Editor retention: Editing tools
January, the VisualEditor team continued their work on improving the
stability and performance of the system, and added some new features.
Most of the team’s focus was on major new features and fixing bugs. You
can now edit some page settings like whether to display a table of
contents or whether to show section edit labels, set the size of a media
file manually, see a keyboard shortcuts help screen, and create and
edit media galleries using a very basic stand-in editor whilst the final
form is being designed. Work also continued on a dialog for quickly
adding “citation” references based on templates, more media and page
settings, setting content language and right-to-left flags, and equation
editing. The deployed version of the code was updated four times (1.23-wmf9
month, the Core Features team worked on integrating MediaWiki tools for
dealing with spam and vandalism (AbuseFilter and Spam Blacklist) into
Flow. We also launched an updated visual design and UI, based on the
first round of experienced user feedback last month, as well as ongoing
user testing with new users. Lastly, we created a script to disable Flow
and return Flow discussions back into unstructured wikitext, so that we
can begin trialing Flow in production in an extremely safe-to-fail
manner. We are set to deploy our first trial on February 3, 2014 to two
WikiProjects that volunteered on the English Wikipedia.
In the first month of the year, the Growth team focused on two projects. First, we enhanced and refactored the GettingStarted
extension, in part to support local configuration for different
Wikipedias. The latest version of GettingStarted and GuidedTour will be
released in English and 23 other languages in early February. Second,
the team wrapped up several iterations of design and data analysis in
support of upcoming work on Wikipedia article creation
. We presented new designs for the Draft namespace, and completed a series of remote usability tests
(see the results
). We also finalized and published extensive quantitative analysis
of trends in article creation across the largest Wikipedias. Last but
not least, the Growth team welcomed its newest member in January,
Software Engineer Sam Smith.
Wikipedia Education Program
month, once again we divided our time between the existing Education
Program extension and work towards a new version of the software. We
thoroughly analyzed database transactions in the current extension and
fixed a slew of long-standing database-related bugs. Also on the current
extension, we finished adding a notification type and notifications
infrastructure, and worked on an improved course editing UX. For the new
version, we studied workflow systems and considered how software for
the Education Program and other outreach activities might use such a
system. Adam Wight started on prototype workflow code. He also went
through our code review backlog, bringing a multitude of new features
and improvements to production.
the last month, the team added forward compatibility to Varnish
scripting for Wikipedia Zero, and resubmitted a Varnish script patch to
support HTTPS for select Wikipedia Zero partners under the new IP
address-based zero-rating scheme, after analysis with the Operations
team. We also continued proof of concept work on an HTML5 web app for
Firefox OS, fixed bugs in the legacy Firefox OS Wikipedia app, and
prepared alpha functionality for the integration of Wikipedia Zero with
the rebooted Android Wikipedia app. The team also continued work toward a
generic JSON configuration extension for use by extensions like
ZeroRatedMobileAcces, submitted code for the core MediaWiki API,
submitted a ResourceLoader (RL) enhancement and cooperated on
alternatives for performance enhancement of RL on non-WMF Redis-backed
ResourceLoaders, and submitted a small UX enhancement for the Android
rebooted Wikipedia app. January 2014 was also a month of planning: the
partners engineering team met for two days with the business development
team to plan for partners and Wikipedia Zero-related work at large. The
partners engineering team also applied itself to two days of product
planning for the Partner Portal. Finally, the team conducted normal tech
facilitation to enable partner launches and align approaches with
current and future partners.
Mobile web projects
have been directing much of our attention over the last month at
delivering a tablet-friendly MobileFrontend experience. We’ve added
support for tables of contents in MobileFrontend for tablets, made some
design improvements for tablets, and have worked towards making
VisualEditor work with MobileFrontend for tablets (in alpha for now).
We’ve hit some roadblocks and are hoping to collaborate more with the VE
team in the near future to keep moving forward on the project.
Following up from last month, we have also released our overlay UI
improvements as well as an improved inline diff view for MobileFrontend
into stable. Finally, we have also been working to expand our coverage
of browser tests to facilitate quality assurance and help prevent the
introduction of bugs and regressions.
Language Engineering Communications and Outreach
team continued their collaborative projects with Google, Twitter,
Microsoft internationalization and MT teams on webfonts, input tools and
language engineering team kicked off development of a prototype version
of context translation workflow. This functionality aims to create a
workspace for helping editors bootstrap new articles in non-Latin
language Wikipedias. In the prototype, Russian and Welsh are being used
for initial concept verification.
Site performance and architecture
The team worked on performance dashboards for VisualEditor
and page load time
profiler class for MediaWiki, and draft performance guidelines.
Admin tools development
project is on hold, so there have been no significant developments,
although some patches have been contributed by volunteer developers.
of February 3, CirrusSearch is available as a Beta Feature on wikis
representing about three quarters of all pages, and serves about 7.5% of
our search traffic. Next month, we hope to get the hardware that we
need to be a Beta Feature on the remaining wikis. We also hope to be the
primary search back-end for more wikis. To that end, we’re working
through performance and recall issues as well as trying to save space in
The team focused on minor updates to close some of the high priority OAuth bugs.
Security auditing and response
We announced the MediaWiki 1.22.1 and 1.22.2 security releases, and continued to respond to reported vulnerabilities.
saw the QA team working closely with the Mobile team in particular to
enhance the existing suite of test for MobileFrontend. We also
participated in the discussion of the Release Engineering deployment
process at the architecture summit. Hiring is underway for two open
positions, QA Automation Engineer and Test Infrastructure Engineer.
has been upgraded and uses a Gearman bus to communicate with Jenkins,
the l10n-bot is no more triggering change and we enabled a proper gating
system to test changes in parallel. The workflow is smoother and faster
to provide feedback in Gerrit. Jenkins slave lanthanum does not offer
direct access to internet, we configured the jobs to use a web proxy in
MediaWiki (web proxy.eqiad.wmnet or webproxy.pmtpa.wmnet. Finally, the Zuul status page
now shows the progress of jobs being run.
In January, we had a number of contributions from the students of Google Code-in
from tests to Jenkins configuration to documentation. We released two
entirely new features: one test that monitors the file upload API
interface on both production Commons and beta labs Commons, and another
test that monitors fatal errors in Beta Labs. We are very close to
announcing general availability for two other new features: the ability
to run tests headless using Firefox under Xvfb, and the ability to
create test data like wiki pages in the target wiki at run time.
January, the multimedia team focused on developing the Media Viewer and
planning our next projects for the year. Gilles Dubuc, Mark Holmquist,
Gergo Tisza and volunteer Aaron Arcos implemented a number of
improvements to the beta version of the Media Viewer
Some of the features we created or improved include: faster image load,
a full-screen mode, better navigation between files, an expanded
meta-data panel with location, categories, permissions and assessments.
We invite you to test the new UI features on this beta site
; faster image load can be tested on this MediaWiki.org page
(In both cases, you need to create an account, then click on ‘Beta’ in
your personal menu and enable Media Viewer.) Pau Giner also designed a new user interface for displaying slides, video and audio files
in the upcoming v0.3 version of Media Viewer, based on team
recommendations. Fabrice Florin started a community discussion of our
team’s Multimedia Vision for 2016
, which proposes a range of improvements to help engage users and support productive collaborations in coming years (more comments welcome
). We also planned our work for this quarter’s release
which focuses on Media Viewer through the end of March, and started
planning our next big priorities for the rest of the year: UploadWizard
and Structured Data on Commons. Lastly, we started a Request for Comments
about possible support for the MP4 video standard: we invite you to
participate in this discussion, which is due to end in mid-February; we
will plan our next steps for video based on community feedback for this
RfC. To discuss these projects and keep up with our work, we invite you
to join the multimedia mailing list
Project management tools review
Wikimedia’s first participation in the Google Code-In
program ended up with great success: 273 tasks completed by 46 students
with the help of about 30 mentors. Theo Patt and Mateusz Maćkowski were
selected winners for Wikimedia, and we sent a special mention to Mayank Madan.
Round 7 of the FOSS Outreach Program for Women started and all projects are on track so far:
Facebook Open Academy‘s
warm-up period saw a slow progress in the beginning of the projects. At
the end it seemed that everybody was waiting for the official start at
the kick-off in Facebook headquarters on February 7−9.
Volunteer coordination and outreach
team has been monitoring the mobile stream and adding additional load
to Kafka which has exposed some scaling issues. These have been
resolved. In addition, work has been done with the Operations team on
designing and implementing a Java deployment system for use with Hadoop
and other systems. Finally, work has been initiated to use the data in
the warehouse on mobile browser distribution and session length.
issues continue to be addressed while the team explores options around
other visualization frameworks. This month we implemented a feature that
simplifies the creation of dashboard by automatically inferring
metadata from the data source.
are adding features to Wikimetrics to support scheduled jobs and data
access via evergreen URLs. This will support dashboarding and other
services that are will be built on top of the service. In addition, we
are preparing a Wikimetrics-Vagrant image to help getting started with
We’ve increased the throughput on Kafka from 6K/RPS to 50K/RPS to test stability under higher loads.
The team has spent an intense month analyzing data to explain the page view issues identified in December. The team’s report was shared at the February metrics meeting.
Research and Data
We conducted a thorough review of traffic data and trends
and confirmed a downward trend in desktop pageviews in 2013. This trend
is not reflected in desktop unique visitors or mobile traffic. We are
working on complementing pageviews with other traffic metrics that will
help us better monitor readership trends. We engaged with external
parties (Google and comScore) to obtain data about referral and mobile
We completed research on article creation trends
on the largest Wikipedias and found substantial differences between
different language Wikipedias; specifically, where anonymous editors are
allowed to create articles, their success rate (% of articles kept) is
substantially higher than that of newly registered editors. We also
found that articles that started as Articles for Creation (AfC) and
userspace drafts have a near 100% success rate, but the transition that
English Wikipedia made toward directing newcomers to start AfC drafts
appears to have substantially reduced the amount of successful articles
created by newcomers, presumably due to the large review backlog.
We published an update on Visual Editor usage on Wikipedia projects where the editor is enabled by default.
We continued work on metrics standardization for the editor engagement vital signs project and published supportive analysis on definitions and parameter exploration for two proposed standardized user classes: new editor and productive new editor.
We worked with the Analytics Development and Legal teams to articulate use cases and the retention and anonymization strategy for data subject to the retention guidelines, in particular with respect to user agents.
We welcomed Sahar Massachi as a research contractor supporting the
team with data analysis for fundraising tests and iterated on new
modeling strategies for estimating test success (such as the number of
dollars per banner impression). Before he joined us, Sahar worked with
the fundraising team, where most recently he focused on writing tools to
help the team easily and quickly understand the results of each test.