This is probably my first time to post on wikitech-l. I am Moushira, a new
community liaison for mobile projects, I would like to share an update for
a new feature that is ready for deployment. This January, Jon Katz
announced a new feature in development
and after nearly two months, Extension:Gather
<https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Gather> is now ready for beta
launch scheduled for Monday. The feature will be enabled for logged in
users on the English Wikipedia mobile website, who have their mobile beta
features activated . There is a list of FAQ
<https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Gather/FAQ> which includes
information on usability and moderation, and you are welcome to add more
questions to it :).
The Extension will keep the name Gather and internally the team was more
inclined to name the feature "Stacks". However, a survey study has been
carried out by the design research team and Collections, as a name for a
feature, scored far better than the other suggested alternatives. Full
survey information and results are documented here
There are different scenarios for how this feature can be used, either for
subjective personal collections, or for broader use. This Beta test will
help us discover what resonates. One idea we hope to explore is engaging
editors via themed competitions using collections of articles one has
edited on a particular topic (such as medicine). We are also interested to
see how this tool can be used by WikiProjects, WLM, or the education
program. We encourage you to play around with the feature and let us know
how you're using it!
This is a new experiment in content curation, which hopefully helps with
learning new users behavior on mobile web. We are looking forward to
learning awesome lessons from this beta launch.
All the best,
The RFC IRC meeting didn't get scheduled this week; there will be one next
week, details to be announced.
Note we're also going to plan an IRC Office Hours for the Architecture
Committee sometime to discuss plans for streamlining the RfC process,
creating a code review "SLA", and more! Details to be announced.
First things first: I'm not burying the lede in this email, so if you
aren't interested in the inner workings of WMF's Platform Engineering team,
feel free to ignore the rest of this. :-)
We're making a few changes effective in April for Platform Engineering,
which you all care deeply about because you're still reading.
We're looking to give the teams a little more clarity of scope.
Previously, among other teams in Platform Engineering, we had a large
MediaWiki Core team, and a smaller Multimedia team. We played a big game
of musical chairs, and everyone from those teams is part of a new team.
Additionally, the Parsoid team got into the fun, getting a new member as a
Performance - This team is shooting for all page views in under 1000ms
The team plans to establish key frontend and backend performance metrics
and assume responsibility for their curation and upkeep, and get a handle
on web page rendering performance. Right now, it's all about VisualEditor,
but over time, this is going to be a more generalized function.
Members: Ori Livneh, Gilles Dubuc (soon!), now hiring!
Availability - Make MediaWiki backend failures diminishingly infrequent,
and prevent end users from noticing the ones that do by making recovery as
easy and automated as possible. This team does ops facing work that
contributes to the overall stability and maintainability of the system.
Things like multi-datacenter support, and migrating off of outdated
technology to newer, more reliable tech.
Members: Aaron Schulz and Gilles Dubuc (for now, until he wraps up
work on multi datacenter)
MediaWiki API - This team's goal wil be make user interface
innovation+evolution easier and make life easier for our sites' robot
overlords by making all business logic for MediaWiki available via well
specified API. Some APIs will be in PHP and some external over HTTP
depending on the needs of other teams.
Members: Brad Jorsch, Kunal Mehta, Gergo Tisza, Mark Holmquist. Stas
Malyshev plans to join this team when his work on Wikidata Query
wraps up. Bryan
Davis plans to join as soon as his role as interim Product Manager for
Platform wraps up.
Search - Provide unique and highly relevant search results on Wikimedia
sites, increasing the value of our content to readers and providing tools
that help editors make our content better. The team will continue working
on existing backlog of the CirrusSearch/Elasticsearch bugs and
improvements, plus Wikidata Query
Members: Nik Everett, Stas Malyshev (for now...), James Douglas, also
Security - making life hard for the people that want to do harm to our
sites or the people that use them.
Members: Chris Steipp, also now hiring!
Programs support - support our non-tech programs with tools that delight
our users and maintain the privacy and security of our community, providing
infrastructure for things like Wikimania scholarships, grant program
applications, and ContactForm.
Members: Niharika Kohli, Bryan Davis(20%)
Parsing (renamed from "Parsoid") - There are a number of changes to our
PHP parser that would make things easier for VisualEditor and Parsoid,
while at the same time offering a more powerful and easy-to-use authoring
environment for our editors (even those using wikitext). Having Tim on a
rebranded “Parsing” team gives that team agency to start evolving wikitext
again, in a way that is supported by Parsoid HTML from day one.
Members: Existing Parsoid team (Subbu Sastry, Marc Ordinas i Llopis,
Arlo Brenault, and C. Scott Ananian), plus (new) Tim Starling
You'll notice that some of these teams are pretty small, especially given
their scope. This is likely to be at least a little fluid for a while as
we make sure we have the balance of work right and as we figure out the FY
Let us know if you have any questions about this. I say "us" because I'll
actually be traveling shortly. Feel free to ask the individual members of
the teams what's up, or if you don't know who to go to, Bryan Davis will be
filling in for my duties while I'm out.