Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)

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The idea lab section of the village pump is a place where new ideas or suggestions on general Wikipedia issues can be incubated, for later submission for consensus discussion at Village pump (proposals). Try to be creative and positive when commenting on ideas.
Before creating a new section, please note:

Before commenting, note:

  • This page is not for consensus polling. Stalwart "Oppose" and "Support" comments generally have no place here. Instead, discuss ideas and suggest variations on them.
  • Wondering whether someone already had this idea? Search the archives below, and look through Wikipedia:Perennial proposals.
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Note: inactive discussions, closed or not, should be archived.


Reformatting AfDs[edit]

When closing some AfDs today, I observed that many AfDs become disorderly and confusing because of their disorderly format. Controversial AfDs, in particular, become sprawling messes of text that are almost impossible to follow. (For examples, just look at any day's AfD page.) I think it would be a good idea to reformat AfDs so that there are sections for different opinions. We could have the basic "Delete" and "Keep" sections, and an "Other" section for opinions such as merge, redirect, userfy, etc. There could also be a "Comments" section for those who wish to comment without !voting. Biblioworm 20:29, 26 December 2015 (UTC)

You mean like have a structured straw poll, like how RfA looks but with "keep" and "delete" sections instead of "support" and "oppose"? I could see it working. Why not go ahead and try it with one or two AfDs? Ivanvector 🍁 (talk) 20:46, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
Agreed. I'm not sure I could say whether this would be a good or bad change, so a few test cases seems a sensible idea. Sam Walton (talk) 20:55, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
Here's an example of the new format. Biblioworm 21:19, 26 December 2015 (UTC)
@Biblioworm: I've reformatted one of my recent (yet to be commented on) AfDs - how does it look? -- samtar whisper 12:32, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
Scratch that, it was reverted - appears it's contrary to WP:AFDEQ "Do not reorder comments on the deletion page to group them by keep/delete/other. Such reordering can disrupt the flow of discussion, polarize an issue, and emphasize vote count or word count." -- samtar whisper 13:15, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
That's why we have to propose it. The whole point is to change existing practice; we'll never change anything if we give up because of existing practice. While the goals listed at AFDEQ are noble, in practice they just cause confusion, poor formatting, and disorder. We admins are the ones who have to wade through all that, and therefore I stay away from closing AfDs that become heaps of scattered text. It would be much easier if we had a more orderly format. Biblioworm 19:44, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Being able to see the trend over time in voting is important at AfD, and less so at RFA. The article being discussed can change substantially while the discussion is ongoing. If the discussion starts with a bunch of delete !votes, but the article is then edited to improve it, and a steady stream of keep !votes begins, it will often be appropriate to relist or even keep an article that may not have been kept based only on the numbers. While you could see the shift by carefully examining time stamps, the chronological ordering makes it far easier. !Voters often also respond to points made previous !votes, and following that is also easier when they are in chronological order. Chronological order only really becomes the less desirable format when there are 30+ !votes, which is not the vast majority of AfD discussions. (But nearly certain at RFA) Monty845 19:52, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose It's nice and all when it's simply but for a very complicated case, the more complicated the set-up, the more likely it will be chaos. People often make their views in the support/oppose sections of RFCs with them branching out into discussions regardless of whether there should be a separate discussion section. If you want to see the importance of reviewing a trend, see how difficult closing this CFD discussion would have been for me if it was organized some other way. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 23:45, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
  • I don't know about separate support and oppose sections - many AfDs involve discussion about other options beyond polling about deletion - but I've long thought that the delsort notes, relisting templates, and other such things should be moved to a sidebar (as with the links to prior nominations) to reduce the amount of visual clutter on the page. Chronological order is relevant for the !votes, not so much for when the AfD was entered in a particular deletion-sorting list. Opabinia regalis (talk) 23:53, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Some years ago, I proposed an addition to AfD of collaboratively edited summaries of the reasons for the different proposed outcomes - we are using a wiki, after all. This would be similar to the present proposal, but would retain threaded conversation in chronological order. Fences&Windows 13:07, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Unlike RfAs that have a binary outcome, AfDs are essentially open-ended discussions with many possible outcomes: keep, delete with or without salting, merge, redirect, with or without protection. Compromises are sometimes possible. Structuring this debate like a vote stifles creative discussion, and the only advantage is that it becomes easier to close AfDs by numbers. AfDs usually don't have many (in fact, not enough) participants -- and the few large contentious ones are also going to be messy and will require a close reading no matter how they are structured. —Kusma (t·c) 13:21, 3 January 2016 (UTC)

Where else to discuss non-free SVG vs PNG debate again?[edit]

This matter has been discussed at Wikipedia talk:Non-free content and Wikipedia:Village pump (policy). Somehow, no one there agreed to downgrade non-free SVG files to PNG. Where else can I discuss it? --George Ho (talk) 06:27, 27 December 2015 (UTC)

  • Nowhere. You already discussed it and people disagreed. Continuing further is called forum shopping and is not okay behavior. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 06:37, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes WP:drop the stick. We don't need to keep discussing it. It is time to move on to something else more enjoyable. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 07:35, 27 December 2015 (UTC)

Then how do we else limit the use of SVG files without downgrading to PNG besides reducing details? George Ho (talk) 05:07, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Reviewing the discussions linked above, there does not appear to be a consensus that such a limitation is required. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 13:01, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Do we truly need ArbCom?[edit]

I've heard nothing but bad things when it comes to ArbCom, and admins have all told me to stay away from it. So the question is: Do we need arbcom? If we do need it, does it need to be reformed? Also who is in control of Arbcom and how does one join Arbcom? This is important for a lot of reasons. I think right now, just based on how others have spoken about ARbcom, its the almighty word, and yet not the word people want to go for. Lucia Black (talk) 08:25, 27 December 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee covers the basics on ARBCOM. I don't see any particular problems with it, no one is going to comment if they agree with a decision. Lucia, people told you to quit arguing and fighting your topic ban and not to bring the arguments to Arbcom. If you want to bring it up there again, there's nothing to stop you. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 10:08, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
This has nothing to do with my ban. This was a reaction based on what i hear around Wikipedia. There's no arguing, there's no fighting. Assume good faith please. Lucia Black (talk) 10:33, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
Can you elaborate what kind of reactions? I did use ArbCom, and I see nothing wrong with the system. Of course, Gamergate controversy is very complicated to handle, but I wasn't involved with it. George Ho (talk) 11:00, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
For instance, one of the most apparent ones is one above. Another is what others have told me about Arbcom, and i've asked why and i was told they would see it too simple. But if others feel its necessary and a good place to work, then i wont press on the matter. I just wanted to know if everyone else is in complete agreement that Arbcom is where it should be. if they are, then no problem. Lucia Black (talk) 11:08, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
I think it highly unlikely that many people are "in complete agreement that Arbcom is where it should be" just look at the last Arbcom election where only one sitting Arb was reelected. But regarding something as imperfect, even in need of reform, is a long way from regarding it as unneeded. If you want to question the existence of Arbcom then first try to come up with a better way to handle cases that involve private off wiki information in a way that respects that privacy but has community confidence. ϢereSpielChequers 12:20, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
There are a lot of things wrong with Arbcom, its system, its stifling bureaucracy, and particularly its electoral system. But while I can easily think of a better way of (s)electing its members, and ways of cutting out the red tape, I can't really envisage a better alternative basic system. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 12:32, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
@Kudpung: Can you specify the flaws of Arbcom? I am not persuaded by general comments. My experience with ArbCom is different from yours. George Ho (talk) 18:44, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
George Ho, I think WSC above said in different words, but probably better than I did. We're answering the OP's question, not proposing an RfC with details for reform. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 19:13, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
For the brief note, we can look at this year's cases. As for (s)electing members, I haven't elected ones yet, so I have no opinion on that. However, are you proposing an increase of members, or what electoral reform are you proposing? Also, I don't see anything wrong with Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy or WP:Arbitration... yet. George Ho (talk) 19:46, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
  • In a sentence, ArbCom is something of a combined legislative and judicial body that is effectively beyond community consensus. For starters, I think we ought to reduce ArbCom's scope so that they have less to do. Concentrating too much power in the hands of one person or group is never good. For instance, we could hand over all responsibility for privacy-related issues to a well-trained group of WMF staff so that ArbCom could focus entirely on arbitrating disputes. In my opinion, the extremely sensitive privacy issues are just too much for a group of volunteers to handle on their own. And as Kudpung mentioned, we need to cut back on the bureaucracy and officiousness. It probably wouldn't be hard to draw up a new plan for streamlined case procedures. However, as I mentioned, ArbCom is really above direct community action, so even if the community did agree on any changes to ArbCom, I think ArbCom itself has confirm it by motion. Biblioworm 20:01, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
Compared to three branches of the US government, we have Arbitration, Administration, and... what are other branches? Anyway, what about creating a newer system without replacing or reforming Arbitration? Something higher than Arbitration. A royal family perhaps, or a King/Emperor or Queen/Empress? George Ho (talk) 20:57, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
To follow your analogy "community" would be the other one. HighInBC 22:01, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm also firmly of the opinion that ArbCom, at the least, needs a fixed number of seats for non-Admins. But I bet this is one of those ideas that will go off like a lead balloon considering the strong prejudice we see against non-Admins in ArbCom elections... --IJBall (contribstalk) 21:01, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
Excellent idea, IJBall, and probably well worth discussiing, though one problem is that there are potentially all sorts of groups with similar claims (women, junior editors, non-westerners, the elderly, different religions and ideologies, various other minorities) to have guaranteed seats, and/or to have more votes at election time.Tlhslobus (talk) 05:27, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
If by "junior editors" you mean under 18s then you have a problem in that Arbs need access to personal data so they have to be of legal age. If you mean editors in their twenties, I'm not sure that age group does badly in arbcom elections, if anything it might be silver surfers who fare less well. Women are underrepresented, but at least in the last election not as underrepresented as they are among the voters (one third of the nine arbs elected this year are women, half would be nice, but our gender problem seems to be in getting and keeping women as editors, they aren't doing badly in arbcom elections). The geographic skew is pretty extreme, this year in particular was a bad one for UK and Indian candidates with a near clean sweep for North Americans, I'm not sure whether that is a longterm trend but for now I'd rather monitor it than press for action. As for non admins, the electorate, most of whom are not admins, have made it repeatedly clear that they expect arbs to already have admin experience. Personally I'm willing to vote for those non admin candidates who I think are suitable, and I voted for at least two non admins in the last election; But realistically anyone planning to go for arbcom would be advised to become an admin first. ϢereSpielChequers 21:57, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
By junior editors, I mean those with relatively few edits and/or who have not been here very long - on the basis that if we want to get more new editors we arguably need to be more sensitive to their experiences, so giving them the vote might arguably help with that. As for non-admins, it might be better to think in terms of creating juries of non-admins, on the ancient principle of trial by a jury of one's peers.Tlhslobus (talk) 23:42, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
Ah, new editors or newbies. A problem there is that Arbcom is a very demanding time intensive role that requires in depth understanding of the community and also the policies of the community and the software we use. Newbies are by definition not yet qualified to sit on Arbcom. If we started appointing newbies to Arbcom we would risk a range of scenarios from people being censured for following a policy that Arbs disagreed with or didn't understand to Arbs leaving or simply coming to decisions that other find bizarre. As for trial by peers, isn't that an archaic notion? If we use the common analogy of adminship being like a driving licence, then trial by peers would mean only fellow car drivers on juries where motorists are on trial for traffic offences, and non drivers when pedestrians are tried for jaywalking. ϢereSpielChequers 06:49, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
The problem with having only Admins on ArbCom is two fold: 1) it means it is "not a representative body": it's like having a House of Lords without a House of Commons; 2) it gives even more power to Admins as a class when Admins as a class are already too powerful as it is – it essentially means Admins are only held accountable by other Admins. It's no wonder this system is causing more and more dissatisfaction among the great unwashed masses (and include me among those...). --IJBall (contribstalk) 16:42, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
Why would we want a royal family? I think the goal is to make things more balanced, not create a hierarchy. And right now if we have an Administration and Arbitration branch, we don' have something that looks at that. But i agree a little with IJBall, perhaps Arbcom could do with more non-Admins. Whatever the case, it does feel like Arbcom isn't universally appreciated. It would be worth to find out why to see if it can be solveable. I have no experience with Arbcom, but i do hear whispers here and there. Lucia Black (talk) 23:49, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
Shall we make the system similar to checks and balances? Whatever ArbCom decides might be overturned by a rule approved one of the branches or a consensus. George Ho (talk) 01:00, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
Sounds like a good idea to me. Lucia Black (talk) 01:08, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
We don't have a royal family, Lucia Black and George Ho, but we already have a kind of King/Emperor who reigns but mostly no longer rules, namely Jimbo Wales. But a few years ago I tried his Talk page twice and found it far too toxic, and Lucia's Talk page shows that when she took her complaints to him that just got used as ammo against her by at least one of her critics.Tlhslobus (talk) 23:55, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Despite my own bad experience with Arbcom the only time I interacted with them (already partly described in my above comments on the proposed bullying task force), I would be strongly opposed to reducing their powers, let alone abolishing them.
  • My main reason is that, however flawed they may be, they are the only democratically accountable element in Wikipedia.
  • As far as I'm concerned, it's largely (and perhaps entirely) the lack of democracy that makes Wikipedia the ghastly and unreformable place that it is. Few sensible organizations prefer consensus rule to democratic rule, although some (such as many UN conferences) end up stuck with consensus rule because powerful members are unwilling to be outvoted. Our own system of 'crowd-sourced pseudo-consensus' is especially crazy. It means that dreadful policy changes and/or content changes can be (and have been) sneaked in by a clever individual or clique unnoticed by the rest of us, and if they remain unnoticed for a short unspecified period of time they can never be removed because 'there is no consensus for removing this consensus text'. Since the form of bullying known as 'Mobbing' is extremely useful for vested interests and other kinds of cliques to impose their will by bullying people into surrendering to their alleged 'consensus', there is never likely to be a consensus in favour of new rules to outlaw mobbing (or 'piling on' as it gets called by those who are aware that our article on Mobbing means they need a safer name). Much the same goes for any other reform that threatens the power of vested interests and other such cliques. As such our democratically-elected ArbCom is currently a quasi-parliament (as well as a quasi-judiciary) with no power to enact legislation, and a body that needs more power, not less, but vested interests and other cliques will presumably ensure there is no consensus for that.
  • But even without the above-mentioned effective veto of vested interests and other cliques, there would still be huge difficulties in getting agreement on the changes needed, as we would also need the equivalents of a Constitution, an Executive, a Supreme Court, and agreement on who (readers, junior editors, senior editors, admins, etc) got to elect how many 'parliamentarians', what constituted a 'qualified majority' for different kinds of 'parliamentary vote', should we have gender and/or other kinds of quotas, and so on.
  • Historically that sort of result tends to get brought about by an elected Constitutional Convention deliberating for some time and then proposing a draught Constitution that addresses these issues and that with luck then gets ratified by something like a referendum. In our case for legal reasons the entire process would probably have to be authorised by the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), and I'm not sure how one asks for such authorization, though I expect there probably is a way of asking.
  • And even if all that could somehow get agreed and could somehow go through unvetoed, it might still not be enough to fix our problems with vested interests and other cliques, let alone the presumably many other problems of which I am less aware.
  • But none of that is a good argument for weakening or eliminating the only democratically-elected body that we currently have.Tlhslobus (talk) 05:16, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
  • We need to understand tha all the Foundation does (or should be doing) is own and maintain the servers, provide essential software engineering, and collect and disseminate funds. The effort should be to reduce their involvement in the day-to-day running of he individual Wikipedias, not give them more power over them. I agree however that some Arbcom responsibilities should be devolved to the community, but in a way that stil keeps trolls and users with an agenda out of the action but which does not suffocate under its own red tape.
We do have a higher authority than Arbcom - it's called The Bureaucrats. It's a waste of their intelect and judgement t have them just rubber stamping bot requests and mashing buttons (or not) for RfA.We need to convince the community (and the 'crats) that this little group of very wise old men are perfectly suited for doing a variety of other tasks. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 05:40, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
Who are these presumably unelected Bureaucrats, and why are they preferable to the elected Arbcom, or to the legal 'owners' of Wikipedia, the WMF (assuming they are not the same as WMF)? Tlhslobus (talk) 05:57, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
More power to the Bureaucrats (and/or Technocrats) is usually demanded by vested interests such as global capital (or in our case groups with products or ideologies which they want advertised) to enable an institution such as a country (such as Italy under the technocratic government of Mario Monti) to continue to be run in the interests of such vested interests rather than that of the majority of its stakeholders (such as the Italian people, who voted Monti out as soon as they got a chance). So why would we want more power to the Bureaucrats? Or put another way, why should I as an editor expect that I will be made better off by changes that make my annual vote for Arbcom carry even less weight than it already does? Tlhslobus (talk) 06:08, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
Bureaucrats are elected, but for life not a mere two year term. However I wouldn't agree that their power is greater than Arbcom, they are a small and highly trusted group of editors who have some extra buttons that enable them to do some important but usually uncontentious things like setting bot flags and setting admin flags, they used to also do renames before the Single User Login system started. The crats handle decisions that are invariably public and rarely contentious. The Arbs handle decisions that are by definition contentious and which often involve private information, hence much of what they do is off wiki and private to them, and they rarely have as much trust from the community as the Bureaucrats do and the community insists on two year terms, and when Arbcom is deemed to have performed badly as most reckon it did this year, sitting arbs get voted off (this year only three Arbs whose term ended re-stood and only one was reelected). ϢereSpielChequers 21:35, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the useful info, WereSpielChequers. As Bureaucrats are elected for life and thus can't be unelected, that's a very good reason for not transferring any potentially contentious functions from Arbcom to them.Tlhslobus (talk) 22:55, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

Yes we need someone to make unpopular decisions when the community is deadlocked. It is only natural that people will grumble about such a group. HighInBC 21:59, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

I think that is definitely true. We do need a group that relies more on reason that vote-count. But we also have to have them checked regularly because that is a very important group just in case. wikipedia is not a democracy, bureaucracy. I also want to make mention that some people seem to are saying that its not about giving Arbcom less power, but more refining on what ArbCom should be focusing on. Lucia Black (talk) 23:19, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
I note that you, Lucia Black, who started this topic, have warnings from your critics on your Talk page about the terrible things that will supposedly happen to you if your case goes to ArbCom. This may have influenced your perception of ArbCom, as may the fates of other female editors (Carolmooredc and Lightbreather, as well as the unstated-gender Neotarf) in 2 relatively recent ArbCom cases that have seemingly shocked many feminists both on and off Wikipedia. In theory the partial solution to such problems, whether real or merely alleged or a bit of both, would seem to lie in some kind of system of gender quotas, either for ArbCom itself, or for some new jury system to be linked to ArbCom and perhaps other cases. And in theory our GGTF (Gender Gap Task Force) should have some ideas (or welcome new ones) on how to try to bring this about (I usually try to avoid the GGTF after being mobbed there some time ago, but they may well be more sympathetic to you, Lucia). Of course gender quotas won't solve the problem for males such as SageRad (who proposed the anti-bullying task force above) whose Talk pages contain similar dire (and conceivably well-founded) warnings about what ArbCom will allegedly do to them, but a partial solution may be better than no solution at all.Tlhslobus (talk) 23:59, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
I'm strictly here to see if there is something flawed with Arbcom, and this has nothing to do with me personally, but i do see others around talk about it negatively including AN/ANI, but i dont want to even touch AN/ANI. Last time i attempted to reform AN/ANI in a neutral and positive way, i was accused of "neutering" AN/ANI. there weren't any "gaps" or problems, but i distinctly remember that being the biggest gender-gap in WP. But Arbcom as it stands sounds like a bigger force that has a lot more control. As for the gender-gap, i dont think its an issue. However, some of the actions i see here is definitely more male-oriented. Lucia Black (talk) 00:17, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for pinging me here, Tlhslobus. I would support gender quotas as a sort of ad hoc bandaid to address a problem of gender issues prejudice in ArbCom, and i bet that a gender-balanced ArbCom would make better decisions across the board with less probable bias. However, the issue may go deeper. I think there is some sort of philosophical bias in the ArbCom constituency that slants their thinking in a certain "establishment" direction, which would generalize to things like a patriarchal bias and thinking, as well as to other underlying tropes of modernity. I should state right now that i was recently topic-banned by ArbCom in the GMO/agrochemical proceeding, and so use that to color your reading of my thoughts as you will. In my reckoning, the evidence was not fairly analyzed. In my view, the results were very biased and served to strengthen a certain point of view that is aligned with the biotech and agrochemical industry. Tactics of bullying used by many in the industry-aligned position were overlooked across the board, while other editors were maligned on minor infractions and even bad-mouthed by the arbitrators. There are those who say "hasten the day" (meaning, hasten the day that ArbCom no longer exists). I'm not sure where i stand. Perhaps we could assemble an ArbCom by elections that is neutral. However, elections tend to be popularity contests, and the voters tend to vote by affinity. Therefore, ArbCom will reflect the biases of the general editorship more than they would be held to enforcing the actual policies -- which is what i want. I want policies enforced fairly and without bias. Behavior, not point of view, should determine outcomes. Perhaps a random jury of peers would be better. Even that would result in a bias according to the bias in the editorship population. We ought to at least make sure that ArbCom is explicitly tasked with enforcing policies, and hold them to it. Any bias should be a thing of shame. ArbCom should not be able to rule with clear bias and get away with it. They are supposed to work for us. The work is hard, and they deserve thanks for this, but it should be good work. If i had time, i would run for ArbCom, but i probably would not get elected, i'm guessing. SageRad (talk) 00:21, 29 December 2015 (UTC)
Arbcom is a necessary consequence of consensus decision making. When we get a solid consensus, we don't need arbitration - and we don't need ArbCom. When we can't get a solid consensus for a change, we default to the status-quo, which is mostly OK. But when we all agree that a decision absolutely, utterly has to be made - and we can't get consensus - then we need an overseeing body who can step in and at least get some kind of a decision made. It it a consequence of this role that they have to step in when there isn't consensus - and that means that a significant number of people are going to be unhappy with their decision. So it's obvious that a good fraction of people are going to hate them for it.
I've seen decisions that they made that I didn't like - and decisions that I did like - but in every single case, I understood the need for them to get involved and break some kind of a log-jam.
These people are elected - so it's not like we're not able to choose the right people for the job.
Perhaps there is value in tinkering with the system - but we really do need something with the role and power of ArbCom - and we might as well continue to call it "ArbCom" even if we tweak it a bit. Personally, I'm happy to leave well alone.
SteveBaker (talk) 18:26, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Automatic reader's voice[edit]

dear wikipedia organisation,

as a regular user of your webpage I have a suggetsion to add to the articles.


I, and im sure many other reader as well, would be thankful if there was a automatic readers voice that could read the article to the user.


>this would help ppl who want to learn the language (I myself regularly use wikipeda to practise languages im not fluent in by reading the articles in both the foreighn and my native language) and are struggling with pronouncing certain words. >it would help blind or old people who cant read (well) >it would help ppl with a low concentration capacity to not always get lost in the articles and get distracted.

i hope you take my suggestion into concideration and i hope ii send this to the right department. I simply couldnt find another place to submit it — Preceding unsigned comment added by 178.189.196.12 (talk) 11:07, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

This is the right place. I changed your heading from "idea to improve wikipedia". ―Mandruss  11:43, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
  • You're talking about computer speech synthesis? It seems to me that you'd be better off getting a software program on your computer that does that, whether than adding it to Wikipedia. I know that some articles have been recorded spoken, but I don't know much about it. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 02:31, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
Hello, there are voice readers as plugins for web browsers. --NaBUru38 (talk) 22:01, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

"Arbitrator" user group[edit]

So, the Wikipedia:Non-administrator Arbitrators RfC over a month ago did in its closure feature a rough consensus in creating an "Arbitrator" usergroup for arbitrators, but the closer indicated that it would need some development and further discussion. So, now it may be time to discuss how to implement that - assuming that the close still stands. Noting also this revision regarding one possible setup and whether it would be acceptable to the WMF given that it involves sensitive permissions.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 18:50, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

If I recall correctly, this would not be a foundation problem - provided that any access granted follows the same requirements (community approvals, identification, etc) that is already in place. Creating a new usergroup is fairly easy. We would need to decide what permissions are actually required for the group, see example list of all available permissions here. Users can belong to multiple groups, and their permissions merge. So for example, the new group could be granted the ability to view deleted and oversighted (deletedtext and viewsuppressed permissions) without the ability to also delete or oversight the pages. — xaosflux Talk 19:30, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
This would require the user to ALSO be an oversighter, administrator, etc to gain the additional permissions. This may open the discussion to limit or expand the permissions someone gets just for being on the committee. — xaosflux Talk 19:32, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
Also, by default new groups would only be able to have membership changed by stewards - and if bundling portions of oversight or checkuser the foundation would likely still require this. If they will have equal to or LESS permissions than administrators, then we could also request that our 'crats be able to update the group. — xaosflux Talk 19:35, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
Among the concepts proposed in the RfC was to give this group solely the "view" privileges (that is by my assessment, abusefilter-hidden-log, abusefilter-log, abusefilter-log-detail, abusefilter-view, abusefilter-view-private, browsearchive, checkuser-log, deletedhistory, deletedtext, spamblacklistlog, suppressionlog and titleblacklistlog), although editprotected may also be useful if arbitrators have to work within protected pages. And yes, such a group if it includes the "sensitive" permissions (here suppressionlog and checkuser-log and some abusefilter permissions) it would need to be added/removed by stewards only; if not requested by the WMF, the folks in Phabricator will likely ask for it since non-steward granting of such permissions has created issues in the past.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 21:34, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I pruned duplicated items that are already in "users", etc - so this could be a request such as:

  • Create a new group: Arbitrators
Include permissions:
abusefilter-hidden-log
abusefilter-view-private
browsearchive
checkuser-log
deletedhistory
deletedtext
spamblacklistlog
suppressionlog
titleblacklistlog
viewdeletedfile
viewsuppressed

xaosflux Talk 22:08, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

Now, a prime question is - is this moot? Since ArbCom is the deciders of who gets CheckUser and Oversight - if they are going to just assign themselves the permissions then there is no need to include that stuff in here. — xaosflux Talk 22:10, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

If memory serves, some arbitrators have stated that they won't use this full "requestable" permission set, so a more narrow set may be useful. Plus, I am not sure if the OS and CU rights entail all the permissions mentioned before, which may matter in case of a non-admin being elected to ARBCOM.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 22:27, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
Purely from the perspective of programming and security, it makes sense to have a group for arbitrators. Membership in this group begins when their term starts, and ends when they leave. If an arbitrator gets CU or OS, they may keep it beyond the end of their term, or remove it early. In theory an arbitrator might not have sysop access, or might resign sysop after being elected. We should disentangle the roles so that each hat works independently of the others. Jehochman Talk 22:44, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
Please identify the problem before offering a solution. Why would an arb need all these permissions? Arbitration always takes plenty of time so why can't other arbs provide information that an individual may not be able to access? In an emergency any sensible arb should quickly act on the advice of respected users with the permissions, with a review to follow. Do arbs frequently need to study deleted pages and such like? Johnuniq (talk) 00:56, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
Do they really need another 'feather' ? I think the voting was done without any user there having any knowledge on how this would be done. Sometimes certain rights are removed when not used such as OS/CU so how would you go about doing that? for example a sitting arbie, AGK lost his CU/OS rights for inactivity but he is still an arbitrator, so would the stewards remove his "bundled" arbitrator right when he isn't active? It would be silly to bundle multiple rights into one cannister especially for a group which will never have more than 15 members at any given point....I think only large groups, or groups that can allow for more users should have their own special usergroup (the only exception is the founder rights ofcourse)..This might need another discussion..--Stemoc 01:48, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
AGK did not lose his CU/OS access by inactivity, as you can see here. Also, as said here sitting arbitrators are not subject to the (local) inactivity policy. As for deleted pages, yes, I do remember a number of cases where deleted evidence did play a role.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 09:50, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
@Johnuniq If we ever elect an arb who is not currently an admin then yes they would need access to deleted and indeed oversighted edits. If they had to rely on other arbs to check deleted revisions and decide which were appropriate to show them as evidence then we would have two classes of Arbs. I would prefer that only those who had been elected as admins were deleting, restoring, blocking and unblocking. But all arbs need to be able to see the same evidence. ϢereSpielChequers 10:29, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
In reply to User:Jo-Jo Eumerus's comment of 18:50, 30 December 2015 (UTC) at the top of this section: Unless the Arbitration Committee or at least a significant minority of that committee ask for such a feature, I think we are putting the cart before the horse. In any case, if and when a majority of the committee ask for it, as long as it only affects members of the committee and it doesn't give them rights they don't already have, it should be done as "routine maintenance" without further community input. The only reasons I can think of for the community to discuss this is if a significant minority of the committee would like this or if it would be an actual "upgrade" in permissions beyond what the community has already given them. I don't see evidence of either one of these conditions being met right now. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 18:34, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
Pretty sure we need a community consensus before any user right will be created. I remember that the developers in Bugzilla/Phabricator require a community consensus for such things, an ArbCom request is not enough.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 13:59, 2 January 2016 (UTC)
From a logical point of view, I agree with the concept of creating a usergroup specifically for ArbCom members, namely:
  • Permissions necessary for an arbitrator to do the job can be issued directly to the group as opposed to needing to add a given Arb to perhaps two or three groups (sysop, oversight, checkuser - as required). By the same token, at the expiration of their term, it's only one group to take that arb out of instead of having stewards/crats lookup what group(s) the former Arb had and removing the others
  • Through use of $wpAddGroups, $wgRemoveGroups and $wgGroupsRemoveFromSelf Arbs can add/remove specific groups to other editors (class examples: CU/OS)
Just my two cents (keep the change)
Dax Bane 01:33, 2 January 2016 (UTC)
Arbitrators cannot add or remove people from usergroups. When arbcom appoints someone as e.g. a checkuser, they make a request for a steward to add the user concerned to the checkuser usergroup. Likewise when permissions are removed for inactivity, a request is made to the stewards for the permissions to be removed. This will not change if the arb usergroup is created. Thryduulf (talk) 13:17, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
Indeed, Arbs currently do not add/remove other editors from groups, but if a group were created specifically for arbs then why not give them limited ability to do so? Dax Bane 20:32, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
As far as CU/OS go - these require additional foundation requirements (identity verification) in ADDITION to the request of the local arbcom. — xaosflux Talk 20:37, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
Point taken Dax Bane 00:39, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Didn't we already determine that Oversight Access allows for access to view deleted content, and that an ArbCom election was considered RfA-identical enough to meet the Foundation requirement for Oversight access? Therefore the Admin bit is not necessary to view deleted content, if the Arb were given Oversight access? (Note this was never tested practically, but as per before, I would be willing to drop my admin bit for a few hours to try it out, if we wanted to know what one could and could not do for sure.) The CheckUser log access is of little value as it provides little information, also keeping in mind that not all Arbitrators are CheckUsers (by choice). If we had a non-admin Arbitrator, they could be provided Oversight Access, and have all of the tools necessary without creating a new usergroup (plus the ability to revision (un)delete and revision (un)suppress, but not to delete an actual page). I think this is a solution looking for a problem. The idea of creating a new usergroup, for a hypothetical non-admin arbitrator that may or may not get elected in the future, when really all we have to do as give them a single permission, that they are already entitled to. --kelapstick(bainuu) 02:35, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

Promising articles[edit]

So I was looking up some things for a trip to Denmark I'm taking later this year, and was looking at Frederiksborg Castle. I figured it wasn't in bad shape, and I saw the star next to to the Danish language version. I clicked on that and was shown an unusual icon next to the article header. So naturally I clicked on that out of curosity and then ran it through the auto translate to discover that the Danish Wiki has a "Promising article" level in addition to Good and Excellent (our Featured). The summary it gives is as follows [1]: "Promising articles is a project in which Wikipedia's users improve the existing articles, with a view to preparing them for nomination as good articles. For an article can be considered as a promising article, then it must be at a reasonable level. Assessed an article promising so is the lowest rating of three possible ratings on Danish language Wikipedia. Items which are rated as promising, has still some significant gaps that need to be improved before they can be assessed as good articles. See the requirements for a good article for an overview of what is expected of realistic possibilities for improvement of promising articles."

As far as I can see, this has never been discussed at the Village Pump for the English language Wiki, apart from back in 2010 when someone from the Finnish Wiki was looking to create inter-wiki links for them. So I presume this is on the Finnish Wiki and the other Scandinavian ones too.

There is some duplication between this and some WikiProjects B class assessments - but this allows for a cross-project accumulation of articles which are ready to be worked up to GA status. I would think it was appropriate to have a few differences in approach should this be implemented - I wouldn't add an icon onto the main article page itself, but keep it strictly to a talk page thing. Furthermore, I think that should it be implemented, then it must have the requirements for improvement to GA incorporated into the new template as well as the general index page as well. There isn't much point without that or else it simply becomes a new indexing system for B class articles, which we completely don't need. Thoughts? Miyagawa (talk) 16:19, 3 January 2016 (UTC)

The old/rarely-used-today A-class is a quasi-approximation, although these are frequently better than a GA. "Good article candidate/nominees" are probably the closest project-wide label. Some wikiprojects have lists of articles they are collaborating on to raise to GA status, but until the page is officially nominated as a GA candidate, it won't have and particular marking.
Even GA-nominees just have markings on the talk page, not on the article page. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs) 00:47, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Tool to count "new pages" created by overwriting redirects[edit]

Thinking out loud: do we have a tool which can list the instances where a user has converted a redirect to an article? My thought process here is that one common way that new articles are created is from overwriting previously existing redirects, and the tool that counts articles created doesn't count these. A side effect is we've had a few editors who "sit on" redirects: they create a redirect for a topic that might possibly become notable in the future, expecting that when another editor creates the article, they'll get credit for it (and they do, according to the tool). As a side effect of that, we occasionally have redirects brought to WP:RFD by newbie-ish editors insisting that we must delete the redirect first before they create the article, because they want the credit. Which becomes a burden on RFD watchers and on deleting admins. Of course, this is all WP:EDITCOUNTITIS, and it doesn't happen often, but it does happen.

Plus it would just be nice to see a list of redirects that I've turned into articles, without having to do it manually. Ivanvector 🍁 (talk) 21:49, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

Probably not what you're looking for, but the new pages feed does list redirects that have been converted as new pages. Annoyingly though, it lists them by the date the redirect was created, not the date it was converted, so if you sort by oldest first they're all there at the top. ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 22:09, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
There is filter 342 (currently disabled) that tracks this, which might be what you're looking for if you can convince an Edit Filter manager to enable it. Dax Bane 07:43, 8 January 2016 (UTC)

Time to increase the frequency of WP:TFL again?[edit]

Looking at the Featured content section of recent Signpost issues, it seems that the rate of featured article and featured list promotions is roughly equivalent. Yet, we still only have today's featured list twice a week. Category:Featured lists that have not appeared on the main page has 2,602 pages, while Category:Featured articles that have not appeared on the main page has only 1,178 pages. At the current rate of two featured lists per week, it would take 25+ years to burn through all current featured lists even if no more featured lists get promoted, compared to less than 4 years for featured articles. It may be a good idea to increase TFL to daily, or at least more times a week, so that editors are rewarded for their efforts and to make sure that most featured lists get a chance to appear on the main page. Thoughts? sst 11:07, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

I responded to the original poster here after they posted on my talk page. In short, as FL director I don't support an expansion of TFL at this time, but will be more than happy to go along with the greater community should it support having TFL run more often. Giants2008 (Talk) 22:21, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

"Naturally" shortened footnotes[edit]

I like the idea of shortened footnotes in the case of quoting different pages of a single source, but it has some drawbacks:

  • The presentation to the reader is complicated.
  • A bibliography entry in the References section appears even if it is not used.
  • It is not checked whether the bibliography entry pointed to by a short citation (from the Notes section) is actually present.

How about being able to produce something like

The brontosaurus[1] is big[1] and thin at one end.[1a] Then it becomes much thicker in the middle.[1b] But at the end it is really thin.[1a] The Norwegian Blue Parrot will not move if its feet are nailed to the perch.[2] Its metabolic processes are a matter of interest only to historians.[2]

References
  1. ^ α β Elk, Anne. Anne Elk's Theory on Brontosauruses.
    a. ^ α β p. 5: "Lorem ipsum"
    b. ^ p. 6: "sit amet"
  2. ^ a b Praline, Eric. Dead Parrot sketch.

by markup

The brontosaurus<ref name=Elk>Elk, Anne. [[Anne Elk's Theory on Brontosauruses]].</ref> is big<ref name=Elk/> and thin at one end.<ref parent=Elk name=thin>p. 5: "Lorem ipsum"</ref> Then it becomes much thicker in the middle.<ref parent=Elk>p. 6: "sit amet"</ref> But at the end it is really thin.<ref name=thin/> The Norwegian Blue Parrot will not move if its feet are nailed to the perch.<ref name=Praline>Praline, Eric. [[Dead Parrot sketch]].</ref> Its metabolic processes are a matter of interest only to historians.<ref name=Praline/>

== References ==
{{reflist}}

Petr Matas 12:03, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

Is what you're requesting not what the {{efn}} template already does? See William Etty for an example of it in use on a long article with heavy footnoting. ‑ Iridescent 16:53, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
It is not. William Etty uses the standard shortened footnotes, where the short citations are in a different section than the corresponding biblography entry. In the rendered page, I want the uses of a bibliography entry to be grouped with the entry. Also, citations in that article do not contain any quotations (sentences copied from the source), and in such case I would use {{rp}} instead of shortened footnotes. Petr Matas 19:20, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
This reminds me of phab:T15127; I've even considered writing code to do that a few years back, but these days the work would need to be done twice (in PHP and in Parsoid). Anomie 19:10, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
That task's description seems to be very similar to my proposal, although it does not specify the format of the sublist and forward- and back-links. I see that you don't like {{rp}}, so you would use the proposed solution even if there were no quotations. Petr Matas 19:42, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

Project Box wording[edit]

(I hope I'm in the right place.)

This article is within the scope of WikiProject Korea, a collaborative effort to build and improve articles related to Korea. All interested editors are invited to join the project and contribute to the discussion.

From time to time a newbie posts at the Reference Desk, "An obscure article has an error. Please fix it." And one of the RD regulars (today it was me) may grumble, "If raising the issue on the article's Talk page didn't help, right at the top of the Talk page is a notice about where to find editors likely to be willing and able to do something."

But, it now strikes me, the wording of the Project Box doesn't say that; it's addressed to editors with a broad and deep interest in $FIELD, not to those wishing to call attention to a concern with a specific article. How can it be worded to invite such questions more explicitly?

I've been around a long time but I don't pay much attention to such issues; my involvement in WikiProjects (as such) has been slight. Maybe this has been debated to death in the past, and the Projects prefer not to risk inviting a flood of such comments. —Tamfang (talk) 22:59, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

Hello, Tamfang! The Spanish-language Wikiproject template says: "You may visit the discussion page to collaborate and make questions or suggestions." It's better, but I'd write it around: "To collaborate and make questions or suggestions, please visit the discussion page." Good luck! --NaBUru38 (talk) 22:05, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

Here the real solution:

  1. When pressing the "new section" button on a talk page, the Mediawiki software places the user's post on a separate page and then transcludes that page to the talk page. So, a post headed test at Talk:Foo would appear at Talk:Foo/topic/test and Talk:Foo would includes {{Talk:Foo/topic/test}} in it's code. The software would do this all automatically, and bots would fix the stray posts not done this way.
  2. If the page is tagged with a wikiproject and meets certain standards of low activity, the discussion would also automatically be transcluded to the appropriate Wikiproject pages. The exact activity standards would be decided by the community.
(BTW, I've been doing #1 at my user talk page (unfortunately, manually). Feel free to make a test post there.)

It's crazy to expect our new editors to know to post at the wikiprojects. Oiyarbepsy (talk) 06:34, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

Template pending changes[edit]

My apologies if this has already been proposed, I was unable to find it

I know that many, many, many forms of flagged revisions have been proposed and subsequently rejected by the community, but I was curious what people would think about changing the current template protection to a system where high-risk templates were editable by everyone or autocomfirmed users, and then approved by template editors or admins in a similar way to pending changes works now? I'm just curious what the reaction to something like this would be... thanks for feedback! Kharkiv07 (T) 00:39, 8 January 2016 (UTC)

Note that this isn't just a switch we can turn on; it would require new code to be written for the FlaggedRevs extension. Jackmcbarn (talk) 01:10, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
This certainly seems like a good idea; however, it does need the extension to be modified to allow it. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 22:05, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

New search buttons[edit]

At search, could we have clicky buttons to dump "intitle:", "prefix:", "insource:" into the search box so we don't have to type them again and again? Anna Frodesiak (talk) 22:54, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

Second the motion, that'd be a user-friendly change. And ... while we're at it, please can we have a Google-like allintitle: operator so that when we search for two or more words in title, we don't have to put intitle: on each word, so "allintitle:village pump" instead of "intitle:village intitle:pump"? Stanning (talk) 09:03, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
About the latter suggestion, it would be better to use the same command with commas: intitle:"village pump". --NaBUru38 (talk) 22:06, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
But intitle:"village pump" finds only titles containing exactly that string. It finds "small village pump" but not "village small pump" (assuming such things to exist).  intitle:village intitle:pump would find both, and I'd expect allintitle:village pump to find both also, as in Google. Stanning (talk) 08:33, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Any of the {{search templates}} could be offered as a specialized search box for itself. All we need is for the friendly developer of mw:extension:inputBox (they are really friendly on that talk page) to add a feature that accepts a template. Then the inputbox input would go through that template and land on the search results page. That's like a parameter input. Not sure how the developer would handle two inputs. The morelike search parameter uses pipes, just like a template does; so probably the developer of inputBox would use a pipe to separate parameters. It's perfect, and would be very easy. You'd just set it up (as documented there), then use it by typing in, say, title for an {{intitle}}, prefix for a {{lookfrom}}, regex for a {{regex}}, template usage for {{tlusage}}, or in Anna's case username for a template that could even be called from a user page that implemented a design-once, use-many-times query. I think it would make a good subpage for Help:Searching: Top ten searches. Face-smile.svgCpiralCpiral 06:12, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

New essay about an idea for more peaceful editing[edit]

I just created a new essay, Wikipedia:Revert notification opt-out, with an accompanying userbox. It came from an idea that I got, about how to maybe make editing more peaceful. It seems to me that getting notifications that "Your edit has been reverted by..." can create needless drama. I don't think opting out will work for everyone, but maybe it will be helpful for some editors, as it seems to be for me. So I figured I would point it out here. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:23, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

There's a better solution to the problem you are attempting to address, to wit: Learn how the Wikipedia editing process works. Learn that a revert (especially the first one) is a normal, routine part of the process. Train yourself not to take it personally, not to get your feelings hurt, not to react in anger. Chill. I think your solution is a band-aid fix, and I think your essay is misleading to editors. We could probably do more to promote the proper thinking, but such an essay will only muddle the issue (to whatever extent people read it). ―Mandruss  06:39, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
If you really think that there is something misleading, I would be very interested in knowing more specifically what it is, and I would want to fix it. However, I can assure you that I have already learned "how the Wikipedia editing process works". I am not a new editor, and I understand the reverting process. (And another thing one might learn about the Wikipedia editing process might be not to tell experienced editors that they need to learn about the Wikipedia editing process.) One part of training oneself not to take it personally can be, for some editors, opting out as I have described. As for "band-aid", I do not claim that it's an all-encompassing solution for everyone, just one more thing that might help, and I do not know why you would have expected otherwise. As I said just above, I recognize that it will not work for everyone, and it appears that it wouldn't be helpful to you. That does not mean that it wouldn't help someone else. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:39, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, I thought my intent was clear enough but apparently not. I wasn't referring to you, but to the editors your essay is intended to help. We cool?
My point was merely that, in my wretched opinion, you're addressing the problem in the wrong way, and thereby doing the editors (and the project) a disservice. The band-aid reference meant that, while your solution might treat the symptom, it fails to cure the illness, for lack of a better metaphor. The solution to the problem already exists, it's already in writing somewhere although I've forgotten where, and we simply need to make it more prominent for new editors and more actively promote it where needed. ―Mandruss  01:34, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Oh, thanks so much for clarifying that, no problem! I see now what you mean. In my own opinion, it's not that I'm really addressing the problem in the wrong way, as that there are underlying, basic, issues that my idea does not address. In other words, if someone has a bad attitude about being reverted, then the solution is to develop a better attitude. I agree with you about that. But I don't think it has to be all or nothing. Myself, I think (perhaps biased) that my own attitude is pretty good, but I also find that it's best if I take a bit of time after finding a revert, before I decide what to do about it, instead of responding right away. That way, I can think it over. When I look over my watchlist, I can decide which changes to look into first, and which to deal with later, and I can decide to wait on dealing with a revert. But I began to notice, through self-observation, that when I was getting those red-colored alerts that there was a revert, I tended to react too quickly. Now again, I'm not saying this works for everyone, but I think that opting out is a tool, more so than a band-aid. It's not a tool that fixes everything. For an editor with a great attitude, it may be superfluous, and for an editor with a lousy attitude, it might not make any difference. But I think it helps me, and therefore it might help some others. And per the old line of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good enough, I think that's good enough. --Tryptofish (talk) 01:54, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks in turn for clarifying. With that new understanding, I see your point and agree. I think the essay should say something briefly about the "cure" (near the top) and provide an appropriate link for further reading. As I said, I can't remember where that was. ―Mandruss  02:25, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Great, that's a good idea, and I'll work on that. And I wish everyone peaceful editing. Face-smile.svg --Tryptofish (talk) 03:09, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Interesting; I didn't realize it was possible to opt out of notifications. I agree it's not 100% necessary to be notified of reverts to one's edits: if one has the article on one's Watch list one will probably find out the old way. Still, I'm going to retain the notification. Nice essay, though, and helpful for those who experience it as additional drama and don't want that. My personal preference would be a reminder to people to carefully read the edit summary of the person who made the revert -- I can't count the times when I've had to explain over and over and then at length on the article Talk page why I made a very simple and justified revert/change, simply because the person did not read my detailed edit summary. Softlavender (talk) 06:51, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. I agree that the usefulness depends on the individual. And I will also add your helpful idea of reading the edit summary. --Tryptofish (talk) 19:35, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Reporter's Notebook - preliminary system design[edit]

Been pondering this idea for a while, just wanted to express it at an early stage, and perhaps get some thought on preliminary system design.

Imagine a really good investigative journalist's personal notebook of facts related to a breaking story. This project (early design phase ONLY at this point) would be to "generalize" that single user notebook into a multi-user tool that would permit collaborative fact reporting, in near-real-time, for news stories large enough to be potentially included in WikiNews and/or WikiPedia.

More preliminary design concepts in bullet form, in no particular order.

  1. The tool would be a support tool, used "behind the scenes" to aid Wikinews and Wikipedia authors and editors writing major news stories.
  2. It would be an accurate, permanent, historical accounting of who reported, what, when.
  3. It would relieve many authors and editors of the tedious job of complete citation creation in Wikinews and Wikipedia articles.
  4. It would be LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) based, and also rely heavily, if not entirely, on the standing WikiMedia wiki software.
  5. The design would be such that it would appeal first and foremost to professional users, including a fairly wide audience of:
    1. investigative journalists
    2. beat reporters
    3. detectives
    4. private investigators
    5. special agents
    6. etc.
  6. The design would also allow participation (perhaps to a lesser extent) by everyone, perhaps subject to login and positive identification - to upload images, videos, recordings, eye-witness accounts. It might do things like geo code the IP of the poster to corroborate being "at the scene / at the time" etc.
  7. A key feature of a reporter's notebook would be hyper vigilance to accurate reporting of names, places, times, titles, organizations, etc. There would be particular attention paid to the accuracy of these to insure that professional media could rely on them.
  8. Hearsay (according to our anonymous source) and leaked documents could possibly be scored for reliability based on the reporting entity.
  9. Dates/Times/Events of specific interest to the press would be included. For example date/time/place of upcoming news conferences, press releases / media kits / backgrounders / transcripts captures. These are of little or no relevance to subsequent articles directly, but are a part of the information web around news events.
  10. Hyperlinks would be provided to the source, historical snapshots, archiving and intense demand cache might be issues.
  11. Because this would be a permanently accessible "archive" of items perhaps the article in WikiNews and/or WikiPedia might not need to have extensive space devoted to references in the main articles. This would unclutter, without loosing the "one click" away from the source citation.
  12. The tool would "capture" news facts as they are discovered/reported in (very) near real-time. This would provide a location for users interested in "any breaking news, irregardless of the fully vetted reliability of the source" vs. WikiNews and WikiPedia which need to report only reliable sources, with neutral point of view.
  13. Professional journalists (and WikiPedia/WikiNews authors) are charged with placing the news in proper context, this system would be totally free of that constraint.
  14. The system would be designed for speed in reporting. Each report has a time/date stamp. LATER, the item may be corroborated, or "enhanced" with the credibility of the source, or official corroborating info. There could be a high speed "preliminary and unverified" status, that could later be updated.
  15. Corrections would be a reported event, also get a time/date stamp.
  16. The news ticker (by event) could be launched into Twitter, encouraging Twitter "news hounds" to also report into the system. Weibo could be another prime user/contributor
  17. As time passes the early "sensational news" as reported in WikiPedia needs to be refactored into more thoughtful, more enduring "encyclopedic" article content. Several times going "though the loop" (use this tool from the outset, going from first versions of articles to later, more stable versions of the articles) would improve both early stage and later stage news reporting. The system would be specifically designed up front to improve the news reporting process (early "breaking" and later "more thoughtful/analytical")
  18. Crowd sourced news is of critical importance in States where professional news is heavily censored. Some of the "good reasons" for early news censorship in restrictive States are that much of it is overly sensational or even downright false. Panic has very negative consequences. This "reporters notebook" design might (eventually) help support a better balance. In uncensored new States it might be designed with an eye to encourage more responsible reporting all the way through. In censored States the entire "trail" of reports might be allowable after a reasonable time delay.
  19. Just look at Wikipedia page views in the first day-days-first week or so of breaking news. The demand is INTENSE! Those readers want ready access to any fragment of information related to an event, ASAP! All that demand clashes with encyclopedia writing, however people DO turn to Wkipedia for news.
  20. I'm thinking of something that is row oriented for reporting, with a time/date stamp, relevant fields for speedy human scanning, drill downs for more, built for
    1. high speed, real-time use (perhaps with a scrolling window tool, similar to a AP wire headline reporter)
    2. easy subsequent review, and lookup research later on, for "depth" article writers
    3. very dbPedia oriented "under the hood" to preserve linked data
    4. very well thought out data structures to satisfy all current and future users
    5. flexible reporting of "fields" in rows to allow users a wide amount of flexibility, lots of ability to cut down the heap with flexible filters.
    6. metadata tagged everything with significant attention to data integrity all through the system

Again, this is so far from any proposal, just a fuzzy concept floating around at this point. Only looking for thoughts around preliminary system design concepts. No rush. If it ever moved forward we would want to deep engage with news professionals (especially associated with investigative journalism) on a world wide basis to really to elicit all system requirements, engage academics in journalism, pay close attention to news values, media bias, reporting bias, publication bias, etc. Would want the design to be global friendly and up to date at the outset to encourage potential broad scale use.

Might be fun to engage even the professional news censors in heavily censored States to find out what their precise requirements are? Perhaps the need for censorship might "expire" after a certain embargo? Even censored news States need a flow of reports to pick and choose what to broadcast. A system that also accommodated those needs might bring the benefit of potentially increased future collaboration?

All feedback more than welcome :) Rick (talk) 17:29, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

What you're proposing certainly couldn't be a part of Wikipedia, since if I'm understanding you correctly you're proposing breaching virtually every core Wikipedia principle regarding sourcing, encyclopedic content, using Wikipedia as a webhost and original research; "Ignore all rules" doesn't mean "disregard every rule completely", and the funders would never stand for turning Wikipedia into a hybrid of Twitter and the Google News Lab. You could try proposing it on Meta to see if the WMF would consider a separate project unconnected to Wikipedia, although given the expensive failure of Wikinews they'll probably be unenthusiastic. ‑ Iridescent 18:24, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Iridescent - thanks for the valuable feedback. Quality negative feedback is just as valuable as positive. I may have picked the wrong spot to discuss this very preliminary concept/idea only (and its far from "I'm proposing"). Reporter's Notebook as conceived would be a support tool, not at all under the Wikipeida or Wikinews "brands/service marks/etc." Its a behind the scene tool (#1 above) designed from the ground up to aid authors and editors. No, its not at all something turning Wikipedia into a hybrid of Twitter and the Google News Lab, its not about Wikipedia in general, only about Wikipedia news articles. Its a time/date stamped reporters notebook tool for news events that are likely to reach the Wikinews/Wikipedia WP:Notability standard and result in an article. I wholeheartedly agree Wikinews is an utter failure, didn't know it was expensive. Perhaps more preliminary design thought up front and more disciplined failure analysis would have put that on a better track. As of right now I'm not sure Wikipedia or Wikinews is hitting the ball out of the park with quality news reporting. Wikipedia articles sometimes "mature" gradually over time but the preliminary reporting, when it gets the very most viewership is highly problematic. Wikinews coverage and readership are scant. This would be just one tool, helping support news reporting. The tool doesn't write the articles, which of course should be fully compliant with all current policies. Rick (talk) 19:07, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

On an individual level, you're welcome to either create your own Sandbox, or gather notes and stuff offline. If there's concerns about the reliability of given sources, you can leave them out of the article and mention them on the talk page ("Hey, everyone, I've found this, can you all tell me if it's any good?" or the like). Beyond that, there's little I'd recommend. There are non-WP tools that can accomplish a lot of that but going off the wiki to do wiki business is non-transparent at best. To be honest, there's little need for this; there is no deadline for the encyclopedia. Articles affected by breaking news stories usually have a message to that effect on them, and if someone is asking about breaking details on the talk page, then someone can point out that this isn't a newspaper, and suggest they look elsewhere for breaking news and such.
Having said that, something like having a notebook would probably be great for creating new articles, and if it isn't part of the new article creation mentoring process (which I know exists, but I don't actually interact with) perhaps it could be taught. The first draft of an article can be like the first draft of a paper: you've done your research and have something to say, but it's still subject to revision. Wabbott9 Tell me about it.... 20:41, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

Sub-categories for articles with topics of unclear notability[edit]

Since the {{notability}} template allows an Org parameter to be added, would it make sense to subdivide Category:All articles with topics of unclear notability by Org? At present the category has 60,000+ entries, making it unwieldy to peruse by interest. Even the monthly sub-category is fairly large. (Ex.: Category:Articles with topics of unclear notability from December 2015.) Praemonitus (talk) 20:05, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

I typically support splitting categories with thousands of articles. However, until we have watchlists of subcategories and a better search page, these overpopulated categories my be useful. --NaBUru38 (talk) 19:04, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Publish Wikipedia on Freenet[edit]

Suggesting we take a defined version of Wikipedia articles from WP:1.0 and format it into Freenet freesite html format, thus making quality articles available to internet users who require anonymity protection when browsing, or if the Wikipedia website is blocked in their particular region.

There are a few technical requirements that would need to be considered, such as an automated process for converting articles into freesite html format, bundling similar articles into 2 MB containers, browse/search functionality, and hash key considerations. --Breno talk 22:42, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Push notifications[edit]

I've been experimenting with a service that monitors edits and notifies readers and editors about unusual edit activity on articles. I've been experimenting privately with this for the past week and it has sent me notifications within minutes of the deaths of David Bowie, Glen Frey and Alan Rickman and alerted me about the 2016 Istanbul bombing and the start of the 2016 Australian Open. I've been playing around with its sensitivity and I'm keen to get feedback from users.

My goal right now is to explore a mechanism for pulling in new readers to Wikipedia as content gets created and hopefully inspire them to help with the editing and during my experimentations I have also seen potential in notifying interested parties in edit wars happening on certain articles (that's one for the future).

Here's how you can help! Right now you'll need the latest version of Chrome (mobile or desktop) or Firefox (developer version). This makes use of pretty new technology that hasn't yet made it into other browsers.

  • Visit pushipedia and subscribe to "Trending edits (experimental)"
  • You should receive at least one push notification within a 48 hour period - number of notifications really depends on activity in the world and Wikipedia :)

Questions I'm keen to have answered by you:

  • What did you get push notifications about?
  • Did pushipedia lead you to make edits that you normally wouldn't have made? Tell me about them!
  • Did pushipedia notify you of something happening before you heard about it elsewhere (e.g. news, Twitter, word of mouth)
  • Was it obvious from reading the article why the page was trending
  • Were there pages that you would have expected to receive notifications that you didn't?
  • Were there edits that you were alerted to that were due to vandalism? If so what titles were they (will help me finetune the algorithm).

You can give me this feedback on my talk page. Thanks in advance for your help! Jdlrobson (talk) 23:01, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Embedded VR Photographs as Article Illustrations[edit]

Brompton Oratory 360x180, London, UK - Diliff.jpg

Along my travels, I have created many VR Photographs that would serve as excellent illustrations for Wikipedia articles. (If you don't know what I mean - think Google Street View). Would anybody else be interested in seeing interactive VR/720 degree photographs as Wikipedia illustrations? The tools to create these photographs are now easily commercially available, and can even be made using software for smartphones, so we are currently seeing an explosion of imagery of this type, and it would be great if some of that could be used to improve Wikipedia.

In fact, Wikimedia already has a ton of really cracking illustrations that we could use right from the get-go:

From a technical perspective, this should be quite easy, as Mozilla's AFrame project allows for cross-platform, responsive VR photograph viewing, and I think illustrations on Wikipedia would be an excellent application of the technology.

What do you think? Miserlou (talk) 17:49, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

@Miserlou: these sound useful, but "commercially available" doesn't really fit our overall philosophy. Would you be willing to release these under an open license?xaosflux Talk 18:02, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, I misread that - so long as the images are license friendly I think they would be useful; can you point to examples of where others are hosting these for viewers? — xaosflux Talk 19:14, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
@Xaosflux: AFrame provides a good example of what these feel like in practice: Panorama Demo - there are many of these types of Free as in Free photos on Wikimedia, we just need to build a way to view them properly in the encyclopedia! Miserlou (talk) 19:37, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
@Xaosflux: Also, if we could get some consensus about whether or not to add these, I'd be willing to make the WikiMedia extension myself! Miserlou (talk) 09:40, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
This NYT piece seems very relevant, and right on time. ―Mandruss  05:19, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Exactly! So.. what next? Miserlou (talk) 14:08, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
@Miserlou: Good question. While this page is probably the best "general public" place for initial discussion of this, it seems to get less participation than the other Pump pages. So Step 1 would seem to be: Get wider exposure. You might advertise this discussion at places like WP:VPM, WP:VPR, WP:VPT, and appropriate WikiProjects. ―Mandruss  16:09, 24 January 2016 (UTC)

Concerning the watchlist[edit]

I'm getting kind of tired of having to go through my watchlist, and clear it out after fighting vandalism. Now I'm not going to say that unchecking the watchlist option is a huge inconvenience, but it does become a pain when it's the middle of the day, and there are multiple school IP vandals blanking and disrupting Wikipedia. I'm, however, proposing the idea that we make the watchlist button on edit pages here because I'm not very good at these sort of things. Of course, by that I mean making templates for proposed ideas and such. I'm still fairly new here. I'm sure that this idea can be a foundation that can be build upon, so have at it. Cheers! Boomer Vial (talk) 19:51, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

It sounds like most of that vandalism is being done by IP users. I see that you mentioned unchecking watchlist options, but I wonder if you might find it helpful to leave "hide anonymous users" checked on your watchlist most of the time, and only uncheck it when you are planning to revert vandals, and check it again when you are done with that. --Tryptofish (talk) 20:00, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
User:Tryptofish Well, I actually meant making it so that the 'watchlist' option is not automatically checked when editing articles, and the like. I would empty my watchlist page, but there are pages on there I'd like to keep, so that makes it even more of a pain. Sorry about the confusion. Boomer Vial (talk) 23:22, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
@Boomer Vial: Thanks for clarifying. So, if I understand correctly that you want to be able to edit pages (such as reverting vandalism) without automatically adding those pages to your watchlist, then there is already a fix you can use. Click the Preferences link at the top of the page, to go to your own user preference settings. One of the tabs there is for Watchlist, so go there. There is a section called Advanced Options. It has a bunch of settings that can be checked or un-checked. I'm guessing that you have "Add pages and files I edit to my watchlist" and/or "Add pages where I have performed a rollback to my watchlist" enabled. All you have to do is un-check them, and then save the changes. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:40, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
@Tryptofish: Well, how about that. Thanks for the tip. Cheers. I was wrong, actually. It turns out that pages that I revert due to vandalism are still added to my watchlist. Boomer Vial (talk) 03:37, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
Unchecking "Add pages and files I edit to my watchlist" should prevent that. I have confirmed this with the following test:
  • Reverted an edit using "undo". The page was not added to my watchlist.
  • Checked the above preference and saved.
  • Reverted the previous revert using "undo". The page was added to my watchlist.
No logout/in was necessary after the pref change. If you have double-checked that the above checkbox is unchecked, what method are you using for these reverts that add the pages to your watchlist? ―Mandruss  04:16, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
Note that the “Watch this page” checkbox in any edit window (just below the edit-summary field) should reflect the preference setting; you needn’t actually save an edit to find out what’ll happen. (And of course it provides the option to override the default behaviour.)—Odysseus1479 09:48, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
@Mandruss: I checked to make sure the option "Add pages and files I edit to my watchlist" is unchecked, and it is. I am using Twinkle (mainly) to revert vandalism. Boomer Vial (talk) 20:54, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
@Boomer Vial: I'm stumped. I'd suggest taking the issue to WP:HD or WP:VPT. ―Mandruss  21:49, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
If you are using rollback, or if Twinkle is using rollback, then you need to uncheck that too. I'm not familiar with Twinkle, but could there be a setting in it that is causing the problem? --Tryptofish (talk) 22:04, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
@Tryptofish: Ah, I see the preferences page for Twinkle now. I have the options off, and it seems to have worked. Thank you for your help. :) Boomer Vial (talk) 22:43, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
You are very welcome, and I'm glad that it worked! --Tryptofish (talk) 22:49, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

Put Any Wikipedia Article on a Timeline[edit]

Well we have finally accomplished our task of giving anybody the ability of putting most of Wikipedia history on a timeline, at:

http://wikitimelines.net

Look at this website on the largest computer screen that you can get your hands on. We eventually would like to create a timeline of all history. This was a massive undertaking. For right now, you can add and delete any Wikipedia article you want from this timeline (just click the green "Add" button). Any and all 4 million of them, any 6 at one time. Instructions are included under the heading "New user message". Do you think this would be a good history education tool? From elementary to the collegiate level? I know I would have loved to have a tool like this when I was taking European history in college.

And you can (eventually) put anything on this timeline. Medical histories, legal documents and project plans. Even whole books! The potential is endless.

There are still some bugs and other foibles we are working on, but it is pretty stable now.

Thanks Jeff Jroehl (talk) 09:52, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

GOCEreviewed template change[edit]

An example such as {{GOCEreviewed|user=Dthomsen8|date=January 2016|issues=awaiting deletion decision}} should be made sortable by user, date, and especially issues. Some of the articles not copyedited some time ago because they were considered for deletion and then kept should be tagged for copyedit and the GOCEreviewed template should be removed.--DThomsen8 (talk) 20:21, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

Button to turn links in article text black[edit]

It would be nice to have a button somewhere that changes the colour of all the links in an article black, for readability's sake. Found this while searching for the subject:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Village_pump_(technical)/Archive_AD#Changing_link_color

In Firefox there is the Read mode -button built into the browser that really helps with reading long articles, but afaIk no such thing in Chrome. I know Chrome has similar things as extensions, but it would be nice to provide the functionality to all users.

91.152.109.7 (talk) 03:30, 24 January 2016 (UTC)J

I proposed that in May 2014, here. No traction. (I was fairly new then and didn't know that this page or WP:VPR would have been a more appropriate place to pose something like that. But I'm pretty sure the outcome would have been the same.) ―Mandruss  09:21, 24 January 2016 (UTC)

Merger[edit]

There is a huge backlog in Merge requests on Wikipedia. I have personally not witnessed even a single merger since I have joined the editing community. I am not aware of the progress to resolve the same. However, there are few suggestions which I can propose, which might help. For example, split the list of articles proposed for merger into two separate categories - 1) Proposed 2) Consensus reached. AfD and Move are pretty efficient tags for any article due to prompt action by volunteers and a defined action plan. AfD tag never stays on an article for more than a week. Even move is closed within a month or so. So should be merge tags. Would like to open this discussion for experts here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Capankajsmilyo (talkcontribs) 06:19, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

I used to do several mergers per year, my last one being here, back in July. If someone objects after I put the proposal tags on the articles, I discuss it on the Talk Page, and drop the idea if objections don't quickly go away, as I have other things to do. Probably at some time in the past I bothered with the Wikipedia:Proposed mergers list but offhand, I don't recall. Jim.henderson (talk) 21:34, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
Is there any way to resolve such backlog? -- Pankaj Jain Capankajsmilyo (talk · contribs · count) 16:35, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Check the articles and their talk pages. If the merge flags have been up long enough and there's no controversy, decide it yourself. Either carry out the merger, or drop the merge flags and cancel the merger. It doesn't need an admin or unusual expertise unless there's a wish for a history merge or similar fine finishing. If there is a controversy, I usually simply walk away, unless one side is clearly misunderstanding, in which case I join the controversy to explain the situation as I see it. Jim.henderson (talk) 13:57, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. But I am not discussing an individual case here. I am talking about the backlog created by proposals from multiple users. How can it be resolved? No one person would be able to do it I suppose. Can the current system of proposing and resolving a merger be improved? -- Pankaj Jain Capankajsmilyo (talk · contribs · count) 18:48, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

More Wikipedia articles[edit]

Some people when they're about to use a company's service want to read the Wikipedia article about that company to see if if that company has a tendency to rip people off so that they can decide whether to use its service. If there's no Wikipedia article about that company, they might decide that since they can't find out whether the company rips people off, they'll just use that service and suck up the risk that they'll be ripped off. Some companies are not well enough known for there to be a Wikipedia article about them. Maybe there should start being articles about them so that people will no longer have the good aspects of them revealed and the bad aspects hidden. In order for that to happen, research groups might first have to start publishing research about those companies. Blackbombchu (talk) 05:19, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

If I'm understanding you correctly, you're proposing that the WMF should commission and publish books on non-notable topics in order to make them notable. I'm aware that the Idea Lab is for blue-sky thinking, but this is simply not going to happen for reasons which should be obvious. ‑ Iridescent 21:42, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
If that's what "some people" do, "some people" are idiots. Wikipedia is not the Yellow pages, it's not Consumer Reports, nor should it try to be either - it has it's work cut out being an encyclopaedia! Chuntuk (talk) 16:05, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I'll just note that ignorance is not the same as idiocy. Nonetheless, it's true that this is not a consumer protection service, and providing such information without an independent source may even subject Wikipedia to legal disputes. Praemonitus (talk) 18:33, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Localization Project: Units, Dialect, Pronounciation[edit]

How about an add-on which can localize pages by default, for easier reading. A Wikipedian could set a locality, and articles would appear with the date/time format, and automatically convert units of measurement to the local standard. It could be taken to the logical extreme, and replace regional language variations (colour vs color), IPA vs US Customary phonetics, as well. Obviously, this functionality would be off by default, but it could ease barriers to understanding. Article or section tags could override the preferences (on scientific articles as an example). The function would also display a warning somewhere, that the page is being automatically localized, and block editing until the function is turned off.

This would help mitigate issues surrounding what version of English an article was started in.  superβεεcat  21:17, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

We can get round this by stilted writing, but we cannot compensate for other authors prose. This becomes really irritating when you are administering Wikipedia in a school, as you are insisting that your clients use correct English for assessments and exams. We have the {{convert}} to process numbers- but when it comes to words we have been abandoned. The first priorities are the page titles. eg Artificial fibre redirects to Synthetic fiber which then links to other fiber pages. The second priority is the section heads, and the spelling in the wikilinks. Then we can start looking at the text.
Personally I would default on the ip-address location, which could be over written by cookie, which could be overwritten by the users personal preference.
I think we should start by implementing a partial system, then users could opt in for a dictionary lookup system to get over the pants-trousers, sidewalk-pavement faux amis, which could be driven from Wiki-Data. I can see that this will transport over to de: who also have problems with swiss German, fr: with fr-be and the multiple varieties of es: Just a few suggestions. -- Clem Rutter (talk) 21:35, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Wiktionary lookup[edit]

I don't know how this would work technically but it would be cool if instead of bluelinking words that may be unfamiliar to readers, they could right click on the word and have and option to look up that word on wiktionary. Let me know what you think.Nemoanon (talk) 01:12, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

Article feedback[edit]

About 3 years ago, the Wikimedia Foundation worked on a tool called Article feedback, which allowed readers to contribute "feedback" to articles in the form of community-moderated comments. A lot of time was spent building guidelines for managing the tool. The Foundation was very ambitious with the project, hoping to roll it out on all Wikipedia articles. Following an extensive request for comment in February 2013, the tool ended up becoming opt-in only, and it was eventually discontinued in March 2014, because:

Though some editors expressed interest in keeping the tool on an opt-in or limited basis, Article Feedback would need significant improvements to better serve its users, and the foundation doesn't have the resources to develop it further at this time. Besides being unpopular with many in our editor community, it is also slowing down site performance -- and may require more technical maintenance that we can adequately provide.

The WMF also stated in its decision to retire the tool that most team members involved with it agreed that Flow is better positioned to give our readers a voice -- and that we should clear the way to make it a success.

Now that Flow is no longer a viable solution, my question is whether the community has any interest in asking the WMF to bring Article feedback back. In my opinion, Wikipedia still lacks an effective means through which readers can communicate with editors, and the WMF has been struggling to develop solutions. I think that Article feedback would be useful for this purpose as long as it is limited to being completely opt-in for each article, and as long as past flaws are discussed and resolved. We still have entire behavioral guidelines that we can revive. I think part of the reason why tools developed by the WMF have failed in the past is because they lacked a grassroots approach to community integration. Perhaps this is a start to fix that. Mz7 (talk) 06:09, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

"An effective means through which readers can communicate with editors" sounds good in theory, but it creates a huge open-ended commitment since you then need to ensure there are editors willing to read, moderate and reply to said communications. (Over a million comments were posted during this experiment: on average, 12% of posts were marked as useful implies that during the limited period of the trial, the poor saps monitoring the AFT-enabled articles had to wade through a minimum of 880,000 useless comments.)

An immediate practical concern which springs to mind is how would you make it "completely opt-in for each article"? Wikipedia articles don't have a single author; if one person involved in the article wants AFT, but nobody else does, is that one person allowed to opt-in?

Plus, any proposal to revive AFT would need to address the elephant in the room, that it became fantastically unpopular for a reason; it creates a constant stream of publicly-visible comments which has to be moderated on every article on which it's in use, and unless you can show that people willing to take on the thankless task of reading and replying to all comments, the WMF are never going to switch it back on. The devs have only just had their fingers burned over Gather. ‑ Iridescent 13:07, 6 February 2016 (UTC)