VisualEditor
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VisualEditor

VisualEditor (VE) is an online rich-text editor for MediaWiki that provides a visual way to edit pages based on the "what you see is what you get" principle. This MediaWiki extension was developed by the Wikimedia Foundation in partnership with Wikia.[2] In July 2013, it was enabled by default on several of the largest Wikipedia projects.[3][4]

The Wikimedia Foundation considered it the most challenging technical project to date, while The Economist has called it Wikipedia's most significant change.[5] According to The Daily Dot, Wikimedia Foundation's pursuit of wider participation may risk alienating existing editors.[6] In September 2013, English Wikipedia's VisualEditor was changed from opt-out to opt-in, following user complaints,[7][8] but it was returned to being available by default in October 2015 after further development.[9] A 2015 study by the Wikimedia Foundation found that VisualEditor failed to provide the anticipated benefits for new editors.[10]

Development

'Editing makes me feel stupid' - user tests commissioned by the Wikimedia Foundation from 2009 which demonstrate the difficulty that ordinary users were having with editing MediaWiki code.
In a presentation from Wikimania 2013, the team developing the software presented it to attendees

The original web-based popflock.com resource editor provided by MediaWiki is a plain browser-based[note 1]text editor, also called source editor, where authors have to learn the wiki markup language to edit.[11] A WYSIWYG editor for popflock.com resource had been planned for years in order to remove the need to learn the wiki markup language. It was hoped this would reduce the technical hurdle for would-be Wikipedians, enabling wider participation in editing, and was an attempt to reverse the decline in editor numbers of 50,000 in 2006 to 35,000 in 2011, having peaked in 2007.[5][6] It was part of a $1m project aimed at developing new features and making improvements.[5] A goal of the project is to allow both the former wiki markup editing and editing with the WYSIWYG VisualEditor.[12] According to Wikimedia Foundation's Jay Walsh, the hope is to redress under-represented contributions from Arabic, Portuguese, and Indic-language versions of the site.[6][note 2]

According to Wikimedia Foundation "There are various reasons that lead existing and prospective contributors not to edit; among them, the complexity of wiki markup is a major issue. One of VisualEditor's goals is to empower knowledgeable and good-faith users to edit and become valuable members of the community, even if they're not wiki markup experts. We also hope that, with time, experienced editors will find VisualEditor useful for some of their editing tasks."[4] In 2012, Sue Gardner, the executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, said "we don't think that the visual editor, in and of itself, is going to solve the challenge",[13] and popflock.com resource co-founder Jimmy Wales remarked "This is epically important".[14]

Rollout

MediaWiki is used by a large number of wikis, with smaller sites originally conceived as being rolled out first.[15] VisualEditor was planned to be rolled out on the English-language popflock.com resource for editors with registered accounts, and then for anonymous editors.[16] The alpha version was made available to select users in December 2012, widened to all registered users in April.[17] It was default editor for users logged-into the English-language popflock.com resource in July 2013.[4][6] It was subsequently made opt-in on the English-language popflock.com resource in September 2013 due to community complaints over its stability and implementation was buggy and had limitations[7][8] (though it remained active for most non-English Wikipedias).[18] In 2015 it completed its beta development phase and was again made available on English Wikipedia.[9][19]

Technical

The Wikimedia Foundation joined forces with Wikia to work on the project.[20] The implementation encountered challenges with the wiki markup language (the basis for popflock.com resource articles), due to it being continuously extended over 12 years to include seldom-used rich and complex features making reproduction of the final article appearance dependent on many factors that were not easy to reproduce.[21] The technical implementation required improvements to MediaWiki in parsing, wiki markup language, the DOM and final HTML conversion.[22] A necessary component is a parser server called Parsoid[note 3] which is written in Node.js and was created to convert in both directions between wikitext and a format suitable for VisualEditor.[21] The Wikimedia Foundation considered VisualEditor its most challenging technical project to date.[5]

As of April 2015 supported web browsers include modern versions of Chrome, Firefox, Midori, Opera, Safari and Internet Explorer (10+).

The VisualEditor MediaWiki extension is available for download by server operators and typically requires the latest version of MediaWiki.

Online rich-text editor

According to the VisualEditor team, the aim is "to create a reliable rich-text editor for MediaWiki",[23] a "visual editor" which is "WYSIWYG-like".[24] The implementation is split into a "core" online rich-text editor which can run independently of MediaWiki,[25] and a MediaWiki extension.[26] The MediaWiki extension is in the category "WYSIWYG extensions".

Response

Responses to the introduction of the VisualEditor have greatly varied, with The Economists L.M. calling it "the most significant change in Wikipedia's short history."[5]

Opposition

Some editors have expressed concerns about the rollout and bugs, with the German Wikipedia community deciding to use an opt-in model instead of an opt-out one.[6][27] Some opponents[who?] have said that users may feel belittled by the implication that "certain people" are confused by wiki markup and therefore need the VisualEditor.[28]

Three months after the rollout of the VisualEditor to the English Wikipedia, The Daily Dot reported that the Wikimedia Foundation had experienced backlash from long-time editors who deemed the editor "buggy and untested". Following discourse between the community and the foundation, Wikipedia administrator Kww overrode the foundation's rollout, making it opt-in, instead of opt-out. The Foundation did not revert the change, instead committing to further improving VisualEditor.[7][8]

Support

Softpedia ran an article titled "Wikipedia's New VisualEditor Is the Best Update in Years and You Can Make It Better".[29]The Register said that the update brings the foundation "a little closer to its goal of making it easier for anyone to create and edit popflock.com resource articles."[17]

Research results

Aaron Halfaker, a research scientist at the Wikimedia Foundation, ran a controlled study on the effects of VisualEditor in May 2015. The study found that VisualEditor did not increase editor productivity, however reducing the burden upon existing editors. Editing took 18 seconds longer with VisualEditor before hitting save, and new editors were less likely to save their work. Halfaker however did ascribe these negative results as from editors testing the new system, not any real struggle.[10] A previous June 2013 controlled test -- when VisualEditor was less mature -- showed similar neutral and negative results.[30]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ other text editors are supported; see popflock.com Resource: Text editor support
  2. ^ Respective popflock.com resource websites: Arabic, Portuguese and Indic languages' Urdu, Hindi, Bihari, Gujarati
  3. ^ "Parsoid". Archived from the original on 2014-11-25.

References

  1. ^ LICENSE.txt Archived 2018-01-12 at the Wayback Machine, VisualEditor source code repository, phabricator.wikimedia.org/diffusion/
  2. ^ Andrew Webster (2012-06-22). "Wikimedia releases updated prototype for simplified visual editor". The Verge. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved .
  3. ^ "popflock.com Resource: VisualEditor". Wikipedia. Retrieved 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Emil Protalinski (2013-07-02). "Wikimedia rolls out WYSIWYG visual editor for logged-in users accessing popflock.com resource articles in English". The Next Web. Archived from the original on 2013-07-05. Retrieved .
  5. ^ a b c d e L.M. (2011-12-13). "Changes at Resource: Seeing things". The Economist. Archived from the original on 2013-06-09. Retrieved .
  6. ^ a b c d e Tim Sampson (2012-07-04). "Will Wikipedia's pretty new editing software solve its recruitment crisis?". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved .
  7. ^ a b c Andrew Orlowski (2013-09-25). "Revolting peasants force popflock.com resource to cut'n'paste Visual Editor into the bin". The Register. Archived from the original on 2013-10-01. Retrieved .
  8. ^ a b c Tim Sampson (2013-09-24). "Wikipedia faces revolt over VisualEditor". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on 2013-09-25. Retrieved .
  9. ^ a b Forrester, James (2015-09-01). "Gradual availability of VisualEditor for new users is now complete". Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
  10. ^ a b "VisualEditor's effect on newly registered editors/May 2015 study". Wikimedia.org. Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^ Martin Brinkmann (2012-02-24). "Wikipedia Visual Editor Coming Soon". ghacks. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved .
  12. ^ ehe (2011-12-14). "Wikimedia testing visual editor". h-online. Archived from the original on 2013-07-27. Retrieved .
  13. ^ Megan Garber (2012-07-12). "On the Ugliness of Wikipedia". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 2013-07-03. Retrieved .
  14. ^ Gene Ryan Briones (2012-06-21). "Wikimedia launches new prototype "visual editor" for Wikipedia". ubergizmo.com. Archived from the original on 2013-09-29. Retrieved .
  15. ^ Jamie Keene (2011-12-15). "Wikimedia Foundation previews simplified visual editor". The Verge. Archived from the original on 2013-09-28. Retrieved .
  16. ^ Gabriela Vatu (2013-06-06). "Wikipedia's Visual Editor to Be Rolled Out". Softpedia. Archived from the original on 2013-06-15. Retrieved .
  17. ^ a b Simon Sharwood (2013-06-07). "Wikimedia edges closer to banishing Wikitext". The Register. Archived from the original on 2013-07-28. Retrieved .
  18. ^ "VisualEditor". Archived from the original on 2013-09-27.
  19. ^ "Wikimedia Engineering 2015 Q1 Goals". mediawiki.org. Retrieved .
  20. ^ "VisualEditor - the past, present and future". Wikia Community Central. Archived from the original on 2015-12-08. Retrieved .
  21. ^ a b djwm (2012-12-13). "VisualEditor launched in Wikipedia". h-online. Archived from the original on 2013-07-27. Retrieved .
  22. ^ Sumana Harihareswara, Guillaume Paumier. "The Architecture of Open Source Applications (Volume 2) : MediaWiki". aosabook.org. Archived from the original on 2013-09-24. Retrieved .CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  23. ^ "VisualEditor". Archived from the original on 2013-09-27.
  24. ^ "VisualEditor:Welcome". Archived from the original on 2015-04-03.
  25. ^ "wikimedia/VisualEditor". GitHub.
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-08-11. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ Andrew Orlowski (2013-08-01). "Wikipedians say no to Jimmy's 'buggy' WYSIWYG editor". The Register. Archived from the original on 2013-08-04. Retrieved .
  28. ^ Simonite, Tom (October 22, 2013). "The Decline of Resource: Even As More People Than Ever Rely on It, Fewer People Create It". MIT Technology Review. Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  29. ^ Lucian Parfeni (2013-07-02). "Wikipedia's New VisualEditor Is the Best Update in Years and You Can Make It Better". Softpedia. Archived from the original on 2013-10-03. Retrieved .
  30. ^ "Research:VisualEditor's effect on newly registered editors/June 2013 study". Wikimedia.org. Wikimedia Foundation. Archived from the original on 10 September 2016. Retrieved 2016.

Further reading

  • Roth, Amy; Davis, Rochelle; Carver, Brian (2013). "Assigning popflock.com resource editing: Triangulation toward understanding university student engagement". First Monday. 18 (6). doi:10.5210/fm.v18i6.4340.
  • Florian Leander Mayer. "Erfolgsfaktoren von Social Media: Wie "funktionieren" Wikis?: Eine vergleichende Analyse kollaborativer Kommunikationssysteme im Internet, in Organisationen und in Gruppen" (2013) Lit Verlag, pp. 30-32. ISBN 978-3643122100

External links


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

VisualEditor
 



 



 
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