[QA] Flagging some Beta Labs issues

Maryana Pinchuk mpinchuk at wikimedia.org
Mon Aug 18 23:35:42 UTC 2014

Greetings, QAers,

I'm not entirely sure who the point person for Beta Labs is currently, but
I wanted to make sure you guys are aware that there have been a lot of
issues (i.e., partial or total outages) with this environment in the past
2-3 weeks, most likely due to ongoing HHVM work. Unfortunately, because
several teams at WMF rely quite heavily on Beta Labs – such as Mobile Web
for testing new user-facing features before they go live in production, and
Design/UX for running remote and in-person user tests – this is not so
great. For example, the outage during Wikimania was particularly bad
because Abbey was hosting a UX testing table during the conference that had
scripted user tests all pointing to Beta Labs, so she was unable to run any
of those tests and lost out on valuable user testing time.

To avoid situations like this in the future, is there a way for teams who
use Beta Labs for testing to stay in closer sync with its maintainers? I
realize y'all aren't mind-readers ;) and there will of course be unexpected
issues that crop up from time to time. But if there are likely to be more
major breaking changes to the infrastructure while you continue working on
HHVM, it would be great to get an advanced heads-up so we can plan
accordingly. And when unexpected outages do occur, it'd also be good to
know who to report them to and check in on progress with, because I'm not
sure the current strategy of whining and hoping it'll fix itself is
working/sane/scalable :)

I don't know how this would work ideally (regular updates to a new/existing
mailing list? dropping in on a new/existing IRC channel? a wiki page? some
combo of all three?) but am open to any & all ideas! And as a start, it
would be good if those of you currently tasked with maintaining Beta Labs
could give a virtual wave – I *think* I know who you are, but Abbey's new
and almost certainly doesn't ;)

Maryana Pinchuk
Product Manager, Wikimedia Foundation
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