"use external editor" preference causes problems if accidentally selected, should perhaps be removed
Closed, ResolvedPublic

Description

Author: editors

Description:

  1. Problem
  2. Issue
  3. Solution
  4. Suggestion
  1. PROBLEM:

Clicking on edit button on any wiki page sees a PHP file download to user.

  1. ISSUE:

user trying to edit page, not download PHP file.

  1. SOLUTION:

Deselect options for following:

"Use external editor by default (for experts only, needs special settings on your computer)"

AND

"Use external diff by default (for experts only, needs special settings on your computer)"

I have been searching for the above solution for some time (years) and only came across the solution when the wikimedia server crashed today and was asked to report the error to webchat.freenode.net #wikipedia channel. Thanks to user Prodego for providing the solution, above.

I asked Prodego if there was a way to find out how many users might have the same options selected and causing the same problem. She/he had only seen it five or six times previously; confirmed that it was possible to find out how many, but that it was unlikely to be answered in the IRC, before referring me to WP:VPT which in turn led me here. No one on the channel knew what the edit options were for.

  1. SUGGESTION

That the options above not be offered, if indeed there are a significant number of editors who, mistakenly or otherwise, have selected them.

4.1 Alternatively, that the options be explained in plain English - happy to help!


Version: unspecified
Severity: enhancement

bzimport added a subscriber: wikibugs-l.
bzimport set Reference to bz26716.
bzimport created this task.Via LegacyJan 14 2011, 3:19 AM
bzimport added a comment.Via ConduitJan 14 2011, 3:23 AM

editors wrote:

WP:VPT is hardly user friendly language for alerting new and old users to the place for bugs etc.

Perhaps it's better that way (!) but I note that the Editor Trends Survey on Wikimedia shows a disturbing decline in edits over the years.

If it takes a journo like me years to hunt down a simple deselect then how many other non-technical "bugs" like this one are holding back other users. Is
WP:VPT the right page to contribute to on simplifying the bug/error/problem process? A wizard perhaps?

Not very techy, I know, but not many people are!

Bawolff added a comment.Via ConduitJan 14 2011, 3:29 AM

Well it does say "for experts only". Basically what it does is you download a
file, and you're supposed to have a program on your computer that takes that
file and helps you edit it.

For more info about what the option does, see
http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Manual:External_editors

We could potentially add a comment in the file explaining what the deal with it
is, and how to stop it from happening. (the downloaded file is an ini file, i
think that format supports comments of some sort)

Do you have some sort of text that would be clearer for the option text is
special:preferences.

bzimport added a comment.Via ConduitJan 14 2011, 4:18 AM

editors wrote:

Thanks very much for the quick response. Answers following your points, in quotes, as follows.

"Well it does say "for experts only". Basically what it does is you download a
file, and you're supposed to have a program on your computer that takes that
file and helps you edit it."

Yup. But the "experts" bit gets a bit lost among the 21 or so other options on the page - and that's just for "editing" !

"For more info about what the option does, see
http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Manual:External_editors"

Cool. Just read this bit - "This is accomplished using a very simple system" - cue crazed non-techy laughter.

"We could potentially add a comment in the file explaining what the deal with it
is, and how to stop it from happening. (the downloaded file is an ini file, i
think that format supports comments of some sort)"

Just tried to open one of the said PHP files but got a "Windows cannot open this file:" error box. Maybe INI files are linked on computers owned by people with IT skills, but not most IITs - Idiot Information Technologists - like me. Short story: people can't read INI notes if their computer is not set to open it.

"Do you have some sort of text that would be clearer for the option text is
special:preferences."

Yup, and your responses helped me figure out some ideas. I was just about to suggest an advanced options tab when I checked and there already is one! Okay, as a format layout guy, I would suggest making the words "advanced options" - currently in light grey - much bolder, bigger and in the colour RED. Too easy to miss as it is, especially when there are literally dozens of other options to go through. Even better, would be, eventually, a similar arrangement as the new text input box with an "advanced" link. So that idiots, like me, never get tempted to even look at such things, or at least have to make a conscious decision to access advanced features. For now, though, red lettering might cut back on the number of people clicking things they shouldn't.

Again, thank you, Bawolff and hope this feedback is not a total pain.

Bawolff added a comment.Via ConduitJan 14 2011, 10:52 PM

I wonder how often people (correctly) use that preference. I believe that the majority of people who use external editors, use it for images. I wonder if people who use it for articles, generally use the url parameter method. If people generally use the url method, we might consider removing the preference altogether.

Be good to get some stats on how widely used it is.

bzimport added a comment.Via ConduitJan 16 2011, 12:04 AM

editors wrote:

(In reply to comment #4)

"Be good to get some stats on how widely used it is."

Absolutely. Exactly what I was suggesting to Prodego. No idea how such stats might be collected but I guess that's why I am not a techy!

Alternatively to removal, a "how-to" or "what's this" link to explain it's use, as you raised above. Tech-challenged idiots like me won't get it but maybe others more capable might make greater use of it. My wonder: Is anyone running a wikipedia help site with screen grabs etc?

Bawolff added a comment.Via ConduitJan 16 2011, 4:02 AM

Yes, a link to http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Manual:External_editors from the default [[mediawiki:tog-externaleditor]] and [[mediawiki:tog-externaldiff]] should be added at a minimum (if they are kept).

bzimport added a comment.Via ConduitJan 16 2011, 10:20 AM

editors wrote:

(In reply to comment #6)

Yes, a link to http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Manual:External_editors from the
default [[mediawiki:tog-externaleditor]] and [[mediawiki:tog-externaldiff]]
should be added at a minimum (if they are kept).

Exxxxxcelllent.

Maybe that's the first option and the other options can be phased in at a less urgent pace, if Wikipedia ever runs out of priorities , )

Great work.

Is there another list these ideas need to be proposed to, or does it just flow from here?

...

Bawolff added a comment.Via ConduitJan 20 2011, 1:09 AM

Default text of [[mediawiki:tog-externaleditor]] and [[mediawiki:tog-externaldiff]] changed in r80608 to have a link.

As for removing them altogether, I'm duping this to Bug 2760, and then re-opening that bug to discuss possible removal.

See also Bug 7092

  • This bug has been marked as a duplicate of bug 2760 ***

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