back to article Revolting peasants force Wikipedia to cut'n'paste Visual Editor into the bin

Wikipedia has turned off its unpopular Visual Editor as the default text editing kit for English-language entries on its online encyclopaedia. This follows an unprecedented challenge to the Wikimedia Foundation's authority by its own volunteer users. Development of the customised, expensive WYSIWYG editor, funded by donations …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Those crazy uber editors will revert anything huh

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Those crazy uber editors will revert anything huh

      But are there any publiications that describe the visual editor - if so then it must be an established fact that cannot be removed!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    intended to expand the dwindling number of volunteer editors

    Surely a better way to achieve that would be to just stop being such nazi pricks when it comes to rejecting edits?

    1. Gav

      Quality not Quantity

      Yup, I guess if you are prepared to accept any old shit, based on the personal thoughts and experiences of some anonymous guy on the internet, you can increase the number of editors.

      The visual editor was ok, but occasionally it seriously screwed things up, that others would then have to go fix manually using the previous editor. If you're going to practically force it on new editors, who don't know their edit has messed things up, and wouldn't know how to fix things even if they did know, then it needs to be rock solid first.

      1. pepper

        Re: Quality not Quantity

        You got to admit he has a point though, I've found some article horribly written or completely faulty on points, and yet I know that improving it is useless since there is this huge territorial feud. I've seen the talk pages for many many articles and adding to that all the stories that appeared in the media and it just isnt attractive to spend any time improving wikipedia.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: AC@10:43, "nazi pricks rejecting edits"

      It isn't so much that they are nazi pricks rejecting edits for no apparent reason, it is that they are nazi pricks for rejecting edits that they themselves did not do.

      And here's the point of the story:

      "The Visual Editor was regarded as a key strategic initiative for the Wikimedia Foundation. It was intended to expand the dwindling number of volunteer editors by making it easier to contribute to the site, thus making Wikipedia more inclusive. (emphasis mine) Operating the editing system today requires a knowledge of arcane markup and even more arcane procedures."

      Wikipedia does not feel inclusive to 'average' users not because of the editing system but for reasons that are more down to earth: the most-frequent Wiki contributors take it upon themselves to decide what contribution is or is not acceptable based exclusively upon the contributor's inclusion in their little clique. If you are not part of "The Club" you will more likely get your data shoved edited out strictly on that basis regardless of quality of information contributed. This is especially onerous when you quote quite definitive references for the addition edit.

      Had this occur to me all too often until I said to myself "You are just not worth my time if you are going to do that". If anything those experiences taught me one thing: you can't trust Wikipedia for definitive information because of the personal bias of The Club users in allowing broad-sourced information.

      1. Old Handle

        Re: RE: AC@10:43, "nazi pricks rejecting edits"

        I wonder what would happen if they just made all edits anonymous. After all, it's the quality of the content that matters, not who posted it. Right? That ought to cut down the cliquishness.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing wrong with the editor

    It's the parsing of broken old page content..

    They should allow the editor by default on NEW pages, and then fix parsing errors on old pages.

    1. regorama

      Re: Nothing wrong with the editor

      Sooooooooo, it's not broken, it just doesn't work with the millions and millions of pages that already exist? Riiiight.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Nothing wrong with the editor

        Maybe go back and read what he wrote again.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wikipedia needs reform

    Wikipedia edits are falling because the obvious topics are covered and editors who over-rule subject matter expects and classify everything as “not notable enough”.

    I really hope someone (Google, BBC, etc..), tries to supplant Wikipedia but with a few rule changes. I can’t see the WMF implementing them and I think Wikipedia is becoming too much of a “damaged” brand. I think the following would make more difference than a visual editor:

    Firstly allowing people to identify themselves and credentials, if someone is a professor of spintronics from an established university and they edit a article on spintronics they should be able to override an editor unless the editor is equally qualified (unless it is a structure or design issue and then I would let a group of editors win).

    As an extension of this, I would allow articles to be classified e.g. science, electronics, physics, m-theory, spintronics, radio-wave electronics, etc.. I would allow people to set a classification and if edited by someone with that classification it would be locked so only other qualified people could edit it (a system to remove false classifications would need to exist). This would hopefully encourage academics to get involved and improve the quality of the articles.

    Pay an outside company to audit the actions of a % of editors, if an editor is found to guarding favourite articles, being offensive or just reverting everything. Revoke their position

    Rather than have different Wiki’s for each language integrate a translate functionality. Allow for localisation edits which don’t change the article. E.g. store all articles in English and translate, allow searches to see if there are language specific modifications to sections and use those sections.

    I would potentially hire a few linguists for the most common languages English, Spanish, Mandarin, etc… and have them cruise through articles making sure they are coherent.

    Remove the “notable” exception, encourage articles from everywhere. Allow size constraints to be applied to subject area’s. E.g. if a local news reporter wanted to add themselves, give them a profile that allows for a picture and small biography but no more.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wikipedia needs reform

      I had corrections of errors relating to a product I developed repeatedly reverted because others thought they knew its specification better than I did.

      There needs to be some mechanism to protect those who know what they are talking about from those who only think they do; let them add opinion or refutation but not simply walk over the effort of others. Perhaps things are better now but I stopped contributing completely so wouldn't know.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    problem simply explained

    WMF wanted an editor that any "idiot" could use without having to learn the wikimarkup - good idea

    WMF produced the WYSIWYG editor - OK so far

    Experienced users reported the bugs in the beta - common practice

    WMF said, we've fixed most of the bugs, we'll switch it on for everyone - some noises of caution from users

    WMF hadn't fixed several significant bugs (and got a bity defensive when it was pointed out to them)

    It was a user revolt against unfinished software being put out to untrained users.

    1. Tigra 07

      Re: problem simply explained

      You missed the part about most users not even knowing it was going to be forced on them without warning and having them told it wasn't possible to disable it (even though it was at the time).

      The WMF went pretty far in trying to stop people from disabling the feature and go back to the old page editor. Too far considering the community keeps Wikipedia running and without one there's no editing or vandal patrols

  6. heyrick Silver badge

    " It was intended to expand the dwindling number of volunteer editors by making it easier to contribute to the site, thus making Wikipedia more inclusive. "

    Guys, I think you'll find that the editor is NOT the problem.

  7. Studley

    Bootnote: It's 2013.

    Why are we still taking screenshots of text?

    1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Bootnote: It's 2013.

      You got a better way of preserving that comments thread? (Pastebin isn't an option here, before you say it)

      1. rcorrect

        Re: Bootnote: It's 2013.

        You got a better way of preserving that comments thread? (Pastebin isn't an option here, before you say it)

        I would take snapshots and upload them to this site. *runs away*

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bootnote: It's 2013.

          Every page on Wikipedia has a permalink option in the left-hand navigation to permanently link to that particular revision of the page, and all page revisions are available through the page history tab.

          It's not rocket science, Reg authors.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

            Re: Re: Bootnote: It's 2013.

            You've clearly confused us Reg staffers with the sort of people who, er, edit Wikipedia regularly. (and then engage in extended bunfights with Wikipedophiles about editing an open-source encyclopedia)

            1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
              Paris Hilton

              Re: Bootnote: It's 2013.

              But what exactly are "Wikipedophiles"?

              1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                Re: Bootnote: It's 2013.

                But what exactly are "Wikipedophiles"?

                People who like webbed feet?

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Tannin

    Fixing where the problem ain't

    The reason the number of volunteer editors is dwindling has nothing at all to do with the editing system and everything to do with the bureaucratic nightmare pricktards from hell who relentlessly harass good-faith editors with real and valuable knowledge to contribute; harass them until they just give it up and go elsewhere to work on some other cooperative project where their co-workers actually *cooperate* on the task rather than maniacally defend their own petty power trips.

    And yes, I made thousands of contributions there, but that was many years ago and like so many others I won't ever go back unless they deal with the real problem instead of being so absurdly blind to it that they invest thousands of expensive man hours in a technological "cure" for completely the wrong disease.

    Get a clue, Wikipedia administrators: it's not the technology. It is you.

    1. BillG

      Re: Fixing where the problem ain't

      It's the same with me. I've made thousands of Wikipedia edits in the past, but except for only one unimportant article, I haven't bothered to make any other edits since 2008. Even the most minor edit of fixing someone's poor grammar gets a revert and a warning.

      It's like I wrote before - if you are an expert in your field, you are too busy a person to hover over and protect a Wikipedia article. And if you have nothing better to do all day than edit Wikipedia then you clearly are not an expert in your field.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fixing where the problem ain't

      in the spirit of BBC type fairness to both sides of the arguments, I have seen conflict on wikipedia where a single editor thinks they are the be-all-and-end-all of the subject but can't prove what they claim (citation needed obviously for that)

      I've also seen one group of editors take on another over a certain aspect of policy. several days later wikipedia has been expanded by nothing but hot air, but at least they weren't ruining for the readers.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Priests and Wiki editors

    Both groups on the endangered list.

    These religions are both slowly dying.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Priests and Wiki editors

      There should be a WIkipage for that phenomenon.

  11. Purlieu

    Wikipedia is currently stating that "It is now September 24, 2013 (UTC) "

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      that'd be another WMF issue then.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The chickens are revolting!"

    "Finally, something we agree on."

  13. Tigra 07
    Thumb Up

    Good, it was crap...

    I was there on the talk page on day 1 advising others how to disable the shitty feature which was automatically switched on for everyone (despite being in Beta and buggy as hell). To use it i had to wait for the slow Javascript to load the page, learn how to edit again, with less features, and then put up with the bugs and massive CPU usage it caused on Firefox. It was unacceptable at every angle.

    I then had to undo so many edits by IP editors over 2/3 weeks because the VE injects junk code at the start and end of an article with each edit and breaks links to other articles.

    It's the biggest uproar aganst Wikimedia i've seen recently and it united the entire community.

    Editors who did like the VE were in the minority and even those i'm sure wouldn't like it becoming normal for the WMF to force Beta software on editors without any choice and deter editing from those who know the ropes.

  14. Tigra 07

    Doomed to fail...

    The new system was dependent on another editor who doesn't use it following around people who use it and fixing their edits afterwards. That's a failure from this angle and a waste of time all round. At least vandals are quicker and easier to deal with and can be rollbacked.

  15. btrower

    Re:bureaucratic nightmare pricktards from hell

    No need to go easy on them. It is much harder to gang up and revert here. OTH, there was the Eadon affair...

    Internet communities, like BBS communities in the old days, are 'flamey'.

    I emphatically agree with the people here that the problem is pedantic gate-keepers at Wikipedia more than anything else. I still do make occasional edits there to correct stuff I am reading, but I am wary of making edits to wacky stuff being protected by people who have taken ownership of the pages.

    The problem is particularly acute in some contentious articles. Some of the perverse changes that get made are positively grotesque. A well documented cabal circles warily over hundreds of articles there and are quick to pounce on anyone attempting to push back some of the crazy bias. They are extremely accomplished wiki-lawyers who have actually maneuvered complete innocents into being banned from editing. They appear to do it at least partly as sport. Yuck. Like others here, I have just walked away from editing for the most part. It is just not worth the bother.

    Also, like others, I caution that Wikipedia can be a *very* unreliable source of information on some things. You need to look closely at talk pages and both documented and undocumented sources and look elsewhere on the web to be sure that articles are kosher. This is a very great shame because there is tons of really good stuff on Wikipedia put in place by many hard working editors. Sadly, like bad money pushes out good money, it seems that bad editors push out good ones.

  16. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Re: "Wikipedia needs reform"

    Re: "Wikipedia needs reform", I recall years ago someone trying exactly that (a wikipedia-like site where articles on scientific, historical, etc. topics would be from people vetted at being knowledgeable in the topic.) It got some articles, but (as far as I know) never hit critical mass. Of course, there are also encyclopedias still.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Operating the editing system today requires a knowledge of arcane markup..."

    Not just arcane but pointless. HTML and a simple filter would have done just fine. Why people still want to use this crap and Markdown, BBCode and the rest is a mystery to me when HTML has been going for decades now and can be learnt in a few minutes (assuming you just want to use lists, bold, italics, headings and paragraphs with a few links and images here and there).

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