Community Wishlist Survey 2022/Larger suggestions/Chat client

Chat client

  • Problem: Communicating about smaller things or conversations that require frequent back-and-forth are time-intensive and annoying to conduct on Talk pages. As a result, communities have been set up on other platforms like Discord and Telegram to conduct these types of conversations. All wiki conversations should conducted and centralized on their wiki for openness and collaborative efficiency, but because of the current lack of communication methods they are not and have moved to different platforms.
  • Proposed solution:
    • A chat client that can be accessed on any wiki page through a button at the upper right by your profile icon that opens a chat dialog box where you can access all of the chats you are subscribed to. The client will also have its own dedicated page so that you can keep it open in a separate tab. Realtime notifications could be enabled.
    • Chats will be derived from containers present on talk pages. For example, a talk page will have a normal Wikitext container and then a chat container (maybe one after the other or side-by-side?). The chat container will house a custom client that shows a list of active and previous chats for that page and allows users to start a new chat about a topic or subscribe to one just like current talk pages. Once created or subscribed-to, these chats will be realtime/live-updating and able to be accessed from the chat client when you are away from the talk page.
    • Chats will be structured in a thread-like format. Every response to the last message sent by another user will be by-default considered a reply to that message or series of messages unless a specific message or series of messages is selected to be replied to. This way, chats can be converted into Wikitext conversations if-wanted and vice-versa. If the topic changes from what was originally being discussed, a message can be marked as the starting point for a new chat. That message will create a new chat on its page (or could even be moved to another) to indicate to other editors it is a new topic, but will still remain a continuation of the chat it was derived from.
    • Chats would primarily be enabled on personal and community talk pages like User, WikiProject, and wiki-encompassing talk pages, but not article pages.
    • Chats will not replace Wikitext conversations. Wikitext conversations are beneficial for topics that require the attention and input of an entire community that would see a talk page. They act as a permanent notice and community forum, rather than a chat where points mentioned by users in a conversation can quickly disappear. For example, discussions about changing something fundamental about a WikiProject would be appropriate for a Wikitext conversation.
    • Continuous non-thread-like-chats may want to be created to provide a fun off-topic place for editors to converse. That way we don't have to rely on Discord for that either.
  • Who would benefit: All editors.
  • More comments: See also Wikimedia Social Suite. This is a set of communication services hosted by Wikimedia itself including chat services like Mattermost, Rocketchat, and Zulip. This proposal is different in that it seeks to build an on-wiki centralized chat service.
  • Phabricator tickets:
  • Proposer: Lectrician1 (talk) 07:56, 11 January 2022 (UTC)

Discussion

It seems like this would require a lot of Wikipedia's resources (making a bespokse chat client is hardly a small task) for something that is already solved by users using Discord or Telegram. I don't think an additional on-site chat client will stop users prefering to use Discord and Telegram either. --//Lollipoplollipoplollipop::talk 09:39, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
The convenience of having a chat on-site and accessible while editing would be extremely convenient. New users wouldn't even have to search for if a Discord server exists for a Wiki because an available chat client would be right there and you could easily connect with any Wiki user you want to, without having to worry whether they are on Discord or not. Therefore, I think users would totally use this over Discord and Telegram, even if it wasn't as feature-rich.
This would require quite a bit of resources to implement, however tools similar to this like Structured Discussions can be used as a baseline technologies for demonstrating that non-wikitext thread-like chats can work and exist. Really, the key infrastructure that will require work will be connecting users live and connecting of them in groups. Lectrician1 (talk) 13:14, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Some ideas for this are at Wikimedia Social Suite. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:35, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
    Even more information is at Live Chat System which I ran across doing research for something else. –MJLTalk 20:14, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Does the existing web client for IRC already resolve this mostly? Example: #wikimediaconnectxaosflux Talk 14:20, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    Would normally be in another browser tab, but certain browsers have the ability to "float" a tab and make it "on top" of other things. — xaosflux Talk 14:21, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    @Xaosflux IRC can't conveniently work because it is not linked to Wikimedia account. Lectrician1 (talk) 18:54, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    @Lectrician1: why not? (1)IRC doesn't require registration to use at all, (2) Most Wikimedia projects don't require "an account" at all either. — xaosflux Talk 19:03, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    @Xaosflux The problem is that you cannot directly identify users. Also, IRC would not allow for people to create new chat topics for a page like I described in the proposal since IRC only has channels (unless you want to set up a server for every page that has a chat container). You also don't have the ability to create threads or ping users. It would be much better to create a MediaWiki-based chat extension that gives us the ability to implement and have full control over such features. Lectrician1 (talk) 19:34, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    "threads", "ping users" - this doesn't sound like "chat" anymore - this sounds like a discussion page! — xaosflux Talk 19:49, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    Pinging users came after IRC did, as did wiki use of the term 'threads' from forum boards, email, and Usenet. ;) Izno (talk) 22:20, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
  • This would be particularly useful for adding interactive sessions to Wikiversity. In a traditional classroom setting students ask the instructor questions, and discussions among students are often held as part of the class. This is an important learning mode that is absent from Wikiversity. If a chat room was readily available to students, linked from a specific course that would be helpful. Additional features that could allow a discussion leader to announce a time and place for a discussion session or seminar would make this even more useful. Thanks! --Lbeaumont (talk) 15:00, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
  • If adding a chat, it would be a good idea to use an existing standardized protocol for such a chat, like IRC, XMPP or Matrix. --Tengwar (talk) 01:00, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
+1--Max schwalbe (talk) 10:04, 23 January 2022 (UTC)
  • @User:Redrose64 you might be interested in this based on your views about Discord. Lectrician1 (talk) 05:26, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • I think this is very useful and will benefit everyone. Especially the commment about wikiversity is a compelling argument imo. -Gifnk dlm 2020 Happy New Year 🎄❄️⛄️🎇 (talk) 17:48, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Could be implemented by running a Mattermost or Rocket.Chat instance (and setting up authentication against Wikimedia OAuth or equivalent). There also is Phabricator Cohpherence live chat, T127640, "we use Zulip for GSoC and Outreachy participants." --Gryllida 20:55, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
    @Gryllida We actually already have those chat service instances running. See Wikimedia Social Suite.
    This proposal seeks to establish an on-wiki chat system as a centralized and more-convenient solution. Lectrician1 (talk) 04:10, 14 January 2022 (UTC)

What's so terrible about w:Wikipedia:Discord? A lot of folks are in this server, and there's (optional) verification via OAuth -FASTILY 08:08, 14 January 2022 (UTC)

@Fastily I love the Discord too, but wouldn't a chat on-wiki that would be faster to use, public and available to everyone, and allow you contact anyone with a wiki account be a better solution? I don't think anyone thinks that the community being fragmented in communication among the various chat platforms and talk pages is a good thing. If a MediaWiki extension was made, all Wikimedia projects and all MediaWiki wikis could utilize it too. Lectrician1 (talk) 13:04, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
Getting DMs via MediaWiki while editing feels oddly invasive, and it's certainly not something I'd want enabled by default. "Fragmentation", which I'm still not convinced is an actual issue, could be remedied by simply declaring Discord to the be the official platform for chat. -FASTILY 23:27, 14 January 2022 (UTC)

I'm in general against a chat feature. User A: "In chat, user B has called me a stupid idiot. Block them!" WM projects are not chat rooms and I consider these being out of scope. New projects enwikichat, dewikichat, frwikichat, eswikichat? No, IRC as is now is sufficient. --Achim55 (talk) 19:44, 17 January 2022 (UTC)

@Achim55

User A: "In chat, user B has called me a stupid idiot. Block them!"

Judging by how this rarely happens on any of the chat platforms currently used by the community or talk pages, I doubt this would happen. People tend to communicate more respectfully when everything they say is public. Though, I do understand the concern - I just don't think it will manifest itself.

WM projects are not chat rooms and I consider these being out of scope. New projects enwikichat, dewikichat, frwikichat, eswikichat? No, IRC as is now is sufficient.

If IRC was sufficient, everyone would use it. Barely anyone does on the English Wikipedia compared to the Discord server. There's clearly a demand for a chat service. Making it centralized on-wiki will mean people won't "miss out" and everyone can see what everyone is talking about. Also, new projects "enwikichat, dewikichat, frwikichat, eswikichat" is not how this will work. Please read the proposal above. Lectrician1 (talk) 21:10, 18 January 2022 (UTC)
Existing chat platforms aren't advertised widely. You're proposing to put this in a prominent location for every person who views/edits the website. Izno (talk) 22:22, 18 January 2022 (UTC)

Hey everyone, thanks for taking the time to write this wish and for the discussion! Adding chat functionality would be out of scope for our team due to technical and design complexity. There are strong cases to be made for including chat and for not including that functionality. We are moving this wish to Larger Suggestions instead of the Archive since we still believe there is value in voicing this as an idea and letting the conversation grow accordingly. Thanks and regards, NRodriguez (WMF) (talk) 00:58, 19 January 2022 (UTC)

I think a reasonable alternative (as the Wikimedia movement trying to develop its own chat client would be an immense waste of resources) would be to integrate an existing chat system so that you can interact with it from a wiki page (maybe from a messenger popup, similar to e.g. Intercom; maybe from a container that can be embedded in the content). I have been looking into that lately and I think Matrix provides a solid foundation for it, with an open and fairly flexible community-stewarded protocol, the ability to provide our own identity services while being connected to a global network, and some existing (not great but functional) web integrations (like the ones used here or here). --Tgr (talk) 21:52, 23 January 2022 (UTC)

  • Modding this would be completely implausible - the Discord (where I am a mod) has a vastly higher dominance of experienced editors than the general project would. Additionally, we don't use IRC because it's not user-friendly enough for our purposes. I consider it unlikely that the WMF is going to make a client that viably competes with Discord on those grounds. Nosebagbear (talk) 11:32, 24 January 2022 (UTC)

I could imagine finding this useful, but I wouldn't make it a priority. In particular, I hang out on a smaller Wikipedia where we haven't yet been overwhelmed with the amount of discussion on talk pages. A. Mahoney (talk) 18:53, 31 January 2022 (UTC)

Voting

  • Very   Strong support will be very useful to be able to have instant chats. Someone has suggested they can be used to have lessons for wikiversity courses. I agree with this compelling argument, it will be possible to set a scheduled 90 min chat as a lesson, and it’s content will be archived for people in the future willing to learn that lesson. In Israel, there are groups in WhatsApp with scheduled lessons and a teacher for high school students and it’s useful and works, so there’s no reason such an idea won’t. Also the creator of the course will be able to verify his identity easily because it will be using the same account system. There’s no reason modding this will be different from modding talk pages, actually it will be easier because users won’t be able to vandalise other comments, and their comments will be signed automatically. -Gifnk dlm 2020 From Middle English Wikipedia 📜📖💻 (talk) 18:17, 28 January 2022 (UTC)
    • Before someone asks, using the proposed client for lessons will be better than WhatsApp or discord chat since the archive is in wikiversity and can be linked in the course main page. Users will be able to learn from the questions of previous people. In order to avoid abuse, only users with a special permission will be able to schedule chats. -Gifnk dlm 2020 From Middle English Wikipedia 📜📖💻 (talk) 18:32, 28 January 2022 (UTC)
      • If approved it will be able to do something previously impossible with courses in wikiversity. This definitely can’t be done with regular talk pages so previously the only way was to use other platforms. With this proposal, it will be possible to have lessons on wikiversity and then the lessons will have a public archive in wikiversity for people in the future to learn from the questions of people in the past. -Gifnk dlm 2020 From Middle English Wikipedia 📜📖💻 (talk) 19:15, 28 January 2022 (UTC)
        • Not to mention how useful it will be for user groups that will not have to use external platforms anymore. -Gifnk dlm 2020 From Middle English Wikipedia 📜📖💻 (talk) 21:57, 1 February 2022 (UTC)
  •   Support Would be useful to be able to chat on-wiki, rather than having to install third-party tools to do so. Ideally should include public logging to the talk page afterwards. Telegram seems to have become particularly popular this last year, sadly, even though it's completely closed and non-transparent. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 18:59, 28 January 2022 (UTC)
  •   Oppose Wikimedia is not a social network. * Pppery * it has begun 19:00, 28 January 2022 (UTC)
  •   Support Bristledidiot (talk) 19:07, 28 January 2022 (UTC)
  •   Support Finally I can chat with people to coordinate edits or permission to edit specific pages in which otherwise I would be unable to edit. Rzzor (talk) 19:52, 28 January 2022 (UTC)
  •   Oppose A can of worms. Xn00bit (talk) 20:15, 28 January 2022 (UTC)
  •   Support Sea Cow (talk) 23:53, 28 January 2022 (UTC)
  •   Support Izno (talk) 00:17, 29 January 2022 (UTC)
  •   Oppose per my previous comment --//Lollipoplollipoplollipop::talk 09:53, 29 January 2022 (UTC)
  •   OpposeElioPrrl (talk) 15:34, 29 January 2022 (UTC)
  •   Support daSupremo   04:30, 31 January 2022 (UTC)
  •   Support Ajshul (talk) 22:40, 31 January 2022 (UTC)
  •   Support Amirh123 (talk) 12:37, 1 February 2022 (UTC)
  •   Oppose KingAntenor (talk) 07:19, 2 February 2022 (UTC)
  •   Neutral Wikipedia is not a web host, social media. However Wikipedia has some IRC discussion channels, and we have Convenient Discussions by Jack who built the house: c:User:JWBTH/CD Thingofme (talk) 13:22, 5 February 2022 (UTC)
  •   Support Some people still have not understood that Wikipedia is also a social network since it's inception. That's how it initially developed, and a significant part of new users come precisely from the social network part of it (either on Telegram, Facebook, wherever. It would be really great to have a native platform to chat with each other, instead of relying in 3rd-party stuff. - Darwin Ahoy! 15:01, 5 February 2022 (UTC)
  •   Support MaksOttoVonStirlitz (talk) 03:41, 6 February 2022 (UTC)
  •   Support Actorsofiran (talk) 19:09, 6 February 2022 (UTC)
  •   Support --Ciao • Bestoernesto 19:17, 6 February 2022 (UTC)
  •   Oppose First, a chat client would lead more people to use it for purely social purposes. The temptation is always there. Second, I have always been proud of our insistence that we make people write and memoralize what they say in on-wiki discussions so that there is a record of decisionmaking for anyone to examine. It may be cumbersome by today's standards but it keeps us honest at a time when we need to be. Daniel Case (talk) 03:29, 8 February 2022 (UTC)
  •   Oppose Wikimedia is not a social media. Veracious (talk) 06:50, 9 February 2022 (UTC)
  •   Support ZellmerLP (talk) 19:00, 10 February 2022 (UTC)
  •   Support Jl sg (talk) 08:55, 11 February 2022 (UTC)
  •   Oppose Encyclopaedia, not social media. There's a Special:Email which you one can use — DaxServer (t · c) 12:44, 11 February 2022 (UTC)
  •   Weak oppose OpenStreetMap has a very nice way of recommending nearby communities (chats, mailing lists, local groups) when you are in edit mode. I think that could be a generic solution. --Valerio Bozzolan (talk) 16:52, 11 February 2022 (UTC)