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What we've got here is failure to communicate (some mobile editors you just can't reach)[edit]

Summary of overall issues: User:Suffusion of Yellow/Mobile communication bugs ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 03:08, 21 March 2021 (UTC)

Over a year ago, I reported two problems to the WMF:

(1) Logged-in mobile web editors are not given a very strong indication that they have new messages. There's just a little number in a red circle. It's similar to what many other sites use for "Exciting! New! Offers!" and other garbage. There's nothing to say "A human being wants to talk to you."

(2) Mobile web IP editors are given no indication at all that they have new messages. Nothing. Every template warning, every carefully thought out personal message, and everything else just disappears into a black hole, unless the user stumbles across their talk page by accident, or switches to the desktop interface.

But I get it. Bugs happen. They can be fixed. Instead both problems were marked as a "low" priority.

This is baffling. Problem 1 is a serious issue. Problem 2 is utterly unacceptable.

We are yelling at users (or even dragging them to WP:ANI) for "ignoring" our messages that they have no idea exist. We are expecting them learn without any communication all sorts of rules from WP:V to WP:3RR to WP:MOS that don't even apply to most other sites on the web.

Until they get blocked, of course. What a terrible experience. How are we supposed to gain new users when their very first interaction with a human is being told to f--- off, for "ignoring" a message they didn't even know about?

WMF, please explain to this community why this is a "low" priority. One year is long enough. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 22:55, 16 February 2021 (UTC)

I'll just note that a majority of our users are accessing us on mobile so this isn't a niche problem either. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 23:26, 16 February 2021 (UTC)
Wow. Neglected high-priority phabricator tickets are nothing new, but this is another level. Jimbo Wales, this deserves your attention. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 08:11, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
I would like to point out that the majority of messages left to IPs will never reach the user in question anyways, ESPECIALLY on mobile connections. Due to shared ips, the chance of someone else viewing the message before the person you are trying to reach is probably about 50/50. I realise that sometimes leaving a message is effective, but there are serious questions about all the cases where it is simply leaving a very confusing and often aggressively toned message to a completely different user just randomly reading an article at the busstop a month later. What we really need is a completely new way to leave messages to anonymous users. Possibly with some sort of very short lived session or something. But as ip users are more or less stateless (the software concept) right now, that is probably hard to implement. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 09:26, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
@TheDJ: I would have no objection to expiring the OBOD if the talk page isn't clicked in a few days. Many messages come only a few minutes after the user makes the edit; most mobile carriers aren't that dynamic. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 17:14, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
Equally baffling is that mobile app users do not see any notifications, including no talk page notifications, logged in or out. The link to talk is buried within the settings. Official mobile apps! They don't even see block messages! See T263943 and others. This block review and also this discussion where an editor also tested block messages. The editor was blocked multiple times for something that was not their fault but that of a poorly thought out app. They are not alone. Quote from phab task: Conclusion: Using the app is like being inside a bubble, without contacts with the exterior. It's no wonder there's so much people complaining here that using the app caused their Wikipedia account to be blocked, for reasons they don't understand. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 09:33, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
I have filed T275117 and T275118. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 10:22, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
I'm always surprised that anyone manages to edit with the mobile interface. As another example, if you're not logged in, there is no way to access the talk page of an article, or even any indication that it exists. If an unregistered user makes an edit and is reverted with a common summary like "see talk", I imagine many will have no idea what's going on. – Joe (talk) 09:39, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
The mobile web, and mobile apps, appear to be designed for readers and not writers. Having used mobile web occasionally, I think it's usable for logged in editing, but I do have to switch to desktop every now and then. I've used the iOS app only for a test - it is not usable for editing imo. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 09:55, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
The number of edits I have made with the mobile web or app interface is most likely less than 50 (out of 13,000). Even for reading, the mobile interface is borderline unusable. I do frequently edit from my 4-inch cell phone screen (in fact, I'm doing that right now)... but I use the desktop version. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 14:04, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
I agree with Joe and have always found Cullen328 to be a bit of a superhero for being who he is on a mobile device. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 18:19, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
Thanks for the kind words, Barkeep49, but I simply use the fully functional desktop site on my Android smartphone. It's easy. If I was the king of the Wikimedia Foundation, I would shut down the mobile site and apps, because they are an ongoing impediment to serious editing. RoySmith, there is no need to invest more effort (money) on a good editing interface for mobile, because that interface already exists - the desktop site. Just change its name from desktop to universal or something, and the problem will be solved.Cullen328 Let's discuss it 18:34, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
  • In some parts of the world, laptops and desktops are common, and people's phones are their second screen. In an environment like that, yes, it makes sense for mobile devices to be thought of as a read-mostly interface. On the other hand, in other parts of the world (particularly India in the context of English language users), mobile is how people access the internet.[1] There's no doubt that building a good editing interface for mobile is a hard thing, but we should be investing more effort there. Poor mobile editing tools disenfranchises a large segment of the world's population. -- RoySmith (talk) 14:41, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
  • @Suffusion of Yellow: Thank you for basically expressing exactly the same problem I wanted to. I have blocked a few editors who seem to be editing in good faith but just don't communicate, which eventually end up at ANI and after much agonising, get hit with as friendly a WP:ICANTHEARYOU block as we can muster. In the last instance, Mdd97 (talk · contribs), I specifically made a custom block template that said "CLICK HERE TO READ YOUR MESSAGES" in a way that they surely couldn't miss .... but again, following the block they've not edited again. We have to get to the bottom of this; if it's got to the stage where I've got to block people and the root cause is a software fault, it needs to be fixed. Surely the WMF can't be happy that I've needed to issue blocks on good-faith editors in this manner. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 16:10, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
  • To address a reaction some might have, yes, the vast majority of users on mobile are readers, not editors, and no, I wouldn't want the community totally in charge of redesigning the mobile interface, since we'd end up with the phenomenon we have at desktop where e.g. the tools section of the sidebar is visible to every user on every page despite it being of zero use to 99.9% of them. But this request is not just editor-centrism; it applies to users who have already edited and who badly need a notification to help them not get lost. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 18:55, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
  • I think the mw:Talk pages project, especially now that they are beginning to work on subscribing to notifications for talk page sections, could be interested in this discussion. Pinging User:PPelberg (WMF) and User:Whatamidoing (WMF). It also touches on UCoC Enforcement, highlighting that there needs to be funding for software dev. in addition to other measures. Pinging User:SPoore (WMF) and User:BChoo (WMF) for want of knowing who to contact regarding Phase 2. Pelagicmessages ) – (09:51 Sat 20, AEDT) 22:51, 19 February 2021 (UTC) ... Adding User:Xeno (WMF) after seeing section above. Pelagicmessages ) – (09:55 Sat 20, AEDT) 22:55, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
    Pelagic: Thank you for the ping and highlighting how this is a related need for my current project. I've been following this thread and will be including the comments (and phabricator links - thank you for those!) in my work categorized under important requests for additional human or technical resources to assist with on-wiki workflows. Xeno (WMF) (talk) 15:02, 14 March 2021 (UTC)

Question - Is this something that could be cured by bringing back the "Orange Bar of Death"? Mjroots (talk) 16:31, 22 February 2021 (UTC)

@Mjroots: the orange bar of death never went away. Last I check, it's still there for non mobile IP editors. That's why they get an indication of new messages. AFAIK, it was never there for the mobile web editor, that's probably part of the problem. Nil Einne (talk) 03:06, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
What no one has ever told me is why it was left out in the first place. Was it a simple oversight? Did someone have such a little understanding of how the sites work that they thought communication was unnecessary? Some other reason, that I'm not thinking of? This is the most confusing part. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 17:14, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
I wish it could be brought back for all editors. Looks like bringing it in for IPs on mobiles could be the cure here. Mjroots (talk) 18:40, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
This is alarming but not surprising. Since I do a lot of question answering at the Teahouse, I'll point out a random IP's post from yesterday, in the same vein as some of the sentiments noted above: "Also, why don’t they get rid of the mobile view? So terrible!".--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 00:29, 24 February 2021 (UTC)
  • Does anyone with a (WMF) account plan on commenting in this thread? Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 17:21, 8 March 2021 (UTC)
    Don't hold your breath. For most W?F employees, commenting on Wikipedia using a W?F account is a quick way to get yourself fired. You might, if you make enough noise, get a department head to respond by saying that mobile users are very important to us and we will do everything we can to address this, up to but not including doing anything differently that we are doing them now. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:39, 8 March 2021 (UTC)
    @Guy Macon: When they did the same thing with desktop IPs, it was fixed within hours of being pointed out. Serious, not rhetorical question: what's changed about WMF culture since 2013? Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 17:58, 8 March 2021 (UTC)

When you spend three times as much money without the actual job you were hired to do changing, you start to focus more on spending all of that money instead of on doing your job. When you hire a boatload of new employees when the current bunch are more that enough to do the job, those new employees find something to do, whether that something needs doing or not. I'm just saying. --Guy Macon (talk) 18:31, 8 March 2021 (UTC)

  • User:Suffusion of Yellow broadly you have two factors. Firstly there is little incentive for WMF people engage people here were they will get a bunch of people shouting that them (which is not fun). Secondly there has been a longstanding unwritten understanding that mobile is the WMF's turf while the community has more ownership of the desktop.©Geni (talk) 11:21, 11 March 2021 (UTC)
    Well, imagine this. Someone is standing on your foot. You politely ask them to move off of it. They don't. You repeat your request more loudly. They continue to ignore you. It still hurts. At some point, does shouting and shoving come into play?
    If WMF doesn't like being shouted at, well—certainly, no one does. But people do not like being ignored either, and doing so is an excellent way to get them started shouting just to be heard at all. Seraphimblade Talk to me 21:42, 14 March 2021 (UTC)
  • Action from the WMF! One two three new mobile bugs I discovered while investigating this have been triaged as "low" priority, and a fourth was lowered to "medium", after a volunteer developer had raised it to "high". All without a word of explanation. The first (unparsed spam blacklist messages) isn't a huge deal I'll agree. But why is not telling users why they're blocked or falsely telling registered users that they're blocked personally not a major concern? That's how we lose people. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 22:55, 22 March 2021 (UTC)
    • Can we locally block these apps from editing English Wikipedia? That would force the WMF to fix them. Fences&Windows 00:02, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
      @Fences and windows: Yes, this can be done with the edit filter. It could even be limited to users with no confirmed email address. But there's a catch. The apps don't properly display custom edit filter warnings, either! The iOS app just displays the title of the page where the message is stored. And the Android app doesn't display custom messages at all. The mobile web editor does display messages properly, however. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 00:10, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
      If this were a lower-priority issue, I would say we should come back in a month and see if the WMF fixed it. But this is such a glaring oversight that I feel this may be the only option if we want to fix this. Question: would this apply to just the app, or to the mobile site as well? —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 15:06, 29 March 2021 (UTC)
      It's app only (the user_app variable in the edit filter). ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 15:12, 29 March 2021 (UTC)
    Thanks, ProcrastinatingReader. If we prepare an RfC, where would it be held? It would need advertising on cent. Fences&Windows 23:47, 29 March 2021 (UTC)
    @Fences and windows: Any RFC will need some very careful drafting first. If it fails (for any reason) the WMF could interpret the failure as "see the community doesn't really care about this issue". Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 23:51, 29 March 2021 (UTC)
    We might want to move this thread to WP:VPT; this noticeboard is not widely watched. –xenotalk 23:54, 29 March 2021 (UTC)
    I really don't want to rush into an RFC, though. There are many questions. Should we also disallow mobile IP web editors? Should we disallow edits from users with a confirmed email address? Which bugs, exactly, do we want fixed? How long do we give the WMF to fix them? This is a nuclear option. It should not be taken lightly.
    But please don't move the whole thread to VPT. It's here so it doesn't get buried in the archives. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 00:33, 30 March 2021 (UTC)
    (edit conflict) Two-question RfC maybe? Initial brainstorm - Question 1: consensus 'letter' to WMF requesting resources be allocated to promptly fix the issues. Question 2: if not done within 90 days, mobile apps blocked from editing enwiki by edit filter. Best to move this particular matter to VPI. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 00:36, 30 March 2021 (UTC)
    It has to be noted though that disallowing edits, if it comes to it, is really not great and rather bitey, as the editors will hardly have any clue what's going on due to EF messages being iffy. Maybe bugging Jimbo and/or Doc James to contact someone in engineering is a viable option? ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 00:43, 30 March 2021 (UTC)
    As I said. Nuclear. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 01:09, 30 March 2021 (UTC)
    Yes, IDEALAB is the best place (for a new thread). That will discourage any supporting and opposing until we figure just what we're asking for. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 01:09, 30 March 2021 (UTC)
    This needs caution—an overly enthusiastic RfC or proposal at WP:VPI is bound to be voted down and that would cause a lot of people to automatically vote down any future proposals of a similar nature. I'm thinking of masked IPs—any proposal to impede or block such users could easily fail if it appeared to be similar to an earlier idea to block "good faith" users who were unaware that communication was even possible, let alone required. Johnuniq (talk) 08:34, 30 March 2021 (UTC)
  • I wish I could say I was surprised by any of this but I've long assumed that something like this was the cause of numerous editors I've come across who display quite clearly that they have never seen their IP/user talk page, and simply have no idea why their edits "aren't going through" (because a human editor keeps undoing them). A thorough waste of thousands of hours of volunteer time, on both ends. There are some countries or regions in which accessing the internet is only financially possible for the everyday person via a mobile phone, so the WMF's inaction here is another built-in systemic bias which prevents some cultures from effectively contributing their knowledge and skills to Wikipedia. — Bilorv (talk) 06:51, 29 March 2021 (UTC)

  • User:Suffusion of Yellow/Mobile communication bugs seems to be an excellent overview but it would get more attention if it were on phab. I have tried to roughly copy it to which can probably be used as a parent task for all these issues. – SD0001 (talk) 15:04, 30 March 2021 (UTC)

Hi everyone, thanks for raising these issues, and documenting the problems so thoroughly. We're going to get a group of people from the Product department together next week to talk about these problems, and see what we can do about it. I'll let you know what we figure out. I appreciate you all bringing it up. — DannyH (WMF) (talk) 22:17, 7 April 2021 (UTC)

Thank you, Danny! I look forward to seeing what you come up with. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 19:55, 9 April 2021 (UTC)

26 April update[edit]

Hi everyone, we talked in the Product department about the issues that are being raised in this conversation.

We're currently showing notifications to logged-in editors on mobile web, which appear as a number in a red circle at the top of the page. It's the standard design on mobile that indicates that there are messages for you.

We've been reluctant to do that for IP editors on mobile web, because mobile IPs shift around so much. Desktop IPs can change as well, so there's some risk of not reaching the right person on desktop, but the risk is a lot greater for mobile. People walk around with their phones and move from one wifi or cell tower to another. We haven't wanted to show a message bar to a mobile reader who happens to be picking up the same cell tower or wifi access point as someone who made an edit a year ago.

On the apps, the Android team has released improvements to the talk page experience in February and March. Echo notifications currently exist in the Android app, and user talk pages are also discoverable through the watchlist. Users can access article talk using a dropdown menu at the top right; you can see how this works in this walkthrough gif. There are some further improvements planned, including enabling in-line replies, and building onboarding features to help people discover both the watchlist and talk pages. You can learn more, and ask the team questions, on their Android communication project page.

The iOS team is also looking at improving the talk experience on their app. They're currently in the initial design and technical planning phase for enabling Echo notifications on iOS. Later this year, they're planning to fill in some of the missing collaboration features on the app, including making editing tools and talk pages more prominent.

There are some different things to discuss here, and I'd like to know what you think. — DannyH (WMF) (talk) 18:47, 26 April 2021 (UTC)

What are we doing about the block notification messages and the other edit screen notices?? —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 19:02, 26 April 2021 (UTC)
@DannyH (WMF):
  • About IP users: As myself and others have suggested, there's a solution to the "random unrelated reader" problem: Don't show the alert if the new message is over X days old. Or (if the privacy policy permits) set a cookie anytime they click "publish", and only show any new message alert to people who have edited in the past X days. Or even both. I think most people already understand that messages sent to IP users are not guaranteed to reach the user. But we do expect that when edits Foo, we leave them a message, and then an hour later edits Foo again, that they've seen our message. That's the disconnect between expectations and reality that's been bothering us. You're also making the assumption that users on mobile devices are also on mobile connections. What about the phone user on their home WiFi? That could be stable for months.
  • About logged in users: No, the red circle is not (only) the standard "you have new messages" alert. It's also the standard "we have some spammy garbage we'd like to sell you" alert. Of course experienced users know Wikipedia doesn't do that, but inexperienced ones are the people we're trying to reach. As matter of habit, I ignore similar-looking notices on unfamiliar websites.
  • About the Android app: Again, what about spam-weary users who have turned off push notifications. With no in-app alert, how are they supposed to know that there is an urgent message on their talk page?
  • About the iOS app: If users are currently in a total bubble, why enable editing at all? Why not wait until basic communication features are implemented, and keep the app read-only in the meantime?
I'm really getting the impression that the WMF thinks that user communication is an afterthought. Y'all didn't just forget one communication-related feature, you forgot most communication-related features. How did this happen in the first place? Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 20:15, 26 April 2021 (UTC)
@DannyH (WMF): Thank you for your time working on and responding to this. I recognize the difficulties in developing a good software product for the diverse projects that rely on MediaWiki software. However, I am deeply frustrated that this has been allowed to occur. Ensuring that existing community mechanisms for communicating with other editors, especially new editors, continue to function is a bare-bones requirement for any Wikimedia minimum viable product. To paraphrase Risker's related thoughts on Wikimedia software development in a different area: the intention behind a lot of this has been good, but sometimes I think engineers have no idea how our projects actually function and how significant some of these problems are. Frankly, if logged-out mobile editors don't have an interface to see messages, then the logged-out mobile interface should not contain editing functionality. Otherwise, this software is wasting many many hours a day of volunteer time tracking down and reverting and warning (not that they'll see the warnings) and blocking good faith IP users who are oblivious to community norms and this software is wasting just as much time spent by new editors trying to help out but unable to access any feedback about their editing. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 10:01, 28 April 2021 (UTC)
Let me make more explicit a position that I suspect a broad swath of the English Wikipedia community may support: If the Foundation feels that it is impractical to build a communication system to communicate with logged-out mobile editors, then logged-out mobile users should be required to log in to edit. Wikipedia is a collaborative project; we simply cannot allow users to edit without being able to communicate with them effectively. KevinL (aka L235 · t · c) 10:05, 28 April 2021 (UTC)
Absolutely, thank you for the clear description of the situation. I was thinking of going rogue and just blocking any uncommunicative user/IP after a single warning. That would avoid mega-frustration and wasted time and would focus minds on fixing the problem rather than ticking boxes for the number of new edits from new users. Johnuniq (talk) 10:23, 28 April 2021 (UTC)
@DannyH (WMF): If fixing all the issues is going to take some time, and you don't want to disable editing entirely, can you break the Android app a bit more? See this. Using that hack a message can be conveyed to iOS users but the same can't be done for Android. It shouldn't take long to make the tweak, which would at least allow a custom mechanism to communicate a message to Android editors. Perhaps directing them to login via their browser app, for example. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 03:16, 30 April 2021 (UTC)

Hi everyone, thanks for posting more thoughts. As usual, there's lots to respond to here.

It's true that the apps are late to including talk page features. That's partly because we didn't have a clear strategy for how we could improve talk pages sitewide — we knew that we wanted to improve the usability of talk pages, but the Flow project was not successful, and we knew that we needed to find a new direction. We determined that new direction with the Talk Pages Consultation in mid-2019, and then the Editing team started their Talk pages project to build tools for replying, starting new discussions and being notified when people comment in specific talk page sections. (If you haven't yet, you can turn on the new tools for replying and starting new discussions in the Beta preferences tab.)

As part of that project, the Editing team has developed the ability to break down wikitext conversations into individual comments, and all of that work is now informing the work that both the Android and iOS teams are doing to improve the talk page experience on the apps as well.

Now, one of the things that we do when a product team is working on a feature is to look at both the usage numbers and the revert rate for edits that are made using the feature. If the revert rate is higher than average, then clearly there's a problem with the feature that we need to fix.

Comparing the revert rates across desktop, mobile and apps, we see a similar pattern with both logged-in and logged-out editors. Looking at the last 30 days on English Wikipedia, mobile web edits have a higher revert rate compared to desktop edits. That's true for both logged-in users (10.2% revert on mobile web to 3.7% revert on desktop) and IP editors (35% revert on mobile web to 22% revert on desktop). Edits made through the apps are closer to the desktop revert rate. For logged-in app users, about 6.5% of app edits are reverted, compared to 3.7% on desktop. For IP app users, it's around 24% app edits reverted vs 22% IP edits on desktop. So while every single revert is a waste of time for somebody, we don't see app editing causing significantly more problems than desktop editing, especially compared to mobile web.

As I said earlier, the Android team has recently released improvements for talk pages just last month, and has plans to continue work on it, and iOS will be working on communication features later this year. So while those teams had a late start on these features, they are currently getting attention.

Some more specific points: Suffusion of Yellow, your suggestion about offering a time-limited message is interesting, and started a conversation in a couple of teams, so thanks for bringing that up. For your question about the assumption that mobile devices are used on the go: yes, there are definitely people who use mobile devices on stable IPs. However, it's a lot more likely that any given mobile device will be on an inconsistent IP than a desktop device.

Regarding people who ignore red circles and turn off push notifications, it's true that banner blindness is very strong, and that's a problem for web designers in general. However, we've found that when someone takes a specific step like turning off push notifications, responding with larger and more insistent notifications is not likely to help.

I'm happy to keep talking, if folks have more questions or suggestions. DannyH (WMF) (talk) 18:47, 30 April 2021 (UTC)

Danny, I'm intrigued and puzzled by your statement here. You have people here (and in many previous conversations) expressing frustrations at an inability to communicate with users. Some prior discussions have been about specific editors who have a mixture of constructive and troubling edits which are the kind of editors who can frequently be helped to stop the troubling edits. Your response, if I'm understanding it correctly, is that because there is no difference in revert rates for these editors compared to those on other platforms that the lack of communication doesn't matter. This might be true but would be a radical shift in culture in terms of how we handle disruptive editing and would be at odds with other foundation sponsored initiatives, including obligations to help new users in the UCoC. Can you help me either understand where I am failing to get what you're saying or if I do understand what you're saying how we, as an enwiki community, can square this circle. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 19:17, 30 April 2021 (UTC)
Hi Barkeep49: What I shared about the revert rate was in response to a couple of things. First, Johnuniq commented on the fact that I'd only talked about edits from app users, and didn't acknowledge the impact on the editor community who have to clean up a mess. (The part about "ticking boxes for the number of new edits from new users.") It was also a response to the suggestion made in a few places that the apps shouldn't allow editing if the communication features aren't up to desktop standard. My point is that we do try to take the impact on the community into account, by making sure that features that we build don't result in a mess that's noticeably bigger than the mess that already exists.
But yes, this conversation is mostly about reaching specific editors who might be helped to stop making troubling edits. I agree that the communication features are important, and both apps teams have been and will continue to work on communication features. Some of the problems that we're talking about have already been addressed on Android; I think that in the case mentioned in the thread on Jimbo's talk page, they would have received talk page notifications as of March 30th — but that was sadly too late to reach that user. These conversations have inspired us to talk more about the communication features as a product team, and I appreciate the folks who have brought it up here. — DannyH (WMF) (talk) 20:37, 3 May 2021 (UTC)
DannyH (WMF), the desktop site is fully functional on modern mobile devices. The solution to this problem to shut down all apps and sites that are not fully functional, and redirect all users to the desktop site, which should be renamed the "fully functional site". That would save enormous amounts of money and draw a gigantic worldwide pool of new editors into the WMF free knowledge websites. Right now, we are erecting barriers to collaboration with people editing with mobile devices, and that is terribly sad. I speak as an editor who has been editing and more recently administrating with Android smartphones for ten years. 99+% of my edits are on smartphones. The WMF is spending buckets of money on a problem that does not exist, and making matters worse in the process. Cullen328 Let's discuss it
While this may have been a hypothetical, I would personally oppose such a proposal, solely because while the desktop site is functional on mobile, the text is still really small. The probably-crazy solution that immediately comes to mind is to switch the site skin to the new Responsive MonoBook, because that would display the content at a reasonable size on mobile while presumably allowing IPs to see the Orange Bar of Doom. (I haven't tested this, but I assume it works because unlike Minerva, MonoBook is maintained by the editing community.) Also, there are some plans to make Vector responsive too, but I don't know anything about that. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 22:19, 5 May 2021 (UTC)
At least a couple of us have disagreed with your view a few times, Cullen. The desktop site is not at all well optimised, and the apps are better for reading already. The solution is not to delete everything, rather than fix the issues. It's such an overly simplistic view anyway; compare this to this in terms of page size. I mean, the suggestion just isn't considerate of all the language projects and global users, and is just so unlikely to happen that it distracts from real solutions, which really is to disable editing in the interim / provide a roadmap, or at least allow the community to do that if it wishes to by consensus. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 01:36, 6 May 2021 (UTC)
hear hear. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 08:35, 6 May 2021 (UTC)
I agree that just nuking mobile and forcing everyone to use desktop is the wrong solution. What many people don't quite grasp is that not everyone is like them. They assume that because they have a large screen smartphone and a fast connection, then of course everyone does, and if a desktop website works for them then of course it works fine for for everyone else.
In the real world some people access Wikipedia on old flip phones, satellite phones with huge packet delays, rugged industrial phones with tiny screens, and ancient computers using modems.
I recently finished a preliminary design for a major toy manufacturer that includes a very low performance web browser with a really cheap display. That one got cancelled (90% of toys that make it to prototype do) but sooner or later you are going to see something similar in the toy aisle at Wal-mart for $29.95 USD. --Guy Macon (talk) 11:02, 6 May 2021 (UTC)

#suggestededit-add 1.0[edit]

I think it would be a good idea to also bring up what I think is the related issue of the #suggestededit-add 1.0 process, as this seems to a mobile idea. See for example Jomart Allaguliyev (talk · contribs), a new mobile user who has made over 1000 edits exclusively through this process. Most are fine, but some are wrong, and some are almost nonsensical. Sometimes they re-do and worsen their own better work! [2] [3]. They've also a few times made the same edit twice after being reverted [4][5], which feels like something popped up and they simply repeated the action? The only documentation seems to be on Wikidata, so it is unclear how exactly these are happening or where they're happening from. There is an old Phab task (T227623) closed suggesting the process is working as intended. CMD (talk) 02:42, 22 April 2021 (UTC)

I'm confused about how this is a suggestedit issue. That editor was given exactly one warning, as far as I can tell. If an editor is editing disruptively, the first step is to notify them on their talk page, isn't it? (Also, I have fixed your broken link above.) – Jonesey95 (talk) 04:26, 22 April 2021 (UTC)
Thanks for the fix. The user is not editing disruptively, on the whole. The point is, this user's edits are being solely guided by some program out there providing editing suggestions to new users, provided by WMF, of which there seems to be little documentation. How is it not a suggested edit issue, when any potential disruptiveness would presumably be due to this feature? It would be nice to have documentation. If the edit summaries are automatically generated, why don't they include a wikilink to such documentation? The Mediawiki FAQ states only that it is to "Add short descriptions to articles that are missing descriptions", which is clearly not the case given these are edits to existing short descriptions. CMD (talk) 09:14, 22 April 2021 (UTC)

new page Wikipedia:Wikimedia proposals[edit]

Hi. I have created the page below, simply to facilitate greater awareness and discussion of current and active proposals by WMF, in the most inclusive and positive way possible. any comments and input are welcome. thanks!!

thanks. --Sm8900 (talk) 14:39, 8 April 2021 (UTC)

I'm not the most familiar with existing venues for announcements from the WMF, but I have some concern this could become a fork of any such existing venues and end up inactive. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 22:45, 12 April 2021 (UTC)
I misread that as in the most inconclusive...way possible and thought "yup, that sounds like noticeboard business as usual" GeneralNotability (talk) 23:16, 12 April 2021 (UTC)
lol! good one! Face-smile.svg ---Sm8900 (talk) 🚀🌍 15:17, 22 April 2021 (UTC)
You may want to add meta:IP Editing: Privacy Enhancement and Abuse Mitigation and meta:Wikimedia Enterprise. Also, shortcuts usually have no spaces. So WP:WMPROPOSALS better than WP:WM PROPOSALS. MarioGom (talk) 23:32, 12 April 2021 (UTC)
thanks for those suggestions. much appreciated. ---Sm8900 (talk) 🚀🌍 15:17, 22 April 2021 (UTC)

Charter drafting process proposal and discussion[edit]

Certain individuals who were involved in the strategy process have put forward a proposal for going forward with the Interim Global Council and Movement Charter. Part of the proposal is to start the IGC with a group of people who were active in the Strategy groups, rather than starting with some other selection process such as elections, as had been suggested previously. The proposal also suggests limiting the IGC's scope to so that it does not include strategy implementation oversight.

There's going to be an open zoom call on the topic in about an hour from now. --Yair rand (talk) 01:12, 21 April 2021 (UTC)

Board elections resolution[edit]

See m:Wikimedia Foundation Board noticeboard/2021-04-15 Resolution about the upcoming Board elections. Tl;dr: Call for candidates for the election of four community-elected trustees is planned to start June 8, voting from July 20 to August 3, using a system of proportional representation to be decided by the elections committee. (Timeline may be delayed if ElecCom thinks this isn't enough time to set things up.) In a future election, the Board may introduce geographic or gender quotas. See the full proposal. --Yair rand (talk) 19:25, 21 April 2021 (UTC)

Which is a change from the previous direct election system, just to make it clearer. —DerHexer (Talk) 09:42, 23 April 2021 (UTC)
DerHexer, what changed? Levivich harass/hound 22:05, 23 April 2021 (UTC)
This remains uncertain to me, and does not seem to have been clarified in the proposal. Instead, this seems to be left open to the Election Committee. Best, —DerHexer (Talk) 23:52, 23 April 2021 (UTC)
That's a good outcome, I'm glad they're sticking to a fairly simple process. --RaiderAspect (talk) 12:19, 24 April 2021 (UTC)

Meta proposal: closing the gap between communities in discussions with WMF[edit]


This proposal grew out of concerns editors on the Portuguese Wikipedia had about the current fundraising campaign in Brazil – editors were unhappy with the design and wording of the banners, and wondered why the WMF hadn't consulted the local community beforehand.

What's proposed is that community consultation should not just happen on Meta. Rather, WMF staff should initiate important discussions concerning finance, security etc. in the various wikis' Village Pumps (or equivalent), with a central page on Meta serving not just as a space for discussion, but also as a directory of discussions on that topic in the various language wikis, with a link to each.

Free machine translation programs like DeepL (excellent quality) and Google Translate (slightly inferior quality, but more supported languages right now) have become so good that it's very much easier than a few years ago to get an idea what people in other wikis are saying. It may sometimes help for people to see that different communities have quite similar views and concerns, and that insight may also strengthen the position of volunteers vis-a-vis the WMF.

At any rate, the idea is that any decisions taken by the WMF and/or on Meta should reflect the wider consensus, including that of editors who don't participate much on Meta because of language barriers or simply because they don't know their way around there.

If you like or dislike the idea or have anything to add, please chip in either here and/or on Meta. Cheers! --Andreas JN466 17:48, 3 May 2021 (UTC)

Here is the wording of the proposal as posted on Meta
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.


  • Problem: abysmal distance between Meta and Base Communities
What we have today is a star design with Meta in center

What we have today is a Meta formed by users who have migrated from their base communities (home wikis) and formed a new community, who decide and impose these decisions on the base communities in a top-down model of governance. In this model, the design of the relationship between Meta and the base communities is a star, with Meta at the center, where each base community has a relationship only with Meta. In the image on the right, Meta is represented by the central green dot.


The negative consequences of these models are several. To name a few: a) the decisions do not reflect the opinion of the totality of the communities, but only of those who form the community on Meta; b) editors and users who do not have the full confidence of their base communities, but possess that of the Meta community, end up deciding and imposing their decisions on the base communities; c) sometimes decisions of the base community are administratively contested by Meta (formed by outsiders in relation to the base communities), overruling the decisions of the base community; d) several editors that don't frequent Meta (for various reasons, such as language, difference of political and technical structure, lack of time and others) end up not participating in the decisions on Meta; e) there is no knowledge and recognition between communities, since they don't interact other than through Meta; f) etc.


1) Concerns about the fundraising banner, which is not at all harmonious with the Brazilian (Portuguese? Others?) society (therefore probably not very effective), and not even with the community (see the discussion at: here) (with participation of: Ppena (WMF) and JBrungs (WMF));

2) Serious safety problems caused by deficient or non-existent guidelines on how to behave to protect oneself from lawsuits and other abuses (no response from AKeton (WMF), Jrogers (WMF) and JSutherland (WMF) on the topic). Lack of guidelines that should have a clear line for users to access the protections provided by WMF (discussion of the topic can be found at Legal guidelines and intervention.

3) etc.

  • Suggestion: Meta as communication channel and organizer
What's proposed is a Mesh design organized by Meta

A modification in the function and structure of the Meta wiki is proposed, changing the communication structure between Meta and base communities from Star to Mesh, where the Meta does not function as a centralizer and separate decision maker, but as a communication channel and organizer of discussions. In the image on the right, Meta is not symbolized by any points, but by the edges connecting the points. Meta, in this sense, does not form a separate community, but forms the base communities' communication channels.

In practice

In practice, this would work like this: every important decision (for example on finance and security) would have to open a page on Meta and immediately, without fail, open a page on the largest Wikimedia communities (x registered editors or other criteria), and could be taken to others depending on the interest and willingness of local users. In this way, in addition to discussions on Meta itself, discussions would take place in parallel on various communities forums and in various languages simultaneously. Furthermore, there will be a link in each of these discussions to all other discussions, so that editors in one base community can easily access the correct discussions in the other base community.

It is not necessary that all arguments be brought into Meta, but if decisions are made on Meta, this will then be in a more decentralized way, enriched by diverse discussions.

Minor digression: Google translate[edit]


The fascinating thing about Google translate is that one person says that is is really good and another person translating between the same languages says that it is awful. Or someone says that is is great with language A but terrible with language B while someone else comes to the same conclusion with A and B reversed.

So why does this happen?

First, GT tries to break down each sentence into individual phrases and, based on previous translations, tries to find a match in their database -- and the database is huge.

So if the president of France makes a major announcement that is picked up and translated in all the international newspapers, and later you use a part of a phrase that he used on a Wikipedia talk page, the translation is spot on. But if there is a hugely popular joke with a punchline that translates "Adios Amigo" into "Eat a Banana", that may be what you get.

If no translated phrase is found, GT does a word-for word translation with algorithms that try to understand the sentence structure of each language -- poorly. Which can run into the "Time flies like an arrow/Fruit flies like a banana" problem -- but only if those two phrases are not in the database.

Thus you get the fascinating effect that the translation of one phrase rocks while the translation of another phrase sucks. And by writing that I just made GT a little bit worse at translating "the pump sucks water out of the bilge, but if the boat rocks it sucks air instead". --Guy Macon (talk) 21:45, 3 May 2021 (UTC)

Guy Macon, my experience: good at French, really bad at Dutch :-) Guy (help! - typo?) 21:49, 3 May 2021 (UTC)
Guy Macon, have you tried DeepL. I tend to use Bing translate as well. scope_creepTalk 16:43, 5 May 2021 (UTC)

Various upcoming WMF office hours[edit]

--Yair rand (talk) 19:46, 4 May 2021 (UTC)