Hello, we are writing to all active developers to
survey views on
development and how these might interact with a rewards system that
has been proposed.
Not a good idea to limit responses to developers. Perhaps the others
among us should have a slightly different version..
In order to take such a decision, we need to determine
solution is potentially a good one, or not (both *technically* and
*socially*). We also wish to explore alternative solutions to increasing
performance and individual satisfaction.
Are you, or have you been in the past, involved in development of
MediaWiki or maintenance of the Wikimedia servers?
If so, can you briefly indicate which specific
activities you have
done (maintenance of servers, performance improvement, development of
features, debug, interface, "hotline" etc)
Which tasks, if any, really ought to be done, but
currently are not?
Are there any tasks that you would like to get involved
with but have
not yet done so?
If so, what is preventing becoming more involved with
Is there anyone that you would like to be more involved
tasks? If so, which tasks?
I would not consider myself qualified to designate certain developers
for certain tasks. We all know about the work that Tim and Brion are
doing well enough that we approach them with our problems. Designating
more junior developers to deal with user problems at a first level could
give them valuable experience and exposure, while freeing up the time of
senior developers for more appropriate tasks.
Did you find it easy to join the development team? Did
appropriate guidance to allow you to start helping? Do you feel it is
easy now for newcomers to get involved?
Two years ago, Erik did ask me if I would be interested in learning
about the software. :-) I suppose the offer is still open, but I
find plenty enough to do without getting into the development.
If not, what do you think would help new developers to
Give them something to do. It doesn't have to be a complicated task.
Maybe with a line like, "There seems to be a little bug here, but I
haven't had the time deal with it. Can you have a look?" The most
effective way of discouraging volunteers is to have them standing around
with nothing to do. How they handle these little tasks can be a measure
of their dependability.
Was there anything in particular that you found helped
you to join in?
Are you proud of what you are currently doing?
Do you feel your work is undervalued or
Of course. ;-)
If you are now less involved with the development team
than you were
previously, what made you decrease your contribution there?
Although not a developer, I have been around for nearly 2.5 years. In
that time I've shifted attention from Wikipedia to Wiktionary and
Wikisource, at least in part because of the disputatious atmosphere at
What is the best reward for your good work, or what way
would you prefer to be
Being recognized without needing to ask for recognition.
Do you think any of the following could help? Thinking
technical considerations, please rate the following on this five point
scale from A to B.
A. Yes, I am convinced that could help a lot. I strongly support
B. Yes, it might help eventually. I slightly support this
C. I don't know if this will help. I neither support nor oppose this
D. No, I think it will not be helpful. I am slightly opposed to this
E. I am strongly opposed to this option, whether helpful or not
1. Having paid staff (permanent, full or part time, for example a
sysadmin). (Ie, paying someone for rather loosely defined activity)
D. I'm concerned about the effects on the social dynamics.
2. A system of bounties or similar. For example, a one
for a specific task, such as the development of a feature.
C. There are times when this will be needed. But clear parameters need
to be established first. This should happen on a case by case basis.
Perhaps a person who works according to a paid contract should not be
eligible for a new contract until after a period of time that is double
the term of the contract.
3. An award system : nomination of a "developer of
the month" (for a special thank you
time) with an explanation of why. This could be advertised on IRC with
a paypal link on the fundraising page.
4. Another award system. For example, once a year,
between one and three
developers could receive an award of the "best developer of the year",
possibly with a price [prize?] of hardware or of money, and thank you notes
B. The reward here is freely given, and is not an expectation.
5. A "get to know me more" system : A special
"know more about our developers" page, where each developer may explain how he
contributed to the project, add a paypal
link, webpage link etc. This could be prominently linked to from the fundraising page.
6. Professional training to some of the developers if
the Wikimedia Foundation could secure free or reduced price training.
7. Make our third global press releases oriented toward
development issues, in order to attract new contributors for software and hardware issues.
Focus on tech news site for promotion.
A. for the general question. C. for the specific next release.
8. A meet-up for developers to work together
occasionally (in Germany perhaps, with round of beers paid by the foundation :-))
B. Can we afford to fly Brion and Tim to Germany.
9. A big clean up of the development pages on Meta, and
to help new developers to "jump in".
A. Very important to be able to know what tasks you can give to newcomers.
10. Nomination of "organiser(s)" whose role
would be to clean up the
list of tasks to do, clarify priorities, go around asking who could do
that, attract volunteers etc...
11. Please add your own ideas below.
Would you be interested to make a living directly or undirectly from Wikipédia ?
That could be a fun job. :-)
If the Board were to hire staff, what type of staff do
you think would be most helpful?
Someone capable of taking a big-picture, production oriented view of the
1.0 project. That job should expire once 1.0 has gone to press. A
different person should do this for 2.0
Do you think staff should be hired internally or
externally? (ie, someone already volunteering, or someone who is not a participant)
Mostly internally but with some notable exceptions. An outider would
probably be more suited for a software audit, because his views have not
been narrowed by regularly working with the software.
If the Foundation were hiring, would you consider
applying for a
How would you summarize your view on the proposed
Strongly support / support/ neutral/ opposed/ strongly opposed/ undecided.
If opposed, please briefly indicate why.
The effect on the social dynamics is too uncertain.
If the Board decided to use a bounty system, would you
try to get involved to get some of the bounties?
Not for software development.
Do you feel your motivation level would be increased or
decreased through the use of a bounty system?
If you are opposed to a bounty system, would its
implementation cause you to decrease your level of contribution?
No. But I might be inclined to be more argumentative with the paid
Please cite three tasks that you feel would be well
suited to a bounty system.
I'd have to think about this more before answering
Given that we would roughly evaluate the number of
hours for a task, how much do you think should be given for a bounty (ie, amount of money
per hour)? Alternatively, how much would you suggest the Foundation should offer for the
tasks you mentioned just above?
This is a mug's game. It depends on such things as the cost of living
where the person resides. Someone suggested that this was really a
tendering process. In that people make sealed bids for the task to be
done. The Board opens all of them when the bidding has closed and
decides on the basis of the offers.
What do you think would be the largest benefit of
implementing a bounty system?
The timely implementation of desired improvements.
What do you think would be the largest harm caused by a
Do you have your own pay pal account?
Would you be interested in having a little bio about
you and your achievement on WMF site ?
Would you be interested in having a link on the site
whereby users could donate money to you via this account?
Sure, but I would be surprised if anything showed up. :-$
Would you be interested in receiving professional
Yes - though I would probably limit myself to short topical programs.
If developers were to be awarded special prizes by the
Board, would you prefer to receive money or hardware?
Are there any ways of improving organization that you
feel you can commit yourself to right now? For example, cleaning up pages, writing
documentation, coaching newbies, writing technical press releases, improving the bug
tracking system, setting up a "tech news" reporting page, playing the pom pom
As bureaucrat on two projects, I already do some of this, though there
is always more of this to be done than time for doing it.
There is no need to hire pom-pom girls for as long as Jimbo is the
member of the Board who is most suited to this task.