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[Spike] Investigate Undeploying LiquidThreads
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LiquidThreads (LQT) is a discussion system for wiki’s talk pages. The project started in 2006 and was improved in 2009 by volunteers, the WMF made some efforts on a v3 in 2011. Nothing more has been done since then. It is still used on 5 wikis:

  • enwikinews
  • enwiktionary
  • huwiki
  • ptwikibooks
  • svwikisource

In August 2023, on average:

  • DiscussionTools is used about 18,780 times per day.
  • Flow is used about 250 times per day.
  • LiquidThreads is used less than once per day.

The work on IP masking requires significant changes for LQT, leading the Growth team to consider sunsetting LQT extensions in favor of Discussion tools -DT).

Of the various solutions we'd like to discuss with the concerned communities, one is to archive or convert LQT pages to DT. The goal is to explain the possible solutions to the communities.

Note: the solution adopted by was to move the existing pages using LQT as an archive, and start over with DT on the main page: LQT is not uninstalled.

Possible related tasks:

Acceptance criteria
  • The technical feasibility of simply disabling LQT is shared with @KStoller-WMF and @Trizek-WMF (AKA what would happen if we simply disabled LQT)
  • The technical feasibility of archiving LQT boards is shared with @KStoller-WMF and @Trizek-WMF
  • The technical feasibility of converting LQT boards is shared with @KStoller-WMF and @Trizek-WMF
  • Feasibilities are documented at relevant page(s). -- @Trizek-WMF

Event Timeline

KStoller-WMF moved this task from Inbox to Backlog on the Growth-Team board.

Moving to backlog, needs some refinement before this can be estimated.

KStoller-WMF renamed this task from Provide a solution to archive or convert talk pages using LiquidThreads to Research spike: Undeploying LiquidThreads.Nov 3 2023, 7:02 PM
KStoller-WMF raised the priority of this task from Medium to High.
KStoller-WMF updated the task description. (Show Details)
KStoller-WMF renamed this task from Research spike: Undeploying LiquidThreads to [Spike] Investigate Undeploying LiquidThreads.Nov 9 2023, 11:09 PM
KStoller-WMF lowered the priority of this task from High to Medium.Nov 30 2023, 6:29 PM
KStoller-WMF raised the priority of this task from Medium to High.Dec 1 2023, 4:15 PM

Moving back to high priority, as WMF Product directors are asking questions about this that I can't currently answer.

Note about how this has been handled on Translate wiki:

  • So far we have been manually archiving pages, using templates to link them up. In addition we are using a bit of code to force DiscussionTools over LQT for all talk pages without threads:
  • What we have not done:
    • Figured out a way to mass archive all LQT pages automatically
    • Figured out a way to undeploy LQT in the future
  • So far we are only limiting further use of LQT. At some point we are likely to turn LQT to read-only to enforce this (I think there is a configuration variable for it).

On enwiktionary, LQT was only ever enabled on a limited number of pages, mostly user talk pages. When pinged regarding the potential removal of LQT, these users did not comment (most of them are only sporadically active). I do not foresee any community concern if LQT were to be removed from enwiktionary.

My suggestion for undeploying LQT from enwiktionary is to write a script that converts LQT discussions back to standard wikitext discussions using == headers, : indentation, wikitext signatures and oldest-to-newest ordering of threads, and inserts them onto the user's talk page in the correct chronological ordering among the existing wikitext discussions. Then the Thread and Summary namespaces can simply be deleted.

Out of curiosity I decided to check how the other wikis are using LQT:

WikiActivity in Thread: namespace in last 30 daysLQT is currently enabled on...
enwikinews2 edits + 2 page deletionsEntire Comments: namespace (this is set up so that readers can leave blog-style threaded comments on news articles using LQT)
enwiktionary1 edit (on a user talk page)40 pages - a handful of user talk pages of inactive or sporadically active users & a handful of gadget talk pages in MediaWiki talk: space
huwiki0~8 pages (test pages and a few user talks) - but it seems like it was previously enabled on more pages judging by the content of the Thread: namespace
ptwikibooks1 edit (on a user talk page)All talk pages by default (LQT is set to opt-out mode on this wiki)
svwikisource0Archive pages only