Why is the software out of reach of the community?

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Why is the software out of reach of the community?

Brian J Mingus
Why are so few community-developed mediawiki extensions used by the
Foundation?

Why do developers have such priviledged access to the source code, and the
community such little input?

Why must the community 'vote' on extensions such as Semantic MediaWiki, and
yet the developers can implement any feature they like, any way they like
it?

Why does the Foundation need 1 million for usability when amazing tools
continue to be ignored and untested?

Why has the Foundation gone ahead and approved the hire of several employees
for usability design, when the community has had almost zero input into what
that design should be?

Why is this tool not being tested on Wikipedia, right now?
http://wiki.ontoprise.com/ontoprisewiki/index.php/Image:Advanced_ontology_browser.gif

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Re: Why is the software out of reach of the community?

Tomasz Ganicz
2009/1/9 Brian <[hidden email]>:

> Why are so few community-developed mediawiki extensions used by the
> Foundation?
>
> Why do developers have such priviledged access to the source code, and the
> community such little input?
>
> Why must the community 'vote' on extensions such as Semantic MediaWiki, and
> yet the developers can implement any feature they like, any way they like
> it?
>
> Why does the Foundation need 1 million for usability when amazing tools
> continue to be ignored and untested?
>
> Why has the Foundation gone ahead and approved the hire of several employees
> for usability design, when the community has had almost zero input into what
> that design should be?
>
> Why is this tool not being tested on Wikipedia, right now?
> http://wiki.ontoprise.com/ontoprisewiki/index.php/Image:Advanced_ontology_browser.gif
>

Well... Maybe just because software development requires at least some
basic knowledge of programming, and cannot be performed by voting
only? I guess some feedback from Wikipedia community is welcome - but
quite obviously programmers cannot work in a manner of discussing and
voting every line of code they are assumed to produce...


--
Tomek "Polimerek" Ganicz
http://pl.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Polimerek
http://www.ganicz.pl/poli/
http://www.ptchem.lodz.pl/en/TomaszGanicz.html

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Re: Why is the software out of reach of the community?

Andrew Whitworth-2
In reply to this post by Brian J Mingus
On Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 5:00 PM, Brian <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Why are so few community-developed mediawiki extensions used by the
> Foundation?

It's an issue of scale. Do you have any idea how big the foundation
projects are? Inefficient code could cripple our donation-supported
infrastructure. It's not that people don't want to use the newest and
coolest toys, it's that in order to keep the sites running at all the
foundation really needs to aim for a functional level of minimalism.

> Why do developers have such priviledged access to the source code, and the
> community such little input?

In my experience, this is the way that most open source projects
operate. You can download and play with the source code to your
heart's content, but typically only a handful of "committers" have
access to modify the code. Average joe user like you and me can submit
patches if we see fit. Through patches we could build trust among the
developers and eventually become committers. I would be very
interested to hear about other successful open source projects that
didn't use any kinds of safeguards like this.

> Why must the community 'vote' on extensions such as Semantic MediaWiki, and
> yet the developers can implement any feature they like, any way they like
> it?

well, the core software does improve and grow through normal
development effort. We wouldn't want a situation where improvements
could not be implemented without community approval. Foundation
projects run on MediaWiki software, and updates to the software are
reflected in the projects. It's not like they're installing things as
big and pervasive as Semantic MediaWiki without community approval.

> Why does the Foundation need 1 million for usability when amazing tools
> continue to be ignored and untested?

And who says that money isn't going to be used to test existing tools?
Without money, our developers are all volunteers, and they will do the
testing they want to do when they have time to do it. Let me ask, are
you doing any testing of potentially useful MediaWiki extensions
yourself?

> Why has the Foundation gone ahead and approved the hire of several employees
> for usability design, when the community has had almost zero input into what
> that design should be?

Whatever the design turns out to be, I'm sure we're going to need
developers to implement it. Plus, there are tons of existing usability
requests at bugzilla, and not enough development hands to even
implement the things the community has already asked for. Plus, there
are all those cool pre-existing community-developed extensions that
need to be tested by developers.

> Why is this tool not being tested on Wikipedia, right now?
> http://wiki.ontoprise.com/ontoprisewiki/index.php/Image:Advanced_ontology_browser.gif

Why would it be, has the community requested it? Again, it's economy
of scale: Wikipedia is too huge to serve as a beta test for all sorts
of random extensions. A smaller website like Wikibooks would be a much
better place to do extension testing, and in fact has been used in the
past as a beta test site for new extensions. You can't load just any
software onto Wikipedia and expect the servers to handle it well.
Wikipedia is simply too huge for that kind of avant garde management.

--Andrew Whitworth

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Re: Why is the software out of reach of the community?

Brian J Mingus
In reply to this post by Brian J Mingus
In order to solicit community feedback on this very important issue, I
suggest the Foundation put up a multi-language banner on all Wikipedia's
soliciting input via a survey.

*How can Wikipedia be more usable?*

I also suggest the Foundation put up a We're Hiring banner. In tough global
economic conditions, and for the amount of money the Foundation has been
given, they could afford to hire 20 best in class developers who are
otherwise out of work.

800,000 / 30,000 = 26. Is that not a fair wage? If the Foundation only plans
to hire three developers to work on this project then it must be spending
the money on something else entirely.

The community also deserves a usability lab, and a full assessment of how
Semantic MediaWiki, Semantic Forms, and Project Halo could contribute to
usability. I predict they will find that, while they do not cover every
problem, the main issue that needs to be worked on is scaling them. This is
something that the core developers are experts at. They are not experts on
usability.

I would like to make clear that I believe the usability issue has largely
been solved, and the community is just waiting for the core developers, who
have kept a tight lock and key on the source code, to recognize that.

On Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 3:00 PM, Brian <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Why are so few community-developed mediawiki extensions used by the
> Foundation?
>
> Why do developers have such priviledged access to the source code, and the
> community such little input?
>
> Why must the community 'vote' on extensions such as Semantic MediaWiki, and
> yet the developers can implement any feature they like, any way they like
> it?
>
> Why does the Foundation need 1 million for usability when amazing tools
> continue to be ignored and untested?
>
> Why has the Foundation gone ahead and approved the hire of several
> employees for usability design, when the community has had almost zero input
> into what that design should be?
>
> Why is this tool not being tested on Wikipedia, right now?
> http://wiki.ontoprise.com/ontoprisewiki/index.php/Image:Advanced_ontology_browser.gif
>
> --
> You have successfully failed!
>



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Re: Why is the software out of reach of the community?

Brian J Mingus
In reply to this post by Andrew Whitworth-2
> Let me ask, are you doing any testing of potentially useful MediaWiki
extensions yourself?

I run a dozen wikis, a few of them quite large. And I am a software
developer. I have put to use pretty much every significant extension to
MediaWiki, and I have pushed SMW to its limits.

That it currently has limits is not, to me, a reason to ignore it.

Here is one of my public wikis, and the software I work on:
http://grey.colorado.edu/emergent

I believe that if a core developer were to become excited about an extension
such as SMW, they could have already scaled it to Wikipedia size. Why should
we have to wait for them to become excited about something before it gets
implemented? The community deserves a larger voice than that. There needs to
be more rational oversight.
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Re: Why is the software out of reach of the community?

Naoko Komura
In reply to this post by Brian J Mingus
Hello, Brian.

On Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 2:00 PM, Brian <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Why are so few community-developed mediawiki extensions used by the
> Foundation?
>

The plan for Usability Initiative includes intensive reviews of MediaWiki
extensions which are already available.  Then we will enable candidate
extensions with some set of test data in the test and lab environment.
Community involvement is essential in validating which extensions to adopt.


Usability test is targeted for users with no or little experience in editing
Wikipedia and the goal is to identify interactive obstacles.  The proposed
solution will be tested for feedback similar way as testing existing
extensions.

I also believe it is important to iterate the process above so that we can
reach out to as many as possible.

The project page is in the plan and once it is up, I hope to exchange and
share ideas with the community.

Best,

- Naoko




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Re: Why is the software out of reach of the community?

Andrew Whitworth-2
In reply to this post by Brian J Mingus
On Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 5:33 PM, Brian <[hidden email]> wrote:
> In order to solicit community feedback on this very important issue, I
> suggest the Foundation put up a multi-language banner on all Wikipedia's
> soliciting input via a survey.

Are you willing to make the translations and the banner? Are you
willing to make the survey, administer it, and interpret results? Most
of the "Foundation" are volunteers who can't put multilingual banners
all over the place every time somebody would like to know some vague
something about the software.

> *How can Wikipedia be more usable?*
>
> I also suggest the Foundation put up a We're Hiring banner. In tough global
> economic conditions, and for the amount of money the Foundation has been
> given, they could afford to hire 20 best in class developers who are
> otherwise out of work.
>
> 800,000 / 30,000 = 26. Is that not a fair wage? If the Foundation only plans
> to hire three developers to work on this project then it must be spending
> the money on something else entirely.

First off, I'm a professional software developer and I would not work
for $30K. For 800K/year, you're looking at more like 10-15 developers
at the most, and that's under the assumption that you're only hiring
them for a single year. You're going to spend a lot of up-front time
training them, so the better investment by far is 3-5 developers for
several years. This is not to mention cost increases for hardware and
hosting that will come from adding more software to the backend and a
"prettier" frontend.

> The community also deserves a usability lab, and a full assessment of how
> Semantic MediaWiki, Semantic Forms, and Project Halo could contribute to
> usability. I predict they will find that, while they do not cover every
> problem, the main issue that needs to be worked on is scaling them. This is
> something that the core developers are experts at. They are not experts on
> usability.

If our core developers are not experts in usability (and I wouldn't
necessarily agree with that point anyway), then it makes sense to hire
people who are good with usability. If you look at the job postings,
you'll see that it's exactly what is intended. Setting up some kind of
"usability lab" has already been done, see
https://en.labs.wikimedia.org. This is the exact clearinghouse where
the Collections extension and FlaggedRevs extension were tested.

> I would like to make clear that I believe the usability issue has largely
> been solved, and the community is just waiting for the core developers, who
> have kept a tight lock and key on the source code, to recognize that.

The issue most certainly hasn't been solved. It's not just about
finding pretty tools, but about scaling them to fit Wikipedia (which
is no trivial task), and ensuring that they meet the needs of our
users. These things don't happen by insulting our developers or making
demands on a mailing list alone.

--Andrew Whitworth

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Re: Why is the software out of reach of the community?

Erik Moeller-4
In reply to this post by Brian J Mingus
2009/1/9 Brian <[hidden email]>:
> Why are so few community-developed mediawiki extensions used by the
> Foundation?

Most of them aren't applicable (YouTube, Google Maps extensions, etc.)
or not tested to the scale of Wikipedia and would therefore require
significant investments of resources to be ready for deployment.

> Why do developers have such priviledged access to the source code, and the
> community such little input?

I disagree with the underlying premises. There are more than 150
committers to the MediaWiki SVN. Commit access is granted liberally.
Code is routinely updated and deployed in a very open fashion.
BugZilla is filled with thousands of community requests. The backlog
of requests is now more aggressively processed.

> Why must the community 'vote' on extensions such as Semantic MediaWiki, and
> yet the developers can implement any feature they like, any way they like
> it?

I disagree with the underlying premises. For example, developers don't
deploy any feature we/they like. Features which are likely to be
disruptive are only deployed after community consultation. An example
of this is the FlaggedRevs extension, for which a clear community
process has been defined.

> Why does the Foundation need 1 million for usability when amazing tools
> continue to be ignored and untested?

In part, to stop ignoring and start testing them.

> Why has the Foundation gone ahead and approved the hire of several employees
> for usability design, when the community has had almost zero input into what
> that design should be?

In part, to be able to accommodate such input.

> Why is this tool not being tested on Wikipedia, right now?
> http://wiki.ontoprise.com/ontoprisewiki/index.php/Image:Advanced_ontology_browser.gif

SMW is a hugely complex tool. Along with other approaches to handle
information architecture, it merits examination. Such examination will
happen as resources for it become available. The priority for
obtaining such resources will compete with other priorities such as
usability, internationalization support, rich media support, etc.
--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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Re: Why is the software out of reach of the community?

Brian J Mingus
In reply to this post by Naoko Komura
Thank you Naoko.

How can we be sure the money will be spent wisely?

Obama recently appointed a Chief Performance Officer. Do you have someone
providing similar oversight?

On Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 3:51 PM, Naoko Komura <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hello, Brian.
>
> On Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 2:00 PM, Brian <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > Why are so few community-developed mediawiki extensions used by the
> > Foundation?
> >
>
> The plan for Usability Initiative includes intensive reviews of MediaWiki
> extensions which are already available.  Then we will enable candidate
> extensions with some set of test data in the test and lab environment.
> Community involvement is essential in validating which extensions to adopt.
>
>
> Usability test is targeted for users with no or little experience in
> editing
> Wikipedia and the goal is to identify interactive obstacles.  The proposed
> solution will be tested for feedback similar way as testing existing
> extensions.
>
> I also believe it is important to iterate the process above so that we can
> reach out to as many as possible.
>
> The project page is in the plan and once it is up, I hope to exchange and
> share ideas with the community.
>
> Best,
>
> - Naoko
>
>
>
>
> --
> Support Free Knowledge:  http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>



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Re: Why is the software out of reach of the community?

Brian J Mingus
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
Erik,

I am skeptical of the current development process. That is because it has
led to the current parser, which is not a proper parser at all, and includes
horrifying syntax.

The current usability issue is widespread and goes to MediaWiki's core.
Developers should not have that large of a voice in usability, or you get
what we have now.

We do not even have a parser. I am sure you know that MediaWiki does not
actually parse. It is 5000 lines worth of regexes, for the most part.

In order to solve usability, even for new users, I believe that you must
write a new parser from scratch.

Are you prepared to do that?

On Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 4:05 PM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> 2009/1/9 Brian <[hidden email]>:
> > Why are so few community-developed mediawiki extensions used by the
> > Foundation?
>
> Most of them aren't applicable (YouTube, Google Maps extensions, etc.)
> or not tested to the scale of Wikipedia and would therefore require
> significant investments of resources to be ready for deployment.
>
> > Why do developers have such priviledged access to the source code, and
> the
> > community such little input?
>
> I disagree with the underlying premises. There are more than 150
> committers to the MediaWiki SVN. Commit access is granted liberally.
> Code is routinely updated and deployed in a very open fashion.
> BugZilla is filled with thousands of community requests. The backlog
> of requests is now more aggressively processed.
>
> > Why must the community 'vote' on extensions such as Semantic MediaWiki,
> and
> > yet the developers can implement any feature they like, any way they like
> > it?
>
> I disagree with the underlying premises. For example, developers don't
> deploy any feature we/they like. Features which are likely to be
> disruptive are only deployed after community consultation. An example
> of this is the FlaggedRevs extension, for which a clear community
> process has been defined.
>
> > Why does the Foundation need 1 million for usability when amazing tools
> > continue to be ignored and untested?
>
> In part, to stop ignoring and start testing them.
>
> > Why has the Foundation gone ahead and approved the hire of several
> employees
> > for usability design, when the community has had almost zero input into
> what
> > that design should be?
>
> In part, to be able to accommodate such input.
>
> > Why is this tool not being tested on Wikipedia, right now?
> >
> http://wiki.ontoprise.com/ontoprisewiki/index.php/Image:Advanced_ontology_browser.gif
>
> SMW is a hugely complex tool. Along with other approaches to handle
> information architecture, it merits examination. Such examination will
> happen as resources for it become available. The priority for
> obtaining such resources will compete with other priorities such as
> usability, internationalization support, rich media support, etc.
> --
> Erik Möller
> Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation
>
> Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>



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Re: Why is the software out of reach of the community?

Erik Moeller-4
In reply to this post by Brian J Mingus
2009/1/9 Brian <[hidden email]>:
> 800,000 / 30,000 = 26. Is that not a fair wage? If the Foundation only plans
> to hire three developers to work on this project then it must be spending
> the money on something else entirely.

First of all, we're hiring three people because we already have two.
We've hired Naoko, and we will allocate Trevor full-time to the
project.

Secondly, base salaries if we hire locally (which we do, in this
case), are obviously much higher. See payscale.com and other sites to
get an idea of salaries in various parts of the world. That does not
include recruitment, benefits, equipment, office space and supplies,
staff development and travel, administrative overhead such as payroll,
etc. Plus the other costs we've budgeted, such as research costs for
usability tests, allocation of experienced on-staff developers to
support the project, etc.

Thirdly, if you were to hire remotely at lower salaries, you'd simply
incur much of the cost you'd save in salaries in other ways,
especially management, oversight, and travel. This is especially true
for a project of this complexity where you're not just handing some
set of specs over to an outsourcing firm. (You of all people,
advocating for a complex tool like Semantic MediaWiki, should
appreciate that.)

There are isolated projects that can be managed well by giving them to
experienced remote developers. For a project of this scope, complexity
and importance, I believe it's critical to have a local team that can
fully focus on the project and collaborate with the core staff in San
Francisco on an as-needed basis.
--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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Re: Why is the software out of reach of the community?

Michael Bimmler
In reply to this post by Brian J Mingus
As you surely know, the work of all staff, including 'how they spend
money' is continuously assessed by the ED who in turn is evaluated by
the board. There is also 3rd party financial audit. What are you
hinting at?

Erik/Naoko: does the Stanton grant include a condition for (external)
specific program evaluation?


On 1/10/09, Brian <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Thank you Naoko.
>
> How can we be sure the money will be spent wisely?
>
> Obama recently appointed a Chief Performance Officer. Do you have someone
> providing similar oversight?
>
> On Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 3:51 PM, Naoko Komura <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Hello, Brian.
>>
>> On Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 2:00 PM, Brian <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> > Why are so few community-developed mediawiki extensions used by the
>> > Foundation?
>> >
>>
>> The plan for Usability Initiative includes intensive reviews of MediaWiki
>> extensions which are already available.  Then we will enable candidate
>> extensions with some set of test data in the test and lab environment.
>> Community involvement is essential in validating which extensions to
>> adopt.
>>
>>
>> Usability test is targeted for users with no or little experience in
>> editing
>> Wikipedia and the goal is to identify interactive obstacles.  The proposed
>> solution will be tested for feedback similar way as testing existing
>> extensions.
>>
>> I also believe it is important to iterate the process above so that we can
>> reach out to as many as possible.
>>
>> The project page is in the plan and once it is up, I hope to exchange and
>> share ideas with the community.
>>
>> Best,
>>
>> - Naoko
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Support Free Knowledge:  http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
>> _______________________________________________
>> foundation-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>>
>
>
>
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Re: Why is the software out of reach of the community?

Brian J Mingus
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
Erik I am glad you are still around and keeping an eye on things.

I believe that, with the audience the Foundation has access to, it could
save a lot of money by hiring people who love Wikipedia and want to work for
it. I don't think its true that the only way to get seasoned developers is
to wave a large carrot (aka $$$) in front of their face. I believe there
exist experienced developers who would gladly give a year of their life,
working at a lower wage, to work on Wikipedia.

The only way to access these people is to ask them directly - with a We're
Hiring banner, for example.

On Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 4:14 PM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> 2009/1/9 Brian <[hidden email]>:
> > 800,000 / 30,000 = 26. Is that not a fair wage? If the Foundation only
> plans
> > to hire three developers to work on this project then it must be spending
> > the money on something else entirely.
>
> First of all, we're hiring three people because we already have two.
> We've hired Naoko, and we will allocate Trevor full-time to the
> project.
>
> Secondly, base salaries if we hire locally (which we do, in this
> case), are obviously much higher. See payscale.com and other sites to
> get an idea of salaries in various parts of the world. That does not
> include recruitment, benefits, equipment, office space and supplies,
> staff development and travel, administrative overhead such as payroll,
> etc. Plus the other costs we've budgeted, such as research costs for
> usability tests, allocation of experienced on-staff developers to
> support the project, etc.
>
> Thirdly, if you were to hire remotely at lower salaries, you'd simply
> incur much of the cost you'd save in salaries in other ways,
> especially management, oversight, and travel. This is especially true
> for a project of this complexity where you're not just handing some
> set of specs over to an outsourcing firm. (You of all people,
> advocating for a complex tool like Semantic MediaWiki, should
> appreciate that.)
>
> There are isolated projects that can be managed well by giving them to
> experienced remote developers. For a project of this scope, complexity
> and importance, I believe it's critical to have a local team that can
> fully focus on the project and collaborate with the core staff in San
> Francisco on an as-needed basis.
> --
> Erik Möller
> Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation
>
> Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>



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Re: Why is the software out of reach of the community?

Erik Moeller-4
In reply to this post by Brian J Mingus
2009/1/9 Brian <[hidden email]>:
> In order to solve usability, even for new users, I believe that you must
> write a new parser from scratch.

I disagree, though the project team may ultimately agree with you. The
biggest barriers to entry for new users aren't likely to be obscure
edge cases involving apostrophes; they're likely to be ugly blocks of
syntax such as references, templates and magic words interspersed with
article text. Those issues can be addressed without necessarily
rewriting (or speccing out) the whole parser. It does seem that
parser/syntax deficiencies become more relevant if we want to employ a
two-way WYSIWYG/wiki-text model like the one that's currently being
tested on some Wikia sites (e.g. twilightsaga.wikia.com).
--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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Re: Why is the software out of reach of the community?

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Brian J Mingus
2009/1/9 Brian <[hidden email]>:

> I am skeptical of the current development process. That is because it has
> led to the current parser, which is not a proper parser at all, and includes
> horrifying syntax.


Er, that would be a direct descendant of UseModWiki. That this has
been a hair-tearing nightmare ever since is largely because of the
huge corpus of text that needs to remain parseable - that doesn't
support your argument at all, and calls into question that you even
have one.


- d.

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Re: Why is the software out of reach of the community?

Erik Moeller-4
In reply to this post by Brian J Mingus
2009/1/9 Brian <[hidden email]>:
> Erik I am glad you are still around and keeping an eye on things.

Thank you, I appreciate that. :-)

> I believe that, with the audience the Foundation has access to, it could
> save a lot of money by hiring people who love Wikipedia and want to work for
> it. I don't think its true that the only way to get seasoned developers is
> to wave a large carrot (aka $$$) in front of their face. I believe there
> exist experienced developers who would gladly give a year of their life,
> working at a lower wage, to work on Wikipedia.

That is evidently true. In fact, everyone we're hiring accepts that
they are going to be paid under market rates. We are also working with
remote contractors on specific projects. If you are interested in
working as a remote contractor, or you know brilliant people who would
be, make a pitch to jobs at wikimedia dot org. We have put a general
note on the job openings page that we appreciate hearing from people
who are passionate and interested throughout the year, regardless of
current openings.

As for advertising this extremely broadly, I think that would be doing
a disservice to serious candidates as we simply would be drowning in
applications. (Sometimes, we already are.) And, having reviewed CVs
for almost every position that we've hired for in 2008, I can tell you
that arriving at a reasonable shortlist in a fair and accurate fashion
is a lot of work - and with the exception of some sanity filtering,
it's not a task you can easily give to someone else. We might try it
regardless, but only if we have a process in place to deal with the
predictable level of interest.
--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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Re: Why is the software out of reach of the community?

Naoko Komura
In reply to this post by Michael Bimmler
On Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 3:19 PM, <[hidden email]> wrote:

<snip>

>
> Erik/Naoko: does the Stanton grant include a condition for (external)
> specific program evaluation?
>

Yes, we are required to submit a quarterly report to the Stanton Foundation
to inform the project progress and status which includes financial report.

Best,

- Naoko
--
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Re: Why is the software out of reach of the community?

George William Herbert
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 3:30 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> 2009/1/9 Brian <[hidden email]>:
>
> > I am skeptical of the current development process. That is because it has
> > led to the current parser, which is not a proper parser at all, and
> includes
> > horrifying syntax.
>
>
> Er, that would be a direct descendant of UseModWiki. That this has
> been a hair-tearing nightmare ever since is largely because of the
> huge corpus of text that needs to remain parseable - that doesn't
> support your argument at all, and calls into question that you even
> have one.
>

It would be a potentially acceptable technical solution to change the parser
and markup syntax to make it easier to work with, as long as there was an
automated conversion tool to shift from what's in the DB now to what would
be there going forwards.

Adding in a new parser in parallel and a bit to flag whether a page was in
old or new format would make the conversion easy and prevent the necessity
for a flag day.  Conversion done in semi-automated manner with user review
in real time would be a lot safer than having to autoconvert the whole thing
at once and deal with the edge cases all at the same time.



--
-george william herbert
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Re: Why is the software out of reach of the community?

Brian J Mingus
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
Well, I believe my concerns have been adequately addressed. I have only one
last point of input on usability (for now ;-). I believe it my be the case
that the often bizarre idiosyncrasies of MediaWiki were implemented because
the developers were spread out around the world, in isolation, communicating
only over IRC and sometimes e-mail. I know there are yearly developer spurts
at Wikimania, but I do not know about the daily development environment at
the offices, and whether development continues in a largely isolated
fashion.
It seems that it would be prudent to accept consulting advice from Ward
Cunningham, as he not only invented wiki collaboration, but revolutionized
programmer collaboration with Extreme Programming. It is not prudent to
allow developers to collaborate in any manner of their choosing, as it will
often be far below what is optimal. If you want to spend the money wisely,
and avoid the common pitfalls prevalent in MediaWiki's fragile design, you
must ensure the developers are working side by side and following certain
rules.

Cheers,

On Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 4:30 PM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> 2009/1/9 Brian <[hidden email]>:
> > Erik I am glad you are still around and keeping an eye on things.
>
> Thank you, I appreciate that. :-)
>
> > I believe that, with the audience the Foundation has access to, it could
> > save a lot of money by hiring people who love Wikipedia and want to work
> for
> > it. I don't think its true that the only way to get seasoned developers
> is
> > to wave a large carrot (aka $$$) in front of their face. I believe there
> > exist experienced developers who would gladly give a year of their life,
> > working at a lower wage, to work on Wikipedia.
>
> That is evidently true. In fact, everyone we're hiring accepts that
> they are going to be paid under market rates. We are also working with
> remote contractors on specific projects. If you are interested in
> working as a remote contractor, or you know brilliant people who would
> be, make a pitch to jobs at wikimedia dot org. We have put a general
> note on the job openings page that we appreciate hearing from people
> who are passionate and interested throughout the year, regardless of
> current openings.
>
> As for advertising this extremely broadly, I think that would be doing
> a disservice to serious candidates as we simply would be drowning in
> applications. (Sometimes, we already are.) And, having reviewed CVs
> for almost every position that we've hired for in 2008, I can tell you
> that arriving at a reasonable shortlist in a fair and accurate fashion
> is a lot of work - and with the exception of some sanity filtering,
> it's not a task you can easily give to someone else. We might try it
> regardless, but only if we have a process in place to deal with the
> predictable level of interest.
> --
> Erik Möller
> Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation
>
> Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>



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Re: Why is the software out of reach of the community?

Emilio J. Rodríguez-Posada
In reply to this post by Naoko Komura
Hi all;

I would like to know how is going to be rated the success of this
operation/project. Do you hope a big wave of new users? More edits per
day? To improve the visits/edits ratio? What are your wishes and your
realistic predictions?

Regards,
emijrp

Naoko Komura escribió:

> On Fri, Jan 9, 2009 at 3:19 PM, <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> <snip>
>
>  
>> Erik/Naoko: does the Stanton grant include a condition for (external)
>> specific program evaluation?
>>
>>    
>
> Yes, we are required to submit a quarterly report to the Stanton Foundation
> to inform the project progress and status which includes financial report.
>
> Best,
>
> - Naoko
>  


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