User talk:Whatamidoing (WMF)

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Old discussions: June 2013 to May 2014, June 2014 to May 2015, June 2015 to May 2016

List of HTTP bots on dewiki[edit]

Hi! Can please post a list like this for the German Wikipedia? -> here. Thx --Euku 09:15, 21 June 2016 (UTC)

This list includes bots and script-users for all wikis. Let me see if I can find the most current version... Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:10, 21 June 2016 (UTC)
User:Euku, the most recent list was posted yesterday at phab:T136674#2394147. w:de:User:EmausBot and w:de:User:Merlbot may be the most important for the German Wikipedia. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:16, 21 June 2016 (UTC)


Hi Whatamidoing, I brought Save vs Publish back to VPT - I know you are involved in this and thought you might be able to share some of the foundation research that could be useful to the discussion. Thank you, — xaosflux Talk 02:35, 2 July 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for the note; I'll take a look. Unfortunately, most of the research isn't published, or the information is very brief. (On the other hand, what did we expect? It doesn't take much space to write "Half the users in this study, without any prompting by the interviewer, said that the 'Save page' button was confusing, and some volunteered the suggestion that it ought to be labeled 'Publish page' instead"? It's not like the subject is complex enough to need a dissertation.) Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 02:12, 3 July 2016 (UTC)

Thank you so much for your attention ![edit]

Hello, I reported a error in the visual editor but it turned out to be some momentary thing because in today's attempt the "upload image" section worked fine. I'm sorry if this isn't the right place to message you, I'm kind of Noob when it comes to Wikipedia's workflow :) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hydrocat o (talkcontribs) 02:47, 14 July 2016 (UTC)

Hey Hydrocat o, thanks for your message and for caring to share with us! Best, --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 05:57, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm happy to hear from you. This is a great way to reach me. Thanks for the update. If you see that glitch again, feel free to let us know.
Happy editing, Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 21:04, 16 July 2016 (UTC)


Information icon This message is being sent to inform you that there is currently a discussion at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard regarding an issue with which you may have been involved. Thank you. Section is: Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard#Content_translator_tool_creating_nonsense_pages. — xaosflux Talk 00:27, 27 July 2016 (UTC)

Visual editor only plays with cite book, slamming WP:CITE into oblivion[edit]

  • My new goal in life is to get template developers to create three citoid flavors of cite book: cite book APA, cite book MLA and cite book Chicago templates... All three formats should be available as templates that interact with other aspects of Wikipedia in every way identical to cite book (but merely display differently) ... "But wait!" you're thinking, "that's controlled by volunteers, not by WMF!" No, in practice that is incorrect. Only cite book plays well with Visual editor, and visual editor is the default standard now. New editors get Visual editor, and bundled with VE they get cite book, and all our talk about WP:CITEVAR is solely and only empty talk.
  • WMF (not the WP:OWNERS of cite book) is de facto enforcing a citation style, like it or not... thus WMF should be behind an effort to make all three of the citation formats used most widely in every corner of the English-speaking world other than Wikipedia available as templates that interact with other aspects of Wikipedia in every way identical to cite book (but merely display differently). Tks  Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 23:03, 17 August 2016 (UTC)
    • Hello, Lingzhi. Local users can change which templates are included in Citoid's list. You just need to update MediaWiki:Visualeditor-cite-tool-definition.json and MediaWiki:Citoid-template-type-map.json to include whichever templates are preferred locally. Also, as User:Maunus indicated, there's nothing in VisualEditor that forces anyone to use either the automated citation-filling system, or the templates that happen to be listed as most common, or even any templates at all. People seem to prefer automatic citations overall, but they don't have to use it.
    • On a practical front, you might try making friends with Trappist the monk, who AFAICT knows more about the English Wikipedia's main citation templates than anyone else. Maunus' idea of having a |style-guide=mla is probably the best way to go about it, if editors choose to create such a thing. (It's unclear to me whether they would choose that, especially given the /FAQ at the top of WT:CITE, which says "It is unusual for Wikipedia articles to strictly adhere to a formally published academic style.") Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 09:17, 18 August 2016 (UTC)
  • I think it makes sense to have a single template for the sake of learnability - but it should be both possible and useful to have different display options within that single cite template. I don't think it is quite right that wikipedia articles adhere to a formally published academic style in so far as bibliography formatting goes - indeed as Lingzhi states the cite-book template pretty much enforces wikipedias "own" citation style (CS1) for bibliography items (which seems to mix APA and Chicago). I think having an option to follow a different styleguide would be excellent - but I also know that a lot of editors believe that WP:CITEVAR should be abolished and CS1 be made wikipedia's official citation format, so I think it would be an uphill struggle.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 09:27, 18 August 2016 (UTC)
    @Lingzhi, @·maunus: The door was opened to allow editors to specify identified styles when |mode= was introduced to cs1. Thus far no one to my knowledge has ever asked that cs1 render strict mla, apa, cms, bluebook, or any other of the defined styles. Here is not the place for such discussions so editors are encouraged to raise the issue at WT:CS1
    Trappist the monk (talk) 11:25, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
    • @Trappist the monk: It's not a matter of VisualEditor forcing anyone to do anything; it's not a matter of forcing anyone to do anything (no one coould get away with doing thta, could they?) but rather of other options being left prohibitively difficult in terms of learning curves and lacking in terms of functionality. The end of the story is that WP has one template option. That would be "one" meaning "one". That would be CS1. As for VE, I have it turned off of course (as I believe Maunus has as well). I am not familiar with how it interacts with articles (and have no desire to become so). However, I seem to recall reading threads/discussions where editors added references using Visual Editor that ended up appearing in a different format than all the others, and they didn't see an obvious way to repair the issue, so they ended up making things worse. This apparently was due to VE's close interaction with CS1 templates and lack thereof with other options, including manual edits... If I take all this "One Format to Rule Them All" talk into any forum, there will be a !vote. But consensus seems to me to be a viable decision-making option only when choices are mutually exclusive. If 60% of all editors do not want new format options, but 40% do, do we then call "No Consensus for Change" and the 40% can go whistle in the park somewhere? How big must a minority be before they can be heard? Or even better, in the case where all we are considering are harmless additional optional formats, why even bother to have an iron rule of consensus, unless someone can clearly establish that the word "harmless" is not true? WP:CONSENSUS works very well for deciding what to do with the text of an article, where debates often center around mutually exclusive alternative directions, but in this case...  Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 11:52, 18 August 2016 (UTC)
Methinks you are talking to the wrong person. This is my first post ever on Editor Whatamidoing (WMF)'s talk page. I have had nothing to do with visual editor either as a user or a developer. I have not colluded with wmf to get them to use cs1|2 in preference to any other citation style. I do not understand why you are railing at me about consensus.
Trappist the monk (talk) 12:41, 18 August 2016 (UTC)
Oops. I pinged you only to conclude you, because WhatamIdoing mentioned you as the cite book expert (see discussion above about formatting options). I wasn't railing at anyone (sorry if it appeared that way!). Sorry to have upset you needlessly (and accidentally).  Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 12:49, 18 August 2016 (UTC)

I think it might help if you had some idea how it works. You could find this out by switching to it and clicking buttons, but let me save you the trouble. Here's what you'll find in the "Cite" button:

The "manual" tab in a citoid-enabled VisualEditor system

See that thing in the "Manual" tab that's labeled "Basic form"? If you don't want a template, then you click on that. It gives you this (except bigger):

The "basic" form

It's an empty box with the usual formatting options. You type your citation into it, just as if you were typing on the main page. Or type some explanatory text. Or hieroglyphics (seriously). It works just like a non-ref text area. If someone doesn't want to use a citation template, then they can still do that in the visual editor. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 15:17, 18 August 2016 (UTC)

  • Thanks. Perhaps I misunderstood what was said by others about VE. That still leaves all of Wikipedia with one and only one citation format, but I doubt that is anywhere on your "to do" list. Thanks for posting this reply.  Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 15:23, 18 August 2016 (UTC)
    Sorry, Ling, I'm not following this. Why does it leave us with only one format? What would happen if someone tried to use the format you think is now hard to use, in VE? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:28, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
    I think you (WAID and Mike Christie) are missing Lingzhi's point here. Yes, one can manually override the citation formats, but put yourself in the shoes of a new editor who tries to add a reference and is faced with two buttons, one labeled "Automatic" and one labeled "Manual". Do you check the "Automatic" button, which gives you a single box marked "URL, DOI or PMID" and automatically creates a {{cite book}} etc from that, do you check the "Manual" button which gives you options marked "Website","Book", "News" and "Journal", each of which automatically creates a {{cite book}} etc from data you enter, or do you check "Manual", then select "Basic form", then select "General references", then enter the data from scratch in a markup language you probably don't understand? Given that presumably most new editors don't even realize that Wikipedia doesn't have a uniform citation style, this pretty much inevitably leads to a situation where new editors who are trying to do things by-the-book will add cite book/web/journal templates regardless of the existing style of the article, and be surprised and upset when they see other people change the citations (which as far as they're concerned, have been entered in "the way Wikipedia wants") and get chided for breaching WP:CITEVAR.

    In VE, unless you're following a route that leads to the output of a {{cite book}}, referencing is totally unintuitive unless you're already intimately familiar with wikitext (in which case you're probably not using VE; I assume even VE's staunchest defenders will concede that it's made very little headway into persuading the existing editor corps to adopt it). Realistically the "General references" button will rarely if ever be used, so the devs have unintentionally imposed a uniform citation style for new editors by default. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it's probably preferable to the existing setup of good-faith newbies dumping raw URLs into articles, but we shouldn't try to pretend it's not happening, and (assuming the WMF aren't planning to radically change VE) at some point there will need to be a bitterly-fought discussion over whether existing articles need to have their referencing styles retrofitted to be compatible with VE's approach. ‑ Iridescent 18:56, 19 August 2016 (UTC)

    Thanks; that makes complete sense and explains what Ling was talking about. (Just FYI, I'm a multi-year editor who now edits solely in VE unless something forces me into wikitext; I agree I'm a fairly rare, though not unique, case.) As it happens I use short form citations so I use the Manual/Basic option almost exclusively, though I do use automatic for web citations. What's the mechanism behind the automatic conversion -- is that VE, or, as I would expect, a separate engine (Citoid)? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 19:35, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
    You should probably click through to the visual editor and try it. It doesn't use wikitext markup. You don't have to add any code. If you want the text in italics, then you select it and click the item in the dropdown menu for character formatting. If you can type a bibliographic citation in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, then you will be able to figure out how to type a freeform citation in the visual editor's ref box. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 21:06, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
    (Why do WMF-ers without exception assume that anyone criticizing them must be doing so because they don't understand whatever widget the WMF is trying to push, rather than that they've tried it and found it wanting?) Of course you don't have to add code in VE, just as you can create a perfectly valid citation with just a couple of <ref> tags in Wikitext, but if you're trying to add a remotely complicated citation in anything other than CS1 format in VE without using Wikitext you're going to be doing an awful lot of selecting and clicking. Open up VE and time how long it takes you to replicate this reference in Bluebook format without lapsing into Wikitext, for instance. ‑ Iridescent 21:22, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
    I just tried it; it took me about 90 seconds. I would have thought that was acceptable. I have to say it would have been a bit faster if the template documentation had been filled in; maybe not much over a minute. I am pretty sure that's faster than I would be able to create it in wikitext, though for someone who knows all the params it might be faster in wikitext. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 21:45, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
    It just took me about 65 seconds to retype the citation from scratch in a text editor, copying by sight, and cutting and pasting the long text blocks such as the URL, which is what I did for the VE entry of the ref. That's with the existing citation in front of me so I don't have to figure out which params to use. I'd say VE is definitely faster for me for a template I don't have memorized, and I'd be surprised if it were significantly slower for anyone, given what I just tried (and assuming the template documentation is filled in). Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 22:23, 19 August 2016 (UTC)
    About 50 seconds in VisualEditor, pasting everything. Half of that time was spent adding the smallcaps. Plain text citations are faster than filling in citation templates, if you know what you want to type there. If the automatic system works for your URL, then that's quicker, of course, but the next-quickest option is frequently just adding the text by hand, sans templates. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 09:34, 20 August 2016 (UTC)

(undent) By saying refs within VE are faster you are arguing in favor of my point. I am not arguing aginst it at all (I dislike it, but that is purely a harmless personal pref). I am saying that it makes cite book templates the de fact standard across wikipedia, because we do not have |style-guide=mla, |style-guide=apa, and |style-guide=chicago. VE is the default editing environment forced upon first-time users; VE makes cite book easier to use; VE has no REAL citation formats (just a B.S. Wikipedia-only format that the template editors force us to employ, via lack of other options).  Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 00:17, 20 August 2016 (UTC)

I wasn't disagreeing with you; now Iridescent has clarified it I see your point. I was just responding to the comment about the slowness of reproducing a Bluebook citation. I would like to know the answer to the question I asked above, though; what is it that generates that citation from the automatic tab in VE -- is that Citoid? If it's parsing the data into some internal representation I can't believe it would be that hard to set a switch to output it in whatever format we want to specify. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 02:04, 20 August 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification... as for your question, you'll have to ask WAID or Trappist or another relevant domain expert.  Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 09:28, 20 August 2016 (UTC)
Yes, it's the citoid service, and yes, it's just copying and pasting bits into the matching spot for a template. Both the template and the "matching spot" are defined locally, so any local admin can change them at will. The WMF devs do not write local templates or user scripts; the volunteer devs own those areas. Editors can also make a |mode=mla for {{Cite book}} whenever they want. (Only, as a practical matter, I'm going to guess that Lingzhi doesn't know how to edit those templates, and he seems to have accidentally annoyed one of the people who could do it for him. This is unfortunate, but hopefully not permanent.)
I'm objecting to the use of language about "forcing" people to use certain tools, especially when it's based upon these factual errors. So above we have the erroneous claim that anyone is forced to use cite book, despite the existence of freeform citations. Now we have the erroneous claim that the visual editor is "the default editing environment forced upon first-time users". This is not true; new editors at the English Wikipedia start in the wikitext editor, and at any given time, 80 to 90% of them are using the wikitext editor. If they want to use the visual editor, they have to already know that it exists, know how to switch, and manually choose to do so. And even if they choose to use it, then they're not "forced" to use {{cite book}}. In fact, very, very, very few of them use that template. Or even cite books at all, as discouraging as that sounds. I just checked the last 100 edits by newly registered editors in the visual editor, and exactly zero (0) of them used {{cite book}}. A few used {{cite news}} and {{cite web}}, a few used bare URLs, and most didn't add any citations at all. If you want {{cite book}} to be used less, then your problem is definitely not over-use of that template by new editors. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 09:41, 20 August 2016 (UTC)
  • It's not just cite book, it's cite everything (journals, news...). And I don't want people to use them less, I want people to have other options. It's the formatting that is (by and large) forced upon people. If you have more thana small number of references, templates make internal consistency much easier (please witness the steaming pile of wrongness that was the refs section at Jane Austen at the time it was taken to FAC). If we had MLA as a template option, we would have had the option to use MLA extensively while leveraging the consistency and (importantly!) the COinS of templates. But we are denied that option. It does not exist.  Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 09:48, 20 August 2016 (UTC)
    • The WMF devs will not write citation templates for you. The template editors right here at the English Wikipedia can do that for you. In fact, they went to some trouble a while back to set up the infrastructure that makes it possible to do exactly what you want done. I wish you luck with your task of convincing them to do what you want. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 09:52, 20 August 2016 (UTC)
      • Perhaps my memory is wrong, but I was speaking under the (confabulated?) memory that when I created this new acct, I was immediately plopped into VE, and had to explicitly select options to get my way out of it. That would make VE the default option. Clearly, however, I am very much in the wrong, either for being here, or in what I've said, or both. Sorry to have bothered you.  Lingzhi ♦ (talk) 04:28, 21 August 2016 (UTC)
        • According to Special:CentralAuth/Lingzhi, you created this account in December 2012. The VisualEditor was originally released to registered editors in July 2013 (and then withdrawn). You probably did get a dialog box at some point during 2016, because there have been a few config changes and new preference options. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 15:44, 22 August 2016 (UTC)