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[EPIC] Topic Containers
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Description

This task is about introducing a "container" to help people more easily and quickly recognize talk pages as containing conversations and get a sense for the level of activity happening within these conversations.

As part of this task, we will evolve the way section titles are presented on talk pages and introduce new metadata within them to help:

  1. Senior Contributors more easily and quickly get a sense for the number of conversations happening on a talk page and level of activity within them
  2. Junior Contributors more easily and quickly recognize talk pages as containing conversations.

Note: we think doing this will lead them to *begin* to more clearly see talk pages as places used for communicating with other contributors.

User Stories

Primary

  • As a Junior Contributor who is viewing a talk page for the first time, I want to instantly recognize the page as containing conversations, so that I can understand talk pages as places to communicate with other people.
  • As a Senior Contributor who is visiting a talk page I haven't visited before/in a while, I want to easily understand the level of activity happening within the conversations on a talk page, so that I can decide where to focus my attention.

Secondary

  • As a Senior Contributor who has developed a set of workflows around how wikitext talk pages are currently presented and function, I want to retain access to the features listed below, so that I do not need to weigh the loss of existing functionality against the addition of new functionality when considering whether to enable topic subscriptions.
    • Existing Features:
      • Section edit links
      • TBD

Requirements

Meta

  • These changes should be designed and implemented for desktop and mobile
  • Topic containers should be designed for, and implemented across, all talk namespaces: Article Talk, User Talk, Wikipedia Talk, File Talk, MediaWiki talk, Template talk, Help talk, Category talk, Portal talk, etc.

Section title styling

  • The section title should be styled [in read mode] in such a way that people recognize it as being different from the section of an article and as the title/beginning of a conversation.

Section title actions

  • The section title should contain affordances that enable people to do the following:
    • Copy the URL of the specific topic they are viewing <-- This functionality will NOT be included in the initial release. Instead, we will consider introducing Copy link functionality in a later release by way of T273341. The decision to change this requirement was made in T301139#7740106.
    • Subscribe to be notified when other people add new comments to the conversation happening within the boundaries of the section they are viewing. We'll iterate upon the affordance introduced in T279149.
    • Open the source for the specific section/topic they are viewing so they can edit and/or inspect it. Note: the design will need to accommodate the following edit link variations: [ edit ], [ edit source ], and [ edit | edit source].
  • On DESKTOP, all section-/discussion-level actions should be exposed within the Topic Container. Said another way: on DESKTOP there will NOT be an overflow menu in which some actions are "stored."
  • On MOBILE, the ability to subscribe to a discussion should be shown in the Topic Container and the ability to edit a discussion should be shown within an overflow menu (e.g. •••) within the Topic Container.

Section title metadata

  • The section title should contain the following metadata that help people know the following:
    • When the latest comment was posted within the topic.
      • #TODO: what logic should determine how this time is presented? E.g. When should the number of minutes/hours that have elapsed since the last comment was posted be shown? When should the time the last comment was posted be shown? When should the day and month the comment was posted be shown? When should the day, month and year the last comment was posted be shown?.
    • The total number of comments posted within the topic [vii]
    • The total number of unique people who have posted a comment within a topic

Note: the metadata above should reflect the latest state of the topic in as close to real-time as possible.

Section Collapsing (mobile ONLY)

  • When people first land on the talk page *only*, the sections' title and metadata should be exposed. Read: none of the comments contained within a given section/discussion/topic should be visible to people. More in T303362#7771248.
  • When people tap any of the "collapsed" topics on a given talk page, the comments contained within them should reveal themselves on that same page as opposed to being shown within an overlay. More in T303362#7771248.

Open questions/#todo

  • @ppelberg to detail the preference that will need to accompany this new "container"
  • If we move forward with an approach in which discussion sections can be/are collapsed by default, how might we make it easy for people to collapse a section they've expanded and view the entire of discussions sections present on the page? Context: @alexhollender_WMF raised this consideration in the conversation @ppelberg and he had on 2 November about T294784.
    • The initial version of Topic Containers will NOT include section collapsing on desktop. The work to implement this functionality, if/when it is prioritized, will happen in T303149.

Done


Background

Junior Contributors
People who are new to Wikipedia find it difficult to recognize talk pages as containing conversations and subsequently, how to make sense of and use the pages as the communication tool that they are.[i][ii][iii][iv][v]

Senior Contributors
And people who are experienced editors of Wikipedia find it difficult see the range of topics being discussed on a talk page and the extent to which people are engaging with each of these topics.[vi]

Links


i. "Talk pages and their current configuration proved confusing, in part due to the unusual structure. Several users asked “where are the comments?” when first encountering the Talk page, and most had never seen a Talk page before. For these participants, it took more than 4-5 minutes to understand the Talk page itself which was “disorganised” making it “difficult to take part in the discussion.” via Understanding and Improving Wikipedia Article Discussion Spaces
ii. When describing what happened after they added a new topic using the existing section=new form, usability test participant said, "It's published in that article or in that first thing." via Add topic control usability test
iii. "I'm not exactly sure where exactly the discussion is." via Add topic control usability test
iv. "I have no idea what button. I don't know what it means really to start a new discussion. Because none of this looks like a discussion." via Add topic control usability test
v. "I felt I had to scan the page a lot for what i needed, as different elements didn't really stand out."
vi. @Pelagic suggests showing metadata about each section (e.g. the number of comments, the number of participants, when the conversation (read: section) was started, when the conversations was last updated, etc.) | source
vii. https://w.wiki/3iXi

Related Objects

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Event Timeline

There are a very large number of changes, so older changes are hidden. Show Older Changes
ppelberg updated the task description. (Show Details)

Change 647587 had a related patch set uploaded (by Esanders; owner: DLynch):
[mediawiki/extensions/DiscussionTools@master] WIP Show thread metadata in section headers

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/647587

ppelberg renamed this task from Introduce a section title container to make talk page conversations more legible to Introduce a discussion topic container to make talk page conversations more legible.Mar 23 2021, 9:15 PM

We are planning to pick this work up in Q2 (read: after 1 July 2021). As such, I'm moving this ticket to the backlog for now.

@Whatamidoing-WMF during the the team's 21 July 2021 standup, you referenced an on-wiki conversation wherein people were discussing how topic subscriptions might impact the norms people have developed around pinging.

In talking about the above, the idea came up about *potentially* including information about how many people were subscribed to a conversation within the topic container.

Are you able to share links to the conversation(s) you were referencing?

Updated task description with feedback User:Wedhro shared in this conversations on mediawiki.org: A question about reading talk pages.

  • As a Senior Contributor who has developed a set of workflows around how wikitext talk pages are currently presented and function, I want to retain access to the features listed below, so that I do not need to weigh the loss of existing functionality against the addition of new functionality when considering whether to enable topic subscriptions.
    • Existing Features:
  • Closing discussions with templates like {{Afd top}}; the section title may within or outside of the closing block

I think it’s important to be aware of these templates, so that the result is visually pleasant (to the extent possible).

ppelberg renamed this task from Introduce a discussion topic container to make talk page conversations more legible to [EPIC] Topic Containers.Oct 15 2021, 8:26 PM

Test wiki created on Patch demo by ESanders (WMF) using patch(es) linked to this task:

https://patchdemo.wmflabs.org/wikis/71c861c74e/w/

Meta: removing section collapsing on desktop from requirements. Work to implement this functionality will instead happen in T303149 if/when it is prioritized.

Test wiki on Patch demo by ESanders (WMF) using patch(es) linked to this task was deleted:

https://patchdemo.wmflabs.org/wikis/71c861c74e/w/

Test wiki created on Patch demo by ESanders (WMF) using patch(es) linked to this task:
https://patchdemo.wmflabs.org/wikis/daa71e218a/w/

Test wiki on Patch demo by ESanders (WMF) using patch(es) linked to this task was deleted:

https://patchdemo.wmflabs.org/wikis/daa71e218a/w/

Test wiki created on Patch demo by ESanders (WMF) using patch(es) linked to this task:
https://patchdemo.wmflabs.org/wikis/7eb90cd880/w/

Test wiki created on Patch demo by ESanders (WMF) using patch(es) linked to this task:
https://patchdemo.wmflabs.org/wikis/a3bfaaaf94/w/

Change 647587 merged by jenkins-bot:

[mediawiki/extensions/DiscussionTools@master] Show thread metadata in section headers

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/647587