Proposals for closing projects/Closure of meta-wiki

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

This is a proposal for closing and/or deleting a wiki hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation. It is subject to the current closing projects policy.

The proposal is rejected and the project will be kept open.

  • A Language Committee member provided the following comment:
    Too many functions are dependent on the existence of Meta that you can't "just close" it. Many global functions (blocking, rights, interwiki map, ...) require a central wiki. Developing alternatives like InstantMeta would be too much work for eventually not much gain. In fact, you could propose such a function in addition to Meta, but it is virtually impossible for it to be a replacement of Meta. SPQRobin (talk) 16:55, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    SPQRobin is exactly correct. This proposal as it stands is tantamount to someone posting an RfC on En or De wiki asking to close those projects down. Actually, it is worse, because Meta acts as a central location for ALL the hundreds and hundreds of projects in Wikimedia. Furthermore, Meta is where the foundation has currently assigned the staff and stewards to handle privacy-related and cross-wiki related issues. It would likely require foundation approval (remember ALL wikis exist in Wikimedia space at the permission of the Wikimedia foundation), Even if that were granted, and Meta were to close, its functionality would by necessity be copied elsewhere and that new site would be functionally equivalent to Meta, so no net change would have occurred. If there are issues in the relationship between Meta and specific projects, they should be handled on their own, without resorting to overarching and untenable requests. I am closing this request, and I recommend that particular issues be addressed, either informally on Babel or formally via RfC, but that no future requests to close Meta be suggested, as they would not serve anyone (large projects included) any good and would have no lasting effect (as Meta v2. would just be created by the foundation, I believe). (The following is somewhat tongue-in-cheek) For what it is worth, I am a native admin on three separate projects, and I hold advanced privileges on all three(CU/OS'crat; OS; steward), so I am a cross-wiki triumvirate. . Also, my ego is only surpassed by my humility -- Avi (talk) 23:08, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]

  • Type: 2 (non-routine proposal)
  • Proposed outcome: closure
  • Proposed action regarding the content: Moved elsewhere
  • Notice on the project: Meta:Babel and Wikimedia Forum
  • Informed Group(s):

Meta is the main coordinating wiki for hundreds of Wikimedia projects. It can't possibly be closed, can it? You must be trolling? Well hear me out: the core of this closure request is

Close and transfer its content and functions to either
1. other, specialised coordinating projects (like Strategy) or
2. a Meta: namespace which is accessible across all Wikimedia projects (in the same way that Commons files are accessible everywhere in the File: namespace), enabling it to perform a genuinely coordinating function.

For practical reasons, the Meta: namespace should have a home on another coordinating wiki, with which it can then share templates. It also gives it a conceptual foundation - it's like InstantCommons, so we can call it InstantMeta - which will be familiar.

  • A. Most fundamentally, Meta is about multilingual coordination across WMF projects. Yet the coordination with other projects is weak at best. Many highly active Wikimedians are barely aware of Meta's existence and have never contributed there. There is no means by which Wikimedians who occasionally contribute in some small wikis can easily stay in touch with developments. A Meta: namespace makes this more feasible.
  • B. Most fundamentally, Meta is about multilingual coordination across WMF projects. Yet the multilingualism is generally quite poorly developed compared to Commons (where it isn't exactly stellar, but certainly better). A lot of the backend of templates and the like is just outdated or non-existent. Merging the multi-lingual infrastructures would improve this.

Historically, various things that were at one time on Meta now exist elsewhere, including

I mention this because it shows how fluid the form and function of Meta is, which makes this radical reshaping (more than a closure, but so radical it's effectively a closure) more plausible than it would otherwise be.

Some thoughts on things that might go elsewhere, rather than to Meta: namespace:

  1. Grants handedout by the WMF (see Grants:Index) - to :wmf wiki -, as that's part of their remit
  2. Research (see Research:Index) to strategy: wiki -, as research about Wikimedia and strategy of Wikimedia are obvious complements

Whilst this is a request for closure, I would not frame success merely as "was Meta closed? yes/no". Success would also include a lively debate with a range of ideas on how to improve Meta and its relationship with other projects - especially if some of those ideas went on to be implemented.

Thanks for listening with an open mind. Rd232 (talk) 16:06, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Comments on substance of proposal

Global blacklisting, global locking/blocking operate from here? Where will those features - essential to a vast number of small wiki - go? Will the software be able to cope? --Herby talk thyme 16:13, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]

I'm assuming that the form of the proposed closure would require a certain amount of technical work (eg to make InstantMeta work nicely). I don't think the features you mention would be that big a hurdle in terms of moving them elsewhere. For instance, the global blacklists are just two pages: Spam blacklist and Title blacklist. Rd232 (talk) 16:25, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]
You're saying that the Meta namespace would have to be hosted on some other project. Isn't that more or less how it already works? You can access any Meta page from other projects by typing in something which starts with "Meta:" just as you can access templates by typing in something which starts with "Template:". Users would still have to get an account for the project where the Meta namespace is hosted as using an account from a different project would be confusing. For example, I have an SUL conflict on German Wikipedia and some other projects. If both de:User:Stefan2 and I would sign our Meta namespace edits as "Stefan2", no one would know who's written what. --Stefan2 (talk) 16:27, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]
The status quo is that meta: on local projects is a interwiki link; the idea is that meta: would be come a local link in the same way the File:X is a local link when File X is transcluded from Commons. SUL conflicts would be an issue, yes, but a solvable one I think: just append the homewiki name to the username, in the way Special:Log does (eg here), i.e. User:Rd232@enwikipedia. Rd232 (talk) 17:18, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]
If Meta is going to exist as a separate project clearly it either needs to take its multi-lingual responsibilities seriously - i.e. so pages like Language committee need to be in multiple languages (seriously we should be able to manage the UN official languages, probably plus German, Hindi and Japanese), or, if we are just going to have everything in English, we may as well merge it with, which seems to be the de-facto position a lot of the time anyway. Eraserhead1 (talk) 21:58, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Everything is not in English, and nor should it be, so a merger with a monolingual project is a non-starter. However, I hadn't noticed Language committee's monolingualism - and there is certainly a bitter irony in that page existing (almost) solely and completely in English! (There is a solitary exception: the navigation menu exists in Russian... and in fairness at least the language proposal policy has 8 language versions.) Rd232 (talk) 22:08, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]
The Language proposal policy is actually only in two languages other than English, namely, French and Russian, with the Dutch one being about half done (but still with quite a lot of English). I mean seriously they haven't even bothered to stick the thing into Google Translate.
At least if we just merged it into then we'd have vastly more people making comments here than just the two of us. Eraserhead1 (talk) 22:19, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Wow, that's worse than I realised - only the Russian translation is complete (French 87%, Dutch 63%, Korean 26%, the rest single digits). Well it's not like it's an important page... er... Rd232 (talk) 22:55, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Do we even know whether Russian (or any of the other languages) are translated properly, or is it like my Chinese "translation" efforts and done with Google translate and landing up with the equivalent of en:Chinglish?
I think your idea of having a meta 'namespace' that's cross wiki would work well, that would effectively make it part of (as well as all the others) which should make cross-wiki collaboration work better. Eraserhead1 (talk) 22:58, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]

The Goings-on page, the second link on the left hand toolbar, only appears to have been successfully translated into Vietnamese, and no other languages. Eraserhead1 (talk) 23:08, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Other comments

Obviously, the other projects will be closed first, at which point no co-ordination is needed anymore. Guido den Broeder (talk) 16:29, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Sorry, but my first thought was lol and my second didn't change. Meta won't be closed anyway, what a waste of time this request. -Barras talk 16:41, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Belated addition, but wholehearted agreement with the close. Meta is just too necessary in the grand Wikimedia family; maybe less necessary for larger projects, but not UNecessary, and VERY necessary for smaller projects. -- Avi (talk) 18:07, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • Per Avi - it may well be that en wp should be hived off from Meta (although they would find some issues that were not easily solvable with out Meta) but the vast majority of project get great benefit from Meta (maybe why some folk work here...). Happy with the closure too. --Herby talk thyme 18:38, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]
      • I don't think EnWP should be hived off; not only for practical reasons (removal and granting of CU/OS, etc.) but for the fact that it is just one (albeit largest and most known) of all of the Wikimedia projects. I believe that Meta should understand that the more mature a project gets, the less service it needs from Meta, as local community is assumed by the WMF, I believe, to know what is best for itself. This means that things like dispute resolution need to remain on the local projects; with stewards stepping in only in cases of obvious community hijacking, but I do not think it wise (or even allowed by the WMF) for a project to "secede" from Wikimedia. -- Avi (talk) 18:59, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]
      • I cannot see how those comments about en.wp have anything to do with the proposal. A redefinition of power relationships between Meta and projects is a whole other kettle of fish than an essentially technical proposal to support better coordination between WMF projects. Rd232 (talk) 19:05, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment I may well vote in due course, but I think a meta admin closing this is inappropriate, they are basically by definition en:WP:INVOLVED - and thus it seems highly inappropriate for them to close it alone.
  • I think a cross-wiki triumvirate close in due time is the most sensible way forward.Eraserhead1 (talk) 19:51, 19 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]