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Software Wikipedia

How Can Wikipedia's Visual Editor Top Other Word Processors? 196

Posted by timothy
from the want-edit-mode-by-default dept.
First time accepted submitter azadnama writes "Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind Wikipedia, is aware of the fact the MediaWiki formatting syntax is a major obstacle for people's participation in writing on the site. To address this problem, the Foundation is developing VisualEditor—a web-based WYSIWYG interface for editing articles. It's supposed to be similar to a word processor, like LibreOffice, Microsoft Word, Pages, Google Docs, and others. And this is the time to ask: What did your word processor get wrong and how can Wikipedia's VisualEditor get it right?"
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How Can Wikipedia's Visual Editor Top Other Word Processors?

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  • Check out Confluence (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17, 2012 @03:33PM (#42013781)

    And don't do what they did. It's the most frustrating wiki editor on the planet.

    Many wiki pages have large amounts of structured information, and the Confluence editor is spectacularly bad at managing that. It's the most aggravating thing to use.

    And don't get rid of plain text markup for when the rich editor fails.

  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Saturday November 17, 2012 @04:05PM (#42014023) Homepage
    TeX is an unsatisfactory half-measure between a visual formatting free-for-all and truly semantic markup. Even within the TeX community, it's now common to see publishers maintaining manuscripts in e.g. DocBook XML, only converting the data to TeX via XSLT when they want to produce final print output.
  • Re:CKEditor (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Owyn (934) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @04:20PM (#42014131) Homepage

    CKEditor is an HTML editor. Wikitext is not HTML. Wikia (my employer) does use a heavily modified CKEditor to round trip wikitext->html->wikitext but it's fragile and the experience lacks polish. The foundation decided to start over from scratch with a new design using an intermediate data representation coupled with a new parser and a simple extensible UI. I think they're going in the right direction, it's just going to take a while.

  • by rueger (210566) * on Saturday November 17, 2012 @05:00PM (#42014417) Homepage
    My biggest complaint with most word processors is their default behaviour to change e-mail addresses and web addresses into blue, underlined hyperlinks.

    I actually use word processors to create stuff that gets printed on paper. Hyperlinking, blueifying, and underlining words is useless to me, and wastes my time. I can think of no good reason why MS or anyone else should assume that every user of their word processor is creating web pages.

    And while I'm at it, I can't think of a single time when I wanted the formatting from a web page to be carried into a printed document when I copied and pasted a block of text. Surely the sensible default should be to paste in plain text and pick up formatting from the destination document? At the very least this should be an optional default.
  • Rationale (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tbird81 (946205) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @05:30PM (#42014621)

    From their site:
    "The decline in new contributor growth is the single most serious challenge facing the Wikimedia movement in the year 2011. Removing the avoidable technical impediments associated with Wikimedia's editing interface is a necessary pre-condition for increasing the number of Wikimedia contributors."

    I'm not sure that the editing is the main problem with dropping contributors. The problem is that most of what you write will be deleted, any image you upload will be deleted, and nearly edit you make will be undone.

  • by Elbereth (58257) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:42PM (#42015607) Journal

    First, I just want to say that I agree with you. However, it's a bit arrogant to insist that people do everything your way, instead of giving them the ability to do things the way they prefer. If people want to contribute to Wikipedia using a WYSIWYG editor, then Wikipedia should provide such a feature, even if it runs counter to everything that the web stands for. Getting people to contribute and lowering the barrier to entry is more important than ideological purity.

    Ideological purity for its own sake leads to the Reign of Terror.

"It is better to have tried and failed than to have failed to try, but the result's the same." - Mike Dennison

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