Wikipedia:Talk pages project

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A star with the text "150,000"
As of February 2022, more than 150,000 comments have been posted with the Reply tool at the English Wikipedia alone.

The Talk pages project is a project to improve how contributors communicate on Wikipedia using wikitext talk pages. It is the result of the Talk pages consultation 2019, a 5-month long effort that brought volunteers from 20 wikis (including the English Wikipedia) together with staff from the Wikimedia Foundation to define a product direction for building better tools for on-wiki communication. This product direction was documented in Phase 2 of the Talk Pages Consultation:

Wikitext talk pages should be improved, and not replaced. We will build a new design on top of wikitext talk pages that changes the page's default appearance and offers key tools. This new design should communicate to the user that this is not a content page, and help the user interact appropriately with the tools.

The Editing Team is using this product direction as our guiding principle for developing improvements to wikitext talk pages. To make sure these new tools work in the ways you expect, we need your help testing them.

Project updates[edit]

To stay up to date about the project, we recommend adding this page to your watch list: mw:Talk pages project/Updates. Updates are typically posted monthly.

We use the mw:Talk pages project/Updates page to share information about new feature development, deployment plans and questions the team would value your input on.

You can read the latest project update here: Status updates

Reply tool[edit]

A screenshot showing the Reply tool's visual mode
A screenshot showing the Reply tool's wikitext source mode and advanced options

The Reply tool is similar to existing user scripts. It detects user signatures and timestamps, and adds a "Reply" button. If you click the reply button, it gives you a box into which to type your reply.

The Reply tool currently only works in desktop views (not the Mobile Frontend view or via the Mobile Apps)

Deployment status[edit]

As of December 2021, the Reply tool is offered to all editors by default at almost all WMF-hosted projects. It is available to registered editors as a Beta Feature on three Wikipedias, Meta-Wiki, and Wikispecies. You can see comments made with the Reply tool in RecentChanges.

A/B testing at more than 20 Wikipedias demonstrated that newcomers were more likely to successfully reply to a message if they had automatic access and were less likely to have their talk-page edits reverted. The Reply tool will be deployed here in early 2022.

The help page is at mw:Help:DiscussionTools.

Features[edit]

  • Automatic signatures
  • Automatic indentation
  • Automatic live preview as you type
  • Automatic resolution of most edit conflicts
    • Ability to reply on an old version of a page, and have your comment posted in the correct place in the newest version (if the comment you're replying to still exists on the page)
    • If it can't resolve the edit conflict automatically, it'll give you an error message. (You can copy your comment and reload the page.)
  • Keyboard shortcuts for cancelling (Escape) and posting (e.g., ⌘ Command+Return)
  • Preference setting: Your choice whether you use it.
  • Toolbar in the visual mode
  • Keyboard shortcuts for linking, pinging, formatting, etc. in the visual mode
  • Search tool for linking and pinging in the visual mode

Future:

  • Inserting templates in the visual mode
  • Toolbar in the wikitext mode
  • Keyboard shortcuts for linking, pinging, formatting, etc. in the wikitext mode
  • Search tool for linking and pinging in the wikitext mode
  • Integration with the edit conflict resolution tools
  • Watchlist integration (i.e., ability to add/remove page from your watchlist)

Open bugs[edit]

You can leave feedback at mw:Talk:Talk pages project/replying or on the talk page here. Full list of all work is at https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/project/view/4547/ (version 1) and https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/project/view/4546/ (version 2)

  • It copes poorly with some unusual wikitext errors, such as Special:LintErrors/multiline-html-table-in-list. (phab:T246481)
  • It's not obvious to everyone that the tool automatically "indents" the reply, so sometimes people add extra colons. (phab:T249961)
  • It doesn't support some features that use multi-line syntax, such as gallery and math tags. (phab:T251633)
  • It doesn't recognize some non-compliant custom signatures, which can result in missing [Reply] buttons and replies being placed at the wrong indentation level.

Opting in[edit]

Users that have opted-out may opt-in again by:

  1. Enabling "Enable quick replying" in the Discussion pages section of Editing Preferences.

Bug reporting for beta and gamma testers[edit]

Should you see any Reply tool bugs, especially ones related to the English Wikipedia, please open a phabricator bug and reference phab:T296645, or post on the talk page.

Opting out[edit]

Registered users may disable the reply-tool in preferences here: Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-editing-discussion.

Changing the reply label[edit]

The "reply" label can be altered with the following addition to your Special:MyPage/common.js file (replace 💬 with whatever label you prefer):

// Alter "reply" label
$( ".ext-discussiontools-init-replylink-reply" ).text('💬');

// To remove the surrounding square brackets:
$( ".ext-discussiontools-init-replylink-bracket" ).text('');

// If you use the 💬 then also change the button height so that the overall line height is not changed
mw.util.addCSS('.ext-discussiontools-init-replylink-buttons { height: 1.2em; }');

Starting a new discussion[edit]

The New Discussion Tool has separate places to type the subject and body of your message.

The New Discussion tool makes it easier to start a new section on a talk page. Improvements to the workflow for starting a new discussion on talk pages. This can be tested with the ?dtenable=1 code.

It has many of the same features as the Reply tool, such as automatically signing your message. You can write your edit in both visual and wikitext modes. In the wikitext source mode, a live preview shows what your message will look like once it is posted to the talk page. In the visual mode, you can use keyboard shortcuts to make links, to ping other people, and to add character formatting.

Open questions include support for preloads, whether to change the toolbar (e.g., to add a special characters menu or a table inserter), and whether to offer the toolbar in the wikitext mode.

On 10 March 2021, the New Discussion tool became part of the same Beta Feature as the Reply tool. Original Barnstar Hires.png As of 30 June 2021, the New Discussion tool had been used to create more than 30,000 new sections (across all wikis).

On 29 June 2022, the New Discussion tool became the default for adding new topics to talk pages for all editors with the option to disable it in preferences (Phab:T311023) after a successful RFC at WP:VPP.

Notifications for topic subscriptions[edit]

mw:Talk pages project/Notifications hopes to make it possible for you to get pinged whenever anyone replies to a single section of a long talk page, without having to put the whole page on your watchlist.

A screenshot showing the location of the button, at the end of the section heading
Click the [subscribe] button at the top of the section.

This feature adds a link to [subscribe] at the end of the discussion section headings. Click the [subscribe] link to receive notifications if and when new comments are added to that section in the future.

After you have subscribed to this section, there will be an [unsubscribe] link. Click that to stop receiving notifications about new comments in that section.

A screenshot showing the notifications someone will see when new comments are posted in a talk page section they have subscribed to.
Notifications for new comments posted in a talk page section someone has subscribed to.

Features[edit]

  • Notifications are based on the first comment and its timestamp. Changes to the section heading do not affect the subscription.
  • You can only subscribe to a ==Level 2 section==.
  • You will receive notifications about new comments regardless of the editing interface used to post them. (You will not receive notifications for other edits, such as fixing typos.)
  • Subscriptions will remain intact even when conversations are moved to other pages (including archiving and un-archiving).

Try it out[edit]

Click https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Talk_pages_project?dtenable=1 to try it out on the talk page.

Reported problems[edit]

Other projects[edit]

Other requests from the Wikipedia:Talk pages consultation 2019 will be developed later. These include:

Usability[edit]

mw:Talk pages project/Usability is looking at making a few changes to talk pages, to make them more useful (maybe a note indicating how old the discussion is or how many different editors commented in the discussion?) and less easily confused with the mainspace.

Goals include:

  • More useful information for experienced editors
  • Newcomers less likely to post new articles/content on talk pages.

New requirements for custom signatures[edit]

Making MediaWiki software prevent some HTML errors and enforce parts of WP:SIGLINK and WP:SIGFORGE in software. This will make it easier to reply to specific comments on talk pages and to make it more likely that existing features, such as "Mention" notifications (which are only sent if your signature can be detected) will be sent. It will also simplify coding for some bots and user scripts (including gadgets).

You can read the outcome at mw:New requirements for user signatures. As of January 2021, this affects less than 1% of active users. If your custom signature is invalid, see mw:New requirements for user signatures/Help.

New syntax for multi-line comments[edit]

New wikitext for writing multi-line comments and containing wikitext and HTML errors that 'leak'. This new syntax is intended to make it possible for contributors to, among other things, communicate about and collaborate on components like navboxes, series templates, and infoboxes within indented comments on talk pages and create visual line breaks within talk page comments without using HTML code or local templates. This change will require approval from mw:TechCom via their technical RFC process.

As of 2021, it is not possible to insert templates in the Reply tool's visual mode because of this problem.

See also[edit]