Topic on Talk:Wikimedia Engineering Architecture Principles

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DBarratt (WMF) (talkcontribs)

It makes me sad that the architecture principles codify a business model that is not backed up by any sort of research or strategy. I think the most pressing question that needs to be answered is: What problem(s) does MediaWiki solve and for whom does it solve them for? A lot of the principles attempt to answer this question, which is not a question that engineers could possibly have the answer to, and business people shouldn't attempt to answer it without a significant amount of customer development.

Greg (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I thought I read the whole thing but could you point out where it codifies a business model for me? I'm dense I guess.

DBarratt (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Mostly the points under: "To provide a web application that can be freely used to collaboratively collect and share knowledge," which codifies who our "customer" is. It attempts to answer the question I asked above without actually having performed the customer development needed in order to answer it.

Obviously, providing MediaWiki to "be freely used to collectively collect and share knowledge" is a noble purpose that is consistent with our mission, and is a valuable business strategy; however, I think it's important to know what problem(s) MediaWiki solves and for whom it solves them for. Without knowing that, how could we know if MediaWiki is actually solving our "customers" problem(s)? If it does, is it the complete solution? What other products and services do they need to make it work? Are we going to provide these products and services (for a fee?) or are we going to partner with others in order to provide them?

DKinzler (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Releasing MediaWiki as a software product for use by third parties has been part of WMF's "business plan" for as long as it has existed. Re-assessing the value of this for our mission would certainly be good, but as long as there is no decision to drop the goal of releasing MediaWiki for third parties, it is a goal, and it should be present in the principles.

When the product goals and requirements change, the architecture principles change. The principles apply the product goals to the technical realm. Such such, they indeed codify product goals. But they do not dictate them.

DKinzler (WMF) (talkcontribs)
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