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Grants:IdeaLab/A place to work together

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status: idea
A place to work together
idea creator:
project contact:
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  • <MediaWiki developer name here>
  • <plausibile sysadmin name here> (may be the same)
Give the users of dozens private WMF wikis a chance to work together.
created on: 08:46, 25 April 2014

Project idea[edit]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

Wikimedia Foundation has over 20 private wikis; this results in a permanent brainsplit within the organisation, because each component of it (different offices, departments, officers, bodies, staff/volunteer committees) works in isolation. In addition, trusted volunteers have no way to cooperate with employees and other WMF components on sensitive activities (as they did when the WMF was simpler and more open, using internal.wikimedia.org).


  • Not everything can be public, e.g. contracts and private personal data. Proof: new private wikis are created continuously.
  • One wiki is easier to manage than dozens. Having a single wiki will help tidying up the information. If there's order, it's also easier to publish what doesn't need to be private; while if there's chaos, nothing will ever happen. Proof: nothing is happening.

What is your solution?[edit]

  • mw:Extension:Lockdown should be developed a bit (expected cost: a handful thousands dollars). Main requirements:
    • granular per-namespace permissions for viewing and editing (this may already be available);
    • a solution to do the same for files.
    • All the rest is optional (e.g. granular userrights management, per-namespace administratorship).
  • A sysadmin (existing or empowered ad hoc) will do the merging. The wikis to close are very small, so this may take from few hours to a week of work. No software development needed.
    • This will need some tedious but simple configuration work, e.g. giving users of a merged wiki the right to create an account and give access to the corresponding namespace on the target wiki. No rocket science.

Past success cases[edit]

  • WMDE recently (2011) created a private wiki ("forum") for its members, to foster discussion and collaboration within the association (all of it: board, office, members). AFAICS, WMDE has always used mainly Meta talk pages and the public list for their general discussions, but the private wiki was an effective addition to broaden participation. I see it's fairly active, with over 20 thousands edits. It seems that one «place to work together» is always a better solution than none.
  • For small public wikis without files, if you care about content only, it's just a matter of Special:Export and Special:Import by a user with sufficient rights. Pages can be imported into a new namespace to avoid conflicts and to add namespace-specific user permissions if needed. Sysadmins are able to do it right, the only missing piece being the logs; it was recently done with wikitech-old merged into https://wikitech.wikimedia.org .

Past discussions[edit]

Project goals[edit]

  • One or two WMF private wikis (internal and/or officewiki) get all the others merged into them (each previous wiki in its own namespace).
    • Immediately after the export, no user has access to content it didn't previously have access to.


Get involved[edit]

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