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Configure how Automatic Topic Subscriptions is available by default
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Description

This task is about changing how the Automatic Topic Subscription feature is configured such that only new accounts become automatically subscribed to the discussions they start and comment within.

Context for this change can be found in the ===Background section below.

Requirements

  • On wikis where Automatic Topic Subscriptions is available within the Discussion tools Beta Feature:
    • All people who already have the Discussion tools Beta Feature enabled, should see the Automatically subscribe to topics setting within Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-editing --> Discussion pages DISABLED
  • On wikis where Automatic Topic Subscriptions is available by default (read: the functionality is available regardless of the state of the Discussion tools Beta Feature):
    • New people/accounts should see the Automatically subscribe to topics setting within Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-editing --> Discussion pages ENABLED
    • Existing account holders should see the Automatically subscribe to topics setting within Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-editing --> Discussion pages DISABLED

This chart is an attempt to communicate the requirements listed above in a more visual way...

Availability of Automatic Topic SubscriptionsAutomatically subscribe to topics setting (EXISTING accounts)Automatically subscribe to topics setting (NEW accounts)
Beta FeatureDISABLEDDISABLED
Available by defaultDISABLEDENABLED

Background

In T290508, we conducted a pre-mortem to identify and plan for potential scenarios where a particular project (in this case, Automatic Topic Subscriptions) could fail.

One salient concern that surfaced through this exercise was the potential for Automatic Topic Subscriptions to have unknown impacts on wikis' health and culture and the individuals that contribute to both. Where "impact" in this context refers to things like: 1) how Automatic Topic Subscriptions could increase the cadence of conversations and 2) how people might lose sight of important notifications because the number of "Notices" people receive increases more quickly than people are able to develop strategies for managing them.

Considering the risks noted above, we think it is important that we – staff and volunteers – have the "time" to observe the various social and cultural Automatic Topic Subscriptions are having and when necessary, identify strategies for adapting to them.

In line with the above, Automatic Topic Subscriptions will – for now – be made available by default to new accounts in order to increase the likelihood that they be made aware when other people are talking to them (this is a known issue) and as an opt-in setting for existing accounts.

Done

  • === Requirements above are implemented
  • QA verifies === Requirements above are implemented as expected

Event Timeline

ppelberg renamed this task from Limit to Configure how Automatic Topic Subscriptions is available by default.Oct 27 2021, 12:16 AM
ppelberg created this task.

Change 737793 had a related patch set uploaded (by Bartosz Dziewoński; author: Bartosz Dziewoński):

[mediawiki/extensions/DiscussionTools@master] Auto topic subscriptions disabled by default, enabled only for new users when out of beta

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/737793

Change 737793 merged by jenkins-bot:

[mediawiki/extensions/DiscussionTools@master] Auto topic subscriptions disabled by default, enabled only for new users when out of beta

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/737793