- Grammy winner Kacey Musgraves spoiled ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 4’ 6 Years Ago
- Conservatives feel vindicated by new developments in Jussie Smollett case Today 12:19 PM
- Don Cheadle made important fashion choices on ‘SNL’ Today 9:47 AM
- Why the Twitter left loves to dunk on Max Boot Today 6:30 AM
- How to watch ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ online for free Today 6:30 AM
- How to stream Francis Ngannou vs. Cain Velasquez for free Today 6:00 AM
- How to stream the 2019 Daytona 500 for free Today 5:50 AM
- 7-year-old YouTuber to get his own show on Nickelodeon Saturday 5:30 PM
- ‘Hipster’ jobs are trending, and Indeed says the market is booming Saturday 3:33 PM
- Trump meme removed after copyright complaint Saturday 2:15 PM
- Facebook pushes back against moderators complaining about ‘Big Brother’ environment Saturday 12:46 PM
- Twitter hid post from an account linked to Iran’s Supreme Leader Saturday 10:17 AM
- How to stream Leo Santa Cruz vs. Rafael Rivera for free Saturday 8:00 AM
- ‘Larry Charles’ Dangerous World of Comedy’ finds the balance between tragedy and comedy Saturday 7:30 AM
- How to stream Michael ‘Venom’ Page vs. Paul Daley for free Saturday 7:00 AM
This little notification button is a very big deal on Wikipedia.
A slow transformation is beginning on Wikipedia, one that could have huge ramifications for its future. Today, the encyclopedia finally launched a notification system, code-named “Echo,” a simple feature that neverthless fundamentally alters how people communicate on Wikipedia: It’s little more than a button, like the red one on Facebook that lights up everytime someone likes one of your statuses.
It’s a very big deal.
Before today, there was no simple hub to follow everything that mattered to you on Wikipedia. There was no “mentions” column like there is in Twitter, no notification bar to tell you whenever someone made changes to an article you regularly edit. There’s something called the “Watchlist,” a functional if ungainly list on a separate page that updates whenever a change is made to an article you follow.
This small notification window is the beginnging of big things to come at Wikipedia.
The Echo button puts those watchlist notifcations and a few others in one place: A little box right next to your user ID. Now, whenever someone comments on your talk page, mentions you somewhere else on the site, or reverts an edit you made to an article, you’ll get pinged—no matter where you are on a Wikimedia site. Echo is only part of a much a bigger overhaul intended to make Wikipedia a lot more user friendly, social, and just generally more fun.
The site, for instance, also plans to launch a messaging servace, called Flow, which should radically alter how Wikipedians communicate with one another on site, moving conversations off of clunky talk pages and into threads. Another new feature, a visual editor, should eliminate a lot of the learning curve for new editors by replacing confusing markup codes with a what-you-see-is-what-you-get editor. It’s currently in a testing phase. (You can play with it at the Wikimedia blog.)
These big changes have been the source of some controversy at Wikipedia, but really the site’s users ought to be excited. The site’s infrastructure is old and creaky. It needs some refurbishing. And anything that reduces the barrier to entry is a good thing—especially since the site has yet to solve its deepening editorial crisis.
Photo by Jason Reed
Kevin Morris is a veteran web reporter and editor who specializes in longform journalism. He led the Daily Dot’s esports vertical and, following its acquisition by GAMURS in late 2016, launched Dot Esports, where he serves as the site’s editor-in-chief.