On Tue, Nov 15, 2016 at 3:36 AM, John Mark Vandenberg <jay...@gmail.com>

> On Mon, Nov 14, 2016 at 11:37 PM, Dariusz Jemielniak <dar...@alk.edu.pl>
> wrote:
> > Until we have better tech available, I want to assure you that I want to
> be
> > available, and apart from Meta, I gladly offer IRC or video
> conversations,
> > or other media, to whoever feels it may be useful (let's track this
> > committment of mine in the old-fashioned way for now).
> Rather than IRC or video, which both have significant problems for
> this type of open engagement, perhaps WMF could install a modern group
> chat system, like Zulip, or another Slack-like tool.
> The enthusiasm for Discourse hasnt resulted in any significant adoption.
> I venture to suggest that this is because it isnt mobile friendly, and
> doesnt integrate with MediaWiki authentication.
> Their app is little more than a web-browser (and the WMF labs instance
> doesnt support the necessary API anyway.)
> https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T124691
> https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T150733
> I've created a task about this problem for GCI and Outreachy which are
> about to start:
> https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T150732
> I see Slack is being used by Portuguese Wikipedia
> https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikip%C3%A9dia:Slack
> It would be good to hear their opinion on this tool?

I would love to have a broader discussion about communication in the
projects more generally.  As you know, we currently have a few mechanisms
(and please correct any mischaracterizations in the below):

 * Conversation in the Talk: namespace (either in raw wikitext or Flow)
    - This is archived, and presumably subject to same code of conduct
guidelines as parent wiki.  It is public. Anonymous/IP editors are allowed.

 * Echo
    - Unarchived transient notifications, very restricted by design.  Could
be made more general (but see below).

 * Conversation on mailing lists
    - Also archived, often moderated.  Public, although you can always send
an unarchived private reply email to a particular sender.  Anonymity is
harder here, although possible with some effort.  Code of conduct is
"whatever the moderator will allow, if there is a moderator."

 * Conversation on IRC
    - Deliberately not archived.  Intended for casual conversation and
informal negotiation.  Public, although not searchable after the fact
(unless you keep a private log).  Anonymity is fairly easy -- in fact, it
can be quite difficult to associate IRC nicks with on-wiki identities even
if all parties are willing.  No code of conduct, although there are ops who
can boot you (sometimes).

 * Phabricator
    - Archived task-oriented discussions, leaving to a desired outcome.
Anonymous participation disallowed.  Search possible in theory; in practice
the implementation is quite limited.  Some (security-sensitive)
conversations can be private, but (AFAIK) an ordinary user does not have a
means to create a private conversation.  I'm not aware of an explicit code
of conduct.

    - Similar to Phabricator, except that by default all conversations are
private to OTRS staff and the submitter.  I'm not aware of an explicit code
of conduct, although this is mitigated by the fact that the conversations
are not public which limits the possibility of abuse.

 *  Slack on ptwiki, apparently?

 *  Conpherence as part of Phabricator.  (I don't have enough experience
with the last two to categorize them.)

We are missing currently missing:

  * Conversations anchored to specific editing tasks, like "comments" in
google docs.

  * Integrated conversation associated with an editing session (like the
integrated chat in google docs)

  * Integrated real-time chat -- like IRC, but anchored to on-wiki
identities, so I can send a "you still around and editing?" message before
reverting or building on a recent change.

  * Workflow-oriented chat.  Like the task-oriented chat in Phabricator,
but integrated with on-wiki activities such as patrolling or admin tasks.

  * Probably other forms of conversation!


We have no comprehensive code of conduct/mechanisms to combat harassment,
vandalism, and abuse.  Harassment or vandalism which is stopped in one
communication mechanism can be transferred to another with impunity.  IRC
in particular is seen as a space where (a) private discussions can happen
(good), but (b) there are no cops or consequences.

This is not really just a question of installing <some software package>.
This is a challenge to the community to do the hard work of figuring out
our social contracts and what sort of conversations we want to support and
enable, which sorts of abuse we want to control, and what sorts of filters
to give users.

We can easily go too far -- I recommend reading
for context.  A global panopticon [1] where no one can hold private
conversation is equally harmful to our project.  We need to find the
balance between private and public conversations.  At the moment the
mechanism of that balance is roughly "IRC and Talk pages".  I think we can
do better.  I think we can also build better tools for individual users to
allow them more control over what speech they will be subjected to---again
striking a balance to avoid the creation of impenetrable filter bubbles.
It's hard!

Not completely incidentally, I've proposed a related topic for the Dev
Summit in January, nominally on the subject of "safe spaces" but
practically encompassing the general question of user groups,
communication, harassment and abuse.  We're in the "assess community
interest" phase for dev summit topic proposals, so if this conversation
interests you, please go over to https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T149665
and subscribe, comment, or "award token".  Thanks!

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