Re: [Wikimedia-l] Types of allowed projects for grant funding (renamed)

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Types of allowed projects for grant funding (renamed)

Pine W
(Now continuing this discussion on Wikimedia-l also, since we are
discussing grant policies.)

For what it's worth, I repeatedly advocated for allowing IEG to support a
broader range of tech projects when I was on IEGCom. I had the impression
that there was a lot of concern about limited code review staff time, but
it serms to me that WMF has more than enough funds to to pay for staffing
for code review if that is the bottleneck for tech-focused IEGs (as well as
other code changes).

I also think that the grant scope policies in general seem too conservative
with regard to small grants (roughly $30k and under). WMF has millions of
dollars in reserves, there is plenty of mission-aligned work to be done,
and WMF itself  frequently hires contractors to perform technical,
administrative, communications, legal and organizing work. It seems to me
that the scope of allowed funding for grants should be similar to the scope
of allowed work for contractors, and it would serve the purposes that
donors have in mind when they donate to WMF if the scope of allowed
purposes for grants is expanded, particularly given WMF's and the
community's increasing skills with designing and measuring projects for
impact.

In the past I think there were probably some wasteful uses of grant
funding, and the response at the time might have been to prohibit or refuse
to fund entire categories of expenses. Now that everyone has more planning
and evaluation capacity, it seems to me that this is a good time to rethink
the categorical prohibitions and replace at least some of them with
appropriate expectations for impact that would better serve our overall
mission of creating and sharing knowledge.

Pine
On Feb 21, 2015 12:05 PM, "Brian Wolff" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 2/21/15, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > In general WMF has a conservative grant policy (with the exception of
> IEG,
> > grant funding seems to be getting more conservative every year, and some
> > mission-aligned projects can't get funding because they don't fit into
> the
> > current molds of the grants programs). Spontaneous cash awards for
> previous
> > work are unlikely. However, if there is an existing project that could
> use
> > some developer time, it may be possible to get grant funding for future
> > work.
> >
>
> [Rant]
>
> I find this kind of doubtful when IEG's (which for an individual
> developer doing a "small" project is really the type of funding that
> applies) have been traditionally denied for anything that even
> remotely touches WMF infrastructure. (Arguably the original question
> was about toollabs things, which is far enough away from WMF
> infrastructure to be allowed as an IEG grant, but I won't let that
> stop my rant...). Furthermore, it appears that IEGs now seem to be
> focusing primarily on gender gap grants.
>
> I find it odd, that we have grants through GSOC and OPW to people who
> are largely "newbies" (although there are exceptions), and probably
> not in a position to do anything "major". IEG provides grants as long
> as they are far enough away from the main site to not actually change
> much. But we do not provide grants to normal contributors who want to
> improve the technology of our websites, in big or important ways.
>
> Ostensibly this is done in the name of:
> >Any technical components must be standalone or completed on-wiki.
> Projects are
> >completed without assistance or review from WMF engineering, so MediaWiki
> >Extensions or software features requiring code review and integration
> cannot be
> >funded. On-wiki tech work (templates, user scripts, gadgets) and
> completely
> >standalone applications without a hosting dependency are allowed.
>
> Which on one hand is understandable. WMF-tech has its own priorities,
> and can't spend all its time babysitting whatever random ideas get
> funded. So I understand the fear that brought this about. On the other
> hand it is silly, since a grant to existing tech contributors is going
> to have much less review burden than gsoc/opw, and many projects might
> have minimal review burden, especially because most review could
> perhaps be done by non-wmf employees with +2, requiring only a final
> security/performance sign off. In fact, we do already provide very
> limited review to whatever randoms submit code to us over the internet
> (regardless of how they are funded, or lack thereof). If IEG grants
> were allowed in this area, it would be something that the grantee
> would have to plan and account for, with the understanding that nobody
> is going to provide a team of WMF developers to make someone else's
> grant happen. We should be providing the same amount of support to IEG
> grantees that we would to anyone who submitted code to us. That is,
> not much, but perhaps a little, and the amount dependent on how good
> their ideas are, and how clean their code is.
>
>
> [End rant]
>
> Politically, I think its dangerous how WMF seems to more and more
> become the only stakeholder in MediaWiki development (Not that there
> is anything wrong with the WMF, I just don't like there being only 1
> stakeholder). One way for there to be a more diverse group of
> interests is to allow grants to groups with goals consistent with
> Wikimedia's. While not exactly super diverse (all groups have similar
> goals), at least there would then be more groups, and hopefully result
> in more interesting and radical projects.
>
> --bawolff
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikitech-l] Types of allowed projects for grant funding (renamed)

Brian Wolff
On 2/21/15, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

> (Now continuing this discussion on Wikimedia-l also, since we are
> discussing grant policies.)
>
> For what it's worth, I repeatedly advocated for allowing IEG to support a
> broader range of tech projects when I was on IEGCom. I had the impression
> that there was a lot of concern about limited code review staff time, but
> it serms to me that WMF has more than enough funds to to pay for staffing
> for code review if that is the bottleneck for tech-focused IEGs (as well as
> other code changes).
>
> I also think that the grant scope policies in general seem too conservative
> with regard to small grants (roughly $30k and under). WMF has millions of
> dollars in reserves, there is plenty of mission-aligned work to be done,
> and WMF itself  frequently hires contractors to perform technical,
> administrative, communications, legal and organizing work. It seems to me
> that the scope of allowed funding for grants should be similar to the scope
> of allowed work for contractors, and it would serve the purposes that
> donors have in mind when they donate to WMF if the scope of allowed
> purposes for grants is expanded, particularly given WMF's and the
> community's increasing skills with designing and measuring projects for
> impact.

That's actually debatable. There's grumbling about WMF code review
practices not being sufficient for WMFs own code (or as sufficient as
some people would like), and code review is definitely a severe
bottleneck currently for existing volunteer contributions.

However that's not a reason to have no IEG grants for tech projects
ever, its just a reason for code review to be specifically addressed
in the grant proposal, and for the grantee to have a plan. Maybe that
plan involves having a (volunteer) friend who has +2 do most of the
code review. Maybe that plan involves a staff member getting his
manager to allow him/her to have 1 day a week to review code from this
grant (Assuming that the project aligns with whatever priorities that
staff member's team has, such an arrangement does not seem
unreasonable). Maybe the grant includes funds for hiring code review
resources (ie non-wmf people with +2. We exist!). Maybe there is some
other sort of arrangement that can be made that's specific to the
project in question. Every project is different, and has different
needs.

I do not think expecting WMF engineering to devote significant
resources to IEG grants is viable, as I simply doubt its something
that WMF engineering is willing to do (And honestly I don't blame
them. They have their own projects to concentrate on.). IEG's are
independent projects, and must be able to stand mostly on their own
with minimal help. I do think getting WMF to perform the final once
over for security/performance of a project prior to deployment, at the
end, is reasonable (provided the code follows MW standards, is clean,
and has been mostly already reviewed for issues by someone in "our"
community). At most, I think bringing back 20% time, with that time
devoted to doing code review of IEGs, would be the most that we could
reasonably expect WMF to devote (but even if they didn't want to do
that, I don't think that's a reason not to do IEG tech grants).

Code review is an inherent risk to project success, much like user
acceptability. It should be planned around, and considered. We should
not give up just because there is risk. There is always risk. Instead
we must manage risk as best we can.


--bawolff

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikitech-l] Types of allowed projects for grant funding (renamed)

MZMcBride-2
Brian Wolff wrote:
>Maybe the grant includes funds for hiring code review resources (ie
>non-wmf people with +2. We exist!).

For what it's worth, you're exactly the type of person I would like to have
working at the Wikimedia Foundation. I love your posts here; thank you for
taking the time to write them.


Figuring out what level of technical support we can give to non-Wikimedia
Foundation projects is a really important issue, in my opinion.

Brian Wolff wrote (in a related thread):

>Ostensibly this is done in the name of:
>>Any technical components must be standalone or completed on-wiki.
>>Projects are completed without assistance or review from WMF
>>engineering, so MediaWiki Extensions or software features requiring code
>>review and integration cannot be funded. On-wiki tech work (templates,
>>user scripts, gadgets) and completely standalone applications without a
>>hosting dependency are allowed.
>
>Which on one hand is understandable. WMF-tech has its own priorities,
>and can't spend all its time babysitting whatever random ideas get
>funded. So I understand the fear that brought this about. On the other
>hand it is silly, since a grant to existing tech contributors is going
>to have much less review burden than gsoc/opw, and many projects might
>have minimal review burden, especially because most review could
>perhaps be done by non-wmf employees with +2, requiring only a final
>security/performance sign off. In fact, we do already provide very
>limited review to whatever randoms submit code to us over the internet
>(regardless of how they are funded, or lack thereof).

Erik seems to be pushing toward a model that favors using OAuth and the
MediaWiki API over "deep integration" that comes with a MediaWiki
extension. He recently mentioned this here:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/glamtools/2015-February/000343.html

He may be right that development for deployment to the Wikimedia
Foundation cluster may not be the best approach for every project, but I
think this view overlooks all the very real benefits that extension
deployment includes. There's a documented process that has safety checks
such as putting the code in Gerrit and having a security review. Checklist:
<https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Review_queue#Checklist>. Process:
<https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Writing_an_extension_for_deployment>.

MediaWiki is the platform. Features include persistent database or file
storage, user authentication, internationalization, a usable Web API and
user interface, and more!

> If IEG grants were allowed in this area, it would be something that the
>grantee would have to plan and account for, with the understanding that
>nobody is going to provide a team of WMF developers to make someone
>else's grant happen.

Yeah, my understanding is that Sue was behind this hard rule and times
have changed. I guess this would be a matter of Siko and her team
re-petitioning Damon, Erik, or Lila to soften this rule, probably by
appending a "or have a detailed code review plan in place with appropriate
sign-off/endorsement" clause. This code review plan would be some kind of
template where people can do due diligence to try to ensure that their
code review needs will be met.

More broadly, in terms of getting code deployed to the Wikimedia
Foundation server cluster, we have at least three major code review areas:
security, performance, and architecture. A code review plan (for grants
and non-grants alike, to be honest) that addresses at least these three
areas, plus user acceptance, as you mention, would be fantastic, I think.

And/or we can explore the model proposed by dan entous:

---
instead of having to write a grant requests and/or seeking other forms of
funding, establish a grant or funding committee that looks for projects
and developers that have proven helpful and have added value to the
community. then award them with funding without them having to ask for it.
---

>Politically, I think its dangerous how WMF seems to more and more
>become the only stakeholder in MediaWiki development (Not that there
>is anything wrong with the WMF, I just don't like there being only 1
>stakeholder).

Yup. Other groups such as Wikimedia Chapters are also interested, but all
most of the funding streams go through the Wikimedia Foundation for
redistribution at this point, as I understand it. Maybe a MediaWiki
Foundation still makes sense... Brion and others have been pushing for a
wiki hosting platform (that isn't the ad-plagued Wikia, heh):
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikitech-l/2015-January/080171.html

MZMcBride



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikitech-l] Types of allowed projects for grant funding (renamed)

Erik Moeller-4
On Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 4:19 PM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Erik seems to be pushing toward a model that favors using OAuth and the
> MediaWiki API over "deep integration" that comes with a MediaWiki
> extension. He recently mentioned this here:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/glamtools/2015-February/000343.html
>
> He may be right that development for deployment to the Wikimedia
> Foundation cluster may not be the best approach for every project, but I
> think this view overlooks all the very real benefits that extension
> deployment includes.

I don't think one size fits all -- every case needs to be judged on
its merits, though in the case of GLAMWikiToolset I am definitely
arguing for considering separation from the MediaWiki codebase because
it is so highly specialized. I also think we sometimes still have a
tendency to underestimate the value of non-MediaWiki tools and apps,
even though they've contributed millions of edits to Wikimedia wikis
already (though to be fair, without Magnus Manske the tally would not
be nearly as awesome).

Regarding the criteria for grantmaking, I think this initial blanket
prohibition against all MediaWiki extension development is indeed
something we ought to revisit. These grants can cover tens of
thousands of dollars of paid work, so we shouldn't treat the review
and integration burden lightly, and avoiding stalled projects that are
going nowhere was a reason I advocated for this restriction to begin
with. But as long as there is a good plan in place -- either not
significantly dependent on WMF or with clear commitments negotiated
upfront -- I do agree that the risks can be significantly mitigated.

Damon, Luis and members of their teams will need to weigh in on this,
and will want to think through the implications for their respective
areas, but it's a good conversation to have -- keeping in mind that
Luis is just starting in his new role, so please give him at least a
few days to get up to speed. ;-)

Erik
--
Erik Möller
VP of Product & Strategy, Wikimedia Foundation

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikitech-l] Types of allowed projects for grant funding (renamed)

Luis Villa
On Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 5:39 PM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Damon, Luis and members of their teams will need to weigh in on this,
> and will want to think through the implications for their respective
> areas, but it's a good conversation to have -- keeping in mind that
> Luis is just starting in his new role, so please give him at least a
> few days to get up to speed. ;-)
>

Thanks for at least a few hours of cushion, Erik ;)

I'm a big believer in the power of/need for software tools, and at least
philosophically I'm very open to funding software development outside the
Foundation (though obviously there are lots of pragmatic difficulties -
code review, etc.) So, yes, as part of our broader review of how we support
communities and contributor growth, CE will look at funding code very
seriously.

Luis

--
Luis Villa
Sr. Director of Community Engagement
Wikimedia Foundation
*"Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the
sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment."*
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikitech-l] Types of allowed projects for grant funding (renamed)

Quim Gil-2
In reply to this post by Brian Wolff
I also think that we should revisit this policy. Any IEG should have a
feasibility plan. In GSoC / Outreachy usually the mentors are the ones
guaranteeing code review. In IEG that guarantee should be provided in other
ways, but it is possible to provide it.

For what is worth,
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Outreach_programs/Possible_projects are
already defined as project ideas that "might also be good candidates for
Individual Engagement Grants". I wish IEG "brokers" would subscribe to
https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/tag/possible-tech-projects/ to find
inspiration; projects listed there are going through a community filter
that ;looks for wanted projects with a good size foir an IEG.



On Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 10:26 PM, Brian Wolff <[hidden email]> wrote:

> code review is definitely a severe
> bottleneck currently for existing volunteer contributions.
>

Yes, and addressing this problem is becoming a priority for the Engineering
Community team. See/join https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T78768. But
again, well planned IEG could avoid this problem entirely by finding the
right partners.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikitech-l] Types of allowed projects for grant funding (renamed)

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
Hoi,
I alone have contributed millions of edits thanks to Magnus's tools. The
whole GLAM phenomenon relies on our volunteers and on the GLAM-wiki
toolset.  When you consider their proven importance it is difficult, if not
impossible, to understand why all such tools have been given the Cinderella
treatment.

When I consider the way the WMF treats prerequisites like Labs, I find it
is given the same treatment. We know that there is not sufficient staffing
and hardware and the priorities of the big sister projects takes staffing
easily away. When you consider down time of Labs and Labs applications
things have been getting worse.

I do not blame, Magnus, the Labs team nor the Wikidata team I blame the WMF
that could so easily be mistaken for the en,WPF. This is systemic just
consider the recent report of 2014 where the "other" Cinderella projects
like Wikisource, Wikidata, Wikibooks were not mentioned at all.

When you think this is not true, please let us know what plans there are to
support the Cinderella projects. How much funding, human resources are
available for them. How do you think I, as a long time Wikimedian, became
this harsh in my opinion? I ask for plans because what else is there ?

I find that the WMF is self absorbed and while it considers itself clear in
its objectives what options are there so that the Cinderella's can go to
the ball as well in the off chance of glass slippers and a prince.
Thanks,


On 22 February 2015 at 02:39, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 4:19 PM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > Erik seems to be pushing toward a model that favors using OAuth and the
> > MediaWiki API over "deep integration" that comes with a MediaWiki
> > extension. He recently mentioned this here:
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/glamtools/2015-February/000343.html
> >
> > He may be right that development for deployment to the Wikimedia
> > Foundation cluster may not be the best approach for every project, but I
> > think this view overlooks all the very real benefits that extension
> > deployment includes.
>
> I don't think one size fits all -- every case needs to be judged on
> its merits, though in the case of GLAMWikiToolset I am definitely
> arguing for considering separation from the MediaWiki codebase because
> it is so highly specialized. I also think we sometimes still have a
> tendency to underestimate the value of non-MediaWiki tools and apps,
> even though they've contributed millions of edits to Wikimedia wikis
> already (though to be fair, without Magnus Manske the tally would not
> be nearly as awesome).
>
> Regarding the criteria for grantmaking, I think this initial blanket
> prohibition against all MediaWiki extension development is indeed
> something we ought to revisit. These grants can cover tens of
> thousands of dollars of paid work, so we shouldn't treat the review
> and integration burden lightly, and avoiding stalled projects that are
> going nowhere was a reason I advocated for this restriction to begin
> with. But as long as there is a good plan in place -- either not
> significantly dependent on WMF or with clear commitments negotiated
> upfront -- I do agree that the risks can be significantly mitigated.
>
> Damon, Luis and members of their teams will need to weigh in on this,
> and will want to think through the implications for their respective
> areas, but it's a good conversation to have -- keeping in mind that
> Luis is just starting in his new role, so please give him at least a
> few days to get up to speed. ;-)
>
> Erik
> --
> Erik Möller
> VP of Product & Strategy, Wikimedia Foundation
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikitech-l] Types of allowed projects for grant funding (renamed)

Pine W
In reply to this post by Luis Villa
Hi Luis,

Thank you for agreeing to consider grant funding for software projects.

It sounds like you also plan a broader review of funding for community
needs and growth. I have a list of requests for changes, which boil down to
removing policy barriers and greatly improving communications and workflows
so that community growth is fostered and volunteer time is used wisely. I
imagine that we will have an opportunity to discuss these matters in person
in Berlin. I look forward to seeing you there, and I greatly appreciate
your interest in supporting communities and contributor growth.

Pine
On Feb 21, 2015 6:12 PM, "Luis Villa" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 5:39 PM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > Damon, Luis and members of their teams will need to weigh in on this,
> > and will want to think through the implications for their respective
> > areas, but it's a good conversation to have -- keeping in mind that
> > Luis is just starting in his new role, so please give him at least a
> > few days to get up to speed. ;-)
> >
>
> Thanks for at least a few hours of cushion, Erik ;)
>
> I'm a big believer in the power of/need for software tools, and at least
> philosophically I'm very open to funding software development outside the
> Foundation (though obviously there are lots of pragmatic difficulties -
> code review, etc.) So, yes, as part of our broader review of how we support
> communities and contributor growth, CE will look at funding code very
> seriously.
>
> Luis
>
> --
> Luis Villa
> Sr. Director of Community Engagement
> Wikimedia Foundation
> *"Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the
> sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment."*
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
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> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikitech-l] Types of allowed projects for grant funding (renamed)

Luis Villa
On Sun, Feb 22, 2015 at 12:24 PM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi Luis,
>
> Thank you for agreeing to consider grant funding for software projects.
>
> It sounds like you also plan a broader review of funding for community
> needs and growth.


Yes. The timeline is still somewhat up in the air, but "soon" - likely
sooner than Berlin.


> I have a list of requests for changes, which boil down to
> removing policy barriers and greatly improving communications and workflows
> so that community growth is fostered and volunteer time is used wisely.


I'd be interested to hear those, though probably on meta rather than here.


>  I greatly appreciate
> your interest in supporting communities and contributor growth.
>

Thanks. Of course, the Foundation has long been active on those areas (we
spend millions of dollars a year doing them!) but I think we're always
interested in doing it better.

Luis


> Pine
> On Feb 21, 2015 6:12 PM, "Luis Villa" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > On Sat, Feb 21, 2015 at 5:39 PM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> >
> > > Damon, Luis and members of their teams will need to weigh in on this,
> > > and will want to think through the implications for their respective
> > > areas, but it's a good conversation to have -- keeping in mind that
> > > Luis is just starting in his new role, so please give him at least a
> > > few days to get up to speed. ;-)
> > >
> >
> > Thanks for at least a few hours of cushion, Erik ;)
> >
> > I'm a big believer in the power of/need for software tools, and at least
> > philosophically I'm very open to funding software development outside the
> > Foundation (though obviously there are lots of pragmatic difficulties -
> > code review, etc.) So, yes, as part of our broader review of how we
> support
> > communities and contributor growth, CE will look at funding code very
> > seriously.
> >
> > Luis
> >
> > --
> > Luis Villa
> > Sr. Director of Community Engagement
> > Wikimedia Foundation
> > *"Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
> the
> > sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment."*
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
>



--
Luis Villa
Sr. Director of Community Engagement
Wikimedia Foundation
*"Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the
sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment."*
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