As I wrote at the phabricator task, I agree in principle. But the devil is in the details,
of course, and as one of the couple of people who are de facto running Incubator right
now, I need to be involved in all of this.
One of the things that this discussion has me thinking about, though, is whether Incubator
should actually be effectively closed and locked, or whether there should be three tiers:
projects, incubating projects, and then Incubator. Here's why I'm thinking along
these lines (even if only as a transition step):
* As of the last major evaluation of Incubator (last winter), there were 1,020 tests
on Incubator with at least one valid page of content. One was the most recently exported
project, which we generally keep as a duplicate on Incubator for administrative reasons.
Of the other 1,019:
* 502 (49%) were either "active" (defined as one new page creation since
the beginning of 2017) or "substantial" (defined as having at least 25 mainspace
pages), or both. This included two that were approved but awaiting creation at the time.
* Of the remainder, only 15 had sufficient activity to meet the project approval
activity requirement. Perhaps another 15 or so were pretty close.
* My estimate (purely an estimate) is that there are rarely more than 40–50 tests
with substantial activity at any point in time.
* Incubator also provides a certain buffer zone around tests that are kind of
borderline with respect to the current Language Proposal Policy. Many such projects are
all the same very legitimate tests with communities working on them, and meet
Incubator's less restrictive rules for creating tests.
Many of the projects in this category are Wikipedias in historical languages, and a
handful of those are quite active.
* Looking at the above, I'm pretty sure that at least at the beginning, we should
only move out the most active projects, perhaps 20 to no more than about 50. This way, we
can get the bugs out without having created 500 or so incubation subdomains. Certainly
during that period of time Incubator would stay open as usual for all other tests. After
that, I think there are some serious things to think about:
* If a test is fairly substantial (25 pages? 100 pages?), do we create the
incubation subdomain even if the test has been dormant for a while?
* Conversely, many tests open with a flurry of activity (over 1 day to 2 months),
then go dormant. Going forward, do we really want to create incubation subdomains for
these right away, and then have them go dark? Or do we want there to be some kind of
threshold for creating incubation subdomains? And if there's some kind of threshold,
then Incubator needs to remain alive for projects not yet there.
What I think makes a lot of sense is for the most active, close-to-ready tests to move
into incubation subdomains, where they can start having access to Wikidata, get rid of
prefixes, and so forth. I'm not sure that means there isn't a place for Incubator
as a place for projects to get started in the extreme early stages.
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