Talk:CentralNotice/Usage guidelines

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There still needs to be a page where future banners can be discussed and get consensus. --Yair rand 01:03, 9 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]

So create one? --MZMcBride 18:58, 9 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Given that it's not currently clear who can approve a banner and how (it's basically "anyone with sort-of-sysop rights on Meta as he feels"), it's a bit difficult, but I'll try to write something. Anyway, see Meta talk:Central notice requests. Nemo 08:23, 10 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]

CentralNotice usage guidelines[edit]

Um, nice try, I guess. Not a chance in hell that you're somehow empowered to appoint a Chancellor of CentralNotice, though. What's wrong with you recently? --MZMcBride (talk) 18:03, 8 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]

I agree, why was this done? It seems to be an attempt to enforce your will about the Wiknic notice, which was taken down for anonymous users without community involvement, by fiat. The current page already mentions the special authority staff have when it comes to fundraising banners, so I don't see why this would be necessary. Dominic (talk) 18:09, 8 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]
I didn't appoint. :-) I don't have that power, you're quite right. But the WMF needed to delegate someone to be our voice on it, and that's what we've done. But no, I didn't do it. I just documented it. Philippe (WMF) (talk) 20:44, 8 June 2012 (UTC

Note: This was originally brought up on User talk:Philippe (WMF) and was moved here as a more generic location. The above notes were originally on that discussion

  • Bringing this here to the Usage Guidelines talk page:
  • First off to the Chancellor of CentralNotice comment I thought I should clarify my role, or at least how I see my role.
    • It's still in flux clearly and I didn't ask for it but I do think 'someone' has to. Evidently the 'powers that be' (between fundraising and comms and LCA and possibly others) talked through Central Notice and everyone agreed that someone needed to be paying attention to it and trying to keep it under control a bit. Of course, as things usually are, no one wanted to own it and so it was decided (without me in the meeting) that it would be me.
    • The 'VAST' majority of this task (which is a very small part of my job anyway) is to be keeping an eye on it INTERNALLY to make sure that departments and groups within the foundation do not overuse or abuse CN and try to make sure they know what they're doing with it.
    • Those that have known me on wiki for a while will know that I've been doing this at times for a very long time. For the past couple years (especially since around 2010) I've thought the CN was being over used (and that it just got more over used not less). We have a very 'wild wild west' attitude where any meta admin can throw it up without any real consensus or decision making process. It was routinely used because it was a giant billboard and because it could effectively 'avoid' local community consensus gathering (especially for enWiki but also elsewhere) especially when the local communities tended to think they had no real way to stop it (even when they are highly annoyed). We also show it (without almost no way for them to give input or complain) to 100s of millions of people over billions of page views frequently when we only want a tiny tiny fraction of them to care (say when we really only WANT 250-1000 registrations for a conference or something like that).
    • This has become a bigger problem with relatively few people (such as MZMcBride ) patrolling its use with little more then a strong voice to back them up (which luckily is almost always enough). In the community that's basically all I see myself as, another strong voice to say 'no, that's ridiculous you need to rethink that' and raise the complaints.
    • The reality is that it is essentially impossible to get community consensus for a Central Notice (even the rare time that there is some meta discussion it isn't even close to consensus for the projects it's going to be run on and is barely enough to people to declare consensus on meta). Because of that I think it needs to be patrolled with an eye for trying to make sure it stays under control and isn't over used because when it is it screws over everyone who wants to use it later and doesn't actually even get exactly what the user is usually going for. At some level I do think it's a WMF tool, I know that not everyone agrees on that but it's something that I felt long before I joined the foundation and is a feeling I've heard from a lot of Wikipedians who have been around a whole lot longer then I have and so I'm fairly confident on it. That said I don't intend to ever use that power if I can avoid it, I think it's a whole lot better to try and work something out that gets everyone what they want. Usually they just don't realize that they aren't getting what they want with that added week of anonymous etc.
  • For the Wiknik notice specifically:
    • I think 2 weeks of anonymous is far far too much. Showing it to that many people for what is really a very small target audience is extreme. I've said this to many others and they've basically all agreed and drastically cut the anonymous timing (which still gives them 100s of millions of page views even if it's just for 1-3 days). The current WikiCon registration banner is an example of that. I know I've talked to Pharos and I'm sure we can find enough time to make sure lots and lots of people see it.
  • For guidelines overall:
    • I think we need to have a discussion and try and come up with better guidelines on who should be using CN and why and for how long. Is an event in a whole country or multi countries ok? Is that ok for 1-3 days of anonymous and 1 week of logged in or something else entirely? Are there different rules on EN because they have a bigger system with logged in geonotices etc?
    • I do think we have to remember that, for now, our communication systems kinda suck. I'm a big fan of Watchlist notices (including geonotice where available) but they're logged in only, site notices and anonnotices can't be geolocated, village pumps (and hence global delivery spots) are read by a tiny TINY amount of people on most wikis especially on EN. Until we get better communication systems we're going to want to take that into account but we still want to make sure that CN isn't nuts. Jalexander (talk) 21:32, 8 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]
For the Wiknic in particular and Anons in general and also echoing "our comms suck":
IMHO, all of the positions here on Anon use duration are wrong. Philippe and James and Pharos are all wrong. ;)
1-3 days is far too short. Showing to all anon views across all of enwiki is too broad. We need to be able to tweak other factors/tests when deciding to show or not for a particular impression. e.g.:
  • has this user edited during this session? (while logged out)
  • how many page views have they had this session?
  • how long have they spent browsing Wikipedia?
  • how many times have we shown the Wiknic banner to them so far this session?
  • have they viewed much outside mainspace?
I'm sure there's plenty of other questions people can come up with. We need to be able to make choices based on those variables and also allow displaying for some sample (say 1% or 5%) of all other people (that otherwise wouldn't make the cut). Also, if we're displaying for some but not all then I think we need to be able to have an unobtrusive button somewhere on the page people can click to see what the banner would have shown. (in case they see it but don't click and then come back later looking for it) My $.2 as a CN noob. Jeremyb (talk) 03:38, 9 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]

What's wrong on untranslated banners?[edit]

The guideline (not the rule, btw [sic!]) says:

target only needed languages and absolutely don't show banners in languages different from the users' (e.g. English banners for anonymous users on non-English projects or for non-English UI logged in users), unless explicitly locally approved by the project's community;

This actually does not make so much sense. Let's say we want wide community feedback (that's actually one of the main purposes of CentralNotice). Now we'll create that notice in English and according to the guideline turn it on on English projects. Now, how can other languages participate, when they even don't know that such notice exists? That obviously totally breaks the sense of CN then. So what's wrong on showing the notice in English with a link to a place where people can translate it which actually will allow the entire community to participate on feedback and not only those who have English UI?

Current usecase: The discussion about joining travel guide project to WMF projects. Since I turned it on for every language, the feedback has significantly increased. This is very important RFC from its principle, so it should have as wide feedback as possible. Why it should be limited only to few languages in which it is currently translated?

Danny B. 11:24, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

It's very simple, you shouldn't throw on people messages in a language they don't understand; this was established very clearly on the fundraising campaigns discussions. If you care about involving more people in the discussion, don't just pretend so, do translate the CentralNotice. Thanks, Nemo 11:30, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
How do you know that they do not understand the language? The fact that they have their home wiki in their mother tongue does not imply anything about their ability to understand English or any other language. This is way too impolite assumption on people's language skills.
Second part is totally illogical nonsense - how can I translate to languages I don't understand to bring those people in? It's much higher probability that there will be 300 different people of different languages understanding English and translating such message than me (or any other single person) speaking those 300 languages to be able to translate it.
This is leading to isolation of other languages, especially those minor ones. If we will follow the policy "do not write to people in any other language than the one they have as UI lang", there will be no way how to deliver messages to them at all thus they will remain completely uninformed of global happennings. This is a road to hell.
Danny B. 12:03, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
This is a no-win situation. As you say, central notices are designed to give everybody the chance to participate in matters which potentially affect all of the WMF community. So users will object if a central notice is displayed on some wikis but not others. However, usually there are no users on a wiki who have the power to remove a central notice once posted. So users of non-English wikis object when a central notice appears in English on their wiki, and they cannot remove it (or even translate it if no translation link is provided).
The practical solution has been to make central notices available for translation before they are published (preferably with a few weeks notice). There is a team of translators at meta who volunteer to translate central notices and other WMF material, and we are usually notified of new work to be done via the translators-l list. In addition, most central notices have carried a link to the translation page at meta, so that if the notice isn't translated before publication, any user can choose to follow the link to meta and do the translation. Once the translation is done, the link disappears, if I remember right. From my point of view, as one of the translators, the system generally works well. Where it might fall apart in the future is if new central notices are posted too frequently, so the workload on the volunteer translators becomes too great. If that were to happen, I myself would prefer there to be no central notices posted to my home wiki.
As to the system of consulting with a local wiki community before publishing an English language central notice mentioned in the guidelines, I don't think that we have ever been consulted before an English language notice is published to my home wiki, despite what the guidelines say. I would be grateful if someone could explain how this system works in practice. Nevertheless, if it is possible in practice for a wiki to opt out of central notices, then that may be best for those wikis who do not have enough volunteer translators to keep up with translating central notices. It really does no good to the reputation of a wiki to have foreign language messages appear at the top of each page. If it happens too often, the end result is that users leave.
I do not know why the system failed with the travel guide central notice. But I think that the banner translation system, whatever that may be, needs to be made a lot clearer to the sysops handling the central notices admin. They need to be alerted to the procedure for announcing and setting up a translation on the central notices special page, not just on the usage guidelines. I hope that those who know how the system works can sort out a way of ensuring that we translators do get advance notice of all the central notices in the pipeline. Lloffiwr (talk) 00:03, 25 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
The central notice has indeed multiple issues, and as you say very few sysops are actually able to work with it because it's so complex. The solution is the Translate extension, see the tracking bug. In the meanwhile, please do write to the sysops who don't follow the guidelines, they usually only need to be made aware of them; surely local communities mustn't se the CentralNotice as an imposition against which resistance is futile. Thanks, Nemo 10:02, 29 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

This is being fixed in a few days! See Help:CentralNotice/Translations and rejoice. --Nemo 20:53, 29 January 2013 (UTC)[reply]

CentralNotice for single-wiki notices?[edit]

Why is the CentralNotice tool ever used for banners on a single wiki? The only differences that I can see between using CentralNotice and local site notices in these situations are that CentralNotice performs terribly and takes a while to load, causing the page to "jump" in a very annoying manner, and that CentralNotice works untransparently, without anything being visible or changeable by the local community. Perhaps it would make sense to have the guidelines specifically say that the tool shouldn't be used for banners that will only appear on a single wiki? --Yair rand (talk) 20:54, 14 January 2013 (UTC)[reply]

I'd love to see a place where this is possible but sadly I don't think it is yet. I do think that we should push for more feedback and notice from communities for situations like that. For example for the shop banner up now I posted and asked for feedback in multiple areas of enWP (such as a thing in the signpost, a post on VP etc) before it even got put on the calendar here (I got some feedback on wiki and a bunch of feedback off) and I think that made a lot of sense. The biggest thing right now is that you have a lot more flexibility and power with the Central Notice such as geolocating (which I'm not using today but will be tomorrow) and more robost html. The sitenotices etc also bump and if they had anything like these banners (which I've occasionally seen) they would have basically the same bump as a CN one does. We want to get rid of that as much as possible (and Kaldari has worked to make it MUCH better) and I think the Echo software which engineering is working on is supposed to have some better messaging capability but right now we have a big hole in 'what people want' and 'what we can offer them' which the CN is filling. Jalexander (talk) 21:35, 14 January 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Local site notices don't jump at all. Why will the notice tomorrow use geolocating? --Yair rand (talk) 21:48, 14 January 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Perhaps the guidelines could say that a local notice should be used it it's for a single wiki and geolocating isn't needed? --Yair rand (talk) 21:50, 14 January 2013 (UTC)[reply]
If we're talking about the shop here, I believe it was (supposed to be) only on one wiki for a short period of time, but the overall campaign includes many wikis so it makes sense to have the campaign on CentralNotice even when it's only active on one wiki. John Vandenberg (talk) 06:31, 15 January 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I think an advantage of CN of a single-wiki CN over local SN in general would be that wth CN it is straightforward to put multiple dismissable notices that are selected randomly for each viewer. With SN, it will need a fair amount of Javascript and/or MW template hacks. At ja.wikipedia we had two conflicting proposals to use SN with a large overwrap in the time span, and I was considering requesting a single-wiki CN instead (although I gave it up later because the time span for CN was pretty much occupied already). People might want to use other advanced features of CN (like geotargeting and scheduling). I'm not sure this point applies to the specific case of the shop banner, though. --whym (talk) 12:35, 15 January 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Editing vs CentralNotice[edit]

The centralnotice is especially annoying when editing as it moves the editbox. Can it be disabled when action=edit,etc. John Vandenberg (talk) 05:49, 15 January 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Hmm, it's possible via javascript most likely ... Kaldari would know the best way to do it and if we decided togo that route almost certainly best to put it in the core code both for efficiency and because people will forget to copy it into new banners. I'll point him here for thoughts. Jalexander (talk) 06:14, 15 January 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Prefer wikis or self-hosted targets[edit]

I think we've already established by praxis that one must think of not bringing the link target down (as happened in the past with some events), but I see I hadn't added it here; I plan to do so soon. A new reason to prefer wikis, in addition to Translate and especially for multilingual banners, is the reduced privacy protection on some non-wiki targets, like the WMF blog which is migrating to Wordpress servers. --Nemo 12:51, 3 June 2014 (UTC)[reply]

This point has repeatedly found consensus in recent discussions as well. I assume it still is in the guidelines, given I don't see any discussion about removing it, but if not I'll restore it. --Nemo 16:37, 4 September 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Translation coherent with the language of the project[edit]

Does it make sense to have a guideline saying that a banner can be displayed in a linguistic project only if it is translated in the language of the project? It doesn't make sense (for the efficiency of the banner) to have a banner displayed by millions of people and they don't understand it. The result may be really negative. --Ilario (talk) 12:37, 9 October 2014 (UTC)[reply]

@Ilario: I agree! See below. Nemo's exception is irrelevant in our wiki as we have decided to ban all banners in other languages. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 05:22, 11 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Unclarity of the current text[edit]

It seems that some people find the current text to provide insufficient guidance about certain things which we have learnt about years ago already. I guess some text was removed too hastily from the guidelines and may need to be recovered. --Nemo 16:31, 4 September 2017 (UTC)[reply]

@Nemo bis: Some text has certainly been removed, but I'm not sure it's relevant to this situation. The text "Banners must link to Wikimedia controlled domains (owned either by Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia affiliates or Wikimedia Volunteers identified to the Wikimedia Foundation)." is still there and seems clear enough.
Even in cases where the text is perfectly clear, it isn't always sufficient. These guidelines are pretty routinely violated. We don't currently have a process for removing CentralNoticeAdmin rights for violations, and there aren't (to the best of my knowledge) any admins regularly monitoring the CentralNoticeLogs to revert any unauthorized or prohibited additions. --Yair rand (talk) 04:31, 5 September 2017 (UTC)[reply]
We do revoke permissions every now and then for abusers; the first step is to report them on WM:RFH. I also know some Meta-Wiki administrators who regularly check and fix banners, but it's possible the workload has increased since the years when I was the one mostly taking care of it. --Nemo 11:19, 6 September 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Log violation - use during Wikimania[edit]

"Advertizing Wikimania (youtube) livestreams on centralnotice", a thread on Wikimedia-l, logs a violation in which CentralNotice is used to link to YouTube. This happened without any community discussion and seemingly without awareness that the WMF staffers were transgressing a rule.

The CentralNotice is a scarce resource that we all share and the rules exist to provide fair access to it for priority projects. Let's not let this happen again. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:43, 5 September 2017 (UTC)[reply]

I've hopefully clarified the text a bit now. Several corrective actions are still needed in the short term, including for the baffling gaps in CentralNotice/Calendar and its archive page. --Nemo 12:32, 6 September 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Right to left languages[edit]


We really need to talk about Central Notice and right-to-left (RTL) languages.

Can there be a policy that EVERY Central Notice banner must be tested in a right to left environment before publishing? This includes banners that are NOT planned to run in right to left wikis, because some people use LTR wikis with an RTL user interface language.

It's way, way too common that banners look totally broken on RTL wikis. Here's an example of how the current "Wiki Loves Folklore" banner appears in the Hebrew Wikipedia:

In the Hebrew Wikipedia, the banners is inserted into a right to left environment, and here's what happens:

  • The exclamation point is on the wrong end of the text on the left-hand side of the banner. This is supposed to be relatively easily fixable by translating the text, but how can a translator actually find where to translate it? Some banners include a small notice that says something like "Translate this banner", but this one doesn't. I couldn't find where to translate it even by searching Meta. As far as I can see, it's not translatable at all
  • The "Wiki loves love" and the "Wiki loves folklore" logos are jumbled up on the right-hand side of the banner. This happens because the CSS styles were not tested in an RTL wiki.

This is just one example. These problems happen on dozens of banners, and I really should have complained about it much earlier.

Some banners are not supposed to be translated and must only appear in one language. This is fine for banners that are targeted only for people who read in that language, but these banners must ALWAYS include an explicit dir="rtl" or dir="ltr" attribute. Always. LTR is not the default. Whoever approves banners must always check that this is explicitly defined.

And banners that can be translated must be tested. Yes, it takes more effort, but it must be included. If it's not included, broken banners on other languages and millions of people see them. This is extremely embarrassing.

So please, let's make it a requirement. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 09:22, 7 February 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Dear @Chicocvenancio and Tulsi Bhagat: Kindly have a look into this. --Tiven2240 (talk) 19:20, 8 February 2020 (UTC)[reply]
I'll look into this specific banner. Chico Venancio (talk) 23:08, 8 February 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Amir E. Aharoni, thanks for bringing attention to this. I'm sorry I did not see this issue before, and I certainly agree we need to to have banners work in RTL and LTR wikis. In general, I think we should have better tooling and support for banner creation and evaluation, maybe it's something I can try to help develop later. Chico Venancio (talk) 23:08, 8 February 2020 (UTC)[reply]

BTW, the translation can be done at Special:Translate&group=Centralnotice-tgroup-wikiloveslove2020. Chico Venancio (talk) 23:10, 8 February 2020 (UTC)[reply]

  • Would it be possible to build this directly into the software, rather than requiring it individually for each banner? The extension seems to already know the banner content's language, I'm surprised it doesn't add both dir and lang attributes automatically. (Of course, even if this is planned for the future, it should be unacceptable to have any banners without the necessary attributes in the meantime.) --Yair rand (talk) 05:59, 10 February 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Turn off CentralNotice banners for cy[edit]

I've requested this several time. I'll try once more. The cywiki community have requested several times over the last few years that no central banners should be placed on Welsh projects. Please turn it off. This morning, there was a monolingual, foreign language banner on cywiki asking editors to create more articles on women in sport (CentralNotice/Request/Wiki Loves Sport 2020). The wiki reached gender parity 3 years ago and certainly does not need a project on writing more articles on women. Thanks! Llywelyn2000 (talk) 05:20, 21 August 2020 (UTC)[reply]

2nd request. If this is not the correct place to make this request, then where should it be made? We have discussed on cywiki and decided that no banners is better than non-Welsh banners thrown at us. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 05:17, 11 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Llywelyn2000: (I assume this isn't still the Wiki Loves Sport banners, right? Martin Urbanec removed those from cywiki on August 22, and the banner was turned off entirely on September 5. If they were still showing up on the project, that might indicate that something's wrong with the system.) Assuming this is about the Wiki Loves Monuments campaign, User:Romaine is managing that. @Romaine, could you turn off the WLM banners on cywiki? --Yair rand (talk) 06:53, 15 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Hi! And thanks for your reply. Yes, this is WLM, but with the English name, even though we've had a Welsh name for 6 years. The Welsh Wikipedia doesn't do Wiki Loves Monuments. We've also requested a full turn off; no banners needed. Thanks. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 14:09, 15 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Hi Llywelyn2000, Thank you for reaching out. First of all, the only discussion I just noticed is one from 2016 about this subject here on Meta. It is sad that I have missed that one, as then I would have been able to explain some things about how the CentralNotice system works. The CentralNotice system cannot target a single Wikipedia, only a (local) Sitenotice can do such a thing. Asking anyone in the movement to not show a banner above the Welsh Wikipedia is not possible as there is no setting possible to target/exclude only one Wikipedia version in the system. The only way to make sure that a banner through the CentralNotice system is not shown on one particular Wikipedia is by adding code to the common.css page on cywiki.
Regarding Wiki Loves Monuments, WLM is a federative photo contest organised by the local chapter or user group in a country. In the United Kingdom WLM is organised by WMUK and they organise it for the full country. They made sure that the texts of the on-wiki infrastructure (for CentralNotice, uploading, and more) were translated to Welsh as they wanted to target also the people living in Wales. WMUK organises WLM to make sure that monuments in the UK are photographed and uploaded to Commons, so that Wikipedia articles (etc) can be illustrated with photos of the heritage. Romaine (talk) 06:16, 16 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Llywelyn2000: For general reference, the code for hiding the CentralNotice through the local Mediawiki:Common.css is #centralNotice { display: none; } . --Yair rand (talk) 06:58, 16 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Hi both! Thanks for your quick response. Yair rand I've now added the code to cywiki. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 16:09, 16 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

@Yair rand: Can you check our home page here? It's right at the bottom. However, it's visible. Any help pls? Llywelyn2000 (talk) 16:36, 16 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Llywelyn2000: The code should be added to cy:Mediawiki:Common.css to apply to the whole site, not to individual content pages. --Yair rand (talk) 20:02, 16 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Does anyone know if the WMF allows projects to opt out of all CN banners like that? Is this the kind of thing they'd superprotect over? PiRSquared17 (talk) 20:06, 16 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Superprotect no longer exists, and I think it's extremely unlikely that the board would let them re-add it under pretty much any circumstances. --Yair rand (talk) 21:10, 16 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Added, with no effect. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 21:18, 16 September 2020 (UTC)[reply]

This banner is still on. It shouldn't be![edit]