On Tue, Jul 23, 2013 at 1:01 AM, Erik Moeller <e...@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> On Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 10:06 PM, MZMcBride <z...@mzmcbride.com> wrote:
> > This particular ongoing saga (refusing to provide an opt-out mechanism
> for
> > VisualEditor) seems to largely echo past issues with treating Wikimedia
> > editors as customers instead of colleagues.
> That's not the intent, and I'm sorry if that's how it comes across.
> The "Just make it go away if you don't like it" solution of saying
> "Tick this checkbox if you don't want to deal with VisualEditor ever
> again" seems to me to be more problematic in creating distance between
> WMF and its most active users. As this dialog hopefully demonstrates,
> distance is the last thing we want to create.
> We want to actually make sure that the default user experience we can
> offer _works_ for power users, rather than just making it easy to
> freeze the experience in time and having us not worry about "those
> users" anymore. Like I said in my response to Adam, that was the
> approach taken to Monobook->Vector, and it's not one we want to
> repeat.
> As I've noted in my response to wikitech-l just now, there's also the
> issue of what "opt-out" should mean as VE becomes increasingly more
> pervasive in the user experience.
> But as I've noted in [1], I do not think a compromise on the
> preference question is necessarily out of reach. I've asked James and
> team to deliberate on some of the possibilities here, and offered the
> same suggestion I noted in [1].
> Erik
> [1] http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikitech-l/2013-July/070643.html
> --
> Erik Möller
> VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation
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Unfortunately, that is the way it comes across.

Of course the WMF has the ability to override consensus of the community.
WMF pays the server bill and the developers. There will even be times the
WMF absolutely must use that authority, such as in cases where what the
community wants would be likely to cause legal jeopardy.

But that absolute override should be used cautiously and as a last resort.
When WMF uses it to say "We're not doing ACTRIAL", or "No more new message
banner", or "You get VE whether you want it or not", that, right there, is
what creates distance between WMF and its most active volunteers.

That's not to say the most active users will never embrace new features. I,
myself, love the new notification system. It's a great idea. But it didn't
have to be mutually exclusive with the big orange bar specifically for new
user talk messages, and at the very least that could've been a configurable
preference. Yet it is not.

The frustration a lot of us have is the distinct feeling that no one at WMF
is actually listening. Sure, we get a response, but always very
noncommittal, and there's a very distinct impression that nothing we say,
no matter how many of us say it, matters in the end. A bugfix here, a minor
tweak there, sure, but the big decisions that impact our whole project are
being taken essentially out of our hands and dictated from the top down.

Attracting new users and making things as easy as possible for them is of
course a good goal, and one most of the community shares. But continuing to
work against us, rather than with us, ultimately does not serve that aim
either. I can still remember over eight years ago when I decided I'd begin
editing Wikipedia. I know now what worked and what didn't, and what I wish
would have been done better. Every last editor in our community was, once,
a fumbling new editor, not quite sure of what we were doing or how it
should be done. Now, many of us have volunteered countless hours toward
keeping Wikimedia projects running and making them better.

The best resource for those new editors are our seasoned veterans, just as
they were for me years ago, and to attempt to attract new editors while
repeatedly alienating those veterans and dismissing them as "power users"
without a clue what a new editor would need is madness.

Todd Allen
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