Talk:Wikimedia Foundation Engineering reorganization FAQ

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

Difference between privacy and security teams[edit]

I'm curious about the difference between the privacy and security teams. Privacy is apparently going to work on "encryption, data protection, and secure identity management" vs the security team which is going to work on "protecting against technical vulnerabilities, and defending users’ data and privacy." The difference between data protection and defending users' data is rather unclear to me. Furthermore, I wonder if there is any information on the sort of things a privacy team plans to conquer, or at least what it plans to look at first. I imagine that's up in the air until the team gets off the ground, but I'd love some hints of what's in store. Bawolff (talk) 03:29, 22 April 2015 (UTC)[reply]

I'll try to get a clear response for you, Bawolff -Rdicerb (WMF) (talk) 07:03, 28 April 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Bawolff, the two teams are going to be working closely together, for sure. You really can't have privacy without security. The main difference is focus (which then translates into specific goals, and thus resourcing). My team will focus on the site's security, one aspect of that (a big one, but not exclusively) is protecting the privacy of users. The Privacy team will be focused exclusively on ways we can better protect user's privacy. So the split, as I understand it, formalizes the WMF's commitment to privacy by ensuring privacy goals (which may not have a direct security component) get addressed. CSteipp (WMF) (talk) 20:47, 28 April 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Mobile editing[edit]

I see that mobile work was split in two, across Editing and Reading, where Reading «will pull together teams currently working on mobile apps, mobile web [...]». Will mobile editing be resourced, e.g. with people from the former Mobile sub-department? In principle, mobile work is evenly split.

Also, does this put an end to The separate world of Mobile, or will mobile-affecting work continue being performed mainly by "mobile people" working on specific "mobile teams"?

--Nemo 06:34, 22 April 2015 (UTC)[reply]

P.s.: I like «A new user may start by reading a single article, search for more information, and eventually click Edit, becoming an editor». But remember this is not unidirectional, everyone is a reader and editor, readers don't exist.

To follow up, Nemo, the thinking is towards a more consistent experience across devices, but that has not been completely defined at this time - for example perhaps not all desktop features will be easily or readily available on mobile. -Rdicerb (WMF) (talk) 07:01, 28 April 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Teams vs. functions[edit]

I am not clear on the distinction between teams (2.2-2.8) and functions (2.9-2.13). Could someone elucidate? Thanks, Libcub (talk) 20:36, 24 April 2015 (UTC)[reply]

I'll follow up on this one with you shortly, Libcub -Rdicerb (WMF) (talk) 07:07, 28 April 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Hi Libcub, following up. There's a bit of "business speak" involved here, where the teams are verticals and the functions are horizontals. For example, the Editing Team works on products related to editing and contributing, like VisualEditor, Flow, Multimedia and Content Translation. In those teams there are Product Manager/s, Engineers, Designers, Community Liaisons (CLs will continue to be embedded into product teams though the team itself lives in the newly formed Community Engagement department), Analysts. Those are the vertical teams.
The functions are horizontals provide consistency throughout all of the team verticals. For example, there are groups of engineers performing specific tasks which might not apply specifically to one product but across the entire system (such as performance), or designers who apply consistent UX values across the different teams.
Let me know if that adds enough clarity or if you have other questions. -Rdicerb (WMF) (talk) 19:34, 28 April 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for responding, Rachel, but I am still not clear. Are the Teams actual permanent-ish reporting hierarchies, while the Functions are limited-duration project teams? Thanks, Libcub (talk) 02:38, 10 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]
It's all more or less permanent. "Teams" isn't a good word choice, because it's used to mean several things. "Functions" are what you do (coding, QA, design, etc.); "audience" is why you do it (users who are editing, users who are reading, etc.). It might make more sense if you think of it in table form:
Horizontals and verticals
Editing Fundraising tech
Coders VisualEditor devs, Flow devs, Media Viewer devs, etc. Fundraising devs
QA VisualEditor's QA person, Flow's QA, etc. Fundraising QA
Design VisualEditor designer, Flow's designers, etc. Fundraising's testers, etc.
Does that make more sense? Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 20:38, 10 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Ideas for Community Tech[edit]

Kaldari has started a page to help collect ideas for the new Community Tech team (yay!). I encourage folks to add their own ideas and suggestions: Community Tech project ideas. --Varnent (talk)(COI) 22:34, 10 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Community Tech code review[edit]

Most of the community requests with high demand and impact require at least some tweak in MediaWiki core. People active in MediaWiki core code review are not that many and I don't see MediaWiki core in the job posting, which only asks "Some technical experience". This team will start heavily handicapped if it has no internal code review capacity. Is there a plan B, i.e. borrowing core reviewers from other teams for a predefined portion of their weekly time? --Nemo 06:11, 13 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Hey Nemo, I meant to reply to this the other day and then I didn't - apologies for the late reply! Trying to bubble this up to someone who would be able to speak to it. Perhaps Greg G or Damon or Tim Starling (none of them are active on Meta or I'd ping them). Might be able to get an answer at the Hackathon this weekend and will respond here. -Rdicerb (WMF) (talk) 01:23, 19 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]
It is difficult to reply to this question before the Community Tech team has a plan. That plan will be reasonable, and therefore I expect them to take on tasks and projects based on feasibility, including code review. If they decide to start working on improvements related to MediaWiki core, they will have to be in sync with the maintainers.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 13:50, 21 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Feasible doesn't imply useful. Useful easily implies unfeasible, if there is no code review capacity. If this team is not assigned any code review resources, I personally declare it a vacuous exercise that I'm not going to spend a minute of my time on. --Nemo 07:36, 31 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I disagree with the idea that only teams with MediaWiki core maintainers are able to get MediaWiki core patches reviewed. Let's agree to disagree for now, and let's wait until we have a backlog and patches.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 07:45, 1 June 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Uh, it turns out something is going to happen: --> Lila: as we look at MPL (master project list), explore adding other senior engineers to Community Tech team. --Nemo 22:08, 16 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]

I continue to find the name "Community Tech" strange. It always makes me think: which tech teams aren't serving the community? --MZMcBride (talk) 05:21, 20 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

I agree. "Community advocacy" wasn't a great choice either. Theo10011 (talk) 06:42, 20 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Community Tech setup[edit]

The non-appearance of any progress on setting up the Community Tech team is becoming embarassing. Perhaps a line could be added to the FAQ giving some information about when we may expect some information? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 19:48, 29 June 2015 (UTC)[reply]


We realise that finding a CTO isn't an easy, or a fast process, but things seem to be going backwards, as the VP Engineering, who is stated to be the CTO's deputy for certain things, is also mysteriously absent. Can someone update the FAQ specifying who the deputy deputy for the CTO currently is please? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 19:51, 29 June 2015 (UTC)[reply]