User talk:LilaTretikov (WMF)/Archive 7

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Latest comment: 8 years ago by Rogol Domedonfors in topic Scope of Community Tech


Could you please clarify the situation? It looks like the devs are still actively developing new Flow features, and the Flow page on Wikipedia still declares an intent to eliminate our talk pages and replace them with Flow. Alsee (talk) 08:50, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

I am also very interested in an answer to this. I'm a random Wikipedia 99.99% reader / 0.01% editor who dislikes the Media Viewer because it breaks standard web interactions and replaces simple HTML with less-simple Javascript, which is a peeve of mine. It eliminates my ability to rapidly view image details by loading the full image and using the pinch/pan gestures. (I use the desktop version on mobile, I have a large-screen device with a capable browser) After cursing Media Viewer for months, and recently discovering how to turn it off (and noticing the "feedback" link), I've voraciously read every bit of archived feedback and discussion its implementation and the politics surrounding it. Thus learning about Flow. I find myself taking the side of "the community" very strongly, and don't want to see the forest (totally editable medium) be mistaken for the trees (discussion forum). Deep creation is stifled by purpose-built appliances that don't serve as tools. It has also been fun to observe the software development process, and as a software author I'd love to contribute to the Wiki community's code-in-progress on e.g. Github. I will say that It's very encouraging that I can type this and expect a reply. That's a "wow" from a random contributor, so thank you Lila. 23:36, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
Hi, we have paused any but requested rollouts of Flow, but we have not resolved yet how the mission might be changed -- hence the page has not changed yet. To the guest above: great to hear your interest in helping us build wikis. You can find more info here (if you have not done so already): LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 00:21, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

Thank you

for the New York Times op-ed "Stop Spying on Wikipedia Users" 10 March 2015, and for taking the action described therein. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 12:58, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

Yeah, let's start with banning user profile generating tools at Wikimedia Labs! That's spying, too, and can be stopped quite easily. NNW (talk) 14:03, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

Yes, thank you! I do edit articles about islamist ideologues, that are considered dangerous by states in Europe (with very good reasons) and i do worry about becoming a target for surveillance. I believe it is important to watch and edit those articles, because people should be able to get good information about those "preachers" that target youngsters and disseminate selfaggrandizing propaganda. If "normal", "neutral" editors, that have no stake in these causes, like myself, are feeling the chilling effect of surveillance, then these articles will be left to those that have a stake and that will fill these articles with selfserving propaganda. I look at cases of french and arabic Wikipedians and it worries me for the future of Wikipedia. And the NSA is a major cause of concern, but sadly far from the only one. --Atlasowa (talk) 15:50, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

Thank you, Lila, for being a voice for freedom on the internet, I have gained much respect for you and WMF for the lawsuit. --AmaryllisGardener talk 01:58, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
Indian blogs are circulating the Anna Hazare organization in India called India Against Corruption has filed a lawsuit against Wikipedia for manufacturing and distributing child pornography from India. Any comment or rejoinder to this. IndiaLiveViews
I did some extensive Googling, I got one blog ranting that (1) WMF gave some kids access to computers, and (2) Wikipedia isn't censored. Therefore they took the work "child" and wrote it next to the word "pornography". I particularly enjoyed the part about how we're "brainwashing" children. This all appears to be entangled with three Indian political factions battling over the name India Against Corruption, and a lot of disruptive accounts that have been blocked on EN Wiki. Alsee (talk) 23:48, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
We get 3 blogs. Google search in India throws up different results. So thanks for confirming that (1) WMF gave some kids in India access to computers with Wikipedia projects, and (2) Wikipedia isn't censored and children can use it. Since the blogpost you got was circulated to many members of India's ruling BJP party, we shall be running this story with your comments. IndiaLiveViews 05:39, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
FWIW, Are you aware of this legal case between WMF and the Indian party and filings described in paragraph 5D - IndiaLiveViews 06:26, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

On not disclosing IP addresses in article histories

In this 23 March 2015 Wikimedia Foundation "office hours" irc discussion (focussed on the NSA and the privacy of our readers and editors), Dragonfly6-7 raised the issue of our publishing the IP address of editors in article histories:

  • [18:11:26] <Dragonfly6-7>: actually, how does this apply to the NSA's (and everyone's) total access to our database of every edit made by an IP user?
  • [18:14:44] <lilatretikov>: Dragonfly6-7 You are right, we are thinking about how to mask that. It is on the radar to address. Not ETA yet.
  • [18:15:02] <Philippe>: (Lila, you mean the historical edits by IP, right?0
  • [18:15:02] <lilatretikov>: Dragonfly6-7 as it is a community related issue as well. You would need to concur.

Just letting you know I (re-)raised the issue on Jimmy's en.Wikipedia talk page recently, and cited the above exchange. I think he's made a couple of thoughtful suggestions there, including the possibility of the WMF doing some A/B testing on forced registration. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 13:46, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

Appeal to unblock my account on ENWP

Greetings Lila, I know you don't know me and I know this is a long shot but I wanted to appeal anyway. My story is pretty complicated but I'll keep it short as possible. Basically I am asking that my block on ENWP be revoked because it is being maintained unfairly and is being manipulated by some on ENWP that do not want me to edit because I was critical of admin abuse and the Arbcom. Basically:

  1. I was a very high output editor on ENWP, I did more than 500, 000 edits, created hundreds of articles, promoted over a dozen to featured content level and many others to GA or A level. I maintained over 100 WikiProjects related to WPUS, maintained a newsletter a collaboration of the month and a lot more.
  2. Overtime I grew more and more aware of some admins being abusive to regular editors, I ignored it for a long time and finally got tired of seeing it.
  3. I started to advocate strongly that it needed to change, that the RFA process needed to change, that the Arbcom failed to do anything and that made me a threat
  4. They retaliated by manipulating policy and repeatedly submitting ban requests over and over until they got 1, out of multiple submissions, with what they wanted and with a very small number of people spouting a "Consensus".
  5. I got upset and lobbied heavily for it to be reviewed and in doing that. Because I was blocked I created a lot of throw away accounts on ENWP but always noted who I was even when some created edit filters to prevent my username from being used so I could not sign.
  6. Someone contacted my employer and tried to get me fired from my job for doing a few edits from work, because they knew that was more severe and knowing that most of my edits were done from home because a couple of Arbcom members (NewYorkBrad and AGK) and Jimbo advocated for it to be done. An utterly low and foul thing to do I might add showing their true colors IMO.
  7. My block was eventually reviewed by the community and the community agreed that my ban was done abusively but that I should continue to be blocked until February 2015 as punishment (eventhough blocks are not punitive).
  8. Now it is maintained only because some do not agree with the communities decision to unblock me on ENWP and continue to find ways to ensure I stay blocked.

Now here is a lot more detail and there are links and evidence on both sides of this argument but basically, I am being prevented from editing out of spite and it doesn't do anything to protect the project. Actually it damages the project in multiple ways including not getting improvements, new articles, etc. I would be doing and causes collateral damage because I am active on a lot of projects from a lot of sources and he block causes them to be autoblocked. And I am not going to stop editing other projects because a couple people on ENWP want to be pigheaded. I am active on multiple other projects and continue to contribute positively. Basically, I know there is little you can do, but I wanted to ask anyway because this is getting ridiculous and is hurting the project because of a small number of people on ENWP who are being abusive and manipulative including members of the Arbcom who IMO are not there to build an encyclopedia but are trying to build their resume's to try and get jobs at the WMF. Sorry for the long post and the lack of AGF, but after everything I have endured to try and participate in a project I care about my AGF meter is pretty low. Basically I am asking that an independent review of my case be done by someone as well as possibly the conduct of some of the admins and arbs involved. There is no WMF oversight of any of the admin or Arbitrator activity and I think that is somethign that is sorely lacking and needs to be done by the WMF. Reguyla (talk) 10:18, 7 April 2015 (UTC)

Short answer: No.
Long answer: To quote you, yourself: There is no WMF oversight of any of the admin or Arbitrator activity. I am not an admin and I do not know the relevant policies but if you keep canvassing you may find your block extended still further.
ResMar 05:23, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
I'm not canvassing, I am elevating it to a higher authority in the dim hopes that someone will see through the manipulative sham that is my block on ENWP. And for what its worth, my block on ENWP is effectively indefinite, so there really is no worry about it being extended because some abusive individuals who know that they can do whatever they want with impunity will continue it indefinitely. My block has become nothing more than a symbol that to the community that if you question abusiveness of admins you will be banned so just take the abuse or leave. I am tired of being treated like I am the enemy because I have the unpopular view of thinking the admins on ENWP and elsewhere should be held accountable for abusive behavior, that they need to drop the us and them mentality and that there should not be a double standard of policy that applies less to admins than it does to "regular" editors. When admins violate policy and act abusively time and time again with no result when an editor would be blocked for the same thing, and have, I have a problem with that. If my caring about the project and attempts to try and fix it result in my abusive block being extended officially rather than the manipulatively like it has been by a couple in violation and defiance of what the community actually wants, then so be it. But hopefully it will at least bring to light the serious problems with the administrative oversight and environment on ENWP that is driving editors away. It only shows the contempt that some in the admin community have towards editors and how they feel that the "community" is too stupid to decide for itself what is best for the project and needs them to decide. Reguyla (talk) 11:15, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
Calling this thread an abuse of canvassing policies goes a bit far in my view, as there is no "vote" being manipulated, so opening a discussion on meta is not unreasonable as a way to express your point of view. However, if you put on an en.wp hat, it makes no sense for an appeal on meta to make much difference to Arbcom supported blocks on the English Wikipedia. An appeal about an en.wp decision has to go back there.
Don't get too put off by your more recent block this year, this does not stop you making an appeal or contesting the continued block. You may wish to check with an Arbcom clerk whether they believe you must appeal to Arbcom or can use a different block appeal process.
BTW, to succeed you'll really just have to focus on your past actions alone, and be able to show that you understand what others see about your actions that is a problem. There is no point starting an appeal by blaming others (as they are not the ones sanctioned or appealing), it can only damage your request. Once you are unblocked you could consider if it is worth trying to reform admin governance in some positive way. If this is too difficult or painful, just wait for your remaining block on the project to expire. -- (talk) 13:36, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
Thanks Fae and I do agree with much of what you said. Perceptions are more important many time than facts but I do want to clarify that I have never been nor am I currently on an Arbcom enforcement or block. My original ban was a manipulation by some, achieved through repeatedly requesting my ban over and over until they got 1 with the result they wanted. The community agreed in my Ban review and my block was implemented as punishment for my actions that led to the review being considered. But basically the whole ban/block situation is just an excuse that some use to continue blocking me.
I did lose my composure, that is absolutely true and I do regret some of my conduct during that period, but it was only after Arbs, editors and admins repeatedly violated policy to achieve what a few wanted because I had identified some of them or their friends as being abusive for doing things like manipulating policy, baiting editors to justify blocking them, personal attacks to goad them into responding and blocking them, abusively blocking them so they cannot respond to ANI posts about them, accusing them of socking to discredit them when there was no evidence of socking, etc. Not to mention the Arbcom's failure to address concerns about administrative actions, their contributing advocating an environment of admin over editor and their making the process of addressing admins so complicated so that very few will both with it when the Arbcom nearly always favors the admin or at worst admonishes them. Yes, they do occasionally desysop one every once in a while, but it takes so long that its really an outlier to the process. It should also be known that when the Arbcom advocated contacting my employer I know and they know that doing so would lead to someone doing it. They aren't stupid so arguments like "we didn't know that would happen" or "that wasn't the intention" are frankly just lies. They knew what it would do and that absolutely was the intent and anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves.
I also fully expect the block to continue to be pushed out indefinitely because people who don't care about policy will not hesitate in manipulating it to their own ends until someone puts a stop to it. I fully intend to continue to advocate for my account to be unblocked until it is. So even if the WMF won't consider unblocking me, they should at least do a review of admin conduct in the project and review the conduct of the Arbcom and whether they are performing their mission. I don't think that they will do that either, but that is what is needed if they WMF is serious about improving editor retention and not just focused and recruiting editors and throwing them to the wolves. Recruiting good people to a bad environment isn't going to improve the project, its only going to make the project and the WMF look worse. There is a reason why people are flooding from the site and abusive admin conduct is a big part of that and needs to be addressed. Reguyla (talk) 14:23, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
Reguyla, I do not know your en.wp situation. However, I'm "community banned" in, and I would never appeal to the WMF nor to Jimbo, with whom I had good relations. Not about my personal case, anyway. You are correct that there are serious problems on, but complaining about them won't solve them. First of all, make sure you are familiar with meatball:DefendEachOther, and second, would you like me to investigate your situation? The wiki problems are deep and structural in nature, rooted in what was missing from the founding conceptions, and I see no sign that the WMF is in a position to understand solutions. However, presented with a clear plan of action, something realizable, it is possible the WMF could assist. If it is about "me," it is not going to work. Hence my question, and my invitation to all those who recognize that the problem exists to start communicating about it. Probably not on Lila's user talk page! Lila, of course, is welcome in any such discussion, or could delegate someone to participate. --Abd (talk) 13:44, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
Greetings Abd, Yes I agree its unlikely to occur but when I am being bullied I am not the lay down and take it type. I fight back, vigorously. Part of the problem with the abusive culture is that its been engrained that anyone who is blocked must be bad and any admin must be good. That is what makes the block such an effective tool to discredit those that admins do not agree with. Even if an admin gets desysopped or blocked themselves, that editor is still marked for life as having been blocked or banned regardless of the validity. That's something that needs to change. In the case of me, as I have mentioned before in other venues I was extremely active doing hundreds of thousands of edits and I did a lot for the project and a couple abusive individuals managed to manipulate a few others into thinking that I wasn't there to contribute. They did this by repeatedly submitting ban requests until they got one to stick. No matter how many ban requests you submit that say no, all it takes is one to say yes, just keep resubmitting until you get the person you want banned. If someone with that volume of edits isn't there to contribute, and I would strongly argue that anyone who says I am not trying to contribute to building an encyclopedia is a lier, then anyone can be accused of the same. I was banned because I was criticizing abusive admin behavior, its as simple as that. I also agree that many of the problems are cultural and procedural and I also blame the WMF for that as well. You may feel free to "investigate" my situation if you like, but its not likely to lead anywhere. There are several admins and arbitrators that do not care one bit about the project and if they ever did at all they stopped long ago and they are there now only because they have achieved power and want to keep it and will block or ban anyone they see fit to get their way. I admit freely I have little respect at this point for the Arbcom or many of the admins on ENWP for allowing what was such an obvious manipulation of policy and abuse occur and its only because they wanted to send a message to the community about what happens when you criticize admin conduct that I continue to be blocked. It has absolutely nothing to do with the project, its a choice to continue my block because I refuse to bow down and let them be abusive in peace. So although your right, there is little hope in the WMF or Lila intervening here (and saying Jimbo has the ability is a joke) I felt I should try and at least inform the WMF of the ENWP admin abusiveness in the hopes that even if they didn't look into my case they would look into the problem in general. If they care about the project at all, which I question frankly, then they would want to fix these problems that are driving people away. They cannot keep ignoring the problems and throwing money at it in the hopes it will go away because it won't and its only getting worse. Unless the WMF shows the abusive admins and Arbs that they will not be allowed to ignore and manipulate policy when it suits them, then they are just enabling that behavior and allowing it to continue to escalate. They also need to force the Arbcom to start doing their job rather than doing stuff they don't trust or don't want the community doing (like reviewing blocks and ban requests). The WMF is the only ones that can do this because they have made the Arbcom the all powerful body on the project with unlimited control and if they don't want too get control of their conduct and get them back on task then I would argue they really do not care about the projects success because all they are showing is benign neglect. Reguyla (talk) 14:10, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

Community Engagement (Product)/Process ideas

Please have your staff report on the progress of this project. If, as seems likely, it has been abandoned without any useful outcome, please consider whether an apology is due to the volunteers who contributed their time to it. 09:04, 7 April 2015 (UTC)

With Howie's departure, my start, and the change in reporting structure for the liaisons team, it was delayed, but it has not been abandoned. If anything, with my background in previous successful product/community integrations at Ximian and Mozilla, I'm pushing very hard to do this right (and meeting regularly with the interim head of product to make sure it happens). But it can't happen overnight; engineering has been focused heavily on Visual Editor and that will take priority over process changes in the very short-term. As soon as I have more concrete news (hopefully soon) I'll try to update those pages.—Luis Villa (WMF) (talk) 17:23, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
I had to withdraw from that process when a WMF employee went back to a battleground approach, with threats of may be backed up by actions against the communities, like de-sysopping admins or superprotecting pages. The pattern on that page was to lay out the pros and cons of each item, and I could see no way to list the cons of that threat without it sounding like battleground counter threats. The whole thing turned out to be a waste of time anyway. The conclusion of the draft is that the WMF plans to "solve" things by grabbing a bullhorn and talking as loudly and as often as possible. Alsee (talk) 18:08, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
@Alsee: I think your link is broken (copy/pasted a link to this discussion by accident instead?) I'd like to see the discussion - we do have to have constructive discussion, and I will support my team when they push for setting proper boundaries, but we also need to be fair and open to constructive criticism that assumes good faith. —Luis Villa (WMF) (talk) 18:15, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
Superputsch was the assumption of bad faith, it was a frontal assault against the deWP and enWP, and it was done by the WMF, as a declaration of war against the communities. There is absolutely no AGF possible in this action.
And the perfectly correct link shows the malevolent cleansing of dissent and unwanted truths from the discussion by an WMF-honcho. It may be really what he thought was the story, but if so, only because of severe disconnection with the communities in his ivory tower. Until all this manifestations of utter disregard to the unwashed masses are undone, real apologies given to the communities by the WMF, superputsch completely withdrawn and only reinstalled after a proper community consensus, which is the only way to implement such stuff legitimately, no trust will be regained, And the nearly complete silence of Lila doesn't look god as well, especially as she once in the distant past promised to do otherwise. ♫ Sänger - Talk - superputsch must go 21:46, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

What can "happen overnight" is having the courtesy to inform the volunteer contributors to this project of its current status, even if that is a brief message to the effect that none of the two hundred or more employees of the WMF currently has time to pursue it further. 21:02, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

I completely agree. The community and the WMF are partners in these projects whether they choose to admit that or not. Neither can succeed without the other and they both need to work together. There are certainly occasions where the WMF doesn't and should not be required to solicit community approval such as upkeep of the servers, adding removing hardware or software and other day to day operations for examples. The community has control for the most part of things that go on with editing and content. There are however areas of overlap where both should be working with the other. For example, the WMF should not be forcing changes like Visual Editor, Media viewer or things like Superprotect without input from the community because those things affect the community and the editing environment. Additionally, there needs to be checks and balances in place to prevent abusive conduct. If abusive conduct is happening on a WMF wiki, the WMF should be able to step in an fix that rather than just ignore it and pretend it doesn't affect them. There should be a mechanism of appeal to the WMF for decisions that affect the projects outside of Arbcom and the UTRS process, both of which are pretty much garbage and are historically prone to manipulation and are extremely limited when it comes to visibility and transparency. Some other projects besides ENWP have this problem as well, its not unique to that project although that project is the largest culprit. There have been several very bad decisions made by the Arbcom on ENWP for example (such as their discretionary sanctions "reform" that allowed any admin unlimited discretion, "broadly construed" for any editor they felt like) which fosters abuse and enables admins to push their personal points of view. There was the Arbcom's blocking or banning of every individual who opposed on that to ensure it succeeded; then there was the Arbitrator who continues to run their own blog on Wikipedia against policy because he knows that he can without consequence; or the 2 arbitrators who advocated my employer be contacted knowing and inferring that someone do it and then when it was done said it was acceptable behavior even though it violates one of the prime covenants of the Wikipedia of Thou shalt not out thy fellow editors!. Had that been done by an editor they would have certainly been blocked if not banned and that has occurred in the past. The admins and arbitrators who routinely use personal attacks, all without any action being taken because of the double standard that holds admins to a lower set of rules than regular editors and the list goes on. The WMF's failure to provide a checks and balances system to prevent these types of abuses has allowed the projects (not just ENWP) to foster cultures of abusive conduct and has enabled a toxic editing environment on multiple projects. The projects know that the WMF doesn't really care about what goes on in the projects and its time for that to change. Reguyla (talk) 13:33, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

Access to nonpublic information policy

The replacement of Access to nonpublic data policy by Access to nonpublic information policy was decided on 25 April 2014 but the former policy remains in force until the new processes mandated by the new policy are put into place. A future announcement will be made to those affected before the new policy goes in effect. We know the weight you attach to the privacy of the users of the various projects. Please have your staff report on the progress of the implementation of those processes in time for the first anniversary of the Board's decision. 21:08, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

Pinging Jalexander-WMF to relay the question from the IP above. Thanks, --Pine 07:15, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
This was asked recently on Wikimedia-l, I'll copy it here (slightly adjusted for context) for the benefit of those not on the list:
Because of logistical (including that we needed to have a tool for the sign off and some adjustments to the confidentiality agreement itself to ensure it made more sense) and resource (both the lawyers involved and the CA staff have been slammed for the past year) issues the speed moving forward has been incredibly slow. The confidentiality agreement text has final approval from legal now (I haven't updated meta but I will soon), at this point the only thing left is for translation of the agreement and for me to write up the announcements to the teams who are affected and then notify them. That will start the 3 month time window and I hope to do so very soon. The upcoming board election is my number one priority, however this is my 2nd and I'm having another member of my team help write the announcements needed to take that off my plate and speed it up. The goal is for the 3 month time to start (with the announcements) before I go to vacation in mid may.
There is no doubt that we would have preferred to have finished this long ago at this point. However in the end the combination of figuring out exactly how to do the agreement and just finding time to do the necessary steps prevented us from going forward how we wanted too. We had to make quite a few compromises from how it was originally envisioned technically both throwing out the original idea of a unique tool to do it (in favor of using Phabricator legal pad) and not being able to do everything we originally expected in Phabricator. For better or worse the people responsible for the rollout on both the Legal and CA side are also some of the most over scheduled members of those teams during the past year and so the speed of advancement hasn't been what we'd like because other responsibilities had to take priority given that the existing policy was still in place. Jalexander--WMF 07:20, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia reader interface update

Hi Lila,

The Signpost had this rather chilling summary of a recent ITM item, which I will abbreviate here:

"Time profiles (April 14) Lila Tretikov, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation. Time paints a grim picture of the challenges faced by Tretikov and the encyclopedia, many of which were discussed in a recent Signpost's special report: a "meager annual budget", the gender gap, "critical gaps in coverage" (such as the Global South), the shrinking ranks of active editors, and the lack of contributions from those who access Wikipedia content through mobile devices, search engines, and personal digital assistants. Time speculates that Wikipedia could contract suddenly, with something similar to the almost 25% dropoff in active editors on the Italian Wikipedia in 2013, or dwindle gradually, a possibility that Andrew Lih (Fuzheado) compared to "the boiling frogs scenario". William Beutler (WWB), author of the blog The Wikipedian, told Time "I do not envy Lila Tretikov’s position."

"Time outlined efforts by Tretikov and the WMF to address these issues, such as the Inspire Campaign and Wikipedia Zero. Time wrote that "Tretikov is focusing the Foundation’s limited resources on how readers and editors use the site," including gathering data about user preferences, increasing the number of WMF engineers, and improving and creating editing software like mobile apps."

I realize that the strategy update is likely intended to address many of the problems in this summary.

IMO, one project that the WMF could undertake that would be helpful would be a major interface update to the reader experience, similar to WikiWand, that would be compatible with VisualEditor for the cases where readers convert into editors. The Mobile Apps team is moving in that direction. Could the same be done for desktop? A cost of $600,000 would be less than the cost of MediaViewer, and if done well could have good results. Another option might be for WMF simply to acquire WikiWand outright, and I think that would be an option worth exploring.

Thanks, --Pine 20:29, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

Copyright violations in Wikipedia app

Dear Lila,

I have significant concerns about the mobile Wikipedia app. The new "share a fact" feature which was recently introduced to the app, both on iOS and Android (blog post), enables users to highlight text from an article, superimpose it on an image from that article, and share it. However neither the text nor the image is attributed, which is required by the CC-BY-SA. Not even a hyperlink is given, which is the bare minimum requirement of the license. While I suspect most would be happy with the text being so used, I am distinctly not happy that the WMF is encouraging people to violate the terms of the license under which I have contributed images to Commons, some of which are used on Wikipedia.

Please would you explain if the legal department were involved in the development of this feature, and if so explain why they considered that this use of copyrigted media was allowed. BethNaught (talk) 16:37, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

Slaporte (WMF) is preparing a legal note, apparently to be published on --HHill (talk) 17:56, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing that out. Reading that discussion shows it's all a right mess. BethNaught (talk) 19:20, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
As an aside, why were the lessons from the rollout of Media Viewer, another feature which failed to comply with attribution requirements, not learned? BethNaught (talk) 19:29, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
More info and discussion on topic can be added here BethNaught :-). Thanks --Melamrawy (WMF) (talk) 21:50, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
Melamrawy (WMF): There was not a more [remote sub-subpage to be found for a further "discussion"?
Why shall the legal notice on this topic not be published as usual at Wikilegal?
Is there a reliable time plan for addressing these community concerns in regard to your app? --Martina Nolte (talk) 19:13, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Martina Nolte it is just for consistency. It is an app feature at the end of the day, and the discussion isn't purely bound to legal concern, there are also tech and design concerns. In fact, it is controlled by tech concerns, hence the presence on medawiki.--Melamrawy (WMF) (talk) 19:20, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
"Controlled by tech concerns", I see. I consider it rather a "fact" that the whole concept fails, as posting CC-licensed photos by third parties in social networks like Facebook is not compatible with the CC license text in general. Whatever you want to change from the tech point of view, you won't fix this problem – you just cannot. This has been expounded very well by Stephen La Porte himself, see Legal/CC-BY-SA on Facebook. But yeah, maybe you want to spend a thought on that after you have fixed the for sure more important tech concerns. Congratulations WMF for still not understanding how the licensing of your own project works. Yellowcard (talk) 19:50, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Yellowcard, did you read the comments carefully? How license data is extracted from files is a concern, and this is a tech issue that complements legal compliance, which you will read more about in the legal note when added. :-)--Melamrawy (WMF) (talk) 20:57, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
I have doubts about the "consistency", seeing this unrelated subpage of a non-existing subpage to a non-existing page. But okay, we'll see how this goes.
Who, on behalf of the Foundation, is put in charge to respond and discuss there about legal, tech, and design concerns in regard to the app? And - again - what's the time plan to address these concerns? --Martina Nolte (talk) 22:44, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Martina Nolte The legal side is Stephen's responsibility. As a community liaison, I am supposed to be your person to discuss and coordinate your other concerns, in coordination with Apps PM and designers. The concerns are already being addressed, i.e. is is clear that we need to discuss (with the community and the team responsible for the feature), hence, the page is created, more info is added, more discussion with the team about alternatives. In terms of reality, it is not likely that we will push a button to disable it completely, the purpose of the discussion, is to make use of the feature, i.e maintaining how it works, while making sure it is in compliance with legal (which is already achieved) constrains and is up to community expectations. There will be technical hurdles to achieving what why exactly want to achieve, from the earlier comments I have seen, and we should talk openly about this, while deciding best compromises, or best alternatives, or best realistic time plan to work on improving things. I hope this makes enough sense. EDIT: Regarding the deadlink, it is no secret that we need to do more work in terms of documentation. For all features, not just the ones that have conflict and need discussion, so more should be added. Thanks for help with all suggestions and for keeping an open eye ;) --Melamrawy (WMF) (talk) 09:16, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Melamrawy, thanks for your quick response. However, I have to pass back the ball about not reading carefully. It's not necessarily about extracting license data from files – however, that would be one very important step to make this feature applicable to the license conditions, assuming there would be the will to include the author's name –, but in general about the incompatibility of CC licenses with the demands of Facebook and Co when you post files. I linked the official WMF statement about posting CC licensed works by third parties to Facebook above (again: Legal/CC-BY-SA on Facebook: "Can you post CC-BY-SA content that a third party produced on Facebook? – No."). This does not compile with the new feature. However, in the meantime Stephen La Porte published his legal note. I am shocked about it, honestly, and feel a little helpless about a Legal Counsel who misinterprets the license text as he does. I know several court decisions from Germany that come to a contrary conclusion and I am sure there are or will be such from the US as well. Taken aback, Yellowcard (talk) 14:13, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

I really hope you read this, Lila. I would like to point out a recurring pattern in recent confllicts between contributors and WMF: We authors are dedicating our time and efforts to create all this free content that generates millions and millions of donations to Wikimedia every year. These donations pay your jobs, too. That's fine so far. The only "payment" that we authors get, is acknowledgement and appreciation of our contributions and our work. By technically helping to omit credits in re-usages of our work, you actively deny us this little acknowledgement and appreciation. --Martina Nolte (talk) 15:27, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

She rarely logs in and its even less common for her to comment so it may take a significant amount of time before she sees this discussion and even if she does its possible she won't comment on it or even acknowledge she saw it. You may have better luck at getting a response by contacting one of the Community Liaison folks like Maggie Dennis. Reguyla (talk) 15:40, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Reguyla. Melamrawy is reading here as a community liaison. I hope the core points will be communicated to Lila. I'm confident that she deeply cares about a motivating atmosphere in Wikimedia projects. --Martina Nolte (talk) 16:12, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Community Engagement (Product)/Product Surveys

Please ask your staff to report on why this project has stalled, and to apologise to the volunteers whose time has been wasted. 05:43, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

Pinging Rachel diCerbo (WMF) to relay this question from the IP. Thanks! --Pine 07:13, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
This question was answered last month. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 18:47, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Whatamidoing (WMF) the page that you linked is blank... --Pine 20:03, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Thanks; I've fixed the link. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:52, 21 April 2015 (UTC)
Hi Pine - thank you so much for the ping and thank you to Whatamidoing (WMF) for the fast follow up. :) Unfortunately we cannot ping the IP to respond, so hopefully they'll follow up to read the response. The good news is that with the Call to Action, the announcement of the Community Tech Team, and pending additions to Community Liaisons team specifically to support conversations around this and TBD additional product surveys, things are moving into place to act on the results. I'll cross post this over there as well. Cheers, Rdicerb (WMF) (talk) 05:04, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
Actually this project has not stalled, it is under review as part of some of our recent changes. It did not have an expected outcome and a timeline (which projects should have). In interim we have changed how we are organized to make sure we are able to address community issues broadly from both engineering and community perspectives [1]. We are investigating how to best collect input and prioritize the work of the new team and this project will become part of this effort now. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 15:52, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

Stable Wikipedia

See my suggestion here. I know Anthony Cole has discussed it with you, and even visited San Francisco. I support his idea for medicine, I would like to propose something similar for my own area of specialism (philosophy). Could WMF support an initiative for minor changes to Wikipedia infrastructure, such as links to a stable version? Peter Damian (talk) 08:51, 25 April 2015 (UTC)

Peter, Lila's restructure of the engineering department [2] includes the creation of a new Community Tech team, whose role appears to be to make the kinds of features you describe - assuming there is support from a significant number of core contributors - and I think you should be confident of getting that support. It certainly has mine. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 11:10, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
Anthony, thank you for pointing out the new structure. We are definitely looking to support community-driven requests (bugs, bots and new features). The CL team (Community Liaisons) will be helping the Community Tech team manage the backlog of requests and coordinate with the community. We are working to put together a method for collecting and understanding those. We are looking to understand which ideas have broad support within their communities and address those first. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 15:40, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

On the workload of your staff

A common theme emerging from some of the responses by your staff to questions directed to you here is that they have been unable to make progress on various initiatives because they have been too busy on other things. If so, then something is badly wrong with the workload within the WMF. You have over two hundred staff, and they claim that they are being given work at a rate which not only absorbs all the time originally allocated to the progress of those initiatives, but even makes it impossible for them to spend as little as a few minutes every few months (that's one millionth of the total WMF workforce time) sending out a message to the volunteers and other workers on these initiatives explaining and apologising for being unable to make any progress. This is indeed a deplorable state of affairs -- please investigate it further. 10:26, 24 April 2015 (UTC)

We are indeed working to make our time allocated the best way possible. We have incredible people working hard to deliver on our commitments. Some may take more work as we uncover issues in the process. Even though it seems like we are large, ~200 people supporting ~100,000 people community supporting ~500,000,000 people site is actually an incredibly efficient ratio and would be hard to match by any similar site. Nonetheless point is taken. Thank you. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 15:47, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for your prompt response. Motto Luigi (talk) 21:21, 28 April 2015 (UTC)


On March 18, you said we have paused any but requested rollouts of Flow, but we have not resolved yet how the mission might be changed -- hence the page has not changed yet. The discussion then aged off without further news. Can you yet predict when you might be able to make that resolution? Until then, please have the staff working on Flow clarify what, if anything, it would be useful for the community to do. What are these "requested rollouts", who is requesting them, and where are the requests being collated? 20:12, 25 April 2015 (UTC)

Lila, I asked you to clarify the situation and you told me you "paused any but requested rollouts of Flow". Yesterday Quiddity (WMF) announced at wikipedia:Wikipedia_talk:Flow#Using_Flow_on_this_page that he plans a new deployment of Flow later TODAY. As far as I'm aware there has not been any Community Consensus requesting it. Not only that, but he's planning to do it on the exact page with 14-archives worth of people objecting to flow (and WMF-Staff brickwall promoting it). Alsee (talk) 10:22, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
To clarfiy, there cannot be any legitimate reason to make this change because not only is there no community request, which you said there would have to be, there is already a test page on enwiki. Have you unpaused Flow? If that were the case, not telling us has been a serious failing on your part. BethNaught (talk) 16:09, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Lila, the response of User:DannyH (WMF) at that page ("we should have asked before saying we were going to change this page" [3]) is quite incompatible with your message ("we have paused any but requested rollouts of Flow") and this suggests that you have not succeeded in conveying your instructions to all your staff. No doubt you will address that issue.
More importantly, is there any point in continuing to allocate staff or community time and effort to the Flow project? Even after radical reduction in scope it is clear that it has in fact failed. Motto Luigi (talk) 20:07, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Things seem to be fine there now, a well-intentioned 1-page deployment that doesn't seem to be going forward. However I'm still extremely concerned about the continued active development of Flow without any resolution on whether the work is even going in a viable direction. Lila, it seems that either the project is on a stealth-mode track to presumed deployment (in conflict with everything you've said in previous discussions), or the WMF is spending money on work that it knows may be wasted in the wrong direction. As I suggested on the Flow talk page, I really wish the WMF would post an RfC at village pump asking if the project is going in a viable direction. Get some valuable input from the general community that aren't lurking these pages. Creating Superprotect to ram through Media Viewer resulted in at least a half dozen tech-news stories all vilifying the WMF, across multiple languages and continents. If Community consensus is that Flow is harmful, then trying to forcibly deploy it could lead us into a CNN level shitstorm. Alsee (talk) 22:59, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
The Flow project page claims that the project "will identify the critical workflows that need to be supported with software and build lightweight support for those processes". It will not build that support, because it has taken no steps to identity the crticial workflows, and has designed the software without any idea what these critical workflows are. There is thus no realistic possibility of it succeeding. Lila, why did you allow the project to continue consuming resources while you decided whether or not to terminate it -- would it not have been more sensible to suspend it and redeploy the staff onto other equally necessary tasks (some of which have already been mentioned here recently)? If the decision is to terminate, then the resources are saved: but Flow is hardly time-critical (if it were, you would be in a lot of trouble by now), so any delay caused by the suspension would be of little importance. And when do you expect to make that decision? Will you consult the community first, and if so, when and how? Motto Luigi (talk) 05:30, 30 April 2015 (UTC)


Lila, may we assume that Winter is now defunct? Perhaps you would have someone clarify its status. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 22:08, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

There was an announcement a while back that Winter was over....err, so to speak. Of course that could change but for now at least its been shelved to focus on other issued deemed to be more important. Personally I hope they do finish it because I thought it was a great idea and had a lot of potential. Much more so than some of the other initiatives that went through. Reguyla (talk) 19:48, 8 May 2015 (UTC)

Understand the needs, concerns and priorities of volunteers in order to support the community and develop recommendations for future programs

Lila, you initiated a process that produced Communications/State of the Wikimedia Foundation. In that, we read that As of March 2015, the Community Engagement team has launched in internal working group to begin this process, "this process" being to understand the needs, concerns and priorities of volunteers in order to support the community and develop recommendations for future programs. It is not clear how far a purely internal group can go in developing that understanding, but in any case please would you have that internal working group tell us what steps they propose to take to consult the volunteers about their needs, concerns and priorities; when they will take those steps; when they propose to finish this process; and when and how they will communicate those results? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 16:57, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

One of the first issues to consider is: Which volunteers are we talking about? I tried to address this in User:Ariconte/Volunteer Management but failed to get much community or foundation attention. Regards, Ariconte (talk) 22:55, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

Help with strategic overview not just technical details

Lila, we appreciate your responses her but I get the impression that you see engaement with the community as being of value more at the level of detailed responses to and testing of features designed and developed within the WMF. I'm not seeing much enthusiasm for community involvement in setting priorities, developing new business processes or proposing large-scale or early-stage ideas. For example, is WMF considering ideas for contributing, editing and rendering non-linear content such as chemical equations, commutative diagrams, hieroglyphics, music; active content; three-dimensonal rendering; audio, video; semantic integration; ...? If so, where is the venue for the community to take part in proposing and considering those ideas? How do you want to harness the power of the community to shape the WMF as an organisation and the future direction of its content and delivery? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 19:54, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

If I might expand this a little. A topic missing from the draft Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan/2015-16 is Innovation. Research will somehow foster innovation, but how is WMF actually going to do it? Where is the WMF getting the exciting new ideas it needs to stay at the forefront of knowledge collection, curation and dissemination? What are the new things it should be doing and what are the new socio-technical means for doing them? Most sharply, how is it going to develop and plan for those? Surely you will want the help of the community in driving that forward? How do you propose to engage them? Rogol Domedonfors (talk)

Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan/2015-16

Lila, the delay in the publication of the draft Wikimedia_Foundation_Annual_Plan/2015-16 from the advertised date of April until this week so that it was unavailable for the Board election and the community have just a few days (yes, days) to comment on it, is seriously damaging to the relationship between the WMF and those volunteers who are ready, willing, and able to support you on planning and strategic matters. More damaging, in my view, is the way it has been presented to the community: I have commented at length here and will not repeat myself. I will confine myself to saying that you probably ought to investigate how such an important event came to be so egregiously mishandled. I continue to assume that you and the WMF do wish to engage with the community, collectively and individually, on these strategic matters -- please do not prove me wrong on this. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:05, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

Just in passing, let me suggest that you ask your colleagues to avoid the overuse of such phrases as "make certain that we have community feedback" and "We value this input" [4]. I realise that in this case they are merely conventional utterances or phatic expressions, on a par with saying "Good morning", intended to promote social interaction and cohesion rather than to convey information about the state of the world. But for those members of the community who are not versed in these things, the discrepancy between words and deeds can be jarring. I am sure that you expect and indeed desire that the community judge the strength of your desire for community feedback and the value you place on it by the measures you take to secure that feedback and the nature of the actions you take as a result, rather than the conventionalities that surround them. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:21, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

Gather / Collections

Recently the WMF announced an experimental project Gather to the community. The project page well illustrates the expected use case for this feature, non-editors can create and share lists of their favorite bands. People can also make abusive lists labeling politicians-they-hate as rapists. The WMF posted the project to Administrators'_noticeboard#Extension:Gather_launching_on_beta. Reception was extremely unfavorable.

The Gather FAQ declares "The community is responsible for creating moderation rules for the created lists".

Gather/Moderation_Criteria proposes a WORKFLOW for the community.

Later, the WMF again posted it at Administrators'_noticeboard#Moderation_of_Collections? Participation and opposition expanded with the more thorough discussion. A number of people were clearly offended at the WMF presuming to impose a WORKFLOW on the community after ignoring our initial objection.

To try and put the issue in a nutshell: It's not what we do. Editors show up to contribute serious and valuable content belonging to the project, serious and valuable content belonging to the world. We're willing to volunteer various sorts of drudge-labor to protect and serve that work. We're not interested in being a free-labor-force to review and police social-network-junk belonging to individuals. This sort of content is forbidden by our Policies. It's a disruptive distraction from the work we do. Our Policies is to delete that sort of content.

The Developer participated in the discussions, and in this edit he accurately summarized the discussion results: Given the sentiments and positions expressed (Alsee's option#3 seems to be the winner). In his edit summary he thanked everyone for sharing and agreed to the proposal that users seemed to agree on. To clarify:

  • (Rejected) "Alsee option#2" was that the Community develop an acceptability policy for collections and devote editor-time to policing them.

  • "Alsee option#3" was "We could accept this as a WMF project and exempt such pages from our policies and Community management, and let the WMF take on all of the work of policing them."

While the project developer ostensibly agreed that editors were not going to do this work, edits to the project page and elsewhere made it clear he still intended to go forwards with the project and still expected to use editors as a labor force to police it.

While I agree with the general Community view on this, my primary motive is for improved WMF-Community partnership. The WMF-Community relationship is far more important than any individual project. It would really help if we could catch these sorts of issues before coding starts, but that's moot here. The project FAQ says the Community is "responsible" for creating an acceptable use policy for it. That requires an RfC. Three times I invited the Liaison or Project Developer to work together with us to set up a formal discussion to resolve that, and eagerly offered my help. Three times I got responses amounting to nope nope nope. The possibilities I see are:

  • If this "experimental" project wraps up, issue resolved.
  • If Collections are all set to "private" then there's no need to review them for abuse. Issue solved.
  • If the WMF staff want to take on the work of reviewing and policing abusive collections, issue solved. (I don't consider this likely.)
  • If public collections remain, then a Community RfC is necessary to address moderation policy for them. If someone from the WMF participates they can best present their positive points for it.
  • If the Community decides to make an acceptable-collections policy, and accepts the work of policing them, issue solved. (Based on previous discussions this seems unlikely.)
  • If the Community decides it has no interest in doing this work, and doesn't make an acceptable-collections policy, then I doubt the community is going to let threatening or other abusive content just sit there. The only alternative I can think of, in the absence of an acceptable-collections policy, would be that collections would simply be hidden or deleted without review. I suspect a bot-operator may be solicited to automate this mindless busywork. This would be a pointlessly ugly variation of the WMF simply setting all collections to private.

I wanted to give you a chance to comment, before starting the above RFC without WMF participation. Alsee (talk) 00:15, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Some time last year, various projects, aimed at improving the WMF's knowledge of what the community wants and needs, stall or fail for reasons described elsewhere on this page, and shortly afterwards this new project is announced which the community neither wants nor needs. Lila, does this indicate a fundamental disconnect somewhere? I hope this is exactly the sort of thing that your call to action will fix in future. Motto Luigi (talk) 05:35, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
hmmm, this argument is a bit disappointing Alsee :/. We have been talking about this feature for a month. We have gave heads up a week before a beta launch. The discussion never stopped, while the feature itself is still in development to make the best use of it. As discussed here the concept of grouping articles and labelling them already exists in books maintained by users, and the long requested wishlist features of watchlists also represents the same type of content, even if the functionality is different, as discussed with Risker. There is no point of discussing collections separately from discussing the community requested watchlist feature, and the already existing book feature. There is also absolutely no point in discussing things on Lila's talk page, while other communication channels are open and active. Again, I am disappointed to read /starting the above RFC without WMF participation/ while we haven't done anything without enough transparency or conversation with the community, at least in this beta feature. :/ Thanks!--Melamrawy (WMF) (talk) 09:38, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
Melamrawy (WMF) needs to recall that this is Lila's talk page and is where Lila, as executive director, is able to discuss with the community the strategy of the organsation she leads, and the coherence and competence of the various groups within that organisation for which she is ultimately responsible. There is no other venue appropriate for such discussions and we appreciate the way in which Lila gives them and us her time and attention. It is not a forum in which her staff issue gratuitous rebukes to volunteers who are raising concerns with her over strategic or executive matters nor is it for staff to attempt to dismiss, deride or denigrate volunteers' concerns or comments. If and when Lila no longer wishes to discuss those matters here, or with the volunteer community, or members thereof, I am sure that she will say so directly herself, rather than leaving it to a part-time consultant to argue with volunteer contributors who come here to raise issues in good faith. Lila, may we assume that you continue to wish to engage in constructive discussions with the community on this page with regard to matters of strategy, leadership and organisational coherence, competence and direction? 21:09, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
Dear IP address, the topic Alsee mentioned is already active in discussion. I am concerned that taking the conversation into another channel, doesn't involve the other voices that also contributed to the conversation. Everybody can talk to Lila on her talk page, of course, but if we are discussing a product that already had its communication channels, then how does it help the community to decide collaboratively, if we are moving any existing discussion here?--Melamrawy (WMF) (talk) 21:48, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
@Melamrawy (WMF): Purely as a practical matter, when looking at this section it seems clear you're incorrect in your use of the word "enough", when you say "we haven't done anything without enough transparency or conversation with the community". If there is some internal adminstrative definition of "enough" that makes the statement true, then that definition of "enough" is not adequate in practice. And that is an appropriate concern to raise on Lila's user talk rather than on a page whose insufficiency for the purpose is part of the concern. --Pi zero (talk) 22:58, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
@Melamrawy (WMF): You continue to confuse discussions about the design and implemenation of a particular feature, which are most effective if centralised at a venue which is not this page, with discussions between the community and the ED about the strategic relationship of one project to the other projects of the WMF and its implications for the communcations and relationship between the WMF and the volunteer community, which clearly belong on this page. Please cease your repeated attempts, which are quite inappropriate coming from a member of WMF staff, to discourage the community from continuing the latter class of discussions with Lila. 06:32, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
  • I wasn't planning on commenting here except that my name was mentioned. There are several challenges with the "Gather" extension: its function is nearly identical to the "Collection" extension, but instead of improving the latter (yes, the code was messy, but code cleanup is one of the main reasons the WMF pays developers) a whole new extension was created, complete with lead images; it saves in the "Special" namespace instead of user namespace, although the "gather" is supposedly user-specific; it purports to be related to watchlists, but bears no resemblance to them, and doesn't include any particular features related to the watchlist wishlist (including the fact that the selected articles don't go onto a user's watchlist); and it requires major workarounds - in part because it is saving to the "Special" namespace - to permit any kind of routine content curation, such as deletion, suppression, revision-deletion, and editing. (Anything that is publicly viewable has to be able to be curated by community members.) I don't have huge issues with the core theory behind this new extension, except that because it nearly duplicates an existing extension that was already suffering from a near-complete lack of attention, the likelihood that this too will fall by the wayside is quite high. I'm not persuaded that there's a lot of benefit in raising this on Lila's talk page; if there is a strong desire to move it up the ladder, it would have been a bit more logical to escalate it to Damon Sicore (WMF) first; I do note, however, that Damon has yet to create a userpage on Meta or Mediawikiwiki yet, though. Risker (talk) 02:59, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
Everyone is welcome to talk to Lila on her talk page, especially with strategic relationship matters, however, I am not sure why do we need to move an existing conversation that includes implementation details on Lila's talk page. On side note and for accuracy's sake, the person Alsee referred to as a developer is the product manager of the feature. In fact, there is indeed a missing conversation that needs to start on WP, about how should his type of content be curated: A group of articles, collected by a user, and are given a title and made public (which is already the case with the existing user maintained books). Gather could be disabled, but the same conversation will be repeated when the requested watchlists functionalities are implemented. Sigh, and now I am myself now going into the inevitable implementation details, which don't ideally belong here :)--Melamrawy (WMF) (talk) 09:57, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
Your discussion link only links to one lonely WP-project, thousands are missing. I can't see any interwiki-link to any other WP in the article of that discussion, in other words: outside the one project enWP there is no discussion, thus there is no community involvement. Please show me the other discussion pages in at least the top-10 wikiverse projects. (and no, a mailing list is definitely no proper place for discussion, as is phabricator, those are in-group off-public talking venues) ♫ Sänger - Talk - superputsch must go 11:05, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
Why would there be 10 discussions in other projects, if it is only beta enabled on English Wikipedia? There was an earlier discussion around the extension on mediawiki, and this is where the FAQ stemmed from.  :)--Melamrawy (WMF) (talk) 12:21, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
This is exactly the sort of thing that Lila may want to look into. How does it happen that a project of this kind starts up within WMF with no consultation with the volunteer contributor community, and where the originators believe that it is sufficient, after much of the work has already been done, to bring it to the attention of a subset of the users at whom it is supposedly aimed? Why was the requirement, if any, not captured before sinking time, effort and money, and why was the requirements capture process not carried out across a range of users consistent with the likely user population? Why were the processes apparently being developed to capture requirements not brought into use before decisions were made? 16:09, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
Lila may also wish to be informed on how it came about that the design process for this product failed to assess the extra workload likely to be placed on the volunteer community by the necessity of curating this new feature, and why no steps were taken to ensure that that extra work would be forthcoming. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:22, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
"is only beta enabled on English Wikipedia" sounds like bullshit:
T97488 Enable Gather on English Wikivoyage and Hebrew Wikipedia (Wikivoyage: "There's no downside to installing this extension, right?" No controversial discussions or links that the 2 WMF staffers would like to mention...)
T98519 Provide infrastructure for a staged roll out.
T95769 If an article has been flagged 2x, it is listed in a special feed for 'someone' to monitor
T97704 Implement flagging backend
T96282 Spike: Flagging
T97667 Autohide collections
T95770 A user monitoring the "flagged" feed can"unflag" it, so that it is removed from the queue and others do not have to review it.
T95768 A user who has flagged a collection cannot flag the same collection so that they do not have disproportionate voice.
Down, down the rabbit hole. Because WMF learnt absolutely nothing from the Article Feedback Tool desaster? (Epic failure that cost 600.000 USD?)
@LilaTretikov: How much did this feature/"experiment" cost WMF so far? How much money spent since community feedback in 4 February 2015 "In case it's not clear, let's try a concise header: mw:Talk:Gather#STOP NOW" ? --Atlasowa (talk) 07:11, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
All, we are doing an evaluation of ALL technical projects as part of this year's due diligence and measuring them against proposed impact. This feature is currently rolling up under the Readership team and is under "experimental" budget. I would ask you all to hold, however, since the reorganization of product teams is fairly fresh and they are working through their master lists and roadmaps as we speak. I will ask Toby (Head of Readership) to give you an update once they are a little further down the path. And -- I will take the point that our planning process is far from fixed; it is a work in progress. LilaTretikov (WMF) (talk) 19:35, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
LilaTretikov (WMF) I have held off on a Community RFC on this because I very much want improved WMF&Community engagement, rather than a one sided discussion and potential battle if the community unilaterally disables all collections. As I linked above, there is a rather strong informal consensus against the community taking on any labor to maintain a feature and content that violates our policies. Collections generally fall under our strict Speedy Deletion criteria, with the rest generally falling under normal deletion criteria. I see no interest in creating an exception to our deletion policies for Gather.
I have repeatedly asked the Product Manager and Community Liaison whether the WMF was willing to engage the Community in a discussion of this matter. The Product Manager ignored repeated requests and withdrew from discussion on his own talk page. The Community Liaison has ignored even longer repeated attempts, and has stopped responding to pings on Meta and En.Wikipedia.
Ten (non-WMF) people in this thread have unanimously criticized Gather, nine of those ten addressing the WMF's lack of engagement on the subject.
Ignoring requests for open discussion, leaving Gather active and under active development, and telling us that some day in the infinite future the WMF will have internal discussions on the matter, is not a meaningful response.
  1. You asked us to hold for your internal evaluations. Is there some imminent date for which you are asking a temporary hold?
  2. Is the WMF willing to engage in open discussions on the matter, or do you consider this a strictly internal matter and we should stop expecting otherwise?
Alsee (talk) 13:33, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

Page Weight Matters

Background: Page Weight Matters, by Chris Zacharias

"Three years ago, while I was a web developer at YouTube, one of the senior engineers began a rant about the page weight of the video watch page being far too large. The page had ballooned to as high as 1.2MB and dozens of requests. This engineer openly vented that “if they can write an entire Quake clone in under 100KB, we have no excuse for this!” Given that I agreed with him and I was excited to find a new project, I decided to champion the cause of getting the YouTube watch page to weigh in under 100KB. On the shuttle home from San Bruno that night, I coded up a prototype. I decided to limit the functionality to just a basic masthead, the video player, five related videos, a sharing button, a flagging tool, and ten comments loaded in via AJAX. I code-named the project “Feather”.
"Even with such a limited set of features, the page was weighing in at 250KB. I dug into the code and realized that our optimization tools (i.e. Closure compilation) were unable to exclude code that was never actually used in the page itself (which would be an unfair expectation of any tool under the circumstances). The only way to reduce the code further was to optimize by hand the CSS, Javascript, and image sprites myself. After three painstaking days, I had arrived at a much leaner solution. It still was not under 100KB though. Having just finished writing the HTML5 video player, I decided to plug it in instead of the far heavier Flash player. Bam! 98KB and only 14 requests. I threaded the code with some basic monitoring and launched an opt-in to a fraction of our traffic.
"After a week of data collection, the numbers came back… and they were baffling. The average aggregate page latency under Feather had actually INCREASED. I had decreased the total page weight and number of requests to a tenth of what they were previously and somehow the numbers were showing that it was taking LONGER for videos to load on Feather. This could not be possible. Digging through the numbers more and after browser testing repeatedly, nothing made sense. I was just about to give up on the project, with my world view completely shattered, when my colleague discovered the answer: geography.
"When we plotted the data geographically and compared it to our total numbers broken out by region, there was a disproportionate increase in traffic from places like Southeast Asia, South America, Africa, and even remote regions of Siberia. Further investigation revealed that, in these places, the average page load time under Feather was over TWO MINUTES! This meant that a regular video page, at over a megabyte, was taking more than TWENTY MINUTES to load! This was the penalty incurred before the video stream even had a chance to show the first frame. Correspondingly, entire populations of people simply could not use YouTube because it took too long to see anything. Under Feather, despite it taking over two minutes to get to the first frame of video, watching a video actually became a real possibility. Over the week, word of Feather had spread in these areas and our numbers were completely skewed as a result. Large numbers of people who were previously unable to use YouTube before were suddenly able to.
"Through Feather, I learned a valuable lesson about the state of the Internet throughout the rest of the world. Many of us are fortunate to live in high bandwidth regions, but there are still large portions of the world that do not. By keeping your client side code small and lightweight, you can literally open your product up to new markets."

Source: [ ]

(Emphasis added, capitalization in original.)

(Reproduced under fair use: "The first factor is regarding whether the use in question helps fulfill the intention of copyright law to stimulate creativity for the enrichment of the general public, or whether it aims to only 'supersede the objects' of the original for reasons of personal profit.")

Given the above, I think that we should start a project -- a real project with measurable goals and a schedule -- to reduce page weight.

This is being discussed on the following pages:

--Guy Macon (talk) 22:47, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

Lila, I think this presents a good opportunity for your staff to demonstrate the effectiveness of their processes and their willingness to engage with the community on technical proposals. Or not, as the case may be. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 07:10, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
I am sure the WMF are well aware of this. I often edit from either a regional area in a developed country or a developing country and can understand these sentiments... it just takes so long to load! (let alone edit). Which is frustrating as WP is a valuable source of information. In my experience in these two areas editing can take 1-3 minutes to get a confirmed edit, and viewing can take 30 seconds to several minutes. --LT910001 (talk) 07:25, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
Very likely -- the question is, what will WMF do about it? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 16:42, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
Not respond directly to Guy Macon in any way and hope he goes away? It worked in the case of [ ]... --Guy Macon (talk) 18:44, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
@Guy Macon: Please assume good faith. If you haven't received a response, assume it's because I have a mountain of e-mails to respond to and a three-and-a-half-year-old to parent. --Ori Livneh (talk) 21:36, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
Guy Macon, this is an interesting idea and I had a quick chat with Ori about this just now. He mentioned there are several ways in which improvements can be made to page weighting. He did cite a lack of specificity about this particular proposal (in correlation to Wikimedia projects), specificity which would determine whether this is in scope for the Community Tech team - chances are that a project like this could become the remit of another team. Regardless, a note about Community Tech as the idea is cross-posted there: the team is not fully staffed yet (though as you can see the WMF is hiring for these positions), when they are staffed they will work with communities to prioritize requested projects based on user top requests and technical/code issues/team bandwidth. -Rdicerb (WMF) (talk) 23:40, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
Re-reading this, I see that wasn't clear in regards to Community Tech: page weighting and optimization would *not* be the responsibility of the Community Tech team. Page weighting would be the responsibility of another area in the Engineering dept. I mentioned Community Tech as there is discussion happening there as per the link above. Apologies for any confusion. -Rdicerb (WMF) (talk) 18:45, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
Is there a better place I can discuss this? My experience with the issue I talk about at [ ] and my complete failure to open up a conversation with WMF accounting makes me a bit pessimistic about my chances of opening up a conversation with WMF engineering, but it could simply be that, despite searching, I have not found the right place. --Guy Macon (talk) 08:52, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for expressing that, Guy - I think that finding the right place for discussion is easier said than done. Finding the right place to ask questions varies based on who you're trying to speak with. Regarding the Signpost, as that publication isn't Foundation-operated and yours was essentially a comment on a news article, it wasn't an effective way to reach WMF accounting. I see that you've commented on the Annual Plan. As far as discussing your idea about page weight, Ori replied here and you're having a conversation there now, though if/when this is prioritized it will be implemented by a different product or engineering team. To be fair, I think it's fine to keep the conversation on the Community Tech page until it's determined which team it will go to should go, rather than shuffle it to another team's page (either on Meta or MediaWiki) right now.
Regarding not always knowing where to initiate a conversation on individual topics: you are not alone in that. I don't have an easy answer for you, sadly. Many engineering WMF staffers don't spend much time on Meta - they're on MediaWiki, in Phabricator, etc. The decentralized nature of the movement lends itself to decentralized communication venues. Many technical projects are discussed on MediaWiki, and you're likely to find WMF engineers there if you would want to initiate a technical discussions on a particular topic. My guess is that this probably doesn't provide the most satisfying of answers, but I hope that it helps somewhat. -Rdicerb (WMF) (talk) 03:54, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
I think this goes to the heart of the matter. @Rdicerb (WMF): is "Director of Community Engagement (Product)" for WMF with a remit to support the Wikipedia community's voice in product development. Yet she is unable to advise a member of the community on how to make their voice heard effectively. The community members do not want or need to know the ins and outs of the WMF organisation and the multiplicity of wikis and forums that WMF staff use. They want a known, well-publicised, convenient, accessible place to go where they will find members of WMF staff ready, willing and able to help them, responsible for delivering that help and accountable to the community for the effectiveness and efficiency of the way they do so. Clearly we do not have that, and equally clearly the Director of Community Engagement (Product) is unable or unwilling to provide it. Lila, is this a state of affairs that you find satisfactory? If not, please do something about it. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 16:22, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
On the English Wikipedia, if you ask a question in the wrong place someone almost always tells you where the right place is. And we have places like en:WP:DRR that guide newbies through choosing where to go if they have a specific issue. All of this is accomplished by folks like me who don't get paid a single cent for the work we do improving the encyclopedia. I really don't believe that an organization that has increased its budget from $10 million to $45 million in the last four years cannot afford to assign a person or two to making this happen.
Another thing that would be really helpful is some indication that proposals such as mine have been evaluated and decided on. A simple "Yes Guy, we are starting the project as you suggested, here is the person in charge, here is the budget, and here is the schedule" or "Sorry Guy. We considered your proposal at our weekly meeting and decided not to implement it" would be a lot better than what I am getting, which is a lot of discussion by those not in power but zero actual decisions by those who are. --Guy Macon (talk) 00:17, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Indeed. I don't understand why WMF employees charged with "editor engagement" or "community engagement" (acquisition, engagement and retention of editors that contribute in a positive manner) think they can do that by developing software. Are we like rats in a cage, and you conduct experiments on us by changing the parameters of the cage you allow us to edit in? Heaven forbid we try to break out of the cage, that's not acceptable (cf. "superprotect"). How will "Flow" help us to better "engage" with you? en:Wikipedia:Dispute resolution requests lays out our complex, but somewhat dysfunctional, system for engagement and retention of editors that attempts to get them to contribute in a positive manner. If you can design and develop a better system for that, it might be appreciated. Just brainstorming, but one tool that might be helpful is "pending changes" restrictions imposed on individual problem editors (right now, "pending changes" is only placed on articles). It would be a "kinder, gentler" sanction than the nuclear one called "blocking". A blocked editor is an editor who has not been retained. Make the community a partner in designing solutions. That's the path to improving those editor retention and activity statistics. Wbm1058 (talk) 13:01, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Re: "Just brainstorming, but one tool that might be helpful is 'pending changes' restrictions imposed on individual problem editors (right now, 'pending changes' is only placed on articles). It would be a 'kinder, gentler' sanction than the nuclear one called 'blocking'", that is a brilliant idea. Do you have any objections to my turning it into a proposal and attempting to get it implemented? I will, of course, give you credit for the idea unless someone else turns out to have proposed it already. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:20, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

No objections at all. Please do go ahead and make a formal proposal. I'm curious to see what the community thinks of it. Wbm1058 (talk) 18:40, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Community discussion on harassment reporting

There is a discussion at Grants:IdeaLab/Community discussion on harassment reporting arising out of the fact that no fewer than fourteen proposals made in the 2015 Inspire Campaign turned out to relate to harassment management. It would send out a good clear signal if you were to nominate one of your 268 staff to take ownership of that issue on behalf on WMF and have them go to that page, with your backing, to identify themselves and engage with the community to develop and implement timely and effective measures in response to this clear community need. (Letting the discussion drift into obscurity would of course send out an equally clear signal but not, I hope, the one you would wish to send.) Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 09:12, 24 May 2015 (UTC)

+1, speaking as one of the few Wikipedians to be found by Arbcom ruling to have been harassed, and my inadequate experience of WMF's support of me at that time, which in hindsight I can see amounted to the WMF legally protecting itself from me. -- (talk) 13:45, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Note that I have an email thread discussion ongoing with Philippe about related subjects. --Pine 19:01, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
    • Note that we don't care about your personal emails. --Nemo 19:32, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
      • Arbcom care very much about private correspondence with the member of staff mentioned. Refer to my 6 month block directly resulting from my meeting with the same person. @Pine:, could you please have any discussion about the general issue of anti-harassment and WMF support on a public list where the rest of us are not cut out? Thanks -- (talk) 15:16, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
I think it would be more helpful to ask, what emerged from their private conversation that @Pine: and @Philippe: would like to share with the rest of us? Presumably there is something otherwise Pine's comment above would seem rather pointless. Is it relevant to my question to Lila as to what action the WMF proposes to take on this specific matter? 16:11, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I sent Philippe some suggestions about Wikipedia harassment issues and how to improve Wikipedia's emotional environment in general. He said that he would get back to me. We aren't discussing any particular incident. --Pine 20:11, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
+1, I am also glad that something is finally being done at the WMF level about the ongoing harassment and social problems on the sites. Its something that has been sorely needed for some time now. Don't forget to include admins conduct in your review and don't just focus on editors. There are plenty of folks in both groups that need to be addressed. Reguyla (talk) 20:22, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
@Pine: I suggest you read over the many proposals put forward by community members, the above link just being a summary. I doubt that a discussion between one volunteer and one employee would be seen as a healthy replacement for public engagement, no matter how friendly it is in private. What would be refreshing would be the WMF giving a positive response for those investing time making these proposals that the WMF's campaign invited, and a commitment by the WMF to specific action to help unpaid volunteers who feel harassed, rather than real-politic non-action or just more insulating legal steps to reduce the risk to the WMF. -- (talk) 13:45, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
  • It is just over two weeks since I asked for a member of WMF staff to take responsbility for this issue. No member of WMF staff has responded either here or on that page. I conclude that WMF does not regard harassment of users as important. What a very sad state of affairs. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 15:40, 7 June 2015 (UTC)

Scope of Community Tech

Lila, please could you clarify the scope of the remit for the new Community Tech team? It is stated to be focused on meeting the needs of active Wikimedia editors for improved, expert-focused curation and moderation tools. That suggests that it will not look at tools for contributing, rendering or displaying content, which have certainly been requested by core contributors as well as their calls for improved support for moderation tools, bots, and the other features that help the Wikimedia projects succeed. This sounds like an emphasis on the projects as social engines rather than evolving content. Could you reassure us that tools for contributing, editing, refining, connecting and displaying information to contributors, editors and readers are fully within scope? If not in scope for this team, then where do they lie? (And if nowhere, then why not?) Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 19:42, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

  • I think that the Community Tech project has reached a psychological moment. Momentum has built up at the, so far unofficial, discussion page Community Tech project ideas where members of the community are holding some unstructured discussions with various members of staff, none of whom are member of the Community Tech team. Fairly soon those discussions will fragment and disperse across various other pages and wikis, or it will become apparent that the discussions are not leading to anything in the way of a decision or action, because the staff members involved are not authorised or resourced to do so. When that happens, momentum and enthusiasm will dissipate and will be much harder to recover than it would be if you act now. May I urgently suggest that you nominate a member of staff to stand in for the team, manage the discussions, take some decisions and own the process and the results in the short term. Perhaps @TNegrin (WMF): would be able to suggest a name. But in any case the time for action is here and futher delay will damage the process you, and we, want to see succeed. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:35, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
Follow-up. I am told that the process of restarting the mw:Wikimedia Product Development/Product Development Process and mw:Community Engagement (Product)/Collaboration process is expected to take "months" [5]. Let me be clear -- that time is too long, far too long. The time for action is now. In the absence of any clear external movement, you will dissipate the remnants of the community's willingness to engage, and the credibility of your entire community engagement process. You cannot expect the community to continue to accept, or even believe, excuses and vague promises month after month. Continued inaction is simply not an option. The only viable alternative is action, and action now. It need not be a final or polished system, but whatever you put in place in the interim needs to be clear, effective and to work. Otherwise, I seriously propose that you consider simply dismantling the community engagement process and saving the million dollars or so per year of donors' money that it is costing you and accept that the WMF does not truly desire to engage with its volunteers in this way. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 18:58, 12 June 2015 (UTC)