Community Wishlist Survey 2017/Reading/Simple diff

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Simple diff

Normal diff - text and markup
Simple diff - text only, no markup
  • Problem: The normal diff displays article text and wiki markup. For readers only interested in changes to the article text, it's overly complicated and it's sometimes difficult to even find the article text changes among all the templates and other markup.
  • Who would benefit: I have a use in mind for this that is aimed at academic reviewers and the general reader but patrollers, editors and authors will benefit from this feature too.
  • Proposed solution: Offer both options: the normal diff containing article text and wiki markup, and a simple diff showing just the changes to article text.
  • More comments:
  • Phabricator tickets:


  • I recommend flipping a few times between these two images in a media viewer. Compare the experiences. Anthonyhcole (talk) 14:37, 12 November 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • What about changes in files, references, tables and templates? --Vachovec1 (talk) 19:13, 12 November 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Vachovec1: Sure. If it’s technically possible to display the original and replacement citation, image, category, table, etc., I’m all for it. (To be clear, I’m talking about a diff where the original image, citation, etc. itself, not its code, appears in the left column and the replacement image, citation, etc., not its code, appears in the right column.) The more that can be included in the simple diff, the better, provided it”s all simple and not code, but if the best that can be achieved initially is just a diff showing how the text of the article has changed, that’s OK, too. This isn’t going to replace the standard diff, and a diff showing just article word changes would be of benefit to editors. That said, maybe there should be a warning at the top pointing out the kinds of changes that the diff doesn’t highlight. —Anthonyhcole (talk) 06:47, 13 November 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I really would like to see an API for this, but it might not for performance reasons. MER-C (talk) 04:16, 13 November 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Is this basically mw:VisualEditor/Diffs? Anomie (talk) 17:42, 13 November 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Anomie, can I link to a visual diff comparing versions in a page’s history? Do I need to do something in my preferences? —Anthonyhcole (talk) 03:11, 14 November 2017 (UTC) I’ve just been told to add &visualdiff to a standard diff url and select “visual (beta)”, like this: which achieves nothing like what I’m looking for, unfortunately. Compare that diff (after selecting “Visual (beta)”) with this. The latter is the same two pages in the standard diff with all the code and markup removed - just article text. Anthonyhcole (talk) 10:29, 14 November 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It looks like the current beta isn't very good with a complex edit like that. Anomie (talk) 14:39, 14 November 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I would say so. Then this task would be about to make it available for "normal" diff screen, not for VE only (e.g. like Two Column Conflict). --Vachovec1 (talk) 18:52, 13 November 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Could be added as a button to the dif view. When clicked on it switches between one view and the other. I would definitely use it. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 22:14, 13 November 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A notice: there is a very similar proposal in the section Editing, namely Community Wishlist Survey 2017/Editing#Support_multiple_diff_variants Support multiple diff variants. --Vachovec1 (talk) 14:45, 15 November 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]