User:SSethi (WMF)/Sandbox/Technical contributors workshop


This page documents the research for designing a workshop for technical contributors to small and large wikis.


The goal of this workshop would be to train technical contributors on developing bots, tools, gadgets etc. so that they are better equipped to:

  1. Serve the technical requests of their language wiki in any of these areas
  2. Empower other members of their wiki community to address the technical needs
  3. Grow their language wiki
  4. Build a network of technical contributors within Wikimedia who could share best practices on developing technical solutions and learn from one another

Preliminary research[edit]

Who is a technical contributor in the context of this project?[edit]

A technical contributor in the context of this project is someone who addresses the technical needs of their wiki community members (site administrators, editors, content moderators, event organizers) and contribute to the growth of their language wiki.

What kinds of technical requests small or large wikis receive or address?[edit]

From the technical requests received and handled by Indic-TechCom for Indic language wikis, users and contributors of Persian wiki and Wikimedia Sweden chapter for Sverige wiki, they can be categorized into following areas:

Who benefits from the technical solutions and in what ways?[edit]

By gaining access to the technical solutions, wiki community members (editors, translators, site administrators, content moderators, patrollers, event organizers) get:

  • a personalized user experience
  • access to additional features (e.g., content editing, administrative controls) of the MediaWiki software and tools that allow them to do their work efficiently
  • wiki project statistics that help them make informed decisions on the next steps for their projects

What challenges do the technical contributors currently have while addressing these technical requests?[edit]

  • Addressing requests, developing solutions which would violate wiki policy.
  • Addressing requests that are not technically feasible.
  • A technical implementation that is beyond the scope of technical contributors work — for example, making changes in a tool hosted on Toolforge that doesn't have active contributors/maintainers currently.
  • Slow response from Wikimedia developers on requests for code review, deployment or technical support.
  • Learning curve for technical contributors is high as there are different programming languages and frameworks used in writing bots and tools.

Which language communities with active technical contributors would be easy to approach to learn more on this topic?[edit]

Most technical requests are discussed and addressed informally at Wikipedia:Village pump (technical) or Tech on Meta. But, there are some examples of where there are processes to handle community requests:

Sidenote: Communities below were randomly chosen without any formal research and ended up in this list as Srishti is familiar with their work and have connections with a few members there who might be easy for us to approach and work with. Moreover, they are already doing some work in this area.

Additional notes[edit]

  • Based on article count, Sverige Wikipedia is ranked 3rd, Persian 18th and Hindi (most spoken among Indic languages) 55th.
  • My general impression is that technical requests that small wikis receive are mostly to help active editors, content-moderators and administrators with their basic needs. Intermediate wikis requests in addition to the requests small wikis receive are about content creation tools for users and newcomers (e.g., guided tours) and large wikis requests are quite a bit about enhancements,  experimenting with new technology features, etc.

Workshop design[edit]

Next steps:

  • Take different examples (easy, medium, complex) of the requests already served by Indic-TechCom to develop tutorials around gadgets, user scripts, bots, mediawiki apis, etc.
  • Develop a tentative plan until Wikimania 2019 for a day-long workshop for technical contributors on different topics.