User talk:Rdicerb (WMF)

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Welcome to Meta![edit]

Hello, Rdicerb (WMF). Welcome to the Wikimedia Meta-Wiki! This website is for coordinating and discussing all Wikimedia projects. You may find it useful to read our policy page. If you are interested in doing translations, visit Meta:Babylon. You can also leave a note on Meta:Babel or Wikimedia Forum if you need help with something (please read the instructions at the top of the page before posting there). Happy editing!

-- Meta-Wiki Welcome (talk) 05:36, 28 May 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Discussion exhaustion[edit]

Someone here has a point: [1]. Editors are an aging population, many are probably like him. --Nemo 09:48, 10 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks for drawing my attention to this, Nemo. These are definitely challenging issues to work out. We will think about this, and if there are any ideas on how to manage this from within the community, I welcome them. Rdicerb (WMF) (talk) 01:07, 16 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Communications with the mathematics editor community[edit]

Hello. Following your comments on User talk:LilaTretikov‎, where you said "you and anyone else reading are welcome to reach out to my team (Community Engagement) at any time with suggestions" I am emboldened to take you at your word. As it happens, I have been trying to get some engagement going in the rather limited field of mathematics content editing and viewing for some time now. Unfortunately it has proved an uphill struggle. People in Community Liaison and Community Advocacy have explained to me very patiently why they can't help me, and my attempts to engage directly with developers have not been successful -- indeed one developer now refuses to talk to me, apparently because I was not respectful enough. Anyway, the point is that I raised the issue with Jimmy Wales in May [2] and he challenged the mathematics editing community to give him details [3]. We did that in June [4] and Jimmy was kind enough to say that it was "a very helpful and concise statement of the issues and concerns" and he had "copied this text to the Board wiki and emailed the board (and Lila) asking them to read it". Unfortunately, nothing seems to have happened since then. I emailed Lila a couple of weeks ago, with no response, but no doubt she has been too busy to respond to every single message: I also asked on her talk page here at Meta a few days ago, but again of course that has been extremely active, and Phillippe archived my question unanswered. Perhaps you can help. If the proposal is not getting anywhere, then please would somebody close the loop and say so? The reason I mention it here and now is that the first few suggestions in [5] were to do with engagement between staff and volunteers on technical planning, and those points seemed to me to have some relevance to the issues being debated at User talk:LilaTretikov‎ right now. I do hope you can get me an answer as to what is happening with the proposal I put forward, even if the answer is that it has, or will, drop compltely out of sight. Of course, if anyone has fou d anything of value in it, and wishes to use it as a basis for engagement with the mathematics editing community, that would be even better news, and I would be happy to help you convey it to the people concerned. Deltahedron (talk) 21:38, 18 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Hi there, and thank you for the ping. I'm aware that this is something that's important to you, and that it's been difficult to get it much attention. As you are probably aware, there are some fairly big-picture process discussions happening at the moment, and while in a perfect world we would have time for all projects that were proposed, the reality is that the WMF has a small team which is trying to do a lot with limited resources. I could not promise that this will get worked on, but the Product Manager responsible for this area would be James Forrester, who I believe you are already discussing this with. It's one of those things that is "on the radar" but for now I don't imagine that we would be able to put it on the roadmap for the foreseeable future. Kind regards, -Rdicerb (WMF) (talk) 15:58, 19 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you for that, and I don't wish to seem ungrateful but ... my proposal was not just about the technical issues but precisely about those big-picture items that are causing so much discussion at the moment: I was in fact advocating for the sort of joint planning that is not happening at the moment, and which as, frankly, got us into the current mess. The other but is that James Forrester refuses to discuss anything with me at the moment because he feels I did not treat him with sufficient respect [6] -- that's a minor issue unless he transposes that attitude over to the rest of the mathematics community. However, the take-home message I'm getting from you is that getting mathematics rendering and editing onto the roadmap is not going to happen. That's very helpful, because it means that mathematics content contributors can assess whether or not they want to continue to contribute in the light of the importance that the WMF places on their ability to do so. Which is, apparently, low. Still, it's better to know that than not to know it, I suppose, because it means we can plan for the future. A future which, it seems, will not necessarily involve being able to contribute to WMF projects. Deltahedron (talk) 16:25, 19 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Additional: I'm happy to say that James has broken his silence, although not so happy to say that it is to accuse me of misleading the community [7]. Perhaps you would like to contribute personally at en:Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Mathematics#A_response_from_WMF as it seems that James has concerns that I am not relaying your message correctly. Deltahedron (talk) 17:12, 19 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]
In fact, I'm asking you to look at the discussion already referred to now and invite you to consider whether James's comments, in content and tone, are what you would wish a member of your staff to convey. Deltahedron (talk) 20:58, 19 August 2014 (UTC) On second thoughts, no need to bother, unless of course you're interested in the content of the discussion. Sorry to have troubled you. Deltahedron (talk) 06:42, 20 August 2014 (UTC) [reply]


I wonder if you can help me wth a communications issue related to the question and answer above. As I understand the current position, there are no WMF resources for improving mamthematics rendering and editing, and any improvements will have to come from the volunteer community; there are no specific plans to actually break mathematics, but it is not on the roadmap and so there is the distinct possibility that it may get broken by some other change. Now here's the communications question. An academic body in mathematics is currently in preliminary discussions over whether to institute a Wikimedian-in-Residence programme, which would of course involve mathematics content. Before committing resources, a question is bound to be asked, and quite properly so, by a sceptical member of their board about the sustainability of Wikipedia in general and mathematics on Wikipedia in particular: in essence, will it still be around in five years time? In the current situation, what answer would you like to give to that board member? Deltahedron (talk) 13:29, 21 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]

I haven't read every word of the conversation here or at the other page but reading above one could get the impression that you're saying there's been no improvement related to math functionality at all in eons. I have no first hand knowledge of what recent progress was made (or how substantial it was) but I have every reason to believe it did occur. User:Physikerwelt has put in a lot of relevant work and some WMF employees (gwicke and ops) have spent time on this too. (but maybe some of that was off the clock. and idk how much time.) See e.g. gerrit:148836, a barnstar, mediazilla:66587, mathoid bugs, mathoid commits. Anyway, I wanted to ping Physikerwelt specifically so he is aware of the discussion. --Jeremyb (talk) 07:29, 22 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I am specifically talking about WMF plans for the future. I am well aware of what has happened in the past, and in particular the sterling work put in by volunteers such as Physikerwelt, who was involved early on the discussion that led to the, sadly failed, proposals I refer to above. This is not about the past, it is about moving on. My question is, what does WMF say to an external body interested in resourcing work on mathematics to convince them that mathematics editing and rendering has a sustainable future on Wikipedia. (The question is not hypothetical, incidentally, but entirely real, and I know the people involved.) Currently I have been told explicitly, there is no plan, mathematics is not on the roadmap, and there is no staff effort available for mathematics: reliance on volunteer effort, however excellent, is a hope rather than a strategy. Is this the message WMF wants to transmit? Deltahedron (talk) 07:59, 22 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I'm talking about the future too. When you say "past" that could mean 6 quarters ago or 6 years ago. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about this year, even the last couple months. btw, I haven't even looked at the roadmaps I saw mentioned (either the math or the WMF one) but I think we should clarify that WMF deciding not to invest time/resources/etc. to work on math internally (if that did happen) does not equate with WMF refusing to invest in math at all; I imagine some related projects would be good candidates for Grants:IEG / Grants:IdeaLab. ping user:pine --Jeremyb (talk) 08:09, 22 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I have not seen the WMF roadmap, but a few paragraphs previously we were explicitly told that maths won't be on it for the forseeable future. So yes, it has happened that WMF has decided not to invest in work on mathematics internally. I'm not aware of a mathematics roadmap: do you have a reference? Is this what you suggest as an answer to the question which is entirely likely to be asked at a specific meeting in a couple of months time: WMF has decided not to work on it, but might give a grant to a hypothetic future project? It doesn't sound very impressive to me, but what I would like to know is, what would WMF answer to that question in the likely event of it being asked. Of course, the WMF refusing to answer is an answer of a kind, I suppose. Deltahedron (talk) 13:12, 22 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]
For me it's hard to follow all the discussions. Currently I'm in the process to get the functionality described here to the production environment. I'm happy to contributions to the roadmap.--Physikerwelt (talk) 23:04, 22 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]
When I said there was no mathematics roadmap, I did not mean to denigrate the Math Extension Roadmap, which of course I'm aware of, and have indeed commented on and directed people to -- if I seemed to be in any way dismissive of Physikerwelt's sterling work, I do apologise to them. What I meant was that WMF has no roadmap for mathematics development, other than "rely on volunteers". The fact that it has been left up to volunteers, who have done such good work, is the regrettable aspect. But, as I said, this is the situation we are in, and the question I would like to see answered is, how best to describe this to an outside organisation that might just view the reliance on volunteer effort as evidence that WMF has no plans for mathematics sustainability. Deltahedron (talk) 06:35, 23 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Pine, No question. You often mention on various mailing lists that something should apply for a grant or the committee would be happy to see X. etc. I thought maybe you had some opinion here too. --Jeremyb (talk) 02:57, 23 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  • Jeremyb ok. Yes, in general if people have an idea for a software improvement and there is a known use case for that software with a group of people who will use it, then a proposal through IEG, GSOC, or OPW would be welcome. --Pine 08:21, 23 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Community Engagement (Product)/Process ideas[edit]

This comment [8], written by a colleague of yours writing from her staff account, is untrue and unacceptable. To suggest that my comments about WMF processes are simply complaints that I did not get what I want is untrue and offensive and the fact the the staff member in question says that she will be reviewing the suggestions makes it clear that there is no point in my continuing to contribute suggestions at this page if those suggestions are to be discounted in this way. I had hoped to be able to play a constructive part in the process as someone with experience of WMF processes for engagement with the user community. Clearly that was foolish. Deltahedron (talk) 19:19, 4 September 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Hi Deltahedron, I don't see where she is accusing you of complaining in this diff, but I understand that you're frustrated by the math situation. I appreciate your passion for this topic and I admire your tenacity - that being said, in that diff you have posted here, you say that your engagement process is not working with the WMF. The Foundation cannot support development resources for some of the mathematics ideas you've presented due to other large-scale priorities and resources. I can't claim to know how often this has been said to you, but I am aware that this has been said on more than one occasion. The WMF will simply not be able to say yes to all requests. That is part of the process. This being said, for your suggestions for community engagement ideas, this is an ongoing brainstorm, and you are welcome to present your ideas for how we include and involve all users in working on product development together in general. --Rdicerb (WMF) (talk) 00:28, 5 September 2014 (UTC)[reply]
It is not about the result, it is about the process. To get anywhere we had to go to Jimmy Wales in person and get him to back the idea. That is not a working process. Please disabuse yourself of the notion that I am complaining about the result. I don't like it, but that's the decision and we'll move forward. What I am doing here is using my experiences in getting that answer to try to improve your process, which seems to me to be a constructive part of that moving forward. I was expressing the view that the process under discussion, which was roughly, ask around and someone will help, didn't work. That is, it got us no engagement and no answer. What did work was asking Jimmy. That is not the process that was proposed and is not a viable process in general. In fact, it's hardly a process at all. Your colleague asserted that there was a process, that it did work, and that I was really complaining about not getting what I wanted. That is not correct, the process, if you can call it that, did not work, and I did something else, which did work. It didn't get me the answer I wanted though. These are completely different things, and to state that I'm actually complaining about the result when appearing to comment about the process is not true, and is an assertion of bad faith, or colossal lack of self-awareness, on my part. If the response to a serious comment based on experience is to denigrate the writer by suggesting that it is simply that they are unhappy about something else, then I conclude there is no point in continuing the discussion. You say I'm welcome to continue. Well, your colleague did not make me feel welcome, in fact quite the opposite, and I think deliberately so. I entered into that discussion in good faith hoping to use my experiences to help you. What I got was a rather cheap debating tactic designed to marginalise me, my experience and my contribution. I can see why she wishes to frame my comments entirely in terms of complaining about the result, because it shifts attention away from the lack of process. Well, she has what she wants. Deltahedron (talk) 06:18, 5 September 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Deltahedron, you did receive an answer, back in early June, before you considered talking to Jimmy. Then, after you received an answer, you posted a note saying that UK orgs are required to provide answers to inquiries, and Maggie had to tell you that the WMF already had provided an answer to your inquiry, because she had answered you on that very page. The problem there seems to be with your refusal to accept the answer you were given through the usual system, not with the failure of that system to provide you with an answer. The answer you received that way was the same answer that you received via Jimmy. While I'm personally happy that you pushed the idea further (perhaps it will plant a seed in someone's mind for the future), if your only goal was to get an answer about the current state, then you did not need to go through those additional discussions. Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 04:39, 8 September 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I have engaged with other volunteers and with WMF staff on various topics and in various venues. WAID may have seen some of those interaction: she has not seen them all. In particular, she has not seen the contents of an email I received from Lila on the subject, and therefore cannot possibly know whether or not is is the same as a message I recevied from Maggie. In fact, it is not.
The summary of my experience is that what WAID promotes as "the standard, community-based process" does not work. WAID chooses, from her necessarily imperfect knowledge of my experience, to say that it does work, that I am wrong to say that it does not, and supports that by observing I have have had an answer from a member of WMF staff. Well, I have asked WMF staff many questions. Some received answers, others did not. Some answers were true, some were false. Some were helpful, others were not. Some were relevant, some were not. Some were polite, others were rude. Some were consistent with other answers, some were not. Getting an answer to one question from one staff member, even if it should happen to be polite, helpful, true and relevant, is not the same as the process working. WAID persists in her assertion that I confuse getting the answer I want with the process working. That assertion is false, and she knows it is false. As I have said before, I have no faith in a consultation exercise that allows members of WMF staff to contradict other contributors who are trying to give their own view of what works and what doesn't, and I am increasingly offended by the way in which WAID persists in making an allegation which I have repeatedly told her is not true. Deltahedron (talk) 17:00, 8 September 2014 (UTC)[reply]

English Wikipedia first[edit]

As I recall, except for some very small and minor "test" projects whose participation was community-endorsed, Visual Editor was deployed as default to English Wikipedia first. So was AFT, and I believe page curation. Those are all fairly recent ones, one could also say that the "pending changes" variation of flagged revisions was deployed to enwiki first (and didn't go anywhere else afterward). All before your time, Rachel.  :-) Risker (talk) 23:22, 14 October 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Thank you for this, Risker - you're right about VE and I believe that may have been filed under "lessons re-learned". Additionally, I'm told that if a community asks for a feature, it is not generally considered an issue to deploy to that project first. Regardless, I've noted the suggestion - knowing the case history is extremely useful! --Rdicerb (WMF) (talk) 01:04, 15 October 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Hi. On [9], the reason I asked is that I don't know how much information you need on the topic. One could write a thesis on the history of deployments, but perhaps you're not interested in what happened in 2002. I could also make a directory of dozens projects which targeted English Wikipedia since 2010 or so, and it could live e.g. at mw:English Wikipedia but a) it will grow outdated quickly, b) it can be overwhelming, c) without a specific goal or audience it's not very useful, though of course I'd be happy to assist e.g. English wikipedians with interest in trivia and in being able to answer questions like this correctly.
In general, reusable information on specific topics should be in its own main namespace page here on Meta or and then they'd also be easier to link, while for all the proposals in the page I have no idea how too coordinate them. :-D --Nemo 06:31, 16 October 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Howdy Nemo :) - I suppose I don't need more information than what you and Risker have provided - I must have simply been mistaken that deployments were almost always rolled out to enwiki last. It looks as though it has been a mix. As for the proposals - well they are there on the page in lieu of deciphering the most accessible way of organizing them. I'll live in the hopes of Eventuality on that one :). --Rdicerb (WMF) (talk) 17:05, 17 October 2014 (UTC)[reply]


Hi. I don´t think understand your question. Survey ask about a couple. Yoy said "no" to both. I think it should be a way to delete these options from the survey and not to fall in an endless circle of comparissons. Perhaps the idea is to see how popular is one over others, but then I think you should looking for a better method other than Pairwise comparison. I've worked for a couple of years with online surveys and they usually tell you how long will take (maxium), how many questions they are, even with level from "I like a lot" to "I totally desagree". to make it more productive. I don´t know, the bussiness air that WMF every time likes more is distancing me over and over. It seems not far the day when users start to be "customers" I think. Make improvements it's ok, but keeping in mind why WMF exist for: support Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects. Regards. --Ganímedes (talk) 00:57, 11 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Hello Ganímedes :) - thank you for reaching out to me. I understand that it can be frustrating to use, and I am sure some users enjoy the software more than others! When you were working with online surveys, did you come across any that handled data well that were also open source? I would love to learn which systems you think work and which do not. With All Our Ideas, I am also going to write to the creators to see if any tweaks can be made so that we can use it more effectively - I will be starting some documentation for that later in the week and can post over to es.wp so that people who have seen it can participate in offering feedback. That being said, I also want to post the survey so people can use it and see what works and what does not work for them and feel comfortable telling the WMF that. Could you also tell me more about users seeming like customers? --Rdicerb (WMF) (talk) 11:04, 11 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Re: Volunteer roles[edit]

Re your 2015-04-09 email: I didn't really want to start a conversation on appropriate roles for volunteers. I just think that when someone suggests "You should have done A before B" it's weird to reply "Feel free to do A after B". --Nemo 22:44, 24 May 2015 (UTC) P.s.: Sorry for the delay, again these were the weeks of busy preparations for other things so I read mailing lists less.[reply]

I agree, it is a bit strange strange to see such a suggestion - I had misunderstood the intent of your message at the time. Here's to clearer communication and collaboration :) (no worries on the delay, I hope that you're able to help achieve change with your initiative). Cheers, Rdicerb (WMF) (talk) 22:10, 25 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]


Liaisons logo pos.svg

Hello. I realise you and your team are busy, what with the reorganisation, and the other activities such as this, this and this but I thought I might ask you about priorities. I understand that you now have a logo, which is nice, but that you have been struggling since April to find a name for your team, which is surprising. What I do find depressing is that Maximize volunteer/staff engineer engagement in MediaWiki software projects is currently a low priority task, on the Community liaison backlog and assigned to None. Can that really be correct? Is this not one of your primary purposes? Can it really be so very much less important than printing new brochures, for example? Is it really the case that nobody in your team is working on it? Please tell the community that this key activity is more important to you than the current workboard would make it appear. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 11:53, 14 June 2015 (UTC)[reply]

A member of your team has suggested that this task is no longer in scope. If so, I am surprised that you did not choose to mention this in your reply. Please would you resolve that uncertainty? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 17:14, 16 June 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Canada and United States affiliates meetup[edit]

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Wikimedia Canada
Wikimedia DC
Wikimedia New York City
The GLAM-Wiki US Consortium
Cascadia Wikimedians User Group
New England Wikimedians
North Carolina Triangle Wikipedians
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You are invited to attend the Canada and United States affiliates meetup at Wikimania 1015, Friday, July 17 at 17:30 and Saturday, July 18 at 18:00. Please RSVP and state your topic preference(s)!
Wikimedia Canada
Wikimedia DC
Wikimedia New York City
The GLAM-Wiki US Consortium
Cascadia Wikimedians User Group
New England Wikimedians
North Carolina Triangle Wikipedians