Hello Community Tech team,

Welcome to this list!

I think it is great that in WMF there is a team now that is collecting the needs from the community and turns this in software improvements. This sounds to me as a great improvement.

Concerning the section Outreach, I am not sure how many wikis have such, but there still exist technical ambassadors who serve as an intermediate between the tech and the community. From the tech side the ambassador translates software changes into text with enough contest and clear wording for local users on wikis, and informs the community about software changes and more. From the community side the tech ambassador translates problems, issues, feedback and more to the tech side. For the Dutch wikis I serve as technical ambassador to have the interaction tech-community go more smoothly.

Abouth the sections of Phase 1 & 2 I am concerned. The way it is suggested to be set up now is that the proposals with the most votes win. First of all, large wikis & communities have more people to submit proposals and more people to vote. So it seems that this is becoming a popularity contest, which is the wrong direction.
In the Dutch community it happens a lot that users are against certain software, until they tried, and the other way round happens as well. Basing a voting on what people like can easily become unbalanced because of various factors. Also what matters to one person, does not have to matter to another person (like because he doesn't do anything with it), while it can be essential to another.

Also I think that the survey is missing an important factor: what level of importance does a certain software have. This can't be determined by a voting.
The determination can vary, but I see three different importancy levels:
1. software that is broken or cause troubles, while it is essential
2. software that is missing and needed to get a core process running
3. software that is helpful, extra, handy, but not part of a core process

That still level ones exist is a piece of past heritage, sadly.

Another subject that recently came up is the subject of continuity. One of the largest announces I notice is that users see that software is no longer maintained, but still like to use it, are getting very annoyed. This is not an issue that is incidental, it is a structural problem.

In general speaking I am happy with the team and the survey, but I think it will need some improvements before it can be used in a balanced way.


Reading the Community Wishlist Survey page I think it is a great idea to do.

2015-08-25 21:54 GMT+02:00 Ryan Kaldari <rkaldari@wikimedia.org>:
Hi everyone!

Community Tech will be dealing a lot with technology relevant to Wikimedia editors. We figured we'd introduce ourselves here, hoping some of you might want to help out connecting us with the communities.

We're a new team within the Wikimedia Foundation, focused on meeting the needs of active Wikimedia editors for improved, expert-focused curation and moderation tools. Making the lives of the people who spend a lot of time taking care of the Wikimedia projects a little bit easier. This is a small team: myself, Frances Hocutt and Niharika Kohli, with some support from Johan Jönsson as a Community Liaison. We'll focus on tasks that can be dealt with quickly and that will have a direct benefit for the core community and might be overlooked by the larger WMF development teams.

To find our feet, we’ve mainly been knocking out bugs during the first weeks. At the moment, we're looking at tasks from previous surveys to see how we can benefit the communities. We are also working on developing a good process for soliciting new requests from the Wikimedians we're responsible for helping. As part of this effort, we have written up a draft proposal (https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Community_Tech_team/Community_Wishlist_Survey) for a cross-project community wishlist survey that we would like to launch within the next month or two. Please take a look at the draft, share it with your communities, and let us know your thoughts on the talk page.

You can find more information, such as the scope of the team, a roadmap, what we're doing and what we've done so far on our team page:

Ryan Kaldari
Engineering Manager, Community Tech

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