Wikimedia Developer Summit/2016/T113490


T113490 - This is the session pad for the How to interact with communities when developing software? session, slated to begin at 11:30 am on Tuesday, January 5. (Slides)


Problem solving: As a developer or a community member, what are the best/worse experiences you have known? How can we improve communication between users and developers? How can Community Liaisons help?


  • 20 minutes - introductory presentation
    • results of the survey conducted at the end of December
    • Q&A about the results
    • Presentation of the goals of the discussion
  • 45 minutes - open discussion
  • 15 minutes - wrap up




  • Share experiences of good communities interactions
  • List things which can be improved easily concerning communities interactions from the developers side


This section is where an attempt is made to capture the gist of who said what, in what order. A transcript isn't necessary, but it's useful to capture the important points made by speakers as they happen.

Possible tips/solutions[edit]

  • Separate what we expect when interacting with communities: feedback about bugs or feedback about features?
  • Define the responsabilities on a team, between the PM and people in charge of liaising? Product managment vs. communication?
  • "Don't be a jerk" rule -- have someone whose role is to review interactions, and quietly point out to people acting out that they should behave better?
  • Give advice on when and how to communicate (relevant channels)
  • When a problem/controversy occurs, respond timely in the discussion
  • Describe the problem you want to solve (in detail), the goal you want to achieve, the homework you have done, the questions you have (even if you have only broad ideas)
  • Have the right tool for the right purpose (talk page or survey?)

Session guidelines[edit]

This checklist exists to help each session at WikiDev meet the following goals:

  • Have productive discussion about topics that need face-to-face time
  • Make progress towards agreement on a solution
  • Document what was discussed, including areas of agreement and disagreement
  • Create written list of action items for follow up
  • Update or create Phabricator tasks as appropriate

Specific tasks:

  1. Assign meeting roles:
    • Facilitator
    • Gatekeeper
    • Scribe
    • Timekeeper
  2. Facilitator: run session to achieve specific goals.
    • State or build consensus towards meeting goal and style, referencing one of these meeting types:
      • Problem-solving: surveying many possible solutions
      • Strawman: exploring one specific solution
      • Field narrowing: narrowing down choices of solution
      • Consensus: coming to agreement on one solution
      • Education: teaching people about an agreed solution
    • Identify agenda items and guide discussion to stay on topic
    • Redirect participants who begin venting or discussing things that can be done online
  3. Scribe(s): Document the session
  4. Gatekeeper: Actively manage participation
    • Interrupt people if they are dominating the discussion
    • Help people who are having difficulty being heard
    • If the gatekeeper is talking too much, someone else should interrupt them
  5. Timekeeper: Keep track of time left and point out time passing to facilitator
    • If possible, estimate time for each topic written by scribes
    • Let people know when a topic has gone over its time
    • Give a warning when 5-10 minutes are left