IRC office hours/Office hours 2014-09-18

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Time: 16:00-17:00 UTC
Channel: #wikimedia-office
Timestamps are in UTC.

[15:59:56] <Elitre> Well, hi again everybody, welcome to VisualEditor's office hour for September. The channel is logged, an you'll find the logs later on Meta. I'm (virtually) passing the microphone to James Forrester now, and we'll start with our regular status update. Feel free to ask questions in the meantime, I'll take notes and we'll go through them as they come.
[16:00:09] <James_F> Hey everyone.
[16:00:31] <James_F> It's been just over a month since the last VisualEditor office hours.
[16:00:59] <James_F> In that time we've continued our relatively quiet work on the 'back-end', improving performance and fixing bugs rather than adding new features particularly.
[16:01:26] <James_F> The biggest change since last month would be that we now let users of Internet Explorer 11 edit with VisualEditor.
[16:01:51] <James_F> Previously they were blocked from editing, because there were some very bad bugs caused by Internet Explorer that would make their editing experience very unsatisfactory.
[16:02:33] <James_F> We have fixed most of these bugs, and so we have removed Internet Explorer 11 from the blacklist. There's still a warning when users edit that some things might break, as we're not completely sure yet.
[16:02:49] <Cookies52> I've got a few comments on that I would like to make in a minute; I actaully played around with IE11 earlier. It was..... interesting
[16:02:50] <James_F> We're looking for feedback on that to decide whether to remove the warning too.
[16:03:16] <James_F> Now we've got Internet Explorer 11 support mostly working, we're moving on to work on Internet Explorer 10.
[16:03:28] <Elitre> Thanks Cookies52, looking forward to hearing about your experience.
[16:04:05] <James_F> (I should mention that Microsoft have been quite helpful and responsive about getting IE bugs fixed, contrary to the general claims about them. In fact, they're probably the most responsive browser manufacturer at this point.)
[16:04:38] <James_F> Cookies52: Happy to talk now – just shout out any questions. :-)
[16:05:16] <Cookies52> Right, so there is a bit of "jumping" about the page when I type
[16:05:22] <Cookies52> so it keeps jumping up to the top
[16:05:47] <James_F> Cookies52: Ah, yeah, that's… only meant to happen in a few rare cases.
[16:06:02] <James_F> Well, it's not /meant/ to happen ever, but the bugs we know about are rare.
[16:06:06] <Cookies52> James_F, ah ok
[16:06:17] <Cookies52> the other one was copy-pasted text vanishing
[16:06:23] <James_F> If it's happening for you every time you type that's bad – could you drop me or Elitre some details so we can check?
[16:06:37] <Cookies52> but still appearing when I click "review changes" or whatever
[16:06:56] <Cookies52> James_F, yeah, I'll try again tomorrow (I don't have IE on here)
[16:07:10] <Cookies52> should I file a bugzilla report, or email?
[16:07:16] <James_F> Either would be great.
[16:07:19] <Elitre> Cookies52: whatever works for you.
[16:07:33] <James_F> The copy-paste disappearing sounds suspiciously like a bug I thought we had fixed. :-(
[16:07:39] <Cookies52> ok, I'll go bugzilla then.....
[16:07:43] <Cookies52> when did you fix it
[16:07:44] <James_F> If you could give details that would be very helpful, similarly.
[16:07:49] <Cookies52> this was a few days back....
[16:08:00] <James_F> Ah, hmm. Maybe the fix hasn't landed in production yet.
[16:08:32] <Cookies52> right, ok. I'll try again tomorrow as well, and file another bug if that still happens
[16:08:33] <James_F> (There's a delay of between one and two weeks between code being changed and it going live, so that we can test it.)
[16:08:39] <James_F> Brilliant, thank you.
[16:08:44] <James_F> And sorry for the disruption, of course.
[16:09:09] <James_F> Beyond Internet Explorer support, we've also been working on the back end for some of the big features to make editing easier.
[16:09:52] <James_F> The first of these is table editing.
[16:10:20] <James_F> Table editing is particularly hard in wikitext, with lots of {|!+-} characters with mysterious operations.
[16:10:48] <James_F> Some operations are impossible to do quickly – for example, move a column over to the left.
[16:11:17] <James_F> So we're particularly excited about making it easier and more natural to edit tables via VisualEditor.
[16:11:44] <James_F> There are some particular difficulties like tables which have templates inside them.
[16:11:58] <James_F> And we're still working on how to expose that in ways that are natural and obvious.
[16:12:20] <James_F> But often, the reason tables are partially created with templates is because editing tables is so very hard – so that might abate over time.
[16:12:42] <Elitre> (the irony!)
[16:12:47] <James_F>  :-)
[16:13:01] <James_F> You can see more about our design work, and give us feedback, at
[16:13:23] <James_F> The other big thing we've been working on is automatic citation editing.
[16:14:34] <James_F> This is where, instead of selecting a citation template and filling in each field, you just paste a URL or similar into a box and the system automatically recognises that it's a news publication, or a journal, or a book, or whatever and creates the reference for you.
[16:15:05] <Cookies52> Yeah, that works great :P
[16:15:11] <Cookies52> I've been playing with the beta version
[16:15:17] <Cookies52> no major issues thus far
[16:15:31] <James_F> We know that referencing is a big priority for many of our wikis, and that doing it 'right' – even with the citation editor we built and the great work communities have done via TemplateData – is quite laborious.
[16:15:47] <Elitre> (Everybody, are there questions or things you'd like to talk about with James? Feel free to send them to me via a private message. Let's keep the guy busy typin' )
[16:16:14] <James_F> Cookies52: Good to hear that. I know there's been a user script floating around; happy it works for you, though it's in a very early state right now and isn't production-ready yet.
[16:16:59] <James_F> We've started to think about the best ways we can expose the interface in an obvious way, whilst still making it easy to directly fill in a reference if that's what you prefer.
[16:17:38] <James_F> That will be posted to once we've got a firm sketch of what we think would work, and again, feedback very welcome.
[16:18:18] <James_F> Of these two, I think table editing will probably come in a very basic form in the next few weeks, and the citation service maybe a little longer. Maybe a Halloween present. :-)
[16:19:35] <James_F> Beyond these features, we've also been working on IME language support (which is a blocker for wider usage, such as in Bengali or Japanese) and language variant support (which blocks Kazakh and Chinese).
[16:19:36] <Elitre> Hopefully they'll be treats, rather than tricks :p
[16:19:40] * James_F grins.
[16:19:58] <James_F> Anyway, that's mostly the "state of the editor" this month.
[16:20:08] <James_F> Happy to take questions/etc.
[16:21:02] <Elitre> aharoni joined us right after James announced more work on language support :p
[16:21:05] <James_F> Or I could just ramble. :-)
[16:22:03] <Elitre> While attendees think about their questions, I'll post mine.
[16:22:10] <James_F> Cool. :-)
[16:22:36] <Elitre> Actually, French Wikipedia's ones :)
[16:23:19] <Elitre> When will "invisibile" templates be handled better?
[16:23:47] <Elitre> as in, templates which you can only see while you're editing wikicode, ATM.
[16:23:53] * James_F nods.
[16:24:13] <James_F> This is something we've not looked at for a while.
[16:24:37] <marktraceur> James_F: What's the status of the public Parsoid API? :)
[16:24:38] <James_F> In some ways, templates like this are symptoms of a wider issue.
[16:25:04] <James_F> For example, the English Wikipedia has a template that says "use British English on this page", and adds a category.
[16:25:39] <Elitre> marktraceur: noting your question :)
[16:25:43] <James_F> This is really a "setting" for the page – something were you want to notify editors with a message, and let bots auto-check things, not something where a template is the best idea.
[16:25:45] <marktraceur> Thanks
[16:26:10] <James_F> It's just that until now a template is all that we've given our wikis to do this with, so they've made the best of a bad situation.
[16:26:34] <James_F> But we could instead give much richer meta-data settings to articles so that this can be done without templates.
[16:27:00] <James_F> However, even if we did that, there are likely to still be times when you have templates that are invisible, so we need to fix that anyway.
[16:27:15] <marktraceur> Isn't there already a way to set article language in MediaWiki?
[16:27:23] <James_F> I imagine that we might put a little icon in the editor where the template lies.
[16:27:25] <marktraceur> I feel like I've seen ghosts of that in thecode
[16:27:52] <James_F> marktraceur: Only for language variant wikis, and language variants is not something a wiki should enter into lightly. They're… horrible.
[16:28:46] <James_F> marktraceur: To answer your question about a public Web service for accessing MediaWiki content, that's planned to be done soon by the Services Team, but I don't know the exact status.
[16:29:03] <James_F> marktraceur: If you actually want a Parsoid endpoint, that already exists and has for a while.
[16:29:20] <James_F> For example,
[16:29:30] <Elitre> James_F: a little icon would be a start. Although we can't use exclamation marks because we're already using those for comments. but handling invisible templates in a way similar to the way we handle hidden comments might work.
[16:29:36] <James_F> That covers all public WMF wikis.
[16:29:37] <marktraceur> James_F: But not for making changes, only for reading...right?
[16:29:46] <Orikrin1998> hi
[16:29:46] <Elitre> let me welcome Orikrin1998, straight from fr.wp :)
[16:29:48] <marktraceur> Oh, I guess you could just run it both ways
[16:29:52] <Orikrin1998>  :-)
[16:29:54] <James_F> marktraceur: Editing is done via the API, and … yes.
[16:30:07] <marktraceur> Sure
[16:30:12] <marktraceur> OK, thanks James_F
[16:30:13] <James_F> marktraceur: jackmcbarn has done some excellent work with a gadget using the Parsoid API.
[16:30:22] <marktraceur> Noted!
[16:30:33] <James_F> marktraceur: It constructs proposed edits to protected pages and lets you post it as a link when you request an edit.
[16:30:43] <marktraceur> I might start hacking that into editDescriptions at some point. And others if/when I can. :)
[16:31:05] <James_F> It's a really nice example of making it easier for sysops to answer requests quickly and exactly.
[16:31:13] <James_F> Hey Orikrin1998.
[16:31:19] <Orikrin1998> hi James_F
[16:31:29] <Krenair> Doesn't that parsoid-lb work on private wikis if you share the right cookies? I remember some aspect of Parsoid does that...
[16:31:47] <James_F> Krenair: Yes, but in that case it's just a pass-through.
[16:31:59] <James_F> Krenair: I didn't want to talk about that because it's confusing.
[16:32:03] <Krenair> ok :)
[16:32:15] <legoktm> [09:27:07] <marktraceur> Isn't there already a way to set article language in MediaWiki? <-- we have the page language feature in core now, but it's not turned on on WMF wikis iirc
[16:32:29] <James_F> legoktm: Oh, is that what marktraceur meant?
[16:32:44] <Krenair> legoktm, any relevant links to bugzilla etc.? :)
[16:32:46] <James_F> legoktm: Given that MW still don't recognise that en !== en-US, I have reservations about it being useful.
[16:33:20] <Elitre> All, don't let these techie guys scare you, and post your thought about VE now :)
[16:34:04] <marktraceur> Boo
[16:34:12] * James_F grins.
[16:34:16] <marktraceur> James_F: Yeah, that sounds closer to what I meant, but fair enough
[16:34:26] <James_F> Anyway.
[16:35:04] <Elitre> Another question from fr.wp, maybe?
[16:35:15] <legoktm> Krenair:
[16:36:08] <legoktm> (blocked on schema change apparently
[16:36:10] <James_F> Elitre: Do you have one stored up?
[16:36:27] <Elitre> I do. So, James_F, how long before we won't need to use wikitext in template parameters?
[16:36:42] <James_F> Ah, good question.
[16:36:48] <James_F> So there are two things here.
[16:36:57] <Elitre> thanks, it must be because it isn't mine :p
[16:37:00] * James_F grins.
[16:37:21] <James_F> The first is Parsoid representing the parameters of templates as 'DOM objects' (that is, something VisualEditor can edit visually).
[16:37:52] <James_F> The Parsoid Team have got a first version of this done, but they've not yet switched it on in production because they are still working on bugs.
[16:38:16] <James_F> And though I'm keen for it to be available to users, I appreciate their carefulness. :-)
[16:39:06] * Elitre too.
[16:39:29] <James_F> Once that is available, we will be able to modify VisualEditor so that each parameter can be edited visually – including nested transclusions, like {{Infobox|…|birth={{Age since birth|1900|03|24}}…}}
[16:39:41] <James_F> That's the first kind of rich editing.
[16:39:46] <Orikrin1998> that would be great
[16:39:55] <Orikrin1998> sometimes we have to edit wikicode into templates
[16:40:00] <Orikrin1998> that's weird indeed
[16:40:02] <James_F> Yeah, and that sucks.
[16:40:16] <James_F> The second kind is to use TemplateData's "type" system to give a different kind of editor for particular things.
[16:40:36] <James_F> For example, if we know that a template field must be a wiki link, we can give you the same interface as when making a link.
[16:40:49] <James_F> If it's an image, we can show you images like we do in the media inserter.
[16:41:03] <James_F> If it's a date, we can prompt you to pick a date from a calendar.
[16:41:09] <Orikrin1998> or a link in a template in an image ?
[16:41:12] <Elitre> sounds so easy. /me sighs
[16:41:17] <James_F> And so on.
[16:41:29] <Orikrin1998> but these are only projets
[16:41:33] <Orikrin1998> projects*
[16:41:38] <James_F> Yes, because it nests it should be possible to do all of these things.
[16:41:48] <Orikrin1998> "nests" ?
[16:41:55] <Orikrin1998> sorry i have bad english
[16:42:28] <James_F> Orikrin1998: No problem at all.
[16:42:46] <James_F> Orikrin1998: Nested templates means a template that is used inside the parameter of another template.
[16:43:05] <James_F> Orikrin1998: In {{Infobox|…|birth={{Age since birth|1900|03|24}}…}} the "Age since birth" template is used inside the "Infobox" template.
[16:43:17] <Orikrin1998> OK i knew the system, not the word :-)
[16:44:49] <James_F> Sure. :-)
[16:44:53] <Orikrin1998> by the way, there's something that has not been answered on the french Wikipedia VE's page, should i remind it here ?
[16:45:02] <James_F> Yes, happy to answer here.
[16:45:11] <Orikrin1998>édia:ÉditeurVisuel/Avis#Ajout_de_ligne_non_pris_en_compte_dessous
[16:45:15] <Orikrin1998> i'll translate to you
[16:45:34] <Orikrin1998> you see "Il est semblable aux Nachos." sentence ?
[16:45:41] <Orikrin1998> here >>
[16:46:01] <James_F> I do.
[16:46:06] <Orikrin1998> well, i put it down
[16:46:18] <Orikrin1998> with "enter" key
[16:46:27] <Elitre> Less than fifteen minutes to go, last chance to ask James something.
[16:46:31] <Orikrin1998> am i understandable ?
[16:46:35] <Orikrin1998> (if this word exists)
[16:47:05] <James_F> Orikrin1998: You mean, you moved the sentence "Il est semblable aux Nachos." down away from "Ce plat est enduit de sauce salsa et de fromage."?
[16:47:15] <Orikrin1998> yes
[16:47:16] <Orikrin1998> exactly
[16:47:23] <Orikrin1998> but an empty line is neede
[16:47:25] <Orikrin1998> needed*
[16:47:28] <Orikrin1998> and has not been added
[16:47:50] <Elitre> (I wish we were talking about something else. it's happy hour time where I live! /me wants a cocktail.)
[16:47:50] <James_F> You mean, you wanted a blank line between the two paragraphs?
[16:48:06] * James_F hands Elitre an imaginary drink.
[16:48:10] <Orikrin1998> sorry for talking about pointless things
[16:48:20] <Orikrin1998> i wanted to offer Elitre something before you ^^
[16:48:26] <Orikrin1998> yes James_F
[16:48:30] <Elitre> Orikrin1998: you're doing great.
[16:48:39] <James_F> Orikrin1998: No no, this is a good thing to talk about.
[16:48:44] <Orikrin1998>  :-)
[16:49:18] <James_F> Orikrin1998: We intentionally remove empty lines from documents when you save.
[16:49:39] <James_F> Orikrin1998: This is because you're not meant to do that (put in empty lines) in wikitext.
[16:50:13] <Orikrin1998> but empty lines are needed sometimes
[16:50:36] <Orikrin1998> that's bad in the VE, it does'nt respect "in text" rules
[16:50:41] <Orikrin1998> of formatting
[16:50:44] <James_F> Normally people put in "<br />" for that, yes?
[16:51:04] <Orikrin1998> on WP-fr, that's ugly, we don't want any <br /> :-D
[16:51:24] <James_F> Ah.
[16:51:38] <James_F> The blank lines in wikitext isn't meant to work; I think that's a bug.
[16:51:38] <Orikrin1998> well, i'm fool, what i wanted is clear here >>
[16:51:46] <Orikrin1998> yes i think so too
[16:51:50] * James_F nods.
[16:51:56] <Orikrin1998> you what ?
[16:52:24] <James_F> So we should probably work out what people are using this for and help them with a proper tool for it.
[16:53:35] <James_F> Does that make sense?
[16:54:00] <Orikrin1998> i did'nt understand, sorry :-/
[16:54:05] <Elitre> So, almost five minutes left. Any questions we can't take will be noted, and we'll follow up later.
[16:54:08] <Orikrin1998> could you rephrase it simplier ? :-/
[16:54:36] <Elitre> Orikrin1998: I'll do that on the Avis page :)
[16:54:41] <James_F> Thank you, Elitre. :-)
[16:54:57] <Orikrin1998> (i also need a link of where i can find the "appointments" on that chan)
[16:55:03] <Orikrin1998> (if you please=
[16:55:04] <Orikrin1998> )
[16:55:14] <Orikrin1998> OK thank you very much Elitre and James_F
[16:55:27] <James_F> Happy to help, Orikrin1998.
[16:55:33] <Elitre>
[16:55:42] <Orikrin1998> that's right, wonderful
[16:55:44] <Elitre> come back in October!
[16:55:51] <Orikrin1998> yep, i'll try to remember :-)
[16:55:56] <Orikrin1998> gotta eat now
[16:55:59] <Orikrin1998> thank you again
[16:56:26] <Elitre> Also, is the global monthly newsletter about VE, please suscribe.
[16:56:32] <Elitre> bye Orikrin1998!
[16:56:57] <Orikrin1998> do you have it in french ?
[16:57:17] <Elitre> Orikrin1998: we'll make it translatable.
[16:57:24] <Orikrin1998> i hope so
[16:57:27] <Orikrin1998> wonderful :-)
[16:57:28] <^[]^> Signed up just in case.
[16:57:37] <Orikrin1998> i suscribe :-)
[16:57:58] <Elitre> Any last minute question?
[16:58:14] <Elitre> thanks, ^[]^
[16:58:31] <^[]^> Even though I'm not a super big fan of the VisualEditor (I find it kind of confusing to use), I think it will be interesting to hear news about it.
[16:58:41] <Orikrin1998> i think so too
[16:58:59] <Orikrin1998> now, the VE is unusable, but i use it to improve it, because i know it cans be great tool
[16:59:03] <James_F> ^[]^: Hope to make it less confusing! If you have particular things that you find, bad, please drop us a line.
[16:59:17] <^[]^> Well, it may just be that I like wikicode too much :P
[16:59:19] <Elitre> ^[]^: what James just said. :)
[16:59:41] * James_F grins.
[16:59:44] <Orikrin1998> well, au revoir and maybe bon appétit :-)
[16:59:53] <James_F> Au revoir!
[16:59:57] <Orikrin1998> merci :-)
[17:00:06] <Elitre> Ok, goodbye everybody and thanks for coming! Logs on their way.