Mailing List Archive

Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street
Since the discussion about staff collaboration with volunteers started
a few weeks ago, actions and statements by staff members have
undergone an increasing amount of scrutiny and criticism. That in
itself is not a bad thing necessarily: staff members need to be kept
on their toes and not be allowed to get away with doing bad things,
and some scrutiny and criticism is needed to accomplish this.

In recent weeks, however, posts on this mailing list have gone way
beyond 'some' scrutiny and criticism, instead suggesting something
closer to distrust and paranoia. Statements made by staff members have
been picked apart, with anything that could be interpreted to suggest
an exclusive, disrespectful or otherwise negative attitude towards
volunteers being interpreted this way, along with the occasional
ominous warning about how the world will end if this attitude won't
change.

This extreme behavior comes from just a few people, but I'm seeing a
less extreme version of it in other people too. Unlike the former
group, the latter group doesn't seem to be particularly paranoid or
uncivil, but they seem to be getting increasingly critical of staff
members as well.

Quite understandably, staff members aren't gonna be encouraged to be
more collaborative when they get the feeling that their attempts to do
so more often than not result in increased scrutiny, criticism or
drama and that their sometimes unfortunate but nevertheless good-faith
and well-intentioned actions or words backfire the way we've seen
happen a few times recently. Rather than feeling this environment
encourages them to collaborate (which it should), they'll feel this
environment is hostile and will be driven away from it if it continues
to feel hostile.

A crucial point that I think is being missed by a number of people
right now is that collaboration is a two-way street. Staffers and
volunteers are both responsible for making it work. While staff
members have to be open to, respectful of and collaborative with
volunteer developers, the reverse is also true: volunteers are
supposed to make staff members feel welcome and appreciated, and treat
them as their equals. Right now, the opposite seems to be happening,
which I fear will lead to a negative spiral.

A few weeks ago, staff members were called upon to adjust their
attitudes to do their part in fostering collaboration between staff
and volunteers. Volunteers, in turn, should be aware that they have a
part to play too. Also, both sides should realize behaviors don't
change overnight, and should give each other time to adapt and cut
each other some slack in the meantime.

Roan Kattouw (Catrope)

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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
On Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 2:40 PM, Roan Kattouw <roan.kattouw@gmail.com> wrote:
> Since the discussion about staff collaboration with volunteers started
> a few weeks ago, actions and statements by staff members have
> undergone an increasing amount of scrutiny and criticism. That in
> itself is not a bad thing necessarily: staff members need to be kept
> on their toes and not be allowed to get away with doing bad things,
> and some scrutiny and criticism is needed to accomplish this.

This is a symptom of the tension between staff and volunteers.
Naturally, volunteers are more likely to express their frustration
here, because they don't have to act professional and because they're
the ones who feel wronged in this case. Some of those who aren't
overtly expressing their frustration are just cutting back their
contributions. It's a warning sign.

> A crucial point that I think is being missed by a number of people
> right now is that collaboration is a two-way street. Staffers and
> volunteers are both responsible for making it work. While staff
> members have to be open to, respectful of and collaborative with
> volunteer developers, the reverse is also true: volunteers are
> supposed to make staff members feel welcome and appreciated, and treat
> them as their equals. Right now, the opposite seems to be happening,
> which I fear will lead to a negative spiral.

Entirely possible, if no action is taken to correct it. This is the
sort of thing that tends to end in the volunteer community either
dissolving or forking. Forking isn't practical in MediaWiki's case,
because volunteer developers are almost all interested in MediaWiki
due to Wikimedia projects, so the volunteer development community will
probably just disappear over time if matters don't improve. I suspect
that process is already well underway, although I only have anecdotal
evidence.

> A few weeks ago, staff members were called upon to adjust their
> attitudes to do their part in fostering collaboration between staff
> and volunteers. Volunteers, in turn, should be aware that they have a
> part to play too. Also, both sides should realize behaviors don't
> change overnight, and should give each other time to adapt and cut
> each other some slack in the meantime.

The problem is not about attitudes, it's systemic. The negative
attitudes are a byproduct of various concrete problems, both social
and technical. You could either tell the volunteers they shouldn't be
frustrated and negative, and then watch them either ignore you or
leave because the reasons for their frustration aren't addressed. Or
you could actually take them seriously when they tell you *why*
they're frustrated, and fix the cause of the frustration.

The only progress I've seen in this regard at all is that Wikimedia
has finally deployed more review manpower. If volunteer commits
actually get back to being deployed as often as employee commits, most
of the reason for frustration will vanish, and so eventually the
frustration will be reduced too. But it will take a long time for the
neglect to be forgotten, and it will easily be remembered again if
there's a lapse.

The bottom line is that you're not going to have a happy volunteer
community unless you consistently pay attention when it complains. I
think the response to the thread I started about this a while ago was
a pretty clear-cut example of complaints that a huge proportion
(~100%) of volunteers agreed with and many prominent volunteers felt
were important, but which were simply brushed off by staff as
unreasonable. When you do that, you will very predictably find that
volunteers' attitude toward staff will sour.

But instead of seeing volunteers' frustration as something that needs
to be addressed by staff if you expect to keep a healthy community
going, you see it as a problem in its own right which is the fault of
the volunteers. This perspective has, unfortunately, been typical of
Wikimedia staff for some time now.

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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
On 15 October 2010 20:17, Aryeh Gregor <Simetrical+wikilist@gmail.com> wrote:

> The bottom line is that you're not going to have a happy volunteer
> community unless you consistently pay attention when it complains.  I
> think the response to the thread I started about this a while ago was
> a pretty clear-cut example of complaints that a huge proportion
> (~100%) of volunteers agreed with and many prominent volunteers felt
> were important, but which were simply brushed off by staff as
> unreasonable.  When you do that, you will very predictably find that
> volunteers' attitude toward staff will sour.
> But instead of seeing volunteers' frustration as something that needs
> to be addressed by staff if you expect to keep a healthy community
> going, you see it as a problem in its own right which is the fault of
> the volunteers.  This perspective has, unfortunately, been typical of
> Wikimedia staff for some time now.


+1


- d.

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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
2010/10/15 Aryeh Gregor <Simetrical+wikilist@gmail.com>:
> The problem is not about attitudes, it's systemic.

You're generalizing in ways that are invalid. Your behavior on this
list, MZMcBride's behavior on this list, Trevor's behavior on this
list, my behavior on this list -- all those things are very specific
to us as individuals, and so are the community dynamics that result.
There's no inevitability of outcomes, we're shaping these outcomes
together now. That's, as far as I understand it, the essence of Roan's
point. We can all work together to create a constructive and healthy
atmosphere, all the time. And if we take our mission and our ambitions
seriously, we all have an obligation to do so. It's fair to point out
when anyone of us, as individuals, fail to do so.

I didn't brush aside your points earlier, nor did Danese, nor did Tim,
nor did others who responded to you. If you want to feel slighted, you
have all the right and time in the world to do so. But again, that's
your personal choice, not "systemic".
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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
What is this?

I have never read something like this before ...(since 28-2-2002)

Maybe some people need to take a phone and talk with other people.
There are some things that can't be conducted by emails.



--
--
ℱin del ℳensaje.

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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
On Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 3:53 PM, Erik Moeller <erik@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> You're generalizing in ways that are invalid. Your behavior on this
> list, MZMcBride's behavior on this list, Trevor's behavior on this
> list, my behavior on this list -- all those things are very specific
> to us as individuals, and so are the community dynamics that result.
> There's no inevitability of outcomes, we're shaping these outcomes
> together now.

I respectfully disagree. Attitude is not important compared to
concrete things that are upsetting people. The number one thing that
volunteers are unhappy about is non-deployment of volunteer code.
Why? Because the only reason for their participation is so that their
code should be deployed. When their code is neglected while other
people's code is deployed immediately, solely because those other
people happen to work for Wikimedia, that will result in a great deal
of frustration no matter what attitude anyone approaches it with. And
the solution is simple: Wikimedia has to allocate the resources to
deploy volunteer code continually, just like employee code. Which it
has, and that decision will have a much greater impact on the
staff-volunteer relationship than any change in attitude possibly
could.

> I didn't brush aside your points earlier, nor did Danese, nor did Tim,
> nor did others who responded to you. If you want to feel slighted, you
> have all the right and time in the world to do so. But again, that's
> your personal choice, not "systemic".

If enough people make the same personal choice, it's fair to assume
that there's an underlying reason for it. In that case, appealing to
the choice itself is fruitless -- look at the reasons for the choice.

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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
2010/10/15 Aryeh Gregor <Simetrical+wikilist@gmail.com>:
> But instead of seeing volunteers' frustration as something that needs
> to be addressed by staff if you expect to keep a healthy community
> going, you see it as a problem in its own right which is the fault of
> the volunteers.  This perspective has, unfortunately, been typical of
> Wikimedia staff for some time now.
>
To repeat the subject line of this thread: it's a two-way street. I
acknowledge that the current tensions are a byproduct of certain
crises, and by no means meant to imply that staff members are
practically innocent and that it's all the volunteers' fault. I also
acknowledge that the staff has a part to play in fixing this situation
(I literally said this), but the volunteers have a part to play too.
That's what two-way means. To reiterate: I am *not* saying this
problem is somehow disconnected from the other one or is somehow
exclusively the volunteers' fault and responsibility.

What I *am* saying is that both sides have roles to play. The staff's
role is to collaborate with the volunteers better: this has been
discussed extensively, so I won't go into detail there. Instead, I
chose to highlight the volunteers' role in this thread. Their role,
IMO, is to keep the collaborative environment positive. This means
being welcoming to new staff, embracing them, pat them on the shoulder
when they to things right and correct them when they do things wrong,
while keeping their patience.

I feel that especially the shoulder-patting and patience parts have
been lacking lately, at least in the perception of the staff members I
spoke to. This leads to them perceiving the environment as
predominantly negative towards them, which does not encourage them. To
expand on the patience part a bit more: staffers coming from outside
the community need to adapt, and adapting takes time. If they, while
still in this process, demonstrate that they "don't get it" (which may
very well be the case, but I'd like to add "yet!" to that), they
should be cut some slack on the grounds that some of this stuff is new
to them, even after having worked at WMF for quite some time. Don't
underestimate how long this process takes. We as a community go way
back, and "outside" staffers have missed all that history.

Roan Kattouw (Catrope)

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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
2010/10/15 Erik Moeller <erik@wikimedia.org>:
> There's no inevitability of outcomes, we're shaping these outcomes
> together now. That's, as far as I understand it, the essence of Roan's
> point. We can all work together to create a constructive and healthy
> atmosphere, all the time. And if we take our mission and our ambitions
> seriously, we all have an obligation to do so. It's fair to point out
> when anyone of us, as individuals, fail to do so.
>
Thank you, Erik, for writing the final paragraph of my original post
for me. I wanted to close with a very similar paragraph, but couldn't
get the words out right.

Roan Kattouw (Catrope)

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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
2010/10/15 Aryeh Gregor <Simetrical+wikilist@gmail.com>:
> The number one thing that
> volunteers are unhappy about is non-deployment of volunteer code.
> Why?  Because the only reason for their participation is so that their
> code should be deployed.  When their code is neglected while other
> people's code is deployed immediately, solely because those other
> people happen to work for Wikimedia, that will result in a great deal
> of frustration no matter what attitude anyone approaches it with.  And
> the solution is simple: Wikimedia has to allocate the resources to
> deploy volunteer code continually, just like employee code.  Which it
> has, and that decision will have a much greater impact on the
> staff-volunteer relationship than any change in attitude possibly
> could.
>
+1

I whole-heartedly agree with the analysis that deploy backlog is at
the hear of this. I have some gut feelings I can't word very well
right now that say the "solely because they're not WMF" isn't
completely fair, but what you've stated multiple times in various
guises is true: what matters is perception, fair or not. If volunteers
*feel* ignored, that's bad. We can all go "oh but we're not really
ignoring /just/ you, we're ignoring others too!", that's not very
convincing.

We need to come up with a plan that takes us back to regular (weekly?)
deployments. I think cleaning up the CR backlog is an uncontroversial
first step. What I have in mind personally is to have this move to
regular deployments coincide with the 1.17 release, but that should be
discussed in a separate thread I guess.

Roan Kattouw (Catrope)

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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
On Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 5:07 PM, Roan Kattouw <roan.kattouw@gmail.com> wrote:
> To repeat the subject line of this thread: it's a two-way street. I
> acknowledge that the current tensions are a byproduct of certain
> crises, and by no means meant to imply that staff members are
> practically innocent and that it's all the volunteers' fault. I also
> acknowledge that the staff has a part to play in fixing this situation
> (I literally said this), but the volunteers have a part to play too.

Okay, I think we mean different things by "staff" here. I generally
mean *all* of staff, while you seem to be thinking of staff developers
in particular. Just to be clear, I don't think there's much that
either staff developers *or* volunteer developers can do here. Since
the problems are systemic, they can only be fixed by the people who
have the ability to fix them. That means staff as opposed to
volunteers, but particularly the ones in charge of staff, like I guess
Danese or Erik. They're the only ones who can make decisions like "we
have to devote more resources toward code review", and those decisions
are the only things that can fix the underlying problems.

I don't blame anything on staff *developers*, and I don't think I ever
criticized them in particular. My suggestions have all been about
ways to change the system so that it lends itself to a more unified
development community. To the extent that staff developers are
collectively not acting as I'd like, it's because of the environment
they're working in, not because of individual personal decisions.

In that sense, then, I do think the volunteer developers have little
role to play here, just like the staff developers -- except for making
their feelings known. It's not a two-way street. It would be most
accurate to say that the decision lies in the hands of just a few
people.


But, to reiterate, I think most of the problem will disappear when we
have regular code deployment again. At this point, it's best to focus
solely on that and forget about all other complaints. If problems
linger for long after everyone's code is getting deployed on a regular
basis, we can talk about that then, and I think everyone will be
talking on much more amicable basis.

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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
2010/10/15 Aryeh Gregor <Simetrical+wikilist@gmail.com>:
> I respectfully disagree.  Attitude is not important compared to
> concrete things that are upsetting people.

I think that we agree more than we disagree here. Obviously a huge
code review and deployment backlog is bad for everyone. Volunteers
should feel that their contributions are wanted, supported, and
appreciated (so should staff). And we are, in good faith, working
together to make sure this happens. We all want to build a healthy
community, and reminding us that we all can contribute to that, I
think, what Roan was mainly trying to do in this thread. :-)
--
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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
On 10/15/10 2:44 PM, Aryeh Gregor wrote:
> It's not a two-way street. It would be most accurate to say that the decision lies in the hands of just a few people.
>
If the problem is truly being caused by a few people's choice of action,
then volunteers should be sympathetic to staff developers, and voice
their grievances to those "few people" who can do something about them.

In the mean time, I see you disagreeing with Roan that volunteers should
cut the staff developers, especially the newer members thereof, some
slack and assume good faith, which just doesn't connect. You should be
agreeing with him - we should all be looking for ways to be nicer and
more understanding of each other.

If volunteers continue attacking staff developers then those few people
will only hear about how the volunteers are being unfair, mean, and are
more trouble than they are worth...

Now - I don't want to accuse of you dissagreeing, I'm just stating that
I found your message to be conflicting. As Erik has said on list just
now - I think we all agree far more than we dissagree. And that's
something that should bring us all together, not tear us apart.

There is no crisis here, there's only a bunch of passionate people
working to make things better - and I personally am thankful that we all
care enough to talk about this. If the community was really dieing, this
thread would have been one post long.

- Trevor

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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
On 10/15/10 3:07 PM, Trevor Parscal wrote:

> There is no crisis here, there's only a bunch of passionate people
> working to make things better - and I personally am thankful that we all
> care enough to talk about this. If the community was really dieing, this
> thread would have been one post long.

+1

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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
Roan Kattouw wrote:
> [The volunteers'] role, IMO, is to keep the collaborative environment
> positive. This means being welcoming to new staff, embracing them,
> pat them on the shoulder when they to things right and correct them
> when they do things wrong, while keeping their patience.
>
> I feel that especially the shoulder-patting and patience parts have
> been lacking lately, at least in the perception of the staff members I
> spoke to. This leads to them perceiving the environment as
> predominantly negative towards them, which does not encourage them.

Please pardon an outside comment which may be misinformed, or too
blunt; I haven't been part of this discussion or followed all of
it, and I'm not well-informed on the tensions which motivated it.
But:

It seems to me that if we're talking about backpats, it's the
volunteers who are more likely to need them, not the paid staff.
Since you hire the paid staff, you can presumably pick people who
are professional enough to understand their job requirements and
remuneration structure, and the special issues involved in
working with volunteers. One of those issues is that the
volunteers are sometimes going to be cantankerous, or even
downright vituperative, and if in spite of this you think it's
primarily the volunteers whose job it is to "keep the environment
positive", you're likely to be disappointed.

You don't hire the volunteers, of course, and you're somewhat
stuck with the ones you get. If one of them gets his nose bent
out of joint over some perceived slight, then you might have to
give him a pat on the back (even if you think he doesn't deserve
it), because you can't get rid of him if you think he's being
oversensitive, and you certainly can't tell him to quit his
blubbering and be happy with the paycheck he's getting.

The volunteer's primary job is to donate real work for free,
and if he imagines that one of the perks of the role is the right
to get kvetchy from time to time (perhaps due to a twinge of
jealousy that the staff are getting paid and he's not), then
that's okay, and it's the staff's job to humor him, with a pat
on the back if necessary. Unfair and asymmetrical it may be,
but the staff does *not* get to get kvetchy in turn about a
negative or unwelcoming atmosphere.

[.Disclaimer: I am not at all trying to suggest that Wikimedia's
volunteers *are* a bunch of praise-craving blubberers. But if
anyone's going to act that way, it should be the volunteers, not
the staff.]

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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
On 10/15/10 3:19 PM, Steve Summit wrote:
> Please pardon an outside comment which may be misinformed, or too
> blunt; I haven't been part of this discussion or followed all of
> it, and I'm not well-informed on the tensions which motivated it.
> But:
>
well read this:
http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikitech-l/2010-October/049877.html

I don't think Roan is saying the community should be the driving force
of positivity, but there's a line that gets crossed where a volunteers
unprofessional behavior is more of a problem than their contribution is
worth.

Volunteers are not really free for the Wikimedia Foundation. We spend a
lot of paid employee time on communicating, nurturing and sometimes
barely tolerating volunteers. We do this because it's valueable to us,
not just for "free" work, but because we only exist to support this
community. It's a key part of our mission.

In short - volunteers should not have unlimited rights to abuse staff
members just because they have contributed some kind of work without
receiving payment, but staff members should never cease to work towards
understanding and supporting the volunteers. There's a balance here, and
Roan is just trying to remind people of that.

- Trevor
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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
2010/10/15 Aryeh Gregor <Simetrical+wikilist@gmail.com>:
> But, to reiterate, I think most of the problem will disappear when we
> have regular code deployment again.  At this point, it's best to focus
> solely on that and forget about all other complaints.  If problems
> linger for long after everyone's code is getting deployed on a regular
> basis, we can talk about that then, and I think everyone will be
> talking on much more amicable basis.
>
+4,294,967,295

Let's focus on the code review situation and shelf this whole
"staff/volunteer/community collaboration" discussion for a while. And
by that, I also mean trying to keep references to it to a minimum and
being less like the lines of "see? THIS is what's wrong with the staff
folks" when something goes bad, something I've been hearing to an
increasing degree lately (that's what the original post was arguing
against). Like Trevor says, let's be nice to each other and be patient
while the code review and deployment situation gets fixed.

This'll probably take months, so I know I'm asking for quite a bit of
patience here. But I believe Aryeh is right that regular code
deployments will cure most of the problems we've been discussing, and
I'm willing to bet on that by putting my disagreements with other
people regarding this topic aside for the next few months, until we've
gotten back to regular code deployment, at which point we can
re-evaluate. My understanding is that Aryeh is also doing that, and I
call upon you all to join us.

Roan Kattouw (Catrope)

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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
2010/10/15 Steve Summit <scs@eskimo.com>:
> It seems to me that if we're talking about backpats, it's the
> volunteers who are more likely to need them, not the paid staff.
> Since you hire the paid staff, you can presumably pick people who
> are professional enough to understand their job requirements and
> remuneration structure, and the special issues involved in
> working with volunteers.

Just please keep in mind that the folks who work for WMF are, without
exception, there because of the mission, or they won't be there for
long, and many folks were formerly part of the volunteer community,
and will be again in future. Staff and contractor positions at WMF are
paid well below market, and yet people put in many, many more hours
than can be asked from them. So, for example, you might legitimately
feel that a project like the original UsabilityInitiative didn't
incorporate volunteer contributions well, but that doesn't mean the
folks who worked on it didn't give it their all, not because they were
(under)paid, but because they passionately want to support our
mission.

This is why folks get so frustrated when good faith partnership breaks
into us/them or finger-pointing. When folks are treated -- by action
or by implication -- like corporate drones because they draw a
paycheck, they get just as frustrated and demotivated as any
volunteer, and will eventually quit, just like any volunteer. So I
don't agree that things are quite as asymmetrical as they may seem at
times. This is a mission-driven group of people. That's why we're
having this conversation. :)

And with that, I'll follow Roan's lead and let the coders go back to work.

--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
Roan Kattouw wrote:
> This'll probably take months, so I know I'm asking for quite a bit of
> patience here. But I believe Aryeh is right that regular code
> deployments will cure most of the problems we've been discussing, and
> I'm willing to bet on that by putting my disagreements with other
> people regarding this topic aside for the next few months, until we've
> gotten back to regular code deployment, at which point we can
> re-evaluate. My understanding is that Aryeh is also doing that, and I
> call upon you all to join us.

Letting tensions and frustrations sit for months is a fantastic way to
guarantee a much larger problem in the future. MediaWiki is a
community-driven project and the community is being driven away. This isn't
hyperbole, it's a statement of fact.

Roan Kattouw (also) wrote:
> We need to come up with a plan that takes us back to regular (weekly?)
> deployments. I think cleaning up the CR backlog is an uncontroversial
> first step. What I have in mind personally is to have this move to
> regular deployments coincide with the 1.17 release, but that should be
> discussed in a separate thread I guess.

The problem with mailing lists is that they're great for creating a rallying
cry, but shortly after the thread dies, so does the action. (Scan the
archives for discussion about something like a parser rewrite or category
intersection sometime and you can see what I mean.)

The issues surrounding code deployment, branches, and special exemptions for
staff-written code are well documented at this point. And the solutions are
all fairly readily apparent. It isn't time to say "we need to come up a
plan," it's time to _implement_ a plan.

The alternative is that any implementation of a proper plan to fix the
backlog becomes a typical Wikimedia procrastination situation where the
deadline for moving forward is always "after X," where X is the next
MediaWiki release, the next fundraiser, the next Wikimania, the next
whatever.

Erik Moeller wrote:
> I think that we agree more than we disagree here. Obviously a huge
> code review and deployment backlog is bad for everyone.

You're the Deputy Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. You're directly
responsible for the Chief Technical Officer, and as a consequence, the tech
staff. You say you agree that the code backlog is a problem and you're in a
position of power to address it.

So what's your plan of action? What resources are you committing in order to
fix this problem?

MZMcBride



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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
On 10/15/2010 9:37 PM, MZMcBride wrote:

> The issues surrounding code deployment, branches, and special exemptions for
> staff-written code are well documented at this point. And the solutions are
> all fairly readily apparent. It isn't time to say "we need to come up a
> plan," it's time to _implement_ a plan.

+1

I really don't understand why this is so difficult, nor why progress is
so slow. Code review and regular-ish updates are somethings that *were
happening* just a year or 2 ago. As I pointed out one of the last times
this was discussed[1], the number of commits has only decreased while
the amount of tech staff has hugely increased, so I don't believe that
"more commits to review" or "lack of resources" (not the same as
"resources not allocated well") are to blame. That discussion was more
than a month ago. What progress has been made since then?

Why does this need some elaborate plan that will take multiple months to
implement? The infrastructure for actually doing code review is already
there; it just needs someone to actually do it.


[1]
http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikitech-l/2010-September/049255.html

--
Alex (wikipedia:en:User:Mr.Z-man)

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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
On 10/15/10 8:25 PM, Alex wrote:

> That discussion was more
> than a month ago. What progress has been made since then?

* Several new people were added to the code reviewers list.

* Brion Vibber was contracted to provide code review "office hours".

That looks like "action" and "progress" to me.

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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
2010/10/16 Alex <mrzmanwiki@gmail.com>:
> Why does this need some elaborate plan that will take multiple months to
> implement? The infrastructure for actually doing code review is already
> there; it just needs someone to actually do it.
>
I didn't mean to suggest an elaborate plan needs to be concocted, nor
that /implementing/ it would take months. Executing it most probably
would, though. By way of example, my "plan" is give below. It's mostly
obvious stuff, but I see how people might disagree on the order or
timing of things, which is why I think there should be (some)
discussion before settling down on something. I didn't really want to
put this in this thread because I think that discussion deserves its
own, but here it is anyway:

1. Catch up with the code review backlog (about 1,200 revs currently).
I expect this to be entirely uncontroversial, and this can be (and is
being) done while we argue about the rest
2. When trunk is fully reviewed and we feel it's probably stable,
release 1.17.0beta1 and deploy it on Wikimedia
3. Fix the numerous bugs that will inevitably rear their ugly heads
when 8 months' (or more) worth of code is deployed
4. Once deployment stabilizes, rebranch from trunk (picking up trunk
changes since the last deployment that weren't specifically aimed at
fixing the site), release and deploy that.
5. Repeat 2-4 until we feel comfortable releasing the currently
deployed code as 1.17.0
6. From there on out, do weekly deployments of trunk

Exactly as MZMcBride feared, this is an "after X" plan, where X is the
next release. I disagree that that necessarily implies
procrastination, however. Sometimes there are valid reasons to do X
first, then Y, and I think this is such a case.

Roan Kattouw (Catrope)

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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
Hoi,
I just had a look at the staff page at http://wikimediafoundation.org and I
find many of the staff are just not there to be found. While the community
is this big mass of people, it would be really valuable to have a place with
a picture, a short cv and an organogram. Much of it is there but it is not
kept up to date.

It is really important that people who work for the WMF are knowable. The
notion that only permanent staff should be included is imho not helpful,
some are quite visible and important to the community as well.
Thanks,
GerardM

On 16 October 2010 12:34, Roan Kattouw <roan.kattouw@gmail.com> wrote:

> 2010/10/16 Alex <mrzmanwiki@gmail.com>:
> > Why does this need some elaborate plan that will take multiple months to
> > implement? The infrastructure for actually doing code review is already
> > there; it just needs someone to actually do it.
> >
> I didn't mean to suggest an elaborate plan needs to be concocted, nor
> that /implementing/ it would take months. Executing it most probably
> would, though. By way of example, my "plan" is give below. It's mostly
> obvious stuff, but I see how people might disagree on the order or
> timing of things, which is why I think there should be (some)
> discussion before settling down on something. I didn't really want to
> put this in this thread because I think that discussion deserves its
> own, but here it is anyway:
>
> 1. Catch up with the code review backlog (about 1,200 revs currently).
> I expect this to be entirely uncontroversial, and this can be (and is
> being) done while we argue about the rest
> 2. When trunk is fully reviewed and we feel it's probably stable,
> release 1.17.0beta1 and deploy it on Wikimedia
> 3. Fix the numerous bugs that will inevitably rear their ugly heads
> when 8 months' (or more) worth of code is deployed
> 4. Once deployment stabilizes, rebranch from trunk (picking up trunk
> changes since the last deployment that weren't specifically aimed at
> fixing the site), release and deploy that.
> 5. Repeat 2-4 until we feel comfortable releasing the currently
> deployed code as 1.17.0
> 6. From there on out, do weekly deployments of trunk
>
> Exactly as MZMcBride feared, this is an "after X" plan, where X is the
> next release. I disagree that that necessarily implies
> procrastination, however. Sometimes there are valid reasons to do X
> first, then Y, and I think this is such a case.
>
> Roan Kattouw (Catrope)
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> Wikitech-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
>
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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
On Sat, Oct 16, 2010 at 8:20 AM, Gerard Meijssen
<gerard.meijssen@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hoi,
> I just had a look at the staff page at http://wikimediafoundation.org and I
> find many of the staff are just not there to be found. While the community
> is this big mass of people, it would be really valuable to have a place with
> a picture, a short cv and an organogram. Much of it is there but it is not
> kept up to date.
>

Contractors are not listed there. A lot of "staff" fall into this category.
There are various reasons why they aren't listed there.

While there is no "official" contractor list, there is a community-run
effort to keep track of this group on Meta[0].

> It is really important that people who work for the WMF are knowable. The
> notion that only permanent staff should be included is imho not helpful,
> some are quite visible and important to the community as well.
> Thanks,
>

I agree wholeheartedly.

-Chad

[0] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_contractors

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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
Hoi,
I have blogged about one of the "temporary" staff on my blog. While it is
nice to have a list on meta, it makes more sense to have somewhere one list
of staff permanent, contract, temporary... Fractured lists prevent people
from finding those they need.

I was looking for the person who is involved in documentation. I wanted to
learn if he knew that the software behind translatewiki.net is used for the
KDE documentation. The current "some animals are more equal then others"
approach sucks.

There are arguments about them and us and this opaque presentation hinders
the adoption of (new) people in our community. Personally I do not care who
is permanent or contract, it is irrelevant to me. I care to be able to find
and ask the right person the questions that I have.
Thanks,
GerardM

http://ultimategerardm.blogspot.com/2010/10/roan-is-temp-staff-at-wikimedia.html

On 16 October 2010 17:38, Chad <innocentkiller@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sat, Oct 16, 2010 at 8:20 AM, Gerard Meijssen
> <gerard.meijssen@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Hoi,
> > I just had a look at the staff page at http://wikimediafoundation.organd I
> > find many of the staff are just not there to be found. While the
> community
> > is this big mass of people, it would be really valuable to have a place
> with
> > a picture, a short cv and an organogram. Much of it is there but it is
> not
> > kept up to date.
> >
>
> Contractors are not listed there. A lot of "staff" fall into this category.
> There are various reasons why they aren't listed there.
>
> While there is no "official" contractor list, there is a community-run
> effort to keep track of this group on Meta[0].
>
> > It is really important that people who work for the WMF are knowable. The
> > notion that only permanent staff should be included is imho not helpful,
> > some are quite visible and important to the community as well.
> > Thanks,
> >
>
> I agree wholeheartedly.
>
> -Chad
>
> [0] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_contractors
>
> _______________________________________________
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> Wikitech-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
>
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Re: Collaboration between staff and volunteers: a two-way street [ In reply to ]
On Sat, Oct 16, 2010 at 1:51 PM, Gerard Meijssen
<gerard.meijssen@gmail.com> wrote:
> The current "some animals are more equal then others"
> approach sucks.
>

Yes it sucks, but according to US employment law, some
animals are indeed more equal than others.

-Chad

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