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Do you want Message Wall turned on?

Fandyllic January 27, 2012 User blog:Fandyllic
Revision as of 22:46, February 3, 2012 by Fandyllic (Talk | contribs)

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Wikia has just introduced a new feature to replace user talk pages called Message Wall. It functions very similarly to the comment system used by blogs like this one. It supports wikicode (albeit, probably with a few bugs initially), but does not require it and allows for simple automatic thread organization.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Optional. It can be turned on/off in the Wikia Labs control panel (usable by admins only).
  • Clean user interface and easy to use.
  • Still supports wikicode for images and sigs.
  • Supports sorting by Newest threads, Oldest threads, Newest replies, or Most active. (Not sure how many at a time or what other specific criteria might be.)
  • Allows simple thread organization based on replies to an initial post.
  • Users cannot edit other user's posts/replies. (Better security.)
  • View individual threads.
  • Has simple separate entry for post section header equivalent and message body.
  • Automatically shows user avatars by their posts/replies.
  • Automatic date/time stamping (n time ago or HH:MM Month Day, Year).
  • Optionally shows profile name ("What's your name?"), if filled in, as first user link. (Some may view this as a Con.)
  • "More" dropdown on individual posts or replies has Edit (if you created it), History, View source, and Remove.
  • Notification on other wikis of Message Wall changes looks the same as changes to talk pages.
  • Notification of replies to your posts on other user's message walls. (This could also be considered a Con.) bubbles.png
  • Automatically archives existing talk page when Message Wall is turned on. (Not sure what happens if you turn it on/off multiple times.)
    • If the feature is turned off, the archive goes back to the User talk namespace; turned back on and it archives again. Nothing gets deleted, although you can't access Message Wall posts when the feature is disabled.
  • Auto collapses long threads. (Not sure how this works.)
    • This happens on Message Wall pages when a thread goes beyond 7 messages; you see the original post and the two most recent replies, with a link that opens the full thread.
  • People can remove other users posts from Message Walls that aren't their own. (This could also be considered a Con.)

Cons

  • People can remove other users posts from Message Walls that aren't their own. (This is mostly only bad, if marker or thread links don't stay around where the removed post/reply was).
    • Thread links are always the same -- it's in the form "Thread:3000" so that a link to the thread will always work, even if the thread has been removed. This also allows for the future ability to move threads to another wall if it's been posted in the wrong place -- not included in the current feature, but will be in a future rev.
  • Hard to find link for revision history for individual message walls or threads (need to add action=history or look for link in toolbar at bottom).
  • By default, Message Wall activity will spam your e-mail address. (You can turn it off under the "Email" tab in preferences.)
  • You will get spammed on other wikis by replies to threads you've commented on and there appears to be no way currently to control or throttle notification. (You can choose to "unfollow" any conversation that isn't on your own wall.)
  • No help page yet.
  • Less wikicode control of overall formatting.
  • Users cannot edit other user's posts/replies. (Can't fix problems.) (Admins can edit other users' posts.)
  • You can view source of a post/reply, but you can't select it (making it hard to copy and re-use).
  • No TOC generation or index of links to posts.
  • Can't spawn separate thread based on a reply.
  • No known archive mechanism.
  • Might not be as space efficient as old wiki code blob talk page.
  • Post or reply removal can be slow.
  • Optionally shows profile name ("What's your name?"), if filled in, as first user link. (Several users have expressed dislike of this during testing.)
  • Notification may be slow.
  • Anonymous user welcome bot may not work right. (See w:c:wakfu:Thread:10976 thread deleted and Message Wall disabled.)
  • Archived talk page locked so only sysops can edit it.

My thoughts

On the whole I like it, but the ability for anyone to remove anyone else's posts or replies seems like a little too poorly designed in its current form. Until buttons or links are added to see message wall or thread histories, it will be kind of annoying. It's been available for a day on Community and someone already removed three of my posts on my own message wall with the simple comment: "spam". Great.

User's should be given more control over their own message walls, in my opinion. Maybe instead of removing messages on other user's walls, it could hide them instead.

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