Purpose of Wikimedia Space - Discussion

I have seen more conversations outside this platform over the couple days since Wikimedia Space was released than inside it, so wanted to begin this thread to try to bring some of them within it.

To this point, I want to talk about the stated purpose on the blog post:

Wikimedia Space, a platform for movement organizers, affiliates, contributors, partners, and the Foundation to share news, questions, and conversations
[edited to remove links originally within the quote as I do not have rights to post more than 2 links within a post].

Is the intention of this to add to what is already happening in scattered areas of Meta, across various Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, mailing lists, and other spots; or to try to centralize what is happening elsewhere for easier findability, discussion, and archiving; or to replace them for the same reasons?

I am really interested to bring some of the conversations I have heard and had outside this platform to inside it so that they can be explored together by our community.

2 Likes

Thought I may as well reply to my own question with a few thoughts.

I have been a fan of Discourse (which this is built upon) and Wordpress for the blogging portion nearly forever, and am glad we are using some of these fine tools instead of trying to retrofit some of our Wiki Project platforms for discussions and uses they were never meant to support.

Secondly, I am intrigued by the platform’s release without having some community member conversations within it already (which I am trying to explore with this my own post). Most of the initial posts were from WMF staff, including all of the community guidelines. While I do not disagree with any of them (and fully realize the challenge with creating a new community from scratch), I am wondering about how the admins envision this being embraced by the community (by this I mean volunteers, non-staff) within the process, or if this is not the direction this is intended?

Again, kudos for getting this up and running, as our current communication and discussion structure before Wikimedia Space is fractured at best and often hindered through structures that are not always intuitive nor friendly for newbies / non-techies.

2 Likes

Interesting how this my original thread was re-categorized, even though I asked it within the Ask here category. That tells me two things:

  1. Moderators are actively moderating this (so at least I know somebody has read my post).

  2. This platform will be fixed in Wiki-style, so edits and such will be made to improve upon our own work (at least partially, or in some ways such as moves).

Good to know.

2 Likes

Hi @FULBERT, thank you for bringing the discussion inside, and with such a good question.

Wikimedia Space aims to become a point of centralization and redistribution of news and conversations. Also a place where anyone can ask any question related to Wikimedia and find answers. In order to achieve this, we need to take advantage of all the tools at hand, and offer to all these channels different options to mirror, connect or migrate. We can pull headers of blogs, we can migrate on-wiki news and newsletters, we can migrate mailing lists, Google Groups, Facebook groups, Mailchimp lists

Technically, some of these changes are trivial and some a fairly complex, but all feasible. Socially… we can start with early adopters willing to test, and if we do our work right the rest should follow. We can start duplicating information, syndicating, mirroring… and as the Space polishes its tech and acquires a critical mass, then migrations would begin.

Then the Space is likely to bring some additions. Already today the map - calendar combo is being successful because they have a chance to fulfill a long term need in our movement. As more groups arrive, we may expect new types of news and conversations. For instance, during our big events we have these peaks of information and social interactions that overflow our wikis and end up deriving in Telegram and Twitter… until these channels become pretty noisy and useless as well. I confess being extremely curious about seeing whether Wikimedia Space will play any role during Wikimania. I hope so! It has the potential.

2 Likes

Heya @FULBERT. I’m helping with the blog side of things. Ideally I’d love to see the news production cycle have strong volunteer participation in the entire process. Meaning folks not only pitch ideas and submit drafts about their own activities, but review other’s submissions and help manage the editorial calendar. More importantly help keep the consistency and quality of the news to the expectations of the community. Maybe even exceed them a bit if we’re lucky.

These are early days and feedback like yours is welcome. If there are ways we can improve the equity for volunteers in this space, please let us know.

Me too! :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Thanks for this @qgil-WMF. Based on your response, is Wikimedia Space considered in an active pilot phase at this moment?

Thanks for your reply, @Ckoerner-WMF.

While there are lots of things to do, an immediate idea that comes to mind includes having some non-WMF staff as admins of some sort. Right now the 4 admins are all staff, and given some of the concerns I have seen recently with what some perceive as a WMF vs. community volunteers, I hope this will be an issues that is explored and expanded.

1 Like

Dropping a link here to another related topic I just opened: Using Wikimedia Space for tool testing/discussion

1 Like

Yes, the plan is to continue developing the Space, keep publishing content, address feedback and, when the platform is solid and it has demonstrated to fulfill a need, deploy it to Wikimedia production servers with a stable URL.

Maybe this roadmap answers your question in a more practical way: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/tag/space/

Just to add some context on this point: absolutely, the goal is to bring this prototype into development integrating volunteer moderators along the way. The trust system is aimed at enabling this organically, with leaders rising through the levels to then be able to express interest in and obtain moderator rights.

2 Likes