2018-07-25 17:58 GMT+03:00 Steven White <Koala19890@hotmail.com>:

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.

Thank you very much. Getting feedback like this is my precise intention behind starting this thread.

More replies inline.

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: 

0. Woah, I didn't think it's so many.
1. Having these numbers is super-valuable, thanks.
2. How did you count? Is there a tool?

    • 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.

1. Again, how did you count?
2. Are the terms "active" and "substantial" defined anywhere? Or did you coin them ad hoc for this thread?
3. 500 is quite a lot. If we suddenly create wikis for all of them according to my proposal, this will be a huge sudden addition of languages to the interlanguage links list, at least in a few hundreds articles, and this may be too many to add at once.
4. Do you know what is the per-project breakdown—Wikipedia, Wikivoyage, Wikibooks, etc.?
    • Of the remainder, only 15 had sufficient activity to meet the project approval activity requirement. Perhaps another 15 or so were pretty close. 

Let's approve them[1] :)
    • My estimate (purely an estimate) is that there are rarely more than 40–50 tests with substantial activity at any point in time.

Unlike 500, this sounds like a reasonable addition, although it probably must not be done all in one day. It would still be a pretty big addition to the interlanguage links list, to the list of languages that support Wikidata sitelinks, etc. Spreading the incubator-project creation for a month or two should be reasonable.
  • 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.  

Hmm, that's a slightly tough one. However, I really don't want this discussion to go in the direction of arguing about historical languages policy. Whatever the policy is, I don't want the argument about this to become a blocker for creating a better environment to develop wikis for living languages, which is the intention of my proposal.
  • 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.

Sounds sensible, see above. I even welcome you to create semi-artificial criteria that would put the number of the first test wikis at around 50 :)

Thinking about "getting the bugs out" is a sensible thing to consider, too.

  • Certainly during that period of time Incubator would stay open as usual for all other tests.

Yeah, that's OK.

  • 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? 

I guess that I'd do one of the following:

1. Define what does "a while" mean. For example, we can decide, somewhat arbitrarily, that a project under incubator.wikimedia.org in which there were no edits for over a year, will be considered "dormant" and that a test wiki won't be created for it until somebody asks.
2. Just use case by case intuition.
    • Conversely, many tests open with a flurry of activity (over 1 day to 2 months), then go dormant.

So, here's my theory behind the whole proposal: In the current incubator, people quickly create a bunch of articles on topics that interest them, sometimes with some boilerplate (cities, countries, animals), but but then they get tired of the prefixes, the outdated translation techniques, the weird searching, the missing templates, etc., and give up. Perhaps with a single wiki these difficulties will be alleviated. I know it sounds a bit too optimistic, but at least I want to get rid of these most glaring and arbitrary difficulties, with the hope that it will help people remain active.
    • 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.

Yes, I tend to thing that we should allow to create new subdomains for *eligible* languages right away, so that all of them will get equal treatment as early as possible, from the very first page.

I want editing to be easy for everyone. Including people with bad internet connections, people who only have mobile, people who had never edited wikis in other languages. I don't think that the current Incubator makes anything easy for anyone, but hey, I may be missing something.
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

I'm flexible as to what should be done with incubator.wikimedia.org when the new system is in place. I don't mind if it remains writeable at least for some time, even several years.

If the new system works well, I guess that it will become read-only at some point, but I don't strongly care about when will this happen.

Again, thanks a lot for all the comments!

[1] This was a semi-joke. Please don't start the seven-day countdown. But if they are ready to approve, then perhaps we should look for experts.