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Thoughts on Discourse+MediaWiki integration?


Couple quick notes; need to actually use this more before I can comment a lot in detail!

  • authentication (in progress with Oauth2 work?)
  • profile info integration (avatar, backgrounds, link to your talk page)
  • notifications
  • ???

Wikimedians Digest on Discourse
  • VisualEditor in place of (or optional alt for) old-fashioned side-by-side markup+preview
  • {{template}} references
  • on-wiki image references
  • [[Linking]] to wikis


Hi @brion Welcome at the discourse pilot. Please subscribe to Phab ticket to track this pilot and add your blocking tasks :slight_smile:

This started as a test for a replacement of mailman wikimedia-l mailing list. Wikimedia-l is a reference. For this pilot to be succesful I’m not inclined to accept features here that don’t exist on the mailing list. The features you mention might be future requests but shouldn’t block moving this pilot to the next stage.

Probably nobody told you, but discourse is open source and written in ruby, with which you might not be familiar yet.


I like the idea of using Discourse with MediaWiki for Wikimedia projects. Open Knowledge, an organization allied with the Wikimedia movement and which for the past few years has done an excellent job of organizing a crowdsourced international community, uses Discourse and I think it has worked well for them.


It would be really interesting if someone created a new (and perhaps high-traffic) Wikipedia article and, instead of using the talk page, used this forum for discussion.


I don’t know if this can serve as well for talk pages because a) it lacks all those integration features above :wink: and b) you don’t have markup/formatting compatibility so can’t cut-n-paste text examples and whatnot and c) it lacks any support for the many workflows built around talk pages (via templates and bots and etc).


Yeah it lacks all those features. It also lacks usability for newbies and others who don’t want to get involved with WP but want to comment on an aspect of the article. Was just thinking “outside the box.”


One of my first thoughts was whether this could be used for talk pages too. But for the reasons given above it does seem impossible. A better way might be the other way around: make talk-page discussions able to be had via email. Could talk pages replace mailing lists then? Is there any sort of email integration to Flow?


Flow can send email notifications – like Discourse can :smiley: – but I don’t know how good they are at the moment. (Replying via email would be an additional possibility but probably would need more infrastructure and figuring out spam/security/etc.)


New, ok, I might do soon, but also high-traffic? :slightly_smiling:


@brion yeah I’d wondered about the difficulties of replying to Flow via email. Let alone being able to create new threads/topics that way, or having some way of being notified of things one is interested in.

The idea of having all ephemeral communication in one place (i.e. in the wikis, or all on Discourse) seems pretty cool.


What do you mean with pofile info integration? MediaWiki has no avatar, background, etc. Or did I misunderstand?


Indeed MediaWiki doesn’t (currently!) have avatar or other structurable profile data… but phabricator does, gerrit does, discourse does, gmail & google hangouts do, etc. There’s been talk/ideas/etc for years about adding some of those concepts into MediaWiki user accounts and making sure they’re shared consistently across the MW-based wikimedia sites, which I think is long overdue. And if you didn’t have to upload your avatar five separate times when using a linked multi-tool ecosystem, I think that’d be pretty awesome. :slight_smile:


regarding email integration in terms of sending replies – github does an ok job at this with their issues/pull requests system, but I bet there’s a lot of tricky bits in implementing that well. :slight_smile:


Hmm, I find the reply threading a bit odd here too. Sometimes it shows who I’m replying to and sometimes it doesn’t?


@brion this reply send by e-mail. Has that been implemented well?


@Ad_Huikeshoven your long email sig is rather more prominent than it should be :smiley: but otherwise looks ok! (Detecting & trimming sigs automatically is really hard to do, relies on common patterns and can mess up)


reminds me: gmail has a mostly-good pattern in its UI where stuff immediately after the start of a signature block is usually ‘folded’ down and out of the way of the reader, but if the detection is wrong or you actually need to read stuff from the sig block, you can expand it with a single click.


Yes, you are right about my sig. I have to change my behavior. I turned e-mail sig off for now.


Well for the system to really work cleanly it should have good default behavior… Requiring people to turn off the sig in their email client to use that workflow is not ideal. :slight_smile: