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Verify Reply Tool and Convenient Discussions work well together
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Description

This task involves the work with verifying that when someone has both the Reply Tool and Convenient Discussions enabled, these experiences do not contradict one another.

User Story

As someone who has Convenient Discussions enabled on a wiki where the Reply Tool is available by default, I want to be able to continue using Convenient Discussions in all the ways that I'm used to without needing to do anything different/expel any unnecessary effort.

Requirements

Meta

  • Wikis: All
  • Platforms: mobile + desktop

Behavior

  1. For people who enabled Convenient Discussions as a Gadget (e.g. via Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-gadgets) on a wiki where the Reply Tool, and any other DiscussionTools feature(s) is available by default:
    • The DiscussionTools that have been enabled for the wiki at-large by default, should be disabled for this particular group of people
    • The Discussion pages settings within Spécial:Préférences#mw-prefsection-editing should be disabled and accompanied by the following prompt: You have to [[disable the Convenient Discussions gadget]] in your Gadgets preferences to enable these discussion page features.

2. For people who enabled Convenient Discussions via user script (e.g. via common.js or global.js) on a wiki where the Reply Tool, and any other DiscussionTools feature(s) is available by default:

  • We are not going to support this case. See the response to Open Question #1 below.

Open questions

  • 1. For people who have enabled Convenient Discussions via user script, what is the closest we can get to "invisibly" disabling DT as "1." within ===Requirements describes?
    • We are *NOT* going to design an experience for people who have enabled Convenient Discussions via user script. Reason: as we discussed offline, and as @Jack_who_built_the_house noted in T298909#7625601, the software is not able to know what – if any – user scripts someone has enabled prior to the page being loaded which the implementation specified within the ===Requirements section above.

Reference

Wiki% Last 500 Comments Posted w/ CDPeople using CD via Script (all time)People using CD via Gadget
en.wikiTag: CD not avail. (?)~15 via Global search0 via Special: GadgetUsage
de.wikiTag: CD not avail.(?)0 via Global search0 via Spezial:GadgetUsage
fr.wikiTag: CD not avail.(?)0 via Global search0 via Spécial:GadgetUsage
ru.wiki13% (65/500) via Recent changes~180 via Global search241 (all time) / 123 (past 30 days) via Gadget usage statistics

The wikis included above are ranked by the average number of monthly talk page contributors.

Event Timeline

Apparently this has been discussed at https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Обсуждение_участника:Jack_who_built_the_house#Override (link from @Whatamidoing-WMF).

Quoting from there:

Currently CD shows a notification when you try to use it while having the Reply Tool enabled, suggesting to turn it off and offering a link to do it in one click. I think it is better than just removing [ reply ] links when CD loads while keeping the Reply Tool enabled and having it perform unneeded work. Do you think anything else can be done?

The implementation looks like this, note the notification in top right corner:

image.png (2×3 px, 603 KB)

Convenient Discussions seems to work fine despite that (although I haven't tried replying or anything).


We could make DiscussionTools disable itself if it detects that Convenient Discussions is enabled as a gadget. Something similar is currently in place for the conflict between the Navigation popups gadget (NAVPOP) and the Popups extension (also known as Page Previews). If you have the gadget enabled, the option to enable page previews in preferences will be unavailable:

image.png (2×3 px, 378 KB)

Does this seem like a good idea?

Right, CD currently displays a warning notification and offers a link to disable (that performs an option API request), although when Reply Tool gets enabled in Russian Wikipedia by default, I expect a lot of confusion among users about what is DiscussionTools and why they need to disable it, so I was thinking about automatically disabling it on the part of CD and displaying a notification about that.

Currently, if CD and Reply Tool work together, CD will remove [ reply ] links together with other markup and everything will work fine, but Reply Tool will throw an error when posting a comment with CD:

image.png (186×754 px, 26 KB)

image.png (64×344 px, 5 KB)

This is because CD also removes the markup with data- attributes that Reply Tool seeks after. (CD currently handles DT-style comment links itself, and the markup slows down page parsing. I try to make sure this doesn't harm any global functionality like jumping to comments from Echo notifications.)

Note that CD currently is generally supposed to be enabled cross-wiki by being added to global.js on Meta. This means DT may not have a way to know in advance if CD will be loaded or not. It's currently a gadget only in RuWP (although I expect it to be made into gadget in more wikis).

I actually was finishing a large refactoring and planned to roll out the support of the topic subscription API to CD, but had to switch to some security-related issues and tasks in RuWP, so that was postponed. I know that some users currently combine CD with DT's topic subscriptions (while having Reply Tool and New Topic Tool disabled), so I ensured that they work together well. I also did some work to try to make New Topic Tool compatible with CD (code), impressed by how New Topic Tool intercepts &action=edit&section=new requests and thinking CD can benefit from it too, but the result ended up a little too hacky.

I also wasn't sure which options exactly should be changed to disable DT given that DT can be both a beta feature and enabled by default, so I went with disabling a couple of options at once: discussiontools-betaenable, discussiontools-replytool, discussiontools-newtopictool, and discussiontools-topicsubscription. If the user reenables the beta feature in their preferences, the DiscussionTools preferences will be enabled together with it, as I learned from testing. So if I'm correct, the user won't be confused that DiscussionTools is not working if they reenable the beta feature in the future.

Potentially fragile, but if you get in before DT actually does its initialization then you can disable a lot of it by changing the properties on mw.config.get( 'wgDiscussionToolsFeaturesEnabled' ). e.g. mw.config.get( 'wgDiscussionToolsFeaturesEnabled' ).newtopictool = false will stop us from hooking the relevant new-section links in the first place...

ppelberg updated the task description. (Show Details)

@Jack_who_built_the_house: the additional detail you shared about how Convenient Discussions currently interacts with DiscussionTools and the plans you have for evolving CD to incorporate additional DiscussionTools functionality helps us ensure people who use both tools continue to have great experiences with them…we appreciate you sharing this context with us.

With the above in mind, can you please review the task description's === Requirements section and share what – if anything – you think we ought to discuss/consider before we move forward with implementing what it describes?

Change 753530 had a related patch set uploaded (by Wfan; author: Wfan):

[wikimedia/fundraising/crm@master] WIP: Add recurring thank you email in italian

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/753530

(that patch is unrelated, looks like it was meant for T298908)

(that patch is unrelated, looks like it was meant for T298908)

Yep, sorry for the typo

Potentially fragile, but if you get in before DT actually does its initialization then you can disable a lot of it by changing the properties on mw.config.get( 'wgDiscussionToolsFeaturesEnabled' ). e.g. mw.config.get( 'wgDiscussionToolsFeaturesEnabled' ).newtopictool = false will stop us from hooking the relevant new-section links in the first place...

Thanks, I'll check it out.

With the above in mind, can you please review the task description's === Requirements section and share what – if anything – you think we ought to discuss/consider before we move forward with implementing what it describes?

The first thing to consider here is which specific DT features this applies to. I believe we can be certain that CD and Reply Tool are incompatible and there is no point to make them compatible, at least for now. As for other DT features, there is currently at least some point to make them enabled together. So, if DT's checkboxes should be disabled, it should be only Reply Tool's... I think.

Logically, it should be New Topic Tool's also because CD only uses its server-side functionality, but then it should work, just be disabled (and checked if the user didn't uncheck it). On the other hand, Reply Tool shouldn't work with CD even if checked. So, well, this seems to introduce too much complexity.

The DiscussionTools that have been enabled for the wiki at-large by default, should be disabled for this particular group of people

With a gadget it seems clear how DT could detect the enabled state of CD – by a gadget named convenientDiscussions being enabled.

  1. For people who have enabled Convenient Discussions via user script, what is the closest we can get to "invisibly" disabling DT as "1." within ===Requirements describes?

In this case Reply Tool can't be disabled in advance because it doesn't know CD will load. So, Reply Tool will be visible to the user anyway. Which is why I think it's better to disable Reply Tool (and likely other features) permanently, with their checkboxes unchecked, instead of having them continue to execute on every load, just be subsequently disabled on the run somehow. I'm also not sure what is better as a source of truth here – DT or CD. In other words, should DT disable itself or should CD disable it? I suspect that since I keep track of various DT's behaviors in detail and their compatibility with CD, CD is better to take care of it.

Change 755494 had a related patch set uploaded (by Bartosz Dziewoński; author: Bartosz Dziewoński):

[mediawiki/extensions/DiscussionTools@master] Prevent using the reply tool together with Convenient Discussions gadget

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/755494

@Jack_who_built_the_house Thanks. Everything you wrote makes sense to me.

Which is why I think it's better to disable Reply Tool (and likely other features) permanently, with their checkboxes unchecked, instead of having them continue to execute on every load, just be subsequently disabled on the run somehow. I'm also not sure what is better as a source of truth here – DT or CD. In other words, should DT disable itself or should CD disable it? I suspect that since I keep track of various DT's behaviors in detail and their compatibility with CD, CD is better to take care of it.

I think two things are important for us, that are impractical to do from a gadget:

  1. Not breaking anything for users currently happily using Convenient Discussions, when we enable the reply tool for everyone
    • (ideally, also without an annoying orange notification :) )
    • You could probably do it from the gadget by disabling the DiscussionTools preferences using the API, but it could still cause momentary problems on the first page load, it seems neater to avoid that
  2. Explaining to anyone browsing their preferences why the reply tool can't be enabled
    • Gadgets and user scripts aren't executed while viewing Special:Preferences, so this seems impossible to do from a gadget; you could have a message override instead, but that can't be customized depending on which preferences are enabled

The proposed patch implements them.

For the orange notification, it will only disappear if this patch for CD is included: https://github.com/jwbth/convenient-discussions/commit/4175b3e5df0f11731606d617d0ca905b0d9d1689 – I've noticed that the ones on both ru.wp and Commons seem to be older versions without it?

The first thing to consider here is which specific DT features this applies to. I believe we can be certain that CD and Reply Tool are incompatible and there is no point to make them compatible, at least for now. As for other DT features, there is currently at least some point to make them enabled together. So, if DT's checkboxes should be disabled, it should be only Reply Tool's... I think.

Logically, it should be New Topic Tool's also because CD only uses its server-side functionality, but then it should work, just be disabled (and checked if the user didn't uncheck it). On the other hand, Reply Tool shouldn't work with CD even if checked. So, well, this seems to introduce too much complexity.

As for the new topic tool – if I understand correctly, you rely on it to take over action=edit&section=new URLs from the normal edit form (as implemented in T282204), and then CD takes over from it to displays its own new topic interface instead? I'm not sure if this is something you wanted to have, or if it's a workaround you had to implement because otherwise both tools could appear at the same time. But we'd be happy to either keep the new topic tool checkbox available while CD is enabled to keep this working, or to make it unavailable so you can remove the workaround. (The proposed patch keeps it available.)

Table to rephrase the above, for @ppelberg (and anyone else who likes tables a lot)

Your user preferencesBehavior when clicking "Add topic"Behavior when navigating directly to action=edit&section=new URL
Both disabledNormal edit formNormal edit form
Only CD enabledCD opensNormal edit form ← CD can't display its interface if DT new topic isn't enabled
Only DT new topic enabledDT opensDT opens
Both enabledCD opensCD opens

And one more thing – the proposed patch displays this message in preferences when there's a conflict: "You have to disable the Convenient Discussions gadget in your Gadgets preferences to enable quick replying."

I took this from the Popups extension (see T298909#7611341), but I don't really like the wording – I feel like it hints that you're "supposed to" disable the gadget, but I'd like it to rather say that they're both alternative solutions to the same problem, and you can use whichever one you like more, but not both at the same time. Suggestions on the phrasing are welcome (or I guess we can just leave it to someone at ru.wp customize it).

There are two questions @matmarex is raising in T298909#7634699:

  1. How should Convenient Discussions and DiscussionTools's New Discussion Tool interact?
  2. What language can we use in settings to inform people that the Reply Tool and CD cannot be enabled simultaneously without suggesting one be used over the other?

In this comment, I'm going to respond to question "2."

Proposed Special:Preferences copy change

Special:Preferences copy used for Navigation popupsProposed copy for Reply Tool / CD interaction in Special:Preferences
You have to disable the Navigation popups gadget in your Gadget preferences to enable page previews.To enable quick replying, you will first need to disable the Convenient Discussions gadget in your Gadget preferences.

There are two questions @matmarex is raising in T298909#7634699:

  1. How should Convenient Discussions and DiscussionTools's New Discussion Tool interact?

Per the conversation @matmarex and I just had offline, we're going to implement what Bartosz proposed in T298909#7634699 which makes it so:

  1. People can have the New Discussion Tool and Convenient Discussions enabled simultaneously, unlike the Reply Tool and Convenient Discussions
  2. If someone has Convenient Discussions and the New Discussion Tool enabled, they will see the workflow Convenient Discussions has implemented for starting a new discussion on a talk page.