Help panel: allow users to "Ask a question" to help desk
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Description

This task is about enabling users of the Editor help panel to post a question to the Help desk directly (rather than being directed to do so on the Help desk edit page in a new tab).

User story

When I am seeking help on how to edit an article and do not find the help panel links shown relevant...
...I want to ask for specific help from within the help panel ...
...so that I can articulate my editing question whilst still attempting the task.

General requirements

  • Platform: This feature will eventually need to exist for both desktop and mobile. Desktop should be built and deployed first. This feature does not need to support Structured Discussions.
  • Languages: KO and CS (Growth team's target wikis)
  • Target users of the help panel: Determined by business rules defined on T206716
  • Eventlogging: This feature will need to be instrumented with EventLogging for all interactions.
  • A/B testing: This feature should be A/B testable. We might want to test these sorts of things:
    • Having the feature at all.
    • Different configurations of elements in the ask a question screens.
    • Different copy and call to action text.
    • Making the email field (for logged in users who do not have a confirmed email) optional or mandatory

Proposed feature design + requirements

  • Notes on the design:
    • 'Step 2' Review question for submission screen:
      • Follows on from the preferred implementation whereby the question field is shown on the Help panel (Mock "B" in T206717) – the field is pre-populated with the text inputted in that initial screen.
      • Copy is likely to change - it will be tracked on T210213.
      • If the logged in user has not yet provided a confirmed email address, they will be given the opportunity to enter one here (in step 2 when they review the question for submission)
      • Question text-area:
        • Only text content is permitted in this field (including emojis and URLs)
        • There is no stated limit to the size of this field, but there can be a hidden limit of 2,000 characters.
        • We may wish to add some 'assistive' help text below this field warning users not to include personal information since the question will be posted publicly
      • The option to include the article title in the submission is checked by default
      • Error message format if the question fails to post:
      • Edit summary generated for the user: Help panel question on X (2018-12-12 16:34)
  • 'Step 3' Question posted confirmation screen:
    • Shown when the question is posted (ie after selecting 'Submit' in Step 2)
    • The question should be posted to the Help desk directly (via a bot) with an autogenerated section header:
      • Users will not be able to customize the header. Keeps the process simple for users and reduces noise for responders.
      • Users will have the checkbox to include the title, defaulted to "on". Allows users to ask questions without disclosing the article, and allows us to learn whether users are inclined to turn it off.
      • Headers will not contain the username or timestamp because those are in the signature.
      • Headers will not contain the section because that is more likely to add confusion than subtract it.
      • We will prevent duplicate headers by numbering them sequentially.
      • Headers will include links to the pages they came from if the user included the title of the article.
      • Headers will look like the following (the last one is the case where the user unchecked the box to include title):
    • The post is automatically accompanied with the user's signature and timestamp, regardless of whether the user included a signature in their typed message.
    • Tag the post as coming from the help panel so that other users may monitor the content
    • If the user had opted-out of providing the article title in step 2, then :<article title> is omitted from the section title
    • "View my question on Help Desk" opens the Help Desk in a new tab, anchored to the new section where their question has been posted
    • Copy is likely to change - we may not wish to link to an "More about this feature" page to give details about this experiment
    • The "Close" button will close the help panel (back into the Call to action button/tab)
    • If posting their question is the user's first edit, their confirmation message is different, and acknowledges that they just made their first edit.

Related:

Related Objects

There are a very large number of changes, so older changes are hidden. Show Older Changes
RHo updated the task description. (Show Details)Thu, Nov 22, 11:53 PM
RHo updated the task description. (Show Details)

A few questions:

  1. Is there a character limit? Should the user be shown what this limit is?
  2. Do we add the user's signature for them, and if so, do we indicate it to the user? I think we'd want to add the signature automatically but users who have read some help guides might add it themselves and we don't want to add duplicate signatures.
  3. we are not building out support for StructuredDiscussions help desks for initial launch on CZ/KO, is that correct?
  4. Are the templates for posting the user's message managed on wiki or via the extension (non configurable)?
RHo updated the task description. (Show Details)Fri, Nov 23, 9:41 PM
RHo added a comment.Fri, Nov 23, 9:50 PM

A few questions:

  1. Is there a character limit? Should the user be shown what this limit is?
  • IMHO we could impose a fairly high character limit (e.g., 2000 characters) and not show that to users. It's not meant to be an essay but at the same time experienced editors have indicated they prefer more context from help seekers, and showing a limit may deter people from providing details.
  1. Do we add the user's signature for them, and if so, do we indicate it to the user? I think we'd want to add the signature automatically but users who have read some help guides might add it themselves and we don't want to add duplicate signatures.
  • The intention is for the signature to be added for them automatically on the post. Seems prudent to err on the side of double signatures for users who do know add that in, rather than no signatures being shown.
  1. we are not building out support for StructuredDiscussions help desks for initial launch on CZ/KO, is that correct?
  • @MMiller and @Trizek-WMF to confirm, but I do not believe so.
  1. Are the templates for posting the user's message managed on wiki or via the extension (non configurable)?

We are not building out support for StructuredDiscussions help desks for initial launch on CZ/KO, is that correct?

  • @MMiller and @Trizek-WMF to confirm, but I do not believe so.

We aren't targeting SD help desks for the current release.

Are the templates for posting the user's message managed on wiki or via the extension (non configurable)?

We should prefer on wiki. It would allow admins to create the templates the way they prefer, since the communities don't have the same needs. @kostajh, do you already have an idea of how to make it? Could it be mike on translatewiki, using $1, $2...?

Change 474310 had a related patch set uploaded (by Kosta Harlan; owner: Kosta Harlan):
[mediawiki/extensions/GrowthExperiments@master] WIP: Add help button and pane

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/474310

MMiller_WMF renamed this task from Help pane: allow users to "Ask a question" to help desk to Help panel: allow users to "Ask a question" to help desk.Thu, Nov 29, 7:16 PM
MMiller_WMF updated the task description. (Show Details)

@kostajh @RHo @Trizek-WMF -- some things I would like to weigh in on:

  • The requirements say "Tag the post as coming from the help panel so that other users may monitor the content". Does this mean adding an explicit "edit tag" that can be queried in the database? That sounds useful.
  • @Catrope -- what are the specific business rules around the milestone notifications? Will newcomers who use the help panel to ask a question receive a "You made your first edit" notification? Or is that only for certain namespaces, or only in certain wikis?
  • @RHo -- what sort of page were you thinking the "More about this feature" link would go to? Would it go to this one?
MMiller_WMF updated the task description. (Show Details)Thu, Nov 29, 11:30 PM
  • The requirements say "Tag the post as coming from the help panel so that other users may monitor the content". Does this mean adding an explicit "edit tag" that can be queried in the database? That sounds useful.

Yes. However, since we're using MessagePoster that might require a little more work than I thought (because we have to propagate the tag we want to add through the generic MessagePoster infrastructure). Also, if the help desk is a Flow page, that would mean adding an edit tag to the creation of a Flow post, and while that should be possible in theory, I don't think anyone's ever tried that before.

  • @Catrope -- what are the specific business rules around the milestone notifications? Will newcomers who use the help panel to ask a question receive a "You made your first edit" notification? Or is that only for certain namespaces, or only in certain wikis?

Yes they will. The milestone notifications look at the user's total edit count on a given wiki (not filtered by namespace or anything else), and send a notification every time that number reaches a power of 10 (so at 1, 10, 100, 1000, etc).

Also, if the help desk is a Flow page, that would mean adding an edit tag to the creation of a Flow post, and while that should be possible in theory, I don't think anyone's ever tried that before.

I now see T209318#4773442 where @Trizek-WMF says that posting to Flow pages isn't required yet. Kosta's already got an implementation that I believe will work for Flow pages, but we could still ignore the Flow tagging issue for now.

The third wiki we plan to work with don't have Flow either. But at the end of Q3, if the experiment is conclusive, we will have to deal with some wikis using it.

Edits should be tagged and query-able.

Concerning the "More about this feature", I think it should point to a TL;DR page to be created and translatable.

RHo added a comment.Fri, Nov 30, 11:57 AM
  • @RHo -- what sort of page were you thinking the "More about this feature" link would go to? Would it go to this one?

I was thinking perhaps a sub-page under this one that speaks more generally about the specific version of the feature, that as @Trizek-WMF mentioned should be translatable. For context, I got the idea from the CX tool (see screenshot below), but would also be fine to not include since users of CX tend to be pretty au fait with editing and Wikipedia already, whereas newbies using help panel may be confused why they are being taken to Mediawiki.


"More about this tool " links to https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Content_translation and "Give us feedback" goes to https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Talk:Content_translation

RHo updated the task description. (Show Details)Fri, Nov 30, 3:35 PM

Thanks, everyone, for the responses.

@RHo -- so that milestone notification is going to trigger when people use this feature. They'll post a question, and then they'll get the little notice congratulating them on their first edit. That will technically be true. Do you think it will confuse users? Should we worry about it?

And regarding the "More on this feature" page, I created a separate task for it: T210906.

I probably don't have bandwidth to create that page before we launch, so we might need to skip this link for now. @Trizek-WMF, what do you think? Is it important? Would you want to create it?

@Trizek-WMF, what do you think?  Is it important?  Would you want to create it?

If you think that's important, create a small, short page is easy. I can handle it. Please directly create a task as a sub task of T210906 if you think it worth the case.

RHo added a comment.Mon, Dec 3, 10:31 PM

@RHo -- so that milestone notification is going to trigger when people use this feature. They'll post a question, and then they'll get the little notice congratulating them on their first edit. That will technically be true. Do you think it will confuse users? Should we worry about it?

It would be great if we detect that the person has never made an edit before to add an additional sentence on the confirmation screen something to the effect of "By the way, by posting this question, you've just made an edit on Wikipedia!"

@Trizek-WMF -- I think we should only create that page if YOU think it is worthwhile. If you think it is, then I think you can use T210906 to do it.

@kostajh -- what do you think of @RHo's idea of having a different success message for first-time editors?

I like that idea!

Okay, great, thanks, @kostajh. @RHo, could you add language to the spreadsheet about that success message? I'll add it to the requirements now.

MMiller_WMF updated the task description. (Show Details)Tue, Dec 4, 12:40 AM
RHo added a comment.Tue, Dec 4, 2:37 PM

Okay, great, thanks, @kostajh. @RHo, could you add language to the spreadsheet about that success message? I'll add it to the requirements now.

  • Done. Added on the spreadsheet as an extra paragraph below the confirmation message if the question posted is the user's first edit.

The team had multiple discussions about how to automatically construct the headers for posting questions to the help desk. The discussion is below pasted from email. I will update the description of this task with the business rules, which are:

  • Users will not be able to customize the header. Keeps the process simple for users and reduces noise for responders.
  • Users will have the checkbox to include the title, defaulted to "on". Allows users to ask questions without disclosing the article, and allows us to learn whether users are inclined to turn it off.
  • Headers will not contain the username or timestamp because those are in the signature.
  • Headers will not contain the section because that is more likely to add confusion than subtract it.
  • We will prevent duplicate headers by numbering them sequentially.
  • Headers will include links to the pages they came from if the user included the title of the article.
  • Headers will look like the following (the last one is the case where the user unchecked the box to include title):

Here are the things most people seem to agree on:

  • It should be clear that the question has come through the help panel.
  • It should contain the article title. That title should be a clickable link.
  • We do not want duplicate headers.
  • We want the headers to be shorter rather than longer.

Here are the things that are still open questions:

  • Should we allow users to customize the headers in any way? Specific information about the user's problem helps responders triage questions.
  • How do we prevent duplicates? Putting the username and timestamp in the header seems redundant of the signature.
  • If a user was editing a specific section, should that be in the header?
  • Do users need to consent to including the title/section in the header?

Here's what I (@MMiller_WMF) think, but these are just my positions for discussion:

  • I think it would be nice to include the section if easily can, if not, we can skip it.
  • I don't really think the users need to consent to including the title/section in the header. But I think it could be good if we display to them the header that will go with their question, perhaps on this page where we are reminding them their username will be there.
  • I don't think we should let users customize the header. Let's see how this goes with the automatic headers first.
  • I think including the timestamp in the header is a good way to prevent duplicate headers. We don't really need the username, and the timestamp is not too long. But if @Trizek-WMF thinks that just numbering the entries (e.g. "(2)", "(3)", etc.) will make more sense to the communities, and @kostajh thinks it's easy to do then I am fine with it.

Taking all that together, here is how I think the header could look for a few different scenarios:

What do you all think about all of this?


Replies from @Trizek-WMF:

Before moving on, I want to know how that feature will be made.

If that's a Mediawiki message, we can provide a solution, and then let the community decide on what's the best. Basically, have a message like [[$1]] (Help Panel $2). They can then make their own combinations.

If we create that message through a configuration, where is it much more complicated to change, then we would need to have it carefully written.

It should be clear that the question has come through the help panel.

I don't see that in the notes. I still don't see it as relevant. But I've included it in the reasoning below.

Should we allow users to customize the headers in any way? Specific information about the user's problem helps responders triage questions.

I'm still afraid of the lack of diversity that may make it possible '"Hello", "Problem"...).
I've also seen cases in Flow where people type everything in the title field and then post nothing in the text field. Weird.
However, if we go for that, it should be as a parameter $3 on the title: [[$1]] (Help Panel $2) - $3

Concerning making people aware of how the title will be displayed, it will be definitely confusing, don't you think?

My recommendation: no header customization form the newbie (but I've kept $3 in my examples).

How do we prevent duplicates? Putting the username and timestamp in the header seems redundant of the signature.

Username and timestamp in the header are redundant of the signature. Numbering entries is commonly used.

My recommendation: numbering entries instead of timestamping them, using $2. [[$1]] ($2) (from Help Panel) - $3

If a user was editing a specific section, should that be in the header?
Do users need to consent to including the title/section in the header?

Adding sections will no be relevant IMO.
Case 1: the user edits the whole page but ask a question about a section. In any case the experienced user will figure out what to reply.
Case 1 bis, the opposite: user clicks on a section link on VE allows you to edit the whole page. You can start editing on something you know, and then you edit the other sections (I do that all the time). So a user may have a question about something else, in a different section.
Case 2: are sections relevant? The issue may be located somewhere else, for instance editing a named reference on wikitext. You open the question and you see <ref name="Miller2018" />. You are blocked and ask for help but the issue is not where you are. In any case, responders will have to figure out where the problem is.
My recommendation: if the experiment shows that there is a need to add section, we will consider it.


Replies from @kostajh:

If that's a Mediawiki message, we can provide a solution, and then let the community decide on what's the best. Basically, have a message like [[$1]] (Help Panel $2). They can then make their own combinations.

Current version in my patch is “Editor help panel question from $1$2”, where $1 is substituted with the user name and $2 is “: article title” if the user checked the box.

I'm still afraid of the lack of diversity that may make it possible '"Hello", "Problem"...).
I've also seen cases in Flow where people type everything in the title field and then post nothing in the text field. Weird.
However, if we go for that, it should be as a parameter $3 on the title: [[$1]] (Help Panel $2) - $3

That could work, but IMO we should not let users customize the header themselves. For the help panel to work well I think the form needs to be as simple as possible.

My recommendation: numbering entries instead of timestamping them, using $2. [[$1]] ($2) (from Help Panel) - $3

Agreed with this except for $3.

My recommendation: if the experiment shows that there is a need to add section, we will consider it.

Agreed

MMiller_WMF updated the task description. (Show Details)Tue, Dec 4, 10:32 PM

Change 474310 merged by jenkins-bot:
[mediawiki/extensions/GrowthExperiments@master] Help Panel: Add call-to-action button and help panel

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/474310

Change 478007 had a related patch set uploaded (by Kosta Harlan; owner: Kosta Harlan):
[mediawiki/extensions/GrowthExperiments@master] Help Panel: Implement 2,000 character limit for question text

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/478007

kostajh added a comment.EditedThu, Dec 6, 2:11 PM

Edit: we're talking about email address fields in T211113

Change 478007 merged by jenkins-bot:
[mediawiki/extensions/GrowthExperiments@master] Help Panel: Implement 2,000 character limit for question text

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/478007

Change 478024 had a related patch set uploaded (by Kosta Harlan; owner: Kosta Harlan):
[mediawiki/extensions/GrowthExperiments@master] Help Panel: Confirmation message on first edit

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/478024

@RHo @MMiller_WMF:

We will prevent duplicate headers by numbering them sequentially.

Do we need to append a number to the end? On Beta labs the numbering on the index seems sufficient. Do you want to see (2) and (3) appended to items 11 and 12 in the screenshot below?

RHo added a comment.Thu, Dec 6, 7:18 PM

@RHo @MMiller_WMF:

We will prevent duplicate headers by numbering them sequentially.

Do we need to append a number to the end? On Beta labs the numbering on the index seems sufficient. Do you want to see (2) and (3) appended to items 11 and 12 in the screenshot below?

My 2c I think we should still show (2) and (3) to make it super clear when there's been subsequent questions on the same articles.

@kostajh -- yes, the number itself should be in the header, the way it's shown in this task's description. That's the request from the community.

Change 478024 merged by jenkins-bot:
[mediawiki/extensions/GrowthExperiments@master] Help Panel: Confirmation message on first edit

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/478024

Change 478239 had a related patch set uploaded (by Kosta Harlan; owner: Kosta Harlan):
[mediawiki/extensions/GrowthExperiments@master] Help Panel: Change button text and simplify review panel

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/478239

Change 478349 had a related patch set uploaded (by Kosta Harlan; owner: Kosta Harlan):
[mediawiki/extensions/GrowthExperiments@master] Help Panel: Fix help panel question header

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/478349

Change 478349 merged by jenkins-bot:
[mediawiki/extensions/GrowthExperiments@master] Help Panel: Fix help panel question header

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/478349

Change 478239 merged by jenkins-bot:
[mediawiki/extensions/GrowthExperiments@master] Help Panel: Button text, fix autopopulate, and simplify review panel

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/478239

Concerning headers numbering, all options should be considered based on archiving options.

At the moment, talk pages are archived the 4 following ways (for the ones mostly used as I've checked). The case where the page is not archived yet is not in that analysis but titles need to be unique. On StructuredDiscussions talk pages a unique title may help to have a better understanding of the context but that's all: all topics have a unique ID.

Case 1: messages are regularly moved to a sud-page by a bot (on Wikipedia:Help Desk/Archive since October 2018)

The ideal process is to start numbering from 1 to ∞, with no reset. An unique title remains with no numbering: [[Page title]].

Resetting may create a conflict between batches:

Actual talk page headersArchived page headers
[[Page title]] ... (1), [[Page title]] ... (2)

After Bot archiving

Actual talk page headersArchived page headers
-[[Page title]] ... (1), [[Page title]] ... (2)

New message left

Actual talk page headersArchived page headers
[[Page title]] ... (1)[[Page title]] ... (1), [[Page title]] ... (2)

After a new Bot archiving

Actual talk page headersArchived page headers
-[[Page title]] ... (1), [[Page title]] ... (2), [[Page title]] ... (1)

Have a archived page starting at 4 and finishing at 7 is not a big deal. 1/ It means that there are previous requests on the previous archive and 2/ it shows how many requests are made since the beginning (hot topics).

Case 2: the page is moved to a sub-page (Wikipedia:Help Desk/Archive 22)

Same as above: resetting may create conflicts.

Case 3: the page is blanked and a link to the previous revision is created ("page as of Dec. 12")

The archived page is not supposed to be edited, since that's a stored in database version. People have to edit the new page and create a new question there. Numbering is not important and can be restarted. But that case of archiving is quite rare, because it is more difficult to search using the wiki's search engine.

Case 4: the talk page is limited in time (fictional example Wikipedia:Help Desk/December 2018) and automatically archived

Numbering can start at 1 at the beginning of the creation of the page, to ∞ until a new page is created.
Finding [[Page title]] ... (1) on Wikipedia:Help Desk/December 2018 is different than finding [[Page title]] ... (1) on Wikipedia:Help Desk/October 2018

Conclusion

I would go for unique numbering starting at the creation of the first message, and incremented without a reset: 1, 2, 3...

kostajh updated the task description. (Show Details)Wed, Dec 12, 6:18 PM

In our group chat, we settled on Help panel question on X (2018-12-12 16:34) and Help panel question (2018-12-12 16:34) for now. We can come back to a numbering system if time permits. One way to do that would be to query for help panel question tagged edits for a given page (or no page).