I'll guess I'll start this off then -

I'm Lewis (and I go by Lcawte in most online spaces), I own ShoutWiki.com, which is a wiki farm powered by MediaWiki. I've been involved in the MediaWiki sphere on and off for a while, I have a few lines of really not very important code running in MediaWiki core, and some other bits in our closed source codebase. Seasoned members of the chapter/list may remember me from that slightly over budget "hackathon" I ran when I was a teenager in... 2011?

I am (and where necessary, the small team I work with at ShoutWiki) happy to lend a hand with any MediaWiki related issues in whatever capacity. I can probably lend an ear to other chapter related tech things.

I'm a bit out of the loop on chapter business - not even sure I've got a current membership - but feel free to drop me an email offlist if there's anything I can do to help! 

-- Lewis Cawte

On Sat, 12 Jan 2019 at 16:46 Rex X <rexx@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

Thanks Lucy, for your positive response to the issues raised recently.

On the technology front, I'm sure I'm not speaking out of turn when I say that I'd like to see something like the old Technology Committee revived to give volunteers a defined channel for communication with the Board and Staff, and also to encourage volunteers to give their time and expertise to help address technical issues and to expand our technical capacity in the future.

To that end, I'd like to survey informally what skills participants on this list would be willing to bring to help WMUK's technology programme. It would be also very helpful if those who would be keen to help re-establish some sort of Tech Committee could express their interest.

It doesn't matter whether you're just interested in tech or a seasoned developer - all offers are welcome. Any takers?



On 11 January 2019 at 16:19 Lucy Crompton-Reid <lucy.crompton-reid@wikimedia.org.uk> wrote:

Hi all

Thanks for your contributions and discussions on here this week. It's clear that as an organisation we need to reflect on how we're engaging with the volunteer community, and there has already been quite a lot of internal discussion about this over the past few months. I would encourage you, if you can, to attend the meeting on 30th January to help develop our next three year strategy; however please be assured that in the draft version I'm working on (based on the 2018 board away day, and to give us a starting point for discussions) there is a greater focus on both volunteers and technology, which of course underpin all of our activities. 

I'm sorry that the issue about recent changes and watchlists on the main Wiki has not yet been resolved. Our technical contractor has been working to debug this however he has not yet been successful and needs more time to try to ascertain and address the problem. Obviously if anyone has any practical suggestions of what the issue might be and how it could be fixed then please feel free to get in touch :) 

As some of you know, Wikimedia UK has worked with the support of two technical contractors - both from the Wikimedia community - for a number of years, however one of them had to step away from the role in September and it has taken a little time to find a replacement (although we have now done so). This means that the remaining contractor (Tom Morton) has been working on his own, and we have needed to try to prioritise his workload. In the past few months we have undertaken quite a big, although not outwardly visible, technical project, which has been to migrate all of our websites to new host servers. In doing this, we needed to employ a specialist consultancy to upgrade and migrate the Wikimedia CiviCRM installation such that it could be moved onto the new hosting platform, which has been a high priority for us as CiviCRM is so central to our work with volunteers, members and donors on a day-to-day basis. Tom has worked with the consultancy on this but has also been required to fix a number of other issues including QRpedia (which still has some bugs), the Board Wiki, and problems with MediaWiki and the visual editor. I'm not trying to excuse the fact that there are still unresolved technical issues, just to put this into context and explain what else has been going on in the past month or so.

Chris, you asked what concrete actions we are putting into place to ensure this doesn't happen again. These include the appointment of another technical contractor who will support Tom in resolving outstanding and urgent technical issues in the short term, but in the medium term will also work with us and the community to identify our priorities going forward. In the next few weeks, Davina and I are also meeting with several board members to scope out the charity's technical ambitions (which I hope we will also discuss on 30th), and in December I submitted a provisional budget to the board for 2019/20, with a view to presenting an updated budget at the March meeting that supports these plans. There is more to do, of course, but hopefully these things will all make a positive difference.

Thanks and best wishes

Lucy Crompton-Reid
Chief Executive
Wikimedia UK
+44 (0) 203 372 0762

Wikimedia UK is the national chapter for the global Wikimedia open knowledge movement, and a registered charity. We rely on donations from individuals to support our work to make knowledge open for all. Have you considered supporting Wikimedia? https://donate.wikimedia.org.uk

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