Wikimedia Technology/Annual Plans/FY2019/TEC10: Build Technical Community

Program outlineEdit

Teams contributing to the programEdit

Wikimedia Cloud Services, CTO Team, MediaWiki Platform, Research

Annual Plan prioritiesEdit

Primary Goal: 3. Knowledge as a Service - evolve our systems and structures

How does your program affect annual plan priority?Edit

Program GoalEdit

Wikimedia's software products and platforms have a diverse collection of technical communities including code contributors, documentation contributors, bug reporters, API consumers, volunteers who build innovative solutions to on-wiki workflow issues, researchers who examine the data generated by the Wikimedia projects, value-added vendors who provide services and support based on Wikimedia free and open-source software products, and true 'third parties' who install and use FLOSS software produced by the Wikimedia movement on their own computers for various reasons. These audiences contribute directly and indirectly to the broadest goal of the movement: to collect and disseminate knowledge. However, they have not always been well recognized for these contributions and supported in their work. The technical community support project will attempt to begin to address this shortcoming by providing better documentation, facilitating community building, and establishing better pathways for communication between these communities and the Foundation.

We will expand and strengthen our technical communities, focusing on understanding their needs and measuring the progress and outcome of our efforts. In particular, we will focus on three traditionally underserved communities: tool and bot developers; API and data consumers; and third-party users of our software.

Outcome 1
Becoming a technical contributor to the Wikimedia movement by creating and maintaining 'tools' and other innovative solutions is easier than it has been historically because documentation is easier to find, more comprehensive, and descriptive of start to finish steps needed to solve common problems. Cloud Services product users feel comfortable sharing their knowledge with others as part of a community with a culture of sharing via documentation and mutual support.
Support the collaborative work of the 'Tech writing (Re)working group'.
Improve documentation for Toolforge & Cloud VPS based on gaps identified by the 'Tech writing (Re)working group' and via the Toolforge Annual Survey.
Attract and foster a robust community of skilled and aspiring technical writing contributors. Help them build skills, while addressing gaps in Wikimedia technical documentation
Outcome 2
Contributors and consumers are able to locate and use software resources that extend their capabilities and insights beyond those provided by the core wiki experience.
Ship a read-write tools catalog product
Promote adoption of the catalog by key audiences; namely, contributors and movement organizers
Develop a community of tool developers and tool users interested in maintaining, expanding, and curating the catalog to ensure that it remains a viable resource
Outcome 3
Support use of Wikimedia services by Foundation staff, Wikimedia community members, and third-party consumers by providing evangelism and technical guidance resources.
Promote Wikimedia products at relevant conferences, hackathons, and within the Wikimedia communities
Provide first line technical support resources to triage and respond to Cloud Services product support requests
Outcome 4
Organize the Wikimedia Developer Summit as a four day meeting of ~70 senior technical contributors focusing on one strategic theme that will be announced before the call for participation and scholarship requests start.
Developer Summit web page will be published four months before the event that will include date and location (as well as nearest airport), strategic theme, call for participation, call for scholarship requests, and a calendar schedule with deadlines. A good representation of non-WMF stakeholders related to the main theme will be invited to participate in person at the event (preferred) or online.
A process which allows the prospective participants to submit statements and proposals regarding the main strategic theme, as well as allowing the Program Committee to review everything and notify the prospective participants the Committee's decisions. Discussions will start before the event with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders, in order to identify the points that need to be addressed at the event.
Activities during the Summit will be well documented, especially the outcomes of the sessions and follow-up actions, which will be compiled in a systematic way for further evaluation and followup.
Outcome 5
There is an established, bidirectional channel of communication between Foundation staff and value-added vendors who provide services and support based on Wikimedia software and true 'third parties' who install and use software produced by the Wikimedia movement on their own computers
Attend, present at, and assist in the organization of third-party hosted conferences and meetings
Maintain, promote, and interact on Q&A (e.g. Discourse) and chat (e.g. Riot) servers directed at the third-party community
Outcome 6
Third-party MediaWiki developers feel confident creating and maintaining MediaWiki extensions, and third-party MediaWiki users feel confident using MediaWiki extensions
Maintain an up-to-date list of MediaWiki extensions including information documenting the level of support of those that are supported
Maintain and evolve the extension management system in MediaWiki to increase dissemination of extension information
Outcome 7
Collaboration with the community of researchers in industry and academia is further scaled and supported, so that more findings and datasets are published and disseminated under an open license, to help us answer strategically important questions.
Organize and host the annual Wiki Research Workshop to help align the interests of the academic community to issues of strategic importance for the movement. Continue to successfully run a research workshop at a major conference, as we have for the past 4 years.
Maintain the current capacity for formal research collaborations with industry and academia to reduce the overall cost for the organization to carry out research projects.
Outcome 8
Participation in Wikimedia technical spaces and use of Wikimedia technical services becomes easier due to better organization of documentation, increased promotion of mentoring resources, and increased coverage of relevant topics.
Update the homepage and other key content pages to become more informative and inviting through small and continuous iterations.
Maintain a list of selected projects ready to welcome new technical contributors based on the project's ability to provide mentors, good entry-level documentation, introductory tasks, and product roadmap.
Organize Wikimedia project participation and support mentors and other participants in Outreachy, Google Summer of Code, Google Code-in, and similar programs.
Collect or create learning-oriented (tutorial), goal-oriented (how-to), and understanding-oriented (overview) content describing the Wikimedia movement's technical spaces, technical services, and FOSS projects.


People FY2017–18 FY2018–19
  • 0.25 ✕ Technical Writer (borrowed)
  • Product Manager (contract)
  • Technical Support ✕ 20hrs/week (contract)
  • 0.25 ✕ Product Manager
  • 0.5 ✕ Technical Writer (shared with Research and Scoring Platform)
  • 0.5 ✕ Product Manager (FTE conversion, shared with Scoring Platform)
  • Technical Support ✕ 20hrs/week (contract) (no change)
  • Operations Engineer (reallocated)
  • 0.34 ✕ Product Manager (reproportioned)
MediaWiki Platform
  • None
  • 0.5 ✕ Product Manager (reallocated)
  • 0.25 ✕ Researcher (no change)
  • 0.25 ✕ Tech Writer (annualized, no change)
  • 0.25 ✕ Researcher (no change)
  • 0.25 ✕ Technical Writer (shared with Cloud Services and Scoring Platform)
Community Liaison
  • 0.25 ✕ Community Liaison
  • 0.25 ✕ Community Liaison (no change)
  • None
  • None
  • None
  • None


Outcome 1Edit

Users are able to more easily find documentation they need.
Measurement method
  1. Agree/Disagree answer ratio for "Documentation is easy to find" annual developer survey question improves compared to prior surveys.
Size of active technical documentation editing community increases.
Measurement method
  1. 3 month count of editors making an edit in the Help namespace on Wikitech increases by 10% or more in FY2018/19 Q3 over FY2017/18 Q3.

Outcome 2Edit

Tools catalog product is deployed for general use.
Measurement method
  1. Product is available at a documented public URL by the end of FY2018/19 Q3.
Tools catalog product is adopted by publishing community.
  1. Month over month count of tools documented in the catalog grows by 5% or more per month for the first 3 months after official launch.

Outcome 3Edit

Cloud Services products are promoted at community events.
Measurement method
  1. Presentation, Roundtable, or Poster session presented at Wikimania
  2. Presentation or Roundtable session presented at Hackathon


  • Community Engagement: Community Liaison support
  • Community Engagement: Collaboration with Developer Relations team on API documentation/tutorials/outreach
  • Community Engagement: Event planning and logistics support from Developer Relations team
  • Research: External collaborators, conference chairs (workshop); Legal, Ops, Analytics (formal collaborations)