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WMDE Technical Wishes/Mention Notifications

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The wish to be notified about sent mentions


Currently, mentions may fail due to a variety of often unknown reasons. Wish #9 of the 2015 German-speaking Technical Wishes Survey wants to improve the situation: After a save, users should be able to see which mentions have actually been sent out. It is important to note that this does not include information whether a mention has arrived, it is only about the fact that it has been sent by the system.

The wish will be realized by adding two notification options:

  • Option 1: You will be able to receive a notification whenever a mention has not been sent.
  • Option 2: You will be able to receive a notification whenever you could sent a mention out.



Pre-development research


Originally, the wish opted for an information about the sent mentions in the save message. However, mentions are sent out after an edit has been saved. So when the save message is displayed, we do not know yet if the mentions have been sent out. Therefore, we plan to inform users through echo notifications. Together with the Notifications team of the WMF we decided not to show info about successfully sent mentions, but the opposite: Mentions that have failed. This reduces the number of notifications, and equally helps users to know which of the mentions they need to take care of again. Furthermore we will try to inform users about the reasons why their mentions have not been sent.

Due to the fact that not all links to user pages should always result in mentions, there are some failures that are harder to detect than others. As a first step, we will cover the easy to detect failures. We will dig deeper into the hard to detect failures to see if there is a way to cover them, too. To generally improve the understanding of when mentions work, we will also complete the list of failure reasons here and here.

Supporting both mentions that failed and that were successfully sent


During the Wikimania Hackathon 2016, the Collaboration team and the TCB team talked again and decided to also support notifications for successfully sent mentions. The background is that currently, if people forget to sign, no mention is sent. This is a feature, not a bug, so they can currently not find out about it. The whole mention process is currently very difficult to understand and the best longterm solution would probably be switching to something similar to what Legoktm proposes. For the time until this is tackled, the TCB team will build an opt-in feature to receive notifications whenever you successfully sent out mentions.



Development on this wish started in the middle of June 2016.



As of August 22, the new features are available on test Wikipedia as opt-in functions. To try it out, please open the tab "notifications" in the preferences section and enable "failed mention" and "successful mention".

After testing it on test Wikipedia, the two new notification types were deployed to Mediawiki.org and Meta on September 7. As of September 8, failed and successful notifications are available on all wikis. The options are configured as "opt in" an can be enabled by default in the user preferences.