Forwarding this to wikimedia-l as it doesn't seem to be very technical in
nature, but definitely seems worthy of discussion.


Danny Horn wrote:
>For a while now, the Collaboration team has been working on Flow, the
>structured discussion system. I want to let you know about some changes in
>that long-term plan.
>While initial announcements about Flow said that it would be a universal
>replacement for talk pages, the features that were ultimately built into
>Flow were specifically forum-style group discussion tools. But article and
>project talk pages are used for a number of important and complex
>processes that those tools aren't able to handle, making Flow unsuitable
>for deployment on those kinds of pages.
>To better address the needs of our core contributors, we're now focusing
>our strategy on the curation, collaboration, and admin processes that take
>place on a variety of pages. Many of these processes use complex
>workarounds -- templates, categories, transclusions, and lots of
>instructions -- that turn blank wikitext talk pages into structured
>workflows. There are gadgets and user scripts on the larger wikis to help
>with some of these workflows, but these tools aren't standardized or
>universally available.
>As these workflows grow in complexity, they become more difficult for the
>next generation of editors to learn and use. This has increased the
>workload on the people who maintain those systems today. Complex workflows
>are also difficult to adapt to other languages, because a wiki with
>thousands of articles may not need the kind of complexity that comes with
>managing a wiki with millions of articles. We've talked about this kind of
>structured workflow support at Wikimania, in user research sessions, and
>on wikis. It's an important area that needs a lot of discussion,
>exploration, and work.
>Starting in October, Flow will not be in active development, as we shift
>the team's focus to these other priorities. We'll be helping core
>contributors reduce the stress of an ever-growing workload, and helping
>the next generation of contributors participate in those processes.
>Further development on these projects will be driven by the needs
>expressed by wiki communities.
>Flow will be maintained and supported, and communities that are excited
>about Flow discussions will be able to use it. There are places where the
>discussion features are working well, with communities that are
>enthusiastic about them: on user talk pages, help pages, and forum/village
>pump-style discussion spaces. By the end of September, we'll have an
>opt-in Beta feature available to communities that want it, allowing users
>to enable Flow on their own user talk pages.
>I'm sure people will want to know more about these projects, and we're
>looking forward to those conversations. We'll be reaching out for lots of
>input and feedback over the coming months.
>Danny Horn
>Collaboration team, PM

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