Thank you for a really good post.

Erik Moeller wrote:
>I know there are some who want to use this opportunity to cement a
>different relationship - "WMF as servant", without a say. ("You are
>the servant, not the master, and your opinion doesn't matter very
>much." [1])  I understand that - I think it's rational, and
>justifiable, and may even be the better direction in the long run. I
>personally happen to disagree strongly with that belief, and the
>organization's leadership certainly does, as well. I hope we can find
>a middle ground, and I know that some of this is also just a reaction.

I appreciate the candor here and the recognition that there are acceptable
yet radically different views of how the Wikimedia Foundation should fit
within the Wikimedia world.

>What's happening here is painful and difficult, and I'm sorry for our
>role in that. I do believe it's necessary that we work through this,
>and on a personal level, I honestly care more about doing that and
>achieving some clarity on our working relationship with each other,
>than about any specific outcome.


The reality is that sometimes the wiki communities can make poor
decisions. But Sj and Brion and others have, in my opinion, tried to
stress that it's okay for people to be wrong and it's okay to try things
out. But it's always been a balancing act.

If there aren't technical, legal, or fundamental philosophical issues with
a wiki configuration change, when should and shouldn't it be allowed? And
who ultimately decides (e.g., stewards)? I think that's roughly what we're
looking at right now. The past process has sometimes relied on collective
and intentional deafness (via Bugzilla or mailing lists or whatever) and
that isn't really still suitable these days, I don't think.

Defining the third category (fundamental philosophical issues) is tricky,
but retaining open content licenses, the ability of people to easily
contribute, etc. are the types of things I'm talking about. Deeply held
shared values, not "I think Web users should always have a lightbox when
they click an image." That's an aesthetic choice that should probably be
left up to individual communities unless we can find a compelling reason
not to (e.g., having an identical user experience across Wikimedia wikis
by globally enabling MediaViewer is not a fundamental philosophical issue
and these types of aesthetic choices have never been considered as such).

>It's appropriate for WMF to take into account the full breadth and
>depth of devices that do exist and are in wide usage, more so than
>sites developed for users in rich countries. Hence a greater focus on
>things like image compression, overall page footprint, the
>no-JavaScript experience, etc. But that's still consistent with
>carefully updating the presentation. (Introducing a lightbox viewer in
>2014 is not exactly a radically new vision for user experience.)

Yes. Performance is important. Graceful degradation is important.

>People have cited WikiWand as an example of a third party improved
>reader experience. It's quite nicely done; I like a lot of the design
>choices they've made. It's far from a threat (though a more prominent
>"Edit" link would be nice, especially since the browser extension
>hijacks views), but it's the kind of cool third party
>effort that keeps us honest. They recently raised about $600K in
>funding, which means that at least some people believe there's a real
>demand for a nicer, more modern default reader experience.

At <> Andreas Kolbe
discusses WikiWand. In Andreas' view, "the Wikimedia Foundation is afraid
it will lose readers to sites like WikiWand that offer Wikipedia content
as a pure consumable with a much more aesthetically pleasing interface.
The moment Wikipedia page views go down, the Alexa rank will go down and
donations will go down, as fewer people will see the fundraising banners."

Pi zero at <>
writes, "The non-Wikipedian sisters are the growth sector of the
wikimedian movement, and the WMF by dissing them is strangling the
wikimedian movement's best chance of having a vigorous future, with
Wikipedia embedded in a thriving ecosystem of wikimedian sisters
augmenting each other's strengths."

Meanwhile Lila has been repeatedly emphasizing priorities and
prioritization on Meta-Wiki (in seven distinct posts, by my count). There
are vague references to the "prioritization pipeline," but in addition to
the issue of deciding wiki configuration changes, discussed above, we also
need to clearly define what that pipeline looks like and how it behaves.
Pine and others have been discussing a Technology Committee that could
possibly bridge the Board, Wikimedia Foundation staff, and the editing
communities. But who knows if such an idea is viable or desirable.

There is lots and lots to think about right now.


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