Responses to BAWolf inline.
On Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 12:05 PM, Brian Wolff <bawolff(a)gmail.com> wrote:
On 2/21/15, Pine W <wiki.pine(a)gmail.com> wrote:
In general WMF has a conservative grant policy
(with the exception of
grant funding seems to be getting more
conservative every year, and some
mission-aligned projects can't get funding because they don't fit into
current molds of the grants programs).
Spontaneous cash awards for
work are unlikely. However, if there is an
existing project that could
some developer time, it may be possible to get
grant funding for future
I find this kind of doubtful when IEG's (which for an individual
developer doing a "small" project is really the type of funding that
applies) have been traditionally denied for anything that even
remotely touches WMF infrastructure. (Arguably the original question
was about toollabs things, which is far enough away from WMF
infrastructure to be allowed as an IEG grant, but I won't let that
stop my rant...). Furthermore, it appears that IEGs now seem to be
focusing primarily on gender gap grants.
Couple quick clarifications:
1. There have been many IEGs that focus on tool development, including
those from the most recent round
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IEG#ieg-engaging>. There's no
"tradition" of denying software projects: they're quite well represented
among completed IEG projects too
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:IEG/Proposals/Completed>. In the
past, there have been concerns from members of Product/Engineering that
IEGs would divert resources from established development priorities, so
projects that rely on MediaWiki integration were sometimes a tough sell.
2. IEG accepts applications twice a year; this coming round (April) the
focus will be on gender-gap themed projects. The focus of the September
2015 round, if there is one, has not been established yet. But it's
unlikely to be gender gap.
I find it odd, that we have grants through GSOC and OPW to people who
are largely "newbies" (although there are exceptions), and probably
not in a position to do anything "major". IEG provides grants as long
as they are far enough away from the main site to not actually change
much. But we do not provide grants to normal contributors who want to
improve the technology of our websites, in big or important ways.
That would be totally awesome.
Ostensibly this is done in the name of:
Any technical components must be standalone or
completed without assistance or review from WMF
engineering, so MediaWiki
Extensions or software features requiring code review and integration
funded. On-wiki tech work (templates, user
scripts, gadgets) and
standalone applications without a hosting
dependency are allowed.
Which on one hand is understandable. WMF-tech has its own priorities,
and can't spend all its time babysitting whatever random ideas get
funded. So I understand the fear that brought this about. On the other
hand it is silly, since a grant to existing tech contributors is going
to have much less review burden than gsoc/opw, and many projects might
have minimal review burden, especially because most review could
perhaps be done by non-wmf employees with +2, requiring only a final
security/performance sign off. In fact, we do already provide very
limited review to whatever randoms submit code to us over the internet
(regardless of how they are funded, or lack thereof). If IEG grants
were allowed in this area, it would be something that the grantee
would have to plan and account for, with the understanding that nobody
is going to provide a team of WMF developers to make someone else's
grant happen. We should be providing the same amount of support to IEG
grantees that we would to anyone who submitted code to us. That is,
not much, but perhaps a little, and the amount dependent on how good
their ideas are, and how clean their code is.
That would be totally awesome.
Politically, I think its dangerous how WMF seems to more and more
become the only stakeholder in MediaWiki development (Not that there
is anything wrong with the WMF, I just don't like there being only 1
stakeholder). One way for there to be a more diverse group of
interests is to allow grants to groups with goals consistent with
Wikimedia's. While not exactly super diverse (all groups have similar
goals), at least there would then be more groups, and hopefully result
in more interesting and radical projects.
Wikitech-l mailing list
Jonathan T. Morgan
Community Research Lead
User:Jmorgan (WMF) <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jmorgan_(WMF)>