While I agree in principle with what Nihiltres states, it doesn't help us
very much. There is so much resentment that has built up on several sides,
that I don't see how we are going to get past that.
Also the scaling required to fulfill everyone's wishes using the stated
methodology is huge. Think in the order of putting at least 25 people on
requirements analyses, design and technology work for a year. My gut
feeling, based on years of Dev and Wikimedia experience tells me that this
would be a bigger project than VE. Which is of course insane with it being
'just' a skin, but it's the only way we can right this ship, unless a lot
of people learn something about the virtues of imperfection.
On Fri, Jul 24, 2015 at 10:17 AM, Nihiltres <nihiltres(a)ataraxic.net> wrote:
On 2015-07-23, at 8:49 PM, Jon Robson wrote:
sounds like a problem with process, not a problem with Vector.
And this is the crux of the matter in my opinion and what I am asking.
How do people think we should improve this process? We do a lot of
lamenting and defending on this list but never seem to offer action
items... any bold offers about how we reverse this anti-pattern?
We need the *process* to be more obvious, and the *principles* behind the
changes agreed-upon. I'll elaborate, but first, some context…
On 2015-07-24, at 1:40 AM, Ryan Lane wrote:
What I'm saying is that there should be a
process to make an interface
change directed at readers, with stated test results, A/B tested, and
adopted if testing meets the criteria of the test results. The editor
community should have little to no say in the process, except to suggest
experiments or question obviously incorrect test results.
The basic idea is that through proper testing of features you should be
to know an experience is better for the readers
without them having a
An example: Make search more discoverable. Add a feature or make an
interface change to test this. A/B test it. See if the frequency of
usage increased. See if it adversely affected
other metrics. If it helped
search usage and didn't negatively affect other metrics, adopt the
The issue is that there will be a vocal minority of people who absolutely
hate this change, no matter what it is. These people should be ignored.
This is *exactly* the sort of issue that leads to conflict. Some parts
The editor community should have little to no say
in the process
a vocal minority
These people should be ignored.
A/B testing is one thing, but our problems are *social*, are *political*,
and that's precisely what I see above. This is not a productive approach,
because it pits stakeholders against one another. Wikipedia is not a
*competition*, it's supposed to be a *collaboration*. It's even worse when
it's framed in the otherwise reasonable context of A/B testing, because
that conceals the part of it that has one particular subset of stakeholders
decide what metrics (e.g. search) are important. While I do disagree, I
don't mean to argue specifically against Ryan Lane's position here—I'm just
using it as an example of positions that exacerbate the social problems. It
doesn't matter in what ways he or I are right or wrong on the approach if
it's going to lead to another conflict.
If we ignore people, or worse, specifically disenfranchise them, that's
sure to lead to conflict when the interested stakeholders pursue their
interests and thus become that "vocal minority". Rather, we need an obvious
process, backed by principles that most of everyone can agree on, so that
we don't hit catches like one-sided priorities. Yes, we do need to figure
out how to make sure that reader interests are represented in those
principles. If the shared process and shared principles lead us to
something that some people don't agree with, *then* there might be a
justification to tell that minority to stuff it in the name of progress.
I'll leave off there, because the next thing I intuitively want to go onto
involve my personal views, and those aren't relevant to this point (they
can wait for later). Instead: a question: what *principles* ought to
underpin designs moving forward from Vector? If we can't work through
disagreements there, we're going to see objections once an unbalanced set
of principles are implemented in design patterns.
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