Topic on Talk:Technical Collaboration Guidance/Milestone communication

Clarification on intent

Alsee (talkcontribs)

The current text says: community members then have the opportunity to respond with questions, comments, and concerns that will help the product iterate.

I basically drew two inferences from that. (1) It could be interpreted as the WMF saying it intends to reject/ignore any community feedback unless it is feedback saying the project should move forward, and (2) that was not the intended meaning, as it seems to contradict the the process that Qgil-WMF has been writing up. Those other pages say the WMF does invite community feedback that a project should back up or be blocked.

Keegan (WMF) informed me that was "not the case", and apparently disagreed with one of my two inferences. However I'm at a total loss trying to figure which of the two inferences Keegan was referring to. The two interpretations are completely opposite.


  1. The text here should be clarified to say the WMF welcomes community feedback that there's a problem and a project should roll back or be blocked; or
  2. This page does intend to prohibit/ignore that sort of community feedback, the various pages are contradictory, and WMF needs to sort out a coherent position on what Collaboration means.

For what it's worth, I hope/vote for option 1.

Keegan (WMF) (talkcontribs)

"This product does not suit our project and should not be deployed, or rolled back" certainly falls under the category of a concern. The text I have written does not contain inferences, assumptions, or hidden agendas, and I'm not going to alter it because you are looking for them, nor am I going to pick your false either/or dichotomy.

Alsee (talkcontribs)

I'm glad we agree that it shouldn't be interpreted as restricted only to "concerns that will help the product iterate". Given the history of miscommunications and tensions, and the fact that there *are* a lot of people who will interpret it as meaning what you wrote and only what you wrote, do you agree it would be beneficial to come up with some way to rephrase it which doesn't invite that sort of miscommunication?

Keegan (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I do not agree, and please indulge me to explain.

I understand the context for your point. As staff I was there for the visual editor release, I was there for Media Viewer; as a volunteer I was there for a million other decisions before related to how our wikis look, feel, and function. I truly get the misunderstandings of communication.

The TCG is meant for product teams, it provides a very high level documentation of best practices. The audience for the text is not everyone, it is very focused and does not exist in a vacuum. The TCG's principles and practices will go hand-in-hand with product work - if we do this right, we will continue to make great inroads technical collaboration with the Wikimedia communities. Including disclaimers about whether something has approval or not is moot, because the goal of one of the goals of our team's work is to not even be producing things that are not beneficial in the first place.

If you're interested in talking to me real-time about my project, please email me and we'll set up a time to talk by whatever medium you might be most comfortable with.

Alsee (talkcontribs)

Thank you. Explaining it as intended as an internally-directed communication helped me understand where you're coming from. I still offer my suggestion that it be worded better. Regardless of the intended audience, it's still a public page and there is community interest in how the WMF plans to handle the subject. The current wording too easily pairs up with the Media Viewer Consultation, where the WMF literally declared "out of scope" any discussion other than upgrades. I think it feeds distrust if it leads any cynical readers to read it in that sort of manner.

one of the goals of our team's work is to not even be producing things that are not beneficial in the first place

Yes, certainly. Most of the time everything is fine, and I'm seeing lots of good steps being taken to reduce the chance of problems in the future. But eventually there is going to be a good-faith disagreement on what is "beneficial". That is the hard-to-address case, but that's exactly the case that most needs to be addressed when everything is calm. It would be bad for everyone if a future conflict were to escalate worse than in the past.

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