Talk:WMDE Technical Wishes/Templates

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1. Prototype: Featured Templates and Search Filters[edit]

We are looking forward to any kind of feedback. Do you think these two suggestions are suitable to simplify the process of finding the right template and would this make your work easier? Should we follow up on these suggestions? If possible, please tell us if you consider yourself more of a template user or template creator and more of a newcomer or a power user.

  • Please leave the Feedback here.
  • Background: I am a long-time English Wikipedia editor and a regular user and creator of templates there. I also have some UX design experience outside of Wikimedia.
Comment: The search filter prototype is nominally focused on templates in general, but it is strongly oriented towards the use case of an editor trying to add an Infobox to an article on a subject which they do not commonly edit. That is a very common and viable use case. However, it is somewhat an exceptional one compared to the majority of template usages. Infoboxes are generalised and may be used on almost any article. For non-infobox templates, organising templates by subject matter may lead editors to add templates inappropriately, where previously they never would consider doing so. It seems likely that the identified user issue of "template findability" does not apply to templates in general, but rather a specific sub-set of them.
Navigation templates have a greater scope for misapplication. For example, a user searching for volcano templates for a volcanologist biography may add a footer template on a set of unrelated volcanos (e.g. Template:Volcanoes of Oregon) or on science in general, or perhaps add an Olympics footer on a non-Olympic sports biography. Both those scenarios generate low-relevance links. Editors using series-oriented templates are typically already aware of the article set and do not need assistance to locate them. Most often, a template creator will apply the template on a series of pre-existing articles at the point of template creation, or a user will be pushed to write an article based on a redlink on that template. In my experience, it is uncommon for editors outside their regular topic area to serendipitously write an article which is a gap in a navigation template (which is perhaps the only scenario where a search filter would encourage good navigation template usage). I currently use the "What Links Here" page to identify this scenario. It would be useful for the tool to highlight templates that link to the article currently being edited.
For templates that standardised table or data formatting (e.g. Template:Football squad start), one must take the time to learn how to use them properly, therefore encouraging the user to navigate away from an article to a template documentation page (or reviewing existing usage on a similar article) is desirable behaviour, not a user issue. User design should not push users away from such learning experiences.
Many other of the most common templates (such as disambiguation, hatnotes, Commons, Project and Portal navigation templates, IPA pronunciation templates, and meta templates like authority control) do not fit well into a search use case, as one has to be aware of such templates' existence and purpose already in order to think of using them. Consideration should also be given to the risk of including article clean-up templates in a search filter as there is already concern of Tag bombing and further elevation of clean-up templates would exacerbate that problem in the community.
In light of the above, I would encourage considering limiting this prototype to infobox searching only, plus a general "utility template" grouping for common in-line formatting templates like Convert, Citation, Coordinates, No Wrap, Age, In Language, etc. Possibly a separate stub templates grouping would also be useful (though should be listed separately from content-type templates to encourage good usage). If that model is followed, then a featured template aspect is not required, as the search can push the user to the most relevant infoboxes by subject and an order ranking infoboxes by usage. Otherwise, a featured template aspect would only encourage misapplication of non-relevant navigation templates. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 01:21, 27 March 2020 (UTC)

It's a cool idea in general, but once the infrastructure for this is done, the frontend would have to be reimplemented for each and every wiki, introducing inefficient code forking along the way. And smaller wikis in which there are no people who can implement this won't enjoy this feature at all. It's a huge waste. Templates should be made global first. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 12:53, 28 March 2020 (UTC)

@Amire80: I also support this view. Delivery of this prototype before globalisation of templates (which is clearly desirable) would limit it to usage on the small number of wikis that have the ability to localise it. If template globalisation occurs first, the scope, benefit and implementation/maintenance cost of this prototype would be hugely improved. This also completely changes template use cases, as work completed by a user in an article or template in one language could be suggested for use to an editor in another language. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 14:21, 28 March 2020 (UTC)