[Foundation-l] Wikis and the direction hardware is taking

Tomasz Finc tfinc at wikimedia.org
Mon Jun 13 22:43:46 UTC 2011

On Sat, Jun 11, 2011 at 2:52 PM, Samuel Klein <meta.sj at gmail.com> wrote:
> James - Wiki Edit is pretty nice.  Is this a one-man project by Don Kosak?
> On Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 7:14 PM,  <Birgitte_sb at yahoo.com> wrote:
>> Yes I eventually found that app.  And it is much superior to editing from the browser. But it doesn't support ProofreadPage extension. Still between the app and browser it is definitely workable with two edits. My concern is much more that the reading/navigation experience seems to be driving people to these apps which strip out all of the editing and maybe even WMF messaging. And these people must be genuinely interested in Wikipedia to download a special app for it. Probably people who are decent candidates to convert to editors.
> This is definitely a problem.  New readership is growing much faster
> on mobile and tablet devices, and we don't have a single channel for
> them to participate in the edting/reading/communicating community, as
> you say.

+1 And this is something that I think about A LOT. This is why were
laying down the engineering work right now to make it much simpler to
build out browser based community, editing, and reading features. Our
current setup of the Ruby gateway has scaled much better then we could
have ever expected but its also complicated our operations setup,
required extra time to port any features over to ruby, and generally
required a whole separate development cycle to build out anything
mobile related. Over the last two months we've hired a dedicated
mobile engineer, ported the gateway, reached out to community members,
and ran an intensive research study to help us where we should be
focusing our resources. The community has also been busy working on
mobile. We've seen both and Android and iOS app show up for uploading
images to commons.

I fully believe that mobile development is a key strategic area for us
to reach new contributors and I'm super happy that were taking it
seriously. It's going to mean experimenting and trying lots of new and
old things to see what works best.

Looking at apps vs browser I'm really eager to reach as many people as
possible and these days there is nothing as ubiquitous and standards
compliant as a web browser. Most phones have them and even if their a
pain in the ass to develop for they've allowed us to reach so many
people. That being said, apps provide a very interesting place to
experiment with different ways of both presenting and interacting with
content. As others have pointed out on this thread there are a number
of really novel approaches to visualizing Wikipedia content and I
think we can learn a lot from them. Not all of them are collaborative
and thus won't fit into our strategy but ones like WikEdit do and i'd
love to see more examples like them. Were going to learn a lot from
their approaches and vice versa.

It's going to take working with both ends to really understand what
works best and I'm eager to see it.

As always .. come by to our mobile project pages on meta at
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mobile_Projects and let us know how we
can best iterate and improve.

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