2019:Technology outreach & innovation/Evolving wikitext: embracing incrementalism
|This is an Accepted submission for the Technology space at Wikimania 2019.|
Description[edit | edit source]
On the parsing team, one of our mission has been to advance wikitext as a language -- making it easier to write, faster to parse, and less error-prone. However, this goal has turned out to be pretty challenging. There is a huge corpus of wikitext and templates on the various Wikimedia wikis that has to continue being usable. Editors have workflows that are based on wikitext, and wikitext diffs. Together, this means that any changes we want to make to wikitext has to be done fairly conservatively. In this presentation, we'll try to elaborate on some of these challenges and how we have had to embrace incrementalist approaches. We will also try to brainstorm on ideas / strategies for what might enable non-incrementalist approaches to evolving wikitext and templating.
Relationship to the theme[edit | edit source]
This session will address the conference theme — Wikimedia, Free Knowledge and the Sustainable Development Goals — in the following mann er:
Wikitext and templating are some of the core technologies with which editors on the various wikis. Visual editing reduces some of the challenges of working with wikitext and templates directly. While Parsoid enables visual editing, content translation and other tools, there is still much work to be done to make wikitext and templates easier to use and work with for tools in general. This technical evolution and strategies for doing this smoothly will play a big role in enabling innovation in tools, reducing barriers to contributing content and thus empowering people's contributions independent of their technical background.
Session slides[edit | edit source]
Session outcomes[edit | edit source]
At the end of the session, the following will have been achieved:
- Attendees leave with a broader understanding of wikitext evolution
- Parsing team leaves with additional strategies for accomplishing non-incremental change
Session leader(s)[edit | edit source]
- S. Subramanya Sastry, Parsing Team, Wikimedia Foundation
- C. Scott Ananian, Parsing Team, Wikimedia Foundation
Contacts[edit | edit source]
Session type[edit | edit source]
Each Space at Wikimania 2019 will have specific format requests. The program design prioritises submissions which are future-oriented and directly engage the audience. The format of this submission is a:
- Roundtable discussion
- This will probably start as a lecture but will probably solicit some discussion from the participants.
Requirements[edit | edit source]
The session will work best with these conditions:
- Room: Round table seating with projector + screen. We don't anticipate more than 25 folks interested in this topic
- Audience: < 25 ideally. Ideally experienced editors, template authors would participate. And anyone interested in pushing wikitext along further or those with newer use cases in mind
- Recording: Yes, for the presentation at least.