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Should red links to user pages link to "view" mode rather than "edit" mode?
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This is a follow-up to T201339: Cannot access user contributions when following red link to user page on mobile, although not as critical.

Steps to reproduce:

This launches straight into the editor, which is different from the behavior of red links to user pages implemented in T201339 and T197581.

Note that in this case, one can reach the talk page and user contributions using the links provided right after the user name. Nevertheless, it's an inconsistency.


Minerva shows link on the user pages to pages about that user e.g. contributions, file uploads, talk page. In Vector with the editor open you can see the reset of the interface and easily switch from edit mode to view mode, however in mobile, the editor takes up the full screen. While the editor can and should have a way to exit the editor to view the page, the behaviour of turning a link to a user page into a red link is a little strange for 2 reasons

  1. only the user themselves should be encouraged to create that page
  2. There are other reasons to visit a user page rather than edit (e.g. visit talk page)
  3. The editor loads a lot of JavaScript and CSS that the user possibly doesn't need. If the user doesn't edit the page (we can look at data around bounce rate from user editors if we are not convinced this is a problem)

Two potential solutions might be as follows:

  • Make sure a blank user page is created on sign up for users
  • Do not append action=edit to links to user namespace

In the mean time minerva skin has been using JS to redirect those links and rendering links to the normal user page, but this to me seems like a problem that should be addressed in core.
See also: T222911#5170902

Note links at top of page under actions in Minerva skin to key pages

Note how the editor obscures access to any other interface elements and prohibits discovering information about the user and exploring.

Event Timeline

Jdlrobson added a subscriber: Jdlrobson.

@Cirdan honestly I feel this is a problem with mediawiki core and red link behaviour. It seems to me that user links should always link to view mode rather than action=edit. I guess we'd need to fix this in the MediaWiki parser.

In a few places in the mobile Minerva skin we're using JavaScript to override this behaviour, but there's too many of these overrides in my opinion and it feels like we need a generic solution.

Jdlrobson renamed this task from Cannot access user contributions/talk when following a red link to a user's page from old page version on mobile to Should red links to user pages link to "view" mode rather than "edit" mode?.May 9 2019, 5:37 PM
Jdlrobson updated the task description. (Show Details)

This very-well stated question seems to me better having user research and Design involved before any implementation. Not Front-end-Standards-Group at this moment…?!