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Ambassadors vs. volunteer product managers[edit]

I was asked in a private IRC channel how the ambassadors were related to "Volunteer product managers". This was my answer (copied here for transparency):

I've come to think that volunteer product managers are a completely different thing from ambassadors, because VPMs are going to focus on features or specific technical projects (aiming to solve the "we don't have enough PMs" problem), while ambassadors are about scaling up our communications efforts (aiming at solving the "how do we talk to all those people" problem). I think they're complementary and in the short term I was planning to focus on the ambassadors, because there's an existing community that probably just needs a tiny bit of formalizing, but I can work on both if I'm told to do so.

guillom 13:22, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

I would still very strongly prefer that we at least mention the Volunteer Product Manager program on this page. It's an adjacent role, if not on exactly the same track. -- RobLa-WMF (talk) 02:10, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
It's already there, in Tech/Ambassadors#Get more involved; I added it right after I agreed with you during our meeting last week. guillom 06:49, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

General comments[edit]

  • Begins well from the first line. :-)
  • The "announcing technical changes to your home wikis" part doesn't elaborate; I guess it's left to each person to identify the best tools for this; is it clear that it's not only about spamming village pumps?
  • "Looking for more information" is nice, but the items here should not be aimed at supplementing the glossary. For most users, following the blog(s) (including the reports) is the best way to stay informed and relay the information to other users who don't speak English or are less technical: there's less traffic than in the mailing lists, it doesn't require knowledge of how mailing lists work, they're already polished for a not-too-specific audience.

--Nemo 18:29, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

I'm sorry for the super-late response! And thanks for the comments :)
Absolutely, the announcing part is up to each community to decide. Some wikis already have channels in place for this (like the Signpost and de:WP:NEU), and others do it more in an ad hoc manner. We're definitely not talking about spamming village pumps :)
I think the problem with the blog's content (and particularly the monthly engineering reports) is that they bring a lot of information (it's easy to get lost) only once a month (which is sometimes too late). Maybe a solution is related to weekly summaries (see # Noteworthy changes below). guillom 17:36, 26 March 2013 (UTC)


That user page in progress is somehow connected, in particular the point about «We need a constellation of community test / feedback groups», although part of that would fall in the volunteer product management sphere, or maybe in the community quality assurance experiments which Chris and others are working on. (Now that I think of it, this may be getting confusing.) --Nemo 08:51, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Who is connected to wikitech-ambassadors?[edit]

It would be useful to have a rough idea of the projects being reached when someone sends an email to wikitech-ambassadors. Does it make sense to have a page with people listing themselves and specifying the the projects they relate to? Do we have a better solution?--Qgil (talk) 23:30, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

I agree it would be useful, and I've thought of such a page. The problems I see is that a wiki page can easily become outdated. I don't think we can rely on people listing themselves to keep the page up-to-date, because I expect people to only subscribe to the list. I don't want to bear the responsibility of maintaining such a list either, because I feel it would quickly become a time sink. A better solution imho would be to use a "Tech ambassador" group, because I expect ambassadors to visit the dev wiki regularly, and updating one's user page seems more natural than a list elsewhere. guillom 17:17, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Ok, ok, another reason to push these groups. :) --Qgil (talk) 01:00, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Noteworthy changes[edit]

I'd like to start a discussion about how we can consolidate efforts when it comes to identifying and surfacing noteworthy technical activity. By "technical activity", I mean anything from commits to bugs, site configuration changes, important discussions (between developers, but also between developers and users) and feature deployments.

Many people have been trying to keep track of such noteworthy changes over the years, usually independently: tech writers from the Signpost, de:WP:NEU and their counterparts, staff and volunteers assembling deployment notes, release summaries and release notes, volunteers summarizing discussions, etc.

But with the overall increase in technical activity, it's become more and more difficult for everyone to keep track of everything. By combining forces, we should be able to cover more ground as a team, while all working less :)

Some open-source projects manage to assemble and publish weekly activity digests, like KDE. I don't think we need to aim for such detailed reports, but the weekly timeframe seems like a good compromise.

My questions are those:

  • Is there interest in consolidating efforts in this regard? My feeling is that everybody would win from not duplicating work.
  • What would be the best way to do this? I think we could set up a lightweight system, possibly with tags in gerrit or bugzilla, complemented with links on a wiki page like some of us already do. I like the tagging idea, because it's something developers themselves could help with (and I expect most of the tech activity to happen there) and it's already being developed. The wikitech-ambassadors mailing list would be a natural venue for coordination among us.
  • Where would we work? I think collaboration would work best with a central weekly page on that could be adapted/trimmed/linked to from local versions for community newspapers, depending on how much customization is desired.

I'm looking forward to comments, questions and ideas about how to make this work :) guillom 17:17, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

As maintainer of de:WP:NEU since years I am happy to write down some of my thoughts and what I do on a daily base:
Select from these hundred and more changes per day the relevant changes! No Wikipedian is interested in fixed Selenium tests and similar.
Document in 3 sections:
  • Current changes to the WMF cluster: Enabling/Disabling features, extensions etc
  • Software changes for the next release 1.21wmf12 (UI related changes, API and JavaScript)
  • Software changes for over the next release 1.21wmf13 (UI related changes, API and JavaScript)
I would be happy to work together with you and other on a better system. One point that should not be underestimated: Most of the changes need to be translated to be useful for the community. Raymond (talk) 17:51, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Great! This is very useful. I agree on the translation part. Depending on how long the weekly reports are (they should be short), I was thinking of translating them using the Translate extension, to avoid duplicating the translation process on wikis with the same language. But this is still an early idea. guillom 18:01, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
I think weekly reports are not enough. Changes should be communicated on a same day base. Using the Translate extension is a very good idea. Raymond (talk) 18:07, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
My feeling is that weekly reports would be considered awesome by all the wikis except for de.wikipedia, because your hard work has got them used to very high standards :) I think daily updates may be too much to ask most ambassadors, but I certainly don't want to lower your standards. We can probably figure out a system that works for everyone. guillom 18:17, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Sure :-)
Another point, independently from the frequency: A challenge for most changes is it to describe the change in understandable words for "normal" Wikipedians. Tech foo bar should be avoided (with exception of some sections like changes to the API). What does the change, why is it important for the project, etc. From my point of view this is the hardest task. And I know that I have to improve my skills on this point. Raymond (talk) 19:22, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
And another point: It would be great to have experts for special products like MobileFrontend, Wikidata, VisualEditor, Apps, etc. on board. I am coming to my limits already to follow these too :-( Raymond (talk) 19:48, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
I have a related thought. My team (Engineering Community Team) must build and sustain the pipelines of outreach and training for coders, sysadmins, QA, writers, designers, and product managers. Communications is part of that outreach; people have to know what's happening so they can contribute, and because changes affect them. And towards that end, ECT must scale itself; there is so much communicating, bug triage, community liaising, persuasion, publicity, and other encouragement that needs doing that ECT plus the existing volunteer base can't handle it, and so we need to recruit and train others.
ECT does need more engineering communication (reaching more Wikimedia contributors) than is happening now, and there's actually quite a lot of structure and documentation and process now, enough that we should now concentrate on volunteer input and throughput. We have the engineering project documentation HOWTO, we have the glossary on meta, we have the tech ambassadors page and community, we have the Wikimedia Blog section on meta, and we have the templating on The problem blocking this goal is not a lack of appropriate process, it's a lack of people. So the engineering communication-related work that needs doing is persuading, recruiting and training others to use these tools to be tech journalists. (All tech ambassadors and tech community liaisons need to be able to do tech journalism, to summarize and translate tech activities into plain explanations of effects.) Sharihareswara (WMF) (talk) 04:59, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
Regarding weekly reports, perhaps the responses to the Wikidata weekly summaries will be instructive. Sharihareswara (WMF) (talk) 04:59, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

I find that a lot of subcommunities - stewards, wikisourcerors, wikinewsies, people who love multimedia - keep track of their most important bugs or collections-of-features. Their technical members are both hypersensitive to which features they are waiting for, and monitoring changes to them (or would like to). so they would make interested readers and could help curate the stream of updates. You might reach out to some of those communities that regularly ask about "their" core bugs, those that have their own "collector" bugs/features, and those groups that do active external development (the community of Extension writers; the mediawiki-users list; the bot community; major script communities; translate community; TS / labs community). I suspect each would have an idea of how part of such a summary could help them. SJ talk  20:47, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

What Raymond wrote is right on the spot : "A challenge for most changes is it to describe the change in understandable words for "normal" Wikipedians." If it is not done with that goal in mind, we will waste our time, since we want to reach a lot of people. Cantons-de-l'Est (talk) 21:36, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Absolutely, yes, I agree with SJ and I agree with Raymond and Cantons-de-l'Est regarding the importance of diverse outreach and of translation into layperson-friendly prose. Sharihareswara (WMF) (talk) 04:59, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

SJ kind of heads in this direction (and if I weren't so tired, I'd attempt to better articulate the point myself), but bluntly there's an audience question, I think. Who's the intended audience of these proposed weekly reports? Wikimedia wiki editors? MediaWiki site administrators? Technical users? Casual readers?

Without a clear audience, it's almost impossible to put together a useful report of "noteworthy" changes, as that concept has no meaning in a vacuum. Some changes are hugely important to Wikimedia wikis and hugely unimportant to every non-Wikimedia MediaWiki wiki, and vice versa. Even within Wikimedia wikis, as SJ notes, certain changes will be hugely important to only certain communities. For example, if there were breaking changes to the ProofreadPage extension, it would be clear that every Wikisource would need to be informed in a dispatch (whether that's a weekly translated report, a global message delivery, etc.). But for every non-Wikisource, these theoretical breaking changes to the ProofreadPage extension would mean absolutely nothing.

Much like MediaWiki itself, I feel like the tech ambassadors attempt to serve many masters, but ultimately serve none of them well (at the moment). --MZMcBride (talk) 03:28, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Currently, the primary audience is Wikimedia editors. I understand that it consists of distinct subcommunities, and that there also are other audiences it doesn't include. Ideally, I could imagine a system where a wiki page is used to log all "noteworthy" items, and each of which can be assigned tags (like "Wikisource", "Wikimedia", "Crosswiki", "Multimedia", etc.) used to selectively display those items on the page (and perhaps even generate tag-specific RSS feeds). Unfortunately, no engineering resources are available for this, so I'm afraid we'll have to use a suboptimal system for now, probably consisting of a basic log on a wiki page. I realize it wouldn't address the needs of everyone, so I'm open to other solutions. guillom 15:30, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

As a follow-up to this discussion, I've started Tech/News and Talk:Tech/News. Comments, questions and edits are encouraged. guillom 16:46, 16 May 2013 (UTC)


As a follow-up to the previous discussion, the first weekly tech summary was assembled and just published. Comments and feedback are greatly appreciated. We need more hands to keep this going, so please consider joining us, even if it's just to add a link or translate a paragraph from time to time :)

Localization of Upload Wizard on Commons[edit]


On Tech/News/2013/21 it is quoted that 'The UploadWizard on Commons now shows links to the old upload form in 55 languages' I would like to know where to apply to get the translation of the lb-version (translated up to 95%) online.

Best regards and hoping to get any feedback on this issue. --Robby (talk) 17:08, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

Please add it to Template:Lang-Upload, and I'll commit a Gerrit change as soon as possible :) odder (talk) 19:12, 6 June 2013 (UTC)
Done --Robby (talk) 22:43, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

Notice and category[edit]

What about creating a babel template {{User tech ambassador}}, optionally with an embedded category? --Ricordisamoa 20:22, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

TAThis Tech Ambassador monitors changes that may affect Wikimedia Meta-Wiki.
Initial fast version, may be a logo needed (for now I used the logo of translators, may be I should use the MediaWiki logo with some addition like "?" to mean help.
User category created too (this Tech/Ambassadors page is now also categorized as the main page of the category in which people will insert the babel template). verdy_p (talk) 20:58, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
Note that the template accepts interwiki parameters for the project and language of the wiki on whcih the user acts as an ambassador. It changes the text displayed, and the project logo on the right accordingly (but for now it does not separate users here into multiple categories per project/language. verdy_p (talk) 21:50, 10 February 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for doing this. I had created similar user boxes before seeing this separate discussion, so I was bold and made them consistent. I think the functionality to specify the wiki on which the person is an ambassador is great, so thank you for doing this! guillom 14:53, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
You'll notice that the right logo follows the logo of the associated project wiki (and below it, the small language code of that project, if it is localized in mutliple editions),
In fact I wated to generalize it for various user boxes associated to a specifc wiki, instead of inventng new logos with superpositions: left side for the role, right side for the project wiki.
But before doing that, I could need a couple of templates: one that gives the icon (and possible text below for the language code), another for the name and link of that project. This could be also a single template with a swtich returning info about a couple of interwiki codes. It would be internationalizable as well, possibly with genitive forms for the project name when used in sentences describing the user's role/group. verdy_p (talk) 19:21, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
verdy_p: I noticed :) It looks great; Thanks! Could I ask you to copy it to the French Wikipedia? I'm not too familiar with the userboxes templates there. I've already added them to the English Wikipedia (w:Template:User wikipedia/Tech ambassador, w:Template:User wikipedia/Tech news). guillom 15:37, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
OK I'll do it; but not immediately; there may be specific integration things to check before as FR.WP also has lots of templates and related conventions. verdy_p (talk) 15:40, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Whenever you can :) Thank you! guillom 16:43, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Other ways to help[edit]

I currently do many of the things on this page. Are there any other ways to help? PiRSquared17 (talk) 00:04, 22 March 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for everything you're doing, PiRSquared17. We could really use some help on Tech/News: going through the sources of information, selecting noteworthy changes, adding items to the next issue, simplifying items, preparing for translation, and even publishing the newsletter via MassMessage, if you're interested. You can read a recap for more info, although there'll be much you're already familiar with, especially given your experience as a translation admin.
At the moment, it's mostly odder and me doing it, and we'd love to welcome a third pillar to the team; more occasional help is also very welcome. We usually coordinate a lot on IRC (to make sure we're in sync, and avoid duplicate work & edit conflicts). If you'd like to join, I'd be happy to discuss it further with you on IRC in #wikimedia, for example. Let me know :) and thanks again for everything you're already doing! Your help and commitment are much appreciated. guillom 13:37, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

Can not log in[edit]

This conversation took place in [1] under title ”Can’t log in”. Sorry about the lenght but it explains my situation. Now I try to find next place were I may get some help. I am using temporary this address [2] . I just learned (again) that I have already an account here so I can sign. At the same time I found this message about Superprotect. So am I on this ”black list” although I have more than 300.000 reliable edits? --Artomo (talk) 12:14, 23 November 2014 (UTC)

"Is it possible that I am a some kind of victim in this AbuseFilter system. I am the only administrator in Ido Wiktionary ([3]), so it is necessary that I can log in the system. Now I keep receiving message about error when I try to log in at home (in my job place there is no problem to log in !). Just for testing the system I created at home a new account, and there are no problems acting as a normal user. It seems that the problem is connected to my original user name and my IP at home. This problem emerged when we got in the Ido Wiktionary the message about this AbuseFilter in the 14th of November. So – help is needed, thanks. Sorry – no signing but you can find me.

It is highly unlikely that the Global Abuse Filter would prevent you logging in and there are no hits for your account in the log. There is no global IP block affecting the IP address you used to post here. As the issue only affects one account from your home it cannot be caused by a local IP block. Have you changed your password recently and not updated the saved password in your browser at home? If you can be more specific about the error message received we can look at it further. QuiteUnusual (talk) 13:10, 20 November 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for answering! I do not know any other place to solve my problem. You can feel free to transfer this case in a correct arena. – In addition to the situation described above, I am an administrator in the Ido Wikipedia ([4]). The conditions are completely exact and there is no problem at all. The only difference between these cases is that the connection to the Wiktionary does not work but to the Wikipedia it does. I am completely puzzled but it seems that the problem is not in my end of the wire. Sorry – still going on without signing.

Would you mind giving the exact error message you are receiving? Is it the "wrong password" message? Did you change your password recently? If so, have you tried resetting it? Also, make sure your browser is allowing cookies from and PiRSquared17 (talk) 18:15, 20 November 2014 (UTC)

Here is one message about error. First I get a notice that my password is uncorrect, then I get this after quite a long waiting:
If you report this error to the Wikimedia System Administrators, please include the details below.

Request: POST, from via cp1068 cp1068 ([]:3128), Varnish XID 3032683507

Forwarded for:,,,

Error: 503, Service Unavailable at Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:31:28 GMT

Hello again! Now the problem has gone worse. I lost my possibility to log in the Ido Wiktionary even at my job place when I am using my original user name. But on the contrary my alter ego which I created is still valid there. What is happening? – Artomo
The error message suggests it is a problem within the Wikimedia environment but it is beyond my expertise. I think this would benefit from a sysadmin looking at it. Do you have IRC access? If so, you could try asking at #wikimedia-techconnect. QuiteUnusual (talk) 15:19, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, but I am absolutely not capable to solve this by myself. Someone else has to help me. -- 12:15, 22 November 2014 (UTC)" (End of quote)

Your feedback is welcome![edit]

Hey everyone, TL;DR, see Community Relations/Community collaboration in product development/Tech ambassadors and translators to provide feedback on the role of tech ambassadors and tech translators until August 22nd, or in person at Wikimania. All details on page. Any help spreading the word is certainly appreciated :) Ciao, --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 14:08, 10 August 2017 (UTC)

"What tech ambassadors do" is missing an obvious item: write documentation[edit]

Too much of that "what we do" list seems couched in "discussion"-oriented stuff. The main way that technically oriented editors help other editors understand the software (whether it be MW itself, or local templates and processes on a particular wiki) is writing and improving documentation. Doing that well saves countless hours of repeat discussion.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:34, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

(fixed typo) Thanks for your feedback, will be taken into consideration. --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 10:16, 20 September 2017 (UTC)


Now that the above little pitchforks-and-torches episode is over (notably with a consensus against censure [6], as I predicted), I'm going to announce what I'd already decided a week or so before this bit of politicized psychodrama erupted: I'm resigning as a WMF Tech Ambassador.

If you see my user page here, it consists of a statement of why I was interested in this to begin with – the WMF focus and approach problems I hoped to see addressed and help address. Instead, they've seemed to worsen. I also don't feel right devoting my limited volunteer time to what WMF wants the TAs to do, and ultimately I feel more attuned to the en.Wikipedia community and its concerns than to WMF and what it wants to impress upon the editorial communities at the various wikis. So, it's a sort of conflict of interest, or has become one. I've posted a fuller resignation rationale at my user page, under the original WMF TA statement I put up in 2018.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  22:32, 23 April 2019 (UTC)