Process for making decisions on default settings
This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some MediaWiki.org users, but may not have wide support. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes.
The MediaWiki development community sometimes gets bogged down in debates over what the default settings should be. The question arises, should developers be the ones dictating, or should the third party wiki owners have a say in this process; and if so, how do we help them have that say?
How is it currently done?
Presently, it can be pretty hard to change default settings. Presumably, the architects have final say if the issue reaches them, as with any other change to the core.
- Tag every bug that proposes a change to default settings with a "default-settings" keyword so we can easily track them all. If there is no objection to changing the default, go ahead and change it, since we can always revert later.
- If objections are voiced and no clear consensus emerges to either accept or reject a default settings change, add that to a list of controversial changes (maybe "controversial" should be a keyword too, although we'd want to make sure it's applied to bona fide controversies rather than situations where there are only one or two dissidents from a rough consensus that has already emerged). People can, if they wish, begin discussing these on the listservs.
- Question: If there's no clear consensus, should that be considered a rejection, as when someone proposes deleting a page on enwiki? Does the status quo stand when there's no consensus?
- On a specified date, maybe a month or two before the anticipated release date of the next MediaWiki version, make an announcement of all the remaining controversial default settings changes, and invite third party wiki owners to weigh in.
- Alternatively, just have a wiki page tracking all the controversial changes. That way, third party wiki owners can check in at their leisure to see what they want to comment on. The main goal is, keep non-technical discussions off Bugzilla so they don't clog up people's inboxes with comments. The best way to do that is to point people in the direction of an alternative venue (maybe something besides wikitech-l and mediawiki-l, since some users will only be interested in their particular issue rather than in getting emails on unrelated development and system administration issues).
- Have an option to vote against (not just for) a bug to be fixed.
- Consider establishing a defaultsettings-l, if wikitech-l or mediawiki-l get too overrun with debates on default settings.