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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Add a message to the account creation page

Hi all,

When creating an account people make some common mistakes, such as using shared accounts, unacceptable usernames, creating duplicate accounts, and so on. To overcome this I would perhaps suggest modifying MediaWiki:Signupstart.

This page could link to a very short starting page, for example "First time signing up? Check the policies and guidelines". The policies and guidelines link would link to something like WP:NewAccLand that would say

Hi! Here are a few tips when signing up:

Or alternatively this entire text could be displayed on the signup page as it is rather small.

Or alternatively this text could be included in the email verification message body, but I think it would reach fewer users there.

Some such change could be made for a month and statistics for sockpuppetry could be investigated to see whether it helps.

Please say what you think. --Gryllida (talk) 23:55, 30 March 2018 (UTC)

Discussed sort-of-recently at Wikipedia:Village pump (miscellaneous)/Archive 57#Special:CreateAccount. —Cryptic 00:59, 31 March 2018 (UTC)
Thank you, Cryptic. It appears that the idea was liked there. Several options were discussed:
  • do nothing (not actively raised)
  • reword 'help me choose' to 'username policy' (PrimeHunter liked it, Oshwah said it is only the bare minimum and it is not sufficient)
  • add a summary of the policy on the login page (Oshwah and Jéské Couriano and Drewmutt and Clarkcj12 liked it; Noyster proposed to modify the message to also discourage COI editors from contributing; Jo-Jo Eumerus raised concerns that people do not read the policy if a summary is provided)
What would be a good venue to discuss the choice of the preferred solution and details of its implementation? --Gryllida (talk) 06:29, 4 April 2018 (UTC)
Jo-Jo Eumerus made valid points about scaring off new users. When actively encouraging potential valuable new editors they often say that they think WP is a tight club, and can't be bothered with all the hassle involved with learning conventions and rules. Think of the psychology. Less is more. ClemRutter (talk) 08:44, 4 April 2018 (UTC)
The culling of displaying account creation guidelines was a WMF decision, see Account creation user experience. I remember some documents comparing our process to the near frictionless signup of Twitter and Facebook. Because Wikipedia is totally a social network. — Dispenser 11:56, 4 April 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, cause we be special snowflakes that think that general rules of design don't apply to us... Wikipedia:Facebookization. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 08:58, 5 April 2018 (UTC)

An automatic system for collecting virtual points?

Not sure if this is the best place to talk about this idea, so let me know if there is a better place to mention it.

I find Reddit to be a surprising competitor to wikipedia in terms of volunteer contributions. It might not be obvious at the beginning, but if you think about it it really is. How feasible would it be to have a system akin to Reddit's Karma point system?

While it will not incentivize everybody, it will open the pool of valuable editors to quite a large potential contribuitors. If you don't believe me, think how any system of virtual rewards has been highly effective in every popular modern game. Every virtual rewards that wikipedia has is very indirect. Some editors place banners on their own pages listing how many edits they might have - but that does not distinguish between valuable edits, minor edits or even trolling. People at FA and FL put stars on the top of their user pages, but these are like a super secret easter eggs.

The closest wikipedia has come is the "thanks" system as a form of upvoting, but there is no counter for it, and it is an internal (between the two editors), rarely an external form of gratitude. Many editors get tired after a while of just volunteering. And more often than not, at some point there will be conflictual people that make all the volunteering work not worthwhile. Eventually, the minority editors get little to no appreciation (see RfAs) and slowly, an immovable mass of editors gets to dominate the works - until even they get tired and even they will slowly start retreating.

I guess WikiCup is a democratized system for that, but it requires active participation from their judges, and from all the reviewing process - therefore is not really sustainable, especially for new editors.

TL;DR: can you guys think of a feasible system akin to Reddit's karma points? Something that gets easily displayed and calculated, and is not stuck behind beaurocratic processes. Nergaal (talk) 13:26, 5 April 2018 (UTC)

I like it. A line at the bottom of each article, with smiley and frownie to click. Or some variant thereof. Talk Page gets a little box with up, down, and read count for past week and past year. Eventually, add a questionnaire asking a random sample of upvotes what's good? And downvotes, what's bad? Readability, completeness, up to date, too long, unfair, whatever. Jim.henderson (talk) 00:15, 10 April 2018 (UTC)
@Jim.henderson: We had that (WP:AFT). It didn't work great. --Izno (talk) 00:35, 10 April 2018 (UTC)
@Izno: A quick review of Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Article feedback makes me think a) this attempt, eight years ago, was too ambitious, and b) many editors expected too much. Keep it simple. Start with the good / bad choice as proposed at the start this section. Only if that works after a little refinement, try a somewhat fancier version as I proposed. Either way we get simple scorecards. Were we to solicit original comments, it would serve more to give the passionate but inattentive among our readers a chance to vent steam, than to help editors gain more understanding. Written dialog is a mighty power and we editors depend on it, but WP lacks the software of a proper social network of the kind that expresses the feelings of people who haven't learned to organize an argument or even a sentence, and maybe we shouldn't seek such a thing. We can settle for simple opinion polls of individual articles. Jim.henderson (talk) 18:13, 10 April 2018 (UTC)
@Jim.henderson: The version I was most familiar with simply asked for a smiley face, a frowny face, or a between face, and requested a brief comment. Your suggested stripped down version also didn't indicate/help much at all. --Izno (talk) 18:31, 10 April 2018 (UTC)
AFT requires energy. Reddit or facebook user "contributions" are rewarded with "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" single-clicks. Going through a menu like AFT is not conducive random people "thumbing up" a contribution. Nergaal (talk) 18:16, 11 April 2018 (UTC)
Seems like we are talking at cross purposes here. There is a big difference in voting on the contribution of an individual editor or the usefulness of a page as a whole. Derek Andrews (talk) 22:49, 13 April 2018 (UTC)

Numbering pages

I had an idea I'd like to share; to see if others like it. Add page numbers to the bottom center of each article page; as if it were an actual book, and perhaps allow some navigation from the page number as well. It might be kind of neat knowing which article is just before yours, or just after, or which article is at page 1 or page 5,623,540, or simply that you are then editing page 2,643,712. What do others think? Thank you.--John Cline (talk) 11:07, 1 April 2018 (UTC)

If you click the "Page information" link in the sidebar, you can find the "Page ID" as one of the entries there. You can navigate to the page by ID using a link like Special:Redirect/page/42. Anomie 20:14, 1 April 2018 (UTC)
The page ID is assigned in order of page creation and includes pages in all namespaces. I gues the suggestion is about an alphabetical list like a printed encyclopedia. That corresponds to Special:AllPages. PrimeHunter (talk) 22:19, 1 April 2018 (UTC)
Below is code you can place in your common JavaScript to get a "Next pages" link under Tools in the left pane. On Example it will go to Special:AllPages/Example. It doesn't jump directly to the next page. PrimeHunter (talk) 22:37, 1 April 2018 (UTC)
$.when( $.ready, mw.loader.using('mediawiki.util') ).then( function() {
    mw.util.getUrl( 'Special:AllPages/' ) + encodeURI( mw.config.get( 'wgPageName' ) ),
    'Next pages',
    'Show next pages in alphabetical order',
  • I cannot see much use in page ID's, which are essentially random. I could see links like < previous article ... next article > leading to whatever is alphabetically just before and after the article. That could be interesting and might in some cases actually be useful. Problem is the links may be lost at the foot of the page, and I suspect there would be resistance to putting them at the top. Aymatth2 (talk) 17:54, 2 April 2018 (UTC)
  • I corrected the provided example javascript code to comply with current standards. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 09:01, 5 April 2018 (UTC)

Can software be made to perform bot functions?

Hello, I'm Horus from Thai Wikipedia. I've come to see many wonderful bots here in English Wikipedia. However, my local wiki has no active bot operators who runs these wonderful functions (they were but now inactive). My question is can software that runs Wikipedia make bot functions default rather than dependent on individual bot operators being active?

Some bot function which would be definitely beneficial such as category move, listing items (such as in Wikipedia:Dashboard), etc.? --Horus (talk) 15:30, 5 April 2018 (UTC)

Hi Horus, most things can be "possible"! For most of the WMF controlled systems it is not "easy" to move many of these things to be server-side processed, but it does happen - often through the extensions process. For example, we used to rely mostly on bots to distribute bulk user messages, but now this is primarily done server-side via mw:Extension:MassMessage. The mw:Extension:AbuseFilter is another example of a very process intense function that has been installed server-side. Tasks such as "category moves" aren't currently good candidates because the way we use categories (by including wikitext within a page). — xaosflux Talk 17:28, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
In which case can I ask for these features? Or at least who should I talk to first? --Horus (talk) 17:57, 5 April 2018 (UTC)

Generic CSS Counter

There are some circumstances in which you just can't get around needing to number something that can't be automatically numbered using lists. Like rows in a table.

CSS has a really lovely capability to arbitrarily create counters that could be really useful in a number of ways. It would probably be really simple to create a template that would provide really flexible and arbitrarily complex counters except that in order to display the counter's values you need to use the "::before" pseudo selector which, obviously, can't be used in inline CSS. However, it seems to me that all it would require to provide the functionality would be a single, simple class definition in Wikipedia's main CSS... Basically, it would require something like:

.csscounter::before { content: counter(var(--counter-name)); }

and authors would be able to create their own arbitrary counters using inline CSS like:

<p style='--counter-name:MyCounter1; counter-increment: --counter-name;' class='csscounter'>.</p>

Of course, you don't have to always include increment and display in the same element; you could be counting something on the page and only displaying a total at the bottom.

I'm not sure if css variables make it through the filters but even if you could only have a single counter on the page and hard-code the counter name, that would be really useful. I also have no idea whether something like this would be defacto against policy/convention? Any thoughts?

Shaav (talk) 08:54, 16 April 2018 (UTC)

Extension:TemplateStyles, coming reasonably soon, will allow for embedding the counter-related CSS into articles (e.g. testwiki:User:Anomie/Sandbox/counter). var() won't be supported, though. Anomie 11:43, 16 April 2018 (UTC)
That's perfect Anomie! Thank you! And var() won't matter if you can actually specify styles. Is there something I can watch to be alerted once it's available? Also, in your Sandbox, it wasn't entirely clear to me how you added the style... could you elaborate? Nm, I sorted it! Shaav (talk) 23:32, 17 April 2018 (UTC)
It'll probably be announced and discussed at WP:Village pump (technical) once it's available here. You might also watch phab:T133410. Anomie 00:02, 18 April 2018 (UTC)
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