[Foundation-l] hiding interlanguage links by default is a Bad Idea, part 2

Andrew Garrett agarrett at wikimedia.org
Mon Jun 7 01:24:08 UTC 2010

On Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 6:23 AM, Roan Kattouw <roan.kattouw at gmail.com> wrote:
> Chad <innocentkiller at ...> writes:
>> I'd like to touch on this one particular point. The community HAS spoken
>> and clearly wants it back the way it was. A volunteer even did so [0] but
>> was reverted [1] with the message that UI changes to Vector are off-limits
>> without some sort of prior discussion and approval.
>> This sits with me _very_ badly. I don't disagree (in principle) that changes to
>> our user experience should be discussed and not implemented via fiat. But
>> when you've got overwhelming consensus that this is the right course of
>> action, reverting the change and declaring it off-limits to our committers
>> is just wrong. Our volunteer developers do a pretty good job of judging and
>> implementing community consensus, and saying that some things aren't
>> negotiable sets a bad precedence.
> I completely agree with this. Although the people that made and executed this
> decision are my friends and coworkers, I increasingly feel the need to call them
> out on this particular action. We, the usability team, exist to improve the
> appearance and usability of the site, not to own or monopolize these topics.
> This revert, particularly the tone (and, to a lesser degree, the substance) of
> the revert summary, sends the message that we do in fact claim that monopoly;
> that any decision about usability goes through us; that "our" code is a sacred
> work that may only be touched with prior approval of a staff member, and that
> any mortal who dares violate these sacred commandments will experience the Wrath
> of the Immediate Revert.

I will say to be fair that the best response to what you perceive as a
poor design choice in somebody else's code is not to revert them and
say "There, I fixed it for you. Thank me later.", but perhaps to
discuss it with them first and find a compromise. There's an
imperative to listen and respond to community feedback, but quietly
changing somebody else's code against their explicit wishes is not a
good way to make your point.

Andrew Garrett

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