A few notes:

1. Will it be done only in English or also in other languages? In particular, what about languages that don't use the '(' and ')' characters, such as Chinese?

2. Can this be made optional for people who really want to see it? (I know it sounds like xkcd 1172, but still.)

3. A counter-example of something in parentheses that can be useful: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square_and_Compasses .

Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
‪“We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬

2015-03-13 3:07 GMT+02:00 Dan Garry <dgarry@wikimedia.org>:
Hi everyone,

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 of 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.
If you have any questions, let me know.


Dan Garry
Associate Product Manager, Mobile Apps
Wikimedia Foundation

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