[Foundation-l] Why is the software out of reach of the community?

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Fri Jan 9 23:05:05 UTC 2009

2009/1/9 Brian <Brian.Mingus at colorado.edu>:
> Why are so few community-developed mediawiki extensions used by the
> Foundation?

Most of them aren't applicable (YouTube, Google Maps extensions, etc.)
or not tested to the scale of Wikipedia and would therefore require
significant investments of resources to be ready for deployment.

> Why do developers have such priviledged access to the source code, and the
> community such little input?

I disagree with the underlying premises. There are more than 150
committers to the MediaWiki SVN. Commit access is granted liberally.
Code is routinely updated and deployed in a very open fashion.
BugZilla is filled with thousands of community requests. The backlog
of requests is now more aggressively processed.

> Why must the community 'vote' on extensions such as Semantic MediaWiki, and
> yet the developers can implement any feature they like, any way they like
> it?

I disagree with the underlying premises. For example, developers don't
deploy any feature we/they like. Features which are likely to be
disruptive are only deployed after community consultation. An example
of this is the FlaggedRevs extension, for which a clear community
process has been defined.

> Why does the Foundation need 1 million for usability when amazing tools
> continue to be ignored and untested?

In part, to stop ignoring and start testing them.

> Why has the Foundation gone ahead and approved the hire of several employees
> for usability design, when the community has had almost zero input into what
> that design should be?

In part, to be able to accommodate such input.

> Why is this tool not being tested on Wikipedia, right now?
> http://wiki.ontoprise.com/ontoprisewiki/index.php/Image:Advanced_ontology_browser.gif

SMW is a hugely complex tool. Along with other approaches to handle
information architecture, it merits examination. Such examination will
happen as resources for it become available. The priority for
obtaining such resources will compete with other priorities such as
usability, internationalization support, rich media support, etc.
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

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