On Tue, Jul 28, 2015 at 5:28 AM, Liam Wyatt <liamwyatt(a)gmail.com> wrote:
TL;DR - Objectively measurable criteria. Clear
process. No surprises.
The context of my giving the example of Vector as a
good example *of
process* was after the presentation about the future of 'Flow' at
Wikimania. I highly recommend people read the slides of this session if
you've not already - great stuff! In particular, I was talking about how
the Usability Initiative team were the first to use an opt-in Beta process
at the WMF. It was the use of iterative development, progressive rollout,
and closed-loop feedback that made their work a successful *process*. I
wasn't talking about the Vector skin per-se
And I DO remember the process, and the significance
that was attached to
it by the team (which included Trevor Parscal), because in 2009 I
interviewed the whole team in person for the Wikipedia Weekly podcast.
 Sorry - I can't find the file anymore though.
This was the page:
Liam, great response! You gave me a great excuse to weigh in with a little
story of my own experience with the rollout, and a link to a video.
In 2010, I had long been an active Wikipedian, albeit never nearly as
active as many of the more famous around here. However, I was a brand new
contractor hoping to get hired by WMF. I was living in Seattle, and
*frequently* flying down to San Francisco because WMF hadn't learned yet
how to have anyone doing anything remotely management-related as a remote
On my first(?) working trip to the San Francisco office, I got the chance
to go to a talk given in at Xerox PARC by Tomasz Finc, Eugene Kim, and
We all piled into Priyanka Dhanda's car, and she drove us down to Palo Alto.
I was very impressed with how WMF was thinking about it at the time. Maybe
it was my rose-tinted glasses being a new guy, but I had spent enough
to make single-vendor, commercially-driven open source work
<http://www.oscon.com/oscon2008/public/schedule/detail/4400>, that I was
giddy to be working at a place where there was a significant and thriving
community behind the development of the software. WMF had many problems
with it's paid/unpaid developer relationship (see the "[Foundation-l]
Community, collaboration, and cognitive biases"
started by Erik Möller and my participation in it
see my thinking on it), but those problems were *interesting* in a way that
I had gotten tired of dealing with in corporate open source.
At that time in general, many in the office practically seemed to have PTSD
with respect to their community interactions. I can't blame them. We
hadn't learned nearly as much as we know now about to speak publicly about
what we're doing. We're clearly not perfect now, but we had a 5 years less
experience, and a fraction of the people involved. Employees were
*expected* to be as productive as their commercial counterparts, and
communicate far more broadly about their daily activity, with far less
structure and support from the organization.
That's not meant as a knock on the people that were employed here back
then; they worked hard and heroically. It's also not a knock on the
volunteers who worked (and continue to work) tirelessly to deal with the
issues created in supporting such a huge set of sites without the tools.
budget and day job available to their paid counterparts at commercial
websites. We're all trying to do something really hard. There are lessons
to be learned from commercial counterparts, but let's not beat ourselves up
too badly for not coming out of the gate at their level.
I haven't gone back and watched it to see how impressed I am now, but Liam
is almost certainly correct. There was some great thinking happening
there, and in particular, I think Trevor's talk about the Vector rollout
may be a good proxy for the interview that Liam is referring to. See the
video for yourself: PARC Forum: How Wikimedia is scaling open source
Thanks for cc'ing me Jonathan, I wouldn't have seen this otherwise.
Note: I had to explicitly add Liam (again) on this response due to reply-to
munging here. At the risk of thread hijacking, I suggest everyone tempted
to lecture me about email handling read “Reply-To” Munging Still Considered
p.s. Liam's other footnotes:
>  https://blog.wikimedia.org/2010/05/13/a-new-look-for-wikipedia/