On Thu, Jul 7, 2011 at 12:40 PM, MZMcBride <z(a)mzmcbride.com> wrote:
I might say that one more point to focus on
specifically is to how to
leverage volunteer development (this is hinted at in some of your five
points). There are _a lot_ of people who are capable of coding in PHP and
who are willing to donate their time and talents, but Wikimedia/MediaWiki
code development has chased them off, generally through neglect (patches
sitting, review sitting, etc.). If there are ways to specifically look at
that, it would be an enormous benefit to Wikimedia/MediaWiki, I think.
There's an enormous pool of volunteer developers out there who would
gladly work for us, non-stop, if we can find a way to let them. For
many things, our templating language can be lot harder to work with
than PHP-- but despite its difficulty, look at how many useful
advanced templates have been developed without us even having to ask
Anyone who can make advanced templates can almost certainly handle
PHP. The reason templates flourish while development flounders is
"Openness"--- templating is essentially an open platform, WMF
development is most certainly not an open platform.
Volunteer developers will do ridiculous amounts of work for us,
innovating in ways we can't even imagine. Google's most popular
program is it's "20% time" that allows them to spend one day a week
working on whatever they want.
People want to innovate, just like people want to improve our
projects' content. They will work for free-- but they have to know
they'll be able to actually use their innovation themselves, and most
have to know they can share it with others if it's popular. Most
developers won't work for free only to have a third party decide
whether it's sufficiently meritorious for its use to be allowed or
Right now, there's system in place to allow me to initiate, develop,
implement, and share a feature without having to deal with a lot of
read tape and permission-getting. If I want a Wikipedia that's a
little different in some way, I have to implement on the client-side
or I literally have to make my own fork of Wikipedia, that involved
buying a domain name, setting up a host, raising money for it / paying
for it, etc etc etc. A huge nightmare full of work that developers
"Be Bold" hasn't been applied to the development or new projects yet.
Right now, "Be Bold" is for an edits, not innovation.
Right now, "Be Bold" is for new articles, not new projects.
We meed to figure out how to allow developer innovations instantly,
automatically, in real time. But we also have to make sure those
innovations don't affect the user experience for third-parties.
Once we get such a platform, development can take off. Until then,
development will mostly be driven by third-party mediawiki project and
paid staff-- both good to have, but orders of magnitude smaller than
the size of the volunteer developer population that is going