Wiki enhancement

If you’ve visited the Wiki in the last few days you might have noticed an improvement!

We now have Page Previews enabled. For the moment you will mainly see this on references to other articles in the Wiki such as below.

Hover over a link and you will get a pop-up giving a summary of the article, which should give you some idea of whether the link will give you the information you need at that moment.

Possibly more useful, over the coming weeks I’ll be adding links to the Glossary for technical terms throughout the Wiki. These will give pop-ups such as this:

If you look at the Glossary you’ll find it’s already deeply cross-referenced within itself with the same sort of definition pop-ups. It now contains just under 300 unique definitions, plus a fair smattering of synonyms!

Unfortunately these Page Previews are not available on mobile devices as there is no touch equivalent of a mouse hover.

Thanks to Neil for enabling the underlying technology. I hope people will find this helpful. Should you prefer to switch it off, just click on the gear icon in any pop-up and you’ll get an option to do so.


Thanks for sharing, @philip! Worth noting and praising you and the other Wikians here @Panda @Dave :clap: — the Wiki is a major source of traffic to People spent quite a long time on the Wiki once they arrive - it’s very “sticky”.

Our only question is whether we do enough to engage people and give them ways to get more involved.

Any ideas, in the spirit of “Wiki enhancement”?

Great to know, @Janet, that my work is appreciated and bearing fruit!

Before it was integrated into there were page view counts at the bottom of all pages, and I thought there was something in Special Pages which gave you page view statistics, but I don’t see these now. I’d love to know which pages are most popular and what the view counts are.

Wiki editing seems to be like a drug to me. I’ve just added a few more items to the Glossary, taking it to 307 unique definitions, not counting synonyms and acronyms. So if you want to know your GUI from your GUID, or your inductance from your capacitance, or your varicap diode from your shottky diode, or your FPGA from your IGBT then it’s all there! (Every time I add a new one I seem to think of a couple more. Somewhere amongst all the junk scattered through my brain cells there’s gotta be something useful.)

Err, 308.


Of course! It would be really great to see this @neil (also wondering if there is any kind of “cheat” to carry over the historic pageviews, because as @philip says, some were quite impressive).

We could also try and look if anybody has created Mediawiki analytics tools that could be accessed by Wikians, and perhaps in the interim, guest access our GA report on the Wiki for key Wikipedians.

Amazing/astounding! Wondering if we could do something with this Glossary, like have a word of the day? Could be used across social media, on our website, or here? We would have to concentrate on picking the ones that are most plain-language as possible. @neil as it’s in table form, is there a way to create a daily, randomised “export” of a word? Or shall we just do a one-off download, randomise and schedule them?

[Just a note to say I’ve moved this discussion to the #restarters-dev category, as it fits a little better here than in #small-talk]

Thank you @Janet, that report is very interesting and contains one or two surprises. I wasn’t expecting Sticky stuff to come top, but ironically it’s not the “stickiest”! Also, digital weighing scales is surprisingly popular given that we see very few of them, certainly compared to kettles and toasters. It would be interesting also to see the referrers. Do people parachute in from Google, or wander in through the main page? And what proportion come via

I like the idea of a random glossary definition of the day, so long as it doesn’t make people think of jargon as a barrier to repair. Perhaps it would need to be headed by a sentence saying that if you know what a screwdriver is there’s very little jargon you need to get into repair, but if you want to go deeper, there’s no jargon we can’t bust. I’ve tried hard to make all the definitions as accessible as possible, and with extensive cross-referencing and page preview it should be even more so.

Talking of which, page previews would be really helpful in the random selection of wiki articles on the dashboard in order to encourage engagement.

As a quick check @philip could you see if you activate the Vector theme in your preferences whether the special page appears where you’d expect it? However I’ve got a hazy recollection that the hit counters were moved out of Mediawiki core and into an extension a while back, so it may not be theme related and that it was when upgrading to the latest version of MW from the old version we were on for a long time - I’ll have a look into it. (Also have a recollection that Mediawiki’s own stats seemed very out of sync with what Analytics showed… orders of magnitude different. Don’t know which is the more accurate…)

Yes to get it working nicely with Page Previews we created a separate ‘Glossary’ namespace, and wrote a script to import Philip’s definitions into that namespace - so I think it should be pretty simple to pull out a random page from just within that namespace via a call to the wiki API.

I think loads of our traffic on the Wiki comes via your contributions to Instructables (165,000+ views!) (and potentially iFixit). So thanks for mentioning us in those places. But data on referrals is becoming trickier as time goes on.

I like that, jargon-busting :hammer_and_pick: and I think we might skip the definitions that are too associated with others, prioritising stand-alone words/definitions.

I think this originally an idea - it got a bit crowded and we’re having UX issues - but perhaps we could switch out “Community News” with that, and just publish Community News straight to @neil @james

Very gratifying that a lot of redirects are coming from my links on Instructables though the only one I can think of for the moment is in my sewing machines Instructable. I frequently refer to the wiki from my contributions to the iFixit forums. Are you sure you weren’t getting iFixit and Instructables mixed up?

I don’t think a separate definition-of-the-day box should crowd out Community News on the dashboard - that’s valuable for new visitors. When I said about page previews on the selection of wiki articles what I had in mind was pop-ups like in the wiki itself, if that were technically feasible. Alternatively, just 2 or 3 random articles would actually serve the purpose, and would then make room for inline copies of the preview text, possibly in a slightly smaller font. How about 2 random articles and one random glossary definition in the box?

@neil - Vector didn’t give me page views, only last edit date. Rather than having page views in a page footer I think it would be better to have it just in a Special Page. Our hit counts are impressive, but not so much so compared with the big sites. Better let visitors assume we’re bigger than we are than show them up front that we only got a few thousand views! But I’d be happy just to get a quarterly report if that’s easier.

Incidentally, I couldn’t see a way of getting back to the dashboard from the talk main page. The restarters link in the top left doesn’t do it as I’d expect. And @neil - I have nothing I want in the test-wiki, so when you’ve got a minute you might like to refresh it from live, if you haven’t already.

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