How can our users learn about events that affect them, so they can contribute more productively to MediaWiki sites like Wikipedia?
In this post, we’d like to introduce a new notifications system called Echo, now under development by the Wikimedia Foundation’s editor engagement team to address this question.
Echo aims to inform users of important events that relate to them, and help them take action more easily. To that end, we aim to provide a modern notifications system with a more unified user experience than what exists today on MediaWiki sites.
Here’s a quick overview of our plans for this editor engagement project.
Echo was designed to be simple and easy to use: if you have new notifications, a red badge appears next to your name, at the top right of any page. Click on that badge to see a fly-out listing your most recent notifications.
Notifications are associated with different types of events, such as “You have a message”, “Your edit was reverted” or “A page you started was reviewed”.
To see all your notifications from previous days, you can visit a personal archive page. You can also change your user preferences to control which types of events you’d like to be notified about, and/or request email notifications.
To learn more about Echo features, check out our project slides and feature requirements.
An early beta version is now being tested on MediaWiki.org, and you can try it out here.
We plan to release a first beta version on the English Wikipedia by the end of March. For this first release, we are focusing on a limited number of notifications — most of them will benefit new users who are not yet familiar with how Wikipedia works. In addition, the release will include some internationalization support, along with the hooks necessary for adding notifications through extensions.
In future releases, we aim to provide more notifications and advanced features for experienced users, as well as develop an external API for notifications. Over time, this product is expected to replace and augment existing notification systems on MediaWiki sites, as well as provide significantly more control to both users and developers as to how their notifications are handled, read, and deleted.
If you are a developer and would like to contribute to the purpose-driven social experiment that is Wikipedia, we invite you to help us write Echo and other editor engagement features by participating in the project as a volunteer, or perhaps even joining our team: we are looking to hire a Software Engineer to work specifically on Editor Engagement features like Echo.
If you are up to the challenge, we encourage you to apply. Be a part of a great team that’s building new tools for the editors who create the sum of all human knowledge.
In collaboration with our community, we look forward to releasing this new notification system in coming months, to help engage millions of MediaWiki users over time.
Fabrice Florin, Product Manager
Ryan Kaldari, Lead Engineer
Terry Chay, Director of Features Engineering
Wikimedia Foundation’s Editor Engagement Team