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:

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  • 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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WikiSandy (Contextually Enhanced Search)

WikiSandy proposed project

Provide a Wikipedia search service that indexes Wikipedia data semantically, based on sentence structure; subject, subject complement, or direct object, etc. versus just key words. Recognize information that is not directly communicated by the author, by relating acronyms, abbreviations, and compound nouns to appropriate subject matter within an article. Results will be ordered and prioritized by the strength of the correlation of search term to the sentences returned. Results will provide full sentences where possible, with deep links to those sentences, making it possible for users to jump directly to those sentences of interest. Such a tool will improve the search experience within Wikipedia and increase the value of the Wikipedia data. Any help or feedback would be greatly appreciated.

See a demo at www.wikisandy.org — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sandypondfarm (talkcontribs) 14:30, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

Regards Thomas Cowley [[1]] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sandypondfarm (talkcontribs) 13:57, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

An example might help. I don't have the first clue as to what this initiative would achieve.--S Philbrick(Talk) 20:27, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for asking

What’s unique about WikiSandy?

• WikiSandy is an en.wikipedia.org specific experimental search engine that indexes Wikipedia data semantically, based on sentence structure; subject, subject complement, or direct object, etc. versus just key words.

• It typically returns full sentences for the user to review.

• take Me there (tMt) links to sentences in the actual source articles allowing the user to jump directly to that sentence no matter where it is in the article!

• WikiSandy answers follow-up questions maintaining context. This means you can search for Abraham Lincoln, get results, and then ask, “What did he do?”, and get relevant results.

• Click aLike to view other documents with the same sentence discovered by WikiSandy. This shows you other articles on the same topic.

• Tell Me Something will bring you to random query results.

• Example Questions will give you some demo queries.

• View the User Guide for more details.

Please feel free to test drive http://www.wikisandy.org — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sandypondfarm (talkcontribs) 13:19, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

These search results tend to be superior to the default Wikimedia search results (at least for wikipedia), compare (inventor of radio vs these (note you'll need to type the search). It finds "Guglielmo Marconi" which wikipedia doesn't even return as a result. The context based approach is generally superior, except for technical searches. The first step is probably to create an Extension or a plugin to improve upon the default search engine (Extension:Cirrussearch. Perhaps you're confusing a "Wikimedia project" (e.g. wiktionary:) and so forth with a tool (e.g. extension) to their default software.

Filing a phabricator task about adding context based search (with a link to your work) to Mediawiki / MediaWiki extension might be a good first step. You might want to read up on mw:Review_queue to deploy an extension, and maybe contact the Discovery team to get their feedback.

This is pretty novel and useful work ...

20:09, 7 June 2017 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 197.218.83.111 (talk)

Only allowing administrators to edit policy pages in order to solve the problem of instruction creep

Would only allowing administrators to edit official policy pages help to solve the problem of instruction creep? Uncle dan is home (talk) 06:29, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

IMHO, yes; but should the question be asked at WT:Village pump (policy)? — Stanning (talk) 11:22, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
I'll take begging the question for $100, Alex.
Do our policy pages suffer from appreciable, significant, and harmful instruction creep?
Taking the first core policy that I can think of, WP:NPOV, is it really WP:CREEPy?
  • The page has only seen five edits this year (2017). Two were the addition and removal of a nitwit April Fool's edit, two added a link to WP:RECENTISM to the list of 'Other resources' at the bottom of the page, and the last one added anchors for incoming shortcuts. None changed the body of the policy.
  • Here's the diff of all changes made last year (calendar 2016): [2]. It's essentially all trivial wordsmithing and formatting, and not very much of it at that.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that if you're seeing serious instruction creep on a 'policy' page, it's probably because...
  • it deals with such narrow interests that very few editors will bother to watchlist (and maintain) the page;
  • it deals with such trivial details that almost no one cares what the document actually says; or
  • it's still in flux and probably shouldn't be tagged as a 'policy' in the first place.
Do you have a substantial number of particular examples that would demonstrate that this is really a widespread problem requiring a broad and draconian solution? I note that WP:NPOV muddles along just fine with semi-protection, and that only to keep a lid on vandalism. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 12:18, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not seeing what benefit this brings either. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 21:24, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
Were you really thinking of policies (only), or of policies and guidelines and other pages that aren't technically either but might as well be? There are a few dozen policies, and they're pretty stable. There are hundreds of guidelines and thousands of similar-ish pages, and some of them change quite a lot. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:06, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
@WhatamIdoing: (since your "you" link is directed at me) – yes, I was thinking of policies only. I think that by this time WP should be mature enough to have policies which are near-enough fixed, so changing them should be exceptional and unusual, so the ability to make changes should be restricted to the higher ranks. You may say (and I might agree) that WP isn't mature yet, as evidenced by the amount of argumentdiscussion on the guideline talk pages, which is why I wouldn't yet fix the guideline pages in the same way. — Stanning (talk) 14:39, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
It won't work. The problem is real enough, but your proposed solution won't actually have any effect on it.
Your target is wrong (policies don't get changed very much right now, and they aren't a significant source of instruction creep anyway), and your solution is irrelevant (admins often have no special talent at writing policies – WP:Policy writing is hard, and admins are basically selected based on whether we expect them to get mad and block us or delete our favorite pages, not because they can construct a policy statement – and they've actually got more of an incentive to add to instruction creep to WP:GAME disputes than the average editor, because more rules/more specific rules makes it easier to prove the other guy wrong). WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:55, 13 June 2017 (UTC)
@WhatamIdoing: FWIW, it's not "my target" or "my solution". Refer to the top of this thread: the OP was User:Uncle dan is home. I don't really have a dog in this fight so I'm retiring from this discussion. — Stanning (talk) 09:24, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Oh, I'm sorry about that. That was sloppy of me. Please accept my apologies. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:45, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks — Stanning (talk) 12:42, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

This would be the last thing we want...many old timers like me belive thoses that enforce policy should not be writing said policies. Many old timers like me think it's best that writers of P/Gs stay above the frey. Never a good idea to have police write laws. ...pls see User talk:Moxy#About becoming an administrator for what I think is best. --Moxy (talk) 20:37, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

Absolutely not. This would itself be a dramatic bit of role-creep for admins; functionally, it would give them a special voice in setting, modifying, and wording policy that they don't currently have. More importantly, every current admin was selected without this in mind - they were evaluated based on their ability to adhere to policy, and their knowledge and understanding of it, rather than based on what policies they would prefer if they were among a select group empowered to make changes. Giving them any more voice than a normal user in setting policy would also have the practical effect of completely-politicizing RFA (more than it is already), and turning it into a constant referendum on what direction people want policy to go in. Finally, I would point out that as a practical matter this could easily accomplish the exact opposite of what you intend - yes, only admins could make changes, but that would also mean that only admins could revert changes, meaning that a dramatic expansion to a policy would require convincing fewer people. (Yes, I know, obviously the admins would consider the consensus on the page even among non-admins - but there's no avoiding the danger of it becoming a "supervote", since we wouldn't be able to rely on the hard limitations against modifying protected pages if we want policy to be something we can update at all. And, of course, if admins were flawless at evaluating consensus on the talk page and always perfectly reflected it, this suggestion would have no impact - you are implicitly assuming that they will put their "thumb on the scale", and even if we accepted that as desirable there is absolutely no reason to think they would always use that extra influence to oppose rather than promote instruction-creep.) --Aquillion (talk) 16:08, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

Wikinews: Less Violence, more Knowledge / Science / Art

Dear All,

Lately an observation which was forming for some time now became too obvious to ignore: front page of wikipedia always shows me terror, murders, war etc. in the news section, with some sport news once in a while. I am an active reader and supporter (donor in Germany) of wikipedia. I owe much to it, and I think it is a great achievement of humanity.

Yet what kind of influence does it have to structure / filter world news like that? There is a lot happening in the world, which is both more positive and more relevant to people's lives. They can still find news about dangers in their regional newspapers. Every news site will bombard them with sad, violence-filled news for click-through rates. But why does wikipedia do it?

Regards, Ilya — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ikamenshchikov (talkcontribs) 09:08, 29 May 2017 (UTC)

@Ikamenshchikov: Wikinews refers to a separate wiki with no relation to the "In the news" section (called ITN) at Main Page. Wikipedia:In the news shows some criteria and Wikipedia talk:In the news is the place for general discussion. Specific stories are nominated at Wikipedia:In the news/Candidates where all users can comment. See also Wikipedia:In the news/Recurring items. ITN has many elections and other kinds of non-violent stories, and we do include some science stories that general news media wouldn't prioritise. PrimeHunter (talk) 13:50, 29 May 2017 (UTC)

Archiving pages before deletion

It seems nothing more productive can come of this discussion. ʍw 22:07, 30 May 2017 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

I've started this thread, in part, to address a concern aired by GoldenRing at the Administrator's Noticeboard. The comment is as follows, with the relevant parts highlighted:

G4 is often tricky because the people tagging it usually don't have access to the previous version to assess whether or not the versions are substantially identical; when I'm working through CAT:CSD, I always find articles tagged G4 take more effort than many other criteria for this reason. I've also got a lot of sympathy for admins declining CSD in general; articles where CSD is declined can always be sent to AfD, while speedy-deleted articles are relatively difficult for ordinary editors to recover.

TL;DR: If you think the reasons behind the previous consensus to delete still apply, nominate it at AfD. GoldenRing (talk) 13:01, 29 May 2017 (UTC)

As an editor with minimal experience in deletions, this is something I've wondered about. Admins are barely able to keep ahead of the requested deletions and other backlogs. Mistakes can and will happen. There needs to be some way for non-admins to find and fix those mistakes.

Here's an idea: Could a bot be used to archive all pages tagged for deletion, other than those that shouldn't appear anywhere (attack pages, copyright violations, etc)? Ideally, such a bot would archive a page after it's tagged, but before the page is added to the categories that alert administrators of pages needing their attention, to avoid suspicious 'sniping' deletions before archiving, be they unintentional or otherwise. This would help to allow non-admins to check whether pages really qualified for deletion, and potentially recover useful content, without having to bother admins with restoring copies of the pages. This could also help stave off any more perennial proposals to unbundle the tools or make admin rights easier to get.

To be clear, I'm suggesting that pages about to be deleted should be archived off-wiki, something that I couldn't find in the perennial proposals. Much of what is deleted is inappropriate for Wikipedia, but acceptable elsewhere on the internet. Once again, this automated archiving would exclude select, legally-actionable categories, such as attack pages and blatant copyright violations.

There are a few independent Wikis already attempting something like this, including Deletionpedia and the Speedy Deletion Wiki. Neither of them seem to be archiving all deleted pages in most deletion categories, which is what I'm suggesting. Specifics such as which bot and archive website to use can be hammered out in future discussions, if there's any support for this idea. ʍw 14:26, 29 May 2017 (UTC)

Clarifying statement: I'm suggesting nearly all pages about to be deleted be archived, not just G4. My apologies for any confusion. ʍw 03:00, 30 May 2017 (UTC)

Clarifying statement part II: I've struck the quote that's been misleading too many people. Please at least read everything above this point if you're going to respond. Thank you. ʍw 12:42, 30 May 2017 (UTC)

Discussion:

  • Support. From time to time I've created an article with the same name as one that's been deleted. It's not always easy to find out even whether the subject is the same or another. It'd be very helpful to be able to see what the deleted page said. — Stanning (talk) 15:56, 29 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment What if someone adds a promotional copyright violation (for instance), and it gets deleted as promotional without anyone ever realising a it was a copyright violation? Pppery 00:08, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
Giving non-admins a way to view deleted content would make it more likely that such a copyright violation would be found and dealt with (eventually). Until then, frankly, it'd be the other website's problem. I'm sure archive.org (for example) has mechanisms in place to deal with what they consider to be copyright violations. Wikipedia takes a relatively hard-line attitude towards copyright, compared to other websites yet, as far as I know, even deleted copyright violations are kept, hidden somewhere in the WMF servers. (I'll add, that's a rather specific hypothetical situation.) ʍw 02:37, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose: I've always viewed G4 with the same suspicion: is this criteria intended for admins only, and the occasional editor who keeps local copies of articles he nominates for deletion (or has a memory like an elephant)? My answer is, yes. As the proposal notes, archiving deleted pages is a perennial proposal that has never been accepted, for very good reasons that I don't think the "off-wiki" solution remedies. To widen the scope of G4 we should perhaps change its wording from "sufficiently identical copies ... of a page deleted via its most recent deletion discussion" to "re-submissions of a page deleted via its most recent deletion discussion if the same deletion reason still applies". It is obvious that whatever the deletion reason, G4 can be presently bypassed by writing the exact same garbage but in completely different words. I can re-submit a non-notable/promotional/WPNOT entry with 100% of the words changed. No deletion reason – except for G4 (and copyright violations) – have to do with exact wording, because the verbatim content of the article rarely determines what it actually is and says. – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 01:36, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
Note that the idea (not proposal) is to archive nearly all pages put up for deletion, not just G4 (but an admin airing concerns similar to mine seemed like a good opportunity to start a discussion). According to the perennial proposals page, deletion improves Wikipedia by removing the worst parts. With this idea, the "worst parts" are still removed, but a few other things happen in the background during the deletion process. How could archiving such "worst parts" to somewhere else hurt Wikipedia? It would still be clear, to anyone searching for them, that they were removed from Wikipedia itself, while allowing for content to be salvaged, and allowing non-admins to find and fix admin mistakes (of which, I'm sure there's more than we realize). This should appeal to inclusionists who want to preserve content, and deletionists who want to keep Wikipedia free of inappropriate pages. ʍw 02:37, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment - Is there some reason why we can't simply give new page patrollers the ability to view deleted content? If deleted content is already in the database, I don't understand the value of making an off-site archive of it. - MrX 02:46, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
There's (old, stale) consensus against such a solution. Also, I'm suggesting we make use of an existing archive website, not start a new one. It's not the most elegant solution, but it should work. ʍw 03:00, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
I guess I don't understand why there would be a consensus against a simple, obvious solution, but hope for consensus for a more complicated solution. By the way, you don't need permission or consensus to copy content from Wikipedia to an offsite archive.- MrX 03:15, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
The consensus is against unbundling the tools, which is what your idea sounds like. From previous incidents, it seems unwise to try anything even remotely involving Wikipedia on a large-scale without community input. I, alone, couldn't implement the idea, as it would require modifying deletion templates, and creating or modifying a bot working on-wiki to find pages tagged for deletion, copy them to an archive, then remove them from the old 'awaiting archival' category and add them to the 'awaiting deletion category. I'm not nearly technical enough to know how to accomplish all of that, though based on what we and other wikis already have bots doing, it seems very possible.
This idea is still in the embryonic stage, so if you can improve on it, please do. ʍw 03:26, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
If the objective is to determine if a new page is sufficiently similar to a page deleted via AfD, and if unbundling is off the table, I would suggest having an admin bot do the whole thing. A bot could compare titles between newly created pages and AfDed pages, and any that are an approximate match could be compared. Anything matching 90% or more would be tagged G4. I made a similar proposal at WT:NPR.- MrX 03:43, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
The goal is to preserve as many pages as possible, not just those relevant to G4, though your idea for a G4-specific bot (or bot task) seems a worthy goal itself. ʍw 04:12, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
There are sound reasons for restricting access to deleted revisions, which still stand today. Deleted pages (or deleted revisions) may contain personal information (added inadvertently or by vandals, stalkers, or doxxers), libellous material, or other generally 'sensitive' content to which it would not be appropriate to grant broad access. Dramatically expanding the pool of individuals who can dip into that content and disseminate it on- or off-wiki is likely to expose Wikipedia and the Foundation to substantial additional legal liability. Wikipedia:Viewing deleted content discusses this in more detail.
In principle one might partly ameliorate those problems by drastically expanding the pool of editors who can use the Oversight tool (and greatly broadening the situations where it would be used), but that approach would carry generate its own set of equally-serious headaches. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 04:00, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
If legally-actionable pages are tagged correctly (as copyright violations, attack pages, etc), they wouldn't be subject to archival, as noted above (bad tagging is a preexisting issue this idea is not meant to address). Any archived deleted pages would only be publicly-viewable on another website, deflecting some liability from the WMF (...I assume; in addition to not being a technical expert, I'm also not a legal expert). ʍw 04:13, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
"If...". That's a big "if". You'll recall that this whole thread started as an overreaction to a dispute over whether or not G4 CSD tags were being applied correctly. Expecting all admins to adopt and perfectly correctly apply an unnecessary set of new deletion tags and templates when they perform basic housekeeping tasks is not a plausible outcome. You can't just casually wave away the problem as something that you don't want to address.
And it's best that you not try to make legal judgements. If Wikipedia/WMF endorses and encourages the use of such a system – for example, by creating a policy and insisting we use a set of elaborate and unnecessary new deletion templates to manage publicly accessible archives of deleted-but-not-really-deleted pages – it doesn't matter where the no-longer-really-deleted pages are hosted. Your heart's in the right place, but this scheme isn't going to happen. It's too much work for too many people, and creates more – and more serious – problems than it might solve. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 12:06, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────First, this thread was not "started as an overreaction to a dispute over whether or not G4 CSD tags were being applied correctly", but I see the quoted comment at the top is misleading far too many people. I've struck the quote as unimportant.
The deletion templates would only have been modified to change the categories pages were added to, and not in any other obvious way. The real work would have been the bot, though I suspect an existing bot could do the task. I'm very, very concerned by the fact you seem to think that deleting taggers and admins are making lots of legally-actionalable mistakes, but we're hiding them well enough from average users that we don't need to do anything. If anything, your reasoning makes me think we need something like what I'm suggesting even more. A wise editor once said: "You can't just casually wave away the problem as something that you don't want to address." In a project like Wikipedia, sweeping the mistakes under the rug only creates more problems down the road. My solution might not be perfect, but I think it's on the right track, hence why we're in the idea lab. Do you have any constructive criticism to offer? I appreciate the comments nonetheless, as examples of the opposition I'd face if this were a real proposal. ʍw 12:42, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
It sounds like you don't quite understand the argument, here. The "legally-actionable mistake" would be archiving deleted pages in a publicly-accessible manner. Right now, it doesn't matter which CSD tag or template or categories were (or, more importantly, were not) applied to a page prior to its deletion—the page is deleted, hiding it from view and limiting our liability. Creating a system that automatically captures and reproduces about-to-be-deleted content would require (at least) a second layer of much riskier screening, where admins would not only have to determine whether or not a page was deleteable, but also additionally ensure that it was flagged with whatever extra tags would indicate that it contained copyright violations, libel, or just plain unencyclopedic stuff that it wouldn't be appropriate to republish.
Suppose, for instance, someone tags a page for CSD A7 (no assertion of importance). The hypothetical bot dutifully copies the article, preserving it in a publicly visible form and potentially drawing extra attention to it. An admin comes along, sees that there is indeed no assertion of notability, and deletes the page. But...the page also happens to contain some libel or a copyright infringement. It would have qualified for deletion under G10 (attack page) or G12 (copyright infringement), but the first person to tag the page happened to use the equally-applicable CSD A7 template instead, so the bot doesn't 'know' about the defamation or copy-pasting. Now we have a page of libel and copyright infringement preserved and enshrined at our request. Does that make the trouble clearer? (Heck, there's plenty of opportunity for abuse if someone wanted to game the system....)
Under the existing system, admins don't need to identify and log every criterion supporting deletion of a page, they just need to confirm that at least one criterion does apply and hit delete. Regardless of the templates applied to the article or the entry used in the deletion log, every deleted page is hidden from public view; we're (mostly) protected from liability. Under the proposed system, deleting admins would be responsible for identifying all the applicable deletion criteria and tagging or re-tagging the page to be deleted (hoping that the bot would pick up any changes and respond appropriately). If the deleting admin doesn't carefully (and correctly) screen every single page for legally- or otherwise-problematic content, then Wikimedia starts getting cease & desist letters. It's an extra level of potential liability and exposure that admins probably shouldn't have and almost certainly don't want.
As you say, you don't have a lot of experience with deletion; you would be well-served to spend some time working in the area to get a better feel for how the policies are applied in practice, and how the process works now, before suggesting major changes. Right now, the proposal seems to be a very elaborate solution to a poorly-elucidated problem. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 14:59, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
I believe I understand your concern. Yet I feel you're basing your entire argument on an unlikely hypothetical situation, and I still feel the benefits of my idea (with some refinement) could outwiegh the risks. I knew bad tagging was an issue, but I didn't realize what a hole we'd dug ourselves into thanks to complacency over bad tagging and trigger-happy, heavy-handed deletions. If the system is in such bad shape, I'm not sure what's to be gained by studying it further, but I realize that in any other situation that'd be good advice, and it's certainly something I'll consider. I was hoping that by bringing this early concept to the idea lab, experienced editors would help fill in the blanks left by my inexperience (something I see you're trying to do, in your own way). It's funny, I agree with many of your arguments, but from the opposite perspective; "there's plenty of opportunity for abuse if someone wanted to game the system" - I couldn't agree more. ʍw 16:00, 30 May 2017 (UTC)
"I didn't realize what a hole we'd dug ourselves into thanks to complacency over bad tagging and trigger-happy, heavy-handed deletions. If the system is in such bad shape..." If that's what you read from my remarks, you've again missed the point entirely. The deletion system generally works quite well for its designed purpose—pages which do not contribute to our goal of building an encyclopedia get deleted; some of those pages might also expose us to legal liability (or just make us bad neighbors) if left up, and we're glad they're gone. None of what I said suggests a problem with "bad tagging" or "trigger-happy, heavy-handed deletions"; it seems like you're making stuff up.
You seem to be looking for something that was never intended to be part of the system: a carefully curated archive of unencyclopedic, deleted content. It's unsurprising that such a thing doesn't exist, since it doesn't help Wikipedia accomplish its goals. I won't waste more time on this thread, but I will oppose it both vociferously and successfully if you bring it to the community as a formal proposal. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 21:02, 30 May 2017 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The Issues

I came here to inform that the format of the pages in not very interesting. It is plain, with lines, and infested with words. Maybe a little color splash would work, eh? Or maybe a whole makeover would work, and you could make a Twin Version while rebuilding the site. The format is not attractive, and the site is not backed with media. I hope you change these things, it would surely help on such as great site! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2606:A000:43C2:4C00:4468:AE6D:C76A:F2C5 (talk) 00:45, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

You will need to elaborate with what you mean. Are you talking about color-coating Wikipedia, instead of the white background and black text, we would have sections of the page be red, blue, purple, etc? I don't know what you mean by "Twin version" either. Tutelary (talk) 15:19, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia; it was not designed with aesthetics in mind. If you want to change the way that Wikipedia looks to you, try changing your skin. --Joshualouie711talk 14:14, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Logged-out users (such as the OP here) will have difficulty doing that. However, s/he might prefer the mobile site, which can be used on both desktop and mobile systems. You can either change the URL to start with "en.m.wikipedia.org" or click the link that says "Mobile view" at the very end of the page (the very last words, after the links to the privacy policy, etc.).
Regular editors should keep this comment in mind: Readers really do want pictures, diagrams, and even video. This is persistent, frequent request. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:12, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

'Talk' tabs

How about replacing the 'talk' tabs at the top of articles with one that says 'discuss' – ??

This thought came to me recently after a chat with a grocery store clerk who, noticing my Wikipedia T-shirt, told me what a great thing he thinks Wiki is and how much time he spends with us. In the ensuing conversation, I mentioned that the 'talk' tabs lead to 'talk' pages where, in the case of controversial topics or details that aren't fully documented, one can find arguments, questions, advice on sources, and so forth. This guy, who said he'd been reading Wiki for years, had never noticed the 'talk' tabs. (I've talked to others who've said the same.)

I suspect that many readers, if they do notice 'Talk,' just shrug their shoulders and move on. Perhaps if we changed the label to Discuss that would give them a better idea of what those pages are about, and more would be drawn in.

Comments?

Sca (talk) 22:20, 6 June 2017 (UTC)

Previous discussion: Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 84#Call talk pages "Talk" ʍw 23:18, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Thus endeth the discussion? Sca (talk) 00:11, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
Mysterious Whisper (TMBG song reference?): When Sca raised the topic on my talk page, I replied with a summary of the past changes to the tab (including a link to that discussion and an earlier one) and suggested revisiting the matter here before proceeding with any sort of concrete proposal.
Rather than focusing solely on the idea of changing the tab label, I was thinking that the discussion could be framed in the broader context of improving talk pages' prominence and clarity of purpose. For example, one alternative approach might be to create a global edit notice for the article namespace (which would be stored at MediaWiki:Editnotice-0, I believe) containing a brief explanation of talk pages and how to access them. —David Levy 02:35, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
Wow. I'd totally forgotten it used to be called "Discussion". Anyway, this proposal will not gain traction. But as for the clerk who never saw "talk", I too have noticed that even long term readers are completely unaware of the talk page. I think it's a symptom of people in general just being oblivious and clueless rather than a problem with the prominence of the talk page. The prominence is fine by me. Jason Quinn (talk) 17:40, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

Canned edit summaries issue

When Wikipedia previews your edit on mobile, there is a text box with your edit summary. It has "example: Fixed typo, added content". This leads to over 400,000 actions on the edit filter, and that's just "Fixed typo", "added content", or two word edit summaries. There is and will be much more, including "content", "added facts", etc. The majority of these canned edit summaries are unconstructive edits. This misleads people, which is what I hate. So instead of making this problem worse, can someone change "Example: Fixed typo, added content" to "Describe your changes" or something? That is what it reads on visual editor: "Describe your changes". That is why there is (almost) no canned edit summary issues on Visual editor. Someone please make the mobile edit look that way. Wikipedia will look significantly better because of less misleading edit summaries. Is there anywhere else I can put these comments, too? What I suggested here will help Wikipedia look so much better. Examples

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Thomas_M%C3%BCller&diff=783988446&oldid=783362248

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Captain_Underpants&diff=784001544&oldid=783954424

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=In_the_House_(TV_series)&diff=784067332&oldid=784029543

Wikipedia vandalism may still exist after these changes are made, but at least they don't have these edit summaries. No more "facts" "content" etc. 68.228.254.131 (talk) 06:18, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

Admittedly, whenever I see the canned edit summary tag on my watchlist, I assume vandalism or at least cluelessnees, and thus some degree of cleanup required; and generally that proves true. I don't think these prefabs are doing much good other than giving vandals/CIPs an easy camouflage option. The above suggestion might be a sensible approach. --Elmidae (talk · contribs) 19:04, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
On the other hand, some of these are obviously good edits with accurate edit summaries, e.g., [3][4][5]. I looked through ten just now, and a majority were constructive edits. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:27, 11 June 2017 (UTC)
Greetings User:WhatamIdoing, Community Liaison for Wikimedia Foundation Product Development. As you're editing from your personal account, I'm sure your comments won't be influenced by any professional relationship you have with the WMF and its products. Do you believe the edits you looked at are a truly representative sample of the overall success rate for the canned edit summaries? As a liaison for product development, would you be able to provide more detailed statistics for much larger samples of edits using canned edit summaries? Thanks. ʍw 00:22, 12 June 2017 (UTC)
Yes, when I post from this account, I am speaking as a volunteer. I have never used this feature, and if the WMF has an official position on canned edit summaries, then I've never heard about it.
Looking at the ten most recent edits in Special:RecentChanges is never perfectly representative, and since I looked at the ten most recent hits on the abuse filter, it's even less representative. However, as a point of data, the IP said that "The majority of these canned edit summaries are unconstructive", and my own experience is "the majority are constructive" (although a sizable fraction have problems). Perhaps it was just an overstatement for dramatic effect? Perhaps the IP is looking at a different time of day/day of the week? Perhaps the IP is making this comment from memory, which is of course affected by saliency bias (in this case, that bad edits are easier to remember offhand than good edits)? Perhaps the IP isn't actually focused on mobile editing and the canned edit summary feature in Mobile Web at all, since the first diff given was done on a desktop system? I don't know; I only know that my spot-check of actual mobile edits that were probably using the canned edit summary feature indicated that the asserted factual basis might be shaky.
If you'd like better numbers, then you could send a request to the analytics mailing list. (This is reportedly the best method of getting data inquiries like that.) Before doing that, you'd need to decide what to compare against: the constructiveness of edits by IPs on desktop vs mobile web? IPs on mobile web that use edit summaries vs those that don't? Logged-in editors who use the built-in canned edit summaries on mobile web vs logged-in editors who use the canned edit summary gadget on desktop? If you want something to determine whether the canned edit summary accurately reflects the content of the edit, then I think you could train an mw:ORES dataset for that, but that's a lot of work. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:33, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

Seeing whether a page is on your watchlist in the thumbnail

It would be helpful to be able to see whether an article was on your watchlist without having to click it. Would it be possible to add a similar star to the thumbnail of articles so that you can see if the article is on your watchlist (and maybe even add it to your watchlist)? For example, I wanted to add all of the MPs elected in the UK 2017 general election by using the list of MPs elected, but had to click on each article in order to see whether it was on my watchlist and then add it. Absolutelypuremilk (talk) 22:22, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

@Absolutelypuremilk:, Watchlist indication in navpops sounds interesting, I suggest you follow up at: Wikipedia talk:Tools/Navigation popups; as for what you wanted to do - the navpops, ACTION menu has un/watch list controls in it. You could just click watch on them all, the watchlist will automatically prevent duplicates. — xaosflux Talk 01:34, 14 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for your response, I will suggest it there. I'm not sure what the ACTION menu is, how do I find it? Absolutelypuremilk (talk) 07:27, 14 June 2017 (UTC)
@Absolutelypuremilk: see the image to the right (click to expand). — xaosflux Talk 17:42, 14 June 2017 (UTC)
Watch dialog in popups.
…assuming that you're using WP:NAVPOPS (a local gadget) and not the "Page Previews" Beta Feature. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:48, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

I was using the Page Previews feature, but I have now discovered the NAVPOPs feature, which is very helpful! Absolutelypuremilk (talk) 21:53, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

How are search results from sister projects prioritised?

As the title suggests, this is as much a question as it is a suggestion. I'm enjoying the new feature that shows search results from sister projects alongside search results from the encyclopaedia. I'm wondering, however, why these results appear in the order they do, and whether that could be improved. (There doesn't seem to be any documentation of the new feature, which is unfortunate.) Look, for example, at the results for the word "vatic", which doesn't seem to be mentioned in any Wikipedia articles, but has a Wiktionary entry. The sister project results include that Wiktionary entry alongside a Wikiquote page that uses the word, and Wikibooks, Wikivoyage and Wikisource pages that do not. The Wiktionary result is second in the sidebar; at the top is a Wikisource page which uses "vater" multiple times but never "vatic". Clearly, in this situation and others like it – in which a user has searched for a term that is the title of a page at one project, and only used in the body, if at all, in other projects, that one project ought to take precedence over the others (and perhaps even over the Wikipedia search results). If we could do this I think it would potentially cut down the number of unnecessary WP:DICDEF articles mistakenly created on Wikipedia, and maybe render the {{wi}} soft-redirect template redundant. – Arms & Hearts (talk) 13:36, 21 June 2017 (UTC)

Hey there, Arms & Hearts. The cross-wiki search results are announced at the miscellaneous subpage. Currently, there is a proposal to have an option via user preferences to disable/opt-out the cross-wiki search results. BTW, I agree with everything you said. To let you know, the RfC discussion led to results from other projects not appearing in English Wikipedia. Some other language sites have results from all other projects, but... they are languages that I mostly don't understand. --George Ho (talk) 17:01, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
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