Requests for comment/Outreach migration

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Dialog-information on.svgThis is a subpage; for more information, see the Requests for comments page.


This page is about the question if the contents from Outreach Wiki should be moved to Meta Wiki, Wikimedia's central hub.

I have set up this page as I think the migration of content from Outreach to Meta is a big change in what community involvement is required, especially from the GLAM project coordinators and Education project coordinators.

Introduction[edit]

The question if Outreach Wiki (at http://outreach.wikimedia.org) should be closed and the contents migrated to Meta Wiki is not a new discussion. The wiki is used by two community groups: the GLAM projects coordinators and the Education projects coordinators. Both groups document on the wiki their projects, resources, and more, and have each their newsletters on this wiki. About five years ago a large group of GLAM coordinators had a multi day meeting in Paris about various GLAM subjects, including the topic of the closure of Outreach Wiki. Among the participants there was a wide spread support for the idea and no objections. Afterwards with the supported proposal nothing has been done. In March 2021 a meeting was organised by the Wikipedia & Education User Group with on the agenda the shutdown of the WMF's Outreach Wiki (among other topics). I couldn't make it to join the meeting, but I got the impression that there was support for closing Outreach.

Behind the scenes some developments have taken place and in October 2021 I got an invitation from the Wikimedia Foundation to join a meeting about the migration of the GLAM and Education newsletters to Meta.

Problems of Outreach Wiki[edit]

The Movement Communications team recently completed research (report) to better understand movement communication needs. One thing we learned is that people often have trouble finding the information they need and feel overloaded with options (Broadcast on demand). The available information is spread over Wikimedia's various platforms and not well structured all together. This outcome is not new, many coordinators and GLAM partners have indicated that it was frequently hard to find the information they were looking for.

And within the movement, Outreach Wiki has a limited readership and visibility within the movement. The content pages and our community newsletters (for GLAM and Education) don’t always receive the attention they deserve.

Many of the Education and GLAM projects are organised by local affiliates who have their affiliate pages and documentation on Meta Wiki. At the same time various project pages and newsletter reports from these affiliates are on a different wiki, Outreach Wiki, which makes them harder to find, structurise/categorise, etc.

Another thing that has been reported is that Outreach Wiki has less facilities than Meta Wiki and the wiki is less maintained. For example, the visual editor doesn't work by default, while this editor is highly needed and frequently used for new editors who work on the documentation.

These problems, among others, are not new, but now they are recognised as a serious limitation for the success of Wikimedia and its projects.

Challenges of moving to Meta[edit]

The migration of the pages is not without risks and consequences and has some challenges to make it a success. In the past years I already have been thinking about the idea of migration to Meta and what would be needed for it, as well as that I made an analysis for the meeting I was invited for.

My personal starting-point is that a migration of content should have as little as consequences/problems/issues for the community as possible. This because any issue would cost the community members a lot extra time and resources to resolve, and as our resources are scarce, these resources can be better used for projects with GLAM and Education partners.

  • The first point that needs to happen with a migration is that the full history of the pages gets imported. The ability to see from a page who has added the information is a basic aspect of the movement and is needed. For this there is a special tool available, so that should be no issue. (However, already some pages have been copy pasted without the history by WMF, this is something that needs to be fixed.)
  • The second point I noticed is that the pages on Outreach Wiki are not just stand alone pages, but are an integrated group of pages. The pages about Education form together an integrated whole, as well as the pages about GLAM form together an integrated whole. This is stronger with the GLAM section in which the community has interconnected the various pages even more. Because of this it would not make sense to split only a part of the pages off from each of the two sections, but the full Education section and the full GLAM section should each stay as one whole together, so that each community only has to focus on one wiki and not to split their attention to two wikis (as that would make the situation worse instead of better). In fact, splitting up the GLAM newsletter from the rest of the pages (as originally communicated by WMF) would cause a series of technical problems and makes it unpractical.
  • The third point that concerns me is link rot which would be a huge problem if Outreach Wiki is closed as commonly wikis are closed. Affiliates and other community members have been linking to pages on Outreach Wiki from various pages on the Wikimedia platforms, linked on internal networks and places like Google Docs, linked on external websites and blogs, in e-mails, in social media, and in offline printed publications. Moving all the pages (or just a part) would cause a huge problem and a large amount of work for everyone who work with these pages, as everywhere these links have to be fixed (if that is even possible), because linking to the other location would bring people to outdated pages and does not provide the quality our readers/users expect. To tackle this problem and avoid all this work, there is a solution possible: domain redirecting. In the beginning Wikipedia was written in the domain en.wikipedia.com instead of en.wikipedia.org. As Wikipedia is not a commercial company, it soon moved from .com to .org, while the .com domain was redirected to the .org domain. So if you now enter https://en.wikipedia.com/wiki/Knowledge in your browser, you end up on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge. I think the same should happen to Outreach Wiki after all the pages have been moved: when you enter for example https://outreach.wikimedia.org/wiki/GLAM in your browser, you end up automatically on https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/GLAM .

With these three basic requirements it is not needed to fix the thousands of links to the pages, and the communities can continue working as they used to with as limited impact on their work as possible, while improving the situation we work in.

Among fellow community members active in outreach I have noticed the same wishes and needs to reduce the impact of this change on our work.

Developments[edit]

All three requirements have been discussed in the meeting of 4 November and have been initially agreed with by WMF. However last week it appeared that WMF hasn't made a decision yet about the full migration and from community members I have received signals that they want that the community has the possibility to decide on this matter. Because of this I am asking community input with this proposal.

It must be noted that the editing part of the Education newsletter already has been moved to Meta.

Proposal[edit]

In this request for comment I would like to propose the following:

The full contents from Outreach Wiki gets migrated to Meta Wiki, but only under the following three conditions:

  • The full history is migrated with the pages.
  • The full contents of Outreach Wiki is migrated to Meta as one whole.
  • The domain outreach.wikimedia.org becomes a domain redirect to meta.wikimedia.org, so that all the links to the pages keep working.

Thank you for your input! Romaine (talk) 11:47‎, 9 December 2021 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

Support[edit]

  1. Support Support Koavf made a good point, but this may mean we should make Meta something more neutral to both outsiders and community members. A better solution is rebrand Meta to something like "hub"/"central" wiki (rather than "internal") and move it to www.wikimedia.org with a redesigned landing page. (This was proposed in 2013, but without repropose of Meta to more than a coordination wiki and redesigned Main Page). I also propose to move Foundation Wiki to a new namespace of Meta. (PS: if you think PCP should be followed, I will support move the discussion there).--GZWDer (talk) 15:56, 11 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    Feel free to move this "RFC" to, eh, Proposals for closing projects/Closure of Outreach Wiki. Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 06:12, 21 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Support Support The separation between Outreach and Meta wikis is in my experience a net negative. Guidance is split between them and searching for information on one will not turn up information on the other. This leads to duplication of work as someone will write guidance that already exists elsewhere, and links between related articles can be hard to discover, make, and update. Centralizing our outreach guidance is in the best interests of those of us doing outreach as it prevents us from dividing our efforts across multiple wikis. We tried having outreach as a centralized place for this guidance, but it has not worked as effectively as we would hope. We should import these pages to meta and focus on building a centralized body of work, perhaps using a designated namespace to distinguish it from other parts of Meta like how Wikimedia Grants uses the the Grants namespace to create its own "walled garden" of specialized content within the Meta wiki. Wugapodes (talk) 05:01, 16 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Support per above, conditional on support from the users of the Outreach wiki. Splitting meta-focused content across wikis adds difficulties and inefficiencies. --Yair rand (talk) 02:53, 17 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Support Support for the reasons that Spinster and Rschen7754 listed below in their "other" comments. Furthermore, I was the reason that the This Month in GLAM newsletter is on Outreach - not on Meta - in the first place: it was a newly created wiki at the time and I was encouraged to create the newsletter there because it was "going to become" the hub of outreach activities. That promise never realised. Instead - it is just a fork of the community. Moreover, that wiki has fewer technical features and community support than Meta does, notably the Translation systems. The fact that the WMF GLAM team is willing and able to help support the transfer of content and processes for some of the most active elements of Outreach wiki (the glam and education newsletters) is the golden opportunity we should take. I think it should be done in stages - not all at once - but merging Outreach's content and activities into Meta can, in my opinion, only help to make those newsletters more read, written, translated and widely-distributed. Wittylama (talk) 17:52, 20 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    @Wittylama: Heads up that you have some "here"s above that I think are supposed to be "there"s. I was confused (but then again, I'm not terribly smart). —Justin (koavf)TCM 18:21, 20 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    Whoops - thanks @Koavf:, you're right - I was writing in the context of being on Outreach. I've now edited my original text to make sense while being here on Meta. Wittylama (talk) 22:22, 20 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    For such purposes, @Wittylama PCP is the good place to drop, not RFC. Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 05:53, 30 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Support Support Outreach wiki should never have been created, and it's long since due being merged back to here. I wrote about why Outreach wiki was bad way back in 2011 at Why creating new wikis is a bad idea - and still stand by that. It's not a necessary wiki, but the work is very important - so let's merge it to Meta. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 18:00, 22 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Support Support merge will centralize discussion. Currently Outreach Wiki just separates important work, notes and discussion unnecessarily. On the argument that it's more welcoming than Meta-Wiki, I believe that certainly there are options to make Meta more welcoming, but that's another discussion entirely. EpicPupper (talk) 05:49, 29 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Symbol strong support vote.svg Strong support I would like to see GLAM resources centered and streamlined, translated and made live to all wikimedians and GLAM partners alike. I think the only sensible place is Meta, neutral grounds between projects. The wiki needs to have enough technical capabilities (such as the Visual Editor) to be be attractive for people to join and to enjoy contributing. – Susanna Ånäs (Susannaanas) 🦜 20:07, 4 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Oppose[edit]

  1. Oppose Oppose In addition to some of the issues raised above, one problem with Meta when this was discussed in the past was that there were not outsider-friendly standards and community expectations here. This is a wiki that is by its nature inward-facing and community members talking about and to themselves. Outreach is by definition outward-facing and intended for the intersection of this community and others. I don't think that moving content from a dedicated place to this wiki will make it easier to find but the opposite. For those groups or entities who want to have content hosted on Meta, they can cross-post. I don't see the need to shutter Outreach, especially without any discussion or consensus on that wiki. I can't recall seeing this happen before in almost 20 years of using WMF wikis. —Justin (koavf)TCM 18:12, 9 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Oppose Oppose per Justin. -- Jeff G. ツ (please ping or talk to me) 11:43, 10 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Oppose Oppose 2nd per Justin, also shouldn't PCP be a better process to follow for such proposals? --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 13:35, 11 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  4. (copied from outreach) It would be a bad idea to migrate, as the Outreach Wiki is specifically designed to be a friendly place for people with little to no experience with Wikimedia websites while I cannot think of a more unfriendly and unwelcoming place to receive new users than the Meta-Wiki, such a migration would be a horrendous idea. Commenting here as I can't comment there, perhaps @Slowking4: could copy this statement. --Donald Trung (talk) 08:33, 12 December 2021 (UTC)
    as Liam Wyatt explained, Outreach was started as a hub for GLAM activity, but is not aging well as the GLAMs prefer to organize off wiki, and there is little support from WMF. the bitey block decisions at meta will adversely impact GLAM discussion. --Slowking4 (talk) 14:48, 12 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Oppose Oppose per Justin. Juan90264 (talk) 22:40, 12 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Oppose Oppose I don't think this is necessary. As per Koavf. --Steinsplitter (talk) 14:06, 14 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Oppose Oppose One reason the WMF has raised to move content from Outreach to Meta is that this migration would "increase visibility and participation in the GLAM newsletter". I have just taken a look at the Pageviews Analysis stats for the Education Newsletter, which was migrated under a WMF decision with shallow if any community consultation, and I see no evidence that the migration from Outreach (data from September and October) to Meta (data from November) so far has led to significant increased visibility. The number of articles has also remained the same, so far. I see no investment in translating content, another reason that came up to justify moving from Outreach to Meta. I think we should wait to see how figures about the Education Newsletter evolve before taking further steps in this content migration and project shutdown proposal. --Joalpe (talk) 03:30, 15 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Oppose Oppose per Justin and Liuxinyu970226. --SHB2000 (talk | contribs) 06:12, 17 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  9. Oppose Oppose per Justin's points. Rubbish computer Ping me or leave a message on my talk page 23:57, 24 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  10. Oppose Oppose per Justin.--ჯეო (talk) 15:34, 27 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Oppose Oppose per above, and Outreach Wiki's scope is too sufficiently different and more narrowly focused than Meta Wiki. This proposed merger wouldn't make sense at all. A better idea would be to merge the Wikimania wiki(s) into Meta Wiki, to be honest. Dmehus (talk) 16:42, 31 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  12. Oppose Oppose Outreach Wiki is simple and more focused for new learners,and it needs more tools it increase it's efficiency than migrating / merging . Kasyap (talk) 07:46, 3 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Other[edit]

  1. I am choosing to not vote in the above discussion, however I do want to present a different perspective than that expressed above. I was a bureaucrat on Outreach for a period of time. There is significant overhead in keeping a separate wiki going - managing rights, keeping it clear of spam, etc. Decreased visibility has also led to less participation (less voting, less admins) and less scrutiny (the most active bureaucrat was globally banned, and there was also the security issue a few years back). I also doubt that there will ever be a large enough editor base to have CU/OS rights like Meta has. Are the reasons raised in the Oppose section valid? Maybe, but keeping the wiki open also comes at a cost and I would like to present that alternative view. --Rschen7754 04:08, 13 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    1. Do all MediaWikis need to be self sustainable? Especially if they are outward facing to newbies and to partners? I think not, but I also do not know exactly how much work is this and if WMF can have a small team to maintain such MediaWikis (Wikimania also fits in). Rs could you help estimate how much work is this exactly in terms of labor hours? If outsourcing to farms is an option? Maybe Miraheze.org folx could be supported to run this for WMF? --Zblace (talk) 05:39, 3 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  1. I am also choosing not to vote, and I very much second the points made by Rschen7754. As a long-term Wikimedian and GLAM-Wiki contributor, I mainly think it doesn't make sense to maintain a small, separate wiki with a tiny, active community and mostly very obsolete content. Meta has always seemed a better fit for me, and I am frankly surprised at the pushback against the move; to me it has always almost seemed like a no-brainer that the decision long ago to create this Outreach wiki has been sub-optimal and that the GLAM-Wiki community rather belongs on Meta. I'm also very much a proponent of 'don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good' - I am actually delighted that the (very small) GLAM team at the Wikimedia Foundation does care about this issue and can devote some time to such a move. Even if the move is partial, we can fix it and improve upon it going forward. Spinster (talk) 16:20, 16 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    1. Hi Spinster - I appreciate your insights, but I wonder were there any efforts made to mark content AnywherE on wikis as time-context specific...I see this problems in most Wikipedia searches, Meta and Commons regularly. I think this should be addressed separatly and with dedicated experiments and deploy elsewhere also - No? --Zblace (talk) 05:32, 3 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment Comment Could anybody make a briefing of the proposal/discussion, maybe a one-pager? Like one you propose for Rapid Grants? That will be much much appreciated as I could jump on and put into ja. I have just added a languages tag in hope we share this big issue/move among more language communities. Off topic it could be, but let's work globally with locally discussing mindset.


Esp in cases where smaller wikis investing in GLAM partnership, reading your proposal comprehensively in native language makes shifts much easier, and on that belief, I would like to invest my time putting the discussion into Japanese. Or ja community lacks/reversed their path to hold a user group, very slim chance we have to hear from them/us who might succeed to bring in media to Commons for global ja culture supporters. Anime, castles, Honda, Kimetsu, shogun, you name it.
Being put out in the dark had made us stumble, tends to invite negative reactions, and more so when you leave non-English native communities. English has been a global language, but there are many users uncomfortable reading second language. (Imagine if you are delivered a discussion invitation in Japanese language on an issue you are keen to speak up...) Typical to an oriental/East Asian mindset, we care more than finding the truth, but to avoid self shame communicating in childish English (kind of phobia). Non-native English speakers/writers are silent since they are not sure if they understand your points fully, nor confident if their question be treated in a graceful manner or ignored.
At the moment, I am afraid if we those using English language fluently were unconsciously ignoring another half of the user population. Cheers, --Omotecho (talk) 08:09, 15 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment Comment meh, who cares. this is just a channel to share activity, making it easier to report back to WMF. they are shuffling the deck chairs. the idea that editors who did very little editing of newsletter would veto communication decisions, is hilarious. yet another tempest in a tea cup. --Slowking4 (talk) 23:55, 16 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  • Comment Comment I don't vote (but I can vote Neutral), because I think we should move to the Meta to make Meta as a central wiki for all things. I think outside Wikimedia projects, only adding Meta, MediaWiki wiki (all generic places about the MediaWiki software), Incubator, Test Wiki, Governance Wiki, private wiki and chapters wiki. There is a proposal in the past to move Meta to wikimedia.org wiki, and merge Outreach, Advisory, .... Also the history can be imported, but I don't think we should redirect. I think we should close this wiki and says "This site is read-only by community discussion", like Advisory Wiki or any other things. Thingofme (talk) 01:12, 18 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]