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Community Wishlist Survey/Future Of The Wishlist/Introduction

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Future of the Community Wishlist Survey
Community Wishlist Survey Lamp

The Community Wishlist Survey is an annual survey run by the Community Tech team of the Wikimedia Foundation. The survey seeks inputs from community members with advanced knowledge of Wikimedia project work flows about technical improvements.

In November 2015, Community Tech conducted the first cross-project Community Wishlist Survey, to help identify the features and fixes that are most important to Wikimedia editors. We invited contributors from all Wikimedia projects to submit proposals for the Community Tech team. After two weeks of collecting proposals, we asked them to vote on the proposals they were most interested in.

The process, with some changes, has been repeated every year since. Based on the outcome of the survey, the team determines what requests they can deliver until the next cycle.

The last wishlist survey ran in 2023. Before running the next survey, the Community Tech team reviewed feedback from the previous years to understand how this process could be improved to keep up with the growing needs within the movement — i.e. the future of the wishlist.

Challenges and need for improvement for the Community Wishlist Survey[edit]

The wishlist survey is intended to serve users within a movement that scales the globe. Started in 2015, the wishlist has been running for the past 8 years broadly in the same format. While it provides an important service, it has been seen that the process has not been able to handle the growing needs of users and technical complexities. The reasons are many including technical and resources challenges, and lack of awareness among many Wikimedia project communities.

Changes to the wishlist process had to be brought in to keep the outcome manageable and meaningful for both the participants and the team. While the Community Tech team focused on delivering the prioritized items, other WMF teams helped at various stages to assess the requests, and support the development. However, the team recognised the need for deeper review of the process.

Way forward[edit]

In December 2022, a conversation happened (see Dismantling suggestion and Editions discussion) on the talk page of the community wishlist project that suggested that there is an urgent need to review the state of things. The future of the wishlist discussions started within the team soon after with an objective to review the state of things and propose a newer model to invite technical requests from the community, and improve the response mechanism. The Community Tech team has identified a few objectives at this stage of preparations for the revision. These are:

  1. Improve connection: Use the wishlist to intake and connect users (including newcomers and less experienced contributors) more effectively into ongoing WMF Product and Technology planning about systemic issues of the Wikimedia platform.
  2. Reach more audiences: Make the wishlist process more accessible for participants from underrepresented communities, and create opportunities for collaborative problem solving.
  3. Collaborate with other wishlists: Create a strategic plan to work closely with other existing and new wishlist processes within the movement.

Expected benefits[edit]

The fulfillment of the objectives is expected to help make the intake process more efficient, and promote subsequent sharing of the load. Bigger technical issues can be mapped into a process for evaluation for the annual plan. The wider visibility of the intake process and collaboration opportunities will allow volunteer developers to get involved in the important problems sometimes at the most local level and can be offered necessary support as needed.


May 2024[edit]

We shared updates about changes coming to the Wishlist:

  • Creating a new wish submission form
  • Grouping similar wishes into a problem space known as Focus Area with a first example demonstrated by the Template Picker Improvements project. We also announced the modification of the voting system to complement the Focus Area approach.


The Community Tech Manager reported his learnings from the conversations with community members and also shared potential ideas to explore for the redesign of the Wishlist.

February 2024[edit]

The new Lead Community Tech Manager Jack Wheeler introduced himself in a letter, kicking off a series of conversations with the community about the future of the Wishlist.

January 2024[edit]

  • Provided an update for the community on the future of the wishlist survey.
  • Completed the hiring process of the Lead Community Tech Manager.

October 2023[edit]

Conducted an audit of outstanding wishes from the the last 3 years.

September 2023[edit]

Began hiring process for a Lead Community Tech Manager to backfill the position.

August 2023[edit]

  • Began compiling and analysing historical metrics of the wishlist.
  • The team presented the proposal at Wikimania 2023. During interactions we asked the audience a few questions to learn about awareness, perceptions and opinions about the wishlist survey. Following are the highlights and the full presentation along with the results can be seen in this recording of the session presentation:
    • 67% of the attendees in the room had participated in a wishlist survey
    • 8% of the participants had submitted a wish, while 31% of the participants had discussed or voted on a wish
    • 5% of the participants had directly contributed to technical work associated with a wish
    • The participants voted nearly equally for the 3 objectives as being important for the success of the wishlist.
    • Participants highlighted the need for more support, including planning, resourcing, and publicity, alignment with the mission needs, and direct collaboration with contributors as steps the Comm-Tech team, WMF, and communities can take for the success of the wishlist.
    • The participants also showed preference for a newsletter to keep updated about the progress of the future of the wishlist project.

See also[edit]