Wikimedia Technical Conference/2019/FAQ


How is this conference different or the same?[edit]

The 2019 Technical Conference ("TechConf") is a continuation of the format from the previous Technical Conference. It is different from previous Developer Summits in that there is a single focused topic to guide the program creation and discussions. The 2019 technical conference topic is about developer productivity and is program of the Technology department (Wikimedia Technology/Annual Plans/FY2019/TEC12: Developer Productivity).

What is Developer Productivity and why is it important?[edit]

Becoming the essential infrastructure of Free Knowledge requires a diverse and equitable technical contributor community (staff and volunteers alike). To reduce barriers to entry and to enable faster and easier development, we must provide a modern and complete engineering productivity ecosystem. Everything from code-review and code health, to local development and testing, from proof of concept creation to production deployment and monitoring.

What will the specific topics be?[edit]

The specific topics are being generated now. Please leave your feedback on Phabricator: task T220212.

Why nominations?[edit]

In order to make decisions and fully address the issues and our aspirations, we need a cross section of people in the room. We need people who can formulate and architect solutions, as well as those who actually make decisions on funding for our projects.

However, the conference program committee is small, and while we know some people we should invite, we don’t know them all. This is why we are asking you all to make nominations for those who you feel will be able to contribute to this discussion from different perspectives.

How do I know who to nominate?[edit]

Generally, we are looking for diversity along many different dimensions to ensure we get the widest and best feedback and discussion.

In fact, the entire point of using a nomination system is acknowledging that we have blind spots and don’t know everyone we should invite. Just because you don’t see an organization, skill, or role that you feel is important, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t nominate them. It just means that we need you to tell us why they are important. Diverse organizations and groups:

  • WMF, WMDE, TechCom, Wikimedia Chapter organizations, Code Stewards, volunteer contributors, other 3rd party users, etc…

Diverse experience and skills:

  • Who: Both new and experienced to the movement/staff, engineers, SREs, product and program managers, engineering managers
  • Topics (a growing list): Local development environments, code review, technical debt, releasing/building, deploying, CI and integration/test environments, testing tooling, testing practices, performance, etc…

How will you make selections?[edit]

  • An open form is provided for individuals to nominate others (or themselves) by selecting which one(s) of the qualities (backgrounds, experience, and skills) we are looking for that they would be able to provide valuable input on (through surfacing problems, designing solutions, evaluating solutions, and approving budgets for implementing solutions).
  • The Program Committee will strive to invite people who bring new perspectives where possible.
  • The Program Committee will make selections based on the nominations with input from relevant stakeholders (e.g. community members or Wikimedia staff).
  • The list of nominations will be kept private to the Program Committee. We wanted people to nominate whoever they feel (including themselves) is best fit for the work but we also want to respect the privacy of those who are nominated (including those who are not selected or those who decline attendance for personal reasons).
  • This year’s event has a limited scope as well as a limited number of attendees. Those who are not selected are encouraged to apply next year and know that not attending this year will not have a negative impact on their future chances.
  • We will not be sending out "rejection" emails to participants who were nominated but did not make it. Many folks are unaware that they were nominated.
  • NOTE: Please do nominate everyone who you believe should be in attendance, even if you think the Program Committee will unilaterally invite them (e.g. budget owners). It is OK for the Program Committee to receive multiple and redundant nominations.

When will nominations start and when will invitations be sent?[edit]

The nomination survey email was sent out on May 29th and closed on June 17, 2019.

The Program Committee will review the nominations and send out invitations during July.

When nominees receive their invite, they will be given a registration form that they will need to fill out as soon as possible. Members of the Program Committee will follow up to help with travel and other logistic questions.

If you do not receive an invitation at the same time as others, you may be on the waiting list. A complete attendee list will be published here on mediawiki once the attendee list is finalized.

Will there be video recording?[edit]

No, we will not be video recording at the Wikimedia Technical Conference.

There are multiple reasons for this:

  • Not many people benefit: We have done video recording at previous events and only a small number of people actually end up watching the recordings.
  • We are committed to documentation and note taking: everything will be reported out from this event in written form. Anyone not in attendance will have full access to our documentation and report-outs.
  • Video recording is expensive.
  • Video recording is technically complex, getting good video quality and picking up the audio of comments from every corner of a meeting room is difficult to do well.

What is the overall timeline?[edit]

We will add to the overall timeline as specific dates solidify; below are dates so far:

  • April 9, 2019: Announcement of Wikimedia TechConf 2019
  • May 29: Call for Nominations
  • June 17: Nominations Close
  • July 1: Invitations sent to selected attendees
  • July 26: Participant list finalized
  • October 4: Open commenting period on proposed session topics
  • October 13: Open commenting period closed on proposed session topics (commenting still in progress on Phabricator tickets)
  • October 25: Program schedule posted
  • October 29: Session leaders and scribes meeting
  • October 30: Session facilitators training meeting
  • November 1: Session descriptions finalized
  • November 12-15: Wikimedia Technical Conference 2019