Tech News (2019, week 36)

Please find below the latest tech news from the Wikimedia technical community. Please tell other users about these changes. Not all changes will affect you. 

Translations are available: Bahasa Indonesia • ‎Deutsch • ‎Tiếng Việt • ‎français • ‎polski • ‎português do Brasil • ‎suomi • ‎čeština • ‎Ελληνικά • ‎русский • ‎українська • ‎עברית • ‎العربية • ‎فارسی • ‎中文 • ‎日本語

Due to Wikimania and summer vacation, no issue of Tech News has been distributed last week.

Recent changes

  • You can use the new termbox interface if you edit Wikidata on a mobile device. This is to edit labels, descriptions and aliases easier on the mobile pages. [1]
  • The new version of MediaWiki has been deployed during the last week.
  • The previously announced change of positions of the “Wikidata item” link on all wikis has been rollbacked due to unexpected cache issues. [2]
  • The limit for rollbacks has been increased from 10 to 100 rollbacks per minute. [3]
  • The advanced version of the edit review pages (Recent Changes, Watchlist, and Related Changes) now include two new filters. These filters are for “All contents” and “All discussions”. They will filter the view to just those namespaces. However the “All discussions” filter does not include pseudo talk pages, like discussions that are in the Project: or Wikipedia: namespaces. But it will include changes happening on Project talk: or the Wikipedia talk:[4]

Changes later this week

  • The new version of MediaWiki will be on test wikis and MediaWiki.org from 3 September. It will be on non-Wikipedia wikis and some Wikipedias from 4 September. It will be on all wikis from 5 September (calendar).
  • When you log in, the software checks your password to see if it follows the Password policy. From this week, it will also complain if your password is one of the most common passwords in the world. If your password is not strong enough, please consider to change your password for a stronger password[5]

Meetings

Future changes

Tech news prepared by Tech News writers and posted by bot • Contribute • Translate • Get help • Give feedback • Subscribe to receive it on wiki.


Tech News – How is it written?

RIAN archive 801943 Printing house of Sovetsky Sport newspaper.jpg
File:RIAN_archive_801943_Printing_house_of_Sovetsky_Sport_newspaper.jpg () by Vladimir Vyatkin / Владимир Вяткин, CC-BY-SA-3.0.
  • English: “Printing house of Sovetsky Sport newspaper”. The printing house of the Sovetsky Sport newspaper.
  • Русский: «Типография газеты “Советский спорт”». Типография газеты “Советский спорт”. Россия, Москва

Tech News is a newsletter for reaching out with technical updates to the general Wikimedia editor communities, to make sure they can keep track of what’s happening.

It is a popular publication, typically distributed in 15–20 languages due to the fantastic help of volunteer translators. It reaches roughly 100 community pages (Village Pumps, etc.) and some 780 individual subscribers (add yourself!) weekly, in addition to those who read it on Meta, see it included in the Signpost or other community publications, or get it in their email inbox.

But do you know how is Tech News written?

Suggest items!

You have built a new universal tool for the Wikimedia community? Or you plan to push a change into production that will change things for everyone? Please add it to the next issue of Tech News! The newsletter relies on additions or suggestions made by the technical community.

What to add to Tech News?

We welcome any kind of information that has a technical impact on the wikis. Typical items are new or upcoming features, or potential breaking changes. However, we have several cases where Tech News is not the right place. We have listed several inclusion criteria. If you have any doubt, please ask us!

But in short, any change that has a significant impact on the wikis should be added on Tech News (and the earlier, the better).

How to add something?

There are several ways to make the communities aware of a technical change.

The most common way is: please add your update yourself! Tech/News/Next will take you to the relevant issue. Remember to link to a relevant Phabricator task, wiki page or email.

To add your item to the next issue, the recipe for a good addition is very simple:

  • a couple of sentence per item, written in a simple English — making it too long puts an unreasonable burden on the translators.
  • a link to a Phabricator task, a wiki page or an email if they need more information.

And that’s all! Don’t worry about polish, we’ll take care of that. But keep an eye on it: we may need some more information from you!

Tech News is for non-technical readers, and for an international audience. It should be easy to translate as well as be written for people who’s native language is not English (en-1 and en-2 readers).

Concerning other options, there’s a “#user-notice” tag in Phabricator. Add it to the task together with a simple 1–3 sentence explanation of what this is and how it affects editors. And you can always write a message on Tech News talk page.

To keep things focused, keep in mind that Tech News is not a general Wikimedia newsletter, or a way to reach the Wikimedia technical community.

Rule of thumb: the earlier you keep Tech News editors aware of a possible changes, the better! This way, communities will have the information in advance.

Translations and distribution

When we have all the news, we assemble the newsletter. Translations are really important. This is why we have a tight calendar concerning inclusions:

  • Most important information for the week is gathered on a first draft on Thursday. This draft is sent to translators for an early translation round.
  • On Friday, the information is checked again. Some last minute items are added, no-relevant anymore ones are removed. Sometimes things are updated. Then, the newsletter is frozen for good: no more additions are allowed.
  • Over the weekend, volunteer translators work on translations.
  • The distribution is done on Monday afternoon/evening UTC.

We are always looking for translators. We post reminders to translators’ mailing-list weekly, and a direct translation link is available when you visit Tech News homepage on Friday or over the weekend. Please consider to help!

How can we make Tech New better?

As we rely on collaboration to create the newsletter weekly, we also rely on your opinion to improve Tech News.

Are there ways we could make Tech News better at spreading information about technical updates that are relevant for Wikimedia contributors? Something we do that’s unnecessary? Things we’re often missing? Things we fail to explain? Anything we’re particularly good at and should keep doing? Tell us – on
Tech News’ talk page, privately, or, of course in the comments below.


Tech News (2019, week 32)

Latest tech news from the Wikimedia technical community. Please tell other users about these changes. Not all changes will affect you. 

Translations are available: Bahasa Indonesia • ‎Deutsch • ‎‎español • ‎français • ‎polski • ‎português do Brasil • ‎suomi • ‎čeština • ‎русский • ‎українська • ‎עברית • ‎العربية • ‎中文 • ‎日本語

Changes later this week

  •  The new version of MediaWiki will be on test wikis and MediaWiki.org from 6 August. It will be on non-Wikipedia wikis and some Wikipedias from 7 August. It will be on all wikis from 8 August (calendar).

Problems

Meetings

  •   You can join the technical advice meeting on IRC. During the meeting, volunteer developers can ask for advice. The meeting will be on 7 August at 15:00 (UTC). See how to join.

Future changes

  • Today everyone can see IP addresses if someone edits without an account. In the future this could be more hidden. This is to protect unregistered editors so fewer can see their IP address. This would only happen after we make sure the tools for vandal fighting can still be effective. You can read more and comment.

Tech news prepared by Tech News writers. More information on how to contribute is available at Tech/News#contribute

Translate • Get help • Give feedback • Subscribe or unsubscribe for on wiki distribution.


Growth Newsletters #09

Welcome to the ninth newsletter from the Growth team! This newsletter is also distributed on wikis.

The Growth team‘s objective is to work on software changes that help retain new contributors in mid-size Wikimedia projects.

Opening Growth features to more wikis

The Growth team has existed for about one year. During that time, we have developed several features that we think can help increase retention. Though we are still gathering data to detect scientifically whether the features increase retention, we think that some of the features are ready to be deployed on more wikis that want to experiment with them.

If your community is enthusiastic about welcoming newcomers, we encourage you to contact us so that we can verify together if your wiki is eligible.

Then, go through the checklist to start the process of getting these features:

  • Help panel: allow newcomers to find help and ask questions while they edit.
  • Welcome survey: learn what topics and types of edits newcomers are interested in.
  • EditorJourney: learn what workflows newcomers go through on their first day.

General news

Indicator that encourages users to look at their Notifications for responses to their questions (MMiller (WMF), CC-BY-SA – source)

  • A new quarter of the year has started, and the team has set our goals for the next three months. The most important goals are:
    • Newcomer homepage: increase activity through a task recommendations module. Now that we have seen several weeks of positive activity on the newcomer homepage, we think that the most important thing to add is a way for newcomers to find tasks to work on. The challenge will be recommending the right kind of tasks at the right point of their journey.
    • Newcomer homepage: increase feature discovery rate by 100%. Right now, only 20% – 30% of newcomers ever visit their homepage. We want to double that number by making sure all newcomers know how to find it.
    • Help panel: increase usefulness through improvements to affordance, search, and UX flow. We have looked closely at data and anecdotes from the usage of the help panel, and we plan to pursue specific improvements to increase its effectiveness (see accompanying image of a feature that helps newcomers find responses to their questions).
  • Wikimania is coming up next month, which includes a “Community Growth” space. We hope to see people from all communities there to talk about how to bring newcomers into our movement.
  • We have started to deploy features to our team’s fourth target wiki: Arabic Wikipedia. That wiki is the biggest one we target, it has a high percentage of mobile users, and also is our first right-to-left language. This will help us make sure that our features are valuable for as many types of users as possible.

Mobile homepage and early analysis

Button to help newcomers find their homepage from their empty Contributions page (MMiller (WMF), CC-BY-SA – source)

  • The mobile version of the newcomer homepage was deployed to Czech, Korean, and Vietnamese Wikipedias. Now, newcomers can access their homepage from both desktop and mobile devices.
  • We have published our first set of data about the performance of the newcomer homepage. In summary, we are happy with the homepage’s performance so far. We see about half of visitors clicking on something, and the majority of them returning to the homepage multiple times.
  • Because we see positive usage of the homepage, we will deploy several small features in the next two weeks that help more newcomers discover their homepage (see accompanying image of a feature that helps newcomers discover their homepage from their empty Contributions page).
  • As listed in our goals above, we’ll be starting to focus on adding task recommendations to the newcomer homepage. We’ll be publishing early thoughts on this feature so that community members can give their thoughts and advice.

Growth team’s newsletter prepared by the Growth team and posted by bot • Give feedback • Subscribe or unsubscribe.


Tech News (2019, week 30)

Latest tech news from the Wikimedia technical community. Please tell other users about these changes. Not all changes will affect you. Translations are available :

Bahasa Indonesia • ‎Deutsch • ‎español • ‎français • ‎polski • ‎português do Brasil • ‎suomi • ‎čeština • ‎русский • ‎українська • ‎עברית • ‎العربية • ‎中文 • ‎日本語

Recent changes

Problems

  • The release of the last version of MediaWiki (1.34.0-wmf.14) has been blocked for groups 1 and 2. [2]

Changes later this week

  • Phabricator database will be moved to a different server. Writes will be blocked on Thursday 25 July, between 05:30 and 06:00 AM UTC. Reads will remain unaffected. [3]
  •  The new version of MediaWiki will be on test wikis and MediaWiki.org from 23 July. It will be on non-Wikipedia wikis and some Wikipedias from 24 July. It will be on all wikis from 25 July (calendar).

Meetings

  •   You can join the technical advice meeting on IRC. During the meeting, volunteer developers can ask for advice. The meeting will be on 24 July at 15:00 (UTC). See how to join.

Future changes

Tech news prepared by Tech News writers. More information on how to contribute is available at Tech/News#contribute

Translate • Get help • Give feedback • Subscribe or unsubscribe for on wiki distribution.