Link within [[Template:Extension|Extension]] to allow developers to solicit donations
I'm in favour of leaving things the way they are :P or at the very least a middle ground.
Some extensions are simply put bad ideas. Some extensions have goals opposite of wmf's goals. Some extensions are fine doing there own thing, and don't need the foundations help. There are literally thousands of extensions, wmf can't take a leadership role for all of them. It could perhaps take a larger leadership role in more extensions, but it wouldn't be able to do it for all extensions, unless we started deleting extensions. (I suppose just limiting that to extensions in our svn would be reasonable though) It seems to me that the MediaWiki "community" should start taking a more leadership role in extensions, before the WMF starts taking a role. Even if its just to work out what a "leadership role" would look like.
I think that the community should definitely take a more active role. However, I think that WMF could also encourage it and also maybe take a role in overseeing the extensions on MW.org. For example, there's a lot of out of date extensions that don't work and don't seem to have any plans to be updated, and a significant number of extensions that are actually harmful to the wiki, such as ones for deleting users. Such extensions are also totally unnecessary with the ability to block users, log them out, change login and registration information, and their username.
It would be nice if we didn't have to wade through a few thousand obsolete extensions, if the functionality has been added to MediaWiki. I'm not sure what exactly could be done to fix that, though. I don't think deleting them is a judgment call that should be made yet. Instead, maybe we could recategorize them with a prefix of "OBSOLETE"?
Something definitely has to be done. Occasionally, an extension will do the job better than the built in function. For example, the spam regex extension allows permitted users to add words and phrases that cannot be used, rather than just the system administrator. It also works better since I think the $wgSpamRegex eventually fails if you add too much to it.
What's wrong with the obsolete template used on some extension pages?
Such extensions are also totally unnecessary with the ability to block users, log them out, change login and registration information, and their username.
Lots of extensions implement ideas that were rejected from core for being (to put it bluntly) a bad idea. That's one of the main reasons for having extensions, so if people don't like a decision made in core mediawiki, they can do their own thing without totally forking mediawiki. (That said, some extension ideas are worst then others, and some are downright scary. But even then I think we should still allow them, just have warnings on the page)
In regards to SMW: I am not familiar with SMW, or its documentation. However I could certainly understand where they are coming from not wanting multiple sets of documentation, especially if the multiple sets look "official". Having multiple sets of duplicate documentation is a pain to maintain (so usually one of the copies is significantly out of date), and if they both look official, the maintainer of the extension is going to be responsible for both of them. However, with that said, I think it would be perfectly acceptable to have a link from the extension description page, to some subpage that has community made (by which i mean this wiki's community, not the extension's community) documentation, provided it clearly states that it is not official documentation of the extension.
I'll tell you what's wrong: I didn't know about it. There isn't any leadership, and thus organization (yet!). Every extension page should link back to the extensions project, with a directory of possible things that can be done to help, so everyone will find out what they can do when they discover a problem.
About SMW: That's where they'll SAY they're coming from, but really, it's something else. They'll throw a tantrum if I put a link to my user page documentation. They've even deleted things like that with no warning. I had to go find another admin to restore it for me.
In fact, I think you have it completely backwards. BACKWARDS BACKWARDS BACKWARDS. WMF-maintained documentation shouldn't be shuffled away with links to obscure user pages and subpages. Instead, that link should be for the offsite official documentation, and no more interference than that should be imposed on WMF-maintained documentation.
With that said, I don't give a poop what happens to it, until there is a policy in place that is in accordance with WMF's public mission, and the WMF is willing to use it to forcefully challenge anyone abusing it. I'm not convinced the WMF is even hearing me, and I'm not interested in being shat on as the sole challenger.
Honestly, I'm pretty spooked that you would suggest a higher priority be given to external interests, as a matter of principle. I understand who the developers are, and I understand that they do what they can to humiliate and isolate anyone that disagrees with them, or wishes to contribute in a manner they disapprove of.
Every time I have tried to contribute to their goals, they have reacted with provocative hostility. Why? I don't know. My best guess is they have commercial interests that I accidentally threatened with my interests in documentation writing. I don't have any problem with their commercial interests - I'm a capitalist pig, after all. But, I do have a problem with a business model that relies on alienation.
I'm not even sure that's what's going on - The best I can do is speculate, but the one thing that is certain, anyone who has tried to contribute in the spirit of public service has been greeted with teeth and claws, and I'm not the only one who has had that experience. So, the question is, what is WMF's mission? Is it to aid the suppression of documentation in favor of external private consultants, or WhateverTF it is that motivates all the arrogance and insolence?
If nothing changes, the answer is yes, and you can find me over at my user page, far away from these kinds of problems. I do not come here to be insulted, stress, or frustrated. I am not in a position to successfully challenge these kinds of problems, without the backing of the WMF.
That's it. That's all I've got to say. What do you think of that, Bawolff? Is this something you can change or have some influence in changing?
I definitely support having subpages of extensions where community members can offer advice and their own support and experience with installing extensions. One extension that I would really like support with installing is Extension:Farmer. The directions are very poor and rely heavily on a detailed knowledge. I plan to setup a private wiki farm to use as a way of creating new wikis quickly and with all the extensions and configurations setup.
Subpages with sysadmin and devoloper advice from folks not directly involved with the extension is an interesting idea. Is there a feeling this would be unique enough from the talk page uses?
You know, after giving this more thought, I've changed my mind just a little bit. User page documentation is not a bad thing, and would not risk cluttering the extension docs if we decided to make subpages a free-for-all. The question boils down to: who decides what will be documented, and what won't?
For example, plenty of how-to documents are technically wrong, and may be objectionable to a technically-minded extension developer, but they would still be helpful as very speedy introductions to productively using something.
As we're already aware, sometimes it's not going to work to always let the extension developers assert "ownership" of their extension's docs. We have the Cite extension on mediawiki.org, right? Perhaps we can formulate a policy that says deletion of at lesat vaguely relevant further information on user pages, linked-to using wiki links or cites (whichever the developer prefers), is not normally acceptable, even if it isn't 100% pedantically accurate, or even mostly wrong.
Nobody starts out getting everything right - we need to give people a chance to start, without scolding them for making mistakes, and without sidelining them to obscurity. That allows anyone to unobtrusively add their notes and links to their user page documentation, without implying that it is "official" or representative of the extension developer's advice.
Does that sound workable? The extension developer (or anyone else) would be free to edit the note to say why they disagree with it, but the information would still be there in case anyone found it useful. From there, the usual editing policies dealing with good faith, vandalism, etc would apply to filter out abuses of a liberal documentation policy like that, but I don't foresee much potential for problems, so I suppose we don't really need to spend much effort thinking it over. The only people even interested in this are people with good intentions, and something valuable to add.
What do you think?