2017 Community Wishlist Survey/Archive/Release VE on Talk pages

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⬅ Back to Archive The survey has concluded. Here are the results!

NoN Out of scope for Community Tech

  • Problem: Currently VE is disabled on talk pages without any proper reason. This makes editing, especially for new users, more complicatted.
  • Who would benefit: Everyone, but especially new users.
  • Proposed solution: As I said in the headline: Simply enable VE on talk pages, it's possible.
  • More comments:
  • Phabricator tickets:


Why do you need VisualEditor on talk pages? VisualEditor is for content editing, not for discussions. If you want to ease usage of talk pages for newcomers, you need Flow Structured Discussions. AFAIK, it can be turned on anywhere on request. --Tacsipacsi (talk) 22:47, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

Agreed. Structured Discussions is ideal for this. NMaia (talk) 23:27, 6 November 2017 (UTC)

Hey, VE here, although those, who want to push the weak forum impersonation Flow by prohibiting VE on talk pages claim it's impossible on such pages. I could even indent with colons, which they proclaim to be impossible with the VE. A wikipage is a wikipage is a wikipage.

No Flow is a bad way, it completely breaks the look and feel of wikipages and creates a deep rift between up to now all in all similar. It makes formerly flexible semi-structured discussions, that could easily be edited in different structures if needed, into completely inflexible forumesque pages, that lack proper structure in longer discussions. Flow is a dead-end-street, unfortunately ruthlessly pushed by some paid people inside the WMF, even with measures as denying VE on talk pages without any proper reason. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 05:30, 7 November 2017 (UTC)

There are projects with VE enabled for project namespace = commuity discussions (Village pump etc.). And there are problems with formatting (VE uses <blockquote> instead of ::::. So VE should support discussion. JAn Dudík (talk) 08:28, 7 November 2017 (UTC)

I think this would be rather controversial, and thus I don't think it's a good one for the community tech team to take on. It's not the 'interpret what each community thinks about this'-team. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 17:21, 7 November 2017 (UTC)

The persistent error is forgetting that a page-is-a-page, and that anything can appear anywhere. The error is the idea that "Article pages are supposed to be content edited in VE, and Talk pages are supposed to be chats edited in Flow". I am no fan of VE, but VE has valuable uses. If I want to edit a table on a talk page, it is extremely disruptive that VE is deliberately crippled to not allow it. I have to take the absurd workaround of copying the table to a non-talk page, pasting in the table to edit in VE, swapping to wikitext mode, copying the wikitext, quitting-without-saving, then returning to talk to paste in the edited table. Any and all "content" can be copied to talk pages to discuss and work on. The idea that talk pages don't contain "content" is just plain wrong. This error is one of the main reasons that Flow was such a flop. Flow was built on the idea that Talk pages are supposed to be chatboards. Talk pages are a wiki-workplace. Alsee (talk) 06:44, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

What about making it optional for those who want it to be? --Artix Kreiger (Message Wall) 15:30, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
Having preferences is technically cumbersome in comparison to giving everybody the same setting, I guess. I think that Flow is the better alternative although discussion should be had on removing infinite scroll, allowing it to use the same markup as regular wikiediting and offering assistance for people who e.g run archivebots and would need to modify their bots. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 16:37, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
Flow is an extremely dumbed down, completely inflexible, single-purpose forum impersonation only suited for chit-chat, not for discussions about content, article structuring etc. The only asset it has is that it's shiny new bling, not boring maintenance of existing software, and that's why it's pushed by the WMF.
Unless Flow will one day be as flexible and as manageable as current wikipages, it's not worth anything. And a wikipage is a wikipage is a wikipage, regardless whether it's article-, user- or talk-page, all behave in the same way, all are editable in the same way, all have the same look-and-feel. Except the deliberate and hostile exemption of VE from talk pages. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 16:53, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

I realise that Visual Editor is not going to die, but it make writing training material a nightmare. Take the instruction. Open the editor- until recently you has to open Edit source for the project page and Edit for the talk page. That has been fixed on (en). Lets look at an image- Add local description and Add local description source are the options on (en) but normally we will want to View on commons and here there is no option to use VE just the option Edit which here does what Edit source does on (en). So can I suggest that these issues are thought about before they are implemented- and the implications to other projects.

Further if I am on (de) I edit with Seite bearbeiten- but will wikiswitch to grab text such as a reference when replicating an article- (de) doesn't use VE so the obvious choice edit. So I am asking for the tabs to be consistent- Edit to mean edit everywhere and Visual edit used in the rare places where VE is allowed.--ClemRutter (talk) 20:52, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

  • I support this idea. At editathons I'm consistently seeing an increased willingness for non-scientists to engage with Wikipedia once I introduce them to VisualEditor. They stay and edit, only to be thrown off by the lack of a visual option on talk pages when they need to discuss something. If a Wikimedia project wants to enable VE for talk pages, let them do it. Deryck C. 22:13, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I support this idea aswell. We do not need three ways to edit Wikipedia, two is enough. As this is controversial and we already have a VE team, this team may not be best to work on it though. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 21:55, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
  • In Flow discussionpost can be edited in VE. The question remains in the indentation. VE automatically adds asterisk indentation by the Tab and the war of asterisks and colons will stop. And there is a new beta visual preview ... it would be interesting to compare versions use. --Sunpriat (talk) 09:50, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
    Wrong, not discussions can be edited in VE, only single posts can be edited in VE. There is no way to restructure a huge discussion, who answered whom is very hard to comprehend in huge discussions. Flow is only suitable for chitchat, not for real discussions. For real discussions flexible and adoptable talk pages are needed, and VE is only forbidden on talk pages to push Flow, no other valid reason was given. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 16:34, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
    • Yes, it was a comparison with flow-posts. After VE (without Flow) for restructuring there is always a whole Wikitext page. --Sunpriat (talk) 18:09, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
  • This question is often brought up, despite the fact that I made the decision and documented it last year, in discussion with you. VisualEditor (VE) is designed to edit content — pages of prose, as used on Wikipedias, Wikiversities and Wikivoyages in particular, and to a lesser extent on other Wikimedia wikis. Every tool, every interaction, every habit is built to support that kind of editing, and thus make other kinds of editing harder. Providing users with an appropriate experience after enabling VE on talk pages would require major a rewrite of the software, and changes to the fundamentals of the editor which would make it worse for editing content. Either we would have the editor work in some mixture of code that works poorly for both, or we would add complexity, confusion and slowness by trying to act differently in different contexts, destroying user trust in the system "just working". There are definitely problems with the current ("legacy") discussion system, and I understand why people have problems with the structured discussions system too, but this "solution" doesn't fix either issue. We aren't going to ruin content editing to provide a shroud of bad discussion editing. Sänger, I know that you don't like my decision, but this isn't the way to convince me to change it. Jdforrester (WMF) (talk) 18:24, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
A wikipage is a wikipage is a wikipage, full stop. You have not delivered a single argument until now. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 20:15, 15 November 2017 (UTC)

As you can see with this post, and this entire discussion, your decision is based on false assumptions. This edits prove beyond any doubt that VE is possible in a discussion, I'm just using it, so any pretense that it's impossible is just fake news. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 17:14, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

  • @Jdforrester (WMF): I am wondering if there is a clear strategy/plan to handle the community pages and discussion pages in the future. From your answer I don't see this, but I hope you (generally: people working on this area at WMF/voluntarily) do have a view. This is a question which comes up time to time, and we need a direction to go straight. Current situation (different editing experience/surfaces on different pages) is not optimal at all. Samat (talk) 23:58, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
@DannyH (WMF): my question wasn't an offense, I am really curious what is the strategy/plan for the discussion and community pages at the WMF. We are planning to introduce the Flow Structured Discussions now, but I heard that there isn't a real development/maintenance of it at the WMF team. I wouldn't push to introduce a surface which will be a technical dead end soon, which happened few years ago with LiquidThreads. Will Structured Discussions be the future of talk pages? I would like to see an easy to use surface which offers similar user interface and experience like VE/WikiTextEditor2017. If there is a public decision already about this issue, please link that me. If you have any information about it, please share with us. Thank you in advance! Samat (talk) 23:28, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I just realized that I can edit this page with VE. Isn't this page a "discussion page"? Samat (talk) 00:02, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
No, it's not. -- NKohli (WMF) (talk) 01:16, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
S/He, who can read, has a clear advantage ;) If I look at the header of this section, and look at what's done here, this is a discussion. But for those who desperately want the VE kept away from discussions, to push their pet project Flow, it cannot be one, that would be heresy. It's teh same with the new, completely unsubstantiated renaming of Flow to "Structured Discussions", as if current discussions were not structured. Of course they are, only in a more flexible way, restructurable according to the needs of the course of discussions, while Flow is an extreme rigid corset, suitable only for short chitchat. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 10:12, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

It was easy (despite the general problems with huge loading times in VE) to edit and indent this post in the right structure in this structured discussion here. As this is a perfect example for a discussion with VE, there is no validity in the private decision by one employee not to do as his employers, the communities wish. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 17:14, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

  • Regardless of whether we eventually move to Flow, we need the facility now, both for article talk and for user talk-- and possibly for WP and WPTalk also. DGG (talk) 02:18, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

As Jdforrester (WMF) says, this has already been discussed and decided by the VisualEditor team. I'm going to archive this proposal. Thanks for participating in the survey. -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 19:36, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

And what jurisdiction has some employee of the community over community wishes? None whatsoever. This decision should be made by the community, not some bureaucrat, technical there is absolutely no problem with this proposal. It's just against the politics of some in-group in the WMF that wants to push Flow, whatever it takes. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 21:49, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

Sänger: The conversation about whether to use Structured Discussions on wikis is long-standing and difficult, both technically and socially. It's not a problem that can be solved by the Community Tech team. This comes up every year on the Wishlist Survey, and every year, we have to say that this is too big and too contested for the Community Tech team to tackle in a year. I know that that's frustrating for folks who want this debate to move forward. This survey isn't the right place for important large-scale debates. -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 22:56, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
Why should I believe this? It's simply switching it an, not more. A wikipage is a wikipage is a wikipage, full stop. It's not "too big", it's simply in the way of your pet project Flow, that you had the gall to rename to "Structured Discussions", while most discussions, that take place here and anywhere in the wikiverse are nearly perfectly structured, Flow has very little advantage in regard of real structure. It's only dumb bots, and I don#t are about dumb bots, that have some problems with the very obvious structure of talk pages. This decision is a deliberate decision to promote Flow, nothing else. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 22:58, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
What to do with talk pages is an important and long-standing debate. The Community Wishlist Survey is not a good vehicle for that debate. -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 23:38, 20 November 2017 (UTC)
And what has this to do with the simple, and technical easy, implementation of the current editor on a wikipage? There was no reason (or real world reason) given, why this should not be done. It was even proven (and is proven here in this discussion again) that it is possible, and only because some interested people fear its success, they don't enable it. I'm no developer, so I don't know whether the projects could enable it by themselves on all, or at least more, pages. I would definitely fear repercussions by those community servants, who confuse their job as servants of the community with some leadership role, perhaps not so extreme antiwikimedian like Erik did with his brutal implementation of superputsch, but they have de facto might, despite not having the legitimation.
No, the question whether to enable VE on a wikipage is just a mater of minutes, whether Flow will really one day be capable to be useful on any page is a matter of years to come, up to now it's absolutely useless beyond meaningless chitchat. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 05:17, 21 November 2017 (UTC)
As I said, the survey isn't the right venue for this conversation. The Community Tech team can't act on this proposal; it's out of our scope. I'm going to archive this proposal. -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 19:19, 21 November 2017 (UTC)
This is wrong, and you know that this is wrong. It's nothing big, it's just the release of one of the two mayor editors on another wikipage, that#s just the same as any other wikipage. That it works was proven here in this discussion, that is editable with VE, so any claim of it being not possible is a false claim, if repeated after this prove of possibility it would be a deliberate lie. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 20:44, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

@Sänger: I am not a developer neither, but in my understanding the problem is not, that it is not possible to switch on the VE on talk pages. But VE has no advanced features for discussions (automatic signature, indention, cannot follow who answered to whom, notifications etc.), and developing this for VE means that it will be more complex and even slower for the content pages. I don't think that a community wish can change this. Samat (talk) 21:20, 21 November 2017 (UTC)

It's just another editor, to be precise the current normal one for newbies, on another wikipage. The other stuff is something for later, that could (and should) be done, but as an editor it's not conceivable to withhold it from these wikipages. The wikitext-editor has as well no advanced features, but it's used nevertheless. And Flow is completely unusable up to now for real discussions, it's just a pre-alpha test for a forum impersonation, suitable for meaningless chitchat. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 21:30, 21 November 2017 (UTC)
This proposal is out of scope for Community Tech. We know that we can't work on it, and it would be misleading to allow people to vote on it. -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 21:52, 21 November 2017 (UTC)
What is "the scope of community tech", if such a simple thing like deployment of an existing editor on an existing wikipage is too far beyond it? Why do you do a survey about tech stuff and the WMF at all? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 21:55, 21 November 2017 (UTC)
I am guessing: Community Tech does not implement changes to a software whose developers and maintainers (who need to fix any future issues with it, after all) have said they don't want these changes. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 09:01, 22 November 2017 (UTC)