The current wikitext template system is a marvel of engineering: conceptually simple yet extensible to allow a huge variety of different tasks to be done on-wiki. It is perhaps too powerful, templates seem to be used for everything.
Visual Editor has made wikitext editing more accessible to new users. However, it imposes a low ceiling on contributors: only the most basic edits to template invocations are allowed, and you cannot use Visual Editor to author or edit the templates themselves.
Let's discuss how the template system could be modernized. I expect discussion along three axes:
- Specialized/improved alternative mechanisms to accomplish some of the tasks which templates are currently used for, like glossaries, workflow, or annotations.
- Rethinking the underlying template mechanism: global templates, template i18n, or visual templates (which allow templates to be authored/edited with Visual Editor).
This session will address the conference theme — Wikimedia, Free Knowledge and the Sustainable Development Goals — in the following manner:
- Industry, innovation, and infrastructure: Improving how templates work will make using Wikimedia projects easier for machines and for people. Machines will be able to process data more intelligently, quickly, and precisely, and humans will be able to read and write more easily, naturally, and efficiently.
- Reduced inequalities: Templates have hardly changed since the earliest versions of MediaWiki, with the exception of the introduction of Scributo. They were good for English, for people experienced with computers, and for wiki syntax editing. Since then we learned that we need to be more inclusive—for example, to welcome all languages, and people with different levels of computer experience. To be more inclusive and egalitarian we need to change some things about how we work, even if these things are as basic as templates.
(Hat tip to Amir's "let's completely change..." proposal for the rationale in this section.)
At the end of the session, the following will have been achieved:
- The template system will be been re-examined from first principles with fresh eyes
- Some concrete experiments worth doing will have been identified
- Build consensus/identify flaws in some of the presented template-related proposals
Each Space at Wikimania 2019 will have specific format requests. The program design prioritises submissions which are future-oriented and directly engage the audience. The format of this submission is a:
- Lightning talk
- Workshop to identify and try to solve a problem
- Roundtable discussion
- Panel with audience + Q&A session
The session will work best with these conditions:
A small classroom or round-table seating. A projector may be useful for presenting some ideas.
10-20 people, some prior experience with wikitext templates.
If you would like to attend this session, please express your interest by signing ~~~~ below