Technical Document Re-working Group/Meetings/2019-09-13

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Date - 12, Sept, 2019[edit]

On 12, Sept, 2019 the group reconvened after a hiatus.


Attendees:

  • Sarah R.
  • Bryan D.
  • Nick W.
  • Alex P.
  • Lars W.
  • Brennen B.

Main Topic Areas:

1) Updates

2) Friends of the Docs

3) #wikimedia-techdocs IRC channel

  • Hello! It’s been a while! Let’s all say hi :-)
  • Docs update (you can just see the recent tech talk or we can go over slides)
    • Technical Documentation on Wiki
      • SRR: Toolforge and Cloud VPS
      • Action API docs on mediawiki.org (multiple internship rounds)
      • Documentation portal (Alex P.)
    • Technical Communication and Social
      • SRR: Tech Talks are booked through December
        • Other formats?
          • Tech interviews -- Youtube / Podcast
          • Shorter presentations and demos
          • Surfacing conferences and writing/practice sessions
      • SRR: Tech Blog: in the works.
      • SRR: Social: We need to decide on channels, get log-ins, and think about a strategy for this
      • SRR: Technical Engagement Newsletter: I have a ton of suggestions for content; just have to take some time to sit down and organize
  • SRR: Changing the Tech Sig and moving toward: Friends of the Docs (On Staff and in Community) How do we support it and make it thrive -- This presentation can be really helpful: http://www.writethedocs.org/videos/portland/2019/any-friend-of-the-docs-is-a-friend-of-mine-cultivating-a-community-of-documentation-advocates-heather-stenson/
    • SRR: This is a real program that would be invaluable if we could get it off the ground. I want to build out and dedicate time to -- maybe a quarterly / long term goal
    • NW: We want an external effort, to get WMDE back involved, to get active volunteers involved. What do we need to do before we change that?
      • Summarize the work we've done, and we're doing, and we want to do (and want help with)
      • Determine some rotating hours (not always Friday evening UTC)
    • NW: But we also still want an internal option - so that staff can ask questions that make them feel vulnerable. How can we best accomplish that?
      • Need to factor in the different needs of each dept, e.g. CE folks will ask some very different basics from Tech folks.
      • Need something realtime, so [IRC / Gchat-room / ugh-Slack] and probably not [officewiki talkpage / email-list].
        • Alex +1 to something like #wikimedia-docs in IRC
    • SRR: [???]. Also need a way to motivate contributors, e.g. "Never underestimate the value of a sticker that nobody else has"
    • BB: There’s a lot of documentation, and I don’t know where it all is. It would be nice to have a place to go to ask questions. Also +1 to special stickers.
    • BD: We need better funnels: better ways to help people find out answers to their questions and end up in the right place. We want to build this group to have more community involvement. This will bring different perspectives, so we’re not working in a vacuum. (Alex +1!)
    • SRS: How can we be more deliberate about letting people know they can come to us if they don’t know a thing. - Also useful for us writers, because we can get live-feedback on both whether content is needed, and whether existing content is any good.
    • BB: Sounds useful. My question is often: Where should I put this? Where will it fit in with other stuff? Things are often across wikis, in GitHub, etc.
    • NW: Onboarding for newcomers to help them understand why there’s such a mess and where to find things. E.g. When asked "where's foo?", I normally search "mw foo", "m foo", "wt foo", "of foo" to search the usual 4 wikis (and then email, or Enwiki, or google)
    • LW: When I was onboarding, I wanted access to a reference librarian who knows where everything is. I’ve since learned to use search; the issue with in-wiki search is that you need to choose the right wiki. Generally, search depends on knowing the right keywords. Having a portal and having a person to ask questions would be awesome.
    • SR: Need wayfinding, a push in the direction of people who can help.
    • BB: I was pretty lost during the first few months of onboarding; there is so much stuff. It would be good to provide newcomers with a place to ask questions - specifically re: the universe of docs. (Nick adds that this role is usually filled by your onboarding buddy.)
    • LW: Have an IRC channel for this
    • SR: https://xkcd.com/927/
    • NW: Having more people in one place creates more answers, but is more distracting. So I agree it could be good to re-use an existing channel, but also could be good to create a new channel, or 2 new ones (public/private).
    • BD: It’s even harder for people outside the foundation. We should make life better for every Wikimedian and potential Wikimedian. We should have safe spaces, without being gated by paychecks. (Sarah +1)
      • BB: +1 - the view from the outside is, i can say from experience, weirdly opaque despite how much we publish.
    • SR: We have a billion channels. Should we create a new channel specifically for people to ask questions about docs?
    • NW: Definitely! We should define the scope.
    • SR: Everything on wikitech is open to the public.
    • BD: The only non-public docs are on office wiki and other hyper-specialized wikis. +1 to a new channel. Only concern is that they are point in time; they don’t create resources for future people with the same questions. But there are also limitations with other options.
    • SR: We could add a note to an IRC channel with the hours that people are monitoring the channel. Won’t be available to people looking for docs on how to use IRC.
    • NW: Tech team is on IRC. Community is hard to know.
    • BD: There’s a non-trivial amount of community members in IRC, especially regular contributors. At Wikimania, we set up a bridge between Telegram and IRC: the majority of activity happened on the Telegram side.
    • SR: Uses Telegram and IRC 50/50 for foundation business.
    • NW: There’s a better mobile client for Telegram. We need a backup place for people not using IRC: maybe wiki talk page for public, g-chat room for private?
    • BD: We can have a mega bridge between Slack, IRC, and Telegram!
    • SR: Moves to propose we do this! I will send an email to discuss channel names.
    • BD: Let’s figure out the criteria to figure out if the experiment is working.
  • Documentation sprints at conferences (didn’t get to this)
    • I see these as workshops (Writing better specs/requirements, writing strong/consistent documentation)

Reminder that we collect ideas/tasks at https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Technical_Documentation_Tasks_for_Hack-a-thons