Feeds

Wikipedians say no to Jimmy's 'buggy' WYSIWYG editor

Thanks, but it's quicker to hand-code our edits

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Wikipedia editors are rejecting the online encyclopaedia's much-anticipated and hyped Visual Editor en masse.

The expensive software project, funded by donations to the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), is a WYSIWYG editor intended to make the open-source resource more accessible. Traditionally, editing Wiki requires a knowledge of complex markup syntax. The Visual Editor (VE) is a flagship project intended to broaden Wikipedia's appeal to potential contributors, and arrest a long-term decline in active editors.

“Visual Editor is a user interface that is much more familiar to people. When you click edit you get something that looks very much like any word processor, and you can change things and do whatever you want,” Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales boasted to the Daily Telegraph.

"It is actually very good, and easier for quick copyedits on complicated articles. And I know how damn hard everyone involved is working on it," UK Wikipedian David Gerard assured his fellow editors. After a beta test last December, the code was rolled out as a default for new users two weeks ago.

But the Visual Editor, which has been a long time coming, looks anything but a fabulous upgrade.

"The software is buggy, slow, and not likely to be fixed anytime soon," states the unofficial Visual Editor request for comment. Editors describe VE as "an expensive extravagance", and rue "three years of wasted resources". Many complain of it discarding their edits, others of missing features and poor performance.

It's so slow and buggy, in fact, that editors have voted not to use it. Last weekend hundreds of German Wikipedia editors rebelled. VE has been made the default editor, which requires users to opt-out to get back to the old markup system, and they want to see this reversed. 442 users (87.7 per cent) voted to roll-back VE deployment so that it's opt-in, with just 29 (5.8 per cent) voting to stay the course.

A similar resolution proposing VE is disabled for new accounts registered from the UK had won 80 votes in its support last night - with just two voting against. One of those two votes was from Wikipedia figurehead, socialite Jimmy Wales. The current tally at the time of writing is 200 for the opt-out, versus 16 for opting in.

Many tech-savvy Wikipedians work in IT, and are not short of positive suggestions for off-the-shelf, open-source replacements for WMF's Visual Editor. But they're running into a problem: Wikipedia's institutional chumocracy.

Ultimate responsibility for the car crash belongs to the Wikimedia Foundation's “Deputy Director and VP of Engineering and Product Development”, Erik Möller. Möller was one of the first participants in the project in 2001 and today is probably the second most influential personality at Wikipedia [see his Wiki bio here]

Just don't expect to hear much about VE when Wikipedia kicks off this year's donation drive. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
DVLA website GOES TITSUP on day paper car tax discs retire
Welcome to GOV.UK - digital by de ... FAULT
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.