At the Zurich Hackathon, I met with a couple of folks from WM-CH who
were interested in talking about ways that chapters can get involved
in engineering/product development, similar to WM-DE's work on
My recommendation to them was to consider working on GLAM-related
tooling. This includes helping improve some of the reporting tools
currently running in Labs (primarily developed by the illustrious and
wonderful Magnus Manske in his spare time), but also meeting other
requirements identified by the GLAM community  and potentially
helping with the development of more complex MediaWiki-integrated
tools like the GLAMWiki-Toolset.
There's work that only WMF is well positioned to do (like feeding all
media view data into Hadoop and providing generalized reports and
APIs), but a lot of work in the aforementioned categories could be
done by any chapter and could easily be scaled up from 1 to 2 to 3
FTEs and beyond as warranted. That's because a lot of the tools are
separate from MediaWiki, so code review and integration requirements
are lower, and it's easier for technically proficient folks to help.
In short, I think this could provide a nice on-ramp for a chapter or
chapters to support the work of volunteers in the cultural sector with
appropriate technology. This availability of appropriate technology is
clearly increasingly a distinguishing factor for Wikimedia relative to
more commercial offerings in its appeal to the cultural sector.
At the same time, WMF itself doesn't currently prioritize work with
the cultural sector very highly, which I think is appropriate given
all the other problems we have to solve. So if this kind of work has
to compete for attention with much more basic improvements to say the
uploading pipeline or the editing tools, it's going to lose. Therefore
I think having a "cultural tooling" team or teams in the larger
movement would be appropriate.
I've not heard back from WM-CH yet on this, but I also don't think
it's an exclusive suggestion, so wanted to put the idea in people's
heads in case other organizations in the movement want to help with
it. I do want WMF to solve the larger infrastructure problems, but the
more specialized tooling is likely _not_ going to be high on our
agenda anytime soon.
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation