Wikibooks:Feature Requests

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A list of bugs and feature requests specific to Wikibooks. To file one of the bugs/requests below directly with developers (and to see other bugs and feature requests), please see Mediazilla.

Leading colon bug?[edit source]

The colon ":", where it is the first item in a line, performs an indent function. However, this is no longer the case if it is placed at the front of the very first line in a module. It used to work (all of my German advanced lessons started with an indented instructions paragraph; now they all start with ":This page..."), but just recently ceased working. Functionality is returned if a blank line is added before the line that begins with a colon. Is this a bug or a new quirk? - Marsh 02:27, 28 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Templates and interwiki links[edit source]

Are interwiki links not allowed in mediawiki messages? I have placed

The requirements to this merit badge are copyrighted by the Boy Scouts of America. They are reproduced in part here under fair use as a resource for Scouts and Scouters to use in the earning and teaching of merit badges. The requirements published by the Boy Scouts of America should always be used over the list here. If in doubt about the accuracy of a requirement, consult your Merit Badge Counselor.
Reading this page does not satisfy any requirement for any merit badge. Per National regulations, the only person who may sign off on requirements is a Merit Badge Counselor, duly registered and authorized by the local Council. To obtain a list of registered Merit Badge Counselors, or to begin a Merit Badge, please contact your Scoutmaster or Council Service Center.

On some talk pages, and it clearly doesn't work right, though it displays fine at Template:Meritbadgedisclaimer. TUF-KAT 20:11, 28 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I noticed that headings don't get carried forward from mediawiki pages, but i dunno if thats it. Use this code instead, it works as below:

The requirements to this merit badge are copyrighted by the Boy Scouts of America. 
 They are reproduced in part here under [ fair use]

looks like

The requirements to this merit badge are copyrighted by the Boy Scouts of America. They are reproduced in part here under fair use.

Bug : MSIE runtime errors[edit source]

I keep getting runtime errors when browsing Wikibooks in MSIE: "addcss not defined". It's usually around line 18 of whatever it is causing the error, but sometimes it reports other numbers like 17. I haven't gotten this on any other Wikimedia sites, just Wikibooks. Wikisource, Wikiquote, etc. all load normally. I have the problem on every page of Wikibooks, though. :( --Furrykef 19:22, 25 May 2004 (UTC)[reply]

Bug : "Editing help" popup window is too small[edit source]

I just looked at "Editing help" for a refresher on something. The window that popped up was smaller than I would like and it was set such that I could not resize it. I don't have any idea how hard it is to change such things (is it embedded in the MediaWiki code?), but I thought I'd note my experience. (...and I really like the MediaWiki's new look!) --Rs2 17:31, 1 Jun 2004 (UTC)

What browser/OS are you using? Sj

Bug : User login message[edit source]

The message at the user login page below the "Mail me a new password" button is not shown properly: the anchor tags are seen (altough the links are clickable):

To register, just select a username and password and click "Create new account". For tips on choosing a username, see the <a href="">Username</a> page. Please pick a readable name, not just a number.

If you need more information about logging in, see the <a href="">How to log in</a> page.

Returning users only need to fill in their username and password.

You must have <A HREF="">cookies</A> enabled to log in to Wikibooks.

--surueña 08:23, 2005 Apr 14 (UTC)

Bug : SVG image rendering issue[edit source]

Not sure whether this is a bug on the Wiki systems, or whether it's perhaps a bug with the Chrome internet browser.

I've created a template using the following code.

<templatestyles src="End-user Computer Security/Upvote downvote section links/styles.css" />

<table style="padding:0px;margin:0px">
<tr valign="top" style="padding:0px;margin:0px">
[[Image:Thumbs up font awesome.svg|15px|⬆ Up-vote `{{{sectionname|error: no section name specified}}}` section|link={{urlencode:{{TALKPAGENAME}}}}&action=edit&section=new&preloadtitle=👍%20{{urlencode:{{{sectionname|error: no section name specified}}}}}&preload=Template:End-user_Computer_Security/Upvote_section|class=upvoteicon]]
<td style="padding-top:5px">
[[Image:Thumbs up font awesome.svg|15px|⬇ Down-vote `{{{sectionname|error: no section name specified}}}` section|link={{urlencode:{{TALKPAGENAME}}}}&action=edit&section=new&preloadtitle=👎%20{{urlencode:{{{sectionname|error: no section name specified}}}}}&preload=Template:End-user_Computer_Security/Downvote_section|class=downvoteicon]]

After a while, after using the template a little, all of a sudden, the SVG images just stop appearing, both in template, and where the template has been used. However, if I change the pixel size of one of the images, from being 15px to something else in template code, all of a sudden the images start to appear in the template code (even the other image that still has its size set at 15px). However, the places where the template is used, still don't have their images showing (even though the images appear when viewing the template [preview]). To get the images to appear in the places where the template is used, I've found that all I need to do, is add code to display the SVG image at a resolution other than 15px. Then all of a sudden the template references start to work properly.

After the images start to work, the measures just described used to 'jig' it back into working, can be undone, and the images work fine. However, after a while, the bug reappears and the images just stop appearing again. Performing the measures again 'jig' it back into working, but then again it stops working after a while.

Because of the above 'strange' behaviour, I'm strongly suspecting that this is in fact a bug, rather than something I'm doing wrongly. Perhaps it could be some kind of caching issue?

System on which issue was found:
Internet browser: Google Chrome.
Operating system: ChromeOS, version 76.0.3809.136 (Official Build) (64-bit).
Computer: Acer Chrome C720 series.

This issue seems to be fixed if permanently changing the resolution to 20px (as suggested by Mrjulesd). Probably a scaling issue at Wikibooks's end?

--MarkJFernandes (discusscontribs) 17:01, 30 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]

🏆 Mrjulesd has identified the precise nature of this bug/issue, and suggested a workaround. Details are in his following message:
Yeah I think I've found the problem in the HTML coding, this is the img tag for the thumb up icon:
<img alt="⬆ Up-vote section | error: no section name specified" src="//" decoding="async" width="16" height="16" class="upvoteicon" srcset="// 1.5x, // 2x" data-file-width="512" data-file-height="512" />
The problem is the srcset attribute: one of the icons it accesses (depending on the scaling) is , and that happens to be a blank. So not a direct problem with the MediaWiki software, but a problem with the dataset of images that it tries to accesses from Commons, where there is a missing image.
One work-around would be to access a different icon, there's a definite problem with this one, depending on browser scaling. It might be worth mentioning on Phabricator, if it hasn't been reported before. Jules (Mrjulesd) 10:37, 1 May 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Bug: Relative URLs are not permitted in the links set for images[edit source]

Not 100% sure this is a bug, but for the sake of uniformity, it seems that relative URLs should be allowed in the links set for images, like how they are allowed for links set for text. I'm not a master in Wikibooks editing, so perhaps the issue is more to do with my lack of knowledge. Anyway, being able to set relative URLs for images is useful if you are using an image for an icon. That's what I've been doing, because otherwise the colour scheme for hyperlinked text can ruin the visual aesthetics in a book. If this isn't a bug, please categorise this under feature requests, as it is desirable that this feature be implemented.

--MarkJFernandes (discusscontribs) 11:59, 17 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Feature Requests[edit source]

Searching within a book[edit source]

How do I restrict a search to just one book? JWSchmidt 14:31, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)

There is no way at present to search inside one book. You could approximate it by including the title of the book in your search, but there's no way to limit a search like that. TUF-KAT 22:10, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)
The books at the Entrez Bookshelf have a nice search function. I'm not sure it will be possible to have multiple contributors construct a complex science or technical book without having useful search and indexing for the books. JWSurf 00:20, 16 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I totally agree that we need to have a book-specific search capability. That was part of my argument when the site first started to have the pages structured with the name of the book like this: wiki/bookname/partofbook. However even though motion has not been in that direction, eventually we should have a book-speficic function. For example, now with the MediaWiki Table of Contents feature, each page of each book would have a tag in it linking it back to the TOC, and new software could limit searches to the pages containing that tag. However, we need to wait for the developers to do the work. Those guys are not paid as far as I know and are overwhelmed with work already... but in time it should happen (Karl being hopeful although without specific personal experience with how development process works). --Karl Wick
I don't know that any developer-time has been devoted to designing such a feature, but there definitely needs to be a standard "Search within this book" interface option, even if it is imperfect. Sj 22:16, 9 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Searches can be restricted to a single book by using the prefix: option at the end of the search field. For example, searching for Stephenson prefix:History of Rail Transport finds all pages in the History of Rail Transport that mention Stephenson. More information at WB:SEARCH. — Sam Wilson ( TalkContribs ) … 23:23, 10 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Automatic Numbering[edit source]

Is there a way to do automatic equation numbering? It'd certainly be useful for the maths, and many of the science, books to be able to say 'see eq. 1.4c' (the third numbered equation in section 1.4) but trying to do that by hand is problematic. I'd probably end up with equation labels in the wrong order, and references that didn't match the referents. Using # doesn't work Carandol

No, there isn't. Sorry... You can manually hack in TeX but it isn't pretty. Dysprosia 06:48, 21 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Book-specific Layour Features[edit source]

The Wiki software doesn't seem to have anything specific to writing books. Is any developer working on adding support? As I understand it, even adding a TOC for all the pages in a book has to be done manually. Norman Weiner

Any progress on this? Specifications of desired features? Sj 05:50, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Tags & external program for image generation[edit source]

It would be good idea to have an image tag similar to the math tag. It would make images editable, with the commands inside the tag being processed by an external program to make pngs. Most of the pictures in books are vector graphics anyway, and this would also help keep source files for a book in one place. Comments? Norman Weiner

What do you mean? Like something for SVG? You might want to take feature requests to Sourceforge. Dysprosia 06:06, 24 Apr 2004 (UTC)
It wouldn't have to be SVG. Currently, the math tag contains TeX markup. We could have markup for a graphics program inside a graphics tag. I was hoping that someone in charge here at wikibooks would take it up with the sourceforge developers if there is a consensus. A single request there probably wouldn't be noticed. Norman Weiner
Certainly both this, and automatic numbering would be useful for the more technical books. Wikibooks could use Gnuplot and/or SVG for graphs and diagrams, and support some of Latex's autonumbering features. What would it take to get this adopted? Carandol
What it would take is for someone to check in the code in sourceforge. The math module seems to be a standalone one written in ocaml (!). Norman Weiner

Is there currently a standard program/style for creating diagrams for math/science books? I have looked, and not found any. magefile

My programming skills are too rudimentary to do anything the code. I suppose all we can do is put the requests in and see if anyone follows them up. Carandol

Entry Forms / Online Quizzes[edit source]

It would be nice for the Mediawiki engine to allow simple form creation (popup lists, textboxes, radio buttons) that could eventually be used for things like crude online quizzes or quick entry forms. --DougHolton 21:30, 16 May 2004 (UTC)[reply]

Random Page in Current Language[edit source]

While the "Random Module" feature is nice, I have encountered several pages in languages other than my own. I'd recommend making an option in the preferences to limit the Random Page to the current language.

--Eibwen 06:08, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Hide Own Contributions[edit source]

Another useful filter would be to hide your own contributions -- particularly when you've authored many of the pages listed on the Recent changes page.

--Eibwen 22:20, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Link previews when hovering over links[edit source]

Wikipedia has a really good feature of displaying small previews of linked-to Wikipedia articles, when hovering over any one such hyperlink. The feature seems to be unavailable in Wikibooks. I suggest that this feature be implemented such that link previews automatically happen at least for links to Wikipedia articles.

--MarkJFernandes (discusscontribs) 13:53, 15 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Include a book's formatting skin with a book[edit source]

Sometimes books come with artwork and decoration, that sometimes is also functional. To this end, the selected colour scheme for things like headings and hyperlinks may be an important aspect of the aesthetic decoration as well as of the functional properties of the book. Currently, it appears that you cannot override the colours set for links. I suggest that you permit book formatting skins, published alongside the books—if users then wish to override the book's custom skin, that's fine.

Figured out that you can in fact customise the colours of links at the wikibook authoring end—see Therefore, this feature request is no longer needed.

--MarkJFernandes (discusscontribs) 11:29, 27 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]

More efficient and effective legal notices[edit source]

Every time I perform a page edit, there is a legal statement about the licence and terms that apply. Because such texts are liable to change at any time, each time I perform a page edit, I ought to check to make sure the text hasn't changed since last time. This can be expensive for users. It's true that I could just copy the text, and then do a browser search to see whether the text is exactly the same, but that is also a penalty hit (for users). What would be better, is if the legal notice is displayed just once, and then perhaps there is a checkbox that you check, to instruct Wikibooks not to display the notice except if it changes.

The same also applies to uploads, although uploads are probably handled by Wikimedia Commons rather than Wikibooks.

Most website user agreements are terrible. So don't feel so bad if I criticise your agreements. Anyway, it is a fantastic thing that you have one user agreement across many sites. You should keep this practice up and adopt it as much as possible. It means users often don't have to keep on reading a new agreement when switching to a sister site. Also, another good thing is that you don't frequently update your terms and conditions. This also saves the work users have to expend to use your sites.

If you change your terms and conditions, and there was exactly one previous agreement, you should draw-up two new documents: one document should be simply the new agreement; the other document should be a short amendment document, that simply amends the previous agreement in order to fully inform users of the new agreement, whilst at the same time reducing their overall work in the scenario that they have processed the previous agreement. The user can then choose which document they process, both documents equating to essentially the same user agreement. The same principle applies when several historic versions of the agreement exist. Do not create a 'fluffy' non-legally-binding document that describes the way the agreement has changed. Such documents are generally useless apart from getting a rough idea of how things have changed. And when you can instead create a legally-binding amendment document, that is so much better than such 'fluffy' documents. Always think, how much work will users need to conduct, to get up and running as quickly as possible.

Your legal agreements should go through many iterations in the drafting process, with each iteration simplifying the terms, and improving its readability and usability. Don't think in terms of creating a 'utopia' in writing, but instead in terms of creating a 'utopia' in practice. Many websites and companies make the mistake of creating a 'utopia' in writing, and they often end-up with huge agreements that most people probably ignore. Examples of such companies: Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Microsoft. The purpose of the user agreement is not to tell a story about who you are. Cut the fluff out. The user agreement's purpose is to be a legal contract specifying the legal relationship to get users up and running as quickly as possible.

You should think in terms of shifting the work from the user end, to the provider end, in respect of terms and conditions. This is because, with a poorly written agreement, and a large user base (perhaps a million users), the overall amount of contract-related work conducted by both users and the provider combined, is generally much higher than the work involved in writing good agreements and in the users processing a well-written agreement.

MarkJFernandes (discusscontribs) 09:38, 6 May 2020 (UTC)[reply]

In fact I don't think we've changed our license in very many years. Most of the sisters do use the same license (Wikinews being the only exception I know of, because the nature of news calls for it to be more widely disseminable), and I've heard talk in recent years that many sisters would like to upgrade to the new version (from 3.0 to 4.0?) but there turn out to be compatibility issues between the old and new. There the notices get displayed is, I believe, dictated by Wikimedia Legal, who I've the general impression may tend to professional paranoia. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 12:42, 6 May 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Btw, @MarkJFernandes: as this page is marked "historical", I suggest we pull up all of this and move it to one of the reading rooms. --Pi zero (discusscontribs) 12:47, 6 May 2020 (UTC)[reply]
@Pi zero: 👍 to moving content to reading rooms. Because of copyright issues, we should probably use transclusion rather than copy-and-paste (out of respect for the contributions of the other authors). If you don't do it, I'll probably end-up doing it one of these days. Thanks. 🙏

MarkJFernandes (discusscontribs) 17:03, 6 May 2020 (UTC)[reply]