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Introduce a section title container to make talk page conversations more legible
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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 with them.

Background

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]

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]

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.

Requirements

Meta

  • These changes should be designed and implemented for desktop and mobile

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
    • Subscribe to be notified when other people add new comments to the conversation happening within the boundaries of the section they are viewing
    • Open the source for the specific section/topic they are viewing so they can edit and/or inspect it

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
    • 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.

Open questions/#todo

  • @ppelberg to detail the preference that will need to accompany this new "container"

Links

Done


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

Event Timeline

ppelberg created this task.Dec 11 2020, 6:07 PM
ppelberg updated the task description. (Show Details)Dec 11 2020, 6:14 PM

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.

Please note that a section title on a talk page is not necessarily a title/beginning of a conversation. For example, en:User talk:Cacycle/wikEd has plenty of section titles that are not conversation titles.

ppelberg moved this task from Backlog to Triaged on the DiscussionTools board.Dec 12 2020, 3:35 AM
ppelberg updated the task description. (Show Details)Dec 14 2020, 1:50 AM
ppelberg updated the task description. (Show Details)Dec 15 2020, 2:31 AM
ppelberg added a subscriber: Whatamidoing-WMF.

Adding a link to the it.wiki's {{Bar7}} template via @Whatamidoing-WMF.

ppelberg updated the task description. (Show Details)Dec 19 2020, 1:17 AM
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

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

http://patchdemo.wmflabs.org/wikis/fa0cc65da4b9ae353b77b061e6f1887b/w/