[Foundation-l] privacy and usability of user talk pages (inc. LiquidThreads)

Amir E. Aharoni amir.aharoni at mail.huji.ac.il
Wed Oct 20 05:16:19 UTC 2010

In the five or so years that i spent on Wikipedia it never bothered me
and i never heard complaints about it until today, but come to think
of it, there is something odd in the way users are notified about new
messages on their user talk pages.

The famous orange message in English says: "You have new messages
(last change)."

"New messages" links to the talk page and "last change" links to the
diff of the last change of the talk. Nowhere is the user clearly
notified about the fact that the message is actually public.

Today one user complained about this: He said that he didn't know that
the message is seen by everyone and divulged there some personal
information that he wished to keep secret. Of course, there's a notice
saying "When you click Save, your changes will immediately become
visible to everyone" somewhere under the message editing screen, but
it's lost in the sea of notices about copyright, licenses, terms of
use, encyclopedicity etc. and it's not as visible as the big orange
"You have new messages".

This is obvious to someone who has been using Wikipedia for some time,
but not so for newbies. I propose changing the "new messages" notice
to something like: "You have new messages on your public talk page
(last change)."

If this change is accepted, it will probably affect both the old-style
talk pages and the LiquidThreads ones.

I am raising this issue here because it should probably affect all languages.

P.S. For a second i considered rephrasing it as "You have new messages
on your wall", but gave up on this idea :)

אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
Amir Elisha Aharoni


"We're living in pieces,
 I want to live in peace." - T. Moore

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