Talk pages consultation 2019/Structure and updates

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Consultation structure[edit]

This consultation will have a "hub-and-spoke" structure, with a central hub located here on ("Talk Page Consultation central"). Over the course of the consultation, multiple participant groups will have discussions on other wikis and in off-wiki settings, and then contribute notes and findings back to TPC central. Some participant groups will participate through the whole process, others may participate for a limited time (especially if they're in real life/meet-ups). Everyone can follow along and participate at TPC central (language permitting).

Phase 0: Planning Yes Done[edit]

This was the planning phase. During this phase, we:

  • Publicly announced the project (banner info here), and invited questions and ideas from the Wikimedia community
  • Set up TPC central documentation structure; current notes were featured on the main TPC page, while historical staff notes could be found here and here
  • Created a list of wikis and user groups for initial outreach and invited groups to sign up
  • Established code of conduct guidelines
  • Carried out retrospective process for StructuredDiscussions/Flow, Liquid Threads and wikitext workflows, collect important documentation
  • Reached out to participant groups
  • Invited volunteers to facilitate discussions and participate in other ways
  • Created the schedule for the project

Phase 1: Collect information Yes Done[edit]

Source: TPC Feedback from volunteer participant groups and individuals

When: Mid-March - April; Community summaries posted by April 6, 2019

During this phase we solicited open feedback from a wide range of individuals and groups about their experiences with talk pages or alternative tools. Questions were:

  1. When you want to discuss a topic with your community, what tools work for you, and what problems block you? Why?
  2. How do newcomers use talk pages, and what blocks them from using it?
  3. What do others struggle with in your community about talk pages?
  4. What do you wish you could do on talk pages, but can't due to the technical limitations?

The information collection started when the first message was sent. Interested users could check if a group existed for their language.

Wrapping up the conversations Yes Done[edit]

Community summaries were due by April 6, 2019. We advised communities, especially the ones that would have had collected a lot of replies, to end the conversation by March 31. That way, volunteers making the wrapping-up had time to make it.

Since this consultation was based on a different consultation process than how consultations are defined by local rules, those rules regarding how to close conversations were not applied.

Phase 2: Trade-offs and prioritization Yes Done[edit]

Source: Phase 1 report, built from from the feedback received from volunteer participant groups and individuals.

When: Starts in mid May

Some ideas generated during Phase 1 may be mutually exclusive. Some ideas might work better for some purposes or some kinds of users. We'll have to talk about which problems are more urgent, which projects are most closely aligned with the overall needs and goals of the movement, and which ideas we should focus on first.

Discussions about these trade-offs will be moderated by the Wikimedia Foundation, guided by our decision criteria, listed below. We advise that they happen on wiki, like for Phase 1. As such, communities can sign-up on the group sign-up page under the new Phase 2 section, similarly to how they did for Phase 1.

We invited everyone back to review the emerging direction for this project during Phase 2.

Space for unexpected discoveries[edit]

Within the scope of this project, all the options are on the table. There are no hidden agendas. We don't know all the things, and we don't know what we might learn. We need to accept these "unknown unknowns".

The schedule of this consultation may change because of these unexpected discoveries.

Wrapping up the conversations[edit]

Community summaries are due by June 24, 2019 (formerly June 15). We advise communities, especially the ones that have to collect a lot of replies, to end the conversation by June 10. That way, volunteers making the wrapping-up have time to make it.

Since this consultation is based on a different consultation process than how consultations are defined by local rules, those rules regarding how to close conversations are not applied.

A report for Phase 2 was published in August 2019. After that, the project will be turned over to the team for design research, user testing, and product development.

Community Noun project 2280 white.svg Read the new project page

Status report: Wrapping up Phase 1[edit]

Thanks to everyone who's participated in the Talk Pages Consultation so far! We're wrapping up the discussions for Phase 1 and compiling all the results, which will lead into the start of Phase 2 in May.

The purpose of Phase 1 has been to collect as much information as we can about how people use talk pages, documenting the advantages and challenges, and generating ideas for making improvements. We've also collected information about communication tools that people are using now, both on-wiki and off-wiki. People have hosted group discussions on more than 15 wikis and at events, and we've also received individual feedback from many people. You can see the summaries of the wiki discussions here, which has links to the original discussions.

In addition, as part of Phase 1, we're currently running some user tests with people who are active Wikipedia readers and would like to become editors, in order to document what it's like for them to communicate on-wiki. The tests are just starting now; we'll post results over the next couple of weeks.

For the rest of April, the team is working on bringing together all the information and ideas that you've provided. We're reading all of the discussions, summaries and feedback, and putting it together into a big report that we'll publish at the beginning of May. The report will reflect all of the major themes from the discussions, so we all have a shared understanding of the issues that have been raised. It will also include a list of all the things that people want to accomplish on talk pages. (People in software development call these "user stories"; you can see the current draft list here).

Once we publish that report and people have had a chance to look at it and respond, we'll start Phase 2 in May. This is the "tradeoffs" phase, where we'll ask more specific questions about how to balance different user stories. The discussions we have in Phase 2 will help us to put together ideas to propose for a product direction in Phase 3. (You can see some early notes on the tradeoffs phase here.)

We'll post more updates on the Talk pages consultation 2019 page, as we work on the Phase 1 report together, with links to the current work. We're excited and inspired by all of the ideas that people have posted so far; thank you for being a part of this project! -- DannyH (WMF) (talk) 16:08, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Status updates[edit]

August 7, 2019[edit]

This marks the official last meeting of the TPC group. A debrief meeting will occur the first week of September that also covers Wikimania.

The Phase 2 report is largely written. What remains is to retrieve quotes used in the report in their original language, expand on some details, and ready for translation. Translation will be an ongoing process after the report is published; the process could take months simply because this report does not have a required feedback portion connected to it. To be clear, though, people are welcome to leave feedback if they desire. The report is slated for publication this coming Monday, August 19th, at the latest. That will also be when the official announcement is made.

The team is currently working on the TPC Wikimania presentation. Next steps for those interested will be to read the report, watch the main project page for announcements, and sign up for updates (details forthcoming).

The TPC seems to have been successful in its stated goals, foremost of which was to remain transparent and listen to and gather feedback from communities to develop a plan of action. That's not to say improvements couldn't be done; as this was the first such venture using this methodology, there were some hiccups. That being said, this may be a model used going forth when it comes to large changes.


See updates from before August, 2019 at Talk pages consultation 2019/Status updates.