In the last few years, the Wikimedia Foundation engineering team has been criticized by volunteers for discussions being held in non-public venues, decisions being made behind closed doors, and only sharing them later with the rest of the community as faits accomplis.
Engineers and managers have made a lot of efforts to address these concerns, by sharing information more systematically and proactively, and discussing more openly with volunteers.
The approach currently followed is to avoid "transparency for transparency's sake", and to focus instead on sustainable and useful transparency. The process also works best if communication efforts are integrated into people's existing workflow, to minimize disruption and increase efficiency.
For example, daily individual, detailed activity logs for every engineer would require a lot of time to maintain, and wouldn't be much more useful to volunteers than a weekly or monthly summary.
On the other hand, discussing upcoming features in public fora (wiki, mailing list, IRC), instead of private venues doesn't require much additional effort, but allows volunteers to be part of the discussion and collaborate with staff.
The Wikimedia Foundation strives to engage more volunteers in its activities, and this is particularly true in the context of engineering. Monthly activity reports, project pages, a roadmap updated weekly, bug triages, are other examples of efforts that have shown some level of success.
After briefly presenting the context, and the efforts the Wikimedia engineering team has made to facilitate collaboration with volunteers, we'll open the topic for discussion with the rest of the community. We expect the audience to have a lot of feedback on our existing efforts, and also to share their ideas about how to improve communication further.
Technology and Infrastructure
Length of presentation/talk
If you are interested in attending this session, please sign with your username below. This will help reviewers to decide which sessions are of high interest. Sign with four tildes. (~~~~).