Topic on User talk:Aron Manning

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AHollender (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Hey Aron,

I'm enjoying collaborating with you on the desktop improvements project. I'm still fairly new to this community so forgive me if this is an inappropriate request but I was wondering if you'd be open to chatting sometime, either on the phone or on a video chat? I'd love to get a better sense of what you're interested in (design, code, etc.), what motivates you to contribute, and how we can better collaborate together. This would be totally informal, I just figure if we're working together it could be nice to get to know each other a little bit. In my experience it tends to make collaboration smoother. Of course no worries at all if you're not interested — I will be happy to keep working together either way. No pressure at all : )



Aron Manning (talkcontribs)

Hello @Alex,

Thank you, and also for reaching out to me! I'm happy to get to know everybody a bit more, please excuse the late reply... I mostly use discord, slack and wiki, not conferencing though. As an introduction:

I started contributing to MediaWiki around Autumn 2019 with a strong motivation mostly fueled by:

  1. The Wikimedia 2030 Movement Strategy, which promises fundamental positive changes, specifically the Improve User Experience part. I had the impression this is the time to invest significant effort.
  2. The Desktop Improvements ideas and mock-ups.
  3. My own frustration with the outdated and rigid user experience.
  4. The belief that humanity's largest encyclopaedia deserves an alluring, enjoyable user interface.

As a senior software architect my primary interests are elegant software design, declarative programming (not php...), graphs and UX design. In these projects this could manifest in clean, lasting UI design and code. I do tooling as well to improve developer efficiency.

I'd be happy to continue either here or in a messaging. Feel free to ask more questions! —Aron Man.🍂 edits🌾 11:18, 21 May 2020 (UTC)

AHollender (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thanks for your reply @Aron Manning. By any chance would you be willing to chat either on the phone or on a video chat? I know I already asked that once but feel like realtime conversation can be so much more valuable than messaging back and forth that it's worth me asking again. It would be great to discuss which parts of the project you're most curious about helping out with, and also how you feel the collaboration is going thus far, and how we can all work together better going forward.


Aron Manning (talkcontribs)

I know I already asked that once

I'm sorry for not giving a straightforward answer to that part of your question immediately.

By any chance would you be willing to chat either on the phone or on a video chat?

I'm only using textual communication, not audio and visual mediums for privacy reasons, unfortunately. Long story...

It would be great to discuss which parts of the project you're most curious about helping out with

Indeed. I'm still available for such discussions, mostly on discord. I prefer not to use IRC for its difficulties.

I've enjoyed getting to know the internals of Vector, skinning, its relation to core, etc., getting to know the teams (mostly Readers-Web and DiscussionTools), the development processes and the company culture.
In terms of contribution: my interest was to fix bugs and design flaws that negatively affected user experience (often mine, thus the strong motivation). I reckon now that these affect my UX much more negatively than the dev team's experience and I have no statistics about how many users feels the same, so I've came to accept this won't change and I'm looking for more feasible solutions.
Still, I help out in parts where I've acquired a deep enough knowledge of MediaWiki: mostly in matters of css, html, js (in this order of preference) design in skins, VE, MMV, DT.

In Vector: I've implemented half the Desktop Improvements in patches, to help progress and to showcase solutions with simplicity and clarity in mind.
The motivation was that since December when I created the dark theme I've noticed many over-complicated solutions that carried tech debt from a decade ago. I wanted to clean up these, DI seemed to be a good opportunity to introduce new, cleaner solutions, this is what I've attempted with the numerous patches.

To summarize: I'm usually motivated to help out where I see a way to improve solutions per terms of software and UX design.

The second area is communication with users and communities (research, gathering feedback, solving user issues and advocacy). I often communicate on discord, where a notable part of the community is present, mostly from enwiki and some smaller wikis, but I've seen no WMF presence. Quite a few gadget authors and third party operators can be reached there.

I'm sorry for being so detailed, I hope this helps you get to know my motivation better.

and also how you feel the collaboration is going thus far, and how we can all work together better going forward.

I'd love to share some feedback, suggestions and to discuss it. So far I haven't found the right form and this is the first occasion I'm asked about it. I'm happy to discuss it here or on discord, if any of those is comfortable for you.

Thank you for asking!

AHollender (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Hey @Aron Manning my apologies for the slow reply. I've been moving around a bit due to the pandemic and have fallen behind on some work stuff.

Thank you for your response. I appreciate knowing what your interests and motivations are. And I can of course understand and respect your desire for privacy. Ironically I am currently dealing with a hand issue so I'm a bit slower with typing these days, but chatting on Discord sounds great. What if we scheduled a time to "meet" for our discussion on Discord? That way it might feel a bit more like a "real time" discussion. Perhaps an hour or 45minutes would be a good start?

Let me know what you think!

Aron Manning (talkcontribs)

Hey @AHollender (WMF),

That will be great! I'm intermittently online on en:WP:DISCORD ( in the #technical channel as Demian.

When I would have an hour straight is hard to tell, but I'd be happy to start getting to know each other. It would also be great to discuss design questions that come up from time to time.

I'd need to give some ideas to Nray too related to the last patch, that would be easier on discord. Do you think he could also join some time?

AHollender (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Hey @Aron Manning,

Ok cool, I've just joined the Wikimedia Community on Discord and authenticated my account. Is there a time this week or weekend that you'd be able to commit to being online? I'm in the EST timezone. Perhaps we could even just start with 20 or 30 minutes of messaging back and forth.

Regarding other members of the team on Discord, I do think that might be possible. In the past when collaborating with volunteers it has been done primarily through Phabricator, and occasionally through IRC. However I will say that collaborating with you is a bit unique, at least currently, due to the higher level of involvement/output you're contributing. So perhaps it warrants a new style of communication. Allow me to consider that for a bit longer and perhaps bring it up to the team.

Thanks, and please do let me know if there's a time for you in the coming days that we could plan on meeting on Discord.

Aron Manning (talkcontribs)

Hey, @AHollender (WMF), I'm on discord for a few hours if you happen to pass by. See you!

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