Editor retention: Editing tools
In April, the team continued their work on the major new features that will be added in the coming months. Our objective is for VisualEditor to be the default editor for all Wikipedia users, capable of letting them edit the majority of content without needing to use the wikitext editor, in July 2013. This means we have been focussed on four substantial areas of work: adding support for references, templates, categories and media items. During this time the main area of our work was editing around images, which is now designed and partially implemented in our experimental code, and around categories, which is almost complete and nearly ready for deployment. The deployed alpha version of VisualEditor was updated thrice (1.22-wmf1
), adding speed improvements, user interface improvements and work on the back-end to better support the new features, and fixing a number of bugs. We also were able to deploy the VisualEditor to fourteen more Wikipedias as an opt-in alpha
(and, later, Vietnamese Wikipedia too), which has let the community give us feedback on what works and is broken, and identifying language- and locale-specific issues we are now fixing.
In April, the Parsoid team successfully deployed the cumulative work done over the last four months. This includes support for non-English wiki configurations, a rewritten serialization subsystem based on server-side DOM diffs, category link and basic template parameter editing support and a long list of fixes and improvements.
Several other features for the July release are on track. The specification for extensions containing templates
and templates containing extensions
were fleshed out and are currently being implemented. Similarly, our specs for images and thumbnails
were vastly improved so that we will soon support full editing for all parameters.
We also improved our code quality and testing infrastructure.
In preparation for the July release, we did more benchmarking and capacity planning. A caching strategy that avoids overwhelming the API with requests
was developed, hardware to run Parsoid was ordered and work on the implementation started.
Editor engagement features
In April, we deployed Notifications on the English Wikipedia and mediawiki.org. This first release aims to inform users about new activity that affects them on Wikipedia, such as talk page messages, page reviews, mentions, edit reverts or thanks. Ryan Kaldari developed a new feature that lets users mark all notifications as read, and updated the fly-out and archive page, based on designs from Vibha Bamba. Benny Situ completed the bundling feature and developed some of the first metrics dashboards, in collaboration with Dario Taraborelli. Luke Welling continued to develop HTML email notifications and a notifications mailbox. Fabrice Florin managed the product development and release of this notification system, and coordinated its socialization on the English Wikipedia with Oliver Keyes. We’re also grateful to Steven Walling and Matt Flaschen from our E3 team for developing the Welcome
and Getting started
notifications. To learn more, visit the project portal
, read the help page
and join the discussion on the talk page
This month, we deployed the final release version of Article Feedback v5 on the English
Wikipedias. Developer Matthias Mullie updated the back-end software in order to re-enable the tool on the English Wikipedia, and fixed a number of bugs reported on the German Wikipedia. Fabrice Florin worked with Pau Giner, Oliver Keyes and community members to simplify the feedback page, as well as finalize feedback links, auto-archive and opt-in features. Learn more in this project update
. To enable feedback on articles you watch on the English Wikipedia, simply add the ‘Article Feedback 5
‘ category to these pages. For more tips on how to use this version, visit the testing page
, and let us know what you think on the Article Feedback Talk page
. We are now wrapping up development for this project, and will collect community suggestions for the next few months to prepare for upcoming votes on the French and German Wikipedias later this year.
Design work continues and several discussions were had about what constitutes a minimum viable product for the first iteration of Flow. Brandon Harris is now building an interactive prototype
to help describe multiple functions.
Editor engagement experiments
Editor engagement experiments
In April, the Editor Engagement Experiments (E3) team focused first and foremost on its account creation and login redesigns
in MediaWiki core. The first phase of the launch
invited editors and readers on all Wikimedia projects to test the new forms on an opt-in basis, to identify bugs and localization issues across our many wikis. We expect to release these as the default forms in May, pending any final blockers.
For the team’s Onboarding new Wikipedians
project, we completed quantitative analysis
of the latest version of the GettingStarted landing page, and began prototyping a new landing page and navigation system for usability testing prior to further development and launch, which is expected in early May as well.
On the analytics and infrastructure front, the team handed off the product roadmap for the User Metrics
API to the Analytics team and colleagues in the Grantmaking and Programs department. Ori Livneh, in support of the data analysis needs on the team, began work supporting a Foundation instance of IPython Notebook
Last but not least, the E3 team held its second Quarterly Review session
, and began work planning its next high-level goals for the April–June quarter
2012 Wikimedia fundraiser
The fundraising team deployed a public reporting site
, made of aggregate live and historical fundraising data, which were notably used by the webcomic xkcd
to dynamically change the outcome in the last panel of their 2013 April 1st comic, ‘Externalities
‘. We also upgraded the payments- and fundraising- wikis to MediaWiki 1.22, upgraded CiviCRM to 4.2.8 and Drupal to 7, and migrated the banner impression log pipeline to the Eqiad data center.
The Wikimedia Commons Android app is available in the Google Play store, and we also added categorization support. Its iOS counterpart is available in iTunes.
We deployed Mobile Web’s MobileFrontEnd-ZeroRatedMobileAccess decoupling code to production. We also started the next point release to support more object-friendly JSON-backed carrier preferences, updated carrier preferences, fixed UI button rendering bug, and documented configuration parameters. Last, we added content to wiki pages, and prepared for the migration of non-embargoed content to public wikis.
Mobile Web Photo Upload
In April, we experimented with a login/signup call to action for logged-out users from our in-article upload feature. This resulted in a huge spike in new user contributions; however, the quality of the uploads was lower than anticipated, and the quantity of inappropriate uploads was a burden on the Commons community. In light of this, we disabled the login/signup call to action, allowing only existing Wikimedians to see and use the upload feature. We are still on target to reaching our fiscal year target of 1,000 unique uploaders a month and, when gated to existing users, the quality of the uploads has vastly improved: 3/4th of the files are retained on Commons, as compared to less than 1/4 when brand-new users were uploading. To create a more focused uploading workflow and let mobile uploaders discover more articles to illustrate, we also created a Nearby view on the beta site, showing users a list of articles near them and highlighting the ones that need images. We expect to release this to the full mobile web site next month.
During April, the team primarily focused on implementing SUL v2, which will fix issues that users are having with new security features in recent browser releases. SUL v2 is ready for testing and deployment is targeted for early May. In addition, the team worked toward a final design specification for OAuth and will begin working on that pending the successful deployment of SUL v2.
Code has been instrumented (and will soon be deployed) to log more data to allow root cause analysis of the spurious “Zero results” issue. Some log analysis was also done. The Puppet configuration on beta was updated to limit lucene-search-2 memory usage on Labs.
The 1.21 deployment cycle to Wikimedia wikis is complete, and the MediaWiki 1.21 tarball is being prepared for release, with a target release date of May 15. Mark Hershberger recently released MediaWiki 1.21rc4.
The MediaWiki 1.22 deployment cycle began in April with 1.22wmf1
(deployed April 1-10) and 1.22wmf2
(deployed April 15-24), with 1.22wmf3
starting on April 29.
We deployed a first iteration of a Bugzilla integration plugin, which provides notifications to Bugzilla when changes are made in Gerrit. We’ve increased the memory allocated to Gerrit, as well as deployed a couple of other stability fixes; both of these changes should provide some minor performance and stability improvements to users. Finally, we’ve deployed a new version of Gerrit that includes superior garbage collection support. This drastically improved the compression of repositories on-disk, which has resulted in a wide range of improvements for all users for all operations, from cloning to pushing to commenting on changes.
Differently-sized video thumbnails now only require one reference thumbnail (for the time position) to be generated. This helps to avoid expensive decoding to derive thumbnails. The Score extension
was deployed on April 22nd. It allows users to create and document musical scores on Wikimedia sites.
After a minor delay due to some job queue and infrastructure migration work, Wikidata Phase II was deployed to all Wikipedia sites. This allows editors to reference and display content from Wikidata inside infoboxes.
Some bugs were fixed and internationalization changes merged this month; no major changes were made. The community continues to develop Lua-based templates, such as the citation templates on the English Wikipedia.
Site performance and architecture
All job queues were migrated to JobQueueRedis off of the main DB clusters. Improvements were made to the category update queries to reduce lock exceptions that users often encountered when deleting files. This works via a new transaction callback hook added to the core database class, which can be used to resolve similar problems.
Admin tools development
This month the team mostly worked on Single User Login finalisation
, after which all user accounts will be global across all of Wikimedia’s public wikis, allowing for cross-wiki notifications and better tools for editors. This will require all user accounts to be uniquely named and not conflict with other accounts. The global account renaming tool
neared initial completion, and the global and local blocking based on XFF was finished and deployed. Work on designing a global CheckUser tool was postponed due to lack of resources.
Security auditing and response
We released the MediaWiki 1.19.5 and 1.20.4 security releases on April 15th.
We collaborated with Weekend Testing Americas to investigate new Account Creation UX features with the E3 team, and tested Echo deployments with the E2 team. We are investigating an intermittent failure with UploadWizard for Firefox, and a styling issue with ResourceLoader in IE.
We started to point automated tests currently targeting test2wiki to Beta labs to shake out issues there and ultimately improve test coverage. This will help us with earlier detection of bugs introduced into master (such as bug 47015
). Mark Bergsma and Antoine Musso refined the Varnish configuration for MobileFrontend, and further refined the configuration of the search functionality.
In April, the Jenkins/Zuul platform encountered several issues such as the gating job running tests against the current version of the branch instead of the to-be-merged change (bug 46723
). Antoine Musso solved several performances issues by using tempfs and a new SSD drive and upgrading Zuul to the latest upstream version.
and PHP with Doxygen 1.7
. He also fixed the duplicate test runs that happened in specific cases (bug 43391
). Finally he set up QUnit tests for the VisualEditor extension; if this proves successful, QUnit runs will be generalized to all extensions.
Mark Holmquist improved the Jenkins jobs that track Parsoid regressions tests.
Finally, we now have linters for several languages: PHP, Python, Ruby and even Yaml. If your git repositories are missing a lint check, please contact us or file in a bug against Wikimedia > Continuous Integration.
We created a number of new builds to point browser tests to the beta cluster as well as test2wiki. We also normalized user strings for test purposes on test2wiki and beta cluster wikis. We added new tests for the Preferences/Appearance tab and SUL login, and a volunteer contributor added a test for PDF manipulation.
We’ve improved the functionality of Limn
, our visualization tool, to allow users to create and edit charts via the UI. We can also automatically deploy new instances of Limn, so it’s faster and easier to setup dashboards. In addition to current users, we expect this to be very helpful for the Program Evaluation
team as they start to develop their own analytics.
We’re also now importing 1:1000 traffic streams, enabling us to migrate reports from our legacy analytics platform, WikiStats
, onto our big data cluster, Kraken
. In the future, this will make it easier for us to publish data and visualize reports using our newer infrastructure.
We have implemented secure login to the User Metrics API via SSL. We’ve also introduce a new metric called <code|pages_created, allowing us to count the number of pages created by a specific editor.
We improved the accuracy of the udp2log monitoring and upgraded the machines to Ubuntu Precise in order to make the system more robust.
Analytics Visualization, Reporting & Applications
We published our monthly report card
. As part of Wikimedia’s ongoing mobile initiative, we also helped develop analytics that would support ongoing delivery and planning of mobile functionality:
- We’ve started to analyze mobile site pageviews by device class, in order to determine how we will invest in building applications and sites that support various device formats.
- We’ve also started to perform session analysis of mobile site visits, in order to help us understand user behavior when using the mobile sites, which will inform decisions about ongoing development efforts. At present, this data is only for internal consumption by the Mobile team.
- A new overall mobile pageviews report is now available, which has improved the accuracy of our reporting due to changes in how the MobileFrontend extension requests a wiki article (improving performance).
- More information about how we’re calculating mobile pageviews is available in our documentation.
We also introduced new dashboards for our Editor engagement team, that will help them monitor the usage of the new Notifications system. Finally, we’ve added pageview stats for the Hungarian and Ukranian Wikivoyages.
at the beginning of April resulted in about 90 reports on about Skin and page rendering being looked at and commented on. On the technical side, Wikimedia Bugzilla’s “See Also” field now also supports adding GitHub URLs
and adding RequestTracker URLs
, and the “Bugzilla Weekly Report” email
sent to wikitech-l
now includes a list of open issues with highest priority, plus more fine-grained statistics for the number of open tickets. Andre Klapper
started drafting guidelines on Bugzilla administration
and access restrictions, and updated the recommendations
for checking Wikimedia forums (Village Pumps etc.) as sources of feedback on problems. Furthermore, he published an initial version
of a Greasemonkey script that provides common one-click stock answers for Village Pumps where software issues might get reported first before being transferred to Bugzilla.
supported the Google Summer of Code
/ FOSS Outreach Program for Women
processes, candidates and mentors. He coordinated co-mentorships with Mozilla for the Bugzilla-MediaWiki extension
, and with MathJax for VisualEditor math support. He organized a meetup about GSoC and other open source internship programs
and also published a post on FLOSS internship programs
. Last, he met with SocialCoding4Good
April was a slow month in Technical communications due to Guillaume Paumier
‘s 2-week medical leave. Upon his return, Guillaume helped the engineering team with their communication support needs (reviewing blog posts and helping with on-wiki documentation) and set up a Google custom search
for glossaries (similar to Wikimedia technical search
), to make it easier to search a term across Wikimedia glossaries
Volunteer coordination and outreach
refactored the radical Wikitech contributors
proposal into the more gradual Project:New contributors
based on the feedback received. He supported QA and bug management events, organized a tech talk for 3 tech projects receiving Wikimedia grants
, and completed the survey about best times for volunteering
(which got 33 answers). He spoke at the Bay Area Linux User Group
with Daniel Zahn, Rob Lanphier and Brian Wolff, and requested a proposal from Bitergia
to automate the generation of Community metrics