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Provide a way to convert inline templates in regular text when translating templates
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When translating templates in Content Translation (T139332), users are provided a tool to adapt the different parameters. Users may find some difficulties due to the differences of templates across wikis (including their unavailability).

Although initial research (T146419) showed that some users were a bit overwhelmed by the complexity of the template concept concept. Especially in the case of in-line templates that look like regular text, the parameter editing can be perceived as additional complexity. These users mentioned that they would just add the information as plain text in the translation.

Providing an option to adapt templates as regular text can provide a way forward for these cases. In general we should aim for content to be structured in templates since that guarantees consistency across pages, so it may be good to provide this option in such context (e.g., clarifying that the structure and formatting will be lost and providing access to additional information about the purpose of templates).

Proposed solution

We can support two approaches to convert a template into text:

A convert to text option in the template card
Providing an option in the template card that allows users to turn the template into plain text:

inline-template-to-text.png (768×1 px, 142 KB)


  • The option has a separator and a clarifying sub message ("The template structure will be lost") since it has side-effects.
  • Clicking on such option will replace the template with the text content.
  • In order to allow a way to undo, we need to make sure that clicking on the source template adds it to the translation if it is not there.

A step before deleting with the keyboard
When deleting a template, it can get converted to plain text first. As the user presses "supr" or "backspace" keys we can introduce the conversion to text as an intermediate step. The first deletion action will select the template, another deletion will convert it into text (selecting the whole text), one more deletion press will remove the whole selected text (if the user did not decided to move the cursor).

We may want to experiment with this approach to check if it feels natural to remove the structure before the content.

Event Timeline

I'd love to have this ASAP because it will address a lot of complaints about bad wikitext substitution, but it doesn't sound trivial, so I'm not sure it's feasible to schedule it for Language-Q2-2016-17 Sprint 5, but tagging it anyway to discuss the possibility.

Pginer-WMF updated the task description. (Show Details)

I added a proposal in the ticket description. @Amire80 take a look and feel free to comment. Thanks!

Will be taken up later for development

Arrbee moved this task from In Review to Done on the Language-2017 Sprint 1 board.