Also, don’t forget that Facebook groups are used quite a bit, especially
for language communities that have emerged in the last several years.

Love it or hate it, Facebook as a way of linking together Wikimedians
across languages is a big plus (eg. projects like #100wikidays).


On Thu, Nov 17, 2016 at 4:57 PM, C. Scott Ananian <>

> On Tue, Nov 15, 2016 at 3:36 AM, John Mark Vandenberg <>
> wrote:
> > On Mon, Nov 14, 2016 at 11:37 PM, Dariusz Jemielniak <>
> > 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.)
> >
> >
> >
> > I've created a task about this problem for GCI and Outreachy which are
> > about to start:
> >
> >
> >
> > I see Slack is being used by Portuguese Wikipedia
> >
> >
> >
> > 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.
>  * OTRS
>     - 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
> missing-while-we-obsess-over-john-podestas-email.html
> 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
> and subscribe, comment, or "award token".  Thanks!
>  --scott
> [1]
> information_technology
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