User talk:Whatamidoing (WMF)

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Old discussions: June 2013 to May 2014, June 2014 to May 2015

VE/F absence[edit]

Thanks for the friendly note at VE/F, it's nice to be missed :)

Yes, ArbCom is soaking most of my Wikipedia time at the moment and I have a slightly busier real life than I did when I was bug reporting most days. If VE was enabled in the Wikipedia namespace though then I suspect you'd hear more from me (or not, if I don't find any bugs!). Thryduulf (talk) 10:00, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

Hi Thryduulf!
I don't think that VisualEditor will be enabled in any namespace that contains ANI unless and until it's possible to exclude such discussion-heavy pages (probably post-Flow). How's ArbCom? I always feel sorry for people who get elected, because it seems like a miserable job. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:22, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
I'm actually enjoying arbcom (most of the time!) but it is a real time-sink both with on-wiki stuff and stuff behind the scenes. And with almost every there is a lot of reading to be done, and just when you've got a block of time to do it in something urgent crops up that takes your attention! Thryduulf (talk) 09:18, 6 June 2015 (UTC)

Re the test feedback, I'm not much use here as I was away on holiday all the first week and then the second week I've been pretty much exclusively focused on arbcom stuff. Other than what I reported myself, I've not seen any problems but I really haven't been looking. Sorry. Thryduulf (talk) 11:37, 7 June 2015 (UTC)

Broken VE user guide link[edit]

Hello, I fixed a broken link here in the feedback header. It would probably make sense to create a redirect at the old spelling's location (or need to check other pages and languages for the same problem). GermanJoe (talk) 22:07, 7 June 2015 (UTC)

Thanks. That typo is unique to en.wp, and my own fault, of course (both for typing it and for not checking all of my links to make sure that they worked correctly). Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:24, 8 June 2015 (UTC)

sound files[edit]


Thanks for your reaction on my rant about sound files, interactivity etc. Yes I knew quite well what you sent me to Germany for, and it is not very useful because it abducts readers to a separate black screen when they push on it. That kind of defeats the purpose of the sound file. What I want is people to look at the word geweldig (or a whole text) and be able to hear how it is pronounced. At the same time, while they are looking at it. I took up on your advice to put it on the spot you mentioned on meta. Hopefully I get some response this time, because I had put stuff there before. I tried to give them an example how things go wrong in a collapsible table, but apparently meta does not have those installed, so instead I tried to get them to go here and open the two Solution boxes to see what I mean. Also have a look at the code and the weird tricks I had to use to even get in in there. If I sound frustrated that is correct. I think wiki software is hopelessly outdated when it comes to even the simplest forms of interactivity.

Jcwf (talk) 23:59, 9 June 2015 (UTC)

Yes, I agree with you that this semi-solution is inadequate, and that no good solutions are known (to me, at least—and if you find a better one, then I definitely want to know about it). The whole area needs improvements.
Thanks for posting this idea on the list at Meta. That will make sure that some of the relevant devs see it. We should also sort through phab: and see what related bugs there might be. Presumably it would be one of the approximately 1,450 tasks filed under the Multimedia project. User:Matma Rex, what do you think? Is this idea likely to be in phab already? "Be able to listen to stuff easily, without leaving the page or filling the page with huge audio boxes" seems like a pretty basic idea, so I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there was an old feature request for it. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 06:14, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
There doesn't seem to be a task filed about this, no. The small players are indeed sometimes broken. Can you file one, or do you want me to? Matma Rex talk 13:35, 13 June 2015 (UTC)
Jcwf, it sounds like it's wishlist time. What would you ask the devs to do? How many different 'tasks' or ideas do you want? A clear use case ("I want to write a page that does exactly this, because it will be useful this way...") is a good idea, so that we increase the odds of getting what we want, rather than something sort of related. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 06:31, 14 June 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for taking this up, Whatamidoing. How about:
Making a sound button small enough that
  1. the sound is heard while on the page itself (no black screen please)
  2. the button is insertable in flowing text (as opposed to just on the left or creating a break)
  3. the button is compatible in large numbers (say 50 to a page min.) with collapsible wikitables
  4. the button is compatible with quizzes

Ad) the latter: It is hard to position the audio button inside a quiz. I kind of made it work on this page, but only if I use firefox. In IE I don't even see the buttons.

Your talk page is not the best place to put my wishlist, but please tell me what the right venue is, because I am rather lost in that respect. Jcwf (talk) 21:28, 19 June 2015 (UTC)

Hi Jcwf,
The best place is in phabricator:, which your account will work on, but which isn't MediaWiki software. I found one interesting feature request over there: phab:T33221, which requests a text-to-speech system based on IPA. I think this is a great idea, but it's not enough. We need more than that, obviously. I think the first one should be titled something like "Make it possible to listen to an audio sound without leaving the page", the description would explain about readers needing to be able to see the text while they listen to the audio.
So here's three approaches, and you should freely pick whatever you like best:
  1. Go to Phab, login (it uses OAuth, so it'll ask you about that – it's okay, it's supposed to do that), 'Create a task' (link in the upper right) for each item, and remember to put the "Multimedia" project into field for associated projects. (One task per individual item. It fits in the dev mindset better.) Paste the URLs back here if you want me to look it over.
  2. Write whatever you want here, and I'll post it in Phab for you.
  3. I'll create a task or two, and you either edit them or tell me what you want changed.
Any of these work for me: your choice. Let's make it happen. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:15, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
Actually I just found out that all the work I have been putting in since early May, creating pronunciation files, uploading them, annotating all pages with sound files all over the place etc. etc. does not show up in Internet Explorer. None of it, zippo, nada, idir. Big buttons, small buttons, table or not, nothing. So, I am going to look at your comment some other time, because frankly for the first time since 2001 I am ready to quit. Jcwf (talk) 04:57, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
How incredibly frustrating! I'm so sorry that it's not working. Would you mind giving me a link to a relatively simple example, whenever you can, so I can make sure it's on User:Matma Rex's list of things that need fixed? I'd really appreciate it. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 05:34, 20 June 2015 (UTC)

IPv6 rangeblocks[edit]

In a very short time, it's become clear to me that many admins need help dealing with IPv6 rangeblocks. See Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#IPv6_range_block_needed and User_talk:Abecedare#Rangeblock_question for example. Can the WMF come up with better tools, scripts, or at least more understandable documentation to help out? I looked at the MW docs and there are no practical examples admins can follow. --NeilN talk to me 05:54, 11 June 2015 (UTC)

Ugh, Neil, rangeblocks do look unnecessarily complicated. In terms of the tools, have you posted this to m:Community Tech project ideas yet? That's where they're collecting information about requests for better admin tools (and power users in general, not just for things involving admin buttons). Also, my new teammate User:Johan (WMF) is talking to that (equally new) dev team, so we'll want him to know about this idea, too. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:08, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
Done, thanks. --NeilN talk to me 18:20, 11 June 2015 (UTC)
Great. As a practical matter, don't expect much to happen soon. It's a brand-new team (in fact, they might not 'officially' exist until the new fiscal year starts on 01 July). But I hope that solving that problem will end up on their list. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:25, 11 June 2015 (UTC)


Wie bitte? --BHBIHB (talk) 19:32, 17 June 2015 (UTC)


Hello. I do not write any user scripts I just simply use 2 of them and that's it. So I'am not the right person to talk about scripts :) I'am using Code Cleanup script but in Polish language and HotCat. So you should talk to the people who create those scripts in Polish because I don't have that kind of knowledge. Good luck --B-X (talk) 20:12, 17 June 2015 (UTC)

Hi B-X,
Thanks for your note. They don't know who writes the scripts, only who is using them. (Also, if the scripts don't get fixed, then you might want to know why they will stop working.) You might ask the script writers whether they know about the problem. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 21:13, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
Hi, I'm not even sure what to change here? Although maybe it was just a local gadget? Tropicalkitty (talk) 21:57, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
Hi Tropicalkitty ,
I'm betting that it was a gadget. Do you have HotCat enabled, by any chance? User:B-X does, and also turned up in the list. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 22:02, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
I don't know where my brain is today... the global script in question I'm referring is in the .js. I don't use HotCat (but did enable Vandal Warmer and RTRC, but unchecked them now). Tropicalkitty (talk) 22:16, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
I didn't see anything in there that looked suspicious. Perhaps User:Anomie or someone else involved in the project will be able to identify the problem (before July 2nd, when it should become pretty obvious). Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:40, 17 June 2015 (UTC)
I see meta:User:PiRSquared17/twinkle-beta.js (loaded from meta:User:PiRSquared17/beta.js) looks like it might be affected. Anomie 12:38, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

Speaking of bots, I noticed you left a note about a technical change on my talk page as well as my bot's talk page. As far as I can tell, this doesn't impact AWB bots at all - could you please confirm? If so, you may want to consider excluding them from further communications - maybe by looking at Category:Wikipedia bots using AutoWikiBrowser? Thanks, and good luck with getting the word out! GoingBatty (talk) 02:15, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

The accounts notified were hitting the warning during the time period checked (June 6–12). It's possible that the AWB bots are making continuable queries that they never intend to actually continue and therefore won't be affected, but that should be checked. Anomie 12:38, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
@Anomie: Thanks. Hearing that might be the case; it may be harder for me to do x-wiki reverts quickly. Tropicalkitty (talk) 22:55, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
If I understood the list-making criteria correctly, then the list includes people from any and all wikis, but only if you did lots of actions during that week. So think of something that you might do on the order of a hundred times a day (or that loads with every page) – counting all wikis together. AWB could certainly fall into that category for many users. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 02:48, 19 June 2015 (UTC)

B-X and Tropicalkitty, have you been using WP:NAVPOPS? That was just fixed here at en.wp. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 06:48, 20 June 2015 (UTC)


Hi, you sent me a message at 19.03, 17 June. I do not use bots and I am unable to speak the technical language you used in the letter. I hope I won't suffer any permanent damage when these changes occur ;-) Richard Avery (talk)

Hi Richard Avery, thanks for your note. I don't know what user scripts or gadgets you're using, but if you received this message, then you were using something (not just a bot) that is expected to break if it hasn't been fixed by the end of the month. If you're not the maintainer, then there's not much that you can do about it. However, if something breaks on those dates, then you'll know what happened. Good luck, Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 14:27, 18 June 2015 (UTC)
Nice notification message to me and my bots the other day. Thought I should drop a note of appreciation. Though I think some editors who just use effected tools may just be confused and annoyed by the notice, because they have no idea what tools they use may trigger the message. I'm sure most tools and bots are eating/ignoring the warnings, and not passing them on to their end-users or operators. Maybe, if labs is up, just use xtools to see what tools they use for (semi-)automated editing, and then simply contact the tool-maintainers directly. Consider a followup notice to bots who haven't dropped off the watch-list, with increasing sounds of urgency, within a reasonable lead time of D-Day. Meanwhile, I'm in process on fixing my bots. This is the first time I've looked closely at the structure of the raw API data. – Wbm1058 (talk) 22:20, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Wbm1058. I appreciate it. I figure that some people will be confused and annoyed, but my hope is that when/if something breaks at the end of the month, then they'll remember that there was a note about things being likely to break then. Perhaps it will help them figure it out (late, but better late than never).
(I wish I knew how many of them got this notice solely because of NAVPOPS.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:54, 21 June 2015 (UTC)


Think the tour would help a lot. Just think we should plan how to introduce people to VE - and teach them where the Wikitext is for anything VE can't handle yet - and plan things like, for example, easy-click help buttons on every page, and maybe a test run to see how many people find and use the help buttons, etc. Just think we can get a somewhat better plan than just "start rolling out", or at least, get more details about it. Also, if I might make a suggestion?

Why not try planning out a way to roll it out to everyone? Here's what I'd do:

  1. Make it trivially easy to hide and unhide. A button in the upper right labelled "Show Visual Editor" or "Hide Visual Editor" (as appropriate) would let you roll out to everyone again - but with such an easy opt-out that people shouldn't mind. And they'd always have the option there to switch back. There's a bit of good will to win back for VE here; something like that would be a start - and, of course, once VE fully matures, can gain a third option "Hide Wikitext edit links". Sometimes, the best way forward is to remove the critics' ability to have their criticism accepted.

I'd also strongly encourage you to consider integrating Wikitext into VE. It's easier, for instance, to do links the wikitext way than by moving hands off the keyboard and using the mouse once you're used to it. A simple check box could be used to turn wikitext integration on and off on the fly. Why should you do this? Because it makes moving Wikitext editors to VE very simple: They can edit as before, and have it changed to how it appears when they close the brackets.

VE is a marvellous tool, but it's had some bad PR, and forces wikitext editors to relearn everything. A little work, and I think it'll shine. Adam Cuerden (talk) 07:13, 20 June 2015 (UTC)relearn e Adam Cuerden (talk) 07:13, 20 June 2015 (UTC)

I've replied on your talk page. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:01, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
I think you may have missed my reason for suggesting allowing some wikitext: While there are other shortcuts, people won't necessarily have all of them known, especially when jumping from Wikitext to VE. Allowing, say, the five basic Wikitext commands - '''bold''', ''italics'', [[link]], {{template|parameter=yesyoucan}}, ~~~~ (and variants of last) even with a strict requirement that they will only be processed when fully closed, would likely make the changeover simpler. Hell, even if you left out the more-ambiguous bold and italic markup (we've all done '''attempted bold'') I think just being able to type a link, add a template, and sign without learning new shortcuts would ease the amount of relearning significantly. Adam Cuerden (talk) 19:10, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
Hi Adam,
Oh, I hadn't realized that you haven't really used VisualEditor since 2013. Turn it on and use it for your next dozen edits. "[[" and "{{" already open the relevant tools. Signatures have been considered and rejected as being an impermissible level of scope creep (and the absence of a signature is why James refuses to enable VisualEditor in any discussion-oriented namespace). Apostrophes basically can't be used as keyboard shortcuts, because it would prevent you from typing them into text intentionally. (It would make it impossible to type "I want ''' to be the keyboard shortcut for bold text" in VisualEditor.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:37, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
I have used it a bit, but I found the relearning curve rather steep. I turn it on sometimes for a while, but I usually find the leap to using it difficult, specifically because there is (were?) so many required dialogue menus.
Just trying it now. I'll live-blog this. Okay. I want to add an image to Das Liebesverbot. I type [[, menu comes up... ah, that's... only links... okay... let's try this again... Click on insert... click on media. It doesn't find anything for Das Liebesverbot. Okay... shorten that to Liebesverbot... still nothing. Well, nothing's perfect. I have the filename. I paste that in. Image comes up. Only image that shows, but.... ah, I have to click on it. Done. Now I have to fill out a form, but the information from the image page is hidden, and there's no way to make it pop up. That's awkward. ... I start putting in the description. Do we have a page on Franz Stassen? Let's try a link... Hit [[ ah, right. No page found... hit escape to back out of that submenu... entire picture dialogue closes, dumping all the work so far.
Repeat until I get to that step. Okay. Fill out caption... fill out alt... done. I add it. It's a bit small compared to the infobox above it. It'd look better if I balanced. Advanced settings. Okay, click on the width... won't edit. Ah. I have to hit custom size first. Okay. click on it again, up to 240px. Apply, still too small, up to 260. Not complaining about this part; that actually works really well once you've figured out you have to set it to custom size (can't be done automatically?). Height doesn't auto-update until you hit apply, which is a little weird, but okay. Save... Where is it, Ah, at the top. That's actually a good place for it, just surprised me, I was looking for the bottom.
Check history to see what code it put in. "362x362px" - WHAT?! That's just... weird. I put in a width of 240px, it seems like it should use simple width, not throw out what I put in and give a new value.
Well... that was somewhat frustrating. I'm guessing it only searches Commons for images by default? Usually a good idea, but not a perfect one. The big surprise is the escape key that removed all my work. And, of course, the [[ was completely unhelpful in this case, which may be inevitable.
Last check: Can I paste this image elsewhere? ...Yes I can, and it works smoothly and exactly as I expected it to. Can I paste it here? ...So very close, and yet so far:
It would be nice to have paste work VE-to-talkpage smoothly.
Thoughts: It's certainly much improved since my last test, but there's several traps. It does break workflow - I can add an image in a few seconds without VE, a bit longer with, but it does, at least, feel learnable and fairly smooth. That said, something is wrong with the search, whether because the image was recently uploaded, or because it failed to check locally, I don't know.
It feels like mature software, which it by no means did at time of last trial. There were two big issues: I can't see the image information when writing the caption, and it doesn't keep up a picture of the image, or any link to it I could open to check. I could see that being very frustrating.
The speed is excellent. Even high-graphics pages open in a few seconds on my ancient computer.
Is it perfect? No. My big worry about rolling it out to new users is that they'd have to learn two systems at once - one for talk pages, one for mainspace. That could be extremely awkward. Adam Cuerden (talk) 20:24, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
User:ARipstra (WMF) is going to love your "live-blog" here. Here are a few quick replies to your main points:
  • Image search was omitting local images, and I don't recall hearing that's changed, so it's probably still true. It gives you whatever the search results are from Commons, and it has no control over what the Search finds (so if Search is slow with its indexing, then VisualEditor suffers exactly the same delays that normal search does). Omitting local images means that some images have to be found first (like you always have to do with the wikitext editor), but it dramatically reduces the risk of WP:FUR problems, so it might even be the right choice. If there's a community consensus that editors want to include local (and therefore) fair-use-only images in the search results, then that is technically feasible (but I do wonder whether it's wise).
  • The media dialog cancelling when you tried to escape the link editor is a bug (or at least an unforeseen side effect for a situation that should be handled differently), but I can't reproduce it in Safari 8/Mac 10.10. Can you try that again for me? Insert any image (use my sandbox if you want), try to add a link in the caption, and make sure that you only press Escape once to get rid of the link dialog. It may be one of those things that only appears in certain web browsers.
  • Firefox here, 38.0.5 - tested it; same behaviour. I used [ to bring up the link dialogue. Does that matter? Adam Cuerden (talk) 09:33, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
  • The image size is technically correct. MediaWiki (for reasons that doubtless made sense to someone at the time) uses a square for images, and an image that is displayed as 260 pixels wide and 362 pixels tall is properly recorded as 362x362px. It's not what editors here are used to doing, but it's technically correct, and the image will work the way you expected. (After you've inserted the image, you can also change its size by dragging the dot on the edge of the image until it looks about right.)
  • Aye. I'm not arguing it needs changed, just surprising. I could see this being an issue when trying to make images of the same height/width, but only if switching between VE and wikitext. That rescaling is good - I didn't try it primarily because I had used "old-VE."
  • The other limitations you list (you can't see the image or the image information when writing the caption) also exist in the wikitext editor, so VisualEditor is no different in that regard. You can close (either "Insert" or "Apply changes") the media dialog to see the image on the page, and then re-open it, just like you can preview a page to see what it looks like in the wikitext editor. Neither of them have a perfect solution here. There's been some talk about showing the image in the dialog, but nothing's final.
  • The downside with VE's handling over Wikitext is that VE can let you choose an image you haven't pre-selected. That's not a bad thing by any means, but it means you can have to write a caption for an image you have literally never seen before, so a way to pop up the image - ideally, something like MediaViewer, maybe? - would really help. Adam Cuerden (talk) 09:33, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
I've replied at VPPR about the "two systems" issue. The evidence suggests that it's not a problem. (Also, it's a bit disappointing that more than 95% of new editors don't use a talk page, isn't it?) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 01:08, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
Understood. It's really the only major obvious obstacle to launching VE to newbies. I think the proposal could be improved, but in principle, it's a good idea.
I'd honestly like to see something like a banner that appeared for a week, and encouraged everyone on En-Wiki to try using VE to edit a page - with code set up to mean that clicking on the banner would instantly launch VE for that page. Get people to try it, and see what percentage turn it on afterwards. Adam Cuerden (talk) 09:33, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
More later, but about your idea for the click-to-enable banner – I've got to say, it's like you're reading my mind. I'd love it, but I get mixed reports about whether the tools can handle that. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:08, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
Even if it's a custom thing just for this, it's probably worth it. It'll pay off for testing purposes later. Adam Cuerden (talk) 18:10, 21 June 2015 (UTC)


Adam, I can't reproduce that bug in Firefox 38.0.5, either. Are you on a Windows box? I'm running Mac OS 10.10. Also, does it happen if you're logged out/in a private window? If you paste this URL into a private window, it should open VisualEditor for you even though you're "logged out": (just don't save anything, unless you don't mind exposing your IP address). I need to get a bug filed about this, but the more detail, the more likely they are to be able to fix it.

On inserting images, I want to add that the screen that shows the image and license information also has a "More information" link, so you can open it in another tab. There's also a request at phab:T53032 to auto-insert whatever caption/information is on Commons. Since you do so much with images, I'd be particularly interested in your thoughts about that idea.

What do you think about a watchlist notice or something simple like that to encourage people to opt-in? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:53, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

I am on Windows. Still works logged out, I fear: My best guess is that the text edit box isn't gaining focus appropriately after typing the second [ - but I can type in it...? Adam Cuerden (talk) 04:48, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
As for the other two questions: Caption AND author, I'd say. There's going to be cases where you need both (and remember there's a couple common templates on Commons: {{Artwork}} might get ye, else). I don't think it's that useful to have the "More information" link only before the screen you actually fill things in. (If I understand ye right)
As for watchlist notice - I'd rather prefer banner ads. Think that surely all you'd need was something like {{canonicalurl:{{FULLPAGENAMEE}}}}?veaction=edit And a namespace check to hide the banner on all non-namespace pages. Am I missing something? Adam Cuerden (talk) 05:00, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Maybe. I think the way to find out is to open the link tool without using the unofficial shortcut. Instead, try clicking the chain/link icon with a mouse or trackpad, and then pressing Escape. Also, does it do the same thing if you've typed something or clicked inside the search field? (I'm thinking about your earlier comment on loss of focus.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 04:48, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes, that still does the same thing. It doesn't if I've typed in the search field and the list of suggestions comes up, but, in that case, Esc closes the list of suggestions, not the whole link dialogue. Trying to close the link dialogue after closing the suggestion list with a second escape has the same effect. Cancel on the link dialogue feels a little unresponsive, by the way.
  • I've added a note about inserting the author to that phab task about automatically inserting captions. I was thinking about giving an example of it inserting a hard-to-spell Old Master’s name for the author. Do you have a better example to help them understand when it would be useful on wiki (or a favorite name)?
  • I think the simplest one would be, for example, adding a photograph into an article. Let's say you wanted to add File:Giuseppe Verdi, Un Ballo in maschera, Vocal score frontispiece - restoration.jpg into an article, having chosen it from the auto-generated list. Would you be able to tell that was by Roberto Focosi based on the near-illegible signature? Remember, the great part about Visual Editor is it tries to find images for you, but that likewise means that you're likely to be adding an image you've never seen before. Adam Cuerden (talk) 00:54, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
  • The link you suggest would work, if the goal was "edit this article now", but it doesn't let people opt in and have access on other pages. It's a good idea, though. We could always add a small sentence like "If you want to keep using it, then you can opt in under Beta Features." Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:01, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Well, if the goal is to get people to try it, that makes it easy to try. If they like it, it's easy enough to tell them how to switch it on afterwards. I don't think that a link to turn it on will be as effective as giving people an instant, no-commitment way to try it - and, remember, even if they decide it's not for them, letting them see how well-put-together it is now will make for good PR. Adam Cuerden (talk) 00:46, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
  • True. However, there's no way to tell them how to opt in permanently when they exit, so I think that all of the information would have to be provided in the beginning. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 04:48, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
  • True, though if it's a banner ad, could always follow up the week after with instructions - and, of course, the ad would remain up after they use it. Adam Cuerden (talk) 07:42, 23 June 2015 (UTC)


I was thinking of a banner that wouldn't be present on every page (because it might get a bit annoying, don't you think?). But they can all be X'd off, so maybe it's not so bad. If you want one on every page, then it could be done locally. You only need CentralNotice at Meta if you want to show on 1% of pages, or during pre-scheduled hours.

I'm not sure about whether it could be restricted by namespace, though. Do you know enough about this to know whether that could be done? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:58, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

Well, I don't know much about banners - it's possible that hiding the banner would leave the X - but presuming that's not the case, all you really need to know are {{#ifeq}} and {{NAMESPACENUMBER}} Something like {{#ifeq:{{NAMESPACENUMBER}}|0| [code for banner] }} would hide it on all but mainspace (article pages: Namespace ID 0) if I'm not mistaken. See Help:Magic_words if you've not done much with wikicode - it should give you some idea of what's trivial and what's hard. Adam Cuerden (talk) 09:55, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Huh. There's an odd thought. Magic words and VE. Can't imagine there's many cases where a VE user would need them, though, outside of __NOTOC__ and other easily includeable things. The moment a user starts needing, say, {{#date}} is probably the moment the user should move to Wikitext or lua. Adam Cuerden (talk) 10:04, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

VE questions[edit]

Thanks for your reply at VPP. I've responded there, but to avoid sidetracking the discussion: isn't the number of control editors who used VE a measure of how many people switched their preferences? Looking at it again, it seems the number of experimental editors who didn't use VE could also be calculated from the proportion (thus answering my original question) - then that would be the same measure in the reverse direction? Thanks, Sunrise (talk) 06:57, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

Hi, Sunrise.
The number of control-group editors who saved an edit in VisualEditor is probably an indication of people switching their preferences, but it's not proof. If you've got the right URL (there are links at the top of Wikipedia:Sandbox), then you don't have to login or opt-in. Also, you might change your prefs but not save an edit in it. Similarly, a person might have used VisualEditor and later opted out, might be in the experimental group but not actually have access to VisualEditor because you're using an old web browser, and – doubtless the main reason – just because it's an option doesn't mean that you have to use it. It's the second edit tab for people who have opted in, and it starts off with a message saying that it's experimental and may not work perfectly. Both of those circumstances tend to discourage people from using it (in addition to the important and normal role of personal stylistic preferences). You can have a look for yourself: Choose VisualEditor at Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-betafeatures if you haven't already. The difference between the two groups is that the 'experimental' group had that box pre-ticked for their accounts. They saw the same thing that any experienced editor sees by choosing the same pref. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 07:07, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
I see, that measurement makes more sense. Assuming I understand correctly now, I think the research summary page might benefit from some adjustment, since the methods section defines "VE enabled" as "enabled by default" rather than "made at least one edit with VE." Sunrise (talk) 07:24, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
Quick note: Some of the numbers actually are enabled by default (this includes people who never used it or never saw it due to browser limitations, etc.), and others of them show those that actually made edits in it. It depends on which line you're looking at. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:07, 21 June 2015 (UTC)


Hi. I got some question for you as a advance user. Maybe you know some script, bot or some other wikipedia tool which count number of added informations I mean how many bytes (...kB, MB) I added to wiki as a user. B-X (talk) 18:17, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

That sounds like a great idea for a tool. X! Tools has something similar, but it doesn't seem to work. It has an entry for an average number of bytes per edit ("Ø change per page (bytes)"), but the answer seems to be "extended", which doesn't make much sense. (See the report for your account.)
User:Cyberpower678 would probably know if there's something simpler. I needed to ping him anyway, to make sure that he knows that the edit counter in X! tools is giving me Chinese for the block log's title and Korean for the heading on the most frequently edited articles. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 22:30, 23 June 2015 (UTC)


Nuvola apps edu languages.svg
Hello, Whatamidoing (WMF). You have new messages at Wikipedia:Village pump (technical).
Message added 18:34, 20 July 2015 (UTC). You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{Talkback}} or {{Tb}} template.

There's another bug report asking that CPB and VectorBeta be removed. I pinged you, but you didn't respond. Gparyani (talk) 18:34, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

Yes, the ping came through. In my timezone, it was one o'clock in the morning (11 hours ago) when you pinged me. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:50, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
GMT-7? That's mine! (at least during DST) Gparyani (talk) 19:24, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

Revision history statistics tool[edit]

Until relatively recently (the last month or two) we had an excellent tool that provided various statistics about the history of a page. This was linked from the top of each article's revision history as "External tools: Revision history statistics". The link to today's featured article takes us to this page. Is there a reason why this isn't working?

I appreciate that this isn't a tool provided by the WMF, but it does beg the question as to why is something as useful and fundamental as this tool not being provided by the WMF? The same holds true with all the external tool links provided on the page—this is fairly basic, low-level stuff, but the foundation seems disinterested in actually making the functionality work, instead they seem to spend more time re-inventing the wheel on contentious software, rather than on incremental improvements to functions people want and need to make the site work properly, which seems to be a somewhat sub-optimal approach. – SchroCat (talk) 07:40, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

Hi SchroCat,
Have you talked to the volunteers who maintain that tool to see whether they actually want the WMF to take over their project? As a general rule of thumb, the WMF does projects that are too big for volunteers to handle, and it is very hesitant to take things away from volunteer devs – especially if they have strongly objected to that.
I know that it's frustrating and inconvenient to have the tool down. For the specific case, I would actually like to have a very simple replacement, that only counts the number of edits per editor, maybe even just for the top five or ten editors. (My typical use for that tool is to help the occasional inexperienced editor discover whether I'm likely to know what a page like WP:POLICY or WP:EL says, on the grounds that I have written a good deal of those pages over the years.) But the WMF isn't very interested in stepping on people's toes just to make my volunteer editing a little smoother. Unless you can think of a reason why this is important enough to be added to the MediaWiki core software, or unless the maintainers request that the WMF take it over, then it will probably remain a volunteer-run tool. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:40, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

Phabricator listing[edit]

Hello Whatamidoing, thanks for the helpful information about Phabricator task listing. Unfortunately "Manage Board" doesn't do anything for me (Windows XP, FF 39) when I click on it. The task board is and the button links to (like all 3 buttons in the top menu), but this # link is not loading anything (the browser windows just stays on the board display without any visual changes). I am fully aware, that "technical Phabricator support" is probably not part of your job description :). But if you have any additional idea, it would be greatly appreciated. I even joined the VE project itself (as it may have been a user rights problem), but that didn't solve the problem: the "Manage board" button, and the 2 other top buttons as well, are just inactive for me. GermanJoe (talk) 19:22, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

Hi GermanJoe,
You're right, but we'll file this under "figure out how they re-arranged the workboard", which actually is one of my tasks at the moment.
Do you have NoScript installed? If so, is it turned off for the domain Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 20:41, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for having a look. is listed on Noscript's "whitelist" tab so should be OK. But even disabling Noscript completely (just for a second) didn't change anything either. GermanJoe (talk) 21:03, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
Some news, the function is working (on the same system with the same settings) at in the Labs demo version (project "WMF-NDA"). Maybe the Phab-installations are different or differently configured. Or the projects themselves in wmflabs and wikimedia are differently configured (just a few random guesses only). GermanJoe (talk) 21:23, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
Buttons work again: I logged off my user account, and logged on again via OAuth verification with the mediawiki account data. After that the board had all missing functions available again, namely the summary count and options menu on each single column, as well as the 3 top buttons for Sort, Filter and Manage. I have no idea, why a logoff/logon would help in such a situation (considering that those functions are obviously not user rights-protected) - but it did. Many thanks for your help and patience in that matter :). GermanJoe (talk) 21:38, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
Computers: a way to make everything simpler and easier, except for most of the time. I'm glad it's working now. Also, stuff gets dumped in the backlog (or started off there, if it's older) and occasionally needs more information. If you see something in the backlog that you want to be worked on soon, then drop at note at mw:VisualEditor/Feedback for James, or ping me, or otherwise make the team notice it. They don't want "backlog" to be the permanent home for things that matter to editors. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:30, 12 August 2015 (UTC)

Quick Citoid Question[edit]

Where would I go to report a bug with citoid? Sorry to bother you but you normally know where to go and you're very helpful. Red Fiona (talk) 15:12, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

Hi Red Fiona , reporting citoid problems at WP:VEF is fine. It's technically a separate product, but at least for the rest of this year, it's all the same people working on VisualEditor and citoid. Alternatively, you can file it directly in if you want. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 16:16, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. I think I might go with VEF, much more user-friendly :) Red Fiona (talk) 22:54, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for all your hard work getting this sorted. Could you pass on my thanks to the tech people that fixed it too. Thanks, Red Fiona (talk) 20:50, 20 September 2015 (UTC)

A couple of Visual Editor things[edit]

Overall I'm loving Visual Editor, it runs very smoothly. Just a couple of things which may well have been brought up before:

  • When I've tried to add templates, specifically one was Template:Infobox_character, the fields didn't auto-populate. However, once I copied and pasted the template using source editor, I could then edit it fine using visual editor.
  • In tables, it would be great to have a feature to cut, copy, and paste rows or columns, or to click-drag move them, including and media they may contain.

Cheers. Gudzwabofer (talk) 02:23, 5 September 2015 (UTC)

Hi Gudzwabofer,
Thanks for your comments. The problem with {{Infobox character}} is that it has no WP:TemplateData. TemplateData is machine-readable list of information about parameters. It's much easier to use templates in VisualEditor if TemplateData has already been created for the template.
I totally agree with you about the tables. Fortunately, so does the product manager and the rest of the team, so we're going to get what we want. However, it will probably be some months before they start working on tables again. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:17, 8 September 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. Looks like the template data is pretty easy to add so I might have a go at it myself sometime as long as there's no editing lock on the relevant template(s). As for the table, there's no rush, it's not like it's a task which is otherwise impossible, or needed that often.Gudzwabofer (talk) 01:46, 8 September 2015 (UTC)

Hi WAID, not sure if you're back from your travels yet ...[edit]

Whenever, your thoughts are welcome at WT:RFA#Two proposed RfCs on the viewdeleted userright. (P.S. This isn't canvassing, since we'll need input from one or more WMF types, and I know you're clued in on this stuff.) - Dank (push to talk) 17:54, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

Haitian Wikipedya[edit]

I have contacted User:WhisperToMe and let him know that he was nominated. I gave him the link to the nomination page. So far no response but I am optimistic. If he accepts, I will then post to the Kafe and individual editors to let them know about the nomination. Best Regards,

  Bfpage |leave a message  15:22, 4 December 2015 (UTC)

Advice on the Introduction to tables tutorial[edit]


I've found your contributions and opinions on help pages useful previously so if you have a moment would you mind taking a look at the Introduction to tables tutorial?

It's has been partially complete for a few years. I've had a go at updating it but it would be really useful to have a few other editors have a quick look over to see what content and detail level the community think needs to be included. The centralised talk page for discussion is here.

Any suggestions or advice on content and depth would be helpful. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 12:31, 8 December 2015 (UTC)

T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo), I'll look at it, but you really want User:John Broughton's opinion. It's worth much more than mine. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:38, 8 December 2015 (UTC)

Season's Greetings[edit]

Xmas Ornament.jpg

To You and Yours!

FWiW Bzuk (talk) 01:37, 20 December 2015 (UTC)

Merry Christmas and happy new year[edit]

Merry Christmas and happy new year. (:


Advice on getting software stuff?[edit]

Hi. I need to get some things made for my BMJ review project. A badge for the top of the article linking the reader to (a) the reviewed version and (b) the diff of the reviewed version and the current (editable) version. And a couple of other things a bit more complicated; viz:

  • a beautiful page template so we can present the reviewed version like a journal article, rather than a Wikipedia revision and
  • a simple diff. By that I mean a diff that leaves out all the wiki code, and shows the reader just the difference between the reader-facing text in the reviewed and current version.

Whom do I approach about that? --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 15:05, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

Hi Anthony,
A badge should be easy: make a template, add the "oldid" (for the link and the diff) as a parameter, and place it at the top of the article. The oldid should make it easy to create the two links that you want. You should be able to swipe code from the {{top icon}} system to get it in the correct place on the page.
The page template should be possible, but not as easy. I'd like to have it for other purposes anyway. If you look at pages around m:Grants:Start, you'll see that people are using HTML to try to make pages beautiful, and it would be nice to have a simple way to do that. (Imagine putting {{Beautiful page}} at the top, and having all the formatting happen automagically.) Finding a wiki page that looks approximately like what you want is probably your next step.
The simple diff is probably not possible without serious work. There's a proposal for a "visual" diff, which might be exactly what you want. It's partly described at phab:T105173. However, I don't think that there is even an estimate at a year in which that might happen. (I can ask, if that's what you want.) If you want something closer to the current arrangement, then User:Cacycle might have some ideas about how to do it. Diffs in general also need to be improved (e.g., to handle merging and splitting paragraphs better). Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:51, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, What. I realise this isn't exactly in your remit, visual editor, but I'm just looking for general advice, really.
I don't know how to make templates or do fancy html coding, and haven't a hope, of course, of doing that diff thing. I don't know my way around the WMF technical departments at all. I vaguely recall seeing a new formal process in place about a year back, where community members could apply to have software work done to help them with their work. Do you know what I'm thinking of there?
I'd really like to talk to a mid- or C-level manager who's in a position to allocate talent and time to this. Cacycle's work on the wikEdDiff is cool. Is Cacycle a volunteer/contractor/staff? I will approach them when we've finished here.
Those grants pages look great. And some of the foundation pages are pretty cool, too. I'll fish some out, and fish out some examples of the badge thingee. The badge will point to the "simple diff" and the Beautiful page (or {{Journal page}} - why not? they're peer-reviewed articles), so the badge can wait until the other two are done, I guess. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 01:18, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Step one, type a long reply. Step two, close the wrong tab. I think it's probably time for me to take a break.
I'd start with the template, because it could be useful now (e.g., for FAs and GAs) and can be done quickly. This is probably an hour or two's work on the tech end. The first (and harder) step is to decide what you want it to look like. Then someone at WP:WikiProject Templates could make it happen. Have a look at the template I added at the top. The links work (and refer to this page/this conversation). This isn't exactly what you want it to look like (too big, too plain, inappropriate image, etc.), but it should give you an idea of how easy this is to do on the tech end.
For the formal process, you're probably thinking of the mw:Community Tech team, which User:Quiddity (WMF) just started supporting. They held the mw:2015 Community Wishlist Survey recently to pick some projects.
I'll ask James F about the status of the visual diff. I've put this on my little list of things to talk about this Friday.
I'm not sure where to start with the {{Journal page}} idea (although it would frankly make some of my own work easier, because editing those beautiful pages can be difficult). m:Grants:IEG money might be available for that, if we could figure out the details. In the meantime, look around at wikis (doesn't even have to be a WMF wiki) and find styles that you like. If we're able to figure out how to make a beautiful page, then we might as well have it be the style that we like best.  ;-) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 02:36, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Ah yes, the Wishlist Survey was what I was thinking of. I voted for some of the proposals but it was a simple popularity contest, and I knew none of my needs stood a chance in hell of being voted into the top ten. As I suspected, no ideas addressing content reliability made it into the top ten. (A tool for identifying citations of withdrawn academic journal articles, which I think is a noble idea, landed down at #65 and an idea to flag conflicts between data in WikiData and Wikipedia landed at #93 out of 107). As best as I can see, they're only doing wishlist stuff (?), so I don't want to waste Quiddity's time.
According to Grants:IdeaLab/Future IdeaLab Campaigns/Results

Content curation will be the focus of the next IdeaLab campaign to start end of February. ... The Community Resources team is eager to support volunteer efforts aimed at ensuring and raising the quality of content across Wikimedia projects.

and they're mentioning things like engaging "partnerships / experts" so I'd hope they'll look favourably on this.
Would I be able to apply to them for funding, and use that funding to pay the WMF technical team to project-manage and do the work? Does that happen? --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 09:08, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
I don't think you can hire the WMF's staff. However, there are more "volunteer" devs than WMF devs, and you can use the money to hire one of them. In agile programming jargon, I think you want to be the "product owner" – the person whom the dev team is supposed to make happy. I'd encourage you to apply. Even if you don't win a grant, the discussion itself might be valuable. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:57, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
OK. Will do. Thanks for all the above. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 03:05, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Hi User:Anthonyhcole (in reply to your email): your idea sounds like an interesting project. You can definitely use the wikEdDiff library and code (see User:Cacycle/diff, after all, it's in the public domain. As for hiding wikicode for diffing and editing: that is technically difficult and probably not possible at all in a fool-proof way (think about broken markup that leads to hiding large parts of content).

Unfortunately, I am massively busy because of my job and I will not be able to help you directly with this. Feel free to contact me with specific question anyway, I will try my best to answer them. As a general thought: any such technical project critically depends on at least one knowledgeable person willing to spend a *lot* of time, so better try to find such a person or group before applying for any grants (in case that person isn't you).

BTW, isn't the proposed feature essentially what we already do and have, especially when using wikEd/wikEdDiff, just with a somewhat different user interface? And if so, your experts should be able to quickly adopt to what we already have... After all, they are not stupid... :-) Cacycle (talk) 12:05, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

Hey Cacycle.
The key part of the problem is removing all the wiki mark-up, footnote markers [16] and anything else but the article text from the diff. I can do it easily, manually, leaving the footnote markers in, by just copy-pasting the old article (not the source code - the thing the reader sees) into an edit box and saving, then doing the same to the latest version, then generating a diff - either your gorgeous inline diff or the standard mediawiki two-column diff. That creates something much easier for the reader (and my reviewers) to read than the typical diff buried in all those templates and stuff.
I was hoping there would be a straightforward technical fix that could automatically replicate the manual process I described above. (Ideally, removing the footnote markers too - but I can live with them for now.)
Regarding, "any such technical project critically depends on at least one knowledgeable person willing to spend a *lot* of time, so better try to find such a person or group before applying for any grants (in case that person isn't you)." Definitely not me. How much would it cost to make it you? Face-smile.svg (Or, can you name some people who understand the technical stuff behind diffs?)
WhatamIdoing, this might interest you in your role as VE person. My reviewers are very averse to wiki markup, so I'm going to get them to discuss their various proposed changes (which they compiled offline in a Word document) in those tables, using VE. When the review is ready, I'll initiate them into the mysteries of editing a talk page. (I know some of their suggestions are lame - I'll be giving them policy- and MOS-based feedback in the next day or so.) --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 03:53, 11 February 2016 (UTC)