*tl;dr: We'll be stripping all content contained inside brackets from the
first sentence of articles in the Wikipedia app.*
The Mobile Apps Team is focussed on making the app a beautiful and engaging
reader experience, and trying to support use cases like wanting to look
something up quickly to find what it is. Unfortunately, there are several
aspects of Wikipedia at present that are actively detrimental to that goal.
One example of this are the lead sentences.
As mentioned in the other thread on this matter
lead sentences are poorly formatted and contain information that is
detrimental to quickly looking up a topic. The team did a quick audit
the information available inside brackets in the first sentences, and
typically it is pronunciation information which is probably better placed
in the infobox rather than breaking up the first sentence. The other
problem is that this information was typically inserted and previewed on a
platform where space is not at a premium, and that calculation is different
on mobile devices.
In order to better serve the quick lookup use case, the team has reached
the decision to strip anything inside brackets in the first sentence of
articles in the Wikipedia app.
Stripping content is not a decision to be made lightly. People took the
time to write it, and that should be respected. We realise this is
controversial. That said, it's the opinion of the team that the problem is
pretty clear: this content is not optimised for users quickly looking
things up on mobile devices at all, and will take a long time to solve
through alternative means. A quicker solution is required.
The screenshots below are mockups of the before and after of the change.
These are not final, I just put them together quickly to illustrate what
I'm talking about.
- Before: http://i.imgur.com/VwKerbv.jpg
- After: http://i.imgur.com/2A5PLmy.jpg
If you have any questions, let me know.
Associate Product Manager, Mobile Apps
Hope you've all been well! :) We (the Commons app team) are applying for a
Project Grant to fund the development of v3.0 of the Commons Android
app. At the moment, we're approaching completion of our 2nd Individual
Engagement Grant, having implemented several major new features, e.g. a
revamped map of "nearby places that need photos" with direct uploads and
Wikidata integration, user talk notifications, browsing of other Commons
pictures with focus on featured images, and 2FA logins. We currently have
4000+ active installs, and 15,000+ distinct images uploaded via our app
have been used in Wikimedia articles. In the last 6 months alone, 21,241
files were uploaded via our app, and only 1738 (8.2%) of those files
required deletion. We are also proud to report that we have a vibrant,
diverse community of volunteers on our GitHub repository, and that we
have increased our global user coverage since our first grant.
It has been a rocky road this year, however. One of the major issues we
faced was that a large portion of our codebase is based on
sparsely-documented legacy code from the very first incarnation of the app
5 years ago (a long time in the Android development world), leading to
unpredictable behavior and bugs. We eventually found ourselves in a
position where new features built on top of legacy code were causing other
features to not work correctly, and even fixes to those problems sometimes
had side effects that caused other problems. (My sincerest apologies to
users for the inconveniences that they were caused!)
In view of that, our Project Grant proposal focuses on these areas:
- Increasing app stability and code quality: We plan to overhaul our legacy
backend to adhere to modern best practices, reduce complexity and
dependencies in our codebase, and introduce test-driven development for the
- Targeted acquisition of photos for places that need them: The "Nearby
places that need photos" feature has come a long way, but there is still
plenty of room for improvement. We plan to introduce new quality-of-life
features (e.g. by implementing filters and bookmarks) and fix a few
outstanding bugs to make it more user-friendly and convenient to use. We
will also complete the final link in the chain of collecting photos for
Wikipedia articles that lack them by prompting users to add their
recently-uploaded photo to the relevant Wikipedia article.
- Increasing user acquisition in the Global South: We plan to implement a
"limited connectivity" mode, allow pausing and resuming of uploads, and put
more time and effort into outreach and socializing the app, especially to
- We also wish to continue to assist the Commons community to reduce
vandalism and improve usability of images uploaded. This will be done by
implementing selfie detection, and a "to-do" system that reminds users if
an image lacks a description/categories.
Your feedback is important to us! Please do take a look at our proposal,
and feel free to let us know what you think on the Discussion page, and/or
endorse the proposal if you see fit. If you would like to be part of the
project, new volunteers and additions to our diverse team are always
welcome - please visit our GitHub repository and say "Hi". :)
Also, we have just released v2.9 for beta testing on the Play Store! \o/
v2.9 features a new main screen UI, a new upload UI with multiple uploads
enabled, and major bugfixes for image dates and the Nearby map default zoom
level. More information and screenshots can be found on our blog. If you
would like to help test the new release, you can sign up for beta testing
Finally, we want to thank everyone who has cheered us on and supported us
throughout the years. As a community-maintained app, we wouldn't be here
Josephine (User:Misaochan), Commons app project maintainer