On Fri, Sep 5, 2014 at 11:13 PM, Erik Moeller <e...@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> That's a legitimate question, although it's not as "radically
> divorced" as you would think; ultimately it'll use the VisualEditor
> (probably with a simplified toolbar by default) just like Flow does.

.. just like article editing, I mean - you'll have a choice between
VE/wikitext, probably with a toolbar that's optimized for comments
(perhaps advanced tools available when needed).

Moreover, I think the idea that talk pages are actually an intuitive
system once you're familiar with editing articles is both unproven and
contradicted by all user research into article editing and talk pages.
Users discover wikitext incrementally, and they understand it to be
"kind of like HTML". They think of it as a document formatting

When they first discover talk pages, they have to learn a whole new
set of conventions -- the notion of signing and indenting your own
comments, the idea that in order to participate in a thread you have
to edit it, etc. That is a system divorced from editing, and it's a
mental model unlike any other discussion system.

The argument would be more supportable if you could layer a decent UI
on top of wikitext-based talk pages, as you suggest. But if you can do
that, you'll end up with a UI that introduces many of the same
conventions that Flow introduces, just with a hard limitation on some
of the additional capabilities and conveniences you can introduce. It
may be, as I acknowledged, still worth doing - even as an interim step
towards Flow.

Erik Möller
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

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