Grants talk:PEG/WM ES/Server

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Latest comment: 8 years ago by Mangelrp in topic Localpedias

Evaluation by the GAC[edit]

GAC members who support this request[edit]

  1. --Ilario (talk) 23:29, 1 October 2014 (UTC)Reply

GAC members who oppose this request[edit]

GAC members who abstain from voting/comment[edit]

GAC comments[edit]

Questions of Polimerek[edit]


Could you provide more details about "Support and computational platform for research projects of Wikimedia España members and other external contributors in collaboration with the formers." - a list of bots or other services you are about to run? Actually, just for data dumps and several local pages there is no need to have dedicated physical server. Polimerek (talk) 17:04, 20 September 2014 (UTC)Reply

Polimerek, there are some constraints when it comes to correlating data from Wikimedia projects and other external sources to do research studies and/or experiments, particularly in the area of data privacy, where some data cannot be placed anywhere or outside some jurisdiction (due to its nature, for example, health data or personal information) and only the analysis and/or some processed form of the data can actually be released to the public in the form of a research article which could serve as the basis to feed Wikimedia projects. --Wschutz (talk) 14:38, 1 October 2014 (UTC)Reply

Some more details[edit]

No problem for me, It's a good solution to look for a backup and for a more reliable solution to host websites and backups. It's absolutely mandatory to don't keep a lot the content in private servers because people are responsible for the content they host and it's insecure to keep it with private credentials. I would only be sure that the webspace will be a space property of Wikimedia Spain. It's not clear in the request, so if someone leaves the technical team, I would be sure that Wikimedia Spain has the power to reset it. In addition do you know that it's important that what you host in this space, it should be owned by Wikimedia Spain? In this case who has private data or content should not host it in your servers because these servers are under your responsibility. An example is a volunteer leaving the association and claiming to cancel or to block their content in your servers (if not open content). A policy in that way would appreciated. --Ilario (talk) 08:47, 29 September 2014 (UTC)Reply

Ilario, I totally agree about the importance of having the server under the name of Wikimedia Spain, and you can be sure we'll do it that way; not just to make the users confident, but to not rely on (and not abuse!) the good faith and help of one or several particular members. Of course, the administrator password would be known by at least three or four people, so if one has to leave, another one would join, and the password or whatever else needed would be reset. About the property of the contents in the personal accounts, we have the idea of an agreement and/or policy, as you say, to be accepted by the users, which would specify the conditions of use, the license and the limits of the hosted content, and the proceeding in case of leaving (at first sight, WM-ES should reserve the right to keep the contents of that account if it considers so, in addition to what the license implies), taking into consideration concrete questions such as the official email accounts under WM-ES domain but members' names which would be hosted; we would study that carefully. -jem- (talk) 11:52, 1 October 2014 (UTC)Reply
As -jem- mentions, we still have to develop the policies under which each Wikimedia Spain member will be able to use the resources, and of course, the internal policies between the people who administer these services; and obviously, everything under the jurisdiction of the Spanish Law. To add into his comment, I envision as well some sort of ethical and transparency committee to oversee the actors involved and the policies to develop and implement. --Wschutz (talk) 15:14, 1 October 2014 (UTC)Reply

Community comments[edit]

Tony1 questions[edit]

Hi, I wonder how this is different from WikiLabs, which was established for the whole community. "They are now hosting their Wikimedia projects related-tools in limited external or personal servers." I wonder why this is currently the case.

"We expect to host all the dumps/backups of Spanish localpedias." This wouldn't have Wikimedia-related impact, which is essential for PEG funding. Just hosting doesn't seem to be relevant, unless you can find a WMF project that would be eventually benefit, and that would require a plan.

"we will integrate our Twitter and Facebook profiles in the new site and blog" – these profiles and blogs can be linked to.

Tony (talk) 09:07, 22 September 2014 (UTC)Reply

Hi, Tony1. This is very different from Labs, in several ways. Labs is a specialized environment which requires individual efforts and knowledge about Linux and the projects in order to join and make productive work. What we intend is to have a unique server to integrate web, blog and wiki services for the chapter with the management of members and their information, by developing scripts to interconnect and update the databases, autocreate accounts, manage personal WM-ES emails and tools, etc., offering to the members/users an easy and ready to use environment, probably with a web interface, for all their WM-ES-related tasks. Of course, in order to build up everything in a practical way, we will need root (full) access and no limitations about disk space, CPU time, code licenses, etc. No thing of the mentioned ones is possible in Labs (and it's correct like that). And some of these things are also the reasons for some technical involved members having Wikimedia projects related-tools (well, not all members and not all tools) in limited external or personal servers.
About the impact of the dumps/backups: We do think they would have Wikimedia impact. Most of the localpedias' content is published under a free license and is written in an enciclopedic way, which would make possible to import it, when the content is relevant, to our projects with no or few changes. And some of these localpedias are dying during time, so our backups could be the only copy left in same cases for the import, providing very valuable information that could get lost otherwise. And, even when the license is not compatible, the backups will provide a useful way to collaborate and build up relationships with people interested in knowledge, so we can learn from them and bring ideas back to the projects, and, at the same time, talk and maybe convince them about migrating to a free license, or expand their collaborations to the Wikimedia projects, in order to make them more viewable.
About the Twitter and Facebook profiles, the point is that we would generate or sincronize automatically contents among our blog, wiki, Twitter, Facebook, etc., so that we won't have to update it manually with the same contents, saving a lot of time. This is different from a simple link to them, which would be useful nevertheless.
As an addition to the previous paragraphs, I want to point out that, as a chapter, our goals are not exclusively dedicated to the Wikimedia projects, in the same way as our members don't come exclusively from them. The Affiliations Committee (then still named Chapters Committee) told us and urged us about that several times during our constitution and Bylaws-writing process, and that is why our main goal is the "support of all initiatives of free access, use, study, modification and redistribution of contents, such as the projects hosted and supported by the Wikimedia Foundation". We understand that this is part of the idea of the free and open knowledge, and that everyone benefits of the possible "external" collaborations, because the image and banner of the chapter are the Wikimedia logo and the Wikimedia projects, even when the activities come from members that don't collaborate directly in them; and we think it happens the same way in the several other chapters that already have a dedicated server like the one we aim to buy, also with the help of the grants program.
I hope I have cleared some things up; anyway, maybe other WM-ES members could add more information, and I'll also try to expand my comments if needed. -jem- (talk) 18:38, 24 September 2014 (UTC)Reply


-jem-, thanks for your lucid and excellent response. It's such a small amount of money, which favours this funding. But there are wider matters of principle, too. My queries are:

  • It's almost entirely an ongoing expense, rather than one-off, so what will happen after the 12 months?
  • I'm a little uneasy about the inward-looking aspect, and the slippery slope that might involve many affiliates asking for funding for similar—leading to a very fragmented structure. I can't properly assess this through lack of technical knowledge (perhaps Alex might comment as to whether this is relevant/important before you spend more effort answering this).
  • Partly related to the previous point, will there be opportunities to liaise with other affiliates that have similar infrastructure? (The Polish chapter, I seem to recall, has something. Are there already "lessons learned"?) Would there be a limit to capacity if Amical or Portuguese speakers, for example, expressed interest in sharing?
  • Impact is framed in terms of target readership, with a grand claim: "We believe that we can impact all Wikimedia projects. We are currently hosting and maintaining sites like for Wiki Loves Monuments in Spain with borrowed limited resources." Yet there's little hard evidence—even in terms of your wishful goals—that readers of the Spanish and other WPs will benefit, and how.

So, I feel inadequate to judge these matters at the moment. Could we have some input from @AWang (WMF): and/or third parties—possibly the Community Relations (Product) division? Tony (talk) 11:24, 26 September 2014 (UTC)Reply

Please note that I am looking into the issues you raised and will post my findings/comments soon. Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 23:03, 1 October 2014 (UTC)Reply
I'm answering point by point, Tony1:
  • You're right. Our idea is to include future server expenses in an APG grant covering all our fixed and suitable expenses, provided that we are (as we think) inside all the conditions; this would have been the ideal now, but the APG can only be presented in certain fixed months (may and october currently), and the server was becoming more urgent day by day.
  • I understand perfectly what you expose: as I work in computer programming, I know the problems derived of fragmentations; I would be glad to read what WMF thinks about that, too. In the past, it was suggested that several chapters could collaborate, mainly with funds, in the support of Toolserver, for mutual benefit; seeing that now, after its closedown in favour of Tool Labs, probably that would haven't been a good idea. But as it's clear that almost every chapter or affiliate would need a service like this, it could be great if WMF offered itself a hosting to all of the organizations in similar conditions to an independent one (full root ssh access, independent namespace for user names, etc.), but taking advantage of same shared resources or procedures; in particular, access to the replicated databases of the projects, which is now exclusive for Tool Labs, but could be added to a hosting like that, which would be under the final responsability of the WMF itself; we'd be glad to help and join if that idea is worked on.
  • Of course, we're open to any collaboration or integration which, as mentioned, could provide similar conditions to the hosting we're aiming to have, as long as the management can be done in a separate way —probably a virtual machine for each organization could be enough—. The limits, then, could be raised with new hardware; in fact, the main point to take care of would not be the limits, but the internal information, and specially the personal one, as, for example, for WM-ES it has to be under the terms of the Spanish Law, with all files registered to the Spanish Data Protection Agency, etc.
  • I wait for some other input too, because I guess my ideas about impact have been written and tested before. But I drew the idea in my previous response, and I think it's valid: a [better] server means more possibilities for having a useful and attractive site and services, better internal organization and, as a consequence, more and better activities (yes, among them), and more members; more activities and more members mean a stronger chapter which would carry on the Wikimedia logo and projects to more places; all the previous mean that more people would hear of, or, nowadays, know the reality of the projects, avoiding wrong thinkings (in particular the "everyone can edit, so I can't trust it" idea); and a part of the people which previously didn't join because of wrong or no information would, for sure, join the projects, and collaborate both in their contents and their organization; and, there we are, readers would benefit of that. Probably this isn't easy to measure, but it could be. -jem- (talk) 19:37, 29 September 2014 (UTC)Reply

WMF comments[edit]

Thank you -jem-, Wschutz, community members, and the GAC for engaging on this request. We appreciate your patience with the review process. We approve this request with the following comments, which hopefully address some of the remaining questions raised above:

  • WMF has historically hosted wikis and long-term mailing lists for chapters and other groups, and remains happy to do so. However, WMF does not offer hosting for other types of services, including Wordpress sites, short-term mailing lists, payment processing, or software such as Civi CRM (used by many chapters such as WMSE, WMCH, and WMAT to manage membership rosters, renewals, publically disclose financials, etc.). Many chapters run their own servers for these functions and we do not see it as a slipperly slope to fund more chapters for this.
  • In terms of impact, we believe the increased functionality of a dedicted server (over the WMF wiki) for a growing chapter is an effective use of the relatively minimal funds. While the localpedias that WMES will be able to host on their new server are not directly related to Wikipedia, they contain freely licesnsed content that can be used on our projects. Additionally, it would be great to have a conversation with WMES regarding your plans for developing the chapter and potential projects for the next year to have a better understanding of the scope of your activities. I will follow-up.
  • WMF does not sponsor local tool servers. We strongly encourage WMES to host all tools on Tool Labs. The advantages include 24hr maintenance, regular backups, ensuring the use of free licenses, and faster access to the databases.
  • Yes, this is a recurring annual expense. However, it does not need to be included in an Annual Plan Grant. WMES is welcome to include server expenses in future PEG requests.
  • We support WMES's development of internal policies for administering the server. Please provide a link to these policies when they have been developed so other groups can use them as a reference.

Alex Wang (WMF) (talk) 23:30, 14 October 2014 (UTC)Reply


By this, do you mean the so-called regiowikis? In emijrp's list, they all are hosted by are you in contact with them? --Nemo 10:01, 19 September 2015 (UTC)Reply

Hi, Nemo. Yes, but we will work with a more complete list. I've been involved in the development of Wikanda, so I've been pushing for a long time to get public dumps — unsuccessful for now. Instead, we are going to run WikiTeam's scripts. --Mangelrp (talk) 16:54, 30 September 2015 (UTC)Reply