[Wikimedia-l] Editor retention implies social features

Brandon Harris bharris at wikimedia.org
Sun Apr 29 19:29:56 UTC 2012

On Apr 29, 2012, at 1:04 AM, Jan Kučera wrote:

> Hi Oliver,
> the development progress definitely is very very slow. As a
> comparison, did you watch how the web front-end of Facebook changes
> within the last year? It was completely overhauled about three
> times... You may object Facebook is commercial and not comparable to
> Wikimedia, but this basically is not true at all sice BOTH sites
> compete for the same users (editors in case of Wikimedia). I know that
> comparison to any other commercial site is not welcome here, but that
> is a sad point people in the community still think
> commercial/noncomemrcial are two different worlds - they arent. There
> is only one user, who actually does not care a lot about a site being
> commercial/uncommercial... There is only one market, so Wikimedia has
> to behave much like the commercial sites (of course with little
> specifics to a non-profit like privacy etc.)

	You are comparing apples and oranges.

		* Has *hundreds of millions* of dollars to devote to developer staff;
		* Does *not* have a community that demands to be consulted for every change;
		* Does *not* require that features work in ancient browsers;
		* Does *not* have to support skins and other technology built ten years ago;
		* Does *not* have to develop in order to support non-Facebook installs of their software;
		* Has *only* about 100 languages to develop for;
		* Pays *above* market rate

> From the point of this comparison, there is almost no development to
> MediaWiki... this is very sad, from a multi-million budget we only
> have few feauter engineers... :((( The software is a significant part
> of the whole site and community, if you have bad software you will
> never have great content... Features engineers should be the core of
> all Wikimedia staff, it is pitty to see the reality is exactly the
> other way round..

	I'm not sure I agree with you that Features Engineers should be the core of the Foundation's staff but that's not really relevant. 

	There are two major constraints that I think need to be understood.

	First, the "multi-million budget" we have is actually *nothing* by the standards of sites and tech systems that are 1/20th of our size and scale.  Bear in mind that features engineering only receives a fraction of the 30 million (or whatever) each year.

	(For comparison, a friend of mine runs a moderate-sized e-commerce site. Her budget, per year, is $300 million dollars. They get probably 1/100th of our traffic and users.  Probably less.)

	Second, and this is going to make people surly, but the we don't pay crap.  Our salaries are the lowest of the low.  It is close to impossible to attract experienced talent when you are offering 80% of market rate.   So even if we decided to put ALL the budget into hiring software engineers, it wouldn't mean anything because we still couldn't hire those people.

> The example can be myself - I am missing chart features withint
> MediaWiki/Wikipedia, I filled a bug, nothing happens, I may leave the
> community for good... This is the same story over and over again.
> Foundation did not really care till now...

	This is the exact opposite of what you should be doing.  If you feel strongly about this, you should lobby more and more people, and create a greater consensus that your chart software is important to everyone and should be elevated.  Leaving the community isn't the solution: you miss 100% of the balls you don't take a swing at.

Brandon Harris, Senior Designer, Wikimedia Foundation

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

More information about the Wikimedia-l mailing list