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Incoming wrath

Aside from the regular amount of wrath that comes with any major change on Wikipedia, I think you guys are (IMO rightfully) going to get hammered by the notification settings defaulting to sending emails as opposed to not sending them. A lot of people turn talk page notification emails off, and are not going to be pleased when they get talk page notifications and other notifications by email. Just a heads up. Sven Manguard Wha? 22:42, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

  • headscratches* Sorry? For existing users, it's going to match whatever their talk page notification email setting is. Can you point me to something that claims different? Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 23:19, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for clearing that up on IRC. Sven Manguard Wha? 00:06, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia only?

Page says Wikipedia only. Does this mean only English Wikipedia? All language Wikipedias? Are sister projects left out? --LauraHale (talk) 01:27, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

English Wikipedia first, but it will go to all Wikipedias. I expect that the sister projects will get it as well in due course; was actually the first production wiki to get it.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 01:59, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Quite. Launching on every project simultaneously seems the height of folly. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 03:16, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
 Fixed the watchlist notice. —Tom Morris (talk) 15:39, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Notice for reverts

I recently got the following notification:

Your edit on Talk:VisualEditor has been reverted by Jdforrester (WMF) (Show changes)

"Undo revision 676542 by Ypnypn (talk) - will reply there."

2 days ago

The words "Undo revision 676542 by Ypnypn (talk)" are totally unnecessary. There are probably similar problems with other notices. A link was provided if I really wanted to know the revision #. – Ypnypn (talk) 23:40, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Where did you get this notice? Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 10:17, 26 April 2013 (UTC) --MZMcBride (talk) 15:13, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
Well, "Undo revision" is part of the edit summary - it's not a feature of Echo, and probably not something we can easily remove, I'm afraid. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 20:10, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
It can be done (I've written and tested code that does it - Idc4e7989), however a lot of the time the user will add in things like colons and hyphens which don't mean anything once the default part of the summary is removed. E.g. you might do something like "Undo revision x by y (talk): spam" but removing the default part of the summary would leave ": spam" which I don't have any way of fixing (especially not in all possible languages). --Krenair (talkcontribs) 22:55, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

If this is replacing the watchlist...

...will I have a handy place to view changes to specific pages that don't revert my edits? I'm still interested in the progress of a bunch of pages, not just in my own work there... –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 18:55, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

It's not replacing the watchlist :). Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 19:18, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
Oh wow, I read "designed to augment (rather than replace) the watchlist" too fast. Thanks! *facepalm* –Roscelese (talkcontribs) 19:23, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
That's okay! :). Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 03:04, 29 April 2013 (UTC)


Just saying it sounds like a great improvement. Thank you! Lova Falk talk 10:06, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Thanks, Lova Falk, we're glad you find this tool useful. We hope the rest of you like it too. To learn more about how Notifications work, check out this FAQ and testing page. Enjoy ... Fabrice Florin (WMF) (talk) 17:57, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Thanks! You can leave us feedback from the 'All Notifications' Page. Vibhabamba (talk) 22:59, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Which links them to this page. I think they'll be fine finding the talkpage from here ;p. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 23:04, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Links to edits/contributions should also be noted

If an editor links to another editor's edits or contributions, this should also create a notification. This is a far more likely occurrence than linking to an editor's userpage in an actual wikilink. Many times on talk pages it will just be "Editor is inserting a POV into this article; look at this terrible edit." ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 22:48, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Hmm—I like this a lot, although I suppose the technical implementation would be a bit more painful. —Theopolisme (talk) 22:50, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
That would be very painful, yep :/. I think it's improbable, I'm afraid! Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 03:04, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Watchlist notices

Right now we get "notices" on Watchlist page. Will it be transferred to Notifications by echo? --Nizil (talk) 19:50, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Hi Nizil, thanks for your question. Right now, watchlist notifications will continue to be delivered in the same way as they are today. This new product focuses on a smaller set of important notifications that are more closely related to you as a user, such as page reviews, mentions of your name, or user right changes. We plan to integrate the watchlist in future products, to support this high volume feed separately from the more selective notification system we're releasing this week. Fabrice Florin (WMF) (talk) 20:15, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for reply. I know that watchlist will keep functioning as it is but my question is regarding Notices which flash at the top of Watchlist page like "Election of arbitation committee is going on! Vote and discuss here.. [dismiss]" or "New program system is being discussed here..[dismiss]". --Nizil (talk) 06:49, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Hey Nizil :). So, at the moment, the first release will not contain this - but I think the idea of system messages is very powerful, and it's something I'm personally strongly in favour of. We've discussed it within the team, and I'm hoping for a positive outcome :). Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 12:48, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
OK.. So it will be a future feature.. Anyway it will help a lot by seeking attention of users in matters related to policies and increase participation.. I strongly agree with you.. Thanks for Echo.. now waiting for Flow.. Both will help a lot and will save a lot of time and energy.. Cheers to you guys--Nizil (talk) 18:28, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
A hopeful future feature - obviously we can't promise it concretely. But I'm gonna push on it, certainly :). Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 19:27, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks.. :) and yes I got Notification.. :D --Nizil (talk) 21:29, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Testing by making a second account

As recommended on mw:Echo (Notifications)/Testing... surely this is OK for beta-testers, but not general advice we want everyone to follow?? Rd232 talk 21:31, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

For context: engineering often creates test accounts when launching new features, but we always try to tag them in the user name with something obvious like "WMFUserTest" or at least use of the "testing" keyword. In theory we have, but it's practically of very limited use, and we always have to test what we're showing to new users in production. I'd recommend anyone who wants to make a test sock simply follow the rules for legitimate sockpuppets. An account like "rd232NotificationsTesting" which is appropriately tagged on the userpage can hardly be doing any harm. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 21:49, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Surely User:RVesey doesn't harm anything. Ryan Vesey 06:29, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Mention notification

My reading of the mention notification is that users will only be notified if their userpage is linked in the form [[User:Ryan Vesey]]. Is that correct or will I also be notified if someone mentions [[User talk:Ryan Vesey]] or uses {{u|Ryan Vesey}} (or another shorthand user template)? Ryan Vesey 22:38, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

See bottom of #Talk page mentions, ANI and interaction bans. Theopolisme (talk) 22:52, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Hi Ryan Vesey, you are correct that mentions only work if their user page is linked in double brackets. Also note that currently this notification is only sent is someone posts in a new section of a talk page other than yours, and if they sign their edit. For more info, here's the feature requirement. Thanks! Fabrice Florin (WMF) (talk) 23:11, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Preferences Notifications tab

I'm seeing this.

  • Email settings: A drop down selection, that is defaulted to "Individual notices as they come in", which is definitely not the default on my User Profile tab. I changed it to "Do not send me any email notifications", but if you don't tell users about this, how will they know they need to adjust it?.
  • Notify me about these events The first item "Talk page posts" ONLY has the option of being notified by email. All the rest have the option of web notification.

Since I prefer not to get email notifications of anything from Wikipedia, and I think I'm not alone in that, I find the defaults need to be adjusted to match the User Profile tab. And why can't we get notification of talk page posts except by email? Are you telling us we can't get notification of our own talk page posts unless we agree to email slush? — Maile (talk) 01:06, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

That's just a confusing quirk in the UI. If you turn off talk page post notifications you'll still get them on the web. I think the code to add a greyed out, always checked checkbox is written, it just was not done in time to be tested and released today. This is the related bug. It should be clearer looking in a few days.LWelling (talk) 01:14, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Talk page notifications and bots

Bots are kinda fringe case, If a bot marks its edit as minor to your talk page you wouldn't receive the OBOD. Made the archiving bots and other minor bots very useful without being annoying. Since ECHO has been enabled this feature has disappeared. I am getting useless annoying notices about archival. Werieth (talk) 02:06, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Good point! That's a trivial fix, I suspect - I'll stick it in Bugzilla now :). Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 04:11, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Is this crosswiki?

For example, if someone edits my user talk page on Commons or Wikitionary or Farsi Wikipedia, will I still be able to see the notification if I happen to be on English Wikipedia? If not, is this a planned feature? Sven Manguard Wha? 22:12, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

Short answer: not yet, but it's definitely planned. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 22:15, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
That would be awesome for people who work on multiple sites (like me). ···日本穣? · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 15:39, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, I came here to look for this very thing. Awesome. EVula // talk // // 20:09, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
That was in the initial scope, and hopefully it'll be something we can fit in - even if it's something as simple as "something's changed on your watchlist on [wiki]" or such. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 20:09, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
I can't speak for everyone, but it's more of the "you've got a message on [some other site]" notification that I'd want/need; I don't necessarily need watchlist notifications from, say, ptwiki or ko.wikisource. EVula // talk // // 20:18, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Gotcha :). Worst-case scenario, I guess, would be to have Echo locally on each project and then have a global message that is triggered whenever any local echo message goes off on a non-"home" wiki, I guess. Does that make sense? Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 20:23, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, sounds good to me. EVula // talk // // 05:32, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
@EVula: Makes sense, watchlist notifications are not in Echo, but will be a problem for mw:Flow. I think Jorm's idea is that Flow-like events like watchlist changes would be more like a stream than discrete events to be served in Echo -- tychay (tchay@wikimedia) (talk) 20:48, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree. Cross-wiki was taken out from the first Echo deployment because the projects would need to have global users first. When single-universal login is addressed by James and others, we can iterate Echo to serve cross-wiki notifications. (Note: cross-wiki will probably not show flyout content if you have cross-wiki notification, but instead you'd know the existence of an unread notification (on say meta) and the flyout would allow you to jump to that wiki -- tychay (tchay@wikimedia) (talk) 20:48, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
For context, see m:Single User Login finalisation announcement. (Also, found this mention of me due to Notifications; yay success.) Jdforrester (WMF) (talk) 23:26, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Requesting ability to turn off all notifications

Can it be made possible to turn off all notifications? I'm already notified three times about edits to my talk page and, as an admin, I'm unlikely to have my user rights change without a great deal of notification. Espresso Addict (talk) 05:41, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised about the level of control you have over different notification types and how they're delivered. There isn't an "all off" switch, but you're going to have a lot of ability to have notifications delivered when and how you want them (or don't want them). Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 08:24, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the prompt response, Steven. The FAQ seems to state that talk page & user rights notifications cannot be turned off: "Some notifications cannot be disabled, such as changes to your user rights or new talk page messages: these notifications are too important to be dismissed." -- is this inaccurate? Espresso Addict (talk) 08:34, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
No, that's accurate - but I'm confused as to how you're notified three times! I'm only aware of two mechanisms (email and The Orange Bar of Doom (tm)). So, Echo will replace the big orange bar, and email notifications if you already get those - it's not adding anything new. And, you can completely nix notifications by email for that kind of thing, too :). Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 10:17, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
Ah, I hadn't realised it was replacing the Orange Bar of Doom & e-mail notifications, rather than augmenting them. (Three ways = watchlist, e-mail & OBoD.) Espresso Addict (talk) 00:51, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
Aha, gotcha :). Yep, it'll replace the both of them, but replacements will be like-for-like for each user. So, if you've got 'don't send me talkpage emails' as a setting, Echo will remember not to do the same. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 03:05, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm going to miss the OBOD, so more obvious than a little red box :-( NtheP (talk) 22:04, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Why can't we disable the notification for the user talk message? I'm obviously going to notice the orange message barn, and getting a notification and an orange bar is redundant. Nyttend (talk) 00:35, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
So far, using #pt-notifications { visibility: hidden; } in my skin css file works on making it invisible. There is a resulting empty space though.--Rockfang (talk) 04:14, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Change it from visibility: hidden; to display:none; and that empty space should go away, too. Writ Keeper  16:09, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Excellent Innovation

I love this new innovation. A really helpful tool. Thank you all. Melbourne3163 (talk) 04:47, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Thanks! :). Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 14:52, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Thank you! Notifications is the core framework to increase awareness for editors. We are glad we got some stuff right. Vibhabamba (talk) 18:35, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Pagelink notices

Don't you think pagelink notices should... er... link to the pages in question?? Currently all I get is a Whatlinkshere link from the triggering page link. C'mon, this is too obvious to call the feature "beta" - it's alpha. Rd232 talk 05:52, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Came here to say this. That's an oversight. Viriditas (talk) 08:18, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

There's also no distinction between template links and links in the article wikitext. Being able to deactivate the feature for certain pages (high-traffic ones that will pop up all the time) is years away, fine. But this needs doing sooner (and preferably with a preference to not notify template links). Rd232 talk 05:57, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Ah, is that why I just got notification telling me that "Steven Speilberg was linked from Puck (A Midsummer Night's Dream)"? Neither of those pages are on my watchlist, but maybe a template is? Viriditas (talk) 08:48, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Looks like it was vandalism. OK, that's just weird. Viriditas (talk) 08:49, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Note, I added the resolved tag as it appears someone added links to notifications after this comment was made. Viriditas (talk) 11:23, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
@Viriditas: I think those links only show up on the version at Special:Notifications, not the notifications shown in the flyout from the red badge. Feel free to file a bug if you would like the actual pages linked from both places. Kaldari (talk) 02:26, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Notifications for updates in important articles

Could you please tell me if this project plans to add notifications for updates in some important articles (according to my additions). I think it would be very helpful to me. Thanks, New worl (talk) 06:45, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

New worl Hi there, Do you mean that we send you a notification when an image has been added/ article has significantly grown/ template has been added? to an article that you have classified as important. We have some ideas around this but there is also potential overlap with the watch-list here. My focus on this project was the user experience so it would be useful to get some details from you. Thanks Vibhabamba (talk) 07:59, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, Vibhabamba. I mean notifications for top articles. As you know watchlist may contain hundredths of articles. So I think notification would be very helpful if I can put alerts on some, say, 10 most important articles. New worl (talk) 06:12, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Links on notification pages


Can someone have a look at the way links for namespaces like File and Category are linked on notifcation pages (not the fly out page) but Special:Notifications. Currently the linkage is [[File:Foo.jpg]] so the image is displayed on my notification page rather than just a link by [[:File:Foo.jpg]]. If it's the same for catgeory and template links, this could lead to some interesting displays. NtheP (talk) 07:20, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Can you specify which type of notification specifically caused this for you ? —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 12:17, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Only edit revert at the moment. NtheP (talk) 13:29, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
This should be fixed on English Wikipedia momentarily. Kaldari (talk) 02:17, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

IP notifications


According to the FAQ, IPs don't use the new notifications system, and the system has replaced the old Orange Bar Of Doom. Does this mean that IPs now receive no notification when their talk pages have been changed? — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 08:14, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Yes, I just tested it. No orange bar. Viriditas (talk) 10:02, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Fix this, as soon as humanely possible--talk about jarring oversights. Theopolisme (talk) 10:50, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I find it hard to believe that this is true. Are you quite, quite sure? Can anyone else confirm? This would be just mindboggling. Rd232 talk 10:54, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I'll try it again. Viriditas (talk) 10:59, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Second test complete. No orange bar. Viriditas (talk) 11:04, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Filed a bug to get a definitive conclusion or response. (I'm still thinking you must have made some mistake... this just can't be really so...!) Rd232 talk 11:19, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
No mistake, and if you look at my user history, I tried two different IPs just to be sure. IPs don't get the orange bar. Should I try it for a third time? Viriditas (talk) 11:21, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, if you're quite sure that after leaving the message and logging out you were using that IP and should have had the orange bar - then I guess it is so. Rd232 talk 11:24, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Just tried two more times. Nothing. Viriditas (talk) 11:34, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

(ec) I've just tested it as well - definitely no notification. An optimist on the run!   11:36, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

If the reports about the orange bar are correct, Notifications is broken. I sometimes see a new editor (possibly an IP) do something, and I give them a welcome with a message explaining some point (example). I'm not going to do that if it is highly likely that the user will never notice my message (and I'm not going to make a second account to test what it looks like to a new user—perhaps a screenshot would save some trouble). What is going to happen when a user gets some {{uw-test1}} or {{uw-vandalism1}} warnings? Again, I'm not going to bother warning an IP or throwaway account if it is likely I'm wasting my time. The orange bar tells the IP/account that someone has noticed their fun, and that's often all that is required for them to turn their attention elsewhere. I do not think a notification will do that. Also, will a notification be regarded as sufficient warning for a repeat to result in a block? Johnuniq (talk) 11:36, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

It's not that the notification is not enough (though I don't think it is); IP users don't get the notification (I have just confirmed by experiment) so they are not told at all that they have a message. The whole vandal-warning system has become useless. This is a disaster. JohnCD (talk) 11:44, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Also this would lead to a potential loss of reformed vandals who stop vandalizing at a level-1 or level-2 warning since they won't be aware that they were warned.. TheStrikeΣagle 11:50, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I think I already found the cause and it looks like a simple oversight, if I'm correct, this likely will be fixed after San Francisco wakes up. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 12:00, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Thankfully. But this issue just underlines my #Are_you_nuts.3F complaint: if it had been made clear that the Orange Bar was being removed, and that Echo was only for registered users, then "what happens to unregistered users" might have come up as an issue sooner. Excitement about a new system is great, but it's no substitute for documentation. See also my general remarks on user interface changes here. Rd232 talk 12:06, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • So, the FAQ says "We're not planning to bring the OBOD back nor to make it available as a preference". Hopefully this was just someone being glib, and not an official position that will never change. This would have been almost painless if the notification system had been rolled out exactly as it was, except making the OBOD opt-out. As is, it's screwed up IP communication, and insulted other users who might want it for no apparent reason. --Floquenbeam (talk) 14:55, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    Well, it was made by the deputy director, so I suspect it may indeed be an official position :/. The IP communication bug is being fixed, and we're actively talking through how to increase the prominence of the notifications for talkpage messages. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 15:02, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    Got to love how the WMF people impose things on the community regardless of our opinions. Okeyes, what suggestions do you have for fixing the deputy director communication bug? Nyttend (talk) 15:08, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    Yes, added this morning by User:Eloquence. Bug tracking added. Rd232 talk 15:38, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
The fact that the OBOD in its original form isn't coming back (except, if absolutely necessary, as a temporary fix) doesn't mean that we're not taking this issue seriously. We're considering multiple non-OBOD possibilities for raising the prominence of messaging-related notifications, and several have been raised here.--Eloquence* 16:00, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
What a lovely way of dismissing everyone's concerns. Would you mind listening to the community? Nyttend (talk) 16:37, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I like optimists... Peridon (talk) 17:02, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Riight. You could have so easily taken the sting out of this by bringing back the Orange Bar temporarily, whilst a better alternative is developed at a calm and even leisurely pace. Are you scared that you won't be able to develop a better alternative? This is ridiculous, and frankly more than a little disrespectful of what users actually want (which is at minimum to be given a better alternative, and since you can't magic that overnight, to go back to the status quo ante until you have one to give). Rd232 talk 20:38, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • This is fixed now for IP users. Kaldari (talk) 17:40, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, just tried it, the orange bar is back for IPs. Please don't remove it again unless it is replaced by something at least as intrusive, so that it is possible to get the attention of an IP vandalising or making problematic edits. JohnCD (talk) 18:03, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • This is NOT fixed for non-autoconfirmed accounts. Is there a way that could easily be added back in? Seems obvious... Ignatzsocktalk 21:12, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    • Non-auto-confirmed accounts should get standard Echo; the IP problem was that they temporarily had neither Echo nor the Orange Bar. Rd232 talk 21:22, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
      • Ah, yes. My bad. Still, as I (and others) have said upthread, it would be good for newbies as well to have the big in-your-face notification.... Ignatzmicetalk 21:26, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

API access to Echo?

Hey again, after a couple users were running into trouble with my OBoD script, one suggested using Echo as the driver for the message display, rather than keeping track of things within the script itself. It looks like the entries in the notification widget themselves aren't directly accessible unless the widget has been opened, and just going by the number that's displayed would catch a bunch of things that aren't actually talk page posts. So, is there an API or something that a script could make a call to, to find out whether there are new notifications and what kind of notifications they would be? Writ Keeper  20:22, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Yes. Search the API help page. It's meta=notifications (Ctrl+F 'Echo'). --Krenair (talkcontribs) 20:33, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
What page is that? I'm not seeing it. Writ Keeper  20:39, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Umm, api.php. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 20:46, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Oh, of course, I was expecting it to be documented at Mediawiki. Silly me. *rolls eyes* Writ Keeper  20:49, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Yeah we should rewrite the main MediaWiki api pages to start with pointing people to /api.php. The system works so well, and it always represents whatever is actually the available api on an instance of MediaWiki (instead of the theoretically available api). In the past most of WMF ran the same software and the auto generated documentation was much less complete, but it has totally overtaken the MediaWiki hosted documentation in my opinion —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 23:06, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
@Writ Keeper: The Echo API is very limited currently (and mostly designed to facility the flyout). I would suggest filing a bug listing what you would like from such an API, and we'll do our best to accommodate. You may also be interested in T49962. Kaldari (talk) 06:45, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Testing Question about Secondary Accounts

We, the user community, have been asked to test Echo. However, the testing instructions advise creating a second account. Wikipedia has special policies on legitimate alternate accounts, and those policies are long. Could someone provide a summary? In particular, what sort of disclosure is expected both on the primary user page and on the secondary user page? Robert McClenon (talk) 20:42, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Just make a post on your alternate account's user page (using your primary account, so we know it's legitimate), saying that "this is an alternate account of such-and-such, used for testing". If you're just testing things in user space, it's not a big deal. Writ Keeper  20:44, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I would assume that making real edits in article space (to improve an article) or in article talk space (to discuss an article) can be done from one's primary account with the secondary account receiving the notices. Is that correct? Robert McClenon (talk) 20:53, 1 May 2013 (UTC)


Does anyone know why this edit didn't notify my main account? MJ94 (talk) 20:59, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Did you actually sign your message with 4 tilde's? Unless you messed with your signature preferences, it looks like you did three tilde's, the small message, then 5 tildes. Presumably this should notify you. If that's not the case, you might have it unchecked in your preferences. Ryan Vesey 22:38, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Eh, I typo'd. However, this did notify me. Thanks, Ryan. MJ94 (talk) 22:41, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

"Page link"

I noticed in my notifications preferences that there is a page link notification that is disabled by default. What is the page link notification? It might also be a good idea to create tooltips in the preferences to explain them. Ryan Vesey 20:49, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

I found it in the FAQ. Is there any reason it only notifies me if a page is linked in an article? I feel like it would be a great benefit if I was notified if someone was discussing a page I created. Ryan Vesey 20:52, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
That'd be pretty hard to define, though. Links to pages in the talk-related namespaces? Which would invariably include a lot of automated wikiproject listing, and such. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 20:53, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Hello Ryan Vesey, thanks for asking about the page link notification. This optional notification is sent when an article you created is linked from another article. Because this has the potential to be high volume, we disabled this notification by default for current users (but it is enabled for new users). If you decide to try it out, let us know how it works for you. In the meantime, here is the current requirement for this feature. Cheers :) Fabrice Florin (WMF) (talk) 20:56, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Ryan -- some kind of information about what these options do (all of them) -- is important to have on the Preferences screen. As a quick fix, a simple link to the FAQ would probably be sufficient. Most users wouldn't have any idea how to learn more about this screen -- wouldn't know the name "Echo" to search on, for instance. -Pete (talk) 22:49, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, Pete. We agree with you. We already planned to add little question marks next to each notification type listed in preferences (T49094), for the reasons you mention. But we were delayed in adding that feature, so it may not be available until next week. Hope that's OK ... Fabrice Florin (WMF) (talk) 23:15, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Honestly, I don't think next week is soon enough. If this feature is about helping people be aware of what is going on, that principle needs to be applied to the feature itself -- as soon as possible, when people first encounter it. -Pete (talk) 14:42, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

As someone who is nominal creator of a lot of articles, I think I'd personally be more in favour of notices for articles (not pages) on my watchlist. My watchlist serves as a list of articles I care about, which isn't something I can say for 2007 World Championship in Athletics (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views). Sceptre (talk) 22:51, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

I'm getting page link notifications for pages that I "created" because I moved a page with the redirect option set. I've moved lots of pages that I have no interest in, hence I'm getting lots of useless notifications.... Could you please investigate making it possible not to receive page link notifications for redirects created as the result of a page move. Thanks. — Scott talk 10:55, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Grey line in the way of the tabs

Example of this problem as seen by User:Hassocks5489

Hello. I have a grey line in the way of the tabs (article, talk, edit, and so on), and it partially obscures them. Doesn't the notifications function work properly with monobook appearance?

HandsomeFella (talk) 22:10, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

fixed in Bug 47926
Hi HandsomeFella, I can't reproduce the gray line you mention in Monobook. Would you mind posting a bug ticket on Bugzilla and including a screenshot as an attachment? Thanks! Fabrice Florin (WMF) (talk) 22:54, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Hi. I'm having the same problem of HandsomeFella, and me too I use Monobook. For few seconds it apperas the "0" in that way : "DerBorg (0) Talk Preferences Watchlist Contributions Log out" ... After, the 0 is transformed in a long grey bar with a white 0 in the middle, and covers article, talk, edit, and so on. Thanks for attention. Regards. Today in the afternoon it wasn't. I've discovered it few minutes ago. --Dэя-Бøяg 23:19, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
My problem about the "grey 0" was resolved, from this afternoon. --Dэя-Бøяg 19:52, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I have the same problem + the watch tab is overlapping with the standard links and inaccessible.TMCk (talk) 23:40, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
The other tabs are barely accessible and unreadable. If I wouldn't know from memory...TMCk (talk) 23:42, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Can any of you provide a screenshot? Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 04:21, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I can't, unfortunately, as I'm at work; but just Just to confirm I am having the same issue. System spec: Windows XP, Internet Explorer 7, Monobook skin. It's causing quite a significant problem with the page layout. If it also applies on my home computer (IE10), I will upload a s/s when I get home tonight. Hassocks5489 (Floreat Hova!) 08:25, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Actually, I have managed to get a screenshot. See above. Hassocks5489 (Floreat Hova!) 11:30, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
A bit more info: the same sequence of events happens to me as described by DerBorg above: the (0) appears briefly before turning into a long grey bar. When in the Edit window, as I am when typing this, I notice that the (0) stays in place and the layout is therefore correct. For info: I have some custom Javascript in my Monobook.js (User:Anomie/linkclassifier.js and User:Anomie/linkclassifier.css) which turns wikilinks different colours according to various circumstances (e.g. pink for AfD, green for redirects, purple for Stub articles etc.); the change from (0) to the long grey bar happens at the exact moment the .js is activated (i.e. the moment when the links on whichever page I'm on turn green, purple, pink or whatever). Hassocks5489 (Floreat Hova!) 11:37, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Just to confirm, on my home computer (Windows 7, Internet Explorer 10) the problem does not occur and there are no problems with the screen layout. Hassocks5489 (Floreat Hova!) 20:32, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm getting the same thing (MonoBook, IE9, Vista) - it blocks the top of the tabs and glitches the top-right, separating my userpage from the other options (as shown in the screenshot.) --Yellow1996 (talk) 01:43, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
We identified why this might happen in IE6 and IE7 and fixed it. I have no idea why this would happen in IE9 though (which should correctly handle inline-block styling). Kaldari (talk) 05:55, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Update: OK, I'm back at work the following day on the IE7 computer, and everything looks correct now. Thanks for fixing so quickly. Hassocks5489 (Floreat Hova!) 07:44, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Now it's changed to a white-on-grey box for just the number, not a huge bar like before. When I put my cursor over it, the box jumps infront of my username, and is then clickable. At least it's not a giant bar anymore! :) --Yellow1996 (talk) 00:01, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Echo blacklist?

Is there a way for Echo to ignore edits by certain bots—namely, User:HostBot, whose edits (example) include a link to an unsuspecting host's talk page? Theopolisme (talk) 10:54, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Slightly related this topic higher up. Though this bot leaves 'major' edits apparently. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 13:11, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Don't pick on User:HostBot. This issue is already being discussed by the involved hosts → WT:Teahouse/Host lounge#HostBot Messages and notifications. I'm much more concern with being able to remove User:SineBot from my notifications. Technical 13 (talk) 18:40, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
It would be nice to exempt MiszaBot III, too - I don't need to be notified when it does its regular archive of my talk page. JohnCD (talk) 19:17, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Watch List Question for Second Account

I created a second account to test notifications. However, when logged on to the second account, I can't watch list pages. Is that because a setting is wrong, or do I first have to reply to the confirming email to confirm the second account? (I've also posted this at the Help Desk, so a reply in either forum is sufficient. Robert McClenon (talk) 22:10, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Did you get an answer on this? I can't reproduce it. If it is still happening, what do you mean by "can't watch list pages". What skin is that account using? What browser and operating system are you using? LWelling (talk) 16:51, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Mention by IP

Should I expect a notification when I am mentioned by an IP? Or Wikipedia was smart enough to detect that that IP was actually me? (I have no privacy issue with that IP disclosure, let it be there) --Tito Dutta (contact) 09:55, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Possible solution (I am not a dev): You didn't actually add a mention to User:Titodutta, just removed a mention of another user. I believe you only get a mention if someone adds your name. (Otherwise everyone who'd ever posted/been mentioned on a talk page would get a notification with every new edit. We have the watchlist for that.) Ignatzmicetalk 11:43, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
    Add a mention and sign, yep :). Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 13:37, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Possible hassle and Suggestion magic word

a) Few weeks ago, Wikipedia:Deceased_Wikipedians page was redesigned and all linked usernames were moved from main page to subpages. b) I have seen sometimes for WikiProjects, task forces etc (specially for new WikiProjects who have not finished designing) they move "Participants" list to sub page etc Does that mean, in such situation, it'll notify all those hundreds of editors? For example, if a new deceased editor's name is included in deceased page, we should add it as a "mention" in his account.
Suggestion: A magic word __STOPNOTIFICATIONS__ can be created so that while doing the works mentioned above, before starting the page redesign work, we can add the magic word in the page to stop notifying and after finishing the task remove the word! --Tito Dutta (contact) 10:08, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

In addition, we often write like this I don't know about the topic, you might get some help from User:Example, —here too notification is not necessary! --Tito Dutta (contact) 10:25, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Not unless people have started signing, which is a requirement here; you have to both link, and sign in your post. And actually I'd argue that if you're saying "I don't know about the topic, you might get some help from User:Example", User:Example being able to wander along and go "oh, yes!" is really helpful. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 13:30, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Linking to their talk page solves the additional problem. TheOriginalSoni (talk) 11:00, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Notifications about Archive Bots


I didn't used to get a yellow bar when a bot archived my talk page; now I get a notification :S can this be fixed? Pretty please! --Errant (chat!) 15:31, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Yep, already in Bugzilla :). Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 15:45, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Signature of alternative account

Is there any way I can tweak the signature of my alternative account (e.g. [1]), so that it still links to my main account but doesn't notify me every time I sign something? An optimist on the run!   17:16, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

You could make a redirect to your userpage in your userspace and then have your alt link that. I think that works. Writ Keeper  17:20, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Good idea - I'll try it. Thanks. An optimist on the run!   17:55, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Definition of mention

Let me be sure that I understand exactly what is a mention. Does that only happen if another user entered my properly wikified user name, User:Robert McClenon, in a talk page? That is what I would expect, because I am an IT engineer, but it may not be what an inexperienced user would expect. Many posters simply type the user's name without wikifying it. Should there be instructions to that effect? Robert McClenon (talk) 17:25, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

There should (and will be!) - I think one method of learning, however, is seeing it done. A lot of people find things out via, I guess, social osmosis rather than help documentation. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 17:26, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
  • From my experience so far:
  1. It works if you add the person's wikilinked username and sign your post, provided you are on a talk page (or possibly other page, like ANI, as noted above).
  2. It does not work if you put the wikilinked username in the edit summary.
  3. It does not work if you put the wikilinked username in HTML comment-tags.
  4. It does not work if you do not sign with four tildes.
Hope this helps. Ignatzmicetalk 17:30, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
But (as was asked before) does it work with the {{user}} template? -- Ypnypn (talk) 18:19, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
  • No. But {{subst:user}} does. That's kinda annoying. Ignatzmicetalk 18:35, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Just done more testing - it works with {{user}}, so you should be notified about this - Ypnypn (talk · contribs). On the other hand, a link to a user talk page doesn't appear to notify the user. An optimist on the run!   18:35, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I was notified. Thanks for the quick response. -- Ypnypn (talk) 18:53, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Apologies, I must have done something wrong. Just tried it again; as Optimist says, it does work. Ignatzmicetalk 18:38, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Thinking sideways, it seems that if we want someone to know we've mentioned them, we do it in brackets. If we want to talk behind their back, we do it without. Peridon (talk) 22:38, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Bug in Echo reporting a revert


Someone just reverted an editor with the edit summary "Reverted to revision 553245825 by Floquenbeam (TW)". But the notification system just sent me a message that my edit to that page had been reverted, presumably because my name shows up in their edit summary. The coders of Echo and the coders of Twinkle need to huddle. --Floquenbeam (talk) 20:58, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Your later edit here was one of those which was reverted by the return to your earlier version, so I don't think it's a bug. - David Biddulph (talk) 21:11, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
You're correct, my mistake. Thanks for catching that. Nevermind... --Floquenbeam (talk) 21:43, 2 May 2013 (UTC)


I had a speedy tag removed from an article (and put it back later). Does this count as a revert, 'cos I didn't get notified? Diff is while it lasts (admins will be able to see it later, of course). Peridon (talk) 22:02, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Second thought - is it only a revert when 'undo' is used for the purposes of Notification? This one was manual removal not 'undo'. Peridon (talk) 22:04, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
That's what I would imagine. I wouldn't be surprised if Twinkle, etc, did it too, though I also wouldn't be surprised if it didn't. I'll check that now. Ignatzmicetalk 22:08, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
This is another case where what an inexperienced user might expect is not what an IT engineer would expect. (IT engineer who is inexperienced user still brings knowledge of how software is designed. Most users are not IT engineers.) It is easy to design the software to provide notification of a revert via the Undo button. On a manual edit, it would be complicated to determine whether the edit had the effect of reverting a previous edit. Robert McClenon (talk) 22:13, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Twinkle-reverts do not trigger a notification. "Undo"-reverts do. I wonder about rollback by admins? That's more system-level than Twinkle. Maybe you could try rolling back any recent edits here? Ignatzmicetalk 22:14, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Done, as rollbacker. TheOriginalSoni (talk) 22:17, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
I got a notification. Ignatzmicetalk 22:20, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
(ec)OK - I've rolled back the last edit there (not with Twinkle). I very rarely use rollback. I've probably rolled back the roll back... Peridon (talk) 22:22, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
So has TheOriginalSoni had a notification of my admin rollback? Peridon (talk) 22:28, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes. TheOriginalSoni (talk) 22:59, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Link to new section on your talk page

English is my second language, so please let me know if I'm being too vague or unclear. Thanks.

The notification for changes to your talk page, i.e. the addition of a new section/message, only provides a link to the entire talk page ("User talk:Mathonius") and not a link to the added section ("User talk:Mathonius#Echo"), like the orange banner used to do. The same notification in my archive gives a link to the user page of the user editing my talk page, a link to the entire talk page, and a link to the specific section. Is it possible to add such a link to the original notifications as well?

Regards, Mathonius (talk) 01:53, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Or am I asking the same question as Redtigerxyz (see here)? Mathonius (talk) 02:00, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
@Mathonius: Should be fixed as soon as the next deployment happens (next week). Kaldari (talk) 03:37, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Thank you, Kaldari. Oddly enough, the notification of your reply was "Kaldari mentioned you on [[Wikipedia_talk:Notifications#Link_to_new_section_on_your_talk_page|Wikipedia talk:Notifications]].", linking to this specific section. Mathonius (talk) 03:52, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
At least it works for mention notifications :) Kaldari (talk) 04:10, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Some quick way to show I've "read" a notification

The current notice doesn't "GO" unless I've clicked on the link. I'd want a "Read them all" button and/or an option to "read" a notification once I click on it. TheOriginalSoni (talk) 05:46, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Are you sure? I had 15 notifications earlier today and I'm almost positive they went away as soon as I clicked the number next to my name. Ryan Vesey 05:48, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I still have two notifications after clicking the number and clicking the links multiple times. A "Read them all" button would be useful. The Anonymouse (talk | contribs) 05:51, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
For real? I just did a test where I gave myself 2 notifications. I clicked the number next to my name and they went to 0 instantly. Perhaps it only happens when there's more notifications than the dropdown can handle. Ryan Vesey 05:54, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
That's strange. Anonymous, could you give us some more details? It certainly should be going away :/. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 05:57, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, I misunderstood. The number does go to 0, but I was wondering if there was a way to actually remove read notifications. The Anonymouse (talk | contribs) 06:02, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
The Anonymouse (talk | contribs) Hi there, My role on this project was the user experience, so I want to understand what your expectation around this interaction. We have been exploring some Dismiss/ Remove/ Unsubscribe from this category feature but we weren't able to get it in for this release. Is there the desire to have an empty flyout (the panel from the top right that carries the notices) when you 'Mark All as read' OR Do you think you would want to dismiss a notification one at a time to remove it from the flyout so you can selectively remove content? Thanks, this information will be useful for the next iteration on the project. Vibhabamba (talk) 07:53, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm not really sure what exactly you mean, but I believe Anonymouse would like the ability to completely empty Special:NotificationsRyan Vesey 07:59, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I think that being able to remove each notification individually would be even more useful because I would be able to tell which notifications I have "dealt with".
For example, I used my bot account to send a message to my talk page. I removed the message because it was a test. But now the notification is still stuck in the list of notifications. I would like to be able to remove it since I already read and responded to that message. That's just my expectation; I'm not sure about other users. The Anonymouse (talk | contribs) 08:05, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I'd support that, if I've seen a notification especially "someone wrote on your talk page", I'd like to be able to delete that notification. After all what possible reason could I have for keeping it, if I've visited by talk page? I really have no desire to go onto the notifications page and see every notification I've been sent in the last year. If you really think this Google+/Facebook type interface is necessary then give it the same flexibility including delete, suppress, mark as read/unread, order by type as well as date. NtheP (talk) 22:43, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
  • What I'd also like is some flexiblity with the notifications. Like the ability to delete some of the notifications, and leave the rest, or even something like "Mark as unread" which would not set the number of notifications back to 0, but leave the marked notifications intact incase I decide to deal with a particlarly time-consuming reply later. TheOriginalSoni (talk) 08:07, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    This would be powerful. For years I've avoided going to my talkpage because I didn't want the message to go away but I didn't want to respond just yet. A "mark unread" feature would be hugely beneficial, especially as now multiple different notifications can be listed it would be helpful for establishing some sort of workflow. ~ Amory (utc) 18:36, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Not getting a link

I'm using the modern skin and the notifications "menu" does not drop down, nor am I taken to Special:Notifications when I click on it. Right now if I click the number goes to zero but nothing displays. ~ Amory (utc) 13:44, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

I'll add that the default format for the notification button is sharply out of line with the rest of the menu. Not urgent, but it stands out like a sore thumb even when there are 0 messages. ~ Amory (utc) 18:18, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I see this bug report totally answers my question further down this page in a sub section titled "bug?'. I use the Modern skin and I have the second problem listed on the bugzilla page. I only see part of the right section of the flyout at best. it's flown too far off my page to be any use except to mindreaders. So I'm asking as was iterated on this report: can I have this ECHO dratted thingamajig disabled since I'm not going to alter my skin just for this or anything else actually. Thanks muchly... Fylbecatulous talk 23:44, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
And again, I reiterate that I have IE 10 on Windows. So from the bugzilla report there is no tinker available for us hapless folk.  :(( Fylbecatulous talk 23:51, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Thank you to the devs

I've mentioned a fair amount of changes I'd like to see on this page, but I want to make sure that those don't overbear my support for echo as a whole. This is one of the biggest dev side improvements I've seen since the new pages feed someone needs a huge round of applause for the work he's done on bringing both of those tools to us. There are a number of other editors who need thank you's and I wish I knew who all of those are, but in any case, thanks. Ryan Vesey 17:41, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Thanks so much; this has totally brightened my day :). Credit goes to the dev-team - User:Kaldari, User:Bsitu and User:LWelling. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 17:43, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
And let's not forget Brandon Harris for kicking it off for real 1,5 year ago. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 17:53, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
+1 -- as I've said above, but might be obscured by my concerns about the rollout, I am generally impressed with the core feature. Kudos to those who have made it happen. -Pete (talk) 18:11, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. Thanks everyone for the work. This page has been a good example of rollout, feature explanation, and lots of tweaks/bugs/request to be considered. Huge amount of effort toward a very good and I think useful feature expansion. Way to think out of the box! ~ Amory (utc) 18:24, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I really enjoyed designing this interface experience because of the development attitude to this project. Cheers for User:Kaldari, User:Bsitu and User:LWelling They moved really quickly and were always willing to try stuff out and iterate. Vibhabamba (talk) 18:39, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes. Like I said above, for the most part I like it. AutomaticStrikeout (TCSign AAPT) 20:01, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes, many thanks for doing a big new feature, it's a Good Thing. Just please learn something from the transitional problems, caused quite unnecessarily. Rd232 talk 20:19, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    <echo> Thanks to @BH, VB, RK, BS, LW, OK & all for the sweet new feature. And to everyone leaving feedback to make things better. – SJ + 20:56, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes, thanks devs for Notifications! The Anonymouse (talk | contribs) 21:07, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Thank you all for your kind words, which mean a lot to us! As product manager for Notifications, it has been a true pleasure to be working with such a wonderful, responsive development team. I am also very grateful to community members for all your good insights on this page :) Based on this helpful feedback, we're preparing a number of improvements which will be releasing in coming days, in an iterative fashion. In the meantime, check out today's blog post, for a bit more context about this project. Fabrice Florin (WMF) (talk) 16:48, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I'd like to give my thanks to the developers for their hard work implementing the designers' ideas. Assuming I've got the terminology right there. When I got my minor qualification in systems analysis/design there were analysts, designers and programmers... (Found it not my scene - too bloody minded - and got the hell out.) Peridon (talk) 21:49, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Thank you for bringing Wikipedia into 2013. Viriditas (talk) 07:14, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

How would you compare two methods for talk page message notifications

A number of people seem to be saying OBOD notifications are better than Echo notifications as they are presented in this version. I'm curious what "better" means, or more generally, if you had two ways to present that message how would you decide which to keep?

Prominence seems to be the main factor being mentioned, but if it were that simple we'd adopt a full screen blinking red notification and call it a day. It's obviously not that simple, but is it a valid metric? (Is it the most important metric?)

Is click through rate by new users a valid metric? (Is it the most important metric?)

Is click through rate by experienced users a valid metric? (Is it the most important metric?)

How else would you compare two proposals? LWelling (talk) 20:44, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Hi LWelling, do I understand right from the discussion above that you're working on this project? I think it would help if you could set up a user page with a sentence or two about your role. Otherwise it's difficult to distinguish a question like this one from idle rumination. -Pete (talk) 20:57, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Right. It's not idle rumination. I'll put up a two line bio. LWelling (talk) 21:02, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks! -Pete (talk) 21:06, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Tell you what, turn the Orange Bar back on temporarily (let's say explicitly for no more than 3 months, if that's what it takes for WMF to agree). Then we can calmly and happily chew over how exactly to come up with something better than (a) the current Echo talkpage notification system and (b) the Orange Bar. Deal? Rd232 talk 20:58, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
+1 Address the pain point first, then it will be much easier to talk about a general approach. -Pete (talk) 21:06, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
+2 I tried to convey the same at the IRC. Didn't work. Let's hope this one does. TheOriginalSoni (talk) 21:47, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • With the orange bar, we knew it was a new user talk-page post, and a diff was offered to the last change, so we could get there with one click. Now, we see the little number has changed, but don't know why. One click tells us it's the user talk page. A second click takes us to the page. We then have to scroll down to find the new post or posts. SlimVirgin (talk) 21:26, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    If we are lucky enough to be able to pick it out of the 80-120+ sections on our talk page... If not, we then have to scroll back to the top, hit history, and compare. Technical 13 (talk) 21:30, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    Thanks User:SlimVirgin that's really informative. I'll see if I can put the section link back.
  • I already said this at the IRC but let me say that again - Check the number of responses for new/nonresponsive users. Take all the users who have a low rate of talk page (or any page) replies, and compare their replies over Echo and OBOD. That will be a fairly unbiased metric. TheOriginalSoni (talk) 21:47, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
If you get rid of the OBOD notification system, how about enabling it on an opt-in basis (say as a gadget)? benzband (talk) 23:33, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
First let me state I do not like the subtle number hiding at the top and I wish I had my orange bar back. With that said, I am 100% glad that the WMF is showing some backbone and taking action on some things finally. I wish they would do it more often until we as a community once again show that we are capable of implementing changes ourselves. We are currently failing miserably in every possible way to make any changes or improvements to even the most basic and fundamental issues. All the people here commenting in angry tones about how dare this be implemented without consulting the community, we deserve what we get. At least they are trying and implementing changes. We can't even do that! Kumioko (talk) 01:19, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Hear hear. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 07:49, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Orange Bar should be the default

The Orange Bar should be an opt-out option. The new system is very cool, I intend to use it. However the Orange Bar should be the default. New editors are overwhelmed enough with new concepts, and a big orange bar requires no explanation that "SOMETHING INTERESTING HAS HAPPENED". Furthermore, AFAICT, the new system is heavily disenfranchising to IP editors. As someone who still does 90% of his editing anonymously, I would find this process to be grossly exclusionary. (And yes I know my IP editing habit is idiosyncratic, but I've been doing it for nearly 12 years now and I'm not going to change). Manning (talk) 00:43, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
We don't need a duplicate poll in this section. There is already one further up the page. Manning, what do you mean by "heavily disenfranchising to IP editors". Do you just mean there was a bug affecting them for a few hours, or something more complex? LWelling (talk) 17:30, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Hell, no. Viriditas (talk) 01:33, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Its only logical. A big Yes TheOriginalSoni (talk) 02:11, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes to opt-out, per KWW's comment above about making sure IPs see that they have a message.Sven Manguard Wha? 07:19, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
See the comment above about "the bug for IPs has been fixed". Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 13:38, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes to opt-out for all editors. It can be hard enough to get new editors to start communicating and not being sure they actually saw the message, doesn't help.Lova Falk talk 07:40, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes to opt-out for all editors, per KWW and Lova Falk. This is especially important when registered students are editing as class assignments (and other new users) and when we leave messages for IPs. Removing completely as an option was a very poor idea. Voceditenore (talk) 09:23, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Amen -mattbuck (Talk) 10:12, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes to opt-out. I too plan on using Echo, but I also plan on using the orange bar (and am currently thanks to Writ Keeper's script. In addition, it is needed for IPs and newbies (and, according to Fluffernutter and others above, oldies as well!). Ignatz micetalk 11:49, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes to opt-out for all editors. Mlpearc (powwow) 16:21, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Hi folks, thanks for your helpful feedback on this topic. We hear you loud and clear, and we are now working on a solution that we think will address your concerns. Our primary goal is to provide more prominent display of talk page messages -- even if it's not exactly the 'orange bar of death' implementation, which many people found sub-optimal :) . We'll keep you posted on our progress in coming days. Thanks for your patience ... Fabrice Florin (WMF) (talk) 19:56, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Well that works for me. I don't need the OBOD as such, I'll be quite happy as long as there is a "HONKING BIG NOTIFICATION" of some kind for newbies. Manning (talk) 22:21, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
It's good that this is being taken seriously, but something needs to be done right now, today. IPs and newbies are being warned, and blocked, as we speak by a system that isn't working for them and Wikipedia will be haemorrhaging new editors through frustation even faster than normal. If that "something" means turning back on the OB temporarily, then that's what should be done. I don't know how difficult that is, but I'm fairly certain the devs have rollback rights... SpinningSpark 22:44, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, I know I keep saying this, but I agree. Is it really technically impossible to re-implement the orange bar temporarily? If not, EFFING DO IT ALREADY pleaseandthankyoumuchly. Ignatzmicetalk 22:58, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Can Echo be fine tuned to ignore certain pages?

So I just got (15 hours ago) a notification that said "Christina Crawford (wrestler) was linked from Ariane Andrew: See all links to this page". It took a suggestion from legoktm and some digging, but I found out that the reason I'm getting that notification is that I was the one that promoted it at Articles for Creation, way back in 2010. It would be really nice if I could exclude those articles from what I get notified on, without having to disable two whole categories of notification. They should all have the edit summary "Created via Articles for Creation (you can help!)". Will this be possible? Sven Manguard Wha? 16:13, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Page links are certainly problematic (which is why they are off by default for existing users). It would be really nice if there were a way to know that pages you are really interested in got linked somewhere. Unfortunately "really interested in" is hard to detect. Maybe something like "pages you have made more than 20 edits to" would catch it. In the short term I think active users will mostly keep them turned off or they'll get a lot of notifications about category pages. For a new editor who creates a few articles on a topic area they have expertise in they could be very rewarding and let them see their contributions getting appreciated. For power users, they are probably too noisy. LWelling (talk) 16:47, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Maybe it could only show links to pages on one's watchlist? -- Ypnypn (talk) 18:18, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
That would also be a valid option, but I'm not sure it helps most people. Active users routinely have 1000s of watched pages.LWelling (talk) 19:48, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, to make the feature really useful for highly active users, you do need to provide lots of control options, and "only show it for watched pages" is certainly one good control option. I would say that this feature as it stands is certainly useful for newcomers who haven't created many pages. (Just as well there's some benefit to more engaged newcomers at least, since complete newbies are currently getting screwed by low visibility of welcome and warning and other talkpage messages...) Rd232 talk 12:59, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Missing talk notifications

I had 2 unread notifications -Nvvchar. 03:08, 2 May 2013 (UTC) and DPL bot (talk) 11:37, 2 May 2013 (UTC). Notifications showed only the latter, not both when I assessed wikipedia approx. 20:30 IST. --Redtigerxyz Talk 18:28, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Also why is the diff option not in notifications? --Redtigerxyz Talk 18:29, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Any chance you can provide a screenshot of the first bug? And the second is being fixed. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 19:06, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Example for today: DYKUpdateBot and 1 other posted on your talk page.

"Giving DYK credit for Master Vithal" How do I interpret the 1 was Nvvchar (who updated old section)? DYKUpdateBot left 3 messages. But I know only about Master Vithal. --Redtigerxyz Talk 15:26, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Link notifications for redirects

...are entirely too excessive for someone who has created millions of redirect pages like me. I'm turning that feature off for now but it would still be useful for my real created pages. Marcus Qwertyus (talk) 00:57, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

That they can't detect redirects is frustrating; I'll put it in Bugzilla :). Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 13:02, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
That being said, it would be nice if links to redirects of articles I created caused notifications, regardless of who created the redirect itself. -- Ypnypn (talk) 15:35, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Article assessment notifications

I apologize if this has already been suggested. I would like to receive notifications when certain DYK, GA, and FA nominations/reviews are initiated and when they are passed/failed. I'm particularly interested in articles about Hawaii. Can someone add this to the feature queue? Thanks. Viriditas (talk) 03:33, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Hi Viriditas. I'm the ux designer on this project. The good news is that some sort of subscription based model is on the long long term roadmap. Its going to take a significant amount of evolution to get there. We certainly want to get to a place where we can provide much more a fine tune controls on what we notify you about. i.e: projects/ categories/ people / articles that a user cares about. It is (needless to say) very complex and so this first phase is about understanding how users are using notifications and then providing a more powerful control panel . Vibhabamba (talk) 07:27, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Vibhabamb, this productive suggestion from Viriditas, and your comment about a long term roadmap providing notifications, make me think about how this all could help individual projects.
  • On the short end of it, the old diabled Rich Farmbrough tools like Fembot were never substituted with something else. So we have pages like Hawaii Project Recent Changes stopped adding articles a year ago when the bot was disabled, and, therefore, are now only Reporting on articles that had been added up to that time. Not all projects have this set up, but the ones that do are a year out of date. Would be good if something could be substituted for the projects.
  • On a larger scale, WikiProject Military History is more organized than the average project, but they have Summary of open tasks, manually updated, that is similar to what Viriditas is requesting on an individual user basis. It would be great if the idea that Viriditas has requested on a personal user availability, combined with what Femtobot used to do, could be designed for the projects. And maybe along the lines that it would just be automatically attached to the talk pages of all projects. Quite frankly, most of the projects out there don't know what is available to them, and nobody is really in charge of the individual projects.
Just some thoughts. The projects don't seem to be on the drawing board when system improvements are designed. — Maile (talk) 12:34, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
They're certainly on the drawing board; the issue is how we implement things in a way that's generalisable. So: we totally could build it around Wikiprojects, or to handle Wikiprojects, but localising that to different projects is going to be very difficult. Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 12:56, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Well, that's a step in the right direction. Hope is in view...— Maile (talk) 13:00, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, Maile. I agree with your comments, and that's exactly what I was getting at. I forgot to add, I would like to be notified about XfDs and RfCs related to the Hawaii project. My personal problem with the current notification system is that it isn't open enough to allow other editors to tweak it to add and receive notifications of their choice, particularly in terms of improving participation in community processes like Xfd, GAR, etc. I mean, look at the backlog for GA articles already. Can you imagine if interested editors were receiving notifications based on review topics? The queues would be free and clear. I appreciate all the work the team has done so far, but it seems to me the most important aspect of notifications is not being utilized. I really think this should be a priority. Viriditas (talk) 22:58, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Notifications for templated messages.

Yesterday, I left {{Subst:Welcome to Wikipedia}} on the talk page of a person I was training, When I saw them looking at the notification, it said I had said "{{Welcome to Wikipedia}}". Not the most user-friendly message; and will be less so for user warning templates and others with obscure names or shortcuts. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 10:10, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

You mean there are other parts of Echo's talkpage notice handling that need improving? Colour me shocked. The important thing is: no backsies. Rd232 talk 10:24, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Pigsonthewing; yep, markup in edit summaries and section titles is a known (and listed) bug. Hopefully it'll be fixed soon :). Rd232; can you explain how commentary like that is at all contributing to the discussion? Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 13:04, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Right you are; griping is useless. So floating #Petition on handling of interface changes. Rd232 talk 22:03, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Missing links

I have a notification:

Frankley was linked from John Pakington (serjeant-at-law): See all links to this page

linked as shown. The most useful link for me, here, would be John Pakington (serjeant-at-law). No doubt others would want a link to Frankley. It seems bizarre to mention articles by title and not link to them. In some cases, "WhatLinksHere" lists will be so long as to be effectively useless.

Also, the phrase "this page" is unhelpfully ambiguous; and the repetition of "See all links to this page" as link text in multiple notifications, with different targets, is a a breach of accessibility guidelines. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 19:15, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Oversighted data

On my Special:Notifications, it includes article titles of articles that link to pages I created, the subject lines of discussions that mention me or that are made on my talk page, and the usernames of all people who trigger notices. This is true even if the article is deleted, the discussion is renamed, or the user is renamed. This would seem to be bad from an oversight perspective, because if a discussion subject or article title contained private information, like Jenny at 867-5309 or ==Matt Bisanz from 34th Street in New York is being mean to me== and was properly oversighted, it would still appear in any number of people's Special:Notifications page, defeating the purpose of oversight. This would also be true if the action was done by User:MBisanz is at 867-5309 and the username was suppressed or forcibly renamed. MBisanz talk 19:31, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Notifications are basically private to the users which they were sent to, there's no point trying to hide things which people have (or should have in the case of non-recent unread notifications) already seen. It's not the same situation as the public logs/history where new, uninvolved, users could come along and see now-private information. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 21:51, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
I can think of at least one very easy to execute attack, but I'll refrain from laying out the step-by-step until I hear if it will be changed to stop it from occurring. MBisanz talk 22:14, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Making the tab across the top-right more prominent

While we're here, can we make that tab going from our usernames all the way to "logout" in the topright hand corner of the screen much more prominent? That's always irked me... especially when trying to log in to Wikipedia on my iPhone. So fiddly. But in general they shouldn't all be lumped together like that. IMO username and talkpage should be much larger, especially since they appear after every signature.--Coin945 (talk) 20:29, 3 May 2013 (UTC) hi User:Coin945 Im the UX designer on this project. Absolutely agree with you, the top right nav is too small with too many elements in it. We need to find a way so that username and talk are easier targets. We are definitely working on this in the coming few iterations. Vibhabamba (talk) 04:36, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Help:Preferences documentation

FYI, I made a quick section for this in Help:Preferences#Notifications, basically linking to the 2 main documentation pages, and the latest TheSignpost summary. (Help:Preferences is linked at the top of Special:Preferences). Please tweak/edit as needed. Thanks. –Quiddity (talk) 22:23, 3 May 2013 (UTC)


Can the newsletter be named "Notifications"? Then you could have "Notifications notifications", which would fit nicely with the name "Echo". ;-) --MZMcBride (talk) 21:36, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

+1.--ragesoss (talk) 16:05, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
+2 TheOriginalSoni (talk) 04:31, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
+3 AutomaticStrikeout (TCSign AAPT) 15:45, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
+4 It's a Fox! (What did I break) 17:29, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

It doesn't go away!

So, I see I have notifications, I check my talk page... and then I still have notifications!! Can they go away please once I check my talk page (or whatever)? Red Slash 00:43, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

These notifications are not clever enough to know when you've looked at the triggering page. If you click the red number, to expand the flyout, or visit it should make the ones that you have seen the notification display as read so the number will go away and they will show less prominently.
Do you want the number to go away, or do you want them to go from the list? They could be made to go and the list only show new/unread notifications if it turns out that's popular feedback. LWelling (talk) 01:19, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Red Slash Is it bothering you that old notifications continue to sit in the flyout even once you have seen them? We did try to give them a grey treatment so they look different than a new notification. Like Luke said, Clearing them completely so the flyout is empty once you have click on 'Mark as Read' is another option we had explored some time ago. My focus on the team was to design the interface and so the behavior, so your feedback is very important to me. Thanks Vibhabamba (talk) 07:42, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
I want the notification to go away to any notice I have seen; just as the orange bar was smart enough to do so, so can this be. DGG ( talk ) 18:25, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
Hear hear. Rivertorch (talk) 16:19, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Ditto. Yes, please go away once I've seen them and don't keep having the same, read, red notifications popping up. Red Slash 00:10, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes! I came here to make just that request. At least let me manually clear notifications. —teb728 t c 09:04, 4 May 2013 (UTC)


Is it possible for the notifications to include diffs? Ryan Vesey 02:11, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Yes please. This is particularly important for large, busy pages; while many user talk pages are rather pristine, it's not unusual to have multiple active discussions on a single page. This will become increasingly important as the ability to add individual pages to one's "list" is activated. No diffs for posts on ANI is a nightmare not to be contemplated. Just for the record, I like this. Risker (talk) 03:18, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    Uh. What ability? Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 04:21, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    I think what User:Ryan Vesey and User:Risker (the users should get notifications right now, BTW ) are trying to suggest is to have a diff for whatever triggered the notification. For example, if someone leaves you a talk page message, it would have a diff of the edit to the talk page. The only notification that wouldn't really need a diff is the user rights change notification.
    By the way, why does the section link () for a talk page notification only show up at Special:Notifications and not on the drop-down? The Anonymouse (talk | contribs) 05:33, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    Using the notification you just sent me, I learned that the link is really a section link. So I clicked Wikipedia talk:Notifications but that was actually piped to Wikipedia talk:Notifications#Diffs?. Check it out for yourself (assuming piping your username doesn't stop the notification). Ryan Vesey 05:41, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    (I got the notification) Yes, but I'm wondering why the section link only shows up on the special page and not on the drop-down after clicking the number. The Anonymouse (talk | contribs) 05:44, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

+1 Those of us who have long talk pages we don't archive as frequently as we should (and I don't want to read any argument to that point right now) like the link to the diff rather than the talk page, as people don't always post to it at the very bottom. If it was possible with the OBoD, it should certainly be possible with Echo.

And let me state for the record that I am very comfortable with this; it's not too different from what's used on, say, Quora and other sites today, seems to have more flexibility and functionality, is less intrusive. I think the real verdict will be rendered by newer editors, and those yet to start editing, who will not be blinded by the way things used to be. Daniel Case (talk) 17:30, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

There need to be diff links. It's a small change but makes a huge difference. The same goes for in the email notification: the old talkpage emails had a diff link whereas this one is rather sparse and barebones - easy to read, there was too much text in the old ones, but a diff link would be great. By a similar token, I'll also add that if you get a notification about more than one editor it doesn't look like both are linked...? ~ Amory (utc) 21:37, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
+1. Diff links are absolutely needed to make it easy to understand what change has happened - whether it's a user mention on a large page with potentially large sections, or a page link, etc. Rd232 talk 22:34, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong support for diff links of talk page notices. Like everyone else has said, editors frequently post in the middle of the page to a weeks old discussion. Not always easy to find. SpinningSpark 22:54, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • This would be my #1 feature request as well: diffs in both the web notifications, and (especially) the email notifications.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 17:39, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
  • +1 Yes please, links to sections!! -- phoebe / (talk to me) 06:08, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
  • +1 Yes, please. A link to the diff of the earliest change since my last visit would be super. Best regards, Codename Lisa (talk) 10:03, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Mild Annoyance

On Win8+IE10 with the stock monobook theme in the header (where the watchlist, contribution, and other links are) it takes about a half second to load from "(#)" (where # is the number of notifications) to the icon form on every page load. This is slightly annoying when you want to make a fast click on your watchlist or whatnot. I'm guessing there's a bottleneck in the javascript or something? Ryan Norton 02:38, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Note: I thought turning on compat mode would fix it but instead after the load it shows the icon color across the whole page horizontally, messing up the entire header layout. Ryan Norton 02:53, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
    Yep; that's a known bug we're tracking now :). Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 03:58, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Is there a bugzilla number you can link here or is it just internal for now? Also, part of the problem appears that it doesn't calculate and make the proper layout size and then has an after-page-load hook to do the real work which then changes the header/toolbar layout. After-page-load layout changes are generally reserved for the main content space. (P.S. Thank you for the fast response times) Ryan Norton 17:48, 1 May 2013 (UTC)
  • On Win Vista (I know...) with FF20 and vector, it also takes about a half second to load from "(#)" (where # is the number of notifications) to the icon form on every page load. This is quite annoying when I want to make a quick click on my watchlist and what-have-you. Technical 13 (talk) 16:30, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Accessibility concern

I'm concerned about the accessibility of this tool for screen reader users like myself. While the bold number of notifications is on the top of the screen for sighted users, this is not the case for users of screen readers, which create a virtual buffer in which the HTML and CSS of a page is analysed and presented to users. Screen readers read the HTML of a page from the top to the bottom, so the position of an element on a page for screen readers depends on where it is in the HTML. Therefore, the number (0 or 1 or whatever it may be) is near the bottom of the page from the perspective of a screen reader user, and would be very difficult to find, especially for new users.

The only sensible solution I can think of is to bring back the orange bar (or a functional equivalent); perhaps it could be made to say something like "You have a new message and 3 other notifications", if, for example, a user received a new message, two of their edits were reverted, and they were mentioned once in a discussion.

I do like the mention and revert notification features; they seem like they could be very useful. Graham87 11:50, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

  • I don't know if it would work for you, but User:Writ Keeper wrote a script that adds back some of the orange bar's functionality. It's JavaScript, but maybe your reader can deal with that? In any case, yes, developers, this is yet another reason we need the orange bar back NOW. Ignatzmicetalk 12:06, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
    • Thanks! The script works fine for now. I found out about it while reading through other discussions on this looooooong page, but thanks all the same. :) Graham87 12:29, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
  • This is a really good point; I'll bring it up with the devs :). Okeyes (WMF) (talk) 13:29, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
    • Why would the number be at the bottom of the screen? The number appears immediately after your name in the HTML whether the browser has JavaScript turned on or off. Kaldari (talk) 03:19, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
      • Because the html for your username is near the bottom of the source file. Chris857 (talk) 03:37, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
        • Exactly, screenreaders start at content, and only lastly will start reading the chrome. They follow DOM order, and it is exactly the reason that our skins put navigation elements at the end of the generated HTML to begin with. This is also one of the reasons that our notices are inserted before #firstHeading. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 12:51, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
        • Perhaps using role=alert here might be a good idea ? It's a tad complicated to get it to work. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 12:55, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
          • Not my preferred solution, per my comment at Bugzilla about it. I'd prefer a static notification in this case, if at all practical. By the way I've just made good use of the "mentions" feature, which proves that it is *possible* for screen reader users to use the new interface, but not *intuitive*. I well remember my excitement and slight bemusement when I got my very first "You have new messages" notice; I hadn't read anything about user talk pages but I knew exactly what it meant. I don't think I would have had the same impression if I was greeted with a "1" in some out-of-the-way part of the page. Graham87 12:54, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

The Link part of Notification and OBOD separation anxiety

Got my first notice of a Link. I have to say that I really like this feature of the Notification - this was a really good idea you folks came up with. Replacing the OBOD, not so much. For everything mentioned above, and that it's now a two-step process to respond to notification on a talk page. Used to be - OBOD comes up, click on it to go right to the talk page. Now, it's the teensy red pipe notification - click on it, then click again for the talk page. — Maile (talk) 12:14, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

I have to say, it is a Good Thing that we've lengthened the talk page response to two clicks. People are too quick to respond anyway, and slowing them down, even by a single extra click can only help temper their response. We don't need people to reply faster, but slower. Nevertheless, if we replace the useless navigation panel on the left with a notification feed, you can get it down to one click. Really, I can't see any reason to restore OBOD and many reasons to keep the new notification system in place. It's superior to every aspect of the OBOD. Viriditas (talk) 12:51, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Now that you mention it, I've never used the left-side navigation panel for anything but a quick link to the Main page. I've never even paid attention to what else was on it. The idea of a live feed there instead of the current Notification is a great idea. I'd go along with this. — Maile (talk) 12:59, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
O.o, interesting, I always find the toolbox links very handy and I use them all the time. -dainomite   13:12, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
But the toolbox and navigation panels are quite different. Like you, I use the toolbox constantly, and like Maile I never use the navigation panel. Ignatzmicetalk 13:17, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, I also use Toolbox a lot. I think Viriditas was just talking about the part that links Main page, contents, Featured content, Current events, Random article, Donate to Wikipedia and Wikimedia Shop. About the only people who would look at that are visitors. That panel space could be different for logged-in users. Just envision it if it were a highlighted live feed that way. — Maile (talk) 13:24, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Link notification is awesome; can it be more flexible, please?

I too have found link notification to be a great new feature. But it's frustrating that it is limited to articles I created. I want to be able to specify other pages that I really care about to get link notifications for, and specify pages I created to not get notifications for.--Sage Ross (WMF) (talk) 13:27, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

I second this; I'm getting a lot of notifications for redirects that I have created as part of new-page patrol that I really don't care about. However, I'd like to receive notifications about the pages I do care about. Perhaps this could be linked in with the watchlist in some way? So if you have unwatched a page, you don't get link notifications about it. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 02:12, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
+1 I third this wonderful idea. — -dainomite   06:04, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Petition on handling of interface changes

The handling of Wikipedia:Interface changes is an issue that comes up again and again. Fundamentally, there's a lack of sufficient communication, and a failure to try hard enough to leverage the collective knowledge of active Wikipedians. This applies most obviously to things which do get implemented (like Echo), but also to things which don't (like cross-wiki watchlists). It's been pointed out that Echo was signposted in various ways (including being WP:SIGNPOSTed), yet this failed to include the key information that the Orange Bar was being replaced from day one, rather than supplemented and perhaps later phased out. And the effective rejection of requests to at least temporarily restore the status quo ante whilst an adequate replacement is developed is not good enough: for an Editor Engagement Team to produce a tool that at least temporarily substantially harms engagement of new editors whilst needlessly pissing off many highly active editors is unsatisfactory to say the least.

So I'm just floating the idea of a petition asking WMF to try to improve communication between editors and WMF design/development (which absolutely does not mean allowing the community to block everything they don't like). Anyone think it's worth doing? (Would help if it was accompanied by concrete suggestions on how.) Rd232 talk 22:02, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Hellz yes. Though that's just my frustration speaking. Obviously something should be done, but at this point I don't have a lot of confidence that it will be. Ignatzmicetalk 22:06, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes Given that the Foundation can do it (like how it's been communicating SUL finalization), I don't see why it wasn't done here. It would have been very easy to edit the orange bar for the week or two before the change to say "You have a talk page edit. By the way, starting on X, look up for the red square by your name instead of here to see talk page edits and other notices." MBisanz talk 22:12, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes - there seems to be an attitude of "we're going to do this whether you like it or not" from the Foundation recently. This just leads to an "us and them" feeling from editors. — An optimist on the run! (logged on as Pek the Penguin) 22:36, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
  • YES!!! They have no problem beating us over the head with humonguous fugly banners when they want our money but when they want to fuck up mess around with our working environment and tools they take great care to only "announce" it in a few carefully selected obscure walled gardens. How about creating a "community noticeboard" page that is permanently included in all users' watchlists. BTW I've turned off all the new notifications so that the silly little red dot comes up only for talk page notification - Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 07:32, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes - please raise it. It seems to be that the perceived "imposition" of changes to the working environment of editors is at odds with a project based around democratic ideals of consensus and civility. Whether or not the imposition is real is irrelevant at this point, as it is the perception that counts. Such a strategy is also unwise in two respects. First, extensive consultation would have pointed out any flaws in the change, which might have been remedied. Second, once a perception of imposition has been created, editors are much less likely to accept the change and anything associated with it. Debate then becomes heated and damage may be done in the commitment of a team working on the software project and of editors in general. In this case it was probably compounded by Okeyes' comment that "In the long term, this feature isn't going away", which may go down in the annals of Wikipedia as one of the great indicative soundbites (although I note the context of the statement that goes before this - which was clearly meant to be conciliatory). This could all be avoided in the first place, but also needs to be treated with greater care once a widespread reaction becomes clear. It is also true that editors need to keep civil and calm no matter the perceived harm. In short there needs to be better consideration and communication in both sets of circumstances: how changes are communicated and consulted on and what happens if the first of these fails, as it clearly has in this case.--SabreBD (talk) 09:17, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes, but the issue is larger than communication. Communication needs to be two-way; it is no good if one party refuses to listen. The unfortunate Okeyes is doing his best (and he showed with Page Curation that development in collaboration with the users and taking their views into account is possible), but in this case, though he told the devs six months ago that this was not an adequate way to signal new talk page messages, they clearly thought they knew better. When the first appalled reaction to the loss of the orange bar began to come in, there was at first some suggestion that it could be reconsidered, but early on Wednesday the door was banged shut, and Okeyes now has to tell us not to bother with an RFC (currently running 102/19) because "Eloquence (Erik) has made his position on the orange bar clear. The Echo team is not going to be turning it on again permanently, even as an opt-in, whatever happens."
There is a repeated pattern here, seen before with ACTRIAL, and the attitude comes from the top of the WMF: they know best, and the message for volunteers is that we just have to trust them because "If you don't trust WMF, you can - and probably should - contribute your effort elsewhere, because WMF may - and probably will - do things you won't like. HTH, Erik" That is an unfortunate attitude from a Foundation whose output is produced entirely by volunteers. JohnCD (talk) 14:56, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes. Echo seems to have some great potential, but the attitude here of "like it or lump it" is really hard to fathom. It is supposedly designed for editors but the devs don't seem to care whether or not it is actually helpful to us. This conversation could long ago have moved on to something much more productive but has now got completely hung up on the orange bar issue which would have been so simple to solve with an attitude of wanting to communicate. SpinningSpark 16:07, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes, there definitely needs to be improved communication. I would suggest two things: having a group of Wikipedians who test these changes before they're implemented, and it ought to be a group that doesn't consist of developers or technical people; and also trying these things out on smaller wikis first, where problems will become apparent without having to take up the time of so many people. Also, given that the changes are supposed to help new users, and that the removal of the orange bar is clearly not in the interests of new users (because they will miss welcome notices, advice, replies and warnings), it's hard to work out what the thinking was. Some public brainstorming would help a lot, where the editors who respond really are listened to. SlimVirgin (talk) 21:42, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

OK, here's a start at Wikipedia:Petition to the WMF on handling of interface changes. Please start putting in suggestions and good and bad examples, and editing the petition header. Rd232 talk 11:13, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Can I please be able to get rid of the little gray box altogether?

I can't stand notifications. I think that they are completely ridiculous and don't even want to look at them. I changed my preferences so that it won't give me notifications at all. However, the little gray box with a 0 in it remains. If we select not to get notifications at all, may we please be able to have the gray box disappear? öBrambleberry of RiverClan 02:03, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

I suspect someone like User:Writ Keeper could code something to hide it in your CSS. It also raises the question of whether the community could decide to bring back a more prominent notification system or make the gray box an opt-in using edits to Gadgets and global css/js. I doubt that would go down well though. MBisanz talk 02:08, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
This css code...
#pt-notifications { visibility: hidden; }
...removes the gray box and the number. It leaves a blank space, though. Just add it to Special:MyPage/common.css (for all skins) or Special:MyPage/vector.css (for just the vector skin). The Anonymouse (talk | contribs) 02:28, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Funny, that doesn't work for me. Ignatzmicetalk 02:49, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
I really preferred the orange box... ☯ Bonkers The Clown \(^_^)/ Nonsensical Babble ☯ 02:38, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Feel free to say so at #Yes above! You'd be number 97. Ignatzmicetalk 02:49, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Thank you The Anonymouse & Ignatzmice for your scripts. Mlpearc (powwow) 02:59, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
I have to admit: I just grabbed it from further up on this page (see #Requesting ability to turn off all notifications and #How to turn this off). The Anonymouse (talk | contribs) 03:38, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Is there anyway to make this into a clickable Gadget in Preferences? MBisanz talk 03:17, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, there's already User:Writ Keeper/Scripts/orangeBar.js and User:Writ Keeper/Scripts/cookielessOrangeBar.js. I imagine it'd be pretty simple to turn these into a JavaScript Gadget available in Special:Preferences. But there a lot of issues getting muddied/muddled on this talk page and the gadget will only solve one particular problem.
Notifications for people making bad edits (anon or not) are a big issue. It might mitigate this to implement a "seen" feature for talk page warnings. Maaaaaaaaybe. --MZMcBride (talk) 04:40, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
(Note that cookielessOrangeBar.js is obsolete; the cookieless functionality has been merged into the main orangeBar.js. Writ Keeper  07:51, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Yeah, same here too. I've installed Writ Keeper's OBOD script. Leaving the space blank is better than having some Notification box. Arctic Kangaroo 08:23, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

User talk message alert isn't obvious enough for newbies

I like the new functions but the tab should be flashing ( or the notifications floating (flyout) box should pop up automatically) when there's an unread message on your talk page. Yesterday I encountered an excellent new biomedical editor; I left a personalised welcome on his talk page. Today I realise he's never going to see it. There is no point in leaving talk page notices for newbies at the moment. This to some degree undermines new editor retention. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 03:56, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Oh, really? That's a very useful observation. Hey User:Howief, User:Eloquence, User:Okeyes (WMF), User:Fabrice Florin (WMF), this guy here has just pointed out a major bug in your new system. Maybe there should be a bigger notification for newbies! A big bright-colored bar running across the top of any page they visit, maybe. It would tell them in no uncertain terms that there had been a change to their talk page (hey, they might not even know they had a talk page), and it would stay there until they visited their talk page to see the message. What do people think of that idea? Ignatzmicetalk 04:04, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Be nice. Mlpearc (powwow) 04:13, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
User talk:Ignatzmice You raise a very valid point with the current talk notification being less prominent than desired, so it absolutely must be fixed. That said, the Orange Bar also has behavioral issues with it. For one it is disconnected from the talk hook, it also makes you go to the talk page instead of providing notification content right there. We think that we could provide the same level of prominence and efficiency with some slightly altered versions of the Orange bar. We are currently exploring a few options to fix this issue and are hoping to share early next week using IRC. One humble request - we are with you, not against you. Vibhabamba (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 04:43, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
I think Anthonyhcole just came up with a really good idea that may have been overlooked: Just make the notifications message box flyout automatically (without the new user having to notice and then click on it) when there is an unread talk page message. One could even argue that is more noticeable than the orange bar. ~Adjwilley (talk) 05:43, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
I suggested (as Fluffernutter mentioned) the idea of the Notifications box popping out automatically for IPs and users that are not yet autoconfirmed within a few minutes of rollout, further, I would suggest the background colour for the top cell in the Notifications box (i.e that which contains the text Notifications ? be coloured to match the old OBOD). I would say however that I (personally) don't want an auto opening Notifications box and I know a lot of people don't want that so when autoconfirmed comes along, it should be a configurable option. When editing and creating content rather than performing administrative tasks, it's nice to see you have a message on your talk page, without having to leave the page you're on at the moment and trundle off to visit your talk page, just to see you added a link to a DAB page or someone is wanting you to undertake some administrative action.
I would also caution those who are being a little unpleasant towards the developers of this, starting petitions and being quite unhelpful at times with sarcastic remarks (they're not big nor clever, as well you know) - you know (or should know) full well that people complain when they're unhappy but say little or nothing when they're happy. There are at the very least the same number of people out there who are quite satisfied with Echo and given the numbers editing v. the numbers complaining here, probably a lot more. They'll have no idea of this discussion and aren't driven to say "Ooh it's wonderful, leave it alone". Human nature and all that.
Yes, it's not perfect but without rolling it out and getting feedback, it never would be perfect from day one because a handful of developers cannot hope to guess what hundreds of thousands of people are going to say and do with the new feature - different people want it to do different things, not just notify people of a new talk page message so it's only natural something that provides vastly increased functionality will not provide the exact combination of functionality everybody wants from day one.
Go forth but play nicely, everybody. Nick (talk) 07:58, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
  1. The people not likely to complain are the big issue, actually - here, new editors and IPs (before the absurd oversight for the latter was fixed). Highly active editors can and will adapt, as evidenced by the creation of scripts and CSS to get rid of the new system because they don't like it. (This of course does nothing for the long-term health of the system, if large numbers of people hate it because of one key broken aspect and opt out of what should be a great new thing.)
  2. WMF can't make everyone happy, nor predict everyone's needs. But they can try harder to collaborate with users in design and to be responsive to feedback, whilst retaining final say over what gets done. See also Wikipedia:Interface changes. Rd232 talk 08:25, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Follow-up: I just (logged in) left a message on my IP address's talk page. When I logged out and changed the page, I (as an IP) got an orange bar message. So IPs still get the orange bar, which is good. It seems to me that all that's needed here is for new accounts to have the "flyout" presented automatically whenever they have a new talk page message, with the option to dismiss it and a pointer to the notifications tab. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 23:11, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

A few thoughts

Not complaining about anything, just some thoughts triggered by all the dialogue on this page.

  • What Rd232 says about the people not likely to complain being the big issue - it's something I've wondered about with all issues, every time I read something over at the Village Pump. On every talk page that involves policy, procedure, complaints, it's frequently the same small core of users, with some variations, likely to express anything. And how many editors does Wikipedia have? Millions? How many of them actually even read talk pages and are informed about changes? How many of them are going along clueless that the OBOD is gone and have never even noticed the new notification?
  • I access from a computer, not a hand held device, so I can only guess at this. That little red notification thingy - how noticeable is it to the people who are accessing from a device? How many see a grayed-out pipe and think they need to clean their device screen?
  • The fly-out idea. If I were a new user, and something flew out from my browser that I could click, my first thought would be that I just got a virus. That's been one of the things that drives conversation over at the Village Pump every time something new gets activated like that. The most recent being dialogue being about those warnings you get that you are about to close multiple tabs.
  • We all deal with the frustration of editors who ignore their own talk page postings. One of the most recent one I've seen is an editor who has been around for years and almost always never reacts to talk page postings. And using DYK as an example, editors doing a review leave talk page messages to nominators because the nomination needs action of some sort. Sometimes the nominators respond, and there's a wide variance on how long it takes to get a response. Sometimes they don't respond. I can think of a couple right now where the nominators/article creators are professional-level in RL, but have not responded to concerns. Did they happen to not know about the new notification system? Or is it just one of those things?

As I say, not complaining. But hoping everything comes together eventually. — Maile (talk) 13:48, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

50% statistic

So, according to research, only 50% of people clicked the orange bar. This statistic seems to form a substantial portion of the justification for removing the orange bar in favor of Echo. I have a few questions:

  1. Is Echo being tracked to see if it generates higher or lower notification rate?
  2. What is the threshold or criteria for determining if the implementation of Echo is a success or a failure?
  3. What will happen if Echo's final, long-term notification rate is lower than 50%?
  4. If the goal is getting more people to click, why wasn't Echo implemented in addition to an orange bar (or a bar of a different color/format)?
  5. I see the default for Echo was set with notifications for Talk page post, Mention, Page review, Edit revert turned on for the website and Page link turned off, with email notice turned off for all of them. If one of the goals is increasing user awareness of notifications, why weren't email notices for Talk page posts turned on by default? Can we request that they be turned on by default for registered users?

Thanks. MBisanz talk 15:44, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

  • This was discussed further up the page, but no figures for RSOL seem to be forthcoming. Plus, it seems that a lot of editors go straight to talk page rather than click through OBOD which is going to skew the figures a lot. Plus, IPs only get OBOD once, it disappears after the next page load. All-in-all, 50% sounds pretty good to me. SpinningSpark 16:12, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
  • A 50% awareness rate sounds amazing to me, but it's not my place to second guess the decision that 50% is too low. It is reasonable though to make sure that whatever is done to increase the rate, actually increases it and that the rate increase isn't a pertext just to make changes that are known to be controversial. MBisanz talk 16:27, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
@Spinningspark: It's not correct that IPs get OBOD only once. Also, going straight to the talk page would have counted as a visit to the talkpage in the analysis that was performed, since it was done by polling the user_newtalk table (see m:Research:Warning Templates in Huggle). I've asked the folks who did the research to clarify the time window ("within 24 hours" or whatever), if possible, since that's the most critical additional variable to determine whether the orange bar is effective or not.--Eloquence* 00:26, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Echo seems to be doing much worse [2]. Hut 8.5 16:38, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
  • For those that can't be asked to follow the link, I read that as 0%. Not only 0% for clickthroughs, but 0% for getting the message at all. SpinningSpark 17:18, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment: Hey. As one of the authors of the study that showed the 50% rate, I just wanted to chime in, and give a +1 to MBisanz's questions. Fabrice and the Echo team should probably answer in full, but I can tell you this based on my access to the relevant logs: at this point we are gathering pretty comprehensive data on delivery of different messages by type, Web vs. email, and so on. We're not yet tracking clickthroughs and views, though there are plans to do so in the near-term I believe. You can actually see the full list of data currently collected via the public event-logging schema. (A schema is part of what tells MediaWiki what kind of data to collect, when and where we need to.) As for how to answer these questions: I'm strongly in favor of not just gathering descriptive statistics, but running a controlled test for newly-registered editors, where we would give a randomized sample Echo and another the OBOD, and compare various metrics for each group. Personal opinions and observations like the quote from Pigsonthewing are not a sound way to make a conclusion about the behavior of most new editors, not when we get 3-4,000 new signups every day. The best way for us to know about whether Echo is successful or not as a system overall, especially for new users, is to look at real data from the most representative sample possible. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 23:08, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I totally agree with you that proper data is needed. But just wind back a minute, we are only looking at Pigsonthewing's anectodal evidence at all because of the claim that echo is better than OBOD as it only has a 50% clickthrough rate. That claim that A is better than B because B has only 50% success is a fallacious argument and a complete misuse of statistics far worse than using anectodal data. If the Foundation had provided some sound data we would use that instead, no problem. But it is a bit rich to criticise the use of poor data when nothing else is available and it is only being used to counter an argument that had no data (at least not on both sides). SpinningSpark 06:54, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Yeah we don't actually know anything about the clickthrough rates of Echo, so no one can claim it's better or worse regarding new editor interaction with OBOD. There's nothing to compare the previous 50% rate to reliably. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 17:19, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

Warning returning editors

As this page shows, the change took even regular editors by surprise. There is a large population of occasional editors who over the next weeks and months will return to Wikipedia unaware of this significant change to the user interface. I suggest that there should be a dismissable announcement displayed to tell returning users that they will no longer get the orange bar warning of talk page changes, and direct them to WP:Notifications/FAQ to learn about the new system. JohnCD (talk) 16:16, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

This was why I suggested in the thread above this one that they turn on the email notification feature by default. MBisanz talk 16:28, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
That would help, but not everyone has email enabled, and there are probably some who, like me, have a separate email account for Wikipedia-related messages, which I do not check as often as I edit. Even if they get an email to tell them to have a new message, they will not know that the orange bar has gone. JohnCD (talk) 17:13, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
See below. We may have a limited opportunity to tell people about it through the temporary gadget default. MBisanz talk 19:00, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

There is a related editor retention problem. Recently I took a long, open-ended wiki break, but stayed logged in all the time. One reason I didn't give up this site completely is that occasionally I got an orange bar. If it had just been a number >0 that could also have meant "someone has linked to a page you created", then I would simply have ignored it. But the orange bar made me read my talk page. It's about as effective as a ringing telephone. Incidentally, that's also why it can be so annoying. I don't think we can have effective without annoying. Complaints about the orange bar are just proof that it does something right. Hans Adler 19:07, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

returning to notifications page on login

I don't know if this is already tracked... yesterday I got an email that I had a new notification. Clicked the link in the email to go to Special:notifications. I wasn't logged in to Wikipedia, so I got the prompt to log in. However, after logging in, the log in screen gave me the option to return to the Main Page, not special:Notifications. I don't know if that behavior is true for all special pages or just this one, but it's a problem -- it's confusing [for those not intimately familiar with both notifications & mediawiki] to know how to get back to Notifications. Have others seen this? -- phoebe / (talk to me) 18:36, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Discussion on new message indicator

Hi folks, thanks for all your good suggestions for improving the new notifications tool! We really appreciate your thoughtful feedback, and look forward to collaborating with you in coming days, to find practical solutions to the issues you raised.

We are now working on several options for new message indicators, to address these concerns quickly. Our goals are to provide a message indicator that's more prominent and clearly differentiated, as well as more persistent and consistent with best UI practices. The purpose of this proposed feature is to better inform people who might have missed the red badge that now lights up when you have new messages. For the past few days, we've been preparing a few possible design solutions, which we would like to review with you early next week, so we can develop a better solution based on your recommendations.

To that end, we'll be holding an IRC office hours chat to discuss these new designs and the new notification tool next Wednesday, May 8th at 20:00 UTC (1pm PT). We hope some of you can join us then, for a constructive conversation about our next steps.

For those of you who cannot join us via IRC, we will prepare a special discussion page to focus on short-term solutions to the message indicator issue. This wiki page will show different design mockups and invite you to comment on each option, so we can collaboratively identify the most practical solution. That page will be published on Tuesday and we'll post a link to it here, as well as send a newsletter (you can sign up here for this newsletter, if you haven't already).

Based on your feedback, we plan to develop a new message indicator for release the following week. Our goal is to collect data on how that new solution compares to the current version of the tool, in order to determine its effectiveness. This will help us all make more informed decisions that are based on actual data rather than subjective impressions. We hope this plan works for you.

Again, many thanks to all of you who have contributed so thoughtfully to help solve this problem. We are confident that by working together productively, we can all find a practical solution very soon. Thanks for your patience and understanding :) Fabrice Florin (WMF) (talk) 19:52, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for that, it sounds like a good way forward, using the sort of collaborative model I and others have been asking for; - with one glaring exception, namely not temporarily reverting to the old system while the new system is brought up to scratch. That's bad for at least 3 reasons: (i) harm done in the interim, particularly in communication with new editors; (ii) risking entrenchment of disapproval of Echo, including use of scripts and CSS to get rid of it (iii) encouraging a rushing of design and development which makes it less likely that what is done will be as good as it should be. Echo should be unambiguously welcomed; that it hasn't been is entirely down to the imposition of a tool that isn't ready for primetime, and refusing to temporarily revert to the prior system for the problem aspect. Echo should have been a triumph of long-awaited tech improvement (and hopefully it still will be in the long run); this poisonous chaos around its introduction is entirely unnecessary. Rd232 talk 21:27, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Exactly. I haven't been saying this a lot, as I've been too upset over the "la-la-la we can't hear you" aspect of the orange bar, but I, too, like the new features of Echo. I don't like the REMOVAL of the old features. That's my only complaint. Ignatzmicetalk 21:51, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Hear, hear. Couldn't have said it better myself. SpinningSpark 21:54, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
Hi Rd232,
I understand that this has been a frustrating experience, and I'm sorry for that. We decided to launch without replacing OBOD because any interface change like this takes some time to "settle"; there's an established behavior (look for the orange bar) among experienced users to check for new messages, and there's no question that changing the user interface indicator is going to take some adjustment. While not very prominent, Echo notifications are designed to stand out through their red color, and resemble notification interfaces on other major sites which hundreds of millions of users are familiar with. In addition, new users who have confirmed email addresses will also get email reminders when they receive new talk page messages.
A small historical side note: MediaWiki's "new messages" indicator was originally a simple "*" next to the talk link. I replaced it with "You have new messages" more than 10 years ago because that was clearly insufficient, and this later became the OBOD. I'm mentioning this to make clear that prominence of messages is absolutely a concern that I fully relate to and understand.
At this point, the idea that new users aren't seeing messages due to Echo is mostly based on assumptions around how users interact with the new system, not on actual data. (Also note that IP users are still getting the original OBOD.) It's very possible that Echo has reduced the message awareness among new users. If so, it's possible that this is due to the reduced prominence of the red number; it's also possible that it's due to the additional process of opening a flyout in which to look for the message notification. It's also possible that it's not reduced message awareness significantly, or even that it has increased it. New users now immediately get a "Welcome" notification, which may help establish a habit of checking the red number.
The point is that at this point we don't know the answer, and just because the OBOD is the familiar interface (and experienced users are likely to take some time to get used to the new UI), I would be wary of jumping to conclusions based on anecdotes or personal impressions.
We should also keep in mind that the assumption that there should be a single interface element (the OBOD) to alert new users about new messages is designed around the idea that there is a single kind of thing (new messages on the user talk page) that merits this level of attention-grabbing. As we make more parts of our software notification-aware, it's very likely that other types of events will deserve similar prominence. Even now we have the "mentions" feature that is used to alert users that you've responded on your own talk page (as an alternative to the talkback template); is a conversation less important just because it was started somewhere else?
A better launch plan would have taken many of these issues into account from the start, including clear communications about the removal of the OBOD and the plans to address it. While the team did discuss the removal of OBOD as being a risk factor with the new system (and something to be improved upon), it did not rise to the level of a proper plan being in place from the start to measure the impact of that change (e.g. launching an A/B test first) and to communicate clearly about it. Nonetheless, we've communicated from day one that we're looking into ways to increase the significance of talk page notifications.
To make sure that iterating carefully on the current state of the feature isn't overshadowed by continuing concerns over presence of absence of OBOD, my recommendation to the team is to either quickly implement an OBOD-alternative (there are already several mock-ups which are close to dev-ready), or to temporarily restore OBOD until a full testing plan for alternatives is in place. Fabrice will make the final call on this, and will organize conversations with the community in coming days.--Eloquence* 22:12, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
The idea that new users are not seeing notifications is not an assumption, but based on actual experience: Andy Mabbett reports (#76 in the "Yes" section of the RFC above) that he sent a test message to a class of newbies he was training, and "not one of them noticed, during the following four hours; in previous classes, people have noticed the orange bar immediately." The same with another class the next day. JohnCD (talk) 22:48, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
@JohnCD: I saw that before composing my response (which is why I said "mostly"), and I value Andy's observations (as well as his work training editors!). Still, we need to be careful not to generalize from observations like this, and it's possible that other factors influenced user behavior. I have personally conducted user-tests on wikis where new users get a welcome message by default, where users completely overlooked and ignored the orange bar through the entire session. It's a very different UI from what most other sites employ nowadays; visual prominence alone does not guarantee that users understand and interact with it in the intended fashion.
That said, I hope the recommendation above addresses your concerns as well as Andy's.--Eloquence* 23:02, 4 May 2013 (UTC)
You're wrong. There is no way a new user is going to bother clicking a little tab with a meaningless "1" in it. What do you think new users do? Explore the web page? Click on all the tabs to see what they are? Maybe you and your developer mates do that when you arrive at a new site. Normal people don't. New users won't get talk page messages. Sorry about the shouting. There seems to be a bit of not-hearing going on here.
As for the office hours chat. Why? It automatically excludes people at work and people in wrong time zones. Nothing can be said there that can't be said here. This is a wiki. This is how you talk to wiki editors.
I suggest you just make the flyout pop up automatically for new accounts when they have a new talk page message. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 00:17, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
Eloquence, are your team running a separate analysis on the use of Echo by IP users and non-autoconfirmed users? The main concern here is that new users would be unaware of the messages and warnings they get; I'm sure the existing editors would adapt to the new interface soon enough. I don't think something general like your 50% clikthrough statistic for the OBOD is going to be sufficient to address that concern, as the problem is more to do with how this affects new users rather than the older users who have been made aware about the new system and will be on the look out for it. Chamal TC 04:07, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
@Chamal N: Yes, I agree that the impact on message visibility to new users needs to be carefully assessed, and we should avoid making decisions based purely on intuition in this regard. (I'll point out again that IP users are still getting the OBOD, and users with confirmed email addresses will get emails informing them of talk page messages as well.) My recommendation for next steps is a) short term: to mitigate risk, quickly restore a more prominent notification for talk page messages, whether it's the OBOD, a refined visual treatment thereof, or an approach that integrates more nicely with the Echo badge but still calls out new messages with significant visibility, b) mid term: prepare a test of at least two options and study comparative impact on message awareness by new users, with the goal to not significantly degrade (and ideally increase) new user awareness of new messages.--Eloquence* 04:31, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
@Eloquence, what percentage of new accounts give us their email address? --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 05:20, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
@Anthonyhcole I grabbed the most recent 20 account creations (not created automatically or by another user) and found that 2 out of 20 had e-mail addresses. So that would be 10% of users. The Anonymouse (talk | contribs) 06:02, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
@Anthonyhcole and The Anonymouse: We looked at the stats for this a little bit ago. About 30% of all new accounts had a confirmed email address in Jan-March 2013 (80% of all accounts set an email address during signup, but that's not the same as confirmed addresses of course). This rate may change seasonally, as it's not something we've tracked a lot before, but we could probably learn a bit more about it since launch of notifications specifically, because there is one notification triggered by signup (welcome) and another triggered on email confirmation (getting started). Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 06:12, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for your response, which at least clearly acknowledges the launch issues (without really adequately explaining why the decision was made to replace OBOD on day one, but maybe it's moot now). Acknowledging the complexity of the design issue, however, which points to various kinds of testing and analysis needed over a period of time, further suggests a temporary reversion (removal of talkpage notifications from Echo), whilst this is done. Rushing it will just encourage people to demand something that's really similar to the old Orange Bar, and be less willing to explore other options. Considering how long we've been waiting for "sane" notifications, I don't see the advantages in trying to force this to stay live before it's really ready. Rd232 talk 10:08, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
Also, thinking about some of the new possibilities of Echo, there should be some attempt to link the signup process with the new possibilities of different kinds of email notification, with a lot more emphasis on the idea that providing an email address will be really useful, and you'll have full control over what email notification you get. That probably needs to go beyond a mere mention on the signup page to be effective. Rd232 talk 10:08, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
Of course, there's still the problem of those (about 70%) that don't give an email address, and of the 30% who do, those who (like me at first here) give an email address that they don't check often, and which they use for places they either don't trust or don't really want mail from. I'm not the only one - I know several people who have email addresses for junk stuff. Peridon (talk) 11:06, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Fabrice: You do realize that restoration of the orange bar already qualifies for Wikipedia:Times that 100 Wikipedians supported something, right? --Metropolitan90 (talk) 16:46, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Fabrice, will the old Orange Bar behavior be turned back on as a temporary measure prior to the IRC discussion? -Pete (talk) 18:49, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
    • Had I done something that met with such a negative reaction as the removal of the OBOD, I would have reverted immediately, and tried to re-introducte the improvements later after discussion. I would not have let a discussion continue over just what to do, but accepted the verdict, at least temporarily. I would not try to accommodate things first, while putting off an immediate fix for what the community had so clearly declared to be my error. But that's because I act as an editor and an admin, and know that what I do can be reverted by any other such person if they are really dissatisfied. I might feel differently if I were in a position of true control, the way the interface programmers are, who free to ignore even the most dissatisfied feedback if they wish to. DGG ( talk ) 19:05, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Update 1: Hi Anthonyhcole, DGG, Ignatz, Peridon, Pete, Rd232, Theopolisme and others: Thanks for you constructive comments and guidance. Here's a quick update, to answer your last questions: our plan is to deploy a temporary solution this week to address the concerns on this page. My hope is that we can do this in our next deployment window on Tuesday, prior to the IRC chat on Wednesday. We will either re-deploy the old OBOD to complement the current tool -- or one of the message indicator options we've been working on, based on community and team feedback. To that end, I am now preparing a special discussion page with mockups for each option this afternoon, so we can get community feedback on these options right away. I expect to publish it in a few hours, so we can have first results Monday morning and make a decision then as to which option to develop and deploy this week. We are aware that the most expedient option would be to re-enable the OBOD, and we are seriously considering that option -- though we hope that one of our new options can provide the same benefits more effectively, and can be developed on Monday. Either way, we aim to provide a solution as early as Tuesday. I will post again here in a few hours with another update. Thanks for your patience. Fabrice Florin (WMF) (talk) 21:10, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
    • As early as a week since the major screwup! We're so impressed. But seriously, I do look forward to seeing the options. Thanks. Ignatzmicetalk 21:13, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
    • Thanks for the update, Fabrice. I would like to stress my support for restoring the orange bar as it was, as a temporary measure. Even if the new approach reflects an unqualified improvement over the orange bar-based system, if implementing it (or deciding on whether to implement it) adds 12 hours to the current state of affairs, in my view that is 12 hours too long. I look forward to evaluating the many merits of the new software, in a context where the activities of tens of thousands of people with varying experience levels are not disrupted by an incomplete solution. -Pete (talk) 21:49, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
Like Pete, I look forward to seeing improvements. But since there are several people capable of doing so on line, the time to return the orange bar on a temporary basis is not even 12 hours from now, but this evening. (You want to think you've made progress, change the shade a little) Like Pete, I emphasise that every hour without doing it is an hour when additional contributors will not realize people are trying to help them. . The consensus of the community is unmistakable, the technical possibility of restoring it is obvious. If I told an editor whose work I had screwed up, that there was an easy temporary fix, and I'd do it sometime next week, I'd expect some discussion at an/i. I recall once in doing tech support in a previous position, that when i told a library user late one evening that a fix involving access to a single journal would have to wait until the next morning, my boss was quite angry about it both immediately and the day following. It was at that point i learned the benefit of having emergency fall-backs immediately available, and immediately using them. DGG ( talk ) 22:12, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the update. I appreciate the sense of urgency now being communicated, but reiterate a point I made before: developing an Echo-based talkpage notification solution that is "good enough" may happen soon (even this week), but rushing it won't do it any favours - and do we really want to keep tinkering with it as testing comes up with something substantially better? Rd232 talk 22:33, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
There is now a test gadget in place, which should be pretty effective when turned on as default. It not the Orange Bar Of Doom™, but the Red Popup Of Doom™. The code is very simple and it only shows for registered users, but shows on all notifications, which helps new editors become more familiar with Echo. So the functionality is very much the same. Edokter (talk) — 23:31, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
I would prefer the orange bar, but I'd be willing to go with the RPoD. Can you get a link in there (similar to what's at User:Ignatzmice/sandbox) to a doc page with instructions for turning it off? Ignatzmicetalk 00:07, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Update 2: Hi DGG, Edokter, Ignatz, Pete, Rd232, and others: As discussed, we have prepared a special discussion page with four different options for this proposed message indicator. Each option includes a design mockup, key features, as well as pros and cons. We think one of these options can be developed quickly tomorrow, with the potential to provide the same benefits as the OBOD, without some of its drawbacks.
Please share your feedback on that discussion page, so we can collaboratively identify the most practical solution together.
We plan to develop and release one of these message indicator options early this week, based on your comments and our development team's recommendations. Our goal is to release this feature in our next deployment window on Tuesday at around 20:00 UTC -- which is our earliest opportunity, in order to get the code carefully developed, reviewed, tested and deployed. We will either re-deploy the old OBOD to complement the current tool -- or one of the message indicator options we've been working on, based on your feedback. The amount of time required to implement the OBOD or any of the other options is comparable, as they all rely on the same back-end code changes, which are significant. The good news is that we have already written much of this back-end code over the weekend, and the front-end code should take lot less work, so we expect to get it all done on Monday.
In the meantime, we strongly advise against turning on any gadgets by default, as this will only complicate things, and will delay a timely solution to this issue. While we appreciate concerns that some users may not be getting their messages, we have yet to see conclusive evidence that this is indeed the case. Most other top sites nowadays use a red badge to notify their users of new messages -- and this 'best practice' is widely considered to be a very effective way to get a user's attention.
We will post another update on Monday at around 20:00 UTC to inform you of our progress. Thanks again for your understanding. Fabrice Florin (WMF) (talk) 05:47, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for posting, Fabrice. I've taken the liberty of editing the introduction, which didn't mention the suddenness of the change as a factor independent of the relative merits of the notification systems. I am certain this discussion will get a whole lot easier for everyone involved, not least the WMF staff working on it, once that basic point is acknowledged and appropriate temporary action is taken. -Pete (talk) 14:10, 6 May 2013 (UTC)