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

Brian Brian.Mingus at colorado.edu
Fri Jan 9 23:13:40 UTC 2009


I am skeptical of the current development process. That is because it has
led to the current parser, which is not a proper parser at all, and includes
horrifying syntax.

The current usability issue is widespread and goes to MediaWiki's core.
Developers should not have that large of a voice in usability, or you get
what we have now.

We do not even have a parser. I am sure you know that MediaWiki does not
actually parse. It is 5000 lines worth of regexes, for the most part.

In order to solve usability, even for new users, I believe that you must
write a new parser from scratch.

Are you prepared to do that?

On Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 4:05 PM, Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org> wrote:

> 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
> Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
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