Jump to content

Wikimedia Developer Summit/2017/How to grow our technical community

From mediawiki.org

This a main topic discussed at the Wikimedia Developer Summit 2017, facilitated by Qgil-WMF (main contact) and FIXME-volunteer-needed.

The problem[edit]

Wikimedia is a top Internet project, a leading example of collaborative writing and crowdfunding. The quantity, size, and variety of our software products makes us also a big free software project.

However, Wikimedia doesn’t score high as a destination for technical collaboration. For such a popular movement, our volunteer engagement in the development of Wikimedia products is relatively small, homogenous, endogamous, and frequently driven by conflict more than collaboration.

How can we convert the Wikimedia movement into the most attractive destination for volunteers interested in the development of tools for creating and disseminating educational content?


The Summit and related discussions should provide guidance to improve our developer outreach and the retention of technical volunteers. There is no lack of interesting ideas, but on which ones should we focus? Some ideas:

  • How effective is mediawiki.org, mailing lists, IRC, Phabricator, Gerrit... for attracting new developers and what changes would make a difference?
  • Should we keep sending new developers to the documentation to hack MediaWiki core and extensions or should we promote tools, mobile apps, gadgets, bots, templates instead?
  • How can we improve the Wikimedia Hackathon and our approach to local developer events? How can we make these events more effective for developer outreach and retention?
  • Many developers and other technical profiles use Wikipedia regularly. Some of them might be interested in contributing their technical skills if they only knew about our technical community and how to contribute. How to reach out to them?
  • How is Wikimedia tech doing outside our Wikimedia boundaries, in conferences and other developer events, in Google Summer of Code, Outreachy and other outreach programs?
  • What are the main problems affecting the retention of volunteer developers?
  • How can the Wikimedia tech community and the MediaWiki community beyond Wikimedia work better for common benefits?
  • Would a MOOC course on Wikiversity be an attractive and efficient approach?
  • (As a long term approach, organize a course, possibly CC MIT OCW-centric in 7 languages, which upon completion would lead to a Wikimedia technical job, and potentially in collaboration with MIT OCW-centric & Yale OYC-centric CC WUaS, planned in all countries' languages for free CC university degrees, and where WUaS donated to Wikidata last October 2015).
  • How can we improve our documentation and ensure a good quality of it?
  • (Add your ideas)

The timing of these discussions is very good to influence the Wikimedia Strategy, the Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan FY2017-18, and the Technical Collaboration team priorities.


Pre-scheduled sessions:

Confirmed Unconference sessions:

Candidates to become Unconference sessions:

Moved out of the Summit, to be discussed later:

Learn more[edit]