User talk:LilaTretikov (WMF)/Archive 2

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Your user group

Hi Lila, as I’ve seen, your account has now been renamed into a WMF account, and so have also other staff accounts already been renamed. Thanks for that, that will surely help with communicating. Some of these accounts will be more difficult to split. One question about the user group of your own account: Is there a special reason that it isn’t in the staff user group such as (maybe all?) other staff accounts? Do you perhaps want to test how it is to be a new user without special rights in the wikis? ;) Or has this to do with the fact that it hadn’t a "(WMF)" in its name before today? Regards --Winternacht (talk) 14:41, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

FYI: Staff permissions are designated on the basis of need and by ability, as determined by the WMF, as I recall from reading one of the pages on them (not to all staff). So, if the ED ever determines she has both need and ability, she will likely get them when that comes to pass. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:27, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the information, Alan, which I didn’t know at all. I thought this account would be the only exception of it now (for whatever reason), and that it would only be necessary to look into the staff user group to find every staff account that is onwiki. I even don’t find this basic information about staff user accounts in the ongoing RfC which astonishes me. Or did I overlook anything there? How can anyone comment on an RfC, if not even the facts about the current state have been made clear there?
So, if I’m understanding you right, the staff user group doesn’t contain every staff user account, and there might be more staff user accounts around without WMF in the user names that noone notices to be such staff users, because they haven’t a "WMF" and they aren’t in this user group. This is really very confusing to me, so again, thank you very much for this basic information. In conclusion of this, it would be great, if those ones not being in the staff user group also would be renamed (certainly only, if they aren’t private accounts at the same time – really confusing, this whole issue). This would be a big step forward to minimize the confusions about this. In addition, I would like to add that the link in the special page with the members of the user group doesn’t link at all to an explanation what "staff user group" means or how it has been used, but instead it links to the policy about office actions. This is another fact which confuses me, because as far as I know by now, not every account with staff user rights may do office actions, see office actions#Who does office actions. If I am right there, then this link should not be used, because it is misleading, but it should be replaced by a link to a page with an explanation about what staff user accounts are and how they are used. Now I’m noticing at least, how confusing this has been to me by now. Regards --Winternacht (talk) 17:33, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
Yes, it's two separate issues 1) there are various account naming styles used by staff (based on legacy), and these are all to be made pretty uniform with some (WMF) style in the near future; 2) In the past, present, and in the future some of these will have Staff Permissions but not all of them. Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:19, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
  • @Winternacht: I responded on another thread about this a bit but probably makes sense to respond here a bit as well. We are currently in the process (as stated elsewhere) in making sure that all staff accounts have a WMF marker in the username itself. This will be the case for all of the users in the Staff user group but also for all WMF staff members NOT in the WMF user group as well. The staff right (or other rights granted to staff members, some staff members have other global or local rights for work related reasons) is a separate question that was not intended to be part of this specific decision. There is a relatively long, but good, write up about the current global staff group On the meta User groups page and the reasons individual staff members have rights is recorded at WMF_Advanced_Permissions (a bot copies it from a copy of the google spreadsheet I use for tracking purposes).
That said Philippe and I are using this opportunity to review all staff rights. That includes whether people who currently have rights still need them and whether we can give them more restricted rights that will still allow them to do their job. In my current dream of this process we will end up with separated out users rights for different departments and jobs and the 'staff' user right would end up being mostly just a flag (with possibly some auto confirmed type rights) that would allow you to look at it for all 'official' staff accounts. I'm hopeful to finish this process along with the account changes but I can't promise that for sure since we have not finalized any of how things will look in the end and have quite a lot to do in that same time period. Jalexander--WMF 18:37, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
This sounds like a real good restructuring, thanks a lot for that. And thank you also for the information about this. Could you or anyone else put this much better link User groups#Staff into this special page for the word "staff" instead of the link to the office actions page, please? I don’t know, which page has to be changed for that, but it will surely be in the MediaWiki namespace. These links are really misleading and not explaining anything about staff accounts at all. --Winternacht (talk) 20:47, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

Just a few

Hi Lila, Erik and Jan-Bart, you claim again and again that 64+90+190=344 are too few to decide for millions. Now (again) please tell us, how many were you? When you did this decision. --Trofobi (talk) 21:58, 20 August 2014 (UTC) (PS. 627 + counting...)

We did not decide for millions, we rolled out on all wikis incrementally. If we got pushed back along the way we would have stopped, fixed, then moved forward. We are at the last step. At the last push we got some pushback from a few hundreds. However a few hundred can have valid issues, and when we agree on them we should fix them. We are reviewing just that. Is there a disagreement with that? -- LilaTretikov (talk) 23:55, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
Also -- forgot to mention that about 250,000,000+ were on the platform at the time of the roll-out with NPS in 60-70% at that time. -- LilaTretikov (talk) 23:57, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
@LilaTretikov: What does "NPS" stand for? --92.226.45.154 09:18, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
NPS. Sun Creator (talk) 13:37, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
"If we got pushed back along the way we would have stopped, fixed, then moved forward" -- If that is truly the case, that is a great departure from how software deployments have gone in the past. If you had clearly communicated that you plan to run things so differently, perhaps volunteers would have approached this differently. The thing is, the timetables that seem to work so well for the WMF make very little sense if you are outside the WMF office -- and I say this as a former employee.
And -- "would have...fixed" -- have we even arrived, yet, at a shared understanding of what would constitute "fixed"? How can you claim you would have done something that is even still undefined? -Pete F (talk) 00:12, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
Would fix the reasoned objections, as they have several times. Are you claiming they have not, because if you are that means you are obtusely and stubbornly ignoring the fact that several changes to MV have occurred. Alanscottwalker (talk) 00:55, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
Certainly there have been some improvements, but not nearly at the scale that is needed. And I believe it is WMF's responsibility to generally get something to a releasable state, without "crowdsourcing" central design issues to volunteers. If I bought a car from a dealership, I might want to customize the color and the seat material; but if they arrived with a pile of wheels, nuts, and bolts, a lawnmower engine, a jet engine, and a few cans of paint, I'd walk away. The situation we're in now is more like the latter -- except that the dealer is insisting that our readers must drive to work every day in the pile of scrap until we can figure out how to build a car out of it. -Pete F (talk) 02:37, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
Your comment is absurd: it's 'you rely on us too little -- no, you rely on us too much'. Alanscottwalker (talk) 03:00, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
Your comment, Pete, is exactly to the point. Thanks, Ca$e (talk) 08:36, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
OK now I am confused -- I though you wanted to participate and be relied on? As for the car -- are we comparing Wikipedia to car manufacturing? If we think it is a useful analogy -- let's think about which parts should be customizable and what are the constraints (how many colors?). Let's list them and work towards a secure system that allows for just that. -- LilaTretikov (talk) 15:54, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
@LilaTretikov: Can you say more about your confusion -- what comment does this seem to contrast with? Maybe this will help: I have some, but certainly not all, of the qualifications needed to design a better media viewer. But just because I have them, does not mean I wish to donate my time to WMF for the privilege of working alongside people who are being paid for their time, and have the ability to overrule me at their whim, and who do not make an effort to design an interaction process that lets me use my time efficiently, not have to repeat myself, etc. Is there some reason you think WMF is entitled to the expertise of its community, in the service of its own goals, without offering compensation?
As I think I've made adequately clear in many venues, I'm not willing to work on the design of the Media Viewer while it remains enabled by default, against the explicit wishes of three project communities. -Pete F (talk) 19:52, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
To reuse that analogy: While you would be right under normal conditions, that is, where we can actually buy and configure cars, we are not really offered cars by WMF, but rather a pile of crap (i am not exaggerating at all, see above, as correct license attributions are a key element for a mediaviewer, as is, say, being able to control driving speed, and this also holds for other WMF projects, as was also pointed out already), and we are not offered it, but it is forcefully stoved down or throats, even after we warned months ago. Maybe you get the point with a modified analogy by MZMcBride: "I continue to get the sense that the Wikimedia Foundation is looking for ways to ask (and re-ask) how much would you like to pay for this horse? and the editing community is responding with no thank you, but we would perhaps consider a car.". Now, what would normal conditions look like? Developers with a large userbase like here normally find themselves in the position where users are eagerly asking for some end product, but they first want to fix this minor design flaw first and then that, while voices get louder to finally release the much awaited product (there actually are very many functions we do ask WMF for, some of them for like 10 years on!). Instead, you not only provide but force upon us broken pieces of software we never even requested - and which also are hardly needed, given that convenient mere reading capabilities are already provided, e.g. by WikiWand, dasReferenz etc (on which, see previous posts on this very page) - compared to which, on the reader UX side, WMF's products not even side like the horse against the car! Thus, i do not see that the actual situation connects very much with your example where just minor modifications are concerned. Ca$e (talk) 16:17, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
The main difference is that those few hundred people are the ones that are supposed to make the decision as to how German Wikipedia will operate and what its default settings will be. Dismissing them in the way you do is the problem.Kww (talk) 00:43, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
"We did not decide for millions, we rolled out on all wikis incrementally.". By deciding to develop and implement a change that nobody had requested, did you not decide for millions?
"If we got pushed back along the way we would have stopped, fixed, then moved forward". Pushed back by whom? By one? A couple dozen? A few hundred? Ten thousand? Or would every user on the planet would have to write to you personally and tell you he doesn't like this or that feature you have imposed on them? That's exactly what I'm doing here, btw. As I have mentioned already, I am just a user--I do not bother editing here, and now I know I never will, especially seeing as the WMF seem to have decided that they want a Facebook Web 2.0-y me-too. If you manage it, you will get exactly the same content quality as Facebook. I don't use or read that, why should I read Wikipedia? To tell the truth, since the Media Viewer thing caused me to take an interest on how this project works, I find myself avoiding Wikipedia most of the time. Whereas before I would just search for a subject directly on Wikipedia, now I Google it and go to the most promising non-Wikipedia links. I'm not boycotting though, more like preparing myself for a post-Wikipedia web. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 2a00:1028:83a0:291e:762f:68ff:fe2d:429e (talk) 00:45, 21 August 2014
"some pushback from a few hundreds" ... what of the 3,552 people who said that the Media Viewer was not useful for viewing images? And anyway, I would have given feedback earlier in the process if I knew this was coming. But you did absolutely no outreach that I can tell to readers. And yes, I do take issue with how you're going about this. Media Viewer has been unequivocally rejected by the the people you claim to work for, your users. They say it should be disabled by default. If you want to improve Media Viewer, why don't you listen to the people you actually work for and disable it. Then work on it. Then get the community buy in to push it by default. But stop rejecting the feedback that you don't want to hear—that Media Viewer should be disabled. You say you are listening, but you are doing the exact opposite of what people are telling you to do. You're listening, but what you're doing is worse than ignoring people. -- 98.207.91.246 01:12, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

We clearly need to improve communication and roll-out -- we are not arguing that here. Let's work on what his should look like together -- on the comment's page. -- LilaTretikov (talk) 15:54, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Can we fix the bigger issues, first? You keep on changing the topic from faithfully executing your duties by being a servant of the community to something else. Back out superprotect and make the changes mandated by community consensus. Then we can talk about fixing the damage the WMF has caused and how to prevent similar events in the future. Until then, you're just being a dictator trying to soothe concerns rather than solve problems. This is infuriating. We're playing a rigged game here where nothing we can do can change your mind. --98.207.91.246 16:13, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
Apparently, you are (intentionally?) unaware of the owner of these sites, and you're dictatorial directive is ironic. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:23, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
Apparently you are unaware that wikis are owned by the communities that write them. Apparently you are unaware that the WMF was created to serve the community, not rule it. Apparently you are unaware that wikis are governed by the consensus of the community. Unfortunately, the WMF is apparently unaware of this these days as well. --98.207.91.246 16:35, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
However much you, or we, might wish it to be otherwise, the WMF owns the servers, has the root passwords, and pays the electricity bills. Anyone who wants to have the pleasure of doing those things for thmselves has te right to fork. Deltahedron (talk) 17:36, 23 August 2014 (UTC)
It's not this easy, since the money isn't falling from the sky for the Foundation. And it is also no direct result of any work the WMF does. The WMF really should ask itself if she is responsible for the revenues or if she should be more grateful to other people who make those revenues possible. --Julius1990 (talk) 17:54, 23 August 2014 (UTC)
Oh, I quite agree with that. The community can engage, influence, persuade, press, pressurise, leverage, negotiate, lobby, go-slow, work-to-rule, strike, leave, compete, ... and some, any or all of those might be effective. What is not effective is saying that the community owns the wiki as if that assertion would change anything. Starting from a mistaken position rarely leads to effective tactics. Deltahedron (talk) 18:01, 23 August 2014 (UTC)
The point is that there is a difference between law and moral: By law the Foundation owns the servers and the contributers their contributions, morally the position of the contributers is much stronger. A similar devision you can see about looted art by the Nazis: Today's owners often own the artworks and can't be contested juristical, but morally their right of possession is pretty weak. Just an example, quite different, but it illustrates what we have here too: a division between law and moral. --Julius1990 (talk) 18:07, 23 August 2014 (UTC)
A fair point, but I see this about being about power. The WMF has always had the power to do what it has just done, but for various reasons has chosen not to exercise it, presumably bcause they felt it would be counter-productive. WMF have chosen to take the gloves off: they want us to help them do things, and are willing to listen to how we're going to do that, provided we understand that ultimately things will be done they decide. The community can exercise power too, and one way of doing that is to make a persuasive argument based on the moral rather than the legal position. In the light of Jan-Bart's (personal) view, that he is happy to see disaffected members of the community leave, I think moral persuasion is not likely to be effective with the WMF Board. It is possible that it would work with donors, of course, especially when backed with the observation that the WMF position is precisely that they wish contributors, who helped to build the encyclopaedia to go, yet have no credible plans to replace them. But this is exactly the last place in the world to make those observations. What should be pointed out here, in the most constructive way possible, is what the practical consequences for the projects are that Lila will have to deal with. That happens to be power politics too, of course. Deltahedron (talk) 18:40, 23 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Participation and reliance -- Confusion possibly arises from an unsopisticated model of how to merge paid, directed effort with unpaid, undirected effort. I have had this conversation before with other members of WMF staff. In fact WMF relies almost totally on the volunteers to write the encyclopaedias (and other content), which they do within an agreed and externally maintained context (the five pillars, for example). On the engineering side, some members of WMF staff have said that they cannot, will not or do not direct volunteer effort at all (and speak as if this would be anathema to the volunteer community). The result is that volunteer effort, aspiration and requirements are divorced from staff planning, design and implementation until far too late a stage, and leads to imbroglios like the VE and MV rollouts. Meanwhile, volunteer effort, devoid of meaningful input from WMF (one senior engineer does not even know where to go to talk to volunteer developers) or engagement with WMF development processes, withers on the vine. Volunteering is not about doing whatever you like whenever you like. It needs a context, and a reasonable degree of commitment. From my own experience, when I volunteered to feed dementia patients in a hospital, I needed to commit to turning up for certain shifts and feeding certain groups. If I didn't they could have gone unfed. I was expected not to come for ther shifts, and certainly not to try my hand at brain surgery instead because it was more exciting. I accepted the responsibility and in return the hospital provided me with the training and equipment I needed to do my job properly. On the other hand, they did not tell me which order I needed to feed the patients in; nor did I have to design and build my own equipment; nor did I have to pay for the food; nor did the hospital suddenly decide that a new piece of equipment, which almost worked for some but not all the patients would replace the older more serviceable items. Similarly, when I was an officer on a charity's board of trustees, I was trained to do the work and given the support I needed from the paid staff to do my job: in return, I did what needed to be done (or got someone else to do it) using my professional knowledge, expertise and experience, without interference and micromanagement. If I had a problem, I talked it through with the paid officers and the other trustees.
The common elements to all of this: the volunteers engaged in a constructive dialogue with the paid staff; they were given a clear context to do the work; they were provided with what they needed to do the job; they were relied on and trusted to do what they had said they would do; and they did it. Can WMF say that currently all these elements are present in their relationship with the volunteer contributors and developers? Are any of them present? If not, how do we get there from here? Is alienating the current set of volunteers and replacing them with a new set solving the problems or just kicking them down the road? Deltahedron (talk) 16:29, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Dear @LilaTretikov: Thank you for again not answering our questions, who were the executives responsible for the enforced MV-Rollout and the Superprotect operation. (And me, too, asks what en:NPS does stand for in your comment? before I respond to your details. neuropathic pains? ;)) --Trofobi (talk) 05:33, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Check this. We could go into details as to why WMF's methodology was dubious at best, but some of that has already been explained with less jargon. Ca$e (talk) 08:24, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Any decision we make on a product needs to be driven by data and I don't want us to be making changes in wither direction without having them justified. The reason MV is in place is not because it had the perfect data initially, but because it is already the default experience for all of our audiences -- it is the current "steady state". The kind of data we want is the one that answers the questions of primary use cases at scale and without bias towards a single user group (unless the feature is targeted towards one an dis completely invisible to the others). If we roll-back MV it will be based on the test against those use cases. We can argue weather this was the right feature to work on or roll-out -- or if it was done right -- I don't think that is productive at this point, we should be working to ensure we have it right going forward. And yes, all decisions are my responsibility. -- LilaTretikov (talk) 16:33, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

The decisions you make need to be driven by the decision making processes of the communities that are effected. If a version of Wikipedia decides that Media Viewer should be opt-in, you have every right to attempt to persuade them differently, but you do not have the right to simply override them. Your attempts to persuade should certainly be based on data, but if a community interprets that data differently, you should defer. To override them and then claim that your override is now the steady-state so it has to prevail for any period of time is wrong. The WMF set MV to be on by default without support from the affected communities (or, indeed, by its own data, which showed that the majority of people, editors and readers alike, thought it was useless). The WMF is supposed to be biased towards a user group: the editors that create the product. It is them that you were created to support. It's a free market: groups like Wikiwand, Google, and others are supposed to create profit-making websites that siphon our data and package them into different presentations, and they are the ones that focus on how to attract and please readers. You, in turn, support the editors so that content can be created.Kww (talk) 03:15, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
Dear @LilaTretikov: Thank you for your answer "all decisions are my responsibility". Could you help us understanding, too, at which point and in which ways did you involve the institution you are reporting to and the man who you let implement that work for you? --Trofobi (talk) 04:46, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

Our projects are not Flickr

Lila, I have been very active, and successful, in getting photographers/organisations/governments to relicense their photographs on Flickr to a CC licence. Over the last 12 months I have uploaded around 325,000 images from Flickr as a result of these efforts. The other day I experienced something I have never experienced before. I was contacted on Flickr, not Commons, by someone who wanted to use an image that I had uploaded to Commons. I informed them that I was not the photographer, and pointed them to the photographer on Flickr whom they could contact.

Their response to me, apart from thanking me, was "This is so confusing". I put this down purely to Media Viewer inserting information that is somewhat irrelevant (e.g. who uploaded the image rather than only the author/copyright holder), making it harder for people to contact people on our projects, and generally making it harder to find pertinent information that our re-users require. The person was lucky that my Flickr username is the same as my WMF username, otherwise this person would have been stuck not knowing what the hell to do.

Media Viewer would be great if our sites were purely a Flickr-type site where people basically view photographs. But this is not our "mission". Our entire mission is built not just on the supply of freely licenced content, but re-using that content by anyone for any purpose. Anything that places an obstacle in the way of the average person re-using that content should seriously be reconsidered.

My comments are not being made in relation to SuperProtect, for if Media Viewer wasn't a useless piece of junk, none of the current drama would have ever occurred. We need to fix the ultimate cause, rather than focussing on the effects---which is what is occurring in the community at the moment.

It would be great if you could comment on this general issue in the context in which I have just explained. Russavia (talk) 10:32, 21 August 2014 (UTC)


We need to understand where the confusion came from here and test for that use case. I will ask the PM to get in touch with you. -- LilaTretikov (talk) 16:13, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

Right there - I think that is an excellent illustration of part of the problem. I think you just "collected feedback". I think your staff "collected feedback" from our RfC's on Media Viewer. I think your staff "collected feedback" from the responses to your survey. (I read and partially categorized 500+ text responses from the survey, and I've seen the horribly filtered summary that you're being given on it.) I believe "collecting feedback" was emphasized as part of ensuring WMF doesn't waste money on failed projects. "Collecting feedback" is an integral part of advancing the project, ensuring projects don't fail. "Collecting feedback" consists of aggressively searching for things that can be filed as a bug report, to advance the project and ensure that it doesn't fail. When I read your reply to Russavia, I see you jumping on something that can be filed as a bug report..... and missing everything else that was said. When I read Russavia's comment, I see Russavia telling you not to waste money trying to bugfix this detail. I see Russavia telling you a second time not to run off trying to bugfix this detail. (I hope Russavia jumps in to confirm or correct my reading.) Russavia called Media Viewer a "useless piece of junk" - I read this as a clear statement not to waste money trying to fix it - because it will still be a useless piece of junk. Russavia immediately followed that up with "We need to fix the ultimate cause, rather than focussing on the effects", which I take as a second, desperate plea, to please not run off focused on fixing this detail. I see Russavia trying to say that Media Viewer would be great on a Flickr-type site but that it just plain Does Not Belong on Wikipedia. I see Russavia desperately trying to get you to HEAR that is the point by using "Our projects are not Flickr" as the Section Heading for this discussion. I saw very point (with varied phrasing) repeated over and over and over again in the text-fields of your own surveys, but your feedback process completely filtered it out because there is no way to file that as a "bug report" to advance the project. The WMF institutional process seems unable to hear the notion that Wikipedia's baseline image view might be BETTER for Wikipedia than Media Viewer. The WMF institutional process seems unwilling or unable to engage in a discussion of whether baseline image view is better than Media Viewer because considering the possibility carries an implication of Yet Another Project Failure, and another failure is not an acceptable option. I believe the drive to force Media Viewer to succeed has cornered WMF into a position where it saw no option but to steamroll the community. The WMF can't afford to consider the possibility that the wacky editor community process may have developed a unique expertise in how to best serve the reader community because a rejection of Media Viewer would mean another project failure. The WMF can't afford to consider the possibility that the maybe MWF's mission really is be to serve the editor community - to serve the editors even if we make bad editing decisions and we make crappy encyclopedia and we lose page views - because a rejection of Media Viewer would mean another project failure. Many of us do indeed see the manner of image presentation as a VERY relevant editorial choice in the production of a quality encyclopedia.
I don't want to post an even larger wall of text, so I'll wrap it up here. If you see any value in what I've said above, I would be eager to discuss any/all of why I think MFW is mistaken in interpreting data on Media Viewer, why I think baseline Wikipedia image view is better than Media Viewer, how we got into this mess and how to avoid it in the future, or how I think holding the anti-community lock in place is more damaging and more dangerous than you realize. Alsee (talk) 17:58, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

Disclaimer on you user page

Dear Lila,

your user page for this account still contains a Disclaimer reading "Although I work for the Wikimedia Foundation, contributions under this account do not necessarily represent the actions or views of the Foundation unless expressly stated otherwise. For example, edits to articles or uploads of other media are done in my individual, personal capacity unless otherwise stated."
As you have changed this account to be your official WMF staff account, the situation is in fact reversed: All your edits under this account will automatically be official edits in your capacity as WMF staff unless expressly stated otherwise, so this disclaimer is kind of obsolete. It is irritating and misleading and no longer seems to be adequate. May I suggest that you consider reformulating it or even removing it altogether?
Best regards, Troubled @sset   Work    Talk    Mail   20:06, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

  • @Troubled asset:, thanks for the question. The disclaimer text that people use is generally a boilerplate that Legal created and we are working right now on updating that given the new rules. Lila's current disclaimer was specifically for 'joint' accounts but once the new text is set (most likely within the next couple days, possibly even later today I'm looking at it as I type) Lila's will be updated as well. Jalexander--WMF 20:18, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Thanks for that James, sounds very sensible. It's been confusing in the past, and it would be good to get it resolved! Hchc2009 (talk) 07:49, 27 August 2014 (UTC) (NB: a quick follow-on thought. Would it be possible at the same time to also clarify which of the staff accounts are paid positions, and which are volunteer? In some cases it is fairly transparent, in other cases it is somewhat harder to tell. This would bring the accounts, and the edits made from them, into unambiguous compliance with the new Terms of Use.) Hchc2009 (talk) 08:12, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Hmm, I'll talk to the lawyers and an office volunteer or two (who that would apply to) about the staff v volunteer question. There aren't many people who that would apply too (and I would say they are still very much in compliance with the ToU) but there are some :). Jalexander--WMF 09:16, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Cheers. It's more about being clear who's making paid edits that's the issue, rather than identifying volunteers - to pick a staff account at random, User:Jqadir (WMF), a Communications Intern, may or not be being paid to make his edits: you can't tell for certain from the user page at the moment, and I've come across plenty of both paid and unpaid interns. At the opposite end of the scale of obviousness, User:GeoffBrigham (WMF), as General Counsel, clearly is paid by the Foundation to make his edits from that account, so there's little room for confusion! :) Hchc2009 (talk) 10:00, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

Why it is very intelligent, if the comunity decides about software?

Jan-Bart, Lila and Erik presenting shiny new clothes software

There are a lot of good reasons, why the community of the single projects like german wikipedia should decide, if and in which way software is used in this project. I will collect it here:

  1. Wikipedia is nothing without the community. Only the community will write new articles, improve and update old ones, protect the articles against vandalism, wrong information etc. Without a community, you will only find empty sites, wrong information, nonsense, advertising etc. That can not be the target of WMF.
  2. There is no alternative to the existent community. When you lost this community, you won't find a new one, because writing an online-encyclopedia is a very special hobby and almost everyone, who can imagine to do it, is or was part of the current community.
  3. We (as the community) are volunteers. We needn't work for wikipedia. When the conditions for working in wikipedia are too bad, we can decide, that we make another project or something completely different. The worst idea is to try to change the community by command. This will never work.
  4. We are the experts in writing an encyclopedia because we do it since over ten years. We know what we need to write an encyclopedia and what we don't need. This includes software and new tools. When we say, that we don't need a special software or tool, you can be sure, that we have good reasons for it. Similar when we say, that first specific bugs must be resolve, before we can use this piece of software.
  5. The current version of MediaWiki runs. Of course, it is not perfect, but you can work with it. New software has to prove, that it works better then the old one and has more and better functions. When important functions of the old software doesn't act in the new one, there is no reason for us, to use the new one. We are only interested in better software, not necessery in new software.
  6. We have time. We work on wikipedia since ten years and it doesn't need to be finished tomorrow, next month oder year. Wikipedia is a long-time project. Similar in software. It does not matter, if the old software runs one or two months longer before launch a new one, when bugs are removed in this time.

When you can't accept these arguments, you should reflect seriously, if you are the right person for a project like the Wikimedia Foundation. When you can't work with communitys in a way I discribed, you should better resign, before you damage wikipedia irreparable. When you will go on the way of the last weeks, this danger is absolutly real. At best, you should go up to the community as soon as possible. At the moment, the damages of the community and wikipedia are still small, but I can't promise, that the damages are still small in a few days or weeks. --Orci (talk) 09:50, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

To address some of those questions directly:

  1. Editors should decide on content of new articles, improve and update old ones, protect the articles against vandalism, wrong information etc. With respect to software, the WMF is tasked with running and developing the sites.
  2. I understand this is a choice. Did the MV severely and adversely impact the working condition of the advanced editor like yourself and if so, what do we need to change (in your opinion, we have scrubbed and implemented some of the RfC issues that were raised already)? Or does it not have a place? Can you imagine it being useful for other types of users? Our goal is to understand, but once the feature is live we have to stay consistent and iterate on improvement -- because we need to validate the impact globally against a control group. And, in all honesty, removing a function, a Beta tag for upcoming feature, or other key elements -- is a force as well.
  3. I think we need to focus some work specificly on expert editors. But we also need to be bringing into the fold the next generation. We are failing at that as a community (including the WMF).
  4. I agree that software has to measure improvement. We are putting that into place going forward. Actually changes in general: additions and deletions should be measured. We are not there today and it will take some time to put this into practice.
  5. The problem with software is that we have not seriously updated it in 10 years. We know that we are loosing momentum because our indicators are negative and we were not focusing on it until recently.

I do not think we agree here -- and I am not here to change your mind by words. My job, and my background, is in improving how we understand audiences, including serious editors like yourself. But, ironically, it does not mean doing everything each one of the users wants -- that is not even possible. It means finding the mean and building a system that can be configured and extended. I want us to enable new editors to become as competent and comfortable with editing as yourself quickly (without disrupting your experience as much as possible). I hope you can share that goal as well. That is a hard challenge. But I am here because I still believe it can be done. Perhaps you will convince me that I am wrong? You may not like the fact that we need to close-off books on features like MV and working hard to do so. But I hope that you will see improvements in what we do, especially once we create a focus on the needs of editors like yourself. -- LilaTretikov (talk) 21:54, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

Some thoughts on your point 3, "But we also need to be bringing into the fold the next generation. We are failing at that as a community (including the WMF)": I'm more and more convinced that we will never have a "next generation" that is comparable to the first years of Wikipedia in size and activity and that no Visual Editor, Media Viewer, or Flow can change that - because the decreasing attractiveness of Wikipedia for new contributors is based more on content than on interface issues. In the big language versions, such as English, French, or German, Wikipedia has more than reached its originally stated goal - it is now an encyclopedia where most people find what they're looking up. The standard topics you would expect in a "classic" encyclopedia are there; whether you're looking for bread, Beethoven, Queen Elizabeth II oder Queen, the rock band (to name some arbitrary topics), you will find an article that will, though the quality may vary, fulfil most basic information needs. In the past, many new users were attracted by missing topics, glaring gaps in encyclopedic content, and it was possible to quickly enhance Wikipedia by adding some rough basic information. Many casual users are now satisfied by what they find and don't see the need to contribute at all (no, I didn't take a survey, but I speak from experience as a librarian and long-time Wikipedia contributor who often talks to WP user about their experience). If as a new user you still want to start contributing, you face a complex set of rules that may be daunting - but it is the same set of rules that has made Wikipedia successful by readers through enhancing its quality. That's a difficult state of affairs. Neither enhancing existing articles nor writing new ones is as easy as in former times, as changes need to be sourced well, and the topics for new articles get continuously more specialist, needing specialist literature. Wikipedia still needs many, many articles about e.g. villages in Africa or 18th century scientists. But writing such articles is hard. It's hard not mainly because the interface may be clumsy, but because it's hard to research the content and meet the quality standards Wikipedia has now. Instead of focussing on the interface, if I were to decide, I would focus on improvements to access to research material that facilitates writing good Wikipedia articles, and on better pointing out to the general public where we still need (lots of) help, and how exactly they can help. Gestumblindi (talk) 22:30, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
(BK) Point 1 and 5 are closely together. It is correct, that the software is not seriously updated at the last years. On this reason, the community updated it and developed a lot of tools, scripts, bots and so on, to have functions, who are not part of MediaWiki. So not only the foundation develop software, but also the community. And when the software was updated with new fundtions in the last years by the foundation, we decides over it in the community and the foundation follows it. Examples are the flagged revisions (which were accepted and run until today) and the article feedback tool (which was declined and removed). This successful way we want to continue.
It is good, that you will update the media viewer and I am sure, that it would be accepted by the community when the major bugs (especially with licencing) are solved. Neither I nor the german community are princible against new software or better software for new users. That is absolutly not the problem. The only thing we want, is the confidence and respect in decisions of the german wikipedia by the foundation. Not more and not less. This includes not only articles but also software. You can be sure, that we accept good arguments and also think about readers or new users in our decicions. Nobody wants solutions for single users. Therefore we have votings and the wishes of the majority. --Orci (talk) 22:50, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
quite so. "The Foundation has a miserable cost/ benefit ratio and for years now has spent millions on software development without producing anything that actually works. The feeling is that the whole operation is held together with the goodwill of its volunteers and the more stupid Foundation managers are seriously hacking them off." Ca$e (talk) 10:21, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
+1 This sums it up quite good. Currently WMF is actively engaging heavy against it's communities, by imposing state of emergency laws (superprotect) against it, like some third-world junta generals. They act according to "might is right", and thats utterly wrong. Imho anyone who even considers such a "solution" is not suited to get any relevant position in a decent organization. --Sänger S.G (talk) 12:19, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

Lila, do you know the folktale The Emperor's New Clothes? Please read it. Executive summary: Even if courtiers assure you that everything is fine, the people on the streets may be right. Cheers, Stefan64 (talk) 14:44, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

I believe that we should listen to the needs of our audience first and foremost. It needs to become inclusive, in-time, and measurable. We need to have rational conversations on issues when those arise. For example -- some of the hot issues brought up in the RfC on MV are already addressed, which you may not even know. There needs to be a method by which continual improvement is exposed and understood. As for one-off on Wikis: the WMF provides the foundational functionality that is uniform and the extension framework; the individual projects can extend on top of that. So for MV or any other global feature under development at the WMF, if we were to determine in the upcoming weeks that it is not beneficial to the users, we would remove it everywhere. -- LilaTretikov (talk) 15:50, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

I really don't get why you always argument in an all or nothing way. According to the data you gained, the roman languages Wikipedias and their users like the media viewer, while on English and and German Wikipedias the editors and the readers were not in favor of it. So why should it be removed on the first or forced on the latter at all? It amkes no sense, sorry your pursue for only one global corporate identity makes no sense at all. --Julius1990 (talk) 15:55, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Julius1990: Wouldn't it make perfect sense to deploy the Media Viewer as a default feature for the projects where it is welcome / uncontroversial, such as the Portuguese Wikipedia, and at least not have it enabled per default where it's controversial, such as the English and German Wikipedias? The projects are already far less uniform than you may be assuming, Lila... and that's not a bad thing. Notability guidelines can differ greatly, very basic features differ greatly - e.g. in the German Wikipedia, users without an account (IP users) are welcome to create new articles, which isn't possible in the English WP. On the other hand, "sighted versions" (meaning that contributions by IP users and new users have to be checked for possible vandalism and aren't immediately visible to the public) are fully established in German WP since years, whereas this is a "failed proposal" in English WP. So, in ten years and more, each WP language version has, through an often arduous and complicated process of finding a community consens, developed its very own vision of Wikipedia. It's quite fascinating, in my opinion. And the WMF didn't interfere in these processes so far. If the Media Viewer incident is a sign that the WMF plans to reduce the freedom of the individual communities in the future in favor of enforcing the WMF vision of the "needs of our audience", then I'm not sure that the audience will be ultimately very happy when they get less useful content because of a discouraged, dwindling community of content contributors. Gestumblindi (talk) 21:48, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm interested in the response we should listen to the needs of our audience first and foremost coupled with the WMF provides the foundational functionality that is uniform and the extension framework. For some time now the mathematics content contributors have been concerned over the poor state of the mathematics rendering software in Mediawiki: in other words the reader experience for mathematics was poor. As you know, a proposal was put forward (with Jimmy Wales's support) to improve that and it was declined. Mathematics is not on the WMF roadmap. If it were not for the sterling work of volunteers (one in particular), the readers' experience of mathematics would be even worse. This seems incompatible with your statements unless we assume that mathematics is not "foundational" but an "extension". Is that conclusion correct? Or should we conclude that mathematics is indeed foundational, but not foundational enough for WMF to work on in the foreseeable future? Deltahedron (talk) 16:19, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

Personally I think mathematics is fundamental (i.e. it is relevant for every language). But I am also biased, given my background. The reality is, we have more work on the plate than we can do -- and this is why the WMF has been growing the technical staff. So the issues here is really lack of resources to add this issue. I would like to see this potentially funded through a grant and then pulled into the "core" for maintenance. -- LilaTretikov (talk) 16:53, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

So, foundational, but not foundational enough. Thank you for that. I will allow myself the freedom, if I may, to express my deep disappointment and disagreement with that decision. I am not expecting you to change your decision, and it is your decision to make, but nonetheless I will just say this. Mathematics is one of the oldest continuing human intellectual traditions, with a connected history of over two thousand years. It is fundamental to the sciences in general: no technological endeavour could succeed without it. It is an indispensible part of the sum of human knowledge. It also happens to be the subject I have spent almost all of my career so far advancing in one way or another, including writing dozens of Wikipedia articles. To suggest that it isn't important enough to allocate your resources to, when WMF has over 200 staff and tens of millions of dollars at its disposal, is a decision I find both incomprehensible and, personally, indigestible. It seems that you would rather allocate your resources to make it easier for readers to view the pornography on Commons than the formulae on Wikipedia. It certainly tells me that the views and values of WMF and myself are now radically divergent. I thought it was about the sum of human knowledge. Apparently that sum does not involve mathematics. Deltahedron (talk) 17:14, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
Here, here. First, this is not a decision -- it is the current state of projects in flight. And I agree that math is really important. So I recommend that rather than getting upset, we strategize on how to fund this project and make it happen. Just a thought... -- LilaTretikov (talk) 19:26, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks but I fail to understand who "we" refers to in your reponse. You are the ED and you allocate the WMF resources. I don't come into that. I write articles in mathematics, and in an attempt to continue being able to do that better, and improve the readers and editors experience, have had some interactions with Jimmy Wales and others trying to get WMF to allocate some of its resources. In response to that, I have been told "I don't imagine that we would be able to put it on the roadmap for the foreseeable future" [1]. That sounds like a decision to me (and if it isn't then I have been rather seriously misinformed). You can change that. I can't. I've done what I can do to move the WMF and failed. If you want to ask me for my opinion on how you might want to proceed, I'll give it. Deltahedron (talk) 19:42, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
Lila, do you not see anything awkward about the fact that we are here begging and pleading and fighting with you to stop wasting developers and money developing software we never asked for, don't want, which we believe actively harms Wikipedia, and you are here telling us that you can't give us math software, which we did ask for, which we do want, which you and we all agree is valuable... because you "have more work on the plate than we can do". You then proceed to suggest "we" help you get more funding to do math software, when the only talk about funding going around the community right now are suggestions to drop your funding down to a staff of 6 or so, so that you'll stay out of our way and let us get back to improving Wikipedia. If your NPS in the community cratered any harder the dinosaurs would go extinct - again. Chuckle. Alsee (talk) 21:37, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
I think, although I might be wrong, that Lila was suggesting that we could ask WMF for the money, provided that we scope out the project, work out how to interface it with existing software, integrate it with WMF projects, find the developers, coordinate with the users and proritise their requirements, and then roll it out across hundreds of projects for her. Well, that's already rather more than I feel able to do in my spare time. If finding the money is also something we have do do, then I would agree with you. Deltahedron (talk) 21:22, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
It seems, that we read about omplete different things. Uniformity over all speeches and projects is neither important nor necessary nor existent nor preferable. Especially much less important than respecting the own decisions of a single community (and yes, every project has his own community, there is no single community over all wikimedia-projects). Every project has his own culture and his own kind of presentation of articles and even different software (e.g. the flagged revisions are only active in german wikipedia and some other projects and not in french or english wikipedia).
But of course, you can go on on your way and say, that the global wishes of the foundation are more important as the individual wishes of a single community, but don't be surprised, when we draw the consequences and e.g. the whole german-wikipedia-community will go out of wikipedia complete.
I would wish a clear, official statement, that, if applicable, we can plan and decide it. But I sill hope, that this is not necessary and the foundation understands at last, how to handle with communitys (and how not).
The way to develop software in wikipedia succesful is relativly simple: when you have developed a new piece of software like the media viewer, you have to go in the single communitys (not in all projects but minimum in the ten biggest projects) and presentate and try to persuade the communitys of the benefits of this software. Then the community will response, if they find it good, bad or where you have to solve bugs. After this (and when the bugs are solved), the community will decide democraticly (e.g. with an RfC or in german Meinungsbild) if they want to use this software. This decicion is binding on this project. And when four projects say yes and six projects say no, you woud have four projects with and six projects without this piece of software. --Orci (talk) 18:21, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
Which strategy of diversity as a matter of success WMF has? --Edward Steintain (talk) 20:12, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
No one can predict the outcome of the competition between BRICS und the en:OINC (Old Industrial Nations & Cities). But at least give it a try. This means diversity even at the international level of WMF – acting globaly. --Edward Steintain (talk) 20:26, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
Lila, would you please give an answer to Orcis thoughts? The "reasons" given by him at the start and his points of view given 18:21. Do you agree or where is your different opinion?
I see many people talking to you in a very good manner with reasonable arguments and thoughts - and i am glad to see you answer in a way that gives me hope, you try to understand them. But after all nearly every given answer doesn't meet the point. Kein Einstein (talk) 21:09, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
I have thoughts in response:
  1. The projects are much more than today's community, which changes, which has and must turnover -- the present community owes debts to the past community and and debts to the future community.
  2. There is alternative to the existing community, because it is not and never will be a static thing; if it becomes static, it will be dead.
  3. We are volunteers, who love free knowledge. That's it. That's all. And Wikimedia let's us share it in a useful way.
  4. We are not experts in anything really, not in a verifiable way.
  5. The software, works like it did; that's about all that can be said about it.
  6. We have no time to stand still; editing, improving the projects is not about standing still.

-- Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:43, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

To echo what Alan says about #6-- we do not have time. We peaked in 2007. The board recognized this problem and made it a priority way back in 2011. Three years later, things have only gotten worse. We need a new incarnation of Wikipedia, and we need it now, while we can still turn things around. --AnonymousCoward8222104 (talk) 01:22, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
Such things can only people say who don't think it through: In 2007 it was the time when the big white parts of the map of knowledge in Wikipedia were already nearly closed. Nowadays it is harder to participate, but not because of technical means (what could be eased by a well programmed tutorial), but for obvious reasons. The articles for most of the common lemma exist. In the beginning articles like "The Atlantic is an ocean." were possible, nowadays it needs special knowledge, the access to scientific literature to add upon the existing. It needs special interest in villages of the United States since all the big, famous cities have already long articles and so on and so on. Many readers just want to be raeders, and the second raeson that hold speople back from editing is the lack of certain knowledge or that they don't want to invest time and money getting access to such information that still could be added and then on third place come technical issues (not nearly as relevant as the WMF tries to make it appear in order to justify its existence). And also the reach out to the global South won't change that pattern. Lila had this photo of an Indian girl in the slums in her presentation at the Wikimania as far as could be heard. As long as Lila won't also offer access to JSTOR or build libraries there this girl will never be able to become able to do more than typography corrections. Same thing: I really would like to see Lila to write an article like for example de:Diego Rivera on a smartphone. It is not possible and noone will ever do that. So if she wants twitter-like articles than this is the way to go. If she wants a good encyclopedia for the people to use than it maybe is the time to accept certain facts: On the level that many Wikipedias have arrived until now, just a small part of people is able and willing to contribute. For those who want to correct typography while reading the Visual Editor might be an encouragement, but it is like still believeing in Santa Clause to think that the editor numbers will rise again to new heights. No, the WMF should care about keeping the interested people who already do the work to keep doing it instead of harming its projects by such decouraging methods like they are used the last weeks and month. --Julius1990 (talk) 01:56, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
Neither the data nor anecdotes suggest that people have "run out" of things to contribute-- we still get lots of new users who add new things. The problem is not that Wikipedia already represents the sum of all human knowledge.
Regarding "just a small part of people is able and willing to contribute" and "it is like still believeing in Santa Clause to think that the editor numbers will rise again to new heights."-- I can't accept these. I BELIEVE that EVERYONE has something to contribute-- everyone. If only a tiny fraction of people are able to contribute, that is a failing on our part, not a failing on theirs. Nobody has any trouble contributing to Facebook or Flickr, after all. --AnonymousCoward8222104 (talk) 04:35, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
Just that those are no encyclopedias or knowledge projects. If you think foodporn and notifications that you know use the toilet or like Obama's new status update are advances to pur mission, fine ... I certainly don't think so. --Julius1990 (talk) 04:44, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
You joke, but yes, all those types of content enrich our mission. Why should for-profit Instagram get a picture of every dish in the world but not us? If someone wants to log their toilet usage, there are scientists who would love access to that data. And if a President wanted to contribute directly to us, we probably should accept it!
The Wikipedia we know is only the beginning. Long form encyclopedia articles are just one form that human knowledge can take-- our mission is all forms and all knowledge. AnonymousCoward8222104 (talk) 04:51, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
I also have thoughts in response:
  1. The projects & communities do need help to remain viable. But the Foundation doesn't appear to be providing the help they need.
  2. No one has explained how things like Visual Editor, Media Viewer or Superprotect will help the projects & communities. For the love of God, no one has even thought to investigate why Media Viewer was accepted by some projects while being rejected overwhelmingly by the English & German language projects!
  3. The most important thing to keep the communities viable is supporting the belief they own their projects.

    One thing I've noticed over the years is that when responsibility was with the communities, volunteers accepted this responsibility, & when a need appeared someone would step up. The year 2007 was the watershed: when the Foundation started asserting its ownership -- for both justifiable & other reasons -- over the projects, new volunteers declined in numbers. (The more I look at the history in detail, the more evidence I find that these two are related.)

  4. Just because time does not stand still, we should adopt changes for the sake of change -- especially if they don't work.
  5. We need something like the Foundation to support volunteers in creating this treasure of information. Servers need to be maintained, bugs in the code need to be fixed, volunteers need help finding the raw material to write the content -- & dealing with legal issues. The Foundation doesn't need to be, as one person wrote here, a necessary evil.

-- Llywrch (talk) 01:46, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

Dear Lila, thanks again for sharing your thoughts. However, some of them can hardly be reconciled neither with WMF's mission nor its founding principles nor implicit consensus and also the explicit binding consensus of the communities you must "respect", "empower", "support", regard as your "biggest asset", "listen and take into account ... in any decisions taken to achieve" your "mission" (on which, see above):

  • "With respect to software, the WMF is tasked with running and developing the sites." - that is true to a degree. It does, for instance, only hold when you "fully consulted" with us and this in extension excludes steps to "develop" the sites into a direction we explicitly deny, that is, currently, by not immediately rolling back superprotect and reopening the bugticket to make MV opt-in until we can decide upon wether it works sufficiently or not.
  • "Did the MV severely and adversely impact the working condition of the advanced editor like yourself" - yes of course it did.
    • It harmed severly our effort in sharing free content by giving our users false license informations in hundreds of thousands of cases. Even a single cases would have been too much. Giving correct license information is a condition sine qua non for any "development" of WMF "with respect to software.
    • It also harmed our efforts to provide useful image descriptions.
    • What was must crucial, and we already explained this several times now, was how WMF reacted after we denied accepting MV as opt-out. In the sum, the thereby caused negative impact on our community was the biggest instance to "severely and adversely impact the working condition of the advanced editor"! In effect, the damage can now hardly be repaired anymore!
    • "what do we need to change" - we have told you many times now.
  • "we also need to be bringing into the fold the next generation" - that also holds to a certain degree. As long as we agree with the results, that's OK. We will, for instance, not agree with you inviting millions of unusable pictures with problematic licenses, and the same holds for other problematic input.
  • "our indicators are negative" - please tell us more about those "indicators". Please tell us in a way so we can judge if in this view you are again mistaken, as you have proven to have been in several places in the past!
  • "the WMF provides the foundational functionality that is uniform" - no. "Uniformity" (as well as the other popular buzzword, "consistency") is not a goal in itself and whether in a specific case it is a valid goal has to be spelled out in detail. Evidently, your views differ in many cases from our views. In these cases, as can be deduced from WMF's principles, goals and mission, our views will have to prevail and you will have to "support" and "empower" us to establish them.
  • "the individual projects can extend on top of that" - yes of course. This also must include our ability to extend by disabling broken and lacking pseudo-features, so that the full set of working features available can be served to our contributors and readers.
  • "if we were to determine in the upcoming weeks that it is not beneficial to the users, we would remove it everywhere" - you may do so. However, it is not up to you to "determine" things like that on your own. For instance, when, say, the portuguese community wants to keep MV despite its many bugs and problems, as other communities see them, you must let them, as long as this does not cause you legal problems.
  • "we need to close-off books on features like MV" - i can hardly see what you could possibly mean by this phrase. MV currently is not a "feature" at all. Please stop talking about MV like that, it is wrong and annoying. It is a broken and for several communities unwanted-as-opt-out piece of software. How could you in such a state possibly want to "close-off books" on MV?
  • "It means finding the mean" - yes, that should be your goal. The mean will of course not be to keep to WMF's former and wrong position. First, you must rollback superprotect, then you have to reopen the bugticket and assure us that its resolving will be treated as a matter of priority. Then, we can together discuss what "the means" looks like and you and we can together make sure that failures such as the recent missteps by WMF will not arise again and that your money for site developments will be well spent instead of utterly wasted as often in the past.

Almost all of the above was already laid out e.g. by Kww, especially in answer to your initial packet of questions. This is not the time for "words" from you but for action. And your window of opportunity is closing already. If you continue in failing to act in accordance with your mission, there will hardly be anybody left you could then try and find "means" with. Ca$e (talk) 08:52, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

  • ""the WMF provides the foundational functionality that is uniform" no. "Uniformity" (as well as the other popular buzzword, "consistency") is not a goal in itself". I think that some people don't really understand how much more complexity and inconsistency we truly have. And that is OK. As an editor, you don't NEED to know about the 30 people who basically deal with that every day. But it is important to realize that the foundation has to spend the majority of it's BEST resources on continuously diving into these nooks and crannies of our systems that get touched about 2 times a year. Flagged Revisions for instance is NOT nice. It's a system on use in about 15 wikis, each and every one in totally different ways. Everytime something needs to change or be fixed there, that can be an effort of days for the most senior people, that really would be better spent on other projects. It is CRITICAL that we get into a more maintainable state for all those various 'hack jobs' on top of the core software. Similar, it is CRITICAL for users to have a consistent UI and recognizable entry points into the different workflows, especially as complexity increases. You cannot just deny the validity of that, without understanding it. I do agree that it is the Foundation's task to explain some of these things, but to what detail ? You seem to want all the details every week, well most people really don't care and don't want to be bothered, such is the reality. If anyone has the brilliant idea on how to solve that last problem that has been bothering everyone for 6 years already, then please share it, because that's where everything tried has truly failed so far.....
  • "the portuguese community wants to keep MV despite its many bugs and problems ... you must let them'. NO NO NO NO. This is a time sink, a support nightmare. There is nothing worse than exceptions like these and the development community of MediaWiki and more so the engineering staff on the Foundation has reached its limits as to their capability to sustain 100s of these kinds of exceptions without it having a very detrimental impact on other operations. The software has become too complex to add more of these exceptions. Part of the whole reason why development keeps hammering on consistency is exactly to make these kinds of exceptions more maintainable, because in the current state they are not and cannot be maintainable.
  • On the mean... As I see it, the Foundation is currently walking a tightrope. A misstep to the left is 'death due to lack of evolution' and a misstep to the right is 'death due to user revolt'. It seems some people are arguing the Foundation shouldn't walk the tightrope, well... about 6 years too late, our movement is already somewhere in the middle of the rope. There is no magic bullet to exit that tightrope, it's fall or walk. —TheDJ (Not WMF) (talkcontribs) 10:29, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
Flagged revisions - yes, they are rather difficult to maintain from a developer perspective compared to other features. However, we regard them as a major and nowadays very critical improvement for our ability to improve content quality. FR should have very high priority in getting maintained. And obviously there are developer resources for lots of unwanted crap that could and should be directed on FR when needed. Regarding MV - i do not see why it cannot serve the role of a additional module. MV is not that much deeply interwoven with other MW code. I also take it as a given that some time in the future we will have a working successor for MV for nearly all projects, including of course de.WP, probably also as opt-out nearly everywhere. So why should not some projects accept MV already as opt-out (barring possible legal aspects, which always are a matter where WMF must decide on its own)? What major problems for the devs would it cause?
Of course, future processes would need a transparent protocol to include perspectives from community + devs + WMFs. But we are not yet at a point where we could discuss what a working protocol could look like. We are at the point of seeing WMF fall from the rope. The urgent question is not how we can ameliorate dev problems in relation to community expectations in general, but: Will WMF find its balance again or just fall to the ground? Ca$e (talk) 11:02, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
It's silly to foster the belief that today's community "owns" the project. First, none of them own it; Second, that's not how a "free" licence works, and it is inimical to it; Third, in a wiki, the user does not own it. Forth, it's death to any development, and death to development is death. Of course, they have wide latitude in ordering the project, and no one is proposing changing that, but they should know, someone does own the domain, and it is not them. There is no point in fostering fantasy that has no basis in fact and makes no sense in practice. Alanscottwalker (talk) 11:29, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
A lot of people who write here know a little something about creating an encyclopedia, they have proven it. Lila is not one of them yet. She has some visions, fine. But she has to convince volunteers to contribute their time and effort to create high-quality content. If she doesn't succeed, the project will be busted. The danger is real. Cheers, Stefan64 (talk) 11:53, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
No. No one volunteers because of Lila, they volunteer because it's in them; if they are doing it for power, then they will be sorely disappointed, no matter what Lila does. Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:17, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
"They volunteer because it's in them" doesn't mean they will tolerate to be bossed around, and at some point they will leave. It's already happening. Stefan64 (talk) 12:25, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
If that's the case, than they must realize that others will not be bossed around by them; so of course volunteers should leave, if they come to the realization they can't boss people around and they do not like that they cannot. Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:27, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
Well, currently it's more the opposite case, as there has been very little change due to our remarks here. This imho shouldn't happen either. --Ghilt (talk) 13:41, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
Well, disagreements happen, and just because one cannot come to total agreement does not mean that a party was not listened to. No one is even trying to remove all project autonomy, no one is arguing against the fact that reasonable changes should be made, but different parties will have different views on what is reasonable, and will have to sometimes live in their disagreements (they will have to agree to disagree). Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:50, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
I wish we were even close to a partial agreement. The wiki process of consensus is also missed by many here, which is stated in the founding principles as well as the guiding principles and which is a prerequisite for voluntary cooperativity in general. --Ghilt (talk) 15:22, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
That depends on what you mean, every time you press save, you consent to the terms of use and other policies binding on all projects established by the WMF as owner. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:11, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
Alanscottwalker: Your cynicism is remarkable, have you ever considered to apply for a job at the foundation? But seriously, some people may not realize how fragile this project is. You simply cannot replace a significant number of good contributors on short notice. Acceptable collateral damage for introducing some buggy software? Uh-oh. Stefan64 (talk) 13:45, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
The reasons why people volunteer for Wikipedia or other projects are complex and multifarious. I don't think it's either true or helpful to suggest that it's just because they want to boss people around. And there is a lot of difference between wanting to boss people around, and wanting not to be bossed around. Deltahedron (talk) 13:59, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
I suggested the exact opposite, for why people volunteer - not to boss people around. My view is not in the least cynical, people do not volunteer to boss people around, they volunteer to share free knowledge, knowledge that may be rejected or changed by others. If they do volunteer because they want power, they will be disappointed and should not do so. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:15, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
I think there was some misunderstanding over the sentence "of course volunteers should leave, if they come to the realization they can't boss people around and they do not like that they cannot". I, and I think the other commentators here, read each occurence of the word "they" as referring back to "the volunteers", so reading the sentence as "volunteers should leave if volunteers come to the realisation that volunteers cannot boss people around and volunteers do not like the fact that volunteers cannot boss people around". I'm sure most people are in agreement with your clarification. Deltahedron (talk) 15:23, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
Lila, it seems you may be under a couple of misapprehensions about the software. My take on these (I can hardly expect to be saying things completely new since, as you may have noticed, a very great deal has already been said here. :-):
  • Misapprehension: "upgrading software" = "replacing the core software". That's absolutely wrong. The most important thing to do with the core software is to not break it. Provide a stable platform, both for volunteers contributing content, and for volunteers contributing software built on top of the core (disclosure: I am an example of someone who contributes both).
  • Misapprehension: all projects should have the same interface. Again, no. The interface, and the software associated with it, are properly part of the product crowdsourced by the individual community. Every project has its own unique character, and the local community are the ones who use it all the time, who would be most impacted by damaging it, who know what would damage it, who know when it is damaged. No outsider can anticipate the subtle ways it can be damanged until after they've damaged it, and they may not even be able to realize they've damaged it after the fact (the effect may be too subtle for them to see clearly, since they're outside the damaged dynamics).
These fundamental differences between projects are more obvious when you contrast different sisters (Wikipedia vs Wikibooks vs Wikinews). Most sisters have some variant of "What Wiki<x> is not", which includes statements that Wiki<x> is not various other sisters. Wikipiedia is not a newspaper. Wikinews is not an encyclopedia. And so on. Most Wikinewses have software requirements profoundly different (and much steeper) than most Wikipedia's. Different-language editions of Wikinews also work differently from each other; granted, for most sisters I'd expect the differences between languages would probably be somewhat smaller, but not for all sisters, and I wouldn't bet on it even for, say, Wikipedia.
I'd also make one general observation. When people start advocating "thinking outside the box" about an existing system, they usually end up effectively destroying the existing system. It's easy to think outside the box, and the vast majority of all the things one thinks of would do damage. There are a few things that would improve the system, and the system only remains viable in the long run if a sufficient fraction of those things are identified and done, but that almost never happens, and it doesn't happen because of someone who comes in from outside with "new ideas" — it requires someone with inside insight. For wikimedia, the local communities are where the insight has to come from; for example, on en.wn, I deliberately immersed myself in the local culture for several years in order to understand the infrastructure inside-out before identifying key components that could improve it. (And of course it's taking me years to implement those components because their design can't be usefully entrusted to somebody who isn't equally inside the project's local culture.) --Pi zero (talk) 12:49, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
I support Pi zero's conclusions. In the German Wikipedia we use the flagged versions (and several other languages do as well) while the English Wikipedia rejected that feature. English Wikinews is using the flagged versions as a very formal step in the publishing process. No other Wikinews language version is using the flagged revisions like this, to my knowledge, and German Wikinews does not use the flagged revisions at all. German Wikinews simply half-protects published articles. (Oh, btw., did you know, that Wikinews articles after they got "published" they won't be edited anymore, aside from fixing sick tippos; they are considered "finished" while Wikipedia articles never are ready. It is similar with Wikisource – after texts have been proofread twice, they get protected, since there is no need for further modifications, it exists only one way to transcript a given text and that is exactly copytyping that text.) It is undoubted that Wikipedia should have a better system for referencing articles (we're talking about inline references, the small numbers) but if one day such a feature will be invented and works as it should ;-) then it will of no benefit for Wikinews (as to my knowledge) there is no Wikinews language version which uses inline references to source articles. It is very obvious that MediaWiki programmers have very little insight into those differences so they'll have to rely onto what local communities tell them. Regretfully I must state, that there is a total lack of interest into the specific needs of those smaller Wikimedia projects at all. --Matthiasb (talk) 17:45, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

German Wikipedia Update

FYI here: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Diskussionen_mit_WMF

And in English translation:

Dear German Wikipedia community,

We’ve been talking a lot with many of you and at the WMF about the current situation regarding Media Viewer and site-wide JavaScript changes.

Restricting edits to MediaWiki:Common.js was a difficult decision for us. We regret that we missed opportunities to do our part in avoiding a conflict that no one wanted. At the same time, we cannot fulfill our responsibilities as the site operator when users take it upon themselves to disable functionality by editing site-wide JavaScript that is executed for all users.

We learned that the use of superprotection unintendedly created the impression that we don't trust the community. This is not the case, so we have therefore removed the restriction.

In doing so, we are investing our trust and goodwill in every community member that you will work together with us before making changes to site-wide JavaScript. And we are specifically asking you to not change site-wide JavaScript to deactivate Media Viewer or to make it opt-in.

Our commitment to you is to address open technical issues with Media Viewer based on a global community consultation process beginning tomorrow. The consultation page will address the scope, intent, and timelines of the consultation will be announced on all projects and will be open-ended. We will update here with the details when the page is live and will support German language participation.

We ask you to work with us in good faith in the upcoming month and through this effort define a better, closer way of working together in support of our common goals.

Sincerely, Lila & Erik

The communities in question have specifically asked loudly and overwhelmingly for you to disable Media Viewer by default. You are not fulfilling your responsibilities as site operators as long as you continue to ignore the communities you work for. For all of your talk about working with the communities, your organization has done nothing but dictate that the Media Viewer will remain enabled. You have stated repeatedly that this is not open for negotiation. This is not an act of goodwill. The WMF did not take part in the RfCs when your input could have been taken into consideration, forfeiting your right to have a say in this. I ask yet again, what will it take to convince you to do your job and disable Media Viewer as requested? If you do so, then you can talk about improving Media Viewer to get the buy in you need to reenable it by default. --98.207.91.246 20:01, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
Nevertheless, it's a welcome step in the right direction. Thanks, Lila. --Túrelio (talk) 20:05, 27 August 2014 (UTC)


Thank you for this first - although rather belated - step and statement.
Could you please clarify whether the above text in english or the text in german is the original version, hence which one is a translation lacking in numerous details. For instance, the german text speaks of "Software-Funktionen deaktivieren" which would translate as "deactivating software-functions", which would be a more neutral phrasing than "disable functionality", which would impose a point of view many do not share, as DaB. did not disable but enable proper and larger functionality.
Further and more critical, the german text speaks of a "globalen, ergebnisoffenen Konsultation", which would read "a global consultation without predefined outcome", whereas the english text leaves open if you will not simply insist on a position we would hardly even start to discuss, as we already explained why we take it to be untenable in the context of WMF's principles, mission and values.
Please keep in mind that you already destroyed almost all "good faith" communities might still have had in WMF. Nevertheless, i appreciate this step. However, it will hardly be regarded as fulfillment of making good on your breaches of proper conduct. You probably are already aware that the largest percentage of active german-speaking community members that ever participated in a survey requested you to not only unprotect this page but also take further steps in correcting your missteps and ensuring that something like that could never happen again - please see this short summary. Many will take these as prerequisites to discuss further developments. Thus, can you tell us when you will fully adhere to this almost unanimous request?
Thanks, Ca$e (talk) 20:17, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
Dear Ca$e, to quickly address your questions about the two language versions first:
I'm told the term "ergebnisoffenen" in the German version corresponds to "open-ended" in the original English version. Since I don't know German, Erik and I drafted this in English first. The intended meaning is that there is no pre-defined outcome for these talks.
I'm OK with your more neutral rephrasing of the English "disable functionality". You have captured our intended meaning well.
-- LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 05:27, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

Thanks Lila! ...Sicherlich Post 20:23, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

Lila, speaking as someone who doesn't want to see the WMF come to grief, it deeply worries me that that statement apparently misses the point. It says plainly (and afaics through basic structure of the message, rather than nuances of particular vocabulary) that you don't trust the local community to choose its own software configuration; that makes it empty, or worse than empty, to say that you didn't intend to create the impression that you don't trust the community. You didn't intend to create an accurate impression of your feelings about the community?
In your keynote at Wikimania, as I recall, you said something about the great value of the WMF's assets. You seem oblivious that your primary asset is neither the software nor even the database, but the community; the software and the database are tools wielded by the community. I'm watching (deeply unhappily) as your primary asset slips through your fingers because you don't, in practice, recognize it as the main thing you should be conserving. --Pi zero (talk) 20:40, 27 August 2014 (UTC)
Thank you very much, Lila! This was the first and probably most important step in direction of restoring trust and returning to the founding principles. I hope superprotect will never be used again, as there are other existing methods for conflict resolution. The remaining issue is the vote on the opt-in for the media viewer in the german language wikipedia and also a matter of trust, why not allow the opt-in until the improvements are implemented? Then i'd happily vote for opt-out, if there ever would be a vote on the following version of the media viewer. Promised, --Ghilt (talk) 21:02, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

Thanks Lila for this very important decision! --PM3 (talk) 21:01, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

  Levels of Public Participation[1]
 
        empower  
        cooperate  
        involve  
        consult  
        inform  
           
... from information to empowerment:
Levels of public participation with increasing public impact
  1. (International Association for Public Participation 2006: 35) quoting Template:Internetquelle - This publication has been published in three parts: 1, 2 und 3.

Which level in the decision-making process was achieved? Does WMF know the levels of cooperation/coordination with iCIV (international Community of Individual Volunteers)? Please, have a glance at colour Public Participation beautiful - being used in Spektrum der Bürgerbeteiligung. --Edward Steintain (talk) 21:54, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

Dear Lila, I would like to thank you as well for this very important first step in the right direction. I would also like to ask you to answer the - subtle, but important - questions Ca$e asked above. It is crucial that we understand each other's statements correctly, especially in situations like this. Furthermore, while I welcome your intention to discuss the details of the MV and software rollout in general, I would find it very important to start a discussion about the superprotect right itself: Do you think it is necessary to have such a right, and if yes, who should be entitled to use it, and under which circumstances? The German communitiy has articulated clear expectations in this regard (see the summary Ca$e already linked above). So far, I haven't seen any statement of the foundation on these issues - could you briefly comment on whether this is discussed in the board as well? Thanks a lot, and best regards, Darian (talk) 22:15, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

Dear Lila, dear Erik, dear Board of Trustees, Congratulatoins for this limpid chess move. Unfortunately some people reading/writing here already fall for it. For you, superprotect was just the bait to distract people from your MediaViewer intrigue. In which you destroyed the longstanding achieved particiation mechanisms (RfC/Meinungsbild), obviously in hope to replace them with your sugarcoated marketing-styled pseudo "better ways to collaborate" like your "improved centralized communications" placebos. You are deliberately using a shock strategy to sow quarrels among the readers & writers to better control them in the future and to get rid of those who are not submissive to your Wiki"plus" world leadership strategies. If you really wanted real participation you would first and foremost apprechiate and follow the established RfC procedures and at best suggest to the communities to improve those, what a lot of people generally agree can be done. Will you ever understand, that Wikipedia is the world's #5 website because it is different from facebook, twitter, google and flickr? Encyclopædia Britannica has never been an autograph book or the yellow pages and was not ended for lacking this. The Wiki writers & readers want software improvement, for ex. they want MV as opt-in while you are trying to ridicule them as being stuck in senile stubbornness. You say "jump" - we say "how high?"? --Trofobi (talk) 04:17, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

Lila, this doesn't go far enough. Superprotected or not, you have clearly forbidden any community from disabling MediaViewer and therefore this gesture is empty. If you want to restore community trust, you need to listen to the community and disable it on wikis which do not want it, remove Superprotect from the software and undertake to seek community consensus before performing any new major software changes. We know that Superprotect is still there and it is clear that the WMF is still willing to use it to get its way. For example, I asked DannyH at en:Wikipedia talk:Flow whether rollout plans for it included gaining community consensus and his circumlocution betrays the WMF's intention to force it on wikis à la MV, but of course it will be much worse.

You need to understand that large portions of the community simply no longer trust the WMF. You can argue about the merits of MV all you like, but you have to realise that this is also a prelude to Flow, and the foundation has very conveniently added software tools to help it install it by hook or by crook. BethNaught (talk) 08:45, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

I dont' see the word "forbidden" in the statement above. It says "we ask you ...". --PM3 (talk) 17:43, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
Yes, and guess what is the thinly veiled threat if we do try to disable MV again? Superprotect is still there. This is just a PR stunt – something certain people around here have experience in. BethNaught (talk) 21:37, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
@LilaTretikov (WMF): Thanks, but no thanks. That's not enough. The MV is just some flippant bling, no urgency to deploy it, definietly not to putsch against the community. As it should only be opt-in, so really nothing bad would have happened at all in regard to it's implementation, the slightly botched js-programming to respect the MB would have been corrected quite fast, hadn't you hacked that putch-device in the system. To retract SP is absolutely nothing, imho that's something inevitable for any decent person. To respect the MB and argue about the deficits of the MV, and to convince the community to make it opt-out, perhaps even in a few weeks, would be the good, and imho normal, decision, there's no need to implement MV as default in a rush. --Sänger S.G (talk) 16:01, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
The MB (poll) on Media Viewer was as poorly prepared and conducted as the MV rollout. I think the best solution now would be to quickly (within the next few weeks) address and fix the major problems of MV, so that MB becomes pointless. --PM3 (talk) 17:43, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

If you do not want to allow users to "edit JavaScript", who prevents from putting a checkbox there to disable the viewer? Audriusa (talk) 10:21, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

AudriusaIt's already there - how to disable; unregistered contributors can only bypass it. --Gryllida 06:36, 29 August 2014 (UTC)