Movement broadcasting

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This page holds some preliminary notes about movement broadcasting - the dissemination of announcements or other timely information to a large number of recipients within the Wikimedia movement in a short amount of time.

There are various off-wiki venues for that - mailing lists, the Wikimedia blog, social media, etc. However, experience has shown that many editors don't frequent these and expect to receive such information on their home wiki instead.

Existing mechanisms for on-wiki broadcasting[edit]

MediaWiki provides several existing mechanisms to send notifications to many users at the same time:

Talkpage messages
  • MassMessage
  • Usertalk pages and Project talkpages - the primary mechanism to notify a particular logged-in user. Designed for one-to-one communication, but nevertheless frequently (ab)used for broadcasting purposes: Message delivery bots add identical broadcast messages to the user talk page of each recipient on a subscriber list, in order to generate the "You have new messages" notification for that user. Examples: EdwardsBot (has delivered more than 300,000 messages on the English Wikipedia alone since 2009), TinucherianBot, de:Benutzer:GiftBot/Ausrufer, or also users employing AWB under their normal accounts (example). The Global message delivery bot can do this across all WMF wikis. This is effective, but has numerous disadvantages (for example, due to the edit rate limiting of the delivery bot, as of 2012 it took 111 minutes to deliver a single issue of the Signpost on the English Wikipedia, and 81 minutes for an issue of the Bugle (the newsletter of the WikiProject Military history).
  • A special case are village pumps, which can be targeted simultaneously on most wikis (with some imprecision) using Distribution list/Global message delivery (see also m:Global notifications - an older system used ca. 2008/2009).
Banner notices (w:WP:Software notices)
  • CentralNotice - works across all wikis, can be bucketed, and targeted by project, language, and geoip.
  • Sitenotice (this and the following two only work on a per project basis, not cross-wiki)
  • Anonnotice
  • Watchlist notice
  • Geonotice
Other
  • MediaWiki mails (for logged-in users who have provided an email address)

Use cases[edit]

It is hoped that a more general, streamlined, easier to use tool will find many unanticipated beneficial uses. Nevertheless, the following use cases could help guiding the development of such a tool, and switching over some existing subscriber lists could provide a critical mass once it is deployed:

(Sender) can send (message content) to (recipients) Related existing examples
Publishers of newsletters announcement of new issues subscribing users on any Wikimedia project [1], [2], [3]
Translation coordinators translation requests translators who signed up for a specific language Extension:TranslationNotifications
WikiProjects or automated services invitations to participate in specific tasks WikiProject members, or service subsribers, or users who have indicated certain skills/interests in their Structured Profile cf. en:Wikipedia:Community_portal/Opentask, en:Wikipedia:Article alerts, wm2012:Submissions/The purpose-driven social network: Supporting WikiProjects with technology, ...
WMF Human resources department New Job openings (community-facing, or all) Subscribers (in particular: Community members who are interested in working for WMF)
WMF developers Notifications about MediaWiki changes affecting editors All users minus opt-out list?
All WMF staff general announcements (interested users? village pump readers?) (mockup: [4]/en:User:Mdennis (WMF)/Wikimedia Foundation announcements)
(Semi-)Automated summary services Regular summaries of project discussions RfCs, Votes, RfAs, ... Subscribers [5]
WMF, chapters, other movement groups (e.g. WLM) blog posts (RSS feeds?) Subscribers who are interested in that group's activities / announcements Cf. de:Wikipedia:Wikimedia_Deutschland_e._V./Blog
WMF (e.g HR department, ops), chapters, community members Twitter/Identi.ca feeds (e.g. [6], [7]) Subscribers who are interested in that entity's activities/announcements en:User:Tbayer (WMF)/Identi.ca/Wikipedia, [8]

See also[edit]