Talk:Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Working Groups/Product & Technology/Recommendations/7
Thanks for starting this interesting conversation, after reading the recommendations, I have a few questions:
- We think there is a large third-party user base potential that is not currently realized ... (money, staff and volunteer time, brand and marketing, etc.)
- Improving our platform ties down a significant fraction of our budget, and even so the rate of progress is much slower than we’d like. If there is an opportunity to resource platform improvements in from external sources, we should take it.
- Isn't there already a decent "external" developer community? While the 3rd party ecosystem may not contribute monetarily (besides individual contributions), doesn't the Foundation get code support? How would the 3rd parties help with brand and marketing (aside from consultants/developers/hosts/etc. with branding for their own businesses)?
- Becoming the essential infrastructure of free knowledge
- If the foundation really wanted to do this (platform for the world's free knowledge), they should really consider supporting WikiJournal's proposal to become a full sister site
- The theory that the MediaWiki ecosystem has significant third-party potential should be confirmed by research or small-scale experiments with early involvement of third parties, before a major investment is made. The risk of fallout between major stakeholders is expected to be both unlikely and low-impact, as long as the trademark and core development infrastructure is owned by Wikimedia.
Becoming the essential infrastructure of free knowledge is part of the strategic direction we have accepted for 2030. WikiApiary and Pingback are (not entirely reliable) metrics for the MediaWiki userbase being large; this recommendation is more about users who invest back though, as a vibrant ecosystem requires multiple sources of resource influx, and that's currently not really the case for MediaWiki - the amount of funding going to non-Wikimedian groups working on MediaWiki is relatively small (anecdotally; we don't have good measures) and the amount of work that's done by non-Wikimedians but is useful for the Wikimedia movement is even smaller (again, anecdotally; we don't have great stats but e.g. 80% of MediaWiki core commits in the last 90 days are from WMF+WME, and a further 19% from volunteers, most of whom are largely Wikimedia-affiliated; the contribution of non-Wikimedian organizations is about 1%). Maybe this is due to poor management on the Wikimedia side (not invented here syndrome, silos etc), maybe due to lack of commercial feasibility of MediaWiki, maybe just lack of investment into making it commercially attractive, or lack of coordination with other orgs, or not including them in planning and roadmapping - in any case, we see this as worth investigating as a better-functioning ecosystem could be very valuable to the Wikimedia movement. --Tgr (talk) 11:28, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
Different use cases
I think that it's going to be difficult to get significant 3rd party support for MediaWiki because the Foundation has a different use case -- running a very highly traffic web site and this is not only difficult but has needs and challenges that other users just don't have. However, there are other proposals that address calculating the market size and potential monetization of the MediaWiki platform that can also be used to assess the potential for third party support and we should use data to make decisions here. TNegrin (WMF) (talk) 01:13, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
@TNegrin (WMF): agreed that this needs an evidence-based approach. Wikimedia having some uncommon needs from MediaWiki does not seem problematic to me, as long as most of the common needs are shared. Accommodating those uncommon needs would be an extra cost for other organizations investing into MediaWiki, but that's offset by the guarantee that the project will have significant momentum behind it for decades and won't just dry up and die when the developer community loses interest, like it happened with so many other opensource projects. It's hard to overstate the value of that. --Tgr (talk) 08:24, 10 September 2019 (UTC)