Talk:MediaWiki/Homepage improvements 2018/Proposal

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Pls check for 404 errors on linked lists

3
Summary by AKlapper (WMF)

Please bring this up on Talk:Sites using MediaWiki/by size

Omotecho (talkcontribs)

It will be great not to see 404 errors on a list like this one if we are presenting it as proof of something. That example was under “the Biggest sites”. Sorry but not tech savvy to jump in and fix. --Omotecho (talk) 01:04, 3 April 2019 (UTC)

AKlapper (WMF) (talkcontribs)
Omotecho (talkcontribs)

Yes, I will. And, oh, I thought I have expressed appreciation towards your endeavour and making the Homepage accessible for multiple audiences :)

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

Sorry to spam this talk page, but one other thing that I think it would be great to have on the front page of mediawiki.org is a row of logos of companies and organizations using MediaWiki. Quality usually beats quantity when showing logos, so here's a short list of companies and organizations that are well known, that I know for a fact are currently making substantial use of MediaWiki, and that I think would give permission for their logo to be used: Boeing, GE, NASA, NATO, SAP, Toshiba. (You could of course add Wikipedia and/or Wikimedia to that list.) As might be expected, there are many more companies and orgs than that, but those might be the top ones in terms of company size and name recognition.

AKlapper (WMF) (talkcontribs)

@Yaron Koren: Thanks for the comment! Companies and organizations using MediaWiki are currently covered in the second sentence, both by links to a list of websites and to testimonials by companies.

The description above does not include a problem statement (which problem would be solved by showing a row of logos) so it's hard to discuss the problem to potentially solve.

A row with logos would take a bit of additional space on the front page, outside of the per-audience boxes, to target a single audience (those who consider installing MediaWiki). The way bigger issue is that having a row of logos would require a process in place how to add my logo (plus "Why is my logo not there but the logo of that other website/company?") and criteria which logos to add or not add (company size? interpretations of the term "well known"?).

I'm not aware of such a process being in place and setting up such processes is out of scope for updating the content of the mediawiki.org front page. I'd propose to discuss whether and where and how to add logos and related criteria for Sites_using_MediaWiki and/or MediaWiki testimonials on the corresponding talk pages.

Another aspect is non-free content and fair use. Uploading such logos might not be allowed on mediawiki.org or Wikimedia Commons as it's not under a free license, see Special:Upload.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

Hi,

Sure, I can include a problem statement, if that's helpful. One basic problem I see is that, even for the tiny fraction of people who have heard of MediaWiki, or the even smaller fraction who are aware of its uses outside of Wikimedia sites, the perception is that it's kind of a hobbyist tool: useful as a cheap way to put up lots of content, but if you're an organization with serious data needs you'll want to use some "serious" knowledge management software instead, like Microsoft SharePoint, to take one of many examples. A row of logos on the front page neatly refutes that misconception, by showing that even the largest and most successful companies and organizations, which presumably could use any software they want, benefit from using MediaWiki.

This is not information you could really gather from the current "list of websites" and "testimonials" pages, by the way - as far as I can tell, these massive organizations and their wikis are nowhere to be found on any of those pages, except for an entry for NASA in the "testimonials" page. (The "testimonials" page also has an entry for Intel, which is of course also a massive company - I didn't include it in my suggested list of logos because I haven't heard anything about Intel's use of MediaWiki in a long time, so I don't know if they're still using it.) For the most part, "list of websites" and "testimonials" are just a mass of small- and mid-level uses of MediaWiki, which, although useful to see, may actually reinforce the "hobbyist" perception, if anything.

Is it not enough to target only potential users? I don't know, but in this case I don't think that question applies because knowing that MediaWiki gets serious use as enterprise software is something that everyone would benefit from knowing - potential users, current admins, and developers.

It doesn't seem like a major problem to me that, sometime in the future, some company or organization will be upset that their logo isn't included - somehow thousands of software applications, proprietary and open source, manage to have a row of logos on their front page despite that potential issue. But if you want a heuristic, how about companies/organizations with more than 15,000 employees? That seems to pretty much cover the current list.

AKlapper (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Might make sense (though not convinced if on the front page) but someone will have to sort out a process and the legal issues first. See my previous comment.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

For the legal issue of using copyrighted logos - is there some technical way to display images that have not been uploaded to the wiki, like via a tiny custom extension or some such? Also, what makes this discussion "out of scope"? This is a discussion about what should go on the front page, and many or even most software applications have such a row of logos on their website's front page.

AKlapper (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Sorry that I did not explain "out of scope" more clearly. What I meant is that I do not plan to block deploying an improved mediawiki.org frontpage for months to come on having some process in place that, if I understand correctly, requires putting non-free content on mediawiki.org and requires someone to decide which logos to show and which not. You are free to discuss this separately with anyone interested in maintainingMediaWiki_testimonials and Sites_using_MediaWiki.

AKlapper (WMF) (talkcontribs)
Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

(See my edited comment above - I modified it after seeing you had modified your comment.)

AKlapper (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Importing content (images) from a random third-party would be a violation of the privacy privacy.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

No, they wouldn't be imported directly from their website, they would be uploaded to, say, the mediawiki.org server, then displayed from there.

AKlapper (WMF) (talkcontribs)

You seem to propose working around the "no fair use" policy by having some non-wiki section for random file uploads on the mediawiki.org server. You would have to start a broader discussion about this. It sounds similar to so I think you would need to create a policy for what can end up there and why. (Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.)

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

No, I'm not talking about random file uploads, I'm talking about taking a set of logo images (with permission), putting them all in one place (on the mediawiki.org server or anywhere else) or maybe even assembling them all into one image, and then having a tiny extension to display that image(s) on a wiki page, using their hardcoded URL(s).

AKlapper (WMF) (talkcontribs)

See my previous comments what this would require.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

I don't see how adding a row of logos would add months to the process - the technical issues of adding copyrighted images to a wiki page aside, I'm guessing that the idea of adding logos with a simple heuristic for inclusion (e.g., over 15,000 employees + permission) wouldn't take more work to get consensus for than any other part of the front page. This is a standard part of software websites that I don't think anyone would be surprised to see here.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

Oh, I missed your link before to that licensing policy page. That does present a challenge... perhaps I'll try to start a discussion about creating an exemption policy for this, since I think it's worth doing.

AKlapper (WMF) (talkcontribs)
Reply to "Row of logos"
Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

The wording right now says that MediaWiki "is used by thousands of websites and companies." "Thousands" is a gross understatement, I think; probably Wikia/Fandom alone has over 1,000 wikis. It's hard to get an accurate count because of course a lot of instances are private; and there's the question of how active a MediaWiki installation has to be to count as being "used". Still, even by the most conservative count, I think the number has to be in the tens of thousands, maybe even over 100,000. As to the number of companies/organizations using it, thousands is probably right.

Quiddity (talkcontribs)
Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

Oh, I forgot about that "pingback" site. Well, there you go - the number is somewhere between 25,000 and 120,000, apparently.

AKlapper (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I'm wondering how to keep that number readable to the human eye. Is the proposal to replace the word "thousands" by "tens of thousands"?

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

Yes - well, "tens of thousands of websites and thousands of companies" makes the most sense. Or, even better, "tens of thousands of websites, and thousands of companies and organizations".

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

I didn't like having a photo of developers when it was proposed in 2015, and I don't like it now. Granted, it's smaller now (which is better), and it's a different photo, but my objections are the same. The images and text on the front page of a website are meant to convey something positive about that software: does it make some difficult tasks easier? Is it a joy to use? Will it reduce your company's costs? An image of the developer group conveys none of those things; it actually seems to say, "we don't really care about you; we care about us".

Actually, the same goes for that "brought to you by a vibrant community" wording. What makes the community vibrant? And who cares if it's vibrant? People want to know whether this software will help them. And actually, I'd say that goes even for people considering becoming a volunteer developer - the quality of the software comes first. And developers are of course a much smaller target audience anyway.

If the worry is that the page will look too bare without an image, a sunflower logo could be good instead - that and/or an artful use of color could make things look nicer.

AKlapper (WMF) (talkcontribs)

@Yaron Koren: Thanks for the feedback!

The MediaWiki.org frontpage targets several audiences (see previous phase "Audiences"), among them people who consider installing MediaWiki. Not mentioning our community would be ignoring a fundamental asset of the Wikimedia movement that the MediaWiki software and the mediawiki.org website is part of, and of free and open source software projects in general. A lot of actions, such as the "Get involved" link, would be unneeded if a company or some circle of folks that you cannot easily join in their work just threw some code project named MediaWiki over the wall. Numerous times I've seen people joining technical Wikimedia IRC channels asking "I want to contribute to Wikimedia and become part of your project". This group did not ask "Will it reduce my company's costs?" but they could easily find out by clicking the "Find out more and if MediaWiki is right for you" links if they wanted to. There are many different types of motivation why you start joining a project and community, one of them is altruism. Personally speaking, I do care if the community is vibrant as I will not join a software project community if I did not like the people with who I'm going to work together. It's not about 'caring about us' if you convey via a photo that there is a big, diverse and friendly community welcoming you.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

Thanks for your response. You seem to be implying that more people are interested in becoming MediaWiki developers than MediaWiki admins... at least of the people who talk to you? I don't know. In any case, the merits of appealing to developers vs. users aside, I'm not aware of any software project, open source or otherwise, that tries harder to appeal to developers than it does to users on the front page of its website. Of course, MediaWiki is in a special case, because getting people to download the software is a (relatively) small factor in its success. Maybe there's an underlying question here, of whether it's more important to "pitch" to potential developers or to potential downloaders, that should be resolved separately?

As for "vibrant" - I didn't know what it meant in this context, but I guess you're saying that it means "big, diverse and friendly". Looking at that photo, I'm not sure it conveys any but the first of those. Does smiling for a group photo indicate that one is friendly? Maybe I'm biased because, looking at that photo, I see about five people who were personally rude to me during a contentious mailing list discussion last year, and they're all smiling. And actually, even "big" is a little suspect - there are certainly a lot of people in this photo, but this is a Wikimedia hackathon, not a MediaWiki-specific one, and I believe a good number of people in this photo have never contributed to MediaWiki or any of its extensions. Perhaps this photo should be disqualified simply on the grounds of false advertising?

AKlapper (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I don't imply that more people are interested in becoming a developer than admin (and we don't have numbers on that anyway?). I'm saying that both exist. Furthermore I don't expect admins to get turned away by a photo of people who work on the pieces of software. (I admit that in a previous iteration I had a "Download" button instead of that image, but I realized that you probably don't want to download something before reading a bit more about it.)

The sunflower logo which you propose is already in the sidebar, adding it would be an unneeded duplication of content.

Whether MediaWiki is "a joy to use" lies in the eye of the beholder/user. Personally I don't believe that all areas of MediaWiki for all types of roles (admins, authors, readers, developers, etc) are a joy to use, hence I'm reluctant to say so as false promises don't help anyone.

If you have better actions or content which indicate that someone is friendly and which can be conveyed on a web page, please share them.

I imagine that a majority of Wikimedia Hackathon attendees work on MediaWiki or its extensions. If you know of any strictly MediaWiki-only Hackathon and have a photo of its attendees, please feel free to share it.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

Well, I wasn't saying that the MediaWiki homepage should say that MediaWiki is "a joy to use" - and I agree that it's a matter of opinion whether it is, in fact - just saying that, when software homepages have a photo right at the top, that's usually the kind of thing that the photo conveys. I was thinking of sites like the Google Docs homepage - just some people relaxing on the lawn - or the Magento homepage - a woman using Magento on her laptop, but she doesn't seem to be working too hard; only one finger on the keyboard.

As far as I can tell, most homepages for open-source software don't show a photo at all. One website that does show a group photo at the top is the one for Joomla!, although that's an interesting case because, though I don't know who these people are, the strong implication is that they're Jooomla users, not developers. Similarly, the Wordpress homepage also shows a group photo, but (a) you have to scroll way down to see it, to the "community" section, and (b) it's a photo of users and developers together at some conference.

It seems like we agree on most things: there's no real way to show in a photo that the MediaWiki developer community is friendly, and there doesn't seem to be a photo that shows simply MediaWiki developers.

Where we disagree is whether potential users/admins would be turned off by seeing a photo of all the developers at the top - I absolutely think they could be, because it suggests that the people making the website have misplaced priorities. All I can offer in defense of that statement is just the fact that there doesn't seem to be any software homepage that puts a group photo of its developers at the top. In fact, I'd go beyond that - I don't think I've ever seen any marketing material for any product that makes a group photo of that product's creators the most prominent image. Surely there's a reason for that?

So, how about simply no photo at all? Most open-source software websites don't seem to have one, and I don't think people are expecting to see one.

AKlapper (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Regarding "when software homepages have a photo, that's usually the kind of thing that the photo conveys": I don't believe that a photo of humans expresses characteristics of a software.

Looking at I could reply that "the strong implication is that they're Jooomla developers, not users." Without an explanation what a "strong implication" is based on it feels a bit like a bikeshed discussion? uses that photo to advertise "the biggest Joomla! developer conference". Some of the people on that photo are developers, some are admins, some are designers, for some I don't know either. But I'm not sure how it matters and what it would change.

I'm also surprised that using a Wikimedia Hackathon photo in the context of MediaWiki is challenged. MediaWiki is the main flagship software project of Wikimedia. (I hope that can be agreed on and that I don't have to pull development activity statistics per project.) Comments like "perhaps this photo should be disqualified simply on the grounds of false advertising" make me wonder if this thread is a serious conversation or if I lack sense of irony and how that irony is supposed to convey points to be made.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

For the Joomla photo - I don't think "bikeshed" is the word you're looking for; maybe "pointless". But anyway, it's interesting to see the photo used in another context. So, maybe these are all Joomla developers, maybe it's a mix, maybe it's a stock photo, maybe something else. In any case, this photo doesn't bother me nearly as much as the proposed mediawiki.org one, maybe just because it's a much better-looking photo (no offense), with closeups of faces and not just a sea of heads. (I'd say that it's trying to communicate something about the joy of using Joomla, but clearly you don't believe in that sort of thing.) It should also be noted that Joomla might be the only open-source software that even has a group photo at the top of their homepage. I obviously didn't do a comprehensive search, but I looked at the sites of about 20 major open-source projects, and no one else seemed to have a photo of any kind, other than screenshots.

Quiddity (talkcontribs)

I also tend to dislike it when software mainpages show me unrelated images (I just want screenshots damnit! [but we're using MediaWiki to document itself so don't really need screenshots, plus anyone who finds the site is almost certain to already know Wikipedia, which is mentioned]).

However I do also understand that there are other types of people in the world than me, and humanizing photos appeal to some archetypes.

These sites also show a photo of the developers prominently (either as part of the autoslideshow, or a bit lower on the page) https://www.libreoffice.org/ and https://wordpress.org/ and https://www.scribus.net/

There are more types of people in the world than "me". It's good to keep that in mind, for everything from Wikipedia article writing, to help documentation, to mainpage layout/design.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

Quiddity - thanks for that additional research. I think it actually bolsters my point: in none of those cases is the group photo the first thing you see, and in all of those cases the photo is presented in the context of a "project/community" section, with other photos/images for other sections appearing first. My main objection isn't to a group photo per se (I should have made the subject line clearer), it's to having that photo be the first thing that users see, which implies that it's the most important thing for them to see.

Reply to "Please no photo of developers"
Neil Shah-Quinn (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I just wanted to say this seems like a major improvement on the current design, and I hope it gets rolled out soon!

Reply to "I like it!"
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