Community Tech/Wishlist Survey outreach

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This page aims to describe the work the Community Tech team and Technical Collaboration did around making the 2016 Community Wishlist Survey accessible to editors from different language communities, to help anyone who wants to either use the same process, or help us make it better next time. Suggestions, comments, questions and criticism are welcome on the talk page. It's not necessarily complete – some things might have been forgotten and not yet added.

Translatability and languages[edit]

What did we do[edit]

  • 2016 Community Wishlist Survey was translatable.
  • The page was structured to have the most important information at the top, so that translators who started translating but didn't finish, still made the most important instructions available.
  • Translators were told that translating just the first paragraphs was helpful and important.
  • Editors were told they could propose items in any language.
  • Information editors could propose items in any language was translatable and at the top of the main page.
  • Every proposal had a prepared space for translations and a place for where to link to them.

What problems are we aware of[edit]

  • The process is by default in English and then makes space for other languages. This is not the same as all languages being equal and isn't truly multilingual. It's English with international crutches.
  • When editors followed the link to create a new proposal, it came with a pre-defined template for how to write it (problem, who would benefit, proposed solution, et cetera). This was in English.
  • The page was finished shortly prior to the wishlist survey opened, which meant that some translation problems were not fixed until it had started.

What are we already planning to do next time[edit]

  • Finish the page earlier to make sure we have time to iron out any bugs related to translatability.

Other possible solutions[edit]

  • Make every proposal it's own page, make it translatable and transclude it, instead of creating links. This would also make it easier to rotate proposals.
  • Create a shorter landing page for the wishlist survey, to encourage translations, and put most of the information somewhere else.
  • Use mw:MediaWiki:Gadget-addMe.js to cast votes.

Spreading the word[edit]

What did we do[edit]

We relied heavily on the CentralNotice banners. The rest was just a bonus, to make sure there were other venues where editors could find out what was happening. We also specifically encouraged editors to spread the news in their own communities – regional mailing lists, IRC channels, Village Pumps – so it would come from someone they knew, rather than being yet another message from the Wikimedia Foundation.

What problems are we aware of[edit]

  • Some editors dislike CentralNotice banners, and have disabled them.

What are we already planning to do next time[edit]

  • Mainly the same thing.

Other possible solutions[edit]

  • MassMessage the Village Pumps.

The reason we're reluctant to MassMessage the Village Pumps is that we're already using CentralNotice, which means that we're creating a lot of noise. Also, the Village Pumps get a lot of WMF traffic as it is and, it's far more effective if it's posted in the right language by an editor who's active in that specific community, and it only targets a specific subset of editors.

Background[edit]

The Community Wishlist Survey is an endeavour to get a prioritized list of software development tasks that would help the core community of active Wikimedia editors. There are always more tasks than developers who can work on them; the wishlist is an attempt to make sure we work on the things that will help a larger number of editors.

However, these editors are spread out over roughly 800 wikis. They edit in almost 300 languages. The Wikimedia movement communicate mainly in English, which many editors don't speak, or feel comfortable communicating in. Even when they do, we organize interwiki decisions like this on Meta, where few editors feel at home – many rarely leave the wikis where they normally edit. Decisions are normally taken on the local wikis; however, this would lead to a very fragmented process where the communities wouldn't discuss with each other, and would require an enormous amount of time and resources to coordinate, for what at its core is a wishlist used to dictate the work of four developers. The Wikimedia Foundation typically doesn't have a lot of time to assign to most processes – what in many organizations would have been taken care of by multiple persons can be tasked to someone who is trying to handle it at the same time as taking care of other responsibilities. The Wikimedia movement also depends on translators who do what they feel like prioritizing in their valuable spare time; they will make their own decisions regarding if something like a wishlist survey is where their time is best spent.