Proposal:WYSIWYG default editor

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The status of this proposal is:
Request for Discussion / Sign-Ups

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Edit this page to help identify the priorities related to this proposal!

  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation

This is a featured proposal.
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This is a proposal to improve all projects in all languages.


WYSIWIG ("What You See Is What You Get") as applied to Wikipedia, would mean that the editor's window would look much like the final article. That is, when a user clicks "edit", they see a page that looks like the article, instead of code. The edits can be made directly to this formatted page. An example of a commonly-used WYSIWIG editor is Microsoft Word.


Set the default editor to WYSIWYG-mode. The traditional editor should still be available. There could also be two separate edit tabs at the top of each Wikipedia article: Edit (code) and Edit (styled). Alternatively, within the editor toolbar, there could be a button to enable/disable WYSIWYG mode. The latter method is seen in websites like Blogger.

Proof of concept

A version of this page is published on Google Docs. The edit button for that page is at the bottom right of the page. Clicking the button opens a WYSIWYG editor.

The permissions for that page have now been set to allow anyone to view the page, and, to allow anyone to edit that page.
There is one caveat by allowing anyone to edit without signing in. Before anyone is allowed the revision history can be seen. After allowing anyone to edit, the revision history is only visible if you're signed in.
Another sample is a featured article, now visible and editable in a 'rich text editing' environment, including samples of tables, references and images.

Here is a test rich editor


Wikipedia code, although relatively simple, can get very scary and difficult to edit for people who are not used to reading code. This is especially true when many tables, images and templates are present. If the default editor were in WYSIWYG-mode, editing would be accessible to more users. It would possible expand the demographic of the user base.

Potential Benefits

  1. Accessibility: improved
  2. Convenience: improved for many users
  3. Demographics: Broader demographic of editors (opens to people less computer-savvy)
  4. Reliability of content: For example, it would be easier for an expert, spotting an error, to quickly change it (benefits to reliability of Wikipedia).
  5. Cross-linguistic: Editor would not be language-specific (whereas the code markup is sometimes in English and needs to be translated)

Key Questions

  • Google Docs provides online or cloud computing and allows online collaboration on documents, with a WYSIWYG interface. Is what Google Docs offers something we're looking for? At least, Google Docs, shows feasibility of WYSIWYG editing of online documents! Could there be some way we can learn from Google's coding experience?

Potential costs

The cost of developing a WYSIWYG editor. It is very likely that there is open source code that can be modified to suit Wikimedia's needs. It's possible that a Wikipedia WYSIWYG editor already exists. This is a proposal to make it the default, with the goal of increasing the editor base.


Community Discussion

Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal Talk:WYSIWYG default editor.

Want to work on this proposal?

  1. Robert Will 21:19, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
  2. .. Sign your name here!