I find this conversation worrying.
On 21/07/15 17:52, Ryan Lane wrote:
Trevor Parscal <tparscal@...> writes:
> I also believe that iterating on Vector is highly preferable tointroducing a
> new skin.
Ideally, each new skin that is introduced is an interation on the
previous. What worked well is maintained and built upon, what didn't is
changed. We don't ever want to simply throw out what we have.
But we also need to find a point to break off and actually make it into
a new one. Keep going in the direction of winter (or whatever), and
there comes a point when it simply is not Vector anymore - and that's
fine, but there's no reason to take the Vector that was away from those
who legitimately liked it, either. We allow users (including third-party
users) their preferences, and there is historical value, too, in keeping
the older styles around in some form.
Vector really is a skin that was implemented specifically for
production use and is now a battle tested platform from which to build upon.
Also, the UX improvements that were made over Monobook, the status quo at
the time, were based on usability research. This is a practice we should
continue with for future changes.
"battle tested" == outdated and
relatively unchanged in nearly 7 years. The
web evolves and Wikimedia does not (at least for readers).
Aye, we do need to move on. But there are also lessons in what has
lingered all this time - we need to look at it and understand why in
order to properly address it and serve the underlying needs. This is why
we iterate on what's there, and don't only make drastically new things.
I know that
it's sometimes exciting to people to make dramatic reveals of
proposals for sweeping changes. It's also fun to get excited about
them. However, this grand-unveiling boil-the-ocean approach never works out
in practice. It unnecessarily strains design, developement and community
engagement efforts. It is wasteful and wreckless. It is arrogant and
ignorant. It's not who we are, and it's not how we do things.
actually works amazingly well in practice for most organizations. Maybe
Wikimedia /should/ be this and maybe it /should/ be how Wikimedia does
We are not most organisations; where many answer to external
stakeholders, and the consumers are simply the product, that is not so
here. Wikimedia doesn't just answer to its communities, it IS the
communities - all of them, the various projects, the WMF, GLAM, even
dark corners of Commons and random people doing meetups for editathons -
and its purpose is not profit, but education via a tenable, usable end
result of efforts from all of them.
Isn't a motto of the movement "Be bold"?
What happened to that?
Maybe we should change things to "Be careful; it's scary to change".
Neither of these work without the other. Being bold, you must be
careful, or it will blow up in your face. Being careful gets you nowhere
without also being bold.
was based heavily on Monobook, and in every way in which early
versions of Vector deviated from Monobook, without just cause, it was
"fixed" to be more similar. This was not wrong. Making arbitrary changes was
wrong. Starting from scratch is even worse.
Only because the community is scared
of change. Every community is, though.
People got used to Vector and they'd get used to Winter after a month or
two. This happens frequently to other major sites. The thing you need to
keep in mind is that you need to actually hold strong for a few months until
people get used to things, while fixing legitimate bugs.
"The community is scared of change" seems to be a common excuse from
those too scared to work with communities outside of their own.
And many communities do propose change - some changes are good, some not
so good, some need more resources to ever actually work. Just shoving
things down people's throats, however, does not work. Consider the
multimedia viewer, which needed an overhaul for copyrights alone and is
still problematic to date. Consider visual editor when it was first
released; even now, when it is so much more powerful, it isn't even
available by default on many major wikis. Consider the typography
refresh, which has been piecemeally reverted over the course of months.
Then look at extensions like massmessage, abusefilter,
timedmediahandler, apisandbox, globalcssjs, and others which considered
the use cases and worked with the end users to make a sensible product
with little reason to reject it. These may be smaller changes, or less
reader-facing, but the way they were developed, never even mind how they
were introduced, is particularly important. People were involved,
problems were considered.
If you want to know what the "community" is afraid of, it's not change.
It's things being developed entirely without them even in mind, getting
shoved at them forcefully, and breaking what workflows they have. Unlike
for some organisations, these are not simply users we profit off of
while they amuse themselves, but volunteers donating their time, effort,
and content, and they are the ones you should be concerning yourself
with always. Not the readers, them.
We make the content work for the readers so that the volunteers' efforts
are not in vain.
carefully continue along the path of iterating on Vector. We should
gradually converge it's styling and implementation with that of OOjs
UI. We should continue improving usability and accessibility on a variety of
form factors. We should perform research and base changes on the findings it
produces. This will enable us to move forward with minimal cost, and far
It's sad that Wikimedia has given up on users.
Who has given up? The fact that we are even having this conversation
seems pretty clear evidence that we haven't just yet.