Kill automatic RFC linking
Open, NormalPublic

Description

There's an obscure easter egg feature in MediaWiki where if you put "RFC X" (where X is a number) it automatically creates a link to the Internet Engineering Task Force RFC at tools.ietf.org. This was probably fine in the early days of Wikipedia, but it's now an annoying anachronism. Wikipedia has it's own RFCs (some of which are numbered) and when people mention them, they get these automatic links to the wrong place and people get very confused. The links even get created in Echo notifications (T70217). Can we kill this feature?

kaldari created this task.May 26 2016, 5:55 PM
Restricted Application added subscribers: Zppix, Aklapper. · View Herald TranscriptMay 26 2016, 5:55 PM
kaldari updated the task description. (Show Details)May 26 2016, 6:00 PM

Looks like this is handled by Parser::doMagicLinks(). There are two other magic links besides RFC: PMID and ISBN. PMID and ISBN seem like good ideas as they are used frequently in references and are canonical (there aren't competing uses of PMID and ISBN). IETF RFCs are rarely used in references, and the acronym "RFC" on Wikipedia is just as likely to refer to an internal RFC as an IETF RFC.

matmarex removed a subscriber: matmarex.May 26 2016, 6:24 PM

Looks like wfEscapeWikiText() would also need to be updated (and possibly Parsoid).

Jdforrester-WMF added a subscriber: Jdforrester-WMF.

Tagging User-notice given this is a proposed breaking change to wikitext.

Johan added a subscriber: Johan.

(Removing user-notice here; adding it to the other task instead. Thanks for pointing it out.)

@Legoktm I am not 100% in favour of having this as a duplicate of T28207: Split magic linking out of core; create new magic linking extension, since that one is about replacement and this about killing the feature. There is also T47942: "Magic links" RFC, PMID and ISBN should be configurable and disableable which this task may in fact be also duplicate to.

@kaldari : What exactly you wanted? Remove the feature from PHP code at all or remove the feature from WMF wikis or something else?

@Danny_B: Unless someone has a good reason otherwise, I favor killing the RFC magic link entirely. FWIW, I think leaving the other magic links in core (and unconfigurable) is fine, but others may disagree. In general, I favor keeping things as simple as possible, but no simpler :)

kaldari reopened this task as Open.May 26 2016, 9:28 PM

Reopening since this is a different request.

Anomie added a subscriber: Anomie.EditedMay 27 2016, 1:39 PM

Looks like wfEscapeWikiText() would also need to be updated (and possibly Parsoid).

And Scribunto (here and here).

Looks like wfEscapeWikiText() would also need to be updated (and possibly Parsoid).

And Scribunto (here and here).

...hence adding...

Izno added a subscriber: Izno.Jun 11 2016, 6:09 PM
Danny_B triaged this task as Normal priority.Jul 1 2016, 5:48 PM

RFC currently has interwiki [[rfc:]] (cf. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:Interwiki / https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Interwiki_map) so can be easilly killed (perhaps after global bot replacements) as replacement feature exists.

RFC currently has interwiki [[rfc:]] (cf. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:Interwiki / https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Interwiki_map) so can be easilly killed (perhaps after global bot replacements) as replacement feature exists.

That's not what "easily killed" means. You'll break every revision of every MediaWiki instance on Earth that uses this feature forever. The fact that you'd "just" need to insert five characters to fix future (but not existing) revisions doesn't reduce the impact. :-)

That's a bit of fallacy.

  1. Deleting of templates or redirects also breaks historical revisions as well as changing the content of transcluded templates may break them or at least become out of context.
  2. Killing the automagic linking feature won't break anything, since plaintext will be displayed instead. Which is like there was no automagic linking before and suddenly we have added interwiki.
  3. Diffs of the historical revisions (of course except for the add-interwiki one) won't be affected.

And personal POV: Who cares about content of historical revisions from the perspective of clicking links there? Fortiori if they exist in the current one?

I agree that there won't be any 100% replacement, however, it won't break or make difficult to read anything.

All automagic linkings (fortiori with hardcoded targets) are evil by design and as such should be replaced by more versatile features.

jayvdb added a subscriber: jayvdb.Jul 2 2016, 4:54 AM

I have to agree with Danny here.
Of all the syntax changes MediaWiki has had, and are planned, this has the
least impact afaik on old revs. The rendered version without the link is
fine. And a gadget could very easily relink the text.

Scott added a subscriber: Scott.Jul 2 2016, 11:01 AM
Scott added a comment.Jul 2 2016, 11:08 AM

I agree with Danny that this task is a duplicate of T47942. That task calls for magic linking to become an optional feature; there may be some people who are not in a position to use bots or gadgets to replace the functionality if it's removed entirely, and we should consider them.

@Scott: I think magic linking is fine, I just don't think that the RFC magic link is useful. 100% of the cases I've seen where "RFC X" is magic linked on Wikipedia are links to the wrong place and they would be better off as just text.

Scott added a comment.Jul 2 2016, 4:13 PM

@kaldari - don't get me wrong, I also want it turned off for exactly the same reasons! I just believe that the change should be made in a way that doesn't risk inconveniencing hypothetical users reliant on a long-established feature. It's hard to think of a feature that's been around longer; this predates MediaWiki.

jayvdb added a comment.Jul 2 2016, 4:50 PM

Is it possible to do magic linking of "RFC x" in an extension? Then any site relying on it can keep the functionality if they want, even for non-JS clients. https://www.w3.org/wiki/ is likely to be the wiki most likely to want to keep this feature.

Is it possible to do magic linking of "RFC x" in an extension? Then any site relying on it can keep the functionality if they want, even for non-JS clients. https://www.w3.org/wiki/ is likely to be the wiki most likely to want to keep this feature.

T28207: Split magic linking out of core; create new magic linking extension

@Scott: I think magic linking is fine, I just don't think that the RFC magic link is useful. 100% of the cases I've seen where "RFC X" is magic linked on Wikipedia are links to the wrong place and they would be better off as just text.

MediaWiki != Wikipedia

He7d3r added a subscriber: He7d3r.Sep 14 2016, 11:58 AM