[New Template] ForumLink

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[New Template] ForumLink

Postby kentsmith9 » Fri Jun 27, 2014 5:48 pm

We have a new template {{ForumLink}} designed to lead readers of a page back to a specific Waze forum. The only parameter is the specific forum and if not included it will lead back to the general Wiki Updates and Discussion forum.

There are proposals to add this to the bottom of some Wiki pages to help users identify where to come to make comments on a page. A counter proposal is to only include it on the talk page of a Wiki page. Comments on either proposal would be appreciated.
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Re: [New Template] ForumLink

Postby Fredo-p » Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:00 pm

How many users know to check the talk page without having instructions to check there?
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Re: [New Template] ForumLink

Postby kentsmith9 » Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:43 pm

My assumption is people who need to ask questions are not likely to know there is a talk page. Therefore the template would be better served at the bottom of the main page and just link to the Forum. The experienced editors can use the talk page to track changes that need to be made over time. The key purpose of talk pages in a Wiki is for sites that do not also have a forum. Since we have that, most discussions on pages take place over here.
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Re: [New Page] WME Chat

Postby qwaletee » Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:38 pm

On WP, the talk page is mostly used the way we use the forum, and is a poor tool for that purpose. We don't often underuse the talk/discussion page, since we do use the forum. It might be useful to keep notes for other wiki editors to have a handy reference for plans for the page or why it is constructed a certain way. I'm certainly good with the forumlink template idea.

However, I think as kent implemented it, the usage is fairly awkward, so I went ahead and rewrote it with a bunch of options. It will still support EXACTLY THE SAME SYNTAX as Kent provided, with some mild formatting changes to the result, but also supports a lot more.

Below is a descriptin of all the functionality, but you may want to just take a look over here to see what it does.

1) As originally implemented, you either link to the default Wiki updates forum main page, or specify a forum name. But if you specify the name, it doesn't really link anywhere. I set it up so it will now search the Wiki Update forum for a topic with the specified name

2) As originally implemented, you had to know the template's internal syntax of "forum=text" to invoke the alternate topic name I mentioned in the previous point. I simplified it so that you can give the text as a nameless parameter. {{ForumLink | Any text to search topic name}}

3) Instead of specifying the text of the topic name, you can specify a topic ID {{ForumLink | 89344}} would link to the topic we are in now...

4) ...but using generic text for the link. Instead, you can specify both text and ID: {{ForumLink | New WME chat Wiki page | 89344}} - this will link here using the specified text. Note that 89344 can be easily found in the URL while you are reading the topic (after the &t= in the address bar).

5) Some pages may need to link to a different forum. For example, the state pages pages might link to the state forums instead of the Wiki updates forum. The syntax here is a little more convoluted -- just add forumid=nnn, where nnn matches the forum ID, which can be found in URLs for any page in that forum (after &f= in the address bar). For example, the NJ forumid=249, so {{ForumLink|forumid=249}} (default link text) or {{ForumLink|Go to New Jersey's forum, guys!|forumid=249}} (specified link text) will work

6) The above won't work for the country forums, because the URL changes for each country. An additional parameter is available to support the other countries: |lang=aa - for example {{ForumLink | Can you read Hebrew? | 23238 | forumid=59}}

FYI, I kept Kent's original parameter of "|forum=any-url-you-want" out of deference to him and so as not to break any pages he was working on. But honestly, it is confusing, as it goes to any page, not just a forum, and you have to use the whole URL. If he's OK with it, I'd like to drop it and use a different name. Since you don't have to use forum= (because I support nameless parameters), please don't specify forum= if you can possibly avoid it. It will make it easier to rip out later.
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Re: [New Template] ForumLink

Postby kentsmith9 » Sat Jun 28, 2014 1:06 am

I wondered what happened to the template, as I had not yet seen your post here. The original forum link is broken. I will work on it over the weekend if you don't already have a fix by the time I get to it.
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Re: [New Template] ForumLink

Postby kentsmith9 » Sat Jun 28, 2014 2:08 am

qwaletee, I hope you don't mind I moved your post from WME Chat to here where I think it is more applicable.

qwaletee wrote:However, I think as kent implemented it, the usage is fairly awkward, so I went ahead and rewrote it with a bunch of options. It will still support EXACTLY THE SAME SYNTAX as Kent provided, with some mild formatting changes to the result, but also supports a lot more.

Actually you did change some of the function originally implemented, so I did fix that already. In the future we should probably consider making major changes like this to a parallel template and review it before making the changes on the live templates just in case.

qwaletee wrote:1) As originally implemented, you either link to the default Wiki updates forum main page, or specify a forum name. But if you specify the name, it doesn't really link anywhere. I set it up so it will now search the Wiki Update forum for a topic with the specified name

That is incorrect. I was very clear in the original instructions that the parameter "forum=URL" required a URL and even provided an example. If you entered a forum name, I actually have no idea what it would have tried to do with that since that was not the intended operation.

qwaletee wrote:2) As originally implemented, you had to know the template's internal syntax of "forum=text" to invoke the alternate topic name I mentioned in the previous point. I simplified it so that you can give the text as a nameless parameter. {{ForumLink | Any text to search topic name}}

This is an interesting idea to allow an editor to link to the forum with a text search parameter. I am OK with using an unnamed parameter for this particular variable if we expect this to be a common use of the template. However I am not sure where we would even use that situation. Maybe I just have not thought it through.

qwaletee wrote:3) Instead of specifying the text of the topic name, you can specify a topic ID {{ForumLink | 89344}} would link to the topic we are in now...

What if you wanted to search for 89344? Using unnamed parameters makes this very difficult.

qwaletee wrote:4) ...but using generic text for the link. Instead, you can specify both text and ID: {{ForumLink | New WME chat Wiki page | 89344}} - this will link here using the specified text. Note that 89344 can be easily found in the URL while you are reading the topic (after the &t= in the address bar).

I believe you have the code automatically determine if the numeric ID is first or last so the user does not need to know what order. That is good (assuming they never want to search for a number).

qwaletee wrote:5) Some pages may need to link to a different forum. For example, the state pages pages might link to the state forums instead of the Wiki updates forum. The syntax here is a little more convoluted -- just add forumid=nnn, where nnn matches the forum ID, which can be found in URLs for any page in that forum (after &f= in the address bar). For example, the NJ forumid=249, so {{ForumLink|forumid=249}} (default link text) or {{ForumLink|Go to New Jersey's forum, guys!|forumid=249}} (specified link text) will work

I am not sure how all this is easier or less awkward than simply cut and pasting the intended URL of the target thread.

qwaletee wrote:6) The above won't work for the country forums, because the URL changes for each country. An additional parameter is available to support the other countries: |lang=aa - for example {{ForumLink | Can you read Hebrew? | 23238 | forumid=59}}

Again, a cut and paste of the actual URL is a lot easier.

qwaletee wrote:FYI, I kept Kent's original parameter of "|forum=any-url-you-want" out of deference to him and so as not to break any pages he was working on. But honestly, it is confusing, as it goes to any page, not just a forum, and you have to use the whole URL. If he's OK with it, I'd like to drop it and use a different name. Since you don't have to use forum= (because I support nameless parameters), please don't specify forum= if you can possibly avoid it. It will make it easier to rip out later.

Since you are recommending we use this template to do multiple things, I believe we can have the template determine if the field is a URL and if so then it can process appropriately. Then only the more complex combinations you noted would use a named parameter.

Was your concern that because you could use any URL that someone could erroneously link people to something other than our forum? I was not concerned about that level of error checking.
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Re: [New Template] ForumLink

Postby kentsmith9 » Sat Jun 28, 2014 2:14 am

Having said all that, I would actually be open to just using the thread and forum ID as you created. Since my process requires the entire URL and yours could just use the topic in the Wiki Updates thread, both require you see the URL. Mine did not require the editor to know anything about what part of the URL to include.

Therefore I think we could have both and convert my entire URL entry to an automated discovery by the template so you can use either format.

Note that many of our templates use named parameters when we have multiple entry options. I am OK when the options are minimal and fully known in advance to use unnamed parameters. My concern in the past was that future changes would be difficult to implement when adding more parameters, but I guess we could easily use named parameters going forward and include code that would otherwise decode the unnamed parameters for older templates.
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Re: [New Template] ForumLink

Postby qwaletee » Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:43 pm

There are named parameters for everything, I just left the simple case of a search string or thread ID as unnamed. I could make URLs do that, too, but it would probably be easier in Lua.

I did have an issue with linking externally. I have already expressed a concern that the community is getting fractured by growing use of external tools. I believe we should be trying to limit that.

The search parameter is useful for where there may be multiple threads on the topic. For example, there are several threads in the Wiki Update forum related to Road Types. A single link can get all of them. Also, not a terrible way to fish for a thread.
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Re: [New Template] ForumLink

Postby kentsmith9 » Sun Jun 29, 2014 5:08 pm

That seems reasonable. Thanks for clarifying. From here I propose:

1. Make the URL automated so as not to require a named parameter. That way the template is pretty consistent with the use cases. The current version has my fix for the external link display issue I saw after your last change, so you can use that.

2. I doubt we will ever need to search for a number on its own, so I guess the thread ID as unnamed should be fine.

3. We have not yet gotten Lua installed, but we could get that if we need it. I have not personally used it before, so I am not familiar, but could get there pretty quickly. Not having it has been a problem for porting the more complex templates from Wikipedia that have already been converted. I will ask for it to be added.

qwaletee wrote:I have already expressed a concern that the community is getting fractured by growing use of external tools. I believe we should be trying to limit that.

I was not sure what you were referencing relative to this template. The external link was only to the Waze forum. In my mind I never imagined this template linking to any other external page. Can you clarify your comment?
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Re: [New Template] ForumLink

Postby kentsmith9 » Sun Jun 29, 2014 5:31 pm

qwaletee in a separate thread wrote:I would have to see what would be needed to support an "internal discovery." I suppose you mean parsing the parameter to see if it contains what looks like a URL to the forums? With Lua, that's easy, but i don't know if we have it implemented. With RegExpParser function, not that much more difficult, though the #if nesting is already getting a little out of hand.

Also, what can we do to better integrate the two to begin with, so editors don't have to jump back and forth and copy URLs?

As I mentioned above we don't have Lua currently, but I will see if we can get it added.

As for jumping back and forth, I was only thinking about editors who may not fully appreciate decoding the URL of the forum link. Having spoken to many of our editors, it is likely easier for them to simply grab the entire URL of the thread and paste it into the template as the parameter. If we allow both, then people can do it either way. Seems more flexible.

Now that you have coded the individual forum elements, I personally would likely use that format. However I propose we keep both unless you can think of a reason that is bad.
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