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Moving out of Home - MediaWiki Governance Revisited


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Presentation by Markus Glaser at the Wikimania 2016 in Esino Lario.

Published in: Internet
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Moving out of Home - MediaWiki Governance Revisited

  1. 1. Moving out of Home? MediaWiki Governance Revisited Markus Glaser MediaWiki Stakeholders’ Group
  2. 2. Agenda ● Usage of MediaWiki ● How it fits into our mission ● MediaWiki is neglected ● Possible solutions ● Key questions ● Concrete steps to move forward
  3. 3. MediaWiki is widely used By User:Anthere (flower) and User:Eloquence (combination, concept), reworked by User:Aka, vectorized by User:Chrkl ; brackets fixed by guillom (Own work based on: Tournesol.png) [Public domain],via Wikimedia Commons
  4. 4. 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
  5. 5. The impact of MediaWiki Q: WikiStats beta
  6. 6. The impact of MediaWiki Q: WikiStats beta
  7. 7. The impact of MediaWiki Q: WikiStats beta
  8. 8. 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
  9. 9. MediaWiki fits into the movement mission Wikimedia Foundation [CC BY-SA 3.0],via Wikimedia Commons
  10. 10. 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
  11. 11. MediaWiki needs some love By inky2010, Varnent and Dan Bolser [CC0],via Wikimedia
  12. 12. 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 Systematic documentation
  13. 13. Available options By Polyextremophile [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
  14. 14. 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
  15. 15. Thoughts on forking Split MediaWiki for 3rd parties off the WMF development Benefits ● MediaWiki could evolve freely according to third party needs Drawbacks ● 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
  16. 16. Option 1: MediaWiki Foundation Spin off MediaWiki core into a separate organisation Benefits ● Separation of concerns on a product level ● Additional options for fundraising ● Financial support from WMF Drawbacks ● Coordination of development will become extremely difficult ● Duplication of organisational structures
  17. 17. Option 2: Create a focussed organisation An organisation which is designed to help MediaWiki maintainers Benefits ● Separation of concerns on the use case level ● More ways to raise money ● Clear scope of development Drawbacks ● No guarantee that we can freely implement changes ● Dependency on WMF decisions
  18. 18. Benefits ● 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 resources. ● There can be a better coordination of efforts.
  19. 19. Solution suggestion By Stefan Krause, Germany (Own work) [FAL], via Wikimedia Commons
  20. 20. 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
  21. 21. Vision We imagine a world in which people participate to build wiki-based tools to easily create, share, and transform knowledge collaboratively.
  22. 22. Mission 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
  23. 23. Out of scope! Make another Wikipedia (or other place to share actual knowledge) Compete with Wikimedia Foundation (we mean to complement it) Fork MediaWiki Rewrite MediaWiki (at least not yet!) Create redundancy (e.g. separate issue tracker, separate wikitech-l mailing list) Run wiki farms or set up a wiki for you
  24. 24. Resources 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. receive grants
  25. 25. Be part of this! Ralf Roletschek [CC BY-SA 3.0 at], via Wikimedia Commons
  26. 26. Roadmap ● 🔄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 management) ● Identify working model
  27. 27. Roadmap cont’d ● 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
  28. 28. Get in touch Mark A. Hershberger (User:MarkAHershberger): Markus Glaser (User:Mglaser): MediaWiki Stakeholders’ Group: Ralf Roletschek [CC BY-SA 3.0 at], via Wikimedia Commons