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Message Wall Now Available in Labs

Dopp January 26, 2012 User blog:Dopp

As many of you know, we’ve been working on Message Wall — a new alternative to User Talk Pages that lets you have a public conversation in a fast, powerful, and organized way. During the early testing phase, you gave us boatloads of feedback that influenced our development process. Today, we’re excited to announce that thanks to you, we’ve made many improvements to Message Wall, and it’s now available in Labs. Your admins can enable it on your wiki whenever they wish!

What’s Different Now?

Admins can enable or disable it. Message Wall is now a Labs product, which admins can turn it on or off via Special:WikiFeatures. “Labs” means that it’s still in beta, and we’re looking forward to improving it as we learn more about how it’s used. It might not be in Labs forever, but we’re not making any decisions about the future of the product from where we stand now.

Cross-wiki-notifications

You can get notifications for multiple wikis in one place. We’ve expanded the notification dropdown menu so it now displays notifications for ALL of your Message Wall-enabled wikis -- not just the one you’re on. Clicking on a notification for a wiki you’re not already on will open the message in a new window.

You can add a personal greeting to the top of your own wall. This is a bit of a hidden easter egg right now, so I’ll tell you how to find it: Once Message Wall is enabled, go to Message_Wall_Greeting:YOUR-USERNAME and create the page (for example, mine is here). Then add whatever content you’d like, and it will appear at the top of your wall.

You can follow a whole wall. We originally planned for you to only follow the conversations that matter to you, but community members made it clear that you also want the ability to follow someone’s entire wall. Now you can! Just click “Follow” on your toolbar in the same way you always have. If you find yourself getting too many notifications, just unfollow the wall and go back to following specific conversations.

Sorting

You can adjust your sort order. If you prefer to read messages newest-to-oldest or oldest-to-newest, just change the sort order from the top of any wall, and we’ll remember your preference. This goes for History pages, too.

Timestamps are smarter. Sometimes it’s helpful to see that a message was posted “10 minutes ago.” Other times, it’s more important to know that someone replied at “9:15, January 26, 2012”. Why compromise when you can have both? Mouse over a timestamp and it will now change from one state to the other.

“View Source” is an option. If you’re the type who likes to go behind the scenes, you can enable “View Source” and it will become a menu option for every message. Just go to the “Under the Hood” tab in your Preferences, and you’ll find this setting under “Advanced Display Options.” Then you’ll be able to see the original code for any message.

Emails, Recent Changes, and Contributions are all much clearer now. We cleaned up our presentation in a lot of areas, and we think you’ll be happy with the results.

Remove

Anyone can remove. Anyone can restore. We completely revamped our tools for content cleanup so they more closely match “the wiki way.” Anyone can now remove a message, and anyone can restore it, but you need to leave a note about why you’re making the change so that others understand. (Admins and wall owners can restore messages in a single click, however, for fast reverts of vandalism.) You can find removed messages in Thread History and Wall History.

Anyone can notify an admin. Admins can delete. When a user removes a message, they also have the option to notify an admin. If they choose this, all admins on the wiki will receive a notification (in their new upper-right corner dropdown menu) that there is an issue with that thread. As soon as one admin checks it out, the notification will clear for the other admins. The admin can then choose to take the extra step of deleting the message, which prevents others from viewing or restoring it. (We recommend you use this option sparingly.)

What else should you know?

There are a few other things we want you to be aware of for this release:

Translations are coming soon. If you’re on a non-English wiki, you can still enable Message Wall, but you’ll be seeing it in English for now. If you want to help with translation, please create an account at TranslateWiki.net, which is where we manage translations for every feature on our site. The messages aren’t ready for translation yet, but they will become available over the next few weeks.

Enabling and Disabling this feature will affect your current conversations. If you enable Message Wall, your User Talk Pages will be archived and linked at the bottom of your messages. All of the content will still be there, but you won’t be able to edit them anymore (although admins can edit if necessary). You can continue conversations by starting them again in Message Wall. If you later decide to disable Message Wall, all of your wall conversations will be hidden from view (but they’ll come back if you enable it again). Please keep this in mind as you toggle the feature.

So let’s get started!

We’ve enabled the feature here on Community Central so you can try it out right now (come say hi to me!). If you decide you like it, an admin can enable it on your wiki through Labs, which they’ll find by visiting Special:WikiFeatures.

Since this is an experimental feature, we’re still collecting input are are interested in your ideas. Leave us a comment below or use the feedback tool in Labs to send us your thoughts.

Happy messaging!

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