Tech News (2019, week 38)

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

Problems

  • Last week’s Tech News had delivery problems. Some did not get the newsletter. Some got it more than one time. The developers are working on the problem. [1]
  • There was a problem with the new MediaWiki version last week. The new version was paused. [2]

Changes later this week

  • You will be able to read but not to edit some mid-sized wikis for up to 30 minutes on September 17 at 05:00 (UTC). You can see which wikis[3]
  •  The new version of MediaWiki will be on test wikis and MediaWiki.org from 17 September. It will be on non-Wikipedia wikis and some Wikipedias from 18 September. It will be on all wikis from 19 September (calendar).

Meetings

Future changes

  • The Wikipedia app for Android invites users to do small tasks. This is to get more readers to edit. If they get reverted too many times it will pause or block the tasks for that user. All normal editing will still work if the community doesn’t block the user. The developers want to know if the plan looks OK. You can see what it could look like and give feedback.
  •  When you look at an old version of a page you get a warning that this is not the newest version. This uses the CSS class .mw-revision. It will use the CSS class .warningbox for styling instead. If your wiki uses templates to change how the warning looks they will have to be updated. This will happen later. If this would cause problems you should tell the developers in the next couple of weeks. [4]

Tech news prepared by Tech News writers and posted by bot • Contribute • Translate • Get help • Give feedback • Subscribe or unsubscribe.


Tech News (2019, week 37)

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

Other languages:Bahasa Indonesia • ‎Deutsch • ‎English • ‎polski • ‎português do Brasil • ‎suomi • ‎čeština • ‎Ελληνικά • ‎русский • ‎українська • ‎עברית • ‎العربية • ‎中文 • ‎日本語

Changes later this week

  • You will be able to read but not to edit Wikidata for up to 30 minutes on 10 September at 05:00 (UTC). [1]
  • 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 you are a “privileged user” and your password is too short. If your password is not strong enough, please consider to change your password for a stronger password. [2]
  • The new version of MediaWiki will be on test wikis and MediaWiki.org from 10 September. It will be on non-Wikipedia wikis and some Wikipedias from 11 September. It will be on all wikis from 12 September (calendar).

Meetings

Future changes

  • Soon, the AbuseFilter will recognize new syntax errors. Specifically, it will recognize errors about empty operands. You can see a list of examples in phab:T156096. Any active filter with such an error will stop working; hence, please take a look at the list of affected filters, and fix the ones that you can fix. Note that there is also an ongoing RFC on meta-wiki about the creation of a new abusefilter-manager global group.

Tech news prepared by Tech News writers and posted by bot • Contribute • Translate • Get help • Give feedback • Subscribe or unsubscribe.


The Odia Wikimedians User Group tool brings open content from Twitter into the commons

Great egret Odisha India.jpg
File:Great_egret_Odisha_India.jpg () by Soumyadeep Chatterjee . from Kolkata, India, CC-BY-SA-2.0. At Mangalajodi, Odisha, India on 29-12-2012
Nature, fauna, birds of Odisha (previously Orissa), India

In 2017 the Odia Wikimedians User Group worked with the local government of Odisha to release its social media under a free license.

This allowed for contributors to reuse and adapt this content within (and beyond) Wikimedia projects. After this accomplishment the community expressed a desire to automate the process instead of having to manually download and upload media from the various Odisha government accounts.

Earlier this year User:Jnanaranjan sahu applied for a rapid grant to build a tool to make the process easier. The tool, Twitter to Commons allows you to select from a pre-determined list of Odisha government Twitter accounts. From there you can select tweets with media you wish to transfer to Commons.

The feature is not only useful for those wanting to make contributions from the local government of of Odisha. Recently Jnanaranjan updated the tool to allow uploads from any Twitter account.

The tool is documented on Wikitech and statistics on its use are being shared. Please try out the tool and if you have any questions please contact Jnanaranjan.

Written in collaboration with Gyan (User:Jnanaranjan sahu) from the Odia Wikimedians User Group.


Structured Data on Commons Part Four – Depicts Statements

Now that the underlying software for Structured Data on Commons has been put in place, along with Captions helping to demonstrate the software worked, the development team was ready to release the first form of structured statements for Commons: depicts.

Depicts is a statement for representing the concepts or topics present or expressed in a media file. The depicts statement can be considered the most basic example for modeling information about a file.

Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0 / GFDL

With support for depicts, people searching for specific media files on Commons can begin finding them in a structured, multilingual way. At the time of release, depicts statements can be searched using the keyword haswbstatement. For example, if you wanted to find all instances of depicts (P180) a house cat (Q146), in the search bar you can use: haswbstatement:P180=Q146 and it will return results in all languages.

After making sure basic depicts support was working, the development team added support for qualifiers. By using qualifiers for depicts, users are able to represent the file even further by refining, contextualizing, or expanding the simple statement. For example, the previous statement of depicts (P180) a house cat (Q146) can be refined to depicts (P180) a house cat (Q146) [color: gray (Q42519)] and will return only files with statements that match a gray cat. As with basic depicts, this functionality is multilingual and will find whatever languages are available.

Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0 / GFDL

Now that Commons has the most basic modeling for data in a file in place, the development team turned to supporting other types of statements beyond depicts. These other types of statements will be covered in the next part.

Next: Structured Data on Commons Part Five – Other Statements

Previously: Part Three – Multilingual File Captions


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 (2019, week 34)

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 • ‎English • ‎Tiếng Việt • ‎español • ‎français • ‎polski • ‎português do Brasil • ‎suomi • ‎svenska • ‎čeština • ‎русский • ‎українська • ‎עברית • ‎العربية • ‎中文 • ‎日本語

Tech News

  • There will be no Tech News issue next week. The next issue of Tech News will be sent out on 2 September 2019.

Problems

  • Some abuse filters stopped working because of a code change. Only variables for the current action will work. Variables defined inside a branch may not work outside of that branch. You can read more to see how to fix the filters.
  • Only six accounts can be created from one IP address per day. Between 12 August and August 15 this was two accounts per day. This was because of a security issue. It is now six accounts per day again. [1]

Changes later this week

  • Only a limited number of accounts can be created from one IP address. An IP address can be whitelisted so that it can create as many accounts as needed. This is useful at events where many new persons learn to edit. IP addresses that are whitelisted for this reason will also not show CAPTCHAs when you create accounts. This will happen on Wednesday. [2]
  • The new version of MediaWiki will be on test wikis and MediaWiki.org from 20 August. It will be on non-Wikipedia wikis and some Wikipedias from 21 August. It will be on all wikis from 22 August (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 21 August at 15:00 (UTC). See how to join.

Future changes

  • There is an RFC about creating a new global user group with the right to edit abuse filters. This will be used to fix broken filters and make sure all filters will still work when software changes happen. You can read more and comment.
  • Special:Contributions/newbies will no longer be working. This is because of performance reasons. It showed edits by new accounts. You can see this in the recent changes feed instead. [3]

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.


Structured Data on Commons Part Three – Multilingual File Captions

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons holds over fifty million freely-licensed media files. These millions of images, sounds, video, documents, three-dimensional files and more contain a vast amount of information related to the contents of the file and the the context for the world around them. As Commons has collected files over the years, the volunteers who curate and maintain the site have developed a system to contain and present this information to the world, using MediaWiki, wikitext, and templates.

A description template is the first and primary way information about a file is show to users. These templates can be a powerful tool for displaying information about files; descriptions provide meaningful context and information about the work presented. Descriptions can be as long as the user would like, providing wikitext markup and links for others to find out more. Description templates can also hold translations by adding language fields. However, the Structured Data team saw some areas that a feature like captions could improve upon from descriptions templates.

A description template that contains a lot of well-organized information, but might not be serving the purpose that a caption can. Template credit Wikimedia Commons, text may be CC-BY-SA 3.0 where applicable.
A caption for the same file based on facts in the description template.

Multilingual captions help share the burden of descriptions by providing a space to describe a file in a way that is standard across all files, easy to translate, and easy to use. Captions do not support wikitext so there is no knowledge needed of how to links work in this space — links can still be provided in the more expansive file description. Captions are added during the upload process using the UploadWizard, or they can be added directly on any file page on Commons. The translation feature for captions is a simple interface that requires only a few steps to create and share a caption translation.

Adding other languages to a caption.

The “multilingual” in “multilingual captions” highlights a primary focus of Structured Data features: opening up access to Commons to as many languages as possible beyond its present capabilities. This is enormously beneficial to the Wikimedia movement and Wikimedia Foundations’ mission of sharing knowledge with the world. In addition to captions, future features planned provide supporting adding “statements” from Wikidata to files, effectively describing them in an organized way that can be accessed by programs and bots to present media. These statements can be multilingual as Wikidata supports translations, which will make statements searchable in any language that has a translation provided.

Next: Part Four – Depicts Statements

Previously: Part Two – Federated Wikibase and Multi-Content Revisions


Half a Million Articles Translated With Content Translation

Book-covered walls (Unsplash).jpg
File:Book-covered_walls_(Unsplash).jpg () by Eugenio Mazzone eugi1492, CC-Zero.
English: Province of Pesaro and Urbino, Italy

Content Translation achieved a new milestone, supporting already the creation of 500,000 Wikipedia articles. The Language team has been working during the last year to make the tool more solid, and has plans to expand the use of translation to help more communities to grow.

Wikipedia users can learn about many topics. However, the exact number of topics they can access is very different depending on the language they speak. While English speaking users can access more than 5 million articles, Bengali speakers have access to 75 thousand articles.

Translating articles into new languages is a practice that can help content to propagate more fluently across languages, and reduce this language gap. To facilitate this process, we here at the Wikimedia Foundation developed a content translation tool that helps Wikipedia editors to easily translate articles. Content Translation simplifies translating Wikipedia articles into different languages by automating many of the boring steps of the manual translation process.

In early August, Content Translation reached a new milestone: more than half a million articles were created since the tool was released four years ago, making this a good time to reflect on the impact of the tool and discuss future plans.

A more reliable tool

During the past year, the Language team worked on a new version of the tool. Based on user research and feedback, the plan was to create a more solid version of Content Translation to increase the tool adoption and use.

For the new version we replaced the default editing surface provided by the browser with Visual Editor, which supports rich wiki content in a way that is much more reliable. This required a rewrite most of the translation tools, and we wanted to take this opportunity to review them and provide better guidance for newcomers.

As the new version became more complete it was gradually exposed more prominently during the year, and finally replaced the previous version completely without major regressions. During the year more than 149.000 translations were created, a 23% increase compared to the previous year.

We started conversations with different communities to identify the main blockers before the tool could be provided by default and exposed to more users.

Better collaboration between humans and machines

In addition to the number of articles created, we focused on the quality of the content. The new version improved the guidance provided to newcomers. In particular, a new system was created to encourage users to review and edit the initial machine translation, and approaches based on Artificial Intelligence were explored to improve some automatic steps.

Content Translation provides machine translation as initial content for editors to review and improve. The machine translation is provided as a starting point, and translators are highly encouraged to rewrite the content, in order to eliminate errors and make the translation sound more natural. 

The new version incorporates new quality control mechanisms for machine translation. Now the tool encourages translators to review the initial automatic translations on a paragraph basis, keeps in a tracking category those translations published with unmodified content for editors to review, and prevents publishing those which exceed the limits defined. The limits to prevent publishing become more strict for users with previous deleted translations, users ignoring the warnings, and cases where several paragraphs contain unmodified contents. In this way, the limits adapt to reduce potential recurrent misuse of the tool.

This system can be customized to address the particular needs of each community, and proved to be useful to help the Indonesian Wikipedia editors to reduce the creation of low quality translations.

In general, our measurements suggest that translations are less likely to be deleted than the articles started from scratch. The survival rate for translations even when those are created by newcomers seems quite good. A recent study shows that a significant percentage of the translations created with the tool survive the community review. Although the survival rate is better for experienced users, it is still very good for newcomers (users that created their account during the last 6 months). For example, only 7.5% of translations created by newcomers in last june were deleted after a month.

In addition, Artificial Intelligence is becoming more present in the tool to make the initial translations better:

We believe that automation with adequate quality control mechanisms makes it easy for translators to create higher quality translations more easily.

Future plans

Translation has helped already many communities to create new content. However, there are still communities with potential to grow by using translation that have not been using the tool as much.

Content Translation’s Boost initiative is aimed at expanding the use of translation to help more communities grow. By enabling new and more visible ways to contribute by using translation, we expect communities to attract new editors, and expand the knowledge available in their languages.

We identified potential for expanding its use to more contexts that can benefit from translation:

  • Translation can be used by more wikis. The adoption of Content Translation varies significantly from wiki to wiki, and there are wikis with potential to benefit from using translation more.
  • Translation can be used in more ways. Currently, Content Translation focuses on creating new articles on desktop. Supporting new kinds of contribution such as expanding existing articles with new sections, or mobile translation enable more opportunities to contribute.

During the next months we will focus on wikis with potential to grow by translation. As a representative set of those wikis we have initially selected Malayalam, Bengali, Tagalog, Javanese, and Mongolian. We’ll be contacting these communities to gauge the interest in the project, and learn about their particular needs to support them better. We expect these and similar communities to benefit as a result.
Our specific plans will be heavily influenced by research in the selected communities and their feedback. Please, provide any feedback about this initiative in the discussion page. We are interested in hearing your ideas on how to help communities grow by using translation.


Tech News (2019, week 33)

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 • ‎English • ‎Tiếng Việt • ‎español • ‎français • ‎polski • ‎português do Brasil • ‎suomi • ‎svenska • ‎čeština • ‎русский • ‎українська • ‎עברית • ‎العربية • ‎中文 • ‎日本語

Recent changes

  • Editors using the mobile website on Wikipedia can opt-in to new advanced features via your settings page. This will give access to more interface links, special pages, and tools. Feedback on the discussion page is appreciated. [1]
  • Due to the absence of volunteer maintenance of Cologne Blue skin, the link to activate it will be hidden. The skin will still work, but editors using it are encouraged to switch to another skin. [2]

Changes later this week

  • Due to Wikimania, there is no deployment this week. [3]

Meetings

  •   You can join the technical advice meeting on IRC. During the meeting, volunteer developers can ask for advice. The meeting will be on 13 August at 15:00 (UTC). See how to join.

Future changes

  • The “Wikidata item” link will be moved from “Tools” to “In other projects” section on all Wikimedia projects, starting on August 21st. Full announcementPhabricator task.

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.


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.