I see part of the problem is that the contributors experiencing the biggest
impact arent the same contributors that have the technical skill sets to
appropriately explain and understand the issues. Adding the the need to be
able to make comparisons between other areas of need just makes its even
more difficult. None of us want to be putting forward arguments that say
that the WMF should neglect supporting Wikidata functions so that repairs
can be made to Commons functions, this is a loss for everyone.
I know that the experience of the volunteers who spent 3 months in limbo
trying to get the 2021 Wikimania videos converted and uploaded will feed
back through to WMF hierarchy highlighting, but whether that taken has a
priority needing to be fixed or bug to swatted is unknown. The underlying
issue isnt so much that we need to fix software(though we do) as it is that
we have structural problems in the way the WMF technical team interacts
with each project. With that its ability to keep with the growth and
maintenance necessary to function effectively.
The point I raised is that like many other aspects the software and
technical support along with its communication channels havent effectively
kept up with the needs of the community, not even the wishlist itself can
keep up with it. This is why I said we need to pause and rethink the whole
process, focus on clearing whats on the phabricator while we do so.
The frustration comes from being able to upload a video to the likes of
youtube or vimeo in about 15-20 minutes, where as its takes 30 hours to
convert to webm on proprietary software which I have to pay for and then
10-12 attempts over the space of a week or two to upload the video to
commons. The available tools like Videoconvertor, and Video2Commons are so
unstable that they dont survive the 30 hour conversion process.
On Sun, 2 Jan 2022 at 04:38, Mike Peel <email(a)mikepeel.net> wrote:
That's a good response, but I'm not sure it provides a practical way
forward. How can volunteers bring this issue to the attention of the WMF
leadership to get the allocation of the time of Wikimedia staff who can
take ownership implement changes here?
Presumably emails on these lists have relatively little impact at the
most senior levels, so they aren't a good way forward - and similarly on
The Wishlist provides a way of showcasing issues and a relatively clear
way forward to get them implemented, but with really limited capacity.
How would a case for technical support be made apart from that? It's not
clear if a simple survey would be sufficient. Would an RfC and
discussion on meta help? Does it need the media to be involved to make
it a public crisis? Or should it be proposed as a grant request, perhaps
for a Wikimedia affiliate to implement? Or is there another avenue that
could be persued? Bearing in mind that there's no practical way for
community members to propose changes to the WMF annual plan for multiple
Sorry to defocus things and express more frustration, but I think there
should be a clear way forward with this type of issue, which isn't
obvious right now. Personally, my hopes are on the Wishlist, although
I'll be reposting a 14-year-old issue there for the fifth time when that
process opens on the 10th January...
On 1/1/22 20:10:43, Asaf Bartov wrote:
Writing in my volunteer capacity:
On Sat, 1 Jan 2022, 08:43 Amir Sarabadani <ladsgroup(a)gmail.com
Honestly, the situation is more dire than you think. For example,
until a couple months ago, we didn't have backups for the media
files. There was a live copy in the secondary datacenter but for
example if due to a software issue, we lost some files, they were
gone. I would like to thank Jaime Crespo for pushing for it and
implementing the backups.
But I beat my drum again, it's not something you can fix overnight.
I'm sure people are monitoring this mailing list and are aware of
[My goal in this post is to ficus effort and reduce frustration.]
Yes, people reading here are aware, and absolutely none of them expects
this (i.e. multimedia technical debt and missing features) to be fixed
What's lacking, as you pointed out, is ownership of the problem. To own
the problem, one must have *both* technical understanding of the issues
*and* a mandate to devote resources to addressing them.
It is this *combination* that we don't have at the moment. Lots of
technical people are aware, and some of them quite willing to work
toward addressing the issues, but they are not empowered to set
priorities and commit resources for an effort of that scale, and the
problems, for the most part, don't easily lend themselves to volunteer
It seems to me there are *very few* people who could change status quo,
not much more than a handful: the Foundation's executive leadership (in
its annual planning work, coming up this first quarter of 2022), and the
Board of Trustees.
Therefore, the greatest contribution the rest of us could make toward
seeing this work get resourced is to help make the case to the
executives (including the new CEO, just entering the role) with clear
and compelling illustrations of the *mission impact* of such investment.
In parallel, interested engineers and middle managers could help by
offering rough effort estimates for some components, a roadmap, an
overview of alternatives considered and a rationale for a recommended
But this would all be preparatory and supporting work toward *a
resourcing decision* being made. So long as such a decision isn't made,
no significant work on this can happen.
Finally, while it is easy to agree that *this* is necessary and useful
on its own, to actual resource it in the coming annual plan it would be
necessary to argue that it is *more* useful and necessary than some
*other* work, itself also necessary and useful.
Another thing that may help is being explicit about just how important
this is, even literally saying things like "this would have far more
impact on our X goal than initiative A, B, or C", naming actual
resourced or potentially resourced things. It is sometimes difficult for
managers who aren't practicing Wikimedia volunteers to assess just how
necessary different necessary things are, from different community
And of course, one such opinion, or a handful, would not be a solid base
for resourcing decisions, so perhaps a large-scale ranking survey of
some sort would be helpful, as SJ implicitly suggested in the original
(In my volunteer capacity)
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