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Improving the Wolfram Community Editor

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Hi Vitaliy, 

is your group going to improve the community editor? I mean, it is usable after all, but it's not fun to use it. What browsers do you recommend? I try Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 10 64 bit, and Opera 64 bit on regular base and it's always kicking the hassle. You have to do multiple edit's to get it right and have it look not too bad. Especially the spikey button has some awful intelligence guiding it to reformat things I copy from a Mathematica notebook into it and I want to see it there within spikey's area _without_ _any_ _intelligence_ _of_ _the_ _spikey_ _involved_, because I did use Mathematica  already and Mathematica  is intelligent enough to format things.  Furthermore, "following this discussion" has no impact in the real world, I only once got a mail about a reaction on one of my mailings.

Having said that, let me say that I appreciate Wolfram Community as a source of recreation.

Useful would also be a button directing a hobbyist like me to the questions still having 0 replies.

Sincerely yours
Udo.
POSTED BY: Udo Krause
Answer
6 months ago
I agree that a currently weak point of this site is the editor.  I think it's very difficult to make a WYSIWYG editor quick and convenient to use because of all the "hidden" information behind what we actually see.

I very much prefer the MarkDown based editor on StackExchange, especially with the Mathematica-specific improvements.  It is true that MarkDown takes a bit of effort to learn, but it's not difficult either (it's definitely easier than the markup shown here when clicking the Source button), and once one learns it, I believe it's much quicker and easier to work with than the current Community WYSIWYG editor.

Just to mention some examples of how the current editor is frustrating: it's sometimes difficult to end a certain formatting or text customization.  It happened that I entered a hyperlink, pressed enter, kept typing on the new line, and the text I typed was still part of the link.  When formatting code, sometimes it's broken into several code boxes line by line.  Generally if something is misformatted, it's not trivial to fix (there should at least be a remove all formatting button like in the Gmail editor).
POSTED BY: Szabolcs Horvat
Answer
6 months ago
Thank you very much for your feedback. Yes the Community team is very aware of every single issue you both mentioned. Let me assure you our focus stays put on the issues. And let me address the issues one by one in the order you mentioned them.

Improving the editor – this is one of our primarily goals and we do consider all possibilities including the MarkDown type. Development takes time. I can only ask you to please do not get discouraged and bear with us until will bring things to a better shape. For now I can give you a few tips for more efficient usage of the editor.

  1) Avoid too much rich formatting

  2) 1st click Spikey button, then paste the code in the gray box. Never paste code in the editor, then select it and click Spikey button.

  3) As an alternative to MarkDown style use “Source” mode – accessible via “Source” button. In this mode everything is crystal clear. M-code is placed between

tags. Or, for example, bold text between 

tags. Built-in browser spell checker works. I am going out of “Source” only to make a quick hyperlink or image upload.

  4) Make at least 2 break lines between separate code blocks – otherwise they will join.

Following this discussion – this is quite news to me. I get every single email if anyone comments on post I participated. Could this be your spam folder eating a few of those? Please let me know about specific cases so I could check them out.

Zero replies – it also is very known fact to us. We are working on this currently and you will be able to pull those out easily.

Correcting bad formatting – very well known. For now I would recommend to jump to “Source” mode for simpler approach.

I do not mean to sound like a cliché, but Rome was not built in one day. This is a very interesting project that in future will bit anything known to regular forums with thing like Wolfram Cloud integration and in-post computations. We only ask you to bear with us and support us with your patience, believe and enthusiasm. After all I think the message is much more valuable then pen and the paper. While I agree it is a delight to have a nice pen ;-)
POSTED BY: Vitaliy Kaurov
Answer
5 months ago
Hi Vitaliy! Also to notice is that replying to posts using an iPad is difficult and editing posts is even harder. I use the iPad a lot, and this site works in a peculiar way for me... Good luck!
POSTED BY: C ormullion
Answer
5 months ago
3) and 4) in vitaly's reply is very helpful. That resolves many formatting issue I had for long code. 
POSTED BY: Shenghui Yang
Answer
5 months ago
Following this discussion – this is quite news to me. I get every single email if anyone comments on post I participated. Could this be your spam folder eating a few of those? Please let me know about specific cases so I could check them out.
You won't believe it, Vitaliy, but this very answer of you didn't make it into the e-Mail. The spam folder contains google+ and facebook (fake) messages every day, but no message from Wolfram community.

By the way, the citation button is an example for the issues one has to deal with. 
(1) Click the citation button - ok
(2) Paste in the citation - ok (as shown above)
(3) Try to leave the citation area with key strokes or mouse click - not possible (I did not try combined stroke-clicks with functional key interactions ...)
(4) Find a workaround:
(4.1) Open a second citation area hack around and delete again text
(4.2) The cursor is now hold in the second citation area
(4.3) Open a third citation area and hack and delete again; then - occasional - the third and the second citation area disappear and the cursor is below the first citation area
(4.4) Continue with simple text and produce the answer as it is seen here - ok
POSTED BY: Udo Krause
Answer
5 months ago
The only email I got from this thread was Udo's very last reply.  I haven't received any of the others (they're not in the spam folder).
POSTED BY: Szabolcs Horvat
Answer
5 months ago
I wonder if anyone tried to import a graphic file to a message. I tried it in a number of ways today (copy and paste, drag and drop, or using the editor's "image" button) but none of these worked. Especially the effect of trying to use the "image" widget was truly weird. I tried it on a MacBook Air with Safari, can this be the problem?
POSTED BY: Imre Pázsit
Answer
5 months ago
Until I saw this post I had no idea what the "Source" mode could be used for. The best short-term improvement for the community web site would be to spend an hour or two documenting the functionality that does exist, so we would not have to learn it by trial and error.
POSTED BY: David Keith
Answer
5 months ago
Dear all,

thank you very much for the feedback, this is invaluable for us. We just created a short tutorial on the editor. Please check it out and comment there on what else would you like to see:

How to type up a post: editor tutorial & general tips

@ C ormullion, the site is not optimized for mobile platforms yet. This is coming in the future.

@ David, please see the linked above tutorial 

@ Szabolcs, Udo - we are looking into the notification email issue you mentioned. We will get back to you.
POSTED BY: Moderation Team
Answer
5 months ago
Thank you. That's a big help!
Best regards,
David
POSTED BY: David Keith
Answer
5 months ago
I agree, a good hint of David and a useful hands-on tutorial. So let's go ahead with the "Source" mode as programmers are used to do ...
POSTED BY: Udo Krause
Answer
5 months ago
Yes it is a good help, it was good that David induced it. It does not though contain the solution to my question (which I must admit was not fully specified, see below) on the importing of images. It was solved kindly by Vitaliy in mail correspondence (since I also sent an inquiry on "Feedback"). The solution is that only PNG, JPG and GIF formats can be uploaded, whereas I tried to upload a tiff file (the default type that the screen capture app "Grab" produces on my Mac). I thought the problem was with the browser and/or the operating system, but I was not. Please add this specification into the "Tutorial and general tips", not the least since the advice "illustrate your posts with images" appears in it. Thanks!Imre
POSTED BY: Imre Pázsit
Answer
5 months ago
@Imre, don't use the Grab utility in OS X to save screenshots.  Use the keyboard shortcuts instead.  These will give you PNG files, and they're more convenient to use.  TIFF files are not compatible with most web browsers so they'd need to be converted before they can be displayed.  JPEG, GIF and PNG can be displayed directly, so most websites will only allow these.

@Moderation Team:  It seems the email issue is still present today.
POSTED BY: Szabolcs Horvat
Answer
5 months ago
@Szabolcs we are looking into this currently. Did you experience this on other thread discussions too or only this one?
POSTED BY: Moderation Team
Answer
5 months ago
@Szabolcs,
(Shall we correspond in Hungarian? emoticon ). Thank you for the tips. I did not know that the shortcuts generate png, of course it is more direct. However it is no problem to convert a tiff to jpg, this is what I did when I started a discussion in another subject recently:
http://community.wolfram.com/groups/-/m/t/151252?p_p_auth=WZZr2ryb
POSTED BY: Imre Pázsit
Answer
5 months ago
I got the notification email just now.  I experienced it in this thread earlier, but I did get your update just a minute ago.
POSTED BY: Szabolcs Horvat
Answer
5 months ago
@Imre,

You can find my email address here. :-) (I won't write in plain text to reduce the amount of spam I get.)
POSTED BY: Szabolcs Horvat
Answer
5 months ago
I found another problem with the editor.  I can't type the following unless I put it in a code box:
Ordering[f[list]]
I think the problematic part is
[list]
as it gets stripped when I try to publish the post.  This shouldn't happen when I use the visual (not source) editor.
POSTED BY: Szabolcs Horvat
Answer
2 months ago
That is a known issue and exactly why we need the codebox. We do not have in-line functionality yet for this (though we are working on it) and BBCode interpreter sometimes makes content inside square brackets become invisible. These constructs are native for BBCode. We are working on this and thank you very much for caring and bringing these things to our attention.
POSTED BY: Moderation Team
Answer
2 months ago
Does somebody test the community editor from outside ... since one or two weeks copy and paste from a Mma notebook into the spikey area of a post does not work anymore with Opera 64 Bit (Version 12.16,  Build 1860, Platform x64, System Windows 7), Mma version is 9.0.1. Google Chrome does it.
POSTED BY: Udo Krause
Answer
2 months ago
Is there any way to attach a notebook to a post, or to send a notebook to another community member?
POSTED BY: David Keith
Answer
2 months ago
Yes you can attach a file to your posts and comments. This is public sharing and these files then can be accessed by anyone.
POSTED BY: Moderation Team
Answer
1 month ago
The appended is a copy and paste of a reply/post  I made on: "How to type up a post"
I noticed that that "discussion" had not been active for some months.  My post, though perhaps more of a comment, has actual questions in the last itemized ist (and the post script).
I could have posted this as a separate question, however these threads appeared to be question and answer sessions.

Dear Moderation Team,
Thank you very much for this post.  I was going to provide feedback but found other users making the same observations.  I am glad 
  1. The common issues came to surface
  2. The prompt response

The interface is clearly laid out and the Source button is extremely helpful in editing when things are complex or go wrong, e.g. I found it invaluable for this post (admittedly it did not require all this formatting, esp nested enumerated lists but I was experimenting).

There still seem to be issues with uploading animated gifs. However, this may be my machine. I do not receive any email notifications and I have not been aware of any flag or marker to indicate a reply to a comment thread. The latter may reflect that no-one has replied. However, I know I only became aware of a reply (my one and only) by chance rather than design (my one and only reply here some 5 months ago).

Finally some minor questions:
  • is the in-line Mathematica markup or a convention, e.g. bold font for in-built Mathematica functions?
  • is there LaTeX support (in-line or display mode)?
  • is some formal mutual interaction/recognition/cross-fertilization between Wolfram Community and Mathematica Stack exchange underway?
With respect to the last question: obviously, there are cross posted questions (I hyperlinked one above) and users of both (I have to date learned an enormous amount from Stackexchange and hope to continue to and I see a number of common users).

Thank you again for this very helpful post.

Post script

  • It appears that this BBCode does not support \[latex\] tag for markup.
  • The frequently used commands help regarding BBCode incorrectly repeats \[mcode\] for code blocks whereas \[code\] is what is produced when just putting non-Mathematica code
POSTED BY: Mark Dooris
Answer
1 month ago