Recommendation 4: Deployment Council
Q 1 What is your Recommendation?
Make governance of the software used in Wikimedia projects more inclusive, participatory and predictable by setting up a “Deployment Council” for setting the requirements for deploying new functionality to the wikis, in the form of a co-decision-making process between the organization building the feature and the editor community.
Q 2-2 What is your thinking and logic behind this recommendation?
Becoming the essential infrastructure of free knowledge will no doubt mean significant changes to the software the wiki communities interact with, and currently deploying major changes is often controversial and stressful, as there is no formal system for editors to set requirements, so they are left to oppose changes they disagree with by informal means; and with no dedicated process, they default to processes used on the wikis (like requests for comment) which tend to be poorly suited to the task. While the situation is not completely unmanageable, it does limit the pace of deployment.
To fix this situation, and a new group with a community-given mandate is needed to provide the continuity (product owner organizations need to be secure that basic planning choices won’t be rehashed after millions of donor dollars have already been invested) and high quality of decisions.
Q 3-1 What will change because of the Recommendation?
The late stage of the product development process will become smoother (being based on the consensus of more stakeholders).
Q 3-2 Who specifically will be influenced by this recommendation?
Movement entities doing major product development work (such as the WMF and WMDE; if the recommendation on Decentralization is followed, significantly more in the future), wiki editor communities who are most affected by new products.
Q 4-1 Could this Recommendation have a negative impact/change?
Yes, If implemented wrongly, will lead to more frustration from the communities than today, or low-quality decisions.
Q 4-2 What could be done to mitigate this risk?
Involve the communities in the change process; ensure participants are well-informed.
Q 5 How does this Recommendation relate to the current structural reality? Does it keep something, change something, stop something, or add something new?
It adds a new structure around product decision making.
Q 6-1 Does this Recommendation connect or depend on another of your Recommendations? If yes, how?
It is complemented by the Open Product Proposal Process recommendation which deals with the other half of the development process.
Q 6-2 Does this Recommendation connect or relate to your Scoping Questions? If yes, how?
It answers the scoping question “Which are the structures and processes to assure the required level of inclusion in decision making and planning of the community at large in their full diversity?”
Q 7 How is this Recommendation connected to other WGs?
It suggests changing movement-wide decision-making processes, which is also in the territory of Roles and Responsibilities.