*tl;dr: We'll be stripping all content contained inside brackets from the
first sentence of articles in the Wikipedia app.*
The Mobile Apps Team is focussed on making the app a beautiful and engaging
reader experience, and trying to support use cases like wanting to look
something up quickly to find what it is. Unfortunately, there are several
aspects of Wikipedia at present that are actively detrimental to that goal.
One example of this are the lead sentences.
As mentioned in the other thread on this matter
lead sentences are poorly formatted and contain information that is
detrimental to quickly looking up a topic. The team did a quick audit
the information available inside brackets in the first sentences, and
typically it is pronunciation information which is probably better placed
in the infobox rather than breaking up the first sentence. The other
problem is that this information was typically inserted and previewed on a
platform where space is not at a premium, and that calculation is different
on mobile devices.
In order to better serve the quick lookup use case, the team has reached
the decision to strip anything inside brackets in the first sentence of
articles in the Wikipedia app.
Stripping content is not a decision to be made lightly. People took the
time to write it, and that should be respected. We realise this is
controversial. That said, it's the opinion of the team that the problem is
pretty clear: this content is not optimised for users quickly looking
things up on mobile devices at all, and will take a long time to solve
through alternative means. A quicker solution is required.
The screenshots below are mockups of the before and after of the change.
These are not final, I just put them together quickly to illustrate what
I'm talking about.
- Before: http://i.imgur.com/VwKerbv.jpg
- After: http://i.imgur.com/2A5PLmy.jpg
If you have any questions, let me know.
Associate Product Manager, Mobile Apps
At the Dev Summit, Birgit Müller and I will run a session on Growing the
MediaWiki Technical Community. If you're attending, we hope you will
consider joining us.
Everyone (attending the Dev Summit or not) is welcome and encouraged to
participate at https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T183318 (please comment
there, rather than by email).
We are discussing the following questions:
* What would allow you to develop and plan your software more efficiently?
* What would make software development more fun for you?
* What other Open Source communities do we share interests with?
* How can we change our processes to take technical debt more seriously?
"Develop" means any kind of work on a software system, including design,
Our topics are:
* Better processes and project management practices, integrating all
developers and allowing them to work more efficiently
* Building partnerships with other Open Source communities on shared
interests (e.g. translation, audio, video)
* Reducing technical debt
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Adam Baso <abaso(a)wikimedia.org>
Date: Thu, Jan 18, 2018 at 6:38 AM
Subject: [Input requested] Knowledge as a Service at the Wikimedia
Developer Summit 2018
To: Wikimedia developers <wikitech-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
(And thank you for patience with me cross-posting if you're on other lists.)
I'm writing to invite your input on the following Phabricator task ahead of
next week's Wikimedia Developer Summit 2018  session.
Knowledge as a Service
The purpose  of the Wikimedia Developer Summit 2018 sessions is to
provide guidance for Phase 2 of the Movement Strategic Direction  on
buildout of technology capabilities. We'd really love your thoughts to help
set context for our session next week, as Knowledge as a Service is a
primary consideration in the Movement Strategic Direction.
What is Knowledge as a Service? Its essence is about information
architecture approaches and the necessary software that will ultimately
allow content consumption and creation to radiate to new and different
types of interfaces and devices in addition to browser-based approaches. As
you review position papers from attendees  you'll notice that the way
they (myself included) think about best solving this is through a heavy
emphasis on technology that makes it easier to better structure information
and its metadata for re-use, remixing, and querying.
What might this mean? Does it mean we should build Wikimedia software in an
API- and metadata-first manner following industry standards compatible with
content structuration? Does it mean weaving our existing structured and
semi-structured data technologies together? How do we build technology that
can ensure successful collaboration between communities on increasingly
structured and interdependent information sources? And how can we ensure
the tech will bolster growth of multilingual and multimedia content
creation and consumption?
I've copied some of the essential material from the Movement Strategic
Direction concerning Knowledge as a Service so you have it here. We would
appreciate your input and hope you will subscribe to the Phabricator task
to contribute and follow along as we explore this topic.
The following content is copied from https://meta.wikimedia.org/
Knowledge as a service: To serve our users, we will become a platform that
serves open knowledge to the world across interfaces and communities. We
will build tools for allies and partners to organize and exchange free
knowledge beyond Wikimedia. Our infrastructure will enable us and others to
collect and use different forms of free, trusted knowledge.
As technology spreads through every aspect of our lives, Wikimedia's
infrastructure needs to be able to communicate easily with other connected
As a platform, we need to transform our structures to support new formats,
new interfaces, and new types of knowledge. We have a strategic opportunity
to go further and offer this platform as a service to other institutions,
beyond Wikimedia. In a world that is becoming more and more connected,
building the infrastructure for knowledge gives others a vested interest in
our success. It is how we ensure our place in the larger network of
knowledge, and become an essential part of it. As a service to users, we
need to build the platform for knowledge or, in jargon, provide knowledge
as a service.
Knowledge as a service: A platform that serves open knowledge to the world
across interfaces and communities
Our openness will ensure that our decisions are fair, that we are
accountable to one another, and that we act in the public interest. Our
systems will follow the evolution of technology. We will transform our
platform to work across digital formats, devices, and interfaces. The
distributed structure of our network will help us adapt to local contexts.
We will build tools for allies and partners to organize and exchange free
knowledge beyond Wikimedia.
We will continue to build the infrastructure for free knowledge for our
communities. We will go further by offering it as a service to others in
the network of knowledge. We will continue to build the partnerships that
enable us to develop knowledge we can't create ourselves.
Our infrastructure will enable us and others to collect and use different
forms of free, trusted knowledge.
We will build the technical infrastructures that enable us to collect free
knowledge in all forms and languages. We will use our position as a leader
in the ecosystem of knowledge to advance our ideals of freedom and
fairness. We will build the technical structures and the social agreements
that enable us to trust the new knowledge we compile. We will focus on
highly structured information to facilitate its exchange and reuse in
Hello mobile Wikimedians,
A minor update for the Wikipedia app for iOS is now available on the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wikipedia/id324715238?ls=1&mt=8
This version fixes minor issues with image loading, particularly when connections are interrupted or the app is backgrounded.
Product manager, Wikipedia for iOS