Hey all,

I find myself mostly in agreement with Gergő. A reluctance to experiment is
a problem in this movement which prevents meaningful change. The current
state of MediaWiki is such that having discussions on it is very painful.
We can do better.

However, there've been quite a few different experiments with using
Discourse as an alternative to on-wiki discussions over the years. What I'm
left wondering is, what do we expect to learn from this experiment with
Discourse that we didn't learn from the last ones?

Additionally, as an experiment, I think it lacks clear, objective measures
of what would cause the experiment to be branded as either successful or
unsuccessful. These should be defined in advance, along with a plan for how
to measure them, or confirmation bias will means we'll all come away from
this thinking that our pre-conceived notions were proven correct, and we'll
have achieved nothing.

In fact, after I wrote the above, I realised that the exact question of
success metrics was proposed for community input on the talk page for the
new forum
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Movement_Strategy/Forum/Proposal>. I
get that we like community consultations and all that, but defining a
problem, launching a potential solution, then asking the very people
participating in the experiment what they think the experiment's success
measures should be, strikes me as more of an abandonment of responsibility
than a consultation, as well as invalidating the experiment.


On Wed, 1 Jun 2022 at 17:43, Gergő Tisza <gti...@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Wed, Jun 1, 2022 at 12:52 PM Amir Sarabadani <ladsgr...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Even if you don't want mediawiki for various reasons, you can set it up
>> in Wikimedia Cloud. We already hosted Discourse there for years.
> Cloud is 1) not exactly an improvement
> <https://wikitech.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikitech:Cloud_Services_Terms_of_use#If_my_tools_collect_Private_Information...>
> in terms of privacy, 2) a drag on human resources as it will take
> significant time of an employee or community member (who is likely
> unskilled at operating Discourse) to keep the site running. If it seems
> likely that the forum will be around for long, it might be worth moving it
> to internal hosting (which will be a lot more expensive in relative terms
> but still not really significant compared to the Wikimedia movement's
> resources, I imagine). In the short term, just buying hosting while we see
> how well the new thing works out is a very reasonable approach. Our
> community's hostility to experiments is one of the biggest obstacles to
> adaptation and addressing long-present problems (such as using discussion
> technology that was considered pretty good forty years ago).
>> Even if you can't host in WMCS for other reasons, you still can have
>> internationalized discussions in mediawiki. The Desktop improvements team
>> does this in mediawiki.org (For example
>> https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Reading/Web/Desktop_Improvements/Fourth_prototype_testing/Feedback)
>> and while not as great as auto-translate, it works.
> No it doesn't, which is why you almost never see multilingual discussions
> on meta. It "works" in the same sense that two pieces of stick work as a
> lighter: it can be used for the same purpose with sufficient effort, but
> that effort is so high that almost no one will use it in practice.
> Language barrier is a problem but so is privacy, there is a reason we host
>> everything onsite. For example, I don't know the details of how it uses
>> Google Translate but it is possible we end up sending some data to Google
>> that are either not anonymized or can be de-anonymized easily. Not to
>> mention the cloud provider hosting the website having access to everything
>> and so on. And not to mention auto-translate is not perfect and can cause
>> all sorts of problems in communication.
> While that's a good point and something to consider if we keep Discourse
> around, the current reality is that discussions mostly happen on Facebook,
> Telegram and Discord, all of which are worse in terms of privacy than a
> Discourse site hosted by a contracted organization. These discussions
> remind me of the trolley problem a bit - is it really preferable to let
> five times more people get run over, just because that way we can wash our
> hands afterwards and say we didn't officially approve of either option?
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