Community Wishlist Survey 2019/Editing/Easy talk page posts by email

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


  • Problem: A huge number of people send emails to Wikimedia projects requesting edits to Wikipedia articles, Wikimedia Commons files, and elsewhere. The experienced Wikimedia community base knows this process as OTRS. People sending emails are typically very lost and confused, but in almost all cases, what they really want and need is for their comment by email to go onto the talk page of a Wikipedia article or Commons file page. Instead, all these texts and requests get lost into the private OTRS system where only a few OTRS agents review them. OTRS is currently a catch all for emails to any Wikimedia project, but actually, what it should be is a system for inviting people to on-wiki systems to make public requests about wiki editing. Separate from public requests and outside the scope of this problem, OTRS also gets private questions on sensitive issues, and those issues should stay in OTRS and not be changed by this proposal.
While a billion plus people know Wikipedia somehow they have no awareness that wiki talk pages exist or that they can post messages there. Instead work queues back up in OTRS with requests that the client wants to be publicly discussed.
  • Who would benefit: People making what they intend to be public edit requests by email would benefit by getting their request successfully delivered to the Wiki community of reviewers and editors. The Wiki community would benefit by massively increasing the number of people actively contributing to Wikimedia projects. If we could make it easier for new users to post to talk pages we would get a huge number of new account registrations, an actual constructive edit from new accounts (most new accounts have no edits ever), actual new user positive on-wiki engagement, thoughtful suggestions with wiki editors, and relief for wiki administrators whose time should not be spent explaining talk pages.
Sample form which should output a post to a Wikimedia talk page
  • Proposed solution: We need a pathway in OTRS for the email response team to return an automated form to people who send emails. The form needs to setup their email for posting to a Wikipedia talk page and ask the person writing if they agree to post it publicly by Wikipedia's terms of use. There should be a form with three fields - Wikipedia article name (or file for Commons, or equivalent for any other Wikimedia project), subject line, and message. To complete the form a user has to either log in or create an account. The user posts a message in the form and the tool output is posting the form text to the bottom of the talk page. The tool automatically signs the user's wiki name to the post and tags it with a "help me" template. This on-wiki review replaces the private OTRS review in the majority of email requests which want public discussion with Wikipedia editors and reviewers.
  • More comments: If we had a way to convert the labor of the people making these thoughtful requests by email into requests on Wiki talk pages, we could realistically increase the number of Wikimedia users making substantial and thoughtful edits to Wikimedia projects by 10% with very little outreach or technical development.
  • Phabricator tickets:
  • Proposer: Blue Rasberry (talk) 17:18, 10 November 2018 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

  • Sample form - the tool would look like this, and have the output of posting text live to a Wikimedia project. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:04, 10 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Cool idea. --Izno (talk) 19:06, 10 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Yes, very cool!   — Jeff G. ツ please ping or talk to me 02:37, 11 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Great idea! This will also reduce the traffic to OTRS and volunteers will have more time to deal with other tickets. KCVelaga (talk) 04:10, 11 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Great idea, minor quibble. Sending HTML e-mails is insecure and high-bandwidth, and some servers filter them out. I suggest sending a link to a secured web page, ideally instead of an HTML email, but if there's some good reason as well as one. HLHJ (talk) 07:29, 14 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Good idea, which keeps the general idea ofa free-form submission, but makes it a little easier. It's a better way to go than to try to get i nfixed check the boxes system. DGG (talk) 05:44, 15 November 2018 (UTC)
  • pinging participants in wm2018:OTRS agents - I am requesting your vote of support for this OTRS proposal in the annual Wikimedia Community Wishlist survey. Please also consider Community_Wishlist_Survey_2019/Editing#Route_users_through_knowledgebase_before_contacting_OTRS.
@Dyolf77, Krishna Chaitanya Velaga, Sannita, Sargoth, and DerHexer:
@Doc James, Martin Kraft, Rehman, Masti, and -revi:
@Bachounda, Masssly, 0x010C, علاء, and May Hachem93:
@Armineaghayan, Mardetanha, NahidSultan, and Ijon:
Thanks. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:59, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Would be nice to have a tool that makes [1] easier to use. User:Harej has already started to build something similar here. It just needs a bit more work. Would make a nice tool for the subjects of articles to provide feedback to the talk page. User:Bluerasberry wondering your thoughts on adding boxes for the following?
    • Information requested to be added or removed: ADD TEXT HERE
    • Explanation of issue: ADD TEXT HERE
    • References supporting change: ADD URL AT LEAST
  • Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:05, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
@Doc James and Harej: I would certainly be willing to collaborate with Harej. If any designer recommends adding more steps then I support it. In general, more steps means less participation. More steps increases the value of the content, but people already write detailed emails for edit requests that get lost to OTRS, and my first priority is recovering the labor and thought of those emails. We rarely get Wikipedia talk page posts that are long but long email requests are routine. To start the conversation I would like to turn the 1 step of sending an email into 2 steps, email and simple form which is a unorganized box for text. Additional features make the user do steps 3, 4, and so on. Someone else can decide how hard to push for more steps. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:23, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Simplest case A simpler case than my proposal could be a plain text box for input and assistance registering an account. If we have an account and the text of a comment, then even without sorting the issue or an article title, we could dump all these responses into a noticeboard or public queue. From there, OTRS agents (or anyone else, it is public at this point) could move the requests and comments to the appropriate talk page. If we did this we would greatly increase Wikimedia contributions and reform the OTRS system to focus on private requests, and leave public requests to public channels. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:26, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
    • We could combine these two solutions by having a "I don't know" default for the "Which Wikipedia article?" question. HLHJ (talk) 00:53, 18 November 2018 (UTC)
@DannyH (WMF): As you said a lot of talk pages related wishlists are out of scope, Why not this one? --117.14.243.161 03:29, 26 November 2018 (UTC)
Hi, we saw this proposal as being more about improving the OTRS system. The talk page-related proposals that we archived were about changing the way that talk pages work, in one way or another. -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 00:46, 27 November 2018 (UTC)

Voting[edit]