Community Tech

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Check out the 2016 Community Wishlist Survey results!

The Community Tech team is a Wikimedia Foundation product team focused on meeting the needs of active Wikimedia contributors for improved, expert-focused curation and moderation tools. The creation of the Community Tech team is a direct outcome of requests from core contributors for improved support for moderation tools, bots, and the other features that help the Wikimedia projects succeed. The team works closely with contributors, volunteer developers, and the Community Engagement department.

The team includes Ryan Kaldari (tech lead), Danny Horn, Trevor Bolliger (product managers), Bryan Davis, Niharika Kohli, Leon Ziemba, Sam Wilson (developers), and Johan Jönsson (community liaison). Our projects are often collaborations with volunteer developers, and other Wikimedia dev teams.

For the latest news on our projects:

Scope[edit]

The team will mainly work on development tasks that can be iterated on quickly and that will have a direct benefit for the most active contributors who participate in the curatorial and administrative layers of the Wikimedia projects, as well as contributors who work on technical features for the projects such as templates, modules, gadgets, user scripts, and bots.

Tasks that are in scope include:

  • Creating gadgets, bots, and wizards to streamline existing community workflows
  • Modifying existing gadgets and bots so that they can work across multiple projects
  • Converting heavily-used gadgets and user-scripts into MediaWiki extensions
  • Building article curation and monitoring tools for WikiProjects
  • Identifying and fixing issues with critical power-user tools that have already been developed, but are not actively maintained, such as AbuseFilter or Citation bot
  • Creating better documentation for power-user tools and features so that they can be better utilized across all projects

Tasks that are not in scope include:

  • Maintaining orphaned/abandoned projects from other WMF teams. The rest of engineering must continue to appropriately resource ongoing maintenance of products and features they create.
  • Supporting Community Engagement or other internal WMF teams. If those teams need tools or other software development, they need to be resourced separately (as occurs for Fundraising).
  • Large, long-term development projects like converting Commons to use structured meta-data or creating an entirely new watchlist interface
  • Being the point of contact for all community tech requests. This team will focus on the core community and the tools they need to improve their workflows. Other WMF Engineering teams—or WMF Engineering as a whole—need to consider how they want to address the needs of the overall community (including new and casual contributors).
  • Sysadmin type tasks such as managing Tool Labs, improving site performance, managing IRC channels, etc.

Guidelines[edit]

It's important to us...

  • To work on projects that have a big impact
  • To help large wikis and small wikis, in many languages
  • To be open and communicative
  • To be responsive to people's requests and concerns
  • To be calm and civil, and to assume good faith

We're a small team, and there's a lot to do! We want to be as helpful and effective as we can, so we can't take everything on. Saying no to requests that we can't help with is an important part of our job, because it frees up time and energy for the requests that we can help with.

But "no" is hard to hear sometimes, so here are some guidelines about working and communicating with the Community Tech team.

  • Please be calm and civil, and assume good faith on our part. We care about the projects too.
  • We love our jobs and we work hard, but we don't work 24/7, and we can't guarantee an immediate response.
  • If a specific person or issue is taking an outsized percentage of our on-wiki time, that takes time and attention away from other people. We'll sometimes have to close a conversation, and say that we can't spend more time on a particular subject.
  • We can't take on projects that are currently on another product team's roadmap, or a project that directly conflicts with another team's work.
  • If there's an issue with another product team's work, we can direct you to the appropriate person to talk to.
  • We can't answer questions about staffing issues, or confidential matters.

The Community Tech team is committed to upholding the civility standards set by the Terms of Use and will observe and maintain the friendly space expectations for Grants spaces in our interactions. We ask that all contributors to Community Tech spaces do the same.

Proposal and prioritization process[edit]

The main prioritization process for the Community Tech team is the cross-project Community Wishlist Survey, which we have done in 2015 and 2016. The main focus of the team is working on the top ten results from that survey, though in 2017 we'll also spend some limited amount of our time on wishes that didn't make the top ten but would have a big impact on smaller projects.

For a more detailed breakdown of the team's current work, see the Community Tech sprint workboard.

Collaboration[edit]

The Community Tech team has a similar mandate to Wikimedia Deutschland's Community Tech team – Technischer Communitybedarf, or TCB – which provides technical assistance and software development for the German Wikimedia community. We will be collaborating with them on projects that overlap between our teams and assisting each other with technical assessment and code review. We will also be collaborating with other WMF development teams when high-priority community requests fall within their scope. In such cases, we will work with the leaders of the other teams to negotiate timelines, expectations, priorities, and ownership. We also spend a good deal of our time working with and supporting Wikimedia volunteer developers.

Links[edit]