Support global preferences
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bzimport, Jul 27 2008


It would be nice if users and developers could designate certain preferences to automatically apply across all wikis. This will require A Lot of Work™.

Extension:GlobalPreferences is a rough draft of the functionality.

RFC: Global user preferences

Challenges to overcome:

  • UI language:
    • polyglot users who want UI & content to match, and
    • cross-wiki maintainers who want to force the one UI language globally T16950#2187671
  • Gadget on/off pref - T16950#2188222 (and possible security issue with assuming global - T16950#2188400 )

Related TechCom-RfC: T64559: Redesign Special:Preferences (tracking)



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Nikki added a subscriber: Nikki.May 18 2016, 12:06 PM
JAnD added a subscriber: JAnD.Jul 1 2016, 8:42 AM

Current state of this issue:

In T120385, the Language-Team team has a number of global preference use cases they'd like to implement solutions for.

revi added a subscriber: revi.Jul 6 2016, 12:46 PM
Trizek-WMF added a subscriber: Trizek-WMF.

Based on @Legoktm's earlier comments, ArchCom agreed (in E225) to move this one back to the backlog. He suggests (in T16950#1042731) that it would be a significant amount of work to make this happen. In particular, he wrote:

  • T16950#1042731 - To create an extension of sufficient quality to be deployed in WMF production (which IMO the end goal should be), there will need to be refactoring to the preferences system in core to make it easily extendable, as well as UX/design work to figure out a user interface that is sane and not scary. My general impression is that refactoring core will end up being most of the work and could easily take an experienced contributor more than 2-3 weeks.
  • T16950#185526 - I've done some work on this, see [[mw:Extension:GlobalPreferences]]. It's not even close to deployment-ready yet and needs UI love.
  • T16950#185538 - In the long term, [I plan to try getting GlobalPrefs deployed on Wikimedia sites]. I don't plan on working on the extension anytime soon though, so assigning the bug to me would probably just end up being cookie licking.

In regards to UX: Is it possible to activate such a function as opt-in or would it just be there for everyone? I understand why some people really want this, on the other hand, I find it hard to imagine how an interface would look like that does not negatively affect those who don't need/want/know of such a functionality.

Nemo_bis rescinded a token.Jul 16 2016, 7:59 AM
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jeblad added a subscriber: jeblad.Aug 19 2016, 9:40 PM

The most setting that seems most obviously problematic is the UI language: We have a clash of two use cases here. On the one hand, we have plyglot users, who want the UI to be consistent with the content. On the other, we have cross-wiki maintainers, who edit on many wikis with content languages the users don't actually speak, so they want to force the UI language globally. Having the UI language global would cater to the latter, but would be really annoying for the former.

This is assuming a single user language, but that is a simplification in Mediawiki which should be removed. A polyglot user knows several language and could use anyone of them. The correct implementation would then be to use a list of user languages and use the language closest to the content language on each mw-instance. That sounds as something babel-ish with priority on each language.

This is assuming a single user language

I'm not sure what is "this", but your point is already part of the task description.

From the task description "one UI language globally". No it should not be one UI language, it should be one of the languages the user knows.

Quiddity updated the task description. (Show Details)Aug 21 2016, 5:46 PM
Quiddity removed a subscriber: wikibugs-l-list.

From the task description "one UI language globally". No it should not be one UI language, it should be one of the languages the user knows.

That was 1 point, out of 2 separate points contained in the same line. I've edited the description to make that clearer. :)

Buggia added a subscriber: Buggia.Nov 13 2016, 8:01 AM

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Meno25 added a subscriber: Meno25.Jan 17 2017, 11:43 AM
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mxn added a subscriber: mxn.Jan 29 2017, 7:49 PM

It might be worth investigating global-only preferences per T171624: Investigate making Mute cross-wiki

Idk if this has been brought up yet, but how is GlobalPreferences going to handle wikis wanting to hide a preference? Eg, how enwiki has the "mark all edits as minor" preference hidden.

@TerraCodes Good point. You mean with $wgHiddenPrefs? Those preferences will also be hidden on Special:GlobalPreferences on that wiki, but they'll be visible and globalizable on other wikis. Similar to how it'll handle preferences for extensions that aren't installed everywhere.

TerraCodes added a comment.EditedOct 12 2017, 11:54 PM

Ah, but what would be the point of hiding a preference then? Since I could just go to another wiki, and enable it globally.

Oh, no, sorry: it would be able to be enabled globally, and that would apply to the wikis that haven't hidden it — on those ones, the local default would be used always.

Wouldn't that confuse users through, since you would think you're enabling it globally, but you're really not?

Yeah, it is a bit confusing. :-(

But I guess it's much the same as enabling a global preference that doesn't exist at all on a wiki. I mean, from the point of view of someone on enwiki there is no "Mark all edits minor by default" preference, so they wouldn't expect such a thing to be set when they set it globally.

Ah, thanks for explaining it~

Off-topic: Why does enwiki even hide this setting? It does no harm afaik, but is really useful if you to some maintenance task for a while.

T178449: RFC: How to modify all preferences? was today discussed during the TechCom RFC meeting on IRC. The RFC remains "under discussion". See for T178449#3728073 minutes.

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