Is Wiktionary a product?

Hi all,

Wikimedia Foundations product teams are: Contributors, Anti-Harassment Tools, Community Tech, Editing, Growth, Language and Readers. There are also other teams such as Design, Analytics, Strategy, Wikidata.

Those are transverse, except for Wikidata, and their range is supposed to be all projects. In fact, I have the feeling their scope is mostly Wikipedia, and sometimes mostly English Wikipedia. I feel it is often quite difficult to have dedicate developments or dedicate notices for a specific project.

Facts are: contributors on Wikisource are different than contributors on Wiktionary, harassment can be dealt with separate strategies in smaller communities, development needs are unique for each projects (and nowadays almost none are made for specific needs), editing tools are not adapted for most of the projects except Wikipedia (VisualEditor for Wiktionary?), Growth perspectives are different, etc.
Also, design principles could be shared but user experience (UX) is different if you look into an encyclopedia or a dictionary, if you want to read a book on Wikisource or to look for a course in Wikiversity. I haven’t read any specific advice for Wiktionary UX, and I imagine no dedicate tests have been made for this project (or for Wikisource, Wikiversity, and so on).

During this last four years, we made several submissions in the Tech Team wishlist for Wiktionaries, without any success.

Maybe we should change our strategy and also solicit the other teams. I think it is very difficult to do so for a group of volunteers such our. We need a large amount of time to collect and write analysis on each topic. So, should we better consider Wiktionary and each sister projects are products and in need of dedicated product managers?


Have you seen the wishlist survey announcement that was posted yesterday?


Thanks @Johan-WMF for this notice, I haven’t see it yet. It’s a very good news! Participation this year should be less depressing. Also, it will be interesting to see how the wikipedian community react to this choice of focusing on non-Wikipedian projects.


Is a list that the Tremendous Wiktionary UG considers a legitimate prioritized backlog of technical needs?

In my opinion, having a backlog agreed by a representative user group is a useful and potentially powerful tool. With it, you can participate at the Community Wishlist Survey with coordination, but in fact I suspect that the value of this backlog is even more important during the rest of the year.

Anyone with a solid backlog can take the top 3 requests and check them against the Wikimedia Strategy recommendations and the Wikimedia Foundation medium-term plan. If your technical needs are fully aligned, then your requests will be way stronger.

Thn, development can be done by the Foundation, but not only by the Foundation. Grants of different types are available, for individuals and affiliates. Many missing features are stuck during years not because they are very hard to fix, but because the connection between a request, a developer, and the resources needed to complete the requests haven’t been aligned. I know in many cases it’s not this simple, but it is also fair to say that in many cases it isn’t as complicated either as to having to wait years for a top requested feature.

(On a side note, meanwhile the Community Wishlist announcement was published here as well: Community Wishlist Survey 2020: New Format )

Thanks for your feedback and thoughts.

It is interesting to have this conversation with people working in WMF, despite it was oriented firstly to Wiktionarians. I think Wikimedia Space is not yet used by the community I was aiming. Anyway, I think I need to clarify first that the Tremendous Wiktionary User Group is not representative. Very few Wiktionarians are part of it and there is no election, so I think it couldn’t be considered as the voice of every Wiktionarians.

The Community Wishlist Survey is a great place to have an idea of Wiktionaries needs, and something like a prioritized backlog. The problem I see is that writing a story to add to the backlog is not that easy, and it needs support. Some Wiktionarians have tech skills, others skills in projects management but the multilingual community can’t rely on those few volunteers to explicit their needs and write needs with the proper writing so it could be understand properly by devs (funded or not).

I think some people assume Phabricator is a good place to build a backlog but I strongly disagree. Structuring needs with good epic perspectives is not something you can do by listing needs. You need time to write and gather peoples, mix competences and perspectives, get back to the silent communities (like Spanish Wiktionarians, where few people are interested in chatting in English but are contributor for years and can give excellent insights).

So, with Community Wishlist Survey 2020, we will try again to list our needs, and improve our draft from previous years, but we will again accumulate more than unite good wills.

Wiktionary gets 26 million readers a month, Wikipedia 1600 million (about 50x more). While there’s a chicken-and-egg element to it, surely the main reason for that discrepancy is that Wikipedia just fills a much wider and more pressing reader need. And consequently, its social impact is also a lot larger. So the product focus on Wikipedia is somewhat understandable.

(In my personal opinion, the real problem is not that the WMF does not support Wikisource but that small projects are burdened with the same robustness criteria as behemoths like English Wikipedia, making it impossible for the local volunteer community to take ownership of developing the site (like the Wikipedia community did when Wikipedia itself was small). Which is a consequence of our antiquated production setup where all the wikis are coupled together tightly and a problem on any small project automatically means a problem on all projects.)

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Well, I agree, Wikipedia fills most of actual reader needs, but a lot of people doesn’t read Wikipedia. And for endangered and underdocumented languages, an encyclopedia could be a secondary choice after a pedagogical material, a media repository or a dictionary. So, I think there is some space between a focus on Wikipedia and a Wikipedia-only development.

Plus, in the future, sister projects will evolve and may be as useful as Wikipedia now. They may never be more popular than Wikipedia, but some of them are already not small projects, such as French Wiktionary. Still, there is no dedicated app when more than 50% of readers uses mobile access, and when you shared a definition on a sociocommercial network such as Facebook, the automatic picture associated with is Wikidata logo. Hard to make it visible for a larger audience.

Your opinion is very interesting. I think the communities own a certain ownership on their development, for example on templates and design (excluding default skin - French Wiktionary community asked for a change and it was denied). Gadgets are still developed and maintained by volunteers, but they are not automatically shared with colleagues speaking a different language. There is almost no synergy between linguistic communities.