User talk:Jimbo Wales

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What happened to Wikipedia?

When I logged into Wikipedia this morning, strange things happened. All the links to my watchlist, preferences, contributions, etc., have simply vanished. There isn't even a search box so I can search for stuff. I can go to the main page and my own user page, and that is it. (Just to get here I had to do a google search.) The link to my talk page was there momentarily, but as soon as I replied to a message that link disappeared as well. All the useful links on the side are gone. Tables of content are missing. I don't know if this is some glitch or there was a major change to the website, but as of today it seems to be practically unusable. I don't know where else to bring this up, except that I know a lot of people watch this page who may know what the heck happened, so I'm just letting people know that there seems to be a big problem. No need to reply to this message. I don't seem to have access to my watchlist anymore, so I would never see the replies even if I was watching. Just FYI, because as of today the site has gotten impossible to use. Zaereth (talk) 21:11, 18 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It is the new Vector skin. Most of those links are found under the top right profile icon. I assume you can switch back to other skins. Masem (t) 22:29, 18 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Zaereth see Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)#Vector 2022 deployment update. There was also a previous RfC. S0091 (talk) 22:34, 18 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No clue what any of that means. Skin? Vector? No freakin' clue. I don't speak computerese nor read hieroglyphics. That's what I liked most about Wikipedia, is that everything was in plain English --right there in front of you. Took me 12 years (I think) to figure out what little I do know, and it's not much when it comes to computers or the internet. Just enough to get me by. What I do know is I'd rather shove drywall screws into my eyeballs than learn a new operating system or relearn how to use Wikipedia all over from scratch. (There isn't even a search box so I can look around. What are people supposed to do? Search from google?) When most websites do this, that's the day I suddenly lose interest in those sites, so it's been fun, but unless things go back to normal I'm out. I got better things to do that try to figure out this mess. Zaereth (talk) 02:49, 19 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hello, Zaereth. Go to your "Preferences" and then "Appearance ", and then select "Vector (2010)" and save your change. Problem solved quite quickly. Cullen328 (talk) 03:31, 19 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Multiply Zaereth by X, way to fix what wasn't broken. Is this our New Coke moment? Luckily I use Monobook so nothing has changed. [Next day EDIT: Okay, maybe I was being too dramatic, there doesn't seem to be too many complaints and the skin is wider than I thought it was, and there is the easily found option to 'Change back to the old skin'. But still thank the gods for Monobook] Randy Kryn (talk) 03:38, 19 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Whose brilliant idea was this anyway? Can anyone tell me exactly what was broken that needed fixing? How are WP visitors to know how to look something up? Thanks Cullen for telling how to fix it. Sectionworker (talk) 04:13, 19 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Instead of solving genuine software problems that impede the work of productive Wikipedia editors, which would be the logical and rational thing to do, the WMF spends massive amounts of money on busywork upgrades to fully functional "skins" to appease the developers who want to work on something "new and shiny". The Android app to upload smartphone photos to Wikimedia Commons is just one of many examples of things that should have been priorized but haven't been. That app has sucked for years, is bug ridden, crashes and fails frequently, and needs to be uninstalled and reinstalled repeatedly just to upload a few photos. I would love to donate my photos about notable topics, but that app is an active impediment to my efforts. Cullen328 (talk) 04:57, 19 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Another example is the massive amount of money and staff time spent over many years on the failed efforts to develop a functional mobile site and associated mobile apps. For at least ten years, the fully functional but misnamed "desktop site" has worked just fine on modern smartphones and other mobile devices. And still today, smartphone editors are automatically directed to a crappy site that impedes collaborative editing, and are denied easy access to a fully funtional site that allows them to flourish as collaborative editors. It's a tragedy but very few top level Wikipedians care about it at all. And paid developers have built their lucrative careers on failure to achieve their simple goal, year after year after year. Cullen328 (talk) 05:17, 19 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, as one that has used the desktop mode on a mobile phone (rather than the mobile version) the old skin was widely inconsistent in how things were displayed and made it very difficult to use. The updated skin works very much consistently on mobile display, so that's a clear improvement I see. Masem (t) 13:15, 19 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Someone obviously went "why can't the site look the same on desktop and mobile devices" and this travesty is the result. To quote Maddox, "I didn't buy a 19" monitor to have 50% of its screen realestate pissed away on firing white pixels, {{rpa}}".[1]filelakeshoe (t / c) 🐱 13:31, 19 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The new skin was not at all considered for mobile devices, and the full width mode can be disabled by clicking the button in the bottom right(though why is it in the dead bottom right???) Aaron Liu (talk) 13:33, 19 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What Cullen328 and filelakeshoe said... Ugh. Give up. DeCausa (talk) 20:51, 19 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I just realized that this may not be about the limited width issue but about the all the other whitespace. That is a problem I agree. Aaron Liu (talk) 22:16, 19 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Zaereth By the way, the skin doesn't actually do that, the site was momentarily half-broken while the skin was being deployed. Usually all these features are there. Most of the buttons you mentioned are in the top right dropdown. Aaron Liu (talk) 13:14, 19 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just so it's clear, the search bar is at the top center of the page, as seen in this screenshot of Wikipedia:Today's featured article:
Screen shot of English Wikipedia article in Vector 2022.png
If you're not seeing the search bar, or (on much narrower screens) a magnifying glass search icon, please report a bug (a note at Wikipedia:Village pump (technical) is good enough – I know the devs are watching that page).
Built-in opt-out button
If you decide that it's just not for you, that's fine. I remember when we switched from MonoBook to Vector 2010, and about 20% of us opted out. So far, fewer people seem to be opting out this round, but I wanted to point out the built-in button for switching back to the old look (or any style you prefer).
If the sidebar's collapsed, then click the Hamburger icon.svg Hamburger button by the logo to open it. Click "Switch to old look", which will take you to the exact section of Special:Preferences that you need to be in. The "preview" option for each item will let you find the style that you like best (MonoBook if you prefer information density; Vector 2010 if you like last month's style; Minerva if you want it to match the mobile site; Timeless if you need lots of room for gadgets; Vector 2022 if you want to see what most readers are seeing these days). After you've made your choice, remember to click the big blue button at the bottom of the page to save your prefs. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 20:52, 23 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm finding it extremely hard to believe you can't find the search bar, unless there is something else technically going on that is suppressing it. Schierbecker (talk) 12:10, 30 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think that may have been a temporary glitch at the time of deployment, rather than a long-term situation. Everyone should be seeing the search bar now (but if you're not, then do please say something!). Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 21:09, 1 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have a rather narrow screen. It's practically square. If I were at home I'd have it up on my 60" plasma TV, but I don't work on Wikipedia at home so I use what they give me. All I saw was a little square with the letter "Q", but no place to type in a search. And who would ever guess in a million years that to log in I would have to look for a link disguised as an ellipsis. Who in their right mind makes a link out of nothing but punctuation? If I wanted to look for hidden links I would break out the old Nintendo and play The Legend of Zelda. But I don't want to. I simply have better things to do with my time.
Now, I'm not being angry or anything. Maybe a little sarcastic, because when I first came here I thought something had gone majorly wrong with the system? Who would've guessed it was intentional? But it's not my website, so it doesn't really matter to me. Wikipedia is not a major part of my life. It's just something to do when I'm listening to that little voice in my ear saying, "Thank you for holding. We appreciate your call. Please stay on the line and the next representative with be with you shortly." I can just as easily be doodling or twiddling my thumbs during that time. I choose to spend it helping to improve Wikipedia because I already know how to use it and where everything I need is located, there are not a lot of ads and graphics and moving images to clutter up the screen just to slow everything down (like every other site), and, foremost, --everything is written in plain English! (I can't stress that last part enough.)
It's no skin off my nose, but what does irk me a little is that the least y'all could have done, Whatamidoing (WMF), was warn people beforehand. Now, I'm going to do a little mind reading and predict that your response to that is that you probably did post some ambiguous note among those messages at the top of our watchlists that nobody reads, but if all it said was something about a "vector" or a "skin" (whatever the hell that is in this context; reads like patent nonsense), then all you posted was meaningless jargon. It may have made sense to you, but to those of us who don't speak computer jargon it may as well have been invisible, because the human mind has a funny way of relentlessly glossing over those things we don't comprehend.
That's my main reason for contributing here, that is, to take highly technical subjects and make them comprehensible to the masses, and my biggest pet peeve is the use of jargon and techno-speak to explain what should be written in plain English. Physics articles. Scientific articles. Technical articles. Math articles. Wikipedia is full of articles written only for people who already understand the info, and the worst are computer articles. That's the main thing I hate about computers, and why I rarely use them. My first experience in computers was setting up my own flight sim, which was an exercise in beating my head against the wallfor two long years. (You'd think it would be plug and play, but noooo. I eventually had to call a major aircraft manufacturer and ask them to put their flight-sim guy on the phone so he could walk me through it in English.) As an encyclopedia, we should be writing for people who have no background knowledge on these subjects, not just for the people who already know them inside and out. The same should apply to the people who do all the programming and behind the scenes work as well. Zaereth (talk) 02:15, 3 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If it helps, the log-in button is being restored. CMD (talk) 02:32, 3 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, that's nice. Still, I hate the techno-speak and jargon, and hieroglyphics. It's like running into a crowded theater and yelling, "Chemical reaction! Chemical reaction! The building is rapidly oxidizing! Hasten to the nearest egress for your existence!" and then wondering why everyone burned to death. But at least they sounded smart to the other academics in the audience. Zaereth (talk) 03:46, 3 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Assuming you are talking about the replacement of the words in the old skins with icons in the new skin, the question of hieroglyphics has also been raised by others, although so far as I know no change is expected. You can modify the icons on a personal level, albeit with fiddling and technical coding that won't help most people. Hopefully the accessibility of the language can improve, I'm sure that feedback would be helpful. CMD (talk) 03:56, 3 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Zaereth, I understand that those three dots are called a kebab icon, and that it's become very common in web design during the last decade.
As for warning people, CentralNotice banners have been running off and on since May 2022 (=about 8 months). Assuming you haven't disabled banners in your prefs, then you might remember a pink banner that said something like "Try out the new interface improvements. Search, language switching, sticky toolbar, table of contents, and more". If you clicked on it, it switched your skin.
Before and after the pink banner, they ran some banners asking people to provide feedback (and hundreds of editors did exactly that, e.g., at mw:Reading/Web/Desktop Improvements/Fifth prototype testing/Feedback).
Earlier this month, they switched to a high-volume light blue banner that said something like "The new desktop interface is launching next week! Try it out and learn more about the project, community participation, and process." This one linked to Wikipedia:Vector 2022 and reportedly was very effective at getting registered editors to switch in advance of the deployment.
Of course, if you've hidden the CentralNotice banners (check both Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-centralnotice-banners and Special:GlobalPreferences#mw-prefsection-centralnotice-banners), then you wouldn't have seen any of them. If you did that, you probably would have had only the chance to see the local watchlist notices, the many discussions on the village pumps, the multiple notices in Tech/News, and the big RFC last November.
If you have ideas about how (and when) to reach people who chose to disable CentralNotice banners, don't pay attention to their watchlists, won't read the village pumps, don't subscribe to technical announcements, and don't follow RFCs, but still want to be informed about what happens (despite cutting themselves off from all the usual channels of information), then I'd be happy to hear them. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 02:13, 4 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I personally feel that the Vector skin change was about as well advertised as it could have been. Emailing every user with an email associated with their account or other methods would likely annoy those who already knew, so I'm not sure I get the warn people beforehand bit. Dreamy Jazz talk to me | my contributions 02:44, 4 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Other people might disagree, but there are certain practical limits. After the visual editor deployment (which began on 1 July 2013, just in case that date isn't seared in anyone else's brain), one English Wikipedian told me that the only acceptable approach to notifying people was to have left a note on each editor's talk page. I believe there were 19 million registered accounts at the English Wikipedia back then. Special:MassMessage didn't exist; The Signpost was still being delivered by User:EdwardsBot. Nineteen million messages is huge. Just imagine how long that would have taken. Even if the bot could have posted one message per second (I believe that its typical speed was about a quarter of that), it would have taken more than 200 (two hundred!) days to deliver all of those messages. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 03:29, 6 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Note that the “Q”’s second stroke doesn’t intersect, it’s supposed to be a magnifying glass just like most search engines and you click on it to search. Aaron Liu (talk) 12:34, 3 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

February is Black History Month in the United States. I find the history of places like Sprague, Alabama (Draft:Sprague, Alabama) interesting. You suggested a task force, but it appears nothing developed?

I listed some of these subjects as well as other missing pieces at Draft:Missing Pieces which I was forced to move to my userspace (User:FloridaArmy/Missing Pieces). I think Colored School and Colored High School should at least be disambig pages or maybe list entries. So much of this history is missing from Wikipedia. FloridaArmy (talk) 08:45, 3 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Signpost: 4 February 2023