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Tech News directly using Mass Message
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Description

What is the problem?

Is our change that allows Tech News directly using Mass Message okay? Link to phab task: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T254481

How can we help you?

Language team (Abijeet and Niklas) has finished implementing a set of features that allow sending Tech News directly using Mass Message. We would like the Community Relations team to try this out to see if it works for you and to gather any feedback you have.

What does success look like?

Getting confirmation that this change is okay from CRS and receiving any feedback to improve (if applicable).

What is your deadline?

End of January

Event Timeline

Elitre triaged this task as High priority.Dec 24 2020, 12:50 PM
Elitre added a subscriber: Johan.

Tagging @Johan for visibility.

I'll use this for my next delivery (and deliveries, unless there's a blocker, of course) and will evaluate as soon as I can. Thank you for you work!

I really like where this is heading. Thank you! There's one obvious problem I encountered that made it difficult to try it on a broader scale: when sending as a page, it doesn't include a timestamp at the end, the equivalent of ~~~~~

Not only is this convention to help users see when something was posted, but it's also how bots that archive talk pages know that it's a talk page post to be archived, and not e.g. part of the instructions for that page. I tried adding it to the now empty "Body of the message:", but that put it at the top of the message, which isn't where people would normally look for it; it looks like a disconnected mistake, maybe a copy'n'paste error.

That feedback was badly phrased. My apologies. Let me rephrase it:

  • When you send something using MassMessage, it will usually need a timestamp, the equivalent of ~~~~~.
  • When you send it using the old "Body of the message" box, you just add it at the bottom.
  • However, when you send a page like Tech News, there's no easy way to do this.
  • Since the page also lives on Meta, it preferably shouldn't be timestamp-signed there.
  • It would be very helpful if there was a way to add the timestamp at the bottom of a message when sending part of a page.

@Johan Do you have any preference between these options:

  1. Put the "body of the message" after the page content.
  2. Add a toggle to have the "body of the message" before or after
  3. Add another box for content after the page
  4. Toggle for automatic signature

Personally I think option 1 would be the simplest if nobody needs the ability to put custom content before the page content.

My preference would be to have something like two checkboxes, one for the username signature of the sender (not the bot delivering) and one for the timestamp, which would be a significant improvement of the tool in general and very helpful for those who don't use it very often and forget they can't sign by ~~~~. It's confusing and difficult.

Maybe the timestamp should even be compulsory? I'm not sure there's a use case for not including it. I could ask around, if you want me to.

However, 1. would work for me in this use case.

Thanks for the feedback. We could make the signature mandatory, but it would be great if you have time to ask around. We aren't too familiar with the people using this tool and do not want to accidentally break anyone's workflow.

I'm on it. I'm assuming this would also affect MassMessage where it's used locally, e.g. on English Wikipedia, and not just on Meta?

I am using MassMessage about 25 times a year for sending out the This Month in GLAM and This Month in Education newsletters, as well as sometimes a different message. I do not use the "Page to be sent as a message" function (nor I am expecting to use it), but I can understand why the Tech News would like to have this functionality.

For various reasons it is certainly needed to have each message sent out through MassMessage with a timestamp, as is mentioned above. I also strongly recommend to add the user name of the sender to obtain transparency (and not the bot). With the messages I send out I add these myself. For both the newsletters the timestamp is not the absolute last part of the code that is sent out. So yes, I want to be able to decide where the timestamp is added. So if the MassMessage tool is deciding where it adds the (automatic) signature, it certainly breaks our workflow.

I'm on it. I'm assuming this would also affect MassMessage where it's used locally, e.g. on English Wikipedia, and not just on Meta?

I assume so too, the content building part should be the same, just different delivery code.

We should not force a timestamp or sender name in to the text of the MMS. Yes, they should include timestamps but for certain cases the location of the timestamp is important. As far as the username, they are often sent on behalf of a project or other user - so that's why not to for the username in to the text (besides the sending user is already included as an HTML comment for ease-of-accountability)

I think that best option is to have a toggle for automatic signature.

If there's a concern about it affecting how messages look, we already have the hidden comment that documents the sender and message list used. Adding a timestamp to that wouldn't affect how messages are displayed but should be compatible with archive bots that look for the timestamp anywhere in the section (and how templates like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Do_not_archive_until work)

I think timestamps are usually just as important for humans as they are for bots, even if the exact format may not be important (but it may be, for example DiscussionTools needs a visible and well-formatted timestamp to work).

Based on replies here and on T272037: Would automatic and mandatory timestamp break workflows for MassMessage? I think this could work:

Add a checkbox that

  1. is above the submit button
  2. has a label "Append signature with timestamp"
  3. is enabled by default
  4. causes "\n~~~~"* to be appended at the end of the constructed message if enabled.

*My concern is that we cannot actually use ~~~~ as it would attribute it to the bot. We would have to construct the signature manually in some way (and decide which wiki to link to), or just have the timestamp there. Any thoughts?

@Nikerabbit If possible, I think it'd be helpful if these were two separate options. One sometimes wants to add a timestamp to a newsletter without a personal signature.

I was thinking that if you want any kind of customization, you would disable the default and do it yourself. I'm somewhat vary of adding too many options.

@Nikerabbit Makes sense. Will we in that case also move the "send as page" content above the text box in delivery, so there's an easy way to do so?

(With regards to the signature, by the way, if sent from Meta, maybe it should link to the Meta user page? I imagine someone could send a message to a wiki where they don't have an account, and sign it not just without a user page, but also without the account ever having been created on some of the target wikis.)

@Nikerabbit Makes sense. Will we in that case also move the "send as page" content above the text box in delivery, so there's an easy way to do so

I think we can start by changing the order. I did not see anyone having concerns with that change.

@Nikerabbit Excellent. Happy to continue testing the send a page functionality as soon as that works, too.

The change which switches body of message to be after the page content is included in 1.36.0-wmf.28 which is expected to be rolled out this week.

Clarification for status: 1.36.0-wmf.28 was cancelled, 1.36.0-wmf.29 is expected to go out this week.

After that we'd like feedback for a) if it works as expected b) if it is sufficient or whether further changes are desired.

Will let you know on Monday next week, if wmf.29 is rolled out according to
schedule.