[Labs-l] Tool Labs and my new job at WMF

Bryan Davis bd808 at wikimedia.org
Fri Apr 15 17:17:11 UTC 2016

I recently transferred from the Reading Infrastructure team to the
Community Tech team [0]. The move happened because I want to spend
more of my time working with the developers who build tools and bots
to help the Wikimedia communities. I've been thinking about needs of
the Tool Labs developers for a while, and in November I finally wrote
up a proposal about a job focused on this work [1]. I was ready for a
lengthy discussion with management to defend my ideas about this need,
but to my surprise the feedback I got instead was mostly "it's about
time" and "when can you start?". My draft position proposal is now
"official" and posted on meta [2]. This project will be my major focus
on the Community Tech team, but I will also be helping out with code
review, deployments, and other things that the rest of the team is
working on.

People watching wikitech, labs-l, and Phabricator may have noticed
that I have been poking at various things since January like a
redesign of the wikitech main page [3], a new namespace for tool
documentation [4], and generally being more active in discussing
problems and possible solutions. Now that I am working on these issues
full time I want to start talking about bigger issues. I have drafted
a "vision" document on meta [5] describing some of the larger issues
with Tool Labs (and Labs and wikitech) that are making things harder
than they could be. This vision comes with a straw dog project roadmap
that I think we could work towards. This is not a set in stone
timeline, but rather a very high level description of a series of
projects that I believe would move Tool Labs towards being an easier
environment for collaborative FLOSS projects to thrive in. I will
continue to refine these project ideas and create Phabricator tasks to
track them, but before I dive too deeply into that I would like to
solicit input on both the problems and the general solution roadmap.
The project page is on meta rather than wikitech to make it easier for
existing Wikimedians who aren't wikitech users to participate. The
talk page is open for comments [6] and I look forward to hearing about
problems and solutions that I have not yet imagined. I hope that as
the various sub-projects solidify some of you will join me in getting
the work done.

[0]: https://wikimediafoundation.org/w/index.php?title=Template:Staff_and_contractors&diff=105580&oldid=105576
[1]: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:BDavis_%28WMF%29/Projects/Tool_Labs_support
[2]: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Community_Tech/Tool_Labs_support
[3]: https://wikitech.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
[4]: https://wikitech.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Tool_Labs_tools
[5]: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Community_Tech/Tool_Labs_support/Tool_Labs_vision
[6]: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Community_Tech/Tool_Labs_support/Tool_Labs_vision

Bryan Davis              Wikimedia Foundation    <bd808 at wikimedia.org>
[[m:User:BDavis_(WMF)]]  Sr Software Engineer            Boise, ID USA
irc: bd808                                        v:415.839.6885 x6855

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