2022:Submissions/Volunteer developers and improving content partnership software in the Wikimedia environment/Notes

From Wikimania

Wikimania 2022 group discussion

Volunteer developers and improving content partnership software in the Wikimedia environment


  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • This session is held via Zoom

Confirmed participants:

  • Sandra Fauconnier (WMSE) (moderation)
  • Alicia Fagerving (WMSE) (co-moderation, support)
  • Revital Poleg and/or Ido Ivri (WMIL)
  • Eugene Egbe and Navino Evans (ISA Tool)
  • Eder Porto (WMB)
  • Micheal Kaluba (Wikimedia Usergroup Uganda)
  • A representative from OpenRefine
  • (not 100% sure) User:Jean-Fred
  • An OpenRefine user User:Antoine2711
  • And you! Please enter your name (and project / organization if relevant) below. Leave your email address if you want to stay in touch (or email sandra.fauconnier@wikimedia.se if you don't want to leave your address here)
  • Hadi, Wikimedian end user working with GLAMs (diego.haettenschwiler@wikipedian.ch)
  • ...

ℹ️ Info for participants:


Slides: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/179QxctXwO48ZXzUKm1EE0ZGukTPckcLjqt5aJ1GybNg/edit?usp=sharing

List of tools (work in progress): https://toolhub.wikimedia.org/lists/147

Blog post by User:Jean-Fred: https://commonists.wordpress.com/2021/10/29/where-is-the-technical-volunteer-support-in-the-wikiverse/

  • Sandra introduces the session with some context
  • Main questions of the discussion are posted on screen. Everyone writes their input below in the Etherpad.
  • We pick up the most 'upvoted' statements and discuss them as a group.
  • Follow up:
    • This conversation is just a start of a longer process, and we want to follow up.
    • Wikimedia Sverige will contact everyone who expressed interest in continuing this conversation.
    • Make sure to add your email address above, or email sandra.fauconnier@wikimedia.se if you prefer to keep your email address private.

SESSION SUMMARY[edit | edit source]

  • Where do wanna be in 2030
    • Movement strategy 2030
    • Establish a global council
    • More equity in decision making
  • Wikimedia Sverige is stepping in in experiments
  • Software for Wikiprojects
    • A lot of the software is developed by volunteers
    • What can/should a thematic hub do in this area?
    • How can we organize this?
    • Batch upload software
    • Partnership software

❓ Questions for discussion


To make sure that the most essential software for content partnerships in the Wikimedia movement is well supported in 2030…

(making sure that the software stays available, keeps working, stays maintained and is developed further)

1️⃣ ✅ What is your one, main 'DO'?

What is the one most important thing that you DO need (as help from a formal Wikimedia organization like Wikimedia Sverige, or in general)?

  • Better documentation of software +1
    • Think of innovative ways to do software documentation instead of long long long walls of text or endless videos+1 +1
  • Advocate to the WMF which tools/capabilities are mission critical, and how to allocate the right support resources to support them. +1
  • A marketplace (an app or web interface) : A place where people post to request for content partnership / capacity building and people to offering capacity building / content partnership +1
    • Also a tool where people can offer their knowledge, help etc.
    • The Helpdesk is part of the Content Partnership Hub WMSE is developing: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Content_Partnerships_Hub
  • Keep engaging / growing the community +1 +1+1
    • Example: more active engagement for realities in GLAM in Africa, This contextual aspect is very important in its own right, added language in a later point.
  • Define funding model to ensure sustainability and continuity of the tool in benefit of the global movement
  • Provide aid in the research and design needed to sustain the project.
  • Assist in project management in the conventional way.
  • Create learning resources, masterclasses, train the trainers, certificates etc.+1 +1+1
    • In Sweden, GLAMs also want to become more self-sufficient in house (Alicia) - GLAM people expect a 'nicer' experience
    • Maybe also, following on this, take up developing UI for GLAM and other staff that is not so very techie :)?
  • Having  more Wikipedia Administrators from Africa.+1
  • Remember personal guidance, live participation and local languages+1
  • Could also help build a sustainable team for projects which are predicted to be long lasting. +1
  • Community wishlist campaign for content partnerships +1
  • Be vocal about the main "community" tools to support. Allow the community to affect which ones will be in the Noah's arc.
  • Perhaps provide general support for hobbyist developers in the Wikimedia ecosystem
  • There are a lot of junior programers that come to contribute, they take a lot of time and not a lot of them stay. What the retention of new and old contributor?
  • Support for how-to videos (related to tools)

2️⃣ ❌ What is your one, main 'DON'T'?

What should a Wikimedia organization that wants to help, like Wikimedia Sverige, absolutely NOT do?

  • ...
  • Depend on Magnus Manske's free time to fix problems +1 +1 +1  +1 +1
  • Avoid creating a development ecosystem that's relying too much on dependencies (make it more like "independent building blocks" so to speak) +1
  • Assume that volunteer software would be self-sustainable (always plan to sustain potential software)

Some more specific questions to help you think:

  • For everyone (developers, organizations, end users):
    • Is it OK that a formal Wikimedia organization (e.g. a chapter, a thematic hub) takes over tasks from volunteer developers? Why (not)?
      • Yes, because a large number of very important tools are created but volunteers don't have time to maintain. +1
      • As a chapter we consider this development as a strategic task, that can be certainly supported by volunteers, focusing on the developments aspects.
      • Yeah, particularly cumbersome tasks! There are things that are FUN and EXCITING in a volunteer projects and tasks that are mood killers.
      • Yes, if you can get the best of both worlds - formalizing/professionalizing the support of critical tools while also maintaining an environment where volunteer devs create neat, useful and innovative tools
      • Yes, but I think it is important to also still facilitate the volunteer developers and be careful not to sideline them to much because the important role they play (creativity, new developments etc.)
      • Yes but then involve the team or personel who are authors or at least Interested community members.
    • Which tasks would be good to be taken over by a formal organization? Which tasks absolutely not?
      • I think documentation is a part that could be taken over by a formal oganization, because it is important but not something thats fun to do +1
      • Documentation, long term maintenance, and prioritizing feature development. For example, many tools need an SDC upgrade - Petscan, Quickstatements, et al.
      • Pywikibot needs some tender loving care - no support for SDC right now
      • I think "what'fun" will depend from dev to dev soSo the best is to ask what people need. Like, some people hate adding tests or taking care of other SDLC chores ; other people like to do that. Same for documentation, operations, design etc etc. (What is SDLC?)
        • Software development lifecycle
        • That said we can make educated guesses (indeed documentation is in general not considered that fun) ; but still best to ask people. :-)+1
      • Capacity building, marketing and management of the tool, reaching out to target audiances
      • Product roadmap
    • Can you think of other ways to improve sustainability of essential content partnership software in the Wikimedia movemen
  • For people who work on the 'development' side:
    • Would it help if paid developers also work on such essential software? Would that be OK with you? If yes/no: why (not)?
      • Yes, volunteerism is great, but it's not perfect in terms of allocating resources where they are needed
    • What do you like to do most as a volunteer developer?
      • Developing new tools and features
      • Identifying needs that are current and pressing - SDC bots, mass metadata uploading, et al.
      • As a volunteer developer, what tasks would you like to outsource because they are too cumbersome/difficult/not fun?
      • Onoging maintenance, i.e. bug fixing, security issues etc.
      • Product roadmap (aka what to work on next, prioritisation)
      • Making things internationalized/interface xlation
      • Making things secure and authenticated
      • Making tools scalable and performative
      • I would need guidance about how to implement a specific Wikimedia feature (authentication, API...)
  • For end users of the software:
    • If you are an end user of such software, what is most important to you?
      • That it's supported rather quick, for ex. Pattypan had problems for some months.+1 +1
      • Widely requested features being implemented
    • What do you miss most in the software you use for partnerships? What should most urgently be improved?
      • A stable mass upload tool for WMCommons (for the GLAMs willing to upload their pictures) +1
      • Making key tools compatible with Structured Data on Commons - Petscan, Quickstatements, Listeria
      • Pywikibot needs SDC support! Otherwise, we are all writing gnarly custom scripts!

Notes copied from session etherpad. /Axel Pettersson (WMSE) (talk) 08:03, 8 September 2022 (UTC)