[Wikimedia-l] [Wikitech-l] New, lower traffic, announcements only email list for Wikimedia developers

Amir E. Aharoni amir.aharoni at mail.huji.ac.il
Thu Jul 12 10:42:23 UTC 2012

2012/7/12 Federico Leva (Nemo) <nemowiki at gmail.com>:
> Amir E. Aharoni, 11/07/2012 15:40:
>>> And the possible change would be for wikitech-ambassadors to become a
>>> medium-to-high-traffic, plain English, list for discussion between
>>> developers and Wikimedia users, to report issues, share ideas and
>>> provide feedback in unapologetically layman terms. The "Ambassadors"
>>> part also means that users who are on that list will have a role in
>>> disseminating information to their local communities, and reporting
>>> back issues possibly raised on local wikis.
>> It was my initiative about two years ago to start wikitech-ambassadors
>> and that's what I hoped it will become. It didn't, but it's still very
>> much needed.
> What's needed?

What's needed is a medium to announce important impending technical
changes, which require local changes.

Three simple examples:

1. The move to Resource Loader, which required changes in lots of user scripts.

2. The change of right-to-left text handling in 1.18, which required
changes in lots of styles.

3. The replacement of "secure" URLs by plain "https://" URLs, which
required changes in lots of URLs in scripts, templates etc.

It's not that these changes aren't announced at all. They are
announced in various ways - sometimes by mass-posting to village
pumps, sometimes by blog posts, sometimes by CentralNotice. But it was
never properly tested to be effective, and the fact is that it isn't,
because the above issues are still not completely fixed in some
projects. Lots of projects don't get the message.

We could just blame the projects for not caring enough, or we could
come up with a more effective solution. I believe that an ambassadors
list is a good solution. I actually don't have very strong arguments
to support this belief; if anyone has better ideas for such a medium,
I'll be very glad to hear them. Maybe a blog dedicated to such
announcements will be better. Maybe a combination of solutions.

Obviously, the tool - mailing list, blog, feed, wiki page - is just
one side of the solution. The most important component is the
commitment of the people at the project. But better technical tools
are supposed to make this commitment easier to carry out.

The above is the most important requirement. A second priority would
be a discussion list for talking about such issues before they become
implemented and deployed. In the beginning they can be combined.

> We surely need ways to spread the word better and especially
> during the "emergencies" such as deploy a mailing list can be the way but
> surely it's not good for brainstorming or to gather feedback in a useful way
> (compare https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Tech which is lately serving this
> purpose, to my surprise I have to say, thanks to the effort of some users).

Thank you, I didn't know that page. I'll try to start following it.

In practice, it's harder to follow a wiki page than a mailing list.
But maybe that's just my own feeling.


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