Translatable version at https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Notifications/Sorting_schemes (with slightly simpler details)
There are currently two Notification fly-out menus, one for Alerts and one for Messages. Different notification types show up on different menus. There have been criticism over time that the scheme for dividing up the messages is unclear and/or inconsistent. These criticisms include the following:
- Ideas of urgency and requiring follow up are mingled, making it difficult to explain or predict why different items are where.
- Currently, "Alert" items are automatically marked as read on open. Yet some of these require follow-up or other action to be fully understood (e.g., Mention), so this feature's value is not always clear.
- Because alerts are perceived as Urgent, Thank Yous and other items seem out of place in the Alerts list.
- To create a scheme that conforms with and facilitates editors goals.
- To create a scheme that is easy to understand, learn and predict.
- To give editors clearer information about their new notifications.
- To reduce unnecessary distraction from non-urgent notifications.
- Something that works well for editors who get large (and small) quantities of notifications.
- Something that scales well, as new (requested) notification types are created.
- Something that scales well, once cross-wiki notifications are available
Proposed Alternative Schemes
To see the current division and three alternatives the Collab team has been working on, please see this spreadsheet https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1eVQVbzVhhVejEMnVqRBC98weBnfrnZqcGExlImsbBUk/edit?usp=sharing , (or a simplified version below, which does not include a 4th more complex option). The lower half of the spreadsheet shows comments about the pros and cons of each scheme.
|#1: CURRENT DIVISION||#2: URGENT VS. NONURGENT||#3: FOLLOW UP REQUIRED VS. NO FOLLOW UP|
|View Mockup of this Concept in Action||View a Mockup of this Concept In Action|
|ALERTS||MESSAGES||ALERTS||NOTICES||ALERTS||FOR FOLLOW UP|
|CURRENT DIVISION, ANALYSIS||URGENT SPLIT, ANALYSIS||FOLLOW UP SPLIT, ANALYSIS|
|Part of the original impetus for the split was the frequency of flow-new-topic, yet that ended up with Messages, where it will not be subject to Automatic Mark as Read.||Division, while subjective, is clear and will track with some users' expectations (given the red badge color).||The division is subjective. Given differing working styles, some users will disagree with assignment of individual items.||Division is relatively clear and explicable and tracks with a hypothetical use case ("I'll just check these all quickly now.")||Division, while relatively objective, is nonstandard and may be difficult to label simply for users. ("Alerts" vs. "For Follow Up"?)|
|Ideas of Urgency and Follow up are mingled in ways that are inconsistent, making this difficult to explain or predict.||Factor of urgency may provide an aid to triage ("check these first")||Ability to automatically mark as read is appropriate and can be preserved.||The main shortcoming of this scheme is that it doesn't give users any information about urgency. So, the question is, which would users prefer to be informed about: "I have some items I can dispatch quickly (which this does), or "I have some items that are important" (for which there is no indication).|
|Because some "Alert" items require follow-up and are not self-contained (e.g., Mention), ability to Mark as Read on open is of questionable value||Fairly close to current scheme||We've discussed adding a "pinning" feature to notifications. When we do, that might make this divsion less valuable.|
|Because alerts are perceived as Urgent, Thank Yous and other items seem out of place.|
|GENERAL POINTS||GENERAL POINTS||GENERAL POINTS|
|In this scheme, an effort was made to determine the messages that users would want to know right away vs. those that they may regard as less pressing. Urgency was more or less arrived at by consensus in consultation with various team members.||What to label these: "Alerts" works reasonably well, since it does carry a connotation of urgency. But many of the Alerts are arguably Messages as well (e.g., edit-user-talk). Suggest "Notices" as not sounding to deprecatory but connoting a lower level of urgency.||The division here is based on the idea that some messages are relatively self-contained and can be fully understood based on the info in the notification, while others require follow up simply to understand what happened.||Flow-new-topic is marked as requiring follow up. This is a very common type and not that vital, so a good candidate for automatic Mark as Read. If we use this scheme, we might want to reclassify Flow-new-topic, which is questionable for Requires Follow Up anyway...|
|The red, "Urgent," badge color for Alerts is recommended for this scheme.||In labelling the non-urgent items, we need to be careful that some groups (e.g., Translation) don't perceive that we are labelling their activities less important.||Talk, Mention and Revert are the most clicked on notification types according to the graph linked to below. So, segregating them For Follow Up seems to make sense. 1|
|Many of the Urgent (Alert) items require follow-up (e.g., edit-user-talk), so use of automatic Mark as Read is not recommended.||Since urgency is not the dividing line, would recommend not using red for Alerts.|
The team is currently recommending we start off with the "Urgent / Not Urgent" grouping but is waiting for community feedback.
Further background information:
- The team has researched some notification-type quantities at a few sample wikis, to better understand the quantities involved at the top end of the spectrum. T113664: Measure the notification types that are most abundantly received at 5 sample wikis and at the spreadsheet in the "Volume" tab (link at the page-bottom)
- There have been alternative suggestions, for adding either multiple colors to the badge ( T57359 and T115845#1750619 ) or multiple icons for the badge (T58476). These ideas are great at a small scale, but they don't expand well regarding the large variety of notification-types, and the contextual-importance of the different types.