Re-label the "Save" button to be "Publish", to better indicate to users the outcomes of their action
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Authored By
Jdforrester-WMF, Mar 29 2016

Description

From feedback we get repeatedly as a development team from interviews, user testing and other solicited and unsolicited avenues, and by inspection from the number of edits by newbies not quite aware of the impact of their edits in terms of immediate broadcast and irrevocability, that new users don't necessarily understand what "Save" on the edit page means. Yes, there's some blurb underneath, but (a) it's not clear, (b) it's (necessarily) filled with jargon, and (c) it's in the traditional "blurb blindness" spot where no-one pays attention.

In user testing this has been particularly highlighted as a point of confusion for new users. Even though "user-generated content" sites are a lot more common today than they were when Wikipedia was founded, it is still unusual for most people that their actions will result in immediate, and effectively irrevocable, publication.

Many other wikis use "Publish", notably including Wikia in their fork of MediaWiki since (?) 2008 or so. Most other similar tools use "Publish" for this action, and reserve "Save" for server-side drafts (something we're unlikely to provide right now, as discussed elsewhere). Re-labelling won't solve all issues, but it will more clearly and obviously declare to the user the nature of the action they are about to take. It may reduce slightly the rate at which newbies make their first change, but hopefully because they are more informed and accepting of what they are doing.

However, changing though trivial in terms of code will be a very visible, and possibly mildly disruptive, change to a lot of existing users' workflows, so we should consider carefully this change and not just rush in.

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This issue has been discussed previously. The idea is certainly older than March 2016. It would be nice to include links to previous discussions in this task.

@Whatamidoing-WMF writes on Meta-Wiki that "The Legal team at the Wikimedia Foundation supports this change." What is the citation for this claim?

But save could also be something in the bank, or a thing that must do after earthquake/flood/tsunami... therefore I can't agree with him.

A person has to have really low IQ or other mental problems to not understand which of homonyms with completely different meanings is to be applied in current situation.
On the other hand both meanings of publish are applicable to the button and it is very likely that large part of the audience will get it wrong which is contrary to what is desired.
(TL;DR)

By unless they are idiots..., are you asking Internet is for technical users only? If yes, then I would warn you: You Guys Are Making the Internet Counterpart of THAAD, which is dangerous for at least me!

To know what "Save" means in IT context one has to have an experience with e.g. MS Word which I am pretty sure most people have. Sure there are exceptions, like my granny of 73 years old just this summer bought her first computer and while she now knows how to use Skype and how to use MS Edge to Yandex-search stuff, she has never used a text processing software yet. I guess there is a considerable part of people who similarly are only used to social media sites and nothing else, but as even internet browsers have the save option in them, and any study or work related activity requires to use a software with a save feature I deem it very very very unlikely that there are really many people who would misinterpret the word "save" in IT context. Unless, as was mentioned, if they have some problems with understanding in general.

// I am sorry for my reply being too long and in some places too emotional, but that's the way best I can write relating to such a change (proposal) with such a poor ground behind it. Having opinion of some mysterious 6 + 8 people more paid heed to rather than opinion from people who would have to deal with the change is not very encouraging too. I have to note that Tech News and the separate MassMessage about this change specifically are not a good way to call for feedback: when people see a wording which points that this will be rather than might be if and only if there will be a consensus about it in the discussion makes most people believe that any feedback is pointless (well not that they are wrong from the look of this task).

First, hot do you think the "save" you seen, could also be an opposite of "Ctrl/Commond+S"? At least by clicking such keys, on either WikiEditor or VisualEditor, I've got a "save as..." popup, instead of action=submit, isn't this works not for you?

Base added a comment.Aug 21 2016, 6:29 AM

First, hot do you think the "save" you seen, could also be an opposite of "Ctrl/Commond+S"? At least by clicking such keys, on either WikiEditor or VisualEditor, I've got a "save as..." popup, instead of action=submit, isn't this works not for you?

About the same would be on Google Docs, but I am pretty sure that users are capable of distinguishing saving changes (which on that platform is done automatically as the notice there says) and saving web-page of the web-service. At least those users who know about Ctrl+S/Menu-Save feature of the browser itself. The meaning of the word here is just the same so my point is unshaken, the different here is the context, what you apply the word to.

Change 306303 had a related patch set uploaded (by Jforrester):
On public wikis, show "Publish" rather than "Save" on edit pages

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/306303

Change 296719 merged by jenkins-bot:
EditPage: Allow the 'save' button's label to be 'publish' for public wikis

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/296719

@Base We discussed this a little bit on #wikimedia-operations this evening, I noticed there is still some level of opposition in this task. @Jdforrester-WMF considers all the concerns have been addressed and taken in account, do you agree with this assessment?

I don't think all of above has been addressed, Dereckson. There is a lot of noise, but the main points seem to be on T131132#2270369

Still, as a mediawiki user I don't mind too much about the button caption, since I don't use it. But, do not dare
to touch the accesskey! (which would be tempting). My button is simply alt-s, and I'm sure there are lots of wikipedians with a strong muscle memory for that (not to mention the convenience of its location).

Currently, the access keys are:

  • Save page → s
  • Show preview → p
  • Show changes → v

The actions are Save and Preview, which lend itself better to remember then than Publish and Preview.

I personally like the idea of naming it Save & something, also mentioned by @Alsee, be that Save and publish, Save and share with the word… whatever.

This has several benefits:

  • Still using the Save word lets us link with the past: people remembering (or looking at written down notes) the button to press, paper books, outdated documentation, etc. It's simpler to see how it was renamed.
  • We can keep the message names savearticle and accesskey-save, so any downstream wiki that customized them won't lose their changes.

Also, I miss more info regarding the results of usability tests that prompted this change.

This was noted by the usability back in 2009. "Save often" and other software (WordPress) using "Publish" were cited as reasons.

I see that in 2010 Bianca mentioned Wordpress. However, Tram and Mrs Howie were «Familiar with old "save" interface, thrown off by "publish"» (they apparently renamed the button with js but I think they may have added more things to it)

Risker, that's not the only study that has looked at this. AFAICT the most recent was just a few months ago (and involved six people, which is the industry standard, for better or worse).

@Whatamidoing-WMF could you link to those studies?

PS: DYK that this button has been using "Save page" since the first phase3 revision, by Lee Daniel Crocker 13 years ago? And Magnus Manske original code (15 years ago) used "Save changes"

I don't think https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/306303 should be merged until there are sufficient +1s attached to it. If the idea has merit and is worthy of being merged, there should be a concrete demonstration of this on the Gerrit change. That shouldn't be a difficult hurdle to clear.

James F. has been pushing for this change, both filing this task and creating the various Gerrit changesets. This is great, but I think we absolutely must avoid the appearance that this change is being pushed through over objections. That never ends well.

Risker, that's not the only study that has looked at this. AFAICT the most recent was just a few months ago (and involved six people, which is the industry standard, for better or worse).

I do not know where such standards are applicable but I am pretty sure it is not the case with such a diverse community as we are. We have almost 300 live projects all in a different language (and Mediawiki supports even more), as I have mentioned above we have people with completely different backgrounds in any possible ways. I am pretty sure that usually industries are dealing with more narrow groups.

I'm very sympathetic to this argument.

Regarding the matter at hand, I'm not really inclined to care much about out-of-date documentation, in print or otherwise. I agree that Wikipedia is not a social media site, but I don't find the arguments against switching (cf. T131132#2270369) from "Save changes" to "Publish changes" to be very compelling. I'm inclined personally to give a +1 to https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/306303.

This was rescheduled for morning SWAT again today. I'm uncomfortable deploying it as my google-fu has failed to turn up all of the discussions relevant to addressing the points raised here—sorry to be a roadblock here—I mostly haven't been involved in this ticket so that's a bit strange.

I've asked @Jdforrester-WMF to update this ticket to point to discussions in which some of the specific points that were raised here are addressed.

Change 296746 merged by jenkins-bot:
Vary the 'save' labels to 'publish' for public wikis

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/296746

James F. has been pushing for this change, both filing this task and creating the various Gerrit changesets.

Just following-up on the long-term desire. :-) And yes, I was quite surprised how little of this had ever been captured in Phab/Bugzilla such that I had to create the tasks. It's been discussed many times; I believe I was in a panel discussion about it (and other related issues to editors understanding their liability and un-spilt-milk-ability) in Wikimania 2006, for instance.

This is great, but I think we absolutely must avoid the appearance that this change is being pushed through over objections.

Absolutely. This is why we announced it months ago in hundreds of venues, waited to give people time to consider and give feedback, and considered whether the feedback was sufficiently compelling as to decide not to do this (which is my totally-fun-and-not-in-any-way-controversial job ;-)). We did, several people have (above and elsewhere), and I have decided.

do not dare to touch the accesskey! (which would be tempting).

We haven't (as you can see in the code, at rMW74fa6071c2e5: EditPage: Allow the 'save' button's label to be 'publish' for public wikis for this change, and rMW347ec3352801: EditPage: Show a different label for the button on create vs. modify for the related "change" vs. "page" bit). I agree that breaking accesskeys is profoundly anti-accessibility and should be avoided unless there's a really strong reason.

I personally like the idea of naming it Save & something, also mentioned by @Alsee, be that Save and publish, Save and share with the word… whatever.

I've discussed this before a few times, but I can't immediately see where, so here goes:

PS: DYK that this button has been using "Save page" since the first phase3 revision, by Lee Daniel Crocker 13 years ago? And Magnus Manske original code (15 years ago) used "Save changes"

Yup, though I think it was briefly "Save article", for a year or so in between those two edits, and hence the message key name).

Change 306303 merged by jenkins-bot:
On public wikis, show "Publish" rather than "Save" on edit pages

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/306303

Mentioned in SAL [2016-08-29T21:56:07Z] <catrope@tin> Synchronized wmf-config/InitialiseSettings.php: T131132 (duration: 00m 48s)

Change 306303 merged by jenkins-bot:
On public wikis, show "Publish" rather than "Save" on edit pages

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/306303

Temporarily reverted with https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/307446 and https://wikitech.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Server_Admin_Log&diff=818678&oldid=818677&diffonly=1, it seems.

DannyH added a subscriber: DannyH.Sep 2 2016, 4:37 PM

@Whatamidoing-WMF could you link to those studies?

Unfortunately, most of them haven't been published (or they published their main points, and omitted information about this particular issue).

I'm trying to collect some more details. However, it's probably worth being clear about the best of the likely results: "publishing the studies" probably means uploading a slidedeck that provides little more than the conclusions. The raw data is mostly video of in-depth interviews with indentifiable living people, and it is unlikely that the WMF has permission to post them online.

At this point, it might be possible to produce an (incomplete[1]) list of studies with entries that look something like this:

  • March 2016 study with new users. Structured interviews with six people. All were either uncertain of the button's effect, or wrong. Three said they thought that 'save' would make a private copy on their own computer. After discovering how it worked, one volunteered that the button ought to say 'publish' instead.

And... I'm not sure that a list like this would be very helpful. If someone has trouble believing that half the newbies could be confused by this button, then that person is likely to still have trouble believing that half the newbies could be confused by this button, despite now having a list of dates in which newbies said they were confused by this button.

[1] Most of the people who ran the earliest studies haven't worked for the WMF for years now. I therefore assume that some studies will not be found.

Dbrant added a subscriber: Dbrant.Sep 13 2016, 2:33 PM
He7d3r added a subscriber: He7d3r.Sep 19 2016, 1:22 AM

The most recent study to cover this question is reported in a slide deck here: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Editing_-_New_Wikitext_Editor,_Save_Publish_Findings_2016.12.pdf

The end result is that five out of five editors agreed that "Publish" indicated the finality and public nature of the action (so, get your edit right before you click this). One of the five thought that "Save" and 'Publish' had similar meanings, and the other four seemed to think that "Publish" was clearer on these key points.

On the cons, which will probably interest editors more than the reasons in favor of making the change, two were mentioned:

  • One editor speculated that "Publish page" might be harder to translate than "Save page"; however, in talking to translators, it turns out that the reverse is true. "Save" (in a computer sense) can be translated in multiple ways in some languages, whereas "Publish" is quite straightforward, due in part to publication being a key concept in copyright and libel laws all over the world.
  • One editor said that "Publish page" might make new editors think that they were publishing a magazine or a book. Whether it is undesirable to have the button subtly communicate a serious or organized purpose, such as publishing a book, is IMO a matter of personal opinion.

Change 337530 had a related patch set uploaded (by Jforrester):
Show 'Publish' not 'Save' on most public wikis

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/337530

Change 337531 had a related patch set uploaded (by Jforrester):
Show 'Publish' not 'Save' on Wikipedias

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/337531

Change 337530 merged by jenkins-bot:
[operations/mediawiki-config] Show 'Publish' not 'Save' on most public wikis

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/337530

Mentioned in SAL (#wikimedia-operations) [2017-03-15T18:12:17Z] <legoktm@tin> Synchronized wmf-config/InitialiseSettings.php: Show 'Publish' not 'Save' on most public wikis -T131132 (duration: 00m 42s)

OK, this is now live on all wikis except Wikinews (which had a local change a few months ago instead), and Wikipedias (which will come later).

Change 345399 had a related patch set uploaded (by Catrope; owner: Jforrester):
[operations/mediawiki-config@master] Show 'Publish' not 'Save' on Wikipedias except de/en

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/345399

Change 345399 merged by jenkins-bot:
[operations/mediawiki-config@master] Show 'Publish' not 'Save' on Wikipedias except de/en

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/345399

Mentioned in SAL (#wikimedia-operations) [2017-03-29T18:10:27Z] <catrope@tin> Synchronized wmf-config/InitialiseSettings.php: Save->Publihs on Wikipedias except dewiki and enwiki (T131132); set wgOOUIEditPage false everywhere (duration: 00m 57s)

Just to summarize a ~week long discussion in hewiki:
Most users support changing the save button (locally) to "Save & Publish" [he: שמירה ופרסום] (rather than "Publish changes" [he: שמירת שינויים]). The main points regarding the suggested changes: This is more clear and less confusing,it has similar length, and preserves the old name to some degree for older help pages.
We will update locally the Publishchanges message, but to keep consistency with other projects, we suggest mediawiki/other projects, to consider a similar change ("Publish changes" => "Save & Publish")

Just to summarize a ~week long discussion in hewiki:
Most users support changing the save button (locally) to "Save & Publish" [he: שמירה ופרסום] (rather than "Publish changes" [he: שמירת שינויים]). The main points regarding the suggested changes: This is more clear and less confusing,it has similar length, and preserves the old name to some degree for older help pages.

This feels like a conversation that would have been better to have more broadly, to benefit all wikis and languages. Should we make a new task to discuss that idea? (Other suggestions have been made.)

We will update locally the Publishchanges message, but to keep consistency with other projects, we suggest mediawiki/other projects, to consider a similar change ("Publish changes" => "Save & Publish")

Please do not encourage wikis to over-ride the default translations, it takes years to fix things later.

@eranroz, do you want me to talk to Legal about this for you? In principle, changes to this button need to be reviewed by the Legal team before changes are made locally.

Hanay

What do you want to say?

Liuxinyu970226 awarded a token.

Mentioned in SAL (#wikimedia-operations) [2017-12-11T19:21:43Z] <ebernhardson@tin> Synchronized wmf-config/InitialiseSettings.php: SWAT: T131132: Switch submit button from save to publish on enwiki (duration: 02m 43s)

Jdforrester-WMF closed this task as Resolved.Dec 11 2017, 9:36 PM

Last wiki is now done, save for follow-up.

Restricted Application added a project: User-Ryasmeen. · View Herald TranscriptDec 11 2017, 9:36 PM
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Change 337531 abandoned by Jforrester:
Show 'Publish' not 'Save' on final Wikipedias

Reason:
Done in December by a different patch, whoops.

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/337531

@Jdforrester-WMF @Whatamidoing-WMF is the rationale for the "Save"-->"Publish" decision documented anywhere on wiki? I KEEP hearing from editors during interviews and talkpage discussions that this is confusing and that they have problems with it. I'd like to be able to point them to a description of the design rationale--they don't have to agree with the rationale, but at least they should be able to see that WMF has based the decision on research rather than whim.

Thanks @Aklapper, it does. One reasonably quick option for the VE team might be to copy/paste the task description above (and the link to the slide deck) to a page on MW.org. I could even do that myself, if I knew where they wanted to put it and if I knew that the description was still accurate.

@Capt_Swing, I wonder if editors are really confused about what it means. The feedback I've seen in recent months mostly amounts to new people (e.g., students) saying that they want to save the page privately or semi-privately, and that they don't actually want to be publishing it (where the whole world can see it). They seem to grasp that "Publish page" means that the whole world will be able to see it.

From what I'm hearing, "I'm confused by this button" actually means "I want this button to do something different than it does". Is that consistent with what you're hearing?

Quiddity removed a subscriber: Quiddity.Apr 13 2018, 4:49 PM

@Whatamidoing-WMF sorry for the mega-delayed response. I don't know if I can characterize whether the response I'm hearing is "I don't like this" vs. "this is confusing for me" vs. "I believe this will be confusing for others", but I get the sense that it's a mix of all three.

If you get more information, please share. I'll be interested.