VisualEditor: Provide an indication that a link is piped without requiring mouseover
Open, Needs TriagePublic

Description

As mentioned at T55973#3500032 and at VE/F (permalink) it is desirable for there to be some method of identifying at a glance whether a given link target is the same as the label or not. Specifically this would help in at least the following use cases:

  • checking for potentially deceptive links
  • changes to a link label have not updated the target as desired (c.f. T55973, T56947)
  • changes to a link target have not updated the label as desired (particularly if changes are correcting typos, similar looking characters, etc)

The desire is only for an indication that the link is piped, not a presentation of what the target is as existing methods (mouseover and/or opening the link inspector) remain fine for this. The new indication would be a clue to use those methods if desired rather than needing to mouseover every single link in the page in case it is piped.

The nature of the indication should be visible at a glance but not distracting. Methods for consideration should include those below:

  • different coloured text (c.f. the gadget that colours links to disambiguation pages orange, so don't use that colour)
  • a coloured (wavy) underline (cf spelling error red wavy underlines)
  • a double underline

Note that these are suggestions only and have not (to my knowledge) been evaluated regarding accessibility or similar issues, the exact method used is not the focus of this request.

Restricted Application added a subscriber: Aklapper. · View Herald TranscriptAug 9 2017, 10:33 AM
DLynch added a subscriber: DLynch.Aug 22 2017, 4:34 PM

Worth bearing in mind that there's very few ways of interacting with a link which wouldn't make the popup appear. (Find/replace springs to mind.) This does mean that when you're e.g. changing [[Foo]] to [[Foo|Foo's]], the actual link target is on the screen without you needing any extra steps taken to reveal it. As such, I feel this suggestion is mostly applicable to checking for mistakes made in prior revisions.

Indication of a piped link seems challenging, because unlike selflinks, external links, and redlinks, it's not something that we show normally on a display page. Makes it more of an education issue.

The goal of this is to see which links are piped without needing to interact with them.

It's partly about checking errors in prior revisions, and party an easy way to identify that your intended changes to a link have had the effect you wanted (as it really isn't at the moment in many cases)
When changing a link you could be wanting to do one of thee things:

  1. Change the link target but not the link text
  2. Change the link text but not the link target
  3. Change both (most likely)

In visual editor it's much easier to do 1 or 2 than it is to do 3 (the only reliable way is to delete the link and start again) and this is not intuitive, so it is very easy to do 1 or 2 when intending to do 3. The different presentation will be a clue that you (or a prior editor) did or did not succeed with what they attempted.

Yes there will be an education issue, but no more so than things like hidden comments, invisible templates, apparently blank lines associated with block templates, lack of tables of contents, and all the other occasions when VE's presentation differs from a viewed page's presentation. VE is explicitly not WYSIWYG and this seems unlikely to be any more of an issue than any of those other differences.