Update to Wikimedia RFC Process

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Update to Wikimedia RFC Process

Krinkle
Hi all,

TL;DR: TechCom has published a new version of the RFC process, at <
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Requests_for_comment/Process>.

For comparison, here is the last revision before recent changes: <
https://www.mediawiki.org/w/index.php?oldid=2089457>.

## Highlights

* Reduce complexity of “Create a proposal” to only one required step.
(Create a Phabricator task.)
* Move responsibility to announce proposals from author to TechCom (via
TechCom Radar).
* Document the “Last Call” stage.
* No longer assign RFCs to individual TechCom members (aka “shepherding”).
* Document the role of each TechCom-RFC workboard column. Each stage is now
represented by a workboard column. The Phabricator workflow has been
simplified by removing and merging various columns.

Further below is a summary of other changes.

## Draft

This revision to our process document started last month, in early
November. Our workflows had rather drifted away from the documented
practice. We’ve been working to simplify the process and better reflect
current consensus of the committee. This update formalizes the improvements
and simplifications we made over the past year.

The IRC meeting on 2017-11-08 was dedicated to gathering input on the draft
[1] and our process in general.

The meeting notes can be found in meetbot logs. [2]

Once the draft was ready, the updated process document went on Last Call
for two weeks, from December 6 to December 20. No concerns were raised
during this period.

## Expectations

In addition to reduced complexity and formality for RFC authors, we’ve set
more specific expectations for ourselves. This makes it easier to
understand how the process will work from start to end, and how long it can
take.

With the updated process, useful feedback on new RFCs is expected within
one or two weeks, and RFCs could be approved within 4-6 weeks.

This is based on weekly triaging and announcement for new RFCs and a Last
Call period of typically two weeks.

## Summary

Notable changes, by section.

Section “Introduction”:

* Added an “Objective” section.
* Updated scope description to use same wording as the new TechCom Charter,
adopted earlier this year. <
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Technical_Committee/Charter>

Section “Create a proposal”:

* Reduce complexity to only one (required) step: Create a TechCom-RFC task
on Phabricator.
* Remove duty of RFC authors to announce their RFC on Wikitech-l.

Section “Review”:

* Update wording to use “should” and “must” terms.
* Add: TechCom must announce all new RFCs.
* Add: TechCom should triage RFCs from the Inbox within two weeks.
* Remove: Shepherd process, e.g. formal assignment of RFCs to individual
TechCom members.
* Remove: “Needs shepherd” column of the TechCom-RFC workboard on
Phabricator. (Merged with “Under discussion”)
* Remove: “In progress” column of the TechCom-RFC workboard on Phabricator.
(Merged with “Under discussion”)
* Remove: “TechCom-Has-Shepherd” workboard on Phabricator. (Archived the
tag and untagged open tasks)

Section “Last Call”:

This stage was adopted in 2016 and already announced at the time
(“[wikitech-l] Last call: on the idea of last call”). The stage, however,
was not yet documented on the process page. This has now been corrected.

The name and principle of Last Call was inspired by similar processes used
by IETF, W3C, and Rust.

-- Timo Tijhof

[1] Draft was located at:
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Requests_for_comment/Process/Draft
[2]
https://tools.wmflabs.org/meetbot/wikimedia-office/2017/wikimedia-office.2017-11-08-22.01.html
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