for taking the time to write that additional response.

> You can follow up with a more specific problem you're having, [...]

I think it is less a case of, there there is some "specific problem" that is plaguing me any more than ... it is bothering anyone else. It is maybe ["more like"] a case of, that: when there happens to be a section link that (probably used to work correctly, but) is broken now, then ... maybe I am a little bit more likely (than the average [bipolar?] bear) to notice that it probably got broken due to [an event such as] a section being moved or re-named ... along with the weaknesses that have already been discussed (or at least mentioned) ... that I see as "shortcomings" in the current system of offering features to support those editors who might prefer to (at least) have a way to try to avoid causing those situations.

> Broken section links are a common problem.

It sounds like you are more familiar than I am with that issue (...even though 'perhaps' that is "not saying much"... I am not an expert "at all" on this stuff).

> The best way to prevent section links from breaking is to follow the advice at MOS:SECTLINK: add a hidden comment to the target section such as <!-- The article ArticleName links here. --> so that if another user edits the title of that section, they can fix the incoming links (alternatively, use {{Anchor}} in cases where a section has a large number of incoming links).

That sounds like a great idea. ...even though the reading of such hidden comments might still occur only on those occasions when it is out of the goodness of someone's heart (e.g., either [a] while changing the title of some section, OR [b] while trying to "clean up" after some editor who "was in a hurry" has already changed it "without benefit of" taking the time to read the hidden comments "if any", and taking the time to follow up "as appropriate").
Besides the reliance [there] upon the kindness of [a] editors who [ever] change section names, (or [b] those who might come along after them, and try to "clean up" once the damage has been done) ... there is ALSO the issue of ... relying on the kindness of those editors who create section links, to kindly insert the right kind of hidden comments, as appropriate. ...and IMHO, that is one place where (perhaps) the use of an automatic "bot" might go a long way towards:
  • economizing upon the amount of drudgery (work that may be tedious and/or "less fun") for those editors (when they are creating section links), and
  • ensuring that it gets done right (or else, a "bug report" will be submitted to the authors/maintainers of the "bot") and
  • ensuring that it gets done (without having to worry, that the editor would perhaps be too busy, [or too lazy] ... even some of the time.)
I may not know (and might not have the time / the skills to learn) much about the mechanical details of all this, [e.g., the software changes, or "BOT" coding ... etc.] nor about the "politics" of it [the "Talk:" page discussions needed, etc.] but it does sound like, to me (now, much more than before!) that this problem can almost certainly be addressed by some methods that do not (necessarily) require making changes to the user interface [nor the implementation] of the Mediawiki software. The existence of those methods (maybe because they might be more 'agile' in some sense) is a breath of fresh air ... and it gives me [more] hope, that the problem will addressed (in the appropriate way) some time "soon"... i.e., before the [amazing "AI future"] day, when Wikimedia [and/or Mediawiki!] will perhaps already have some bots that write bots that write bots, ... and we humans can just sit back and oversee the end results, and "keep an eye on the ball" as far as the long-term goals.
Thanks again. --Mike Schwartz (talk) 21:19, 30 July 2018 (UTC)
Mike, I might be able to write such a bot to fix many of them. The logic seems straightforward. Read backwards through the page history of the article with the missing section link, searching for the last edit which included this section. See whether the edit that removed the section simply changed the name of the section to something else; if so then update the broken section link with the new title of that section. This is how I sometimes manually fix some of these, which can be time consuming. The bigger problem is that my time is oversubscribed and thus need to prioritize tasks; if I elevate this to the point I start work on it soon, that means that some other task was bumped lower and though it may have already been waiting years to get finished, it will need to wait for more months at the least. Another new task screaming for attention is clearing Multiple unclosed formatting tags... just the ones in the project talk archives is quite a list. The manual fix is easy, but writing a bot to do it is harder... see Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)/Archive 167#Remex: My page is recently broken and I can't figure out why. wbm1058 (talk) 16:04, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
OK, Great!
I am not here to discuss the relative "priorities", of one "worthy cause" over another. I am aware that some things are more urgent than others, and that the knowledge needed to make a judgment call on "priorities", may well include some factors that I am not familiar with.
Eventually there will probably be some kind of automated way, (maybe even involving a bot or two) to "notice" patterns (e.g., patterns of instances of inefficiency in the way things get done, during editing on Wikipedia... especially for things that get done quite often!), and (when that day comes), then maybe some of these ["Talk:" page] discussions might even get 'suggested' by some bot, instead of by a human person. [Whatever!]
...and, the phrase "instances of inefficiency" there, might be interpreted broadly, to include not only [e1] examples such as, a person having to spend a lot of time, to "figure out" how to fix a certain 'broken' section link, -- perhaps partly because the tools to help that person do so, are lacking in some way (or do not exist at all) ... but also [e2] examples such as, situations like 'broken' section links, arising more often than they should, -- perhaps partly because of the absence of (or, some shortcomings of) the tools to help automate the editing tricks that could have helped to avoid the creation of such problems in the first place. (...and, maybe those editing tricks should include some that were discussed recently ... such as: inserting a hidden comment in certain situations, [like, when creating a section link]; and, "checking for" the existence of such a hidden comment in certain other situations [like, re-naming a section] ... and doing something appropriate, if/when such a "hidden comment" is found).
Rock on ... --Mike Schwartz (talk) 17:44, 31 July 2018 (UTC)