Improving usability of wiki post editing?


I just add a support call to edit wiki. I think the easiest way (for users) to get the point would be to change the “reply line” for wiki posts so that it becomes explicit it’s a wiki by switching ‘edit’ and ‘reply’ buttons. Here’s a quick snapshot of what the line would look like (except I’d use the ‘wiki green’ for the button instead of gray.)

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #15

Oh I really like that. Wouldn’t necessarily have to demote the reply button to glyph-only, but for wiki pages we do generally want to discourage comments unless they’re properly on-topic.


Hence the demoting :slight_smile:

(Tom Newsom) #17

(brb, signing up for a bunch of fake accounts so I can like that multiple times)

Oh, and it should go straight to edit mode, with the edit history still behind the edit count at the top of the post


Another UX issue came up: when you lose connection while editing and you save, you get a network error when you save, and ouch! People feel like they’ve lost their edit, because when the page finally comes up, they only see the previous version and not the editor with the current version they’ve been editing.

A few possibilities here, but the simplest would be to indicate that

Don’t worry about your unsaved edits: they’re still available in the editor. Try saving again when the network connection resumes.

Regarding the edit button, it would be nice in the history to keep the pagination and edit button visible when you scroll, so that you don’t have to scroll back up when you spot something worth editing.

(Joshua Rosenfeld) #19

This would be nice for the edit log regardless of if the post is a wiki. I could’ve sworn I suggested this before, but I can’t for the life of me find that post…

Suggestion : Topic History Modal
(Jeff Atwood) #21

I think it’s better for wiki posts to go ahead and hide reply behind the ellipsis and have the edit button “promoted” to the primary action position, consistent with what reply looks like:

You can still reply by expanding the ellipsis actions, of course. And all the other reply methods (to the topic, right gutter, etc) still work fine.

@eviltrout will work on making it so next week.


I think it would still be useful to write Edit Wiki, since it’s the current spelling for wiki posts, and when you refer to it to users, they will actually look for ‘wiki’ somewhere.

“- I turned the post into a wiki: you can edit it.”
"- I can’t find the wiki, where is it?"


(Jeff Atwood) #23

A single word is more consistent, and editing is the actual activity.


Then it needs to be differentiated in some way, maybe with color (‘wiki green’) to highlight the fact it’s not just a normal post, and probably a tooltip as well saying “Edit Wiki”. The current green marker on the top-right is way too small an indication for most users I’ve seen.

(cpradio) #25

@hellekin, you should be able to customize that already. Using the following class gives you the whole post to work with. {


(Sam Saffron) #26

We use the pencil in a square for editing wiki, maybe if we just use that glyph instead (plus a tooltip) it will be clear enough that its a wiki edit

(Jeff Atwood) #27

Yes, good idea, part of the fix here is to add a word, make the button more prominent and akin to reply, the primary action. Because I agree with this change in spirit, the primary action of a wiki is indeed editing, not replying.

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #28

That changed recently. That (green) icon means “view past (wiki) revisions” now. I see that we’re still using the (red) pencil icon for normal edits, which I disagree with. It should be consistent:

  • Pencil = click to edit
  • Pencil-in-a-square = see revision history

(Jeff Atwood) #29

Well sort of. The pencil means view edits as well on a normal post. At any rate I agree the key action is edit and that is the pencil!

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #30

That’s what I’m saying. It shouldn’t be used for that. We should use a red pencil-in-a-square icon for that, so that the plain pencil icon always without exception means “click here to edit this thing”

(Robin Ward) #31

This commit moves the Edit out to where reply was, and hides reply behind the ellipsis:

(Jeff Atwood) #32

I made the first post here a wiki for testing.

(Stefano Maffulli) #33

I find the OP confusing: luckily there are already some responses so I can quickly respond hitting a ‘reply’ button. But if I look at a wiki post, I have no visual clue of why that post is different than other posts. I can see new users being confused by the non immediate visibility of the Reply button.

I disagree with this assessment, too. Even in Wikipedia, for each page there is a Talk page. @codinghorror I agreed with you more when you said that edits to a wiki page are a lot rarer than visitors. I’d argue that questions and conversations around a wiki page are more popular than edits.

I’d rather have a visible clue that a post is a wiki, like a changed color or a new, separate call to action (like @Tom_Newsom suggested) and keep the Reply button where it is, consistent with other types of posts.

(Robin Ward) #34

Small tweak: I’m no longer hiding the reply button by default. It’ll show up outside of the ellipsis area.