Community Wishlist Survey 2019/Miscellaneous/Communication plattform between devs and editors is needed

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  • Problem: The communication between "the devs", i.e. WMF, WMDE e.a., and the core of the wikiverse, the power editors, has to be restored. As can bee seen with the desaster created with the deprecation of the toolbars and other edit helps here, there was a nearly complete lack of meaningful communication between the devs, that wanted to get rid of some old piece of software, and the core editors in some wikipedias, that relied heavily on this piece of software. The devs were fine with there announcements in some techie parts of the wikiverse (Phabricator, Tech News), but that's no place normal users will ever go, let alone understand the usual nerdy gibberish used by the regulars there. Once the devs made their change, the backlash set in and a lot of normal editors were very angry about this unresponsible sudden death of the much needed tools. Especially as it was nowhere announced, where normal editors go.
  • Who would benefit: The Wikiverse, as the core and backbone are the power editors that have to be kept onboard.
  • Proposed solution: Create a Meeting Point, were any proposed change to the UI/UX has to approved beforehand by the editors, and were the devs have to use normal understandable language, not geek-talk.
  • More comments:
  • Phabricator tickets:
  • Proposer: Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 13:51, 8 November 2018 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

  • @Sänger: What would "approved by the editors" mean? Would one wiki be able to prevent a software change on all other wikis? Would there be a request for comment on Meta for every software change? (I think it would be reasonable if limited to user-facing changes to non-beta software, but that would still be several RfCs per month.)

    Of the tens of thousands of regular enwiki editors (as an example), many never touch the noticeboards/RfCs and focus on writing articles, so even if there were such a communication platform there would still be a vast majority of editors who wouldn't know about something until it breaks (it's probably impossible to create a noticeboard where "normal editors" go, since the "normal editor" probably doesn't regularly look at noticeboards). Maybe a better solution would be to have WMF staff send notifications directly to users affected by certain breaking changes, if the privacy policy allows it (talk page messages probably wouldn't be possible because user preferences aren't public). Jc86035 (talk) 16:26, 8 November 2018 (UTC)

  • As you can see in my example, with the disastrous ditching of a heavily used tool without proper consultation of the users of this tool, by simply assuming something in the detached ivory tower called WMF, the current procedure is severely broken. Software changes are discussed mainly in some dev-only venues, in a language nobody but hardcore nerds properly understand, and this is designed to create evil. The software is there to support the content, not the other way around. Those dealing with content are to be supported, and their working surroundings need be designed according to their wishes. Of course you will never reach out to each and every power editor, but software developers are mainly maintainers of the Wikiverse, and they have to search active for feed-back and support for their ideas, in a language ordinary editors are able to comprehend. If there is no support for the idea from the non-devs, it's a dead idea. Of course security and such are not what we are talking about, but the daily tools used by the power editors. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 17:04, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Sänger Hello. Thanks for submitting a proposal. The meeting point you mention in the proposal - do you see that as something on a particular wiki or on multiple wikis or outside wikis? -- NKohli (WMF) (talk) 20:38, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
  • It could be a central venue like here, but the devs (Or some special department at the WMF, there is more then enough money in the heavy coffers of the WMF to maintain proper contact with the bosses, the community. That's more important then new gadgets or shiny bling.) should have the duty to make any such far reaching change for the usability like the one mentioned here aware in every wiki in a language that is understood there usually (i.e. propably not english) and a manner, that non-nerd could comprehend what will come. Wikitexteditor 2006 is something nobody outside some inner circle of devs will know about, so that phrase has to be explained. The editors are, after all, the very people the maintenance squad in WMF and WMDE and whatever else should support, as they are the ones that create the very essence of the wikiverse: content. Without content the wikiverse is nothing. Without new gadgets the wikiverse will still grow. Bots are not an answer to content creation, those, who dream about that, should be ditched asap. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 20:57, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
  • Okay. I want to point out that the Community Wishlist Survey is for technical projects the Community Tech team can do. This is a social change that is outside the scope of Community Tech. This is something that needs to happen on a bigger scale with the entire community and Wikimedia Foundation's consent. With that in mind, I am inclined to archive this proposal. Thanks for flagging this nonetheless because it surfaces an important need and I will make sure it does not go unnoticed by others at WMF. -- NKohli (WMF) (talk) 22:15, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
  • This is about the implementation and especially consultation of technical projects, one just went terribly wrong because the devs failed in their assessment of the problem completely. This is about Community Tech, i.e. the interaction of the community and the obviously severely detached techs in the WMF. Community Tech should be the team, that is the interface between the community and the techies. They have to provide this venues and go to the projects to explain the proposed changes and ask for input, if anything is proposed top down, instead of the correct way of bottom up in a community driven and lead project. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 22:32, 8 November 2018 (UTC)
  • There is no technical work involved here, as far as I understand. We (Community Tech) is already working with the community in our work but it is beyond our power to change the way other teams work. Community Tech can only work on focused technical tasks which have consensus. -- NKohli (WMF) (talk) 01:26, 9 November 2018 (UTC)
  • This has been discussed before: "One place" won't be good enough. Editors can't handle leaving their own wikis. They can't even handle watching a page on their local wikis for tech news or subscribing on their user talk pages. If they can't do that much, they 100% won't be able to handle going to one place for their technical news. (JDL or JR or one or another of those sorts has had this discussion before if someone wants to ping them here.) --Izno (talk) 00:30, 9 November 2018 (UTC)