to increase accountability and create more opportunities for course
corrections and resourcing adjustments as necessary, Sue's asked me
and Howie Fung to set up a quarterly project evaluation process,
starting with our highest priority initiatives. These are, according
to Sue's narrowing focus recommendations which were approved by the
- Visual Editor
- Mobile (mobile contributions + Wikipedia Zero)
- Editor Engagement (also known as the E2 and E3 teams)
- Funds Dissemination Committe and expanded grant-making capacity
I'm proposing the following initial schedule:
- Editor Engagement Experiments
- Visual Editor
- Mobile (Contribs + Zero)
- Editor Engagement Features (Echo, Flow projects)
- Funds Dissemination Committee
We’ll try doing this on the same day or adjacent to the monthly
metrics meetings , since the team(s) will give a presentation on
their recent progress, which will help set some context that would
otherwise need to be covered in the quarterly review itself. This will
also create open opportunities for feedback and questions.
My goal is to do this in a manner where even though the quarterly
review meetings themselves are internal, the outcomes are captured as
meeting minutes and shared publicly, which is why I'm starting this
discussion on a public list as well. I've created a wiki page here
which we can use to discuss the concept further:
The internal review will, at minimum, include:
Team members and relevant director(s)
So for example, for Visual Editor, the review team would be the Visual
Editor / Parsoid teams, Sue, me, Howie, Terry, and a minute-taker.
I imagine the structure of the review roughly as follows, with a
duration of about 2 1/2 hours divided into 25-30 minute blocks:
- Brief team intro and recap of team's activities through the quarter,
compared with goals
- Drill into goals and targets: Did we achieve what we said we would?
- Review of challenges, blockers and successes
- Discussion of proposed changes (e.g. resourcing, targets) and other
- Buffer time, debriefing
Once again, the primary purpose of these reviews is to create improved
structures for internal accountability, escalation points in cases
where serious changes are necessary, and transparency to the world.
In addition to these priority initiatives, my recommendation would be
to conduct quarterly reviews for any activity that requires more than
a set amount of resources (people/dollars). These additional reviews
may however be conducted in a more lightweight manner and internally
to the departments. We’re slowly getting into that habit in
As we pilot this process, the format of the high priority reviews can
help inform and support reviews across the organization.
Feedback and questions are appreciated.
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation
Support Free Knowledge: https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
for those of you who do not watch the RecentChanges on the Foundation
wiki <https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Special:RecentChanges>, I
think it might be somehow surprising to see that in a top-level
decision, almost all volunteer administrators of the wiki have been
stripped off their adminship yesterday evening (UTC time).
As far as I know, community members have been helping out maintaining
this wiki for as long as 2006, spending countless hours of their free
time on categorising existing pages, importing translations from Meta,
and recently, deleting unnecessary and broken pages left over by WMF staff.
Apparently, this is something that not only isn't appreciated, but
unwelcome. Let me repeat that: the WMF does not wish volunteers to help
out with running their wiki, even if they have been helping out almost
since the very start of the wiki.
Some questions come to my mind right now:
1) Who made the decision to remove adminship from all community members?
(I'm assuming it was Gayle, but it could've be someone from the
Communications department for all we know.)
2) Why did you make this decision now? What changed?
3) Why did you decide to desysop people straight away instead of
discussing things with them first?
These are questions directed at the WMF—for you regular folks, I have a
riddle (I'll give a WikiLove barnstar to the first person to submit a
correct answer). There is /at least/ one community member who does not
hold any official position within the WMF, and who has not been
desysopped in yesterday's purge—do you know who this person is?
I have finally uploaded my Wikimania talk to Commons. It took some time to
add links and explanatory notes that were spoken aloud at Wikimania, hence
If you have read it elsewhere (I had to upload my speaking copy to a
temporary space for the venue computer to present from, but it was not
meant for reading, and was not shared by me), I encourage you to read this
expanded version -- it will make a lot more sense.
If you have linked to the temporary copy somewhere, please do change the
link or re-share with this full version.
I welcome discussion and questions.
Wikimedia Foundation <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>
Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the
sum of all knowledge. Help us make it a reality!
WMF researchers have agreed to participate in an office hour about WMF research projects and methodologies.
The currently scheduled participants are:
* Aaron Halfaker, Research Analyst (contractor)
* Jonathan Morgan, Research Strategist (contractor)
* Evan Rosen, Data Analytics Manager, Global Development
* Haitham Shammaa, Contribution Research Manager
* Dario Taraborelli, Senior Research Analyst, Strategy
We'll meet on IRC in #wikimedia-office on April 22 at 1800 UTC. Please join us.
As mentioned after Sue's announcement of her intention to depart the Foundation we will try to ensure transparency in the work of the Transition Team where possible (and respect privacy where necessary). To that end I would like to draw you attention to a set of recent changes made to the Transition Team pages on Meta:
These changes include a preliminary timeline, FAQ and an invitation to add people to the "connectors list". Please feel free to add more questions and other discussion points. We expect to add more information (such as the choice we made with regards to the Search firm that will assist us) in the coming week.
Jan-Bart de Vreede
Chair Executive Director Transition Team
On Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 9:11 AM, Nathan <nawrich(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> I think your anti-Americanism is misplaced. Let's look at some of the
> key people involved in the VisualEditor project. Erik is German, James
> F is British, Roan Kattouw is Dutch, Timo Tijhof is Dutch. If you were
> to skim the list of the engineering staff, they are extremely diverse,
> with many remote employees throughout Europe and a number of relocated
> Europeans (and others) working in San Francisco. So I think your
> implication that the VE is some element of arrogant American
> imperialism is false, and you should retract it so that others will
> continue to take your feedback seriously.
I don't agree with Romaine's view that it is a cultural problem, but it is
true that the WMF management seems to prefer to have all development
concentrated in SF. As you say: "a number of relocated Europeans (and
others) working in San Francisco." This concentration of resources in only
one place is not healthy.
And it has additional problems like finding technical staff at a reasonable
price there and having to relocate people from all over the world, when
some development centers could be open at other locations too, which might
Why is this not done? Wikidata is being developed that way, so it is
possible. Is there anything against repeating the experience?
+1 to this question.
If we learn that there are items where we are invited to the MediaWiki and some estimates how many e.g. developerdays we would need to finance so we know it is possible.
However, we should mind that most of the chapters are not really development houses and we are lacking experience in this area.
28 lipca 2013 5:41 Craig Franklin <cfranklin(a)halonetwork.net> napisał(a):
> > Hi Erik (and whomever from WMDE),
> For the benefit of chapters that are interested in this space, can you
> offer any examples of projects that are of an appropriate size and type for
> a chapter to take on? I think that most chapters* would be willing to help
> out in the software development space if we got a bit of direction on how
> we could be the most useful.
> Craig Franklin
> * Keeping in mind that my chapter probably wouldn't have the capacity to
> start anything in this space for at least another twelve months.
> On 27 July 2013 09:57, Erik Moeller <erik(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
> > On Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 2:39 PM, rupert THURNER
> > <rupert.thurner(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> > > If WMF is serious about letting development activities grow in other
> > > countries this might be taken into account in FDCs allocation policy.
> > For my part, I'm happy to offer feedback to the FDC on plans related
> > to the development of engineering capacity in FDC-funded
> > organizations. I'm sure Wikimedia Germany, too, would be happy to
> > share its experiences growing the Wikidata development team. I'd love
> > to find ways to bootstrap more engineering capacity across the
> > movement, as so many of our shared challenges have a software
> > engineering component. If any folks on-list want to touch base on
> > these questions at Wikimania, drop me a note. :)
> > Erik
> > --
> > Erik Möller
> > VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list
> > Wikimedia-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=unsubscribe>
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:email@example.com?subject=unsubscribe>
As many of you know, this week we enabled HTTPS for logged-in users of
Wikimedia projects. See:
We have geographically exempted users geo-located to China or Iran
from this , because these countries mostly block HTTPS traffic and
requiring HTTPS for logged-in users would make it impossible for users
in these countries to log in.
Long term, we’d like to increase HTTPS coverage further, initially by
marking the HTTPS versions of our pages as "canonical", which would
cause search engines to refer to them instead of the unencrypted
content. This would make issues with countries that block HTTPS
traffic even more complex to deal with.
HTTPS for editors is important because it is otherwise trivial to
sniff account credentials, especially when users use unencrypted
connections such as open wireless networks. This could potentially
enable an attacker to gain access to an account with significant
privileges, such as checkuser credentials. Beyond that, HTTPS makes it
harder for attackers (individuals, organizations, governments) to
monitor user behavior of readers and editors. It’s not perfect by any
means, but it’s a step towards more privacy and security.
There are many sites on the web now that use HTTPS for all
transactions. For example, Twitter and Facebook use HTTPS by default.
Both sites are also completely blocked in mainland China. 
Disabling HTTPS-by-default in regions where HTTPS is blocked for
political reasons of course also exposes affected users to monitoring
and credentials-theft -- which is likely part of the political
motivation for blocking it in the first place. Therefore, our current
exemption is an explicit choice to _not_ give users a degree of
security that we give to everyone else, for the simple reason that
their government would otherwise completely limit their access.
If they know how to make HTTPS work in their region, these users will
still be able to use it by explicitly visiting the HTTPS URLs or use
an extension such as HTTPSEverywhere to enforce HTTPS usage.
In the long term, the Wikimedia movement is faced with a choice, which
is inherently political: Should we indefinitely sustain security
exceptions for regions that prevent the use of encryption, or should
we shift to an alternative strategy? How do we answer that question?
We can, of course, ask users in the affected countries. Given that
this may lead to degradation or loss of access, users are likely to be
opposed, and indeed, when plans to expand HTTPS usage were announced,
a group of Chinese Wikipedians published an open letter asking for
exemptions to be implemented:
This was a big part of what drove the decision to implement exemptions.
The bigger consideration here, however, is whether any such
accommodation achieves positive or negative long term effects. The
argument against it goes like this: If we accommodate the PRC’s or
Iran’s censorship practices, we are complicit in their attempts to
monitor and control their citizenry. If a privileged user’s
credentials (e.g. Checkuser) are misused by the government through
monitoring of unencrypted traffic, for example, this is an action that
would not have been possible without our exemption. This could
potentially expose even users not in the affected country to risks.
Moreover, Wikimedia is not just any website -- it’s a top 5 web
property, and the only non-profit organization among the top sites.
Our actions can have signalling effects on the rest of the web. By
exempting China and Iran from standard security measures, we are
treating them as part of the global web community. It could be argued
that it’s time to draw a line in the sand - if you’re prohibiting the
use of encryption, you’re effectively not part of the web. You’re
subverting basic web technologies.
Drawing this hard line clearly has negative near term effects on the
citizenry of affected countries. But the more the rest of the world
comes together in saying "What you are doing is wrong. Stop it." - the
harder it will be for outlier countries to continue doing it. Another
way to pose the question is: Would we be implementing these exemptions
if China had blocked HTTPS traffic well after we switched to HTTPS?
Moreover, we’re not helpless against censorship. There _are_ effective
tools that can be used to circumvent attempts to censor and control
the Internet. Perhaps it is time for WMF to ally with the
organizations that develop and promote such tools, rather than looking
for ways to guarantee basic site operation in hostile environments
even at the expense of user privacy.
So, what to do? My main suggestion is to organize a broad request for
comments and input on possible paths forward. I think we’re doing the
right thing by initially implementing these exemptions -- but I do
think this decision needs to finally rest with the Board of the
Wikimedia Foundation, based on community input, taking the tradeoffs
My own stance, which I will continue to argue for (and which is my
view as an individual -- there are many divergent opinions on this
even inside WMF), is clear: I think we should set a deadline for the
current approach, and shift to HTTPS for all traffic, for all sites,
for all users, by default, after that deadline passes. This will force
us to take the consequences of that shift seriously, and to explore
alternatives to designing our technical policies around the practices
of regimes that undermine web security in order to better censor and
monitor their citizens.
 For the curious, the list of blacklisted countries is defined in
the configuration array 'wmgHTTPSBlacklistCountries’ in
 A reasonably up-to-date list is being maintained at
The next WMF metrics and activities meeting will take place on Thursday,
September 5, 2013 at 6:00 PM UTC (11 AM PDT). The IRC channel is
#wikimedia-office on irc.freenode.net and the meeting will be broadcast as
a live YouTube stream.
The current structure of the meeting is:
* Review of key metrics including the monthly report card, but also
specialized reports and analytic
* Review of financials
* Welcoming recent hires
* Brief presentations on recent projects, with a focus on highest priority
* Update and Q&A with the Executive Director, if available
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Metrics_and_activities_meetings for further
information about how to participate.
We’ll post the video recording publicly after the meeting.
Executive Assistant to the VP of Engineering and Product Development
+1 (415) 839 6885 ext. 6689
Thanks to Mark Holmquist for maintaining http://etherpad.wmflabs.org for
the past long while. It is going down in 2 weeks, so please retrieve
I recommend that you:
* go into your browser history
* search it for etherpad.wmflabs.org
* go to each of those pads and copy-and-paste the content someplace,
preferably on a public wiki, even if it's just in your userspace
* replace the content of the Etherpad with a link to the wiki page
you've moved the text to
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [Wikitech-l] Etherpad Lite labs instance going down in two
weeks - backup time
Date: Fri, 23 Aug 2013 13:02:13 -0700
From: Mark Holmquist <mtraceur(a)member.fsf.org>
Reply-To: Wikimedia developers <wikitech-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
To: wikitech-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org, engineering(a)lists.wikimedia.org,
The day we have all equally hoped for and dreaded is come to pass: Etherpad
Lite has now replaced Etherpad "Classic" in production, and the labs
is on its way out.
This is my as-wide-as-possible email warning to say that everything on the
labs instance, as really should have been expected, is going to be gone
Not immediately - we intend to give you two weeks to get your important data
off the instance and onto the new one at https://etherpad.wikimedia.org/ -
but you should _absolutely_ be moving things as soon as possible. We will
also keep a data dump around, in case anything else needs to get pulled out
of the pads, but I would suggest not relying on that if you don't have to.
And in the future: If a URL has "wmflabs.org" in it...don't put anything,
ANYTHING, important there. The purpose of labs is to let us experiment with
new technology without having to worry about reliability.
Thanks so much for your help and understanding in the course of this
tl;dr: http://etherpad.wmflabs.org is going down in 2 weeks, get yer
stuff off it.
Software Engineer, Multimedia
Wikitech-l mailing list