Talk:Wikimedia Engineering/June 2017 changes

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The recent work on Special:Search, such as Cross-wiki Search Result Improvements and many smaller projects of which one can often find some trace in User:TJones (WMF)/Notes, was long overdue and has managed to restore Wikimedia wikis' lead in some areas. There are languages where I now find much better search results with our own search engine than in Google (I'm thinking of declension and typos in non-romance and non-anglosaxon languages for instance), something we should be proud of.

Does the line about being "programmatic" mean that useful work on specific goals, such as serving smaller projects and "small" languages better in search, will continue? --Nemo 06:39, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

Hi @Nemo_bis:, thank you for your kind words and thoughts on the work that that the Discovery team, and in particular @TJones (WMF):, has done for search improvements. As the annual plan (draft) states, the Discovery team will continue to work on search, language analyzers and machine learning to make search results even better for all of our users. We hope that our future code updates and changes will positively affect smaller wikis as well as the bigger ones (ie: enwiki). DTankersley (WMF) (talk) 14:31, 8 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Nemo! Glad someone reads my notes from time to time. I find working with the complexities of language to be fun and challenging, and it's awesome when we can make any aspect of it better—in any language. Obviously, languages other than English often need more attention. I have to thank all the open source developers out there who make tools we can use to make that happen! Like Deb said, it's in the plan for next year to keep working on deploying new language analyzers and other language-related stuff to improve search in a variety of languages, and I intend to keep advocating for that kind of work because I think it's important as well as being fun for me personally. TJones (WMF) (talk) 17:59, 8 June 2017 (UTC)


I'm happy that one of the areas is now named after a term which is actually used in Wikimedia projects, unlike "Readers" (which doesn't make sense). It remains to be seen which distinctions actually help serve our target audiences rather than erect artificial barriers. --Nemo 06:39, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

I think "Readers" is a perfectly logical and useful name. It is also a term that non-readers will understand. Libcub (talk) 20:23, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

Me too. Not sure what why it doesn't make sense or why there's a wikilink to m:Stupidity of the reader. Overall I thought the presentation looked good and makes a lot of sense. Thanks Toby and Victoria, nicely written! Ben Creasy (talk) 05:39, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

93 people[edit]

I always find it disturbing when such announcements boast about the number of people involved, i.e. disturbed/harassed by a process: it's just not meaningful; it doesn't even tell the scale of the conversation because the intensity or volume (per person) could be zero. More useful would be to know how many agree that the final version will help WMF do well, or how many are confident about their [work's] future after the changes. Alternatively, at least tell whether individuals who are dissatisfied/who think they don't fit the new structure are always allowed to move to some other existing team and continue/adapt their work there. --Nemo 06:50, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

I don't think it's disturbing. The changes seem like they make sense - and seem fairly mild - so I would be surprised if there was much opposition, but it would be interesting to hear a bit about whether some people feel this could be disruptive. Ben Creasy (talk) 05:41, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

Audiences versus Product[edit]

I think renaming Product to Audiences seems like it could be tough for outsiders to figure out. Are Product Managers now going to be called Audience Managers? I'm joking (I think), but I do wonder how much of a benefit this really provides versus the cost of a weird name for the product division in a software-focused firm. Ben Creasy (talk) 06:02, 12 June 2017 (UTC)