Strip mobile tags May 24, 2012 4:34 PM   Subscribe

Can we strip the 'm' from links to Wikipedia? In a recent post there was a link to a Wikipedia page that went directly to the mobile site. If your on a mobile device you would automatically get the mobile version so there is no reason to force people on non-mobile devices to it.

I don't mean to call out this particular post, it's just an example.
posted by Confess, Fletch to Feature Requests at 4:34 PM (37 comments total)

No, we don't edit what people post unless they ask us to. If we felt like this was a serious problem we could ask people not to post links to mobile wikipedia. But just speaking personally, I don't think it's a big deal. I see the page they were looking at, and it's readable on my desktop.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:37 PM on May 24, 2012


oh, and you can quickly get the full version of that page by clicking "More" at the very bottom of the page and then clicking the "Desktop" link.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:39 PM on May 24, 2012


No, we don't edit what people post unless they ask us to.

Amazon URLs are edited to have Metafilter referrals.

oh, and you can quickly get the full version of that page by clicking "More" at the very bottom of the page and then clicking the "Desktop" link.

That's good to know, but most people won't read this thread and won't notice that.
posted by John Cohen at 4:46 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's true, we make an exception for Amazon links and URL shorteners.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:48 PM on May 24, 2012


Amazon URLs are edited to have Metafilter referrals.

We specifically do that so people don't get into the habit of linking to Amazon and adding their own referrer code (which is not okay) and the MeFi referrer brings in a small amount of revenue for the site. It's, to the best of my knowledge, the only exception except for removing link shorteners if people use them (not the built-in ones but the generic bit.ly type ones)

There could conceivably be a reason someone would want to link to the mobile version of Wikipedia--even though I agree, it's more likely something that people do by accident--and getting into the "We're going to change this URL into something different" is something we're very not excited about doing.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:50 PM on May 24, 2012


just curious, do you remove url shorteners manually or is there some wizardry involved?
posted by desjardins at 5:00 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


by manually I mean climbing into the intertubes and switching the wires
posted by desjardins at 5:00 PM on May 24, 2012 [16 favorites]


We do it manually. If someone flags a comment or post as "HTML error" we'll go looking for them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:01 PM on May 24, 2012


I'm imagining you tromping through the tubes with headlamps in search of rogue tags.
posted by desjardins at 5:09 PM on May 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Aren't there robots to do that nowadays?
posted by stebulus at 6:12 PM on May 24, 2012


"Dammit" Jessamyn mutters, peering into the dripping darkness around her as the clang of her dropped banspanner echoes through the intertubes. Crouching to search for it, her dim headlamp illuminates a portion of the grimy, rusty, glistening wet tube. She retrieves the dropped tool from the pooling water at her feet.

A prickling feeling on the back of her neck makes her straighten abruptly. Was that a rustling from the tubes under a nearby comment thread? As she begins to relax, she hears it again: a faint, but distinct intermittent dragging sound, echoing through the network. Jessamyn whirls around and squints into the darkness, her light swallowed up in the depths of the dark tube.

Any number of things could be lurking down here: angry, wounded, unclosed HTML tags, un-escaped special characters, malicious links, trolls, Hitler, flameouts, hijacked sockpuppets, Ron Paul. A few years ago she had even run into an SQL injection, an encounter she hoped never to repeat. Jessamyn fingers the MeFi Mail Tool at her hip nervously, thinking about calling in mod backup, but steels herself, and presses cautiously back towards the Blue, in the direction of the ominous noise.

Someone take it from here...
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:27 PM on May 24, 2012 [38 favorites]




I'm imagining you tromping through the tubes with headlamps in search of rogue tags.

I imagine it more like Scotty, hemmed in the Jefferies tube crawlspace on the Enterprise, with electric arcs zapping back & forth as she pulls panels off the wall & rips out bundles of wire, while Matt incessantly chimes in her headset "You've only got 36 seconds!"
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:21 PM on May 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Metafilter will be alright.
posted by de at 8:27 PM on May 24, 2012


Someone take it from here...

Cortex giggled as he piped another sound effect into Jessamyn's headset...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:34 PM on May 24, 2012


I post from my iPhone a lot. (I'm posting from it right now!) Typing text isn't that difficult. Making links is a little harder; so many times I've typed up the Greatest Comment Ever in one Safari window, switched to another window to copy the URL from the status bar, and switched back to see Safari has saved memory by reloading the page, sans comment. Argh! But the link button helps a lot.

And going back to edit a word/URL/misc textbit is a giant pain . It involves poking firmly at the word in what I hope is exactly the right touchscreen spot/pressure to produce "highlight this section so I can delete it" and not "highlight any possible spot but the right one," "zoom in on a random spot halfway up the page," or the very common "this long http://www thing is clearly a misspelled word, so please helpfully delete the whole URL or autocorrect it to 'Mississippi,' so I can start over with the window-switching copy-pastery."

So please avoid all potential Wikipedia links from me in the future, because I will be too frustrated to correct ones posted via iPhone from mobile format, and it's a likely bet many will be posted via iPhone, especially the comments with the careful oddCapitalization of iPhone, the only word never mangled by iPhone autocorrect.
posted by nicebookrack at 8:45 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, Taz carefully moved the puppet strings, guiding Cortex's hand to the volume knob.

Restless_nomad, tapped her foot impatiently as she moved the joystick from the control room in Taz's brain. The older models were always a bit twitchy...

Matt smiled at rn's effort, as he monitored his android from a secret base on the ocean floor.

Pb ate a sandwich as Hurley continued to look over the island.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:47 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Metaoshka puppets!
posted by stebulus at 10:06 PM on May 24, 2012


Looking up the name for those dolls also led me to this amusing bit of Russian culture: Bald-hairy.
posted by stebulus at 10:09 PM on May 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


WikiPedia should implement this themselves. They should also make hash-anchor links work on mobile.
posted by iotic at 11:35 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


iotic, I'm happy to file a bug/enhancement request myself regarding our mobile site. Would you say that the desired functionality here would be that, when you are copying and pasting a link from the URL bar of your mobile browser, the link should be to a standard Wikimedia URL such as en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foo , rather than a mobile link? I don't know whether MediaWiki (the software Wikipedia runs on) can do that; that might require magic from the browser makers. Perhaps instead you'd simply like the regular URL to be 1 tap away rather than 2, to make it easier to copy?

As for the hash anchor links: it looks like we're working on it (discussion).

(I am the Wikimedia Foundation's Engineering Community Manager.)
posted by brainwane at 5:18 AM on May 25, 2012 [11 favorites]


Aren't there robots to do that nowadays?

Man, I would love to see Atomic Robo battling Dr Dinosaur inside the dank tunnels of the internet in order to save a small insignificant web community. Dr Dinosaur would probably resort redirect url to mobile interfaces to bring about the destruction of mankind. And he'd also use crystals.
posted by Elmore at 5:18 AM on May 25, 2012


And construct proper sentences...
posted by Elmore at 5:19 AM on May 25, 2012


John Cohen: "That's good to know, but most people won't read this thread and won't notice that."

Most people will read the content of the page and then move on. So, if we're choosing a course of action based on what most people would do..
posted by Plutor at 6:12 AM on May 25, 2012


brainwane: I think the ideal functionality would be, if you have a good idea that a visitor is on a desktop computer, put a bar across the top of the mobile site with "click here for desktop version" so it's the first thing they see.

The even more ideal functionality would be a single responsive design for all browsers, but that's a larger problem.
posted by Honorable John at 8:25 AM on May 25, 2012


brainwane - yes, that sounds best to me. I can't think of any reason someone on a desk/laptop would need to see the mobile version at all, unless they opt for it. A simple redirect, preserving hash URL part would be fine, I think.

That's good about the hash anchor links on mobile - thanks!
posted by iotic at 8:57 AM on May 25, 2012


To be honest, isn't this kind of a weird special case causing it in the first place? Why would someone creating a FPP be using the mobile wikipedia site at all? It seems like it would only happen if you were doing something like collecting links on your phone on delicious or similar, then posting them from the desktop, which is not exactly common.
posted by smackfu at 9:19 AM on May 25, 2012


I guess this is a AskMe question, but still, they probably had to manually override the mobile AskMe site since there is no Ask Question link on it.
posted by smackfu at 9:25 AM on May 25, 2012


It happens in comments with links, and more generally anywhere people casually post links on the Internet - e.g. Facebook. It's a Wikipedia usability issue.
posted by iotic at 10:45 AM on May 25, 2012


people on non-mobile devices

I didn't realize MeFi had that many members still using mainframes.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:52 AM on May 25, 2012


I brought this conversation to the attention of Wikimedia's product manager for mobile, Phil Chang, in an IRC office hour we're holding right now (#wikimedia-office on Freenode).

[sumanah] I'd like to help bring this conversation into Wikimedia's awareness: http://metatalk.metafilter.com/21752/Strip-mobile-tags - request for the regular URL to be 1 tap away rather than 2 (while on a mobile site page), to make it easier to copy, and also following up on the issue with hash anchor links
[philinje] ok, thanks for pointing that out, i will look into it
[philinje] we are in general working on migrating MobileFrontend into Mediawiki core
[sumanah] Thanks philinje .
[philinje] that will eventually make it easier for any project to optimize mobile output

I asked him to either post a followup here or give me a followup to post in this thread -- mods, is that ok?

In case you want to follow along with our mobile stuff in general, our mobile projects activity hub might be fun for you to bookmark.
posted by brainwane at 11:47 AM on May 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


SmartphoneSmartypantsVelvet RoperyFilter
posted by y2karl at 12:47 PM on May 25, 2012


Thanks very much brainwane. That's very interesting and useful. I look forward to developments.
posted by iotic at 2:03 PM on May 25, 2012


Hmm, I really don't see why this is a big deal. I understand the "not editing people's posts" policy, but you're talking about removing two characters (!!) from a link so it goes to regular Wikipedia and not mobile wikipedia. It's not like you're making their whole comment read "I'M A GIANT STUPID POOPYPANTS"; it's a minor but useful change. Also, I wish you guys would re-consider the Amazon thing; they treat their workers like crap and could totally afford not to (see here). I understand that money is money and we all need it, but if there's any way you could do without it I'd urge you to do so. They need to be brutally punished.
posted by MattMangels at 4:03 PM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not editing is a really really big deal. We don't know if there are reasons people might want to link to the mobile version of Wikipedia and we don't want to second guess anyone's intentions. The Amazon thing is one of those "It's been in place since time immemorial and is a compromise, we know" but you'd really have to lobby mathowie directly about that one.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:55 PM on May 25, 2012


Also, I wish you guys would re-consider the Amazon thing; they treat their workers like crap and could totally afford not to

I agree with you re: the shadiness of Amazon; however, the easiest way to kill Amazon links on Metafilter is for Mefites to stop linking to Amazon.
posted by nicebookrack at 1:34 PM on May 26, 2012


m.
posted by special-k at 6:22 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


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