A couple weeks ago, I found a pretty neat idea I’ve been trying to incorporate into my improvements to the MediaWiki watchlist. Arun Ganesh made this mockup screenshot demonstrating potential enhancements to the watchlist, most notably a visual edit summary bar that breaks down gross changes to an article’s character count as a percentage of the whole article, replacing the net change number.
So what would it take to implement this idea? Well, to start, a Diff object is necessary to determine how the article changes, taking a count of added, removed, and unchanged characters by paragraph. This count could occur right after a revision is made, and the data could be stored in three variables (rev_len_added, rev_len_deleted, and rev_len_unch) in the revision table of the database. I don’t believe this approach would significantly decrease performance. This aid (similar to the like/dislike bar on Youtube) is more intuitive for new editors who track article evolution over time, or simply more informative for combating vandalism.
Have any suggestions for this component of my project? Please leave a comment on this post. For the next few days, I’ll be testing various approaches to grouping in watchlists, but I will return to this idea soon.