Wikimedia blog maintenance/April 2011 overhaul


This page was the coordination page about the 2011 overhaul of the Wikimedia blogs.


The Wikimedia blog was created in April 2008; it was presented then as a way to "engage in a less formal discussion, and to bring up the sorts of topics that may not fit in a press release" and "a space to ask questions of the Wikimedia community.

The Wikimedia tech blog (formerly at was created in March 2009. Its goal stated then was to be "much more technical [...] than the Wikimedia Blog (which covers Foundation issues and news)" and to cover "software updates, server changes, and other such issues".

In practice, though, the line between the content of these two blogs was difficult to draw. Monthly engineering reports, for example, aren't only of interest for a tech audience. Having two blogs also created redundancy[1].

Besides, in early 2011, other departments of the Wikimedia Foundation expressed interest in dedicated blogs as well. They wanted to have a space where they could blog more liberally, without being afraid of overwhelming the main blog.

The previous structure of the blog setup suffered from some flaws:

  • The current layout was giving all posts the same weight, whether they were important announcements or "routine" posts.
  • The current layout was making it difficult to browse posts by topic; categories were underused or abused, and in any case hidden in the sidebar.
  • The coverage was inconsistent, depending on the size & composition of the teams, and willingness to communicate.

Technical proposal[edit]

  • Based on the assessment of the two solutions (WordPress single install vs. WordPress network), the chosen solution was to use a WordPress single install.
  • Channels were implemented as top-level categories.
  • "Routine" posts are published in their dedicated channel, and "important" announcements in the additional "highlights" channel that gives them more visibility.
  • Channels use the same theme; channel-specific changes can be done easily.
  • Channels are not included in the permalinks structure for performance reasons and because Cool URIs don't change.
  • Most (sidebar) widgets are common to all channels (basic links, donate button, etc.).

Category structure[edit]

Main (a.k.a. Highlights) Community Global Technology Our wikis
  • Corporate
    • Board
    • Advisory Board
    • Jobs
    • Press
  • Events
  • Free culture
    • Free knowledge
    • GLAM
  • Friends
  • Fundraising
  • Outreach
    • Public policy initiative
  • Business
  • Chapters
  • Wikimania
  • Data analytics
  • General engineering
  • Labs
  • MediaWiki
  • Mobile
  • Office IT
  • Offline
  • Operations
  • Usability initiative
  • Milestones
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Wikinews
  • Wikipedia
  • Wikisource

To do[edit]


  • add channel appearance for subcats archives Yes Fixed
  • footer is misaligned on 404 pages

Things to keep in mind[edit]

  • Small "status" widget, linking to and/or short articles about outages; right now the information is scattered around microblogs / short articles on the tech blog (but should interest a very general audience of users)
  • Identica Widget
    • general feed
    • HR feed
    • ops feed
  • Currently, the Communications team oversees the main blog. This could be scaled to a team of channel curators who would particularly care for their channel (handle moderation, copyedit articles, encourage people to write articles, etc.).
  • Add description to categories, and show them on the category pages Yes Done
  • Add mini biographies for post authors, and fix posts that were posted on behalf of someone else?
  • Fix external images that are hotlinked from blog posts; add item to blog guidelines about this
  • Change default sizes of media
  • Remove the trailing "<" that appears at the very end of old articles
  • Fix the alignment issues of images Yes Done
  • Widgetize the footer, add list of categories, maybe move some of the sidebar widgets there
  • Improve the integration & visibility of channels
  • Organize the main page into a magazine layout
  • Move the Wikimedia-specific styling to a separate style sheet.
  • Hide or at least push down the =) smiley that goes with stats Yes Done?
  • Normalize displayed names or authors to "Firstname Lastname" for clarity towards the community

Notes and references[edit]