Convert the Wikimedia movement in the most attractive destination for volunteers interested in the development of tools for creating and disseminating educational content.
Wikimedia is a top Internet project, a leading example of collaborative writing and crowdfunding. The quantity, size, and variety of our software products make us also a big free software project.
However, Wikimedia doesn’t score high as a destination for technical collaboration. For such a popular movement, our volunteer engagement in the development of Wikimedia products is relatively small, homogenous, endogamous, and frequently driven by conflict more than collaboration.
We will fix this incongruence
- fostering an open and welcoming community, making participation in Wikimedia technical projects a respectful and harassment-free experience for everyone
- making participation in Wikimedia software projects easy to discover, understand, and join
- understanding who and what competes with Wikimedia for technical volunteers’ attention, and whether untapped pools of volunteering exist
- recruiting volunteers within the Wikimedia editor communities in order to increase the quantity and diversity of contributors
- inviting Wikimedia readers and donors to contribute some of their time and skills
- offering a learning environment and growth paths to technical contributors
- collaborating with technical organizations aligned with the Wikimedia mission.
In order to achieve our aspiration, we focus our outreach and collaboration efforts on
- Wikimedia Foundation technical goals welcoming contributors
- Wikimedia Community Wishlist technical priorities
Our main target groups are developers and other technical contributors, including tech ambassadors, and core contributors of content (i.e. active editors who want to participate in discussions about software).
We focus our support in the initial stages of these software development projects (Understand and Concept), and in their release.
mediawiki.org is our hub for documentation, communication, and onboarding. Wikimedia Phabricator is the place for project management and software development. From these spaces we broadcast to the Wikimedia communities online.
In terms of local activities, our geographical focus is driven by
- San Francisco Bay Area, due to the amount of WMF developers living there
- The Wikipedia Education Program network
- Partnerships with Wikimedia organizations or other mission aligned groups.
How we succeed
The Technical Collaboration team identifies volunteering paths for contributors to all aspects of technical projects interested in the Wikimedia mission and the success of Wikipedia.
Finding a first mission must be easy for developers, designers, editors, readers and, in general, anybody interested in contributing their time and skills to improve the Wikimedia software. From there, it must be simple for contributors to get involved at their own pace. After some steps, these contributors will be able to find their place in the Wikimedia movement, building their network of personal connections in what might become a life-changing experience.
We participate in the design and maintenance of these contribution paths. We work with tech ambassadors, Wikimedia organizations, and Wikimedia Foundation software teams to communicate project plans, opportunities to provide feedback, test new software, and contribute improvements. We also connect communities requesting new features with volunteers interested in developing them.
Some factors are essential to succeed in the implementation of this strategy:
- The popularity of Wikipedia. The possibility to improve Wikipedia is a powerful magnet attracting contributors to our technical projects, from new developers and partners to experienced editors. The Wikipedia brand puts us in a solid position in the fields of education, free knowledge and free software.
- Understanding the free software culture. Following principles and processes typical of the free software movement simplifies technical collaboration within the Wikimedia movement and with other developer groups, as well as onboarding of new contributors.
- Understanding the Wikimedia culture. The Wikimedia communities can be very helpful to technical projects when their contributors share their principles and motivations, and know how to interact with them.
- Partnering with Wikimedia teams. The Wikimedia movement can provide a lot of energy to technical projects and their contributors. It is essential to work together with Wikimedia Foundation teams, Wikimedia chapters, and user groups.
- Partnering with free knowledge organizations. We must partner with mission-aligned organizations with complementary interests and capabilities. We are in a good position to do so, thanks to the importance of Wikipedia and our reliance on free culture / free software collaboration.
- Ability to communicate in Simple English and have a way to translate everything WMF produces.
In order to succeed, we must coordinate with our communities and other teams. This requires a simple communication of our strategy. In short:
- Recruit contributors to the development of the best educational content tools.
- Maintain excellent levels of technical collaboration.
- Provide growth paths for all types of volunteers.
We will maintain a Technical Collaboration Guidance that will define how WMF teams and Wikimedia communities are expected to work together on technical projects. This advice will capture best practices of free software development and Wikimedia community engagement, and will be well rooted in the Wikimedia vision, mission, and values.
We will define joint goals for collaboration with WMF Product, through our participation in their planning activities and our community liaison support. We will work side by side with Community Tech in developer outreach and onboarding activities.
We will exploit the possibilities for communication and promotion within the Wikimedia movement and outside, using the Wikipedia trademark, processes for on-wiki communication targeting editors and readers, and external communication channels supported by the WMF Communications team and Wikimedia chapters.
We will invite Wikimedia chapters and other organized groups to get involved in our strategy, expanding our campaigns to their regions, languages, and areas of specialization, organizing local activities.
Our developer events and outreach programs will be aligned with this strategy, acting as platforms of technical collaboration between new and established Wikimedia contributors, and with other free software and free knowledge groups.
The implementation of this strategy is driven through the Technical Collaboration team quarterly goals and annual plans. These are the measurements of success of this strategy as we implement it:
- Number of volunteers contributing code to Wikimedia projects / Community Wishlist projects.
- Number of Community Wishlist projects completed by volunteers
- Number of major Product discussions that the team supports.
- Number of major Product discussions within the Technical Collaboration Guidance vs in conflict with it.