Wikipedia:VisualEditor/Feedback

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Help Local archives

empty suggested parameters in templates[edit]

I do not use VE. I have learned that VE inserts empty parameters into the wikitext when the TemplateData identifies the parameter as "suggested": true. Why? If an editor chooses to leave the parameter blank, what value is gained by putting the blank parameter into the wikitext? There is sufficient clutter in the wikitext without automated tools adding unused parameters to templates.

The issue arose from a GA review where I questioned why an editor was adding blank |pages= and |via= parameters to {{cite book}}. Both of those parameters are identified a 'suggested' in the TemplateData. Except for clutter, adding |via= is harmless, but |page=, |pages=, and |at= are all mutually exclusive. VE apparently is not aware of this; not surprising really, the cs1|2 templates a not simple templates. The solution that would seem best is for VE to populate templates with parameters that hold a value and leave out empty optional and 'suggested' parameters.

Trappist the monk (talk) 13:26, 8 September 2016 (UTC)

If page/pages/at are mutually exclusive, doesn't that mean that the TemplateData needs fixing? Kerry (talk) 01:26, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
If memory serves, other editors asked for the current behavior (a couple of years ago), in the hope that the blank wikitext parameters would encourage someone else (i.e., someone using the wikitext editor) to fill them in later.
TemplateData doesn't currently handle interesting cases such as strongly wanting either |page= or |pages=, but never both. That will probably happen in the future. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 20:20, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
I spend a lot of time mucking about with cs1|2 templates. It may be that leaving behind blank parameters in the hopes that another editor will fill them will work in the occasional rare case, and there may even be gnomes who like doing that work, but on the whole, empty parameters in my experience tend to stay empty more-or-less forever. Better to leave them out, or if you are working on a template that has empty parameters, remove them.
Trappist the monk (talk) 23:59, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
I can see your point for citation templates added by experienced editors, but if they remove all the blank parameters, then the infobox people will be angry (again. We've already had that conversation). Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:19, 19 September 2016 (UTC)

Revisiting VE in preparation for an editathon[edit]

My advice to students has been: Don't touch VE, as all your potential mentors will not be using it. It is still in alpha. But each year I revisit VE to see how it has improved. I found one activity where it is the best tool and that is in adding wikilinks in existing text.

However here are my list of no-nos

1. It is so slow to load
2. When you save your work- you have to load VE again from scratch- it is so slow. You advise your students to 'save little and often' and with a room of students on a single IP it dies. When saving there should be a save and continue option
3. When you leave a page without saving- there is no warning and nothing is in a buffer that can be recovered. (This was after doing a page of 20 wikilinks).
4. When adding a citation to a page that uses {-{sfn}-}, {-{sfnref}-} it can't find the existing references. It needs to do that and not to screw up the formatting
5. VE editor doesn't have a indent/unident icon- I am not sure if it can even do it.
6. I looked at the Help- this is not suitable for an end-user: being ordered for a software developer- it is really only a 'look what I have completed list'

More comments will follow as I probe deeper. Nevertheless greetings to all ClemRutter (talk) 10:31, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

  1. 'too slow' I personally don't experience that, but I do know that for 5 percent of the requests it can be rather slow. That is mostly due to first time loading, being on a slow connection, using old computers and when loading very large articles. The same for the old editor of course, but while for 95% the VE editor is at most 4 seconds instead of 2 seconds for WikiEditor, the performance penalty for those last 5% is much worse with VE (unto 20 and more seconds). Time will mostly solve this. (if you are using a 56k modem, i'm sure you wouldn't want to use the Wikitext editor or Wikipedia at all).
  2. 'save and continue'. This has been considered I seem to remember, but I think it requires first completing the move away from Tidy, so that wikitext and Parsoid serializer generate the same visual output when invalid HTML is at play..
  3. 'there is no warning'. That should not be true. It uses the exact same system to guard against this as the wikitext editor, and I just used it, it works. What browser and setup are you using, maybe it's specific to one of those. Related to auto-save and recovery are phab:T132570, phab:T57370.
  4. 'sfn' I don't know enough about this part.
  5. 'VE editor doesn't have a indent/unident icon'. It does for lists... If you mean indentation when there is no list, then I'd note that wikitext doesn't feature such indentation. The only indentation allowed by the manual of style of en.wp is block quotes (and these are available in text style menu). We only have multiple levels of indentation in talk pages, which actually is a fake list. That latter feature will likely not be supported by VE, because it is... terrible, and since VE doesn't support talk pages to begin with, it has little use in VE.
  6. 'this is not suitable for an end-user'. I guess it's meant to be a reference work, not a "Your first steps into VE". I would like to note that such manuals are usually not written by developers, but by the community however. Often because the rules of wiki's also differ per community. There is Help:Introduction_to_editing_with_VisualEditor, maybe we should link it into Wikipedia:VisualEditor/User_guide ? —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 12:43, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the quick response. I am looking at it from the point of view of a tutor, and my own personal choices are minor when confronted with 25 academics who have all brought their own laptops (Androids, Apple, Linux flavours and Microsoft),to the large room in the university that has got the worst internet signal. Don't take offence.
I am giving a snapshot of the system I see today. I am talking about features that users use- we can use bots to convert their faltering first steps to MOS. Use any of my comments to raise tickets or whatever.
sfns are a serious concern- and demand a little study. They are useful because academics are used to the markup- Name, year, page- linking to a full reference below that can be easily typed up using one of our 4 templates which will contain the field (ref= sfn-ref{-{Name, year}-} it also encourages users to leave anecdotes in {-{efn}-} which appear in the notelist, rather than stilting the text to fit them in in-line. Above all they are easy to explain, and correct when they go wrong (important to the tutor).
Our students are usual brilliant in their own field but use computers without any formal training- so it is the KISS principle to the power of the number of people in the room. --ClemRutter (talk) 13:36, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
Why not encourage them to use both? Isn't the main advantage of VE, is its user-friendliness and WYSIWYG-part? I would imagine that most new editors with no prior knowledge to source editing would prefer it. Now doing more intermediate tasks, like sfn etc which aren't implemented yet or are buggy, tell them to go to source editing where their tutors can help them. I personally use VE almost 90 percent of the time now. When I come across such situations like sfn, I just make the same citation again with the relevant page no and when done, switch to source and convert them to sfn. Even the {{rp}} template is can be used temporarily: See Wikipedia:VisualEditor/Feedback/Archive_2016_1#Citing_using_Visual_Editor_.28same_book_but_different_page_numbers.29. Ugog Nizdast (talk) 14:11, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
Mainly we are talking to people who would rather be somewhere else- but as someone in the department had to go they volunteered. We have a very disappointing conversion rate where few actually continue to edit- they are not the sort of people that can be persuaded- they are too busy. Can I give you a link to a beginners training booklet- each course will be tailored a different way this one had referencing on a separate sheet Nottingham Correcting or improving an article for the first time. It is far from perfect- but shows you how we encourage them to use the talk space (no VE) before they hit mainspace. These notes are designed to be read at home as reminders of what was covered. We have no idea what our users backgrounds will be- but all will be familiar with the departmental email text editor, and most will have prepared manuscripts using various WP packages. Very few will be familiar with many mobile phone apps. I have other booklets that demonstrate things like tables, pie-charts etc. and would personally love to have a VE version- so I can switch. I am not in a position to tell, only to suggest. The software must be in a position where it decides when to switch- the switch must be seemless or you frighten the horses. The software must help the user- not the otherway round. If I say the average age of my students is 50+, and they have a lot to contribute if we can persuade them to stay. (sorry real life has intervened- back later) --ClemRutter (talk) 19:42, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
@ClemRutter: and I think it's really useful that you give this feedback, it's really important that we all collect feedback from parties on what works and what doesn't work. Please try collecting as much as possible. I'm not working on this system, and as a volunteer I can only tell you what I know. Some of these points are definitely already on the radar, but tackling them can sometimes take really long, because they will also touch or interact with many systems.
BTW, it would be really cool if once in a while, you could ask a participant if you can video part of their first-steps. That's really valuable information for the developers and UX people. Might give some interesting results. Elitre should know the WMF team that could interface with you on that. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 16:23, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
That would be mw:Wikimedia Research/Design Research. Daisy in particular works closely with the visual editor team. HTH, --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 08:31, 21 September 2016 (UTC)

To chime in on three points:

  • Indentation: if this is being taught to people who are editing articles, that is a mistake. WP:MOS in no way supports this. Indentation is used on talk pages (for which VE is unavailable), but - again - is not used in articles. Any indentation in articles is a result of lists, or block quotes, or other functionality; it's not done directly. [I'm open to counter-examples, but in the thousands of articles that I've edited, I've never seen an appropriate use of the colon for indentation, and I've probably encountered such usage in less than a dozen cases.]
  • In-line help: No, VE doesn't have this (except for some programmer-written, less-than-helpful help in the Options dialog), though VE should. Or, to be explicit, what VE should have is built-in variables that allow each language community to write their own in-line help information, and such information should be able to include links, so that an editor who doesn't get enough help from the pop-up help item can then drill deeper into the Wikipedia documentation. (Communities could start by using chunks of their VE user manual, where the translation has been done.)
  • VE doesn't handle unusual locations of footnotes very well, if at all. {{Sfn}} is one example; footnotes inside of templates (typically infoboxes) is another; footnotes inside of {{reflist}} is a third (and, in my opinion, the most serious). I sympathize with the VE team, given that taking the position that "it's a user problem" isn't very popular, while solving this purely technically is somewhere between difficult and impossible. What this points out is that the "footnotes are just text that is numbered and displayed in a group, somewhere on the page" approach is fundamentally flawed: references/footnotes/citations should be a completely different layer (namespace). If that were done, then all the non-standard footnote formatting (and there are more than the two I mentioned, above) wouldn't be an issue, because it wouldn't be necessary - it could be handled with user preferences. [End soapbox.] -- John Broughton (♫♫) 16:34, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
In that sheet: typos at "Independant" and "yout". This makes a good short helpful guide, maybe could serve as an example boilerplate for other future editathons; is it at wp-namespace? but I'm sure there must be many other help guides anyway. Ugog Nizdast (talk) 16:55, 21 September 2016 (UTC)

I love it![edit]

User agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/53.0.2785.116 Safari/537.36

URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Radical_SAM&action=edit

93.128.243.40 (talk) 22:40, 24 September 2016 (UTC)

Poke at the 2017 wikitext editor[edit]

The current version of the mw:2017 wikitext editor can be seen via Beta Features at the Beta Cluster.

Create an account (do *NOT* use a password that you use anywhere else; this is one of the WMF test sites that gets the newest/most broken code, so there's always a chance of a security problem) and login. Go to https://en.wikipedia.beta.wmflabs.org/wiki/Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-betafeatures and enable the "new wikitext editor" item. Then go to http://en.wikipedia.beta.wmflabs.org/wiki/World?action=edit (or any article) and see what it looks like when you switch back and forth.

BTW, the devs expect to have a basic auto-saving feature by the time is stable enough to move to the regular projects. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 21:53, 26 September 2016 (UTC)

I was eager to examine the new wikitext editor concept, but the Beta Cluster wiki blocked me with a blank captcha when I tried to create an account. Alsee (talk) 07:42, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Alsee, I thought you had created several accounts there months ago. Well, if it's not working at the moment, then I recommend trying again tomorrow. The Beta Cluster is frequently at least partially broken (its main purpose is to give devs a safe place to break stuff), but it usually gets fixed within a few hours or a day at most. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 17:14, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

References tag vs. reflist template - status?[edit]

Not really a bug report, just curious and I couldn't find the Phab task for it: Have there been any news or updates regarding Template:reflist (incl. columns) vs. the VE-supported "standard" references tag? As far as I know, there has been some discussion to add missing features to the references tag a few months ago, but I am not sure about the details. Currently en-Wiki uses 2 similar but different reflists simultaneously; VE uses references tags by default, but the reflist template is historically far more common. This situation is probably not a big deal for now, but sub-optimal in the long run. Is that topic still on the agenda somewhere? GermanJoe (talk) 15:54, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

I think you are looking for phab:T53260 and/or phab:T33597. Last I heard, it had stalled (I don't know why). Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:36, 29 September 2016 (UTC)