Community Wishlist Survey 2019/Archive/Link permanence and archiving

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

  • Problem: Discussions on Wikipedia can be quite hard to track, this is especially true for those that took place at least a little while ago. This problem is partly caused because after a while most discussions are moved to archives, which immediately breaks links to sections. Currently to find the linked section, you'll have to extract the link from the URL and then dig your way through archives with the search function and CTRL+F. Doing this for multiple links is very time consuming and when you look at it again at another occasion you'll have to dive in the archives once again. Simplifying this would be especially useful for non-power users who don't know how to adequately search archives.
  • Who would benefit: Anyone reading discussions
  • Proposed solution: One solution might be when clicking on a link to a section that no longer exists, it no longer redirects to the page but to the search page which includes both the original page as well as the title of the subheading. Of course this would exclude links to articles in the main namespace.
Example: a link to Wikipedia:Test#Unavailable Link would lead to a a Special:Search instance with the parameters ​Wikipedia:Test + "Unavailable_Link"​
  • More comments: This also solves problems of incorrect linking to embedded pages, where the link breaks when a page is unembedded.
  • Phabricator tickets:
  • Proposer: Kippenvlees1 (talk) 00:03, 6 November 2018 (UTC)


  • I note that MediaWiki doesn't currently track which anchors are in a page or which anchors are used when linking to a page, so both of those would have to be added to avoid having to re-process every linking page each time any page is edited. I also note that "anchors" are a superset of "section headings", as any HTML element with an "id" attribute can be used as an anchor. Anomie (talk) 00:34, 6 November 2018 (UTC)
Hi Kippenvlees1, I have good news and bad news about this proposal. :) The good news is that the Wikimedia Foundation is starting the planning process for a big global Talk pages consultation which will begin in February. The idea is that we need to step back from LiquidThreads and Flow, and start over with a totally public and transparent consultation. We want to bring together as many people as possible, and come to consensus on the problems with talk pages that we want to solve, the good things about talk pages that we want to keep, and the tradeoffs involved in finding a solution that will work for new and experienced editors. You can read a lot more about it on that project page that I linked. The planning has just started, and we're starting to talk about the structure for this consultation and how it's going to work.
The bad news for right now is that we don't want to include proposals about talk pages in the Wishlist Survey voting. No matter what happens in the Wishlist Survey voting, all of the future talk page work will be determined by the Talk pages consultation happening next year. We don't want people to vote for something, and then find out that we still have to have another process before we make any decisions.
But -- these proposals and the discussions that people are having here are important, and I've added a section on the Talk pages consultation page which lists each of the related proposals, so that they can be a part of the public record during this planning stage. We'd like to include all of you in the consultation -- and in the planning, if you're interested. There's a lot to talk about and figure out.
I'm sure this will be disappointing right now; I hope it's also heartening to know that this problem will get a lot of attention next year. Let me know what you think. -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 02:51, 14 November 2018 (UTC)