Moving out of Home - MediaWiki Governance Revisited
Moving out of Home?
MediaWiki Governance Revisited
MediaWiki Stakeholders’ Group
● Usage of MediaWiki
● How it fits into our mission
● MediaWiki is neglected
● Possible solutions
● Key questions
● Concrete steps to move forward
MediaWiki is widely used
By User:Anthere (flower) and
concept), reworked by User:Aka,
vectorized by User:Chrkl ; brackets
fixed by guillom (Own work based
on: Tournesol.png) [Public
domain],via Wikimedia Commons
Range of organisations
● Small local wikis, e.g. aw-wiki
● Knowledge bases, e.g. physiopedia
● Howtos and documentation, e.g. mozilla wiki
● NGOs, e.g. Wikimedia
● Governmental organisations, e.g. Mitre and NASA
● Intelligence and military, e.g. CIA and Navy
● Corporations, e.g. Johnson & Johnson
The impact of MediaWiki
№ of wikis Good articles Total pages Edits Images Users Admins
WMF 851 88295601 277319930 3050050642 34707726 128967945 6900
MediaWikis 12437 62354637 366424498 1997653464 26444657 621428717 64443
Wikia 410703 25098732 151267717 463170940 27877618 24302450 160797
Other 4759 1729653 9680521 54803506 2038127 114214943 7272
Non-WMF 427899 89183022 527372736 2515627910 56360402 759946110 232512
Total 428750 177478623 804692666 5565678552 91068128 888914055 239412
Q: WikiStats beta
MediaWiki fits into the movement mission
Wikimedia Foundation [CC
BY-SA 3.0],via Wikimedia
MediaWiki is opinionated software
● Trains users to share first
● Ends up creating better quality information
● Makes clear that another way of sharing information is possible.
● Wikis are important for the development of a web-based society.
● Free-sourced extensions greatly enhances the diversity of formats
available for a variety of communities
MediaWiki needs some love
By inky2010, Varnent and Dan
Bolser [CC0],via Wikimedia
MediaWiki is neglected
There is room for improvement in these areas:
Maintenance, like installation, configuration and maintenance
Promotion and public visibility
Support for extension developers who add a lot of extra functionality
Support for an ecosystem
By Polyextremophile [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
Option 0: Do nothing
● Installation and maintenance will get increasingly hard
● MediaWiki’s reputation will suffer
● People will be driven away from using it do to technological restrictions
● Closed source solutions will become more market share
● There’s a high risk of a software fork
Thoughts on forking
Split MediaWiki for 3rd parties off the WMF development
● MediaWiki could evolve freely according to third party needs
● Duplication of effort and split of resources
● MediaWiki’s popularity is due to the fact that it is the software that drives
Wikipedia. MediaWiki is likely to still be released in the current form.
● Emotional stress
Option 1: MediaWiki Foundation
Spin off MediaWiki core into a separate organisation
● Separation of concerns on a product level
● Additional options for fundraising
● Financial support from WMF
● Coordination of development will become extremely difficult
● Duplication of organisational structures
Option 2: Create a focussed organisation
An organisation which is designed to help MediaWiki maintainers
● Separation of concerns on the use case level
● More ways to raise money
● Clear scope of development
● No guarantee that we can freely implement changes
● Dependency on WMF decisions
● Stakeholders can contribute resources and money specifically to the
development of MediaWiki.
● They can raise funds directly for MediaWiki.
● The responsibility gap in MediaWiki development will be closed.
● Stakeholders can influence the features of MediaWiki with their
● There can be a better coordination of efforts.
By Stefan Krause, Germany (Own
work) [FAL], via Wikimedia
Wait. There’s already something like this!
● Mediawiki Stakeholders’ Group, founded in 2014
● ~30 members, 10 active
● Work being done:
○ Fixing bugs
○ Work on documentation
○ Investigate MediaWiki usage
● This one could serve as an incubator for the new organisation
● Strategy is to ramp up such an organisation through natural growth
We imagine a world in which people participate to build wiki-based tools
to easily create, share, and transform knowledge collaboratively.
Make MediaWiki the most effective open source collaboration software:
Improve MediaWiki experience for users via tools provided to edit, watch, etc.
Make MediaWiki easier to manage for site administrators.
Advertise MediaWiki as a collaboration tool
Make MediaWiki a reliable partner (for organizations, the WMF)
Empower partners to participate in improving the software.
Help users and third party developers maintain the software via contributions to
core or the development of extensions without fear of breakage
Maintain a predictable development roadmap
Out of scope!
Make another Wikipedia (or other place to share actual knowledge)
Compete with Wikimedia Foundation (we mean to complement it)
Rewrite MediaWiki (at least not yet!)
Create redundancy (e.g. separate issue tracker, separate wikitech-l mailing
Run wiki farms or set up a wiki for you
Organisations using MediaWiki have indicated potential financial support.
Organisations have indicated they can spare developer resources.
Depending on the form of incorporation, a MediaWiki organisation can
raise its own donations.
Be part of this!
Ralf Roletschek [CC BY-SA 3.0
at], via Wikimedia Commons
● 🔄Agree on funding model (& organizational model) sources of funding
● ✓ Working groups
● ✓ Present idea to wider audience
● 🔄 Discuss at Wikimania
● 🔄 Discuss options with Wikimedia Foundation officials (MoU)
● 🔄 Identify initial programmes to work on (candidate: extension
● Identify working model
● Get seed funding for incorporation
● Decide on form and place of incorporation
● Work on bylaws
● Align bylaws with AffCom
● Incorporate MediaWiki Stakeholders
● Find freelancers / staff
Get in touch
Mark A. Hershberger (User:MarkAHershberger): email@example.com
Markus Glaser (User:Mglaser): firstname.lastname@example.org
MediaWiki Stakeholders’ Group: mwstake.org
Ralf Roletschek [CC BY-SA 3.0
at], via Wikimedia Commons