User:Tgr (WMF)/microcontributions platform

The current Readers product strategy tends to be based on testing new ideas on the mobile apps, which provide a more isolated and measurable environment compared to MediaWiki; but as a development target, they are not ideal - slow because code deployment is handled by a third party, high-profile so bugs are risky and volunteer contributions are hard to incorporate. As we are starting to focus on microcontributions (which are more of a social challenge then a technical challenge and so less predictable) the ability to do small experiments quickly and to allow bottom-up innovation is becoming more important. We need to move as much of the logic as possible to the server side and create a space that can accomodate these requirements.

In the minimalistic approach, where Cloud VPS is used as the underlying infrastructure, that would mean:

  • a way to store user data in production (such as an authenticated key-value store) so as to avoid having to deal with storage and PII in the microcontributions platform
  • a way to authenticate (production) user accounts without exposing any risky authentication information to the (less trusted) microcontributions platform; probably this would mean OAuth support for mobile and very granular permissions for certain things (such as access to the aforementioned data)
  • some kind of standard API for creating new microcontribution types, so that the apps can display them without needing built-in knowledge about each specific microcontribution type
  • a way to store microcontributions for community review before applying them, to minimize disruption (this could be based on fork & merge in live article histories, or could live entirely within the microcontributions platform)