Talk:Community Tech/Who Wrote That tool

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Beta Tool Released: Ready for Feedback[edit]

Note: Apologies if you were pinged twice! The first ping did not seem to go through due the 50+ ping limit, so I've updated the message blocks to be separate edits. Thanks!

@Tim.landscheidt, Strainu, Tgr, Ijon, Jenks24, Dvorapa, HHill, Beta16, Oscar ., Liuxinyu970226, Jc86035, YFdyh000, Stryn, Arkanosis, Draceane, Yiyi, Rcsprinter123, Laboramus, Gripweed, Iliev, Kurt Jansson, Thomas Obermair 4, Bawolff, PKM, Bspf, Simon Villeneuve, Ottawahitech, TheDJ, Ermahgerd9, Luan, ZellmerLP, He7d3r, Putnik, Nocowardsoulismine, Furfur, DMacks, JzG, Pbsouthwood, Nizil Shah, Defender, OrsolyaVirág, Dromedar61, ThePlatypusofDoom, Barcelona, Hogne, and Eug: --IFried (WMF) (talk) 06:26, 15 January 2020 (UTC)

@TerraCodes, Gnom, Wostr, Cybularny, Wolbo, Tom Ja, Emir of Wikipedia, TheCatalyst31, Noyster, Winged Blades of Godric, Kostas20142, FULBERT, Paucabot, Mz7, Giraffedata, Gryllida, SMcCandlish, Jpcomic, ChristianKl, MOs810, Nabla, Doc James, Epìdosis, Ca2james, Shock Brigade Harvester Boris, B25es, Anthere, -glove-, Kudpung, The wub, Kolurpen, PamD, KlaasZ4usV, 15zulu, Tacsipacsi, Pipetricker, and Fano: --IFried (WMF) (talk) 06:26, 15 January 2020 (UTC)

@MichaelMaggs, NaBUru38, Ldorfman, Perrak, Spinster, Jack who built the house, Serhio Magpie, Ле Лой, Sleeps-Darkly, Dispenser, Manu1400, Psychoslave, Niklem, Infovarius, Ilya, Ragesoss, NickK, Gikü, Martin Kraft, Semmendinger, and Downtowngal: --IFried (WMF) (talk) 06:26, 15 January 2020 (UTC)

@Superchilum, Laurentius, and Bryanrutherford0: --IFried (WMF) (talk) 06:40, 15 January 2020 (UTC)

Hello, everyone! I have pinged you because you voted on the 'blame tool' in the 2017 Community Wishlist Survey. We are now very excited to share Who Wrote That?, available as a Chrome and Firefox browser extension. With Who Wrote That? (WWT), you can find authorship information directly on Wikipedia articles. When you hover over content, the tool highlights all content by the same author. When you click on content, the tool identifies the author of the revision, along with revision details. Currently, the tool is in beta mode, and we would love your feedback. There are still some minor bugs to fix (and please let us know if you find any!), but the tool is already functional. You can download the Chrome and Firefox extension, and documentation on the tool is available on the MediaWiki WWT page. The data and analysis in WWT come from the WhoColor API, developed by WikiWho, and the MediaWiki API. Thank you, and we look forward to hearing your feedback! --IFried (WMF) (talk) 22:00, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

I like where this is heading! Main concerns, and apologies if I'm repeating things that have already been said – I've not had the time to properly read through the entire discussion:
  • I'd be concerned if this would be opt-in for more wikis – being added upon request. They tend to miss those opportunities exist, and then when individual editors find out about the tool they have no idea how to get it to their wiki.
  • It seems to understand reverts, but if I accidentally remove something while adding content, and then reinstate it using copy and paste (because reverting would remove what I added earlier), I get credited as the author of that piece.
  • I'd love for this to work in the Wikipedia namespace, so I could try to follow who added which piece of policy or guideline.
Nice work. /Julle (talk) 04:40, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
(Or Commons namespace et cetera once it works beyond the Wikipedias, of course.) /Julle (talk) 06:48, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
@Julle: Thank you so much for the feedback! We are currently conducting an investigation to see if it is possible to expand accessibility of Who Wrote That? (both in terms of making it a gadget/extension and extending support to other wikis). Your question about the Wikipedia namespace is interesting, so I've added that question to the investigation as well. Regarding the accidental removal + copy/paste issue, I'm not sure if there is anything that can be done, but we can certainly take a look. Ideally, what behavior would you like in such a scenario, as a WWT user? Thanks! --IFried (WMF) (talk) 20:16, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
@Julle: Also, I should add that we're currently displaying the data that we get from the WhoColor API. This means that we can ask WhoColor folks to add support for the Wikipedia namespace, but we can't add that support directly. --IFried (WMF) (talk) 20:37, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
User:IFried (WMF) I love the fact that it gives the diff that added the edit in question :-) I would love this to also work on references and external links as that will make it faster to find people who are spamming these. Great work by the way. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 10:55, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
@Doc James: Thank you for the feedback! I'm glad that you find the diff link to be a useful part of the tool. As for including references and external links in the analysis, we unfortunately can only display the data we get from the WhoColor API. Currently, the WhoColor API does not include references and external links in its analysis. However, if this changes in the future, we would happily extend that support to the tool as well. Thanks! --IFried (WMF) (talk) 20:42, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
At first glance and test of this, it seems an amazing tool. Thanks for sharing the initial version of this and happy to begin testing it. --- FULBERT (talk) 12:07, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
@FULBERT: Thank you for the supportive words, and we're happy that you like the tool so far. We look forward to any feedback that you have to share! --IFried (WMF) (talk) 20:44, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
I understand that there are technical limitations and that it's far more difficult to handle manual removals and re-inserts than reverts, but ideally, it wouldn't differentiate between what was "reverted" manually and what was reverted using the revert functionalities, since, in effect, they amount to the same thing in this particular case. I worry about the future where this is used externally and we see newspaper articles, papers and so on miscredit editors as the writers of things they simply copied and put back. /Julle (talk) 20:25, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
@Julle: Great point. I'm not sure what is possible, but I agree that it's at least important for the team to discuss (and see if we can support/improve the situation in any way). I've made a note for us to discuss it during an upcoming meeting. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. --IFried (WMF) (talk) 20:51, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
I'm also impressed with it, and mostly look forward to it expanding in applicability over time. That said, I would discourage a focus on bringing it to the project namespace. I would suggesting doing that as a final step (and an optional one), after people have gotten used to the tool, and after some norms evolve against misusing it to cast aspersions and make other bogus, battlegrounding arguments. The "fallacy of the revelation of policy" is already a recurrent problem, and having this tool usable in projectspace right from the beta period will simply worsen it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  12:46, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
How? People will notice that the essay you cited is one that you wrote yourself? I think the more useful case would be people being able to find out when a given bit of a guideline was added, and therefore have an easier time finding any related discussions in the archives. Those discussions can often be useful in understanding whether the people writing it had considered the situation at hand. "Oh, hey, that was written several years before our policy about BLPs" can be a valuable revelation. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:30, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish and WhatamIdoing: Thanks for providing perspective on some of the pros/cons of allowing WWT in the project namespace. At this point, we cannot implement this support either way, as we do not get such data from the WhoColor API. However, this conversation will be very useful for us to revisit if such support ever does change in the API. Thank you! --IFried (WMF) (talk) 20:55, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
Wow, it's strange to have someone prove my point for me so stunningly, WhatamIdoing (nor does your "observation" even relate to how this tool works or what it does). Imagine fallacious arguments like that coming up every single day, nitpicking to death every item in our policies based on whose digital hands touched its wording. No thank you. Use of this in project space (at least before some "arguments to avoid" and other norms are laid out organically through experience of use and misuse in mainspace) is basically a recipe for perpetual BATTLEGROUNDing. It'll be a tool for grudge-bearers to wield against their "enemies" in tracking down everything they've had a detectable effect on and challenging it all simply to get back at them. PS: When something was written (i.e. "Oh, hey, that was written several years before our policy about BLPs") is already something one can figure out pretty easily from page history, and has nothing to do with who made the edit, other than you're liable to see that in the course of diffing it out, if you even want to be that specific. Generally, it's entirely sufficient to take the date of what you want to compare (e.g. the date that w:en:Wikipedia:Biographies of living people received a {{Policy}} tag), then go look in the history of the other page, at the day before that happened, and see if what you're concerned about still appears (in some version) in that specific snapshot of the page. Has nothing to do with the "Who Wrote That" tool.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  21:51, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
Will this become a mediawiki extension, or will this stay as a browser extension? Also why does the browser extension need my browsing history? --Terra  (talk) 12:24, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
I would also like to know why it needs my browsing history, and more importantly, what it does with it. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 07:02, 19 January 2020 (UTC)
Hi @TerraCodes and Pbsouthwood:, thank you for your concern. Can you tell me where do you see that the extension asks for the history permission? We explicitly only ask for two permissions:
  • activeTab (info here): Provides access to the contents of the current tab the user is on (we do not request information about all tabs)
  • storage (info here): Provides access to the internal browser storage so we can save the state of whether to present the "Welcome" popup to you.
We do not ask for the history permission. On top of that, the "manifest" file (that defines where and how the extension runs and under what permissions), is specifically defined to only run the script within the approved wiki domains. You can see that file -- and the permissions we're requesting -- in this link.
Has the browser requested the history permission from you when installing the extension? If so, could you please tell me what browser store, and if possible, what it is that the warning stated? Thank you! MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 21:21, 22 January 2020 (UTC)
Can that file be modified to use the browser extension on other Wikis? Potrod (talk) 20:20, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
The technical prevention to work on other wikis is not really the manifest file; if it's changed, the extension would load background files on any wiki -- but the service itself (operated by WhoColor) only works on the given wikis for the moment. We have an investigative ticket on phabricator where we're attempting to see whether we can request WhoColor to support more wiki languages. MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 21:00, 10 February 2020 (UTC)
@MSchottlender-WMF: It was from chrome, but I'm not getting it now, so I wonder if it was related to the tabs permission that was removed. Also, is this going to stay a browser extension, or will it become a MW extension? --Terra  (talk) 23:32, 7 February 2020 (UTC)
Ah, yes, thank you for that; we added the tabs permission temporarily as an attempt to see if we need to save preferences in a different way than we do right now; it is no longer needed, though, so we removed it. That permission, interestingly, is not supposed to give us (or any developer) the ability to see your history, it's only meant to give us the ability to request the data of a tab (we were considering allowing for work across tabs, which is why we experimented with this permission) but I think the language that Chrome uses to warn users is a bit misleading. Either way, it's not used. Thank you for raising this concern!
As for the second question -- There were several technical and social reasons why we chose to work on this as a browser extension, which is why this product is just that for now. One of the biggest issues is that the product relies on an external service (WhoColor). We send all the data through a proxy for anonymity, but the requests to tool-labs (for the proxy) are not allowed to be done from a MediaWiki extension. It may be allowed to be used from within a mediawiki gadget, but may require user-specific permissions, which we were concerned about. Also, a gadget means anonymous/non-logged-in users cannot use it unless the wiki itself decides to activate it for all readers. These are some of the issues that were originally raised when the extension was written. We do have an investigation at the moment where we're checking whether making this product into a gadget is feasible and doable, and whether we can migrate it to be a gadget on wikis that are supported. MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 21:00, 10 February 2020 (UTC)
Thank you for doing that work. This is going to be an extremely useful tool! I've found just one bug so far (using the Firefox extension): sometimes it breaks the display of image galleries. Try it for example on the Father Christmas article, and watch what happens to the gallery named Old Father Christmas in folk plays part way down the page. MichaelMaggs (talk) 13:08, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
@MichaelMaggs:Thank you for your feedback. I'm glad that you find the tool be useful. As for the bug you reported, I believe this is due to the data we receive from the WhoColor API, which means that it's not something we could fix from our end. But I'll have the engineers take a look to confirm. Thank you! --IFried (WMF) (talk) 20:05, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
I'm disappointed that this wasn't implemented as a gadget. It seems that the wishlist of next year needs a wishlists item for "Gadget that provides the blame functionality" so that there's a possiblility for users to discover the functionality. ChristianKl❫ 17:27, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
@ChristianKl: Thanks for sharing your feedback. We are currently conducting an investigation to see if it is possible to expand accessibility of Who Wrote That? (including making it a gadget or extension). Hopefully, we'll be able to make it more accessible to users in the future. Thanks! --IFried (WMF) (talk) 20:10, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
Unfortunately, can't use this due to the fact that I don't use any of these two browsers. Wostr (talk) 17:33, 15 January 2020 (UTC)
@Wostr: Thanks for the feedback. We hope that we can make WWT accessible to more users in the future, if time and resources are available. --IFried (WMF) (talk) 20:14, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
Very nice! I use the WikiWho tool very often, so I'm glad to see this work on making something that's easier to install. A few things that could be improved: Being able to highlight multiple people at once has been pretty useful (e.g. when looking at what a group of students have added to a page). It's also be useful to have a authorship summary stats graph ( pop up when clicking the header, or even just a link to it. Having the breakdown for each section when the seciton header is clicked would be similarly useful. WhikiWho always had problems when printing the page to PDF with annotations shown, and this tool overall does much better, with the exception that the WWT header bar floats in the middle of the page. Obviously, working with references would definitely be very valuable, since that's also something WikiWho wasn't able to do. Overall I like the interface aesthetic improvements over WikiWho. It also seems to avoid the issue that WikiWho has where sometimes it'd stop tracking sections below the first table. Eventually it may even be useful to have as a default part of the history tab. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 07:01, 16 January 2020 (UTC)
@Evolution and evolvability: Thank you so much for these thoughtful and detailed suggestions. It's especially interesting to read some of your comparisons of the WikiWho vs. WWT user experience. We'll think about these suggestions, as well as other suggestions in this talk page, if we have the time and resources to further improve the tool in the future. Thank you again, and we hope you enjoy using the tool! --IFried (WMF) (talk) 20:17, 24 January 2020 (UTC)

I do not use those browsers by default :( Anthere (talk)

@Anthere: Thanks for reaching out and sharing this feedback! We hope in the future that we can expand accessibility of this tool for more users, if time and resources permit. --IFried (WMF) (talk) 20:20, 24 January 2020 (UTC)

I've added this to Firefox and Chrome, and on heaps of pages the link doesn't appear in the menu. (In both browsers, on Windows, and different pages.) How could I go about debugging why that is happening? pfctdayelise (talk) 22:53, 16 January 2020 (UTC)

@Pfctdayelise: We issued a fix yesterday, which may resolve the issue you have been experiencing. In that case, I recommend that you go to the Chrome and Firefox web stores to uninstall and then re-install the extension (click "Remove" and then immediately click to add the extension again). The extension should then appear under "Tools" if you're viewing it on Wikipedia articles in read mode on a desktop browser (English, German, Basque, Turkish, or Spanish Wikipedia only). Let me know if you still encounter the issue or if the issue is resolved. Thank you! --IFried (WMF) (talk) 20:19, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

Using it on Chrome and loving it so far. What a cool gadget! Clayoquot (talk) 06:51, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

@Clayoquot: That's great to hear. We're so happy that you're loving it! Please feel free to share more feedback or suggestions as you continue to use the tool. Thanks! --IFried (WMF) (talk) 20:21, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Works for me on Chrome. Have not yet tried it in Firefox. It appears to have to reload each time one goes to a new page, and takes several seconds to do so. Is this normal? (My internet is very slow at the moment, and Wikipedia edits take several seconds to open or save, and occasionally crash, so it might not be the tool). Also does not allow "show" function in collapsed navbox, but that is not a crisis. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 10:11, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
    The blue bar seems unneccesarily large.
    Seems to work the same on Firefox.
    There is no popup until I click on a word. It takes several seconds for the popup to resolve, but that might just be my crappy internet, as currently it is taking several seconds to open an edit window, when it actually finds the server. There is no darker highlight on the selected word, and no indication of the user in the blue bar as shown above.
    The tool does not appear to work with any templates.
    When it reports X has written Y% of the page, what does this mean? The number appears to be somewhat unrealistic. Cheers, · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 06:53, 19 January 2020 (UTC)
@Pbsouthwood: Thanks for the feedback, and we're glad that it's working for you on both Chrome & Firefox! The pop-up is meant to only load when you click on a word (that's expected behavior). The pop-up tends to load very quickly whenever I test it, but I understand that different people may have different experiences. If the issue persists, and it seems to only happen with the WWT pop-ups (as opposed to other wiki tools and pages), then please do let us know. As for templates, we get data analysis from the WhoColor API, which currently doesn't include templates. If the WhoColor API expands to include templates, we would happily include templates in WWT as well. The percentage in the pop-up is calculated based on tokens rather than on characters, and it does not necessarily take into account every part of the page. However, the percentage can provide a general approximation of the author’s imprint on the page overall. For more information on the tool, you can find many answers to such questions on the MediaWiki page for WWT. Thank you! --IFried (WMF) (talk) 20:30, 24 January 2020 (UTC)

I'm disappointed. Wikipedia should work from everywhere with every device and without a special app or extension. Not just with two specific browsers and after downloading and installing an additional tool, which I might not even be allowed if it is not my computer. So what you produced was explicitly NOT my wish. And proof that its possible in a different way is de:Benutzer:Schnark/js/artikel-statistik. Obviously I'm not going to test your tool, because I'm not going to install it. Fano (talk) 13:29, 17 January 2020 (UTC)

@Fano: Thanks for your feedback. We're currently conducting an investigation to see if it is possible to expand accessibility of Who Wrote That?. If time and resources permit, we would be interested in seeing if this can be done in the future. --IFried (WMF) (talk) 20:34, 24 January 2020 (UTC)

I can immediately think of two things to improve this tool[edit]

1. Allow the revision of the text that you are hovering over to be a different colour to all other text by the same author. (The tool shows the diff of only the hovered text, and this is different for each yellow text by that author that you click. I propose that the text associated with the diff be a different colour.)

2. Prevent the selection from being abandoned when you use the middle mouse button to scroll down the page in Chrome. (Click some text to bring up the popup, then click or hold the middle-mouse button to scroll. The selection disappears. This shouldn't happen. Such scrolling doesn't have any different effects (that I know of) to regular scrolling in regular Chrome usage.)

Thank you. SUM1 (talk) 09:51, 22 January 2020 (UTC)

@SUM1: There is one important difference between the behavior of the regular scroll and the middle-button scroll (so-called autoscroll) on Windows (there is no autoscroll in Chrome for Linux and Mac at all): when you press the middle button over a link, it doesn’t start scrolling, as the middle button is not only the autoscroll button, but also the button to open links in new tabs. This shows that the two don’t behave exactly the same even without any JavaScript; however, it doesn’t mean that closing the popup with middle click cannot be prevented. I don’t know which way is it more intuitive, though. —Tacsipacsi (talk) 18:30, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
@Tacsipacsi: That's strange, Chrome updated and it suddenly doesn't want to hold on to any selection at all when I scroll with the middle-mouse button. I could swear it did before. It still does in Firefox. Still does in word processors too. SUM1 (talk) 18:51, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
@SUM1: I’m afraid I can’t help you: I use neither Chrome nor Windows on a daily basis. I suggest you to find another support forum for your problem. Or use Firefox, like me! ;) —Tacsipacsi (talk) 19:06, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
@Tacsipacsi: I made the preparations to file a Chromium bug report, as I've roughly located the version where the behaviour changed. I abandoned Firefox around 2012; it doesn't have the resources to manage the hundreds of tabs I usually have open. But this is still probably a different issue, since this tool's highlighting is not text selection and thus shouldn't necessarily behave like it. So I believe it still can and should be fixed. SUM1 (talk) 20:41, 23 January 2020 (UTC)
@SUM1: Thank you for the feedback & detailed suggestions! Right now, you can access the revision-specific information by clicking on the timestamp (which links to the diff). However, I understand that it would be even easier to see the revision information highlighted in some way on the article page as well. In the future, if we have time and resources to improve the tool, we'll definitely consider your suggestions. Thank you! --IFried (WMF) (talk) 21:11, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
@IFried (WMF): Do you have any opinion about point 2? For me the current way seems more natural, but it looks like not for everybody; it would be good to hear a clear statement from the team. —Tacsipacsi (talk) 21:19, 24 January 2020 (UTC)
@Tacsipacsi: Thanks for bringing up this question! I've forwarded the idea in point #2 to the UX designer (to see what opinion he may have). I'll consult with him and provide updates on our discussion afterward. Thanks! --IFried (WMF) (talk) 20:02, 3 February 2020 (UTC)
@Tacsipacsi: @IFried (WMF): I'm investigating this right now. It may seem more intuitive because it's been the default Chrome way for roughly half a year now, but it's not the default way in other browsers like Firefox or word processors. But the issue is slightly even more nuanced than that, because middle-clicking outside of a text paragraph has always deselected, but this happens on the mouse click, not on release. Since this Chromium version, which I'll identify, it deselects even within the paragraph, on mouse release. I'll detail all of this in a Chromium comment or bug report. There is a similar issue in VisualEditor which seems to be unrelated. I got distracted and didn't finish locating the exact Chromium version of the change, but I will now. · • SUM1 • · (talk) 10:37, 21 February 2020 (UTC)
I've identified the Chromium version. It was Chrome Chrome 79.0.3909.0 (64-bit), base position 695389, from 11 September 2019 (bug report). Here's a video of the issue in action with both Chrome versions, Firefox and the Who Wrote That? extension/addon: This proves the Who Wrote That? behaviour is independent of selection and can still be fixed. · • SUM1 • · (talk) 18:54, 21 February 2020 (UTC)


First and most obviously, this is super-amazing. Thank you for making it available. This is incredibly useful. Could it be made to work with pages not in article space? For example, I'm looking at en:WP:G5 and want to know when the last bullet point was added. WWT would be the perfect tool for that. RoySmith (talk) 22:18, 31 January 2020 (UTC)

@RoySmith: "Super-amazing" is maybe the best thing that a team can hear (thank you!). We're so happy that people are liking and using the tool. As for the including the tool outside the article space, we have included this question in our current investigation into the potential expansion of the tool. Overall, this request may be beyond the capacity of WhoColor API maintainers or the Community Tech team, but it's a great idea that is definitely on our radar. Thanks! --IFried (WMF) (talk) 22:49, 3 February 2020 (UTC)

Availability in other languages[edit]

Hi, What is needed for it to be available in other languages? Is it only translation? Seems to work really nicely, and it will allow individual authors to better present their work to the outside world. Good job? GoEThe (talk) 12:32, 7 February 2020 (UTC)

@GoEThe: Thanks for reaching out, and we're happy to hear that you enjoy using the tool! We conducted an an investigation to see if it is possible to expand accessibility of Who Wrote That? (both in terms of making it a gadget/extension and extending support to other languages/wikis). We found that there may be some challenges in expanding the tool to other languages (mostly due to lack of resources, at this point). For now, the Community Tech team needs to focus on other projects in our backlog, but we hope to see if we can expand WWT accessibility in the future. Thank you! --IFried (WMF) (talk) 17:56, 25 February 2020 (UTC)