Discussion about MW Foundation

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Blank.png Date (UTC): 2016/01/21 17:00 UTC - 2016/01/21 18:30 UTC
Blank.png URL: https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/cebgth9id4fkodv18ofmqhgnjt0?authkey=CJfyiqnk1vKGVQ&cfem=1
Tag.png Tags: Governance,Wikimedia Foundation
Person.png Attendees: Alexis Hershberger,Chris Koerner,Cindy Cicalese,Kunal Mehta,Mark Hershberger,Markus Glaser,Matthew Flaschen,Richard Heigl,Sabine Melnicki,Yaron Koren

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Original title: MW Foundation kickoff

Summary of notes from the etherpad (see full transcript there).

Agenda topics[edit]

  • Structure: Which issues need to be solved before we can start? e.g. Scope, Structure, Responsibilities, Communication/Platforms (+working groups for these issues?)
  • Timeline: Rough initial timeline (just to get an idea) – 2016 dates:
    • 16 February: Strategy discussion close of consultation
    • April: Hackathon (Jerusalem), Conference (Berlin)
    • May: 1.27 release (LTS)
    • June: Wikimania (Esino Lario)
    • November: 1.28 release
  • Name: Should we call this something besides the "MediaWiki Foundation"? Matt suggested "MediaWiki Association". Other ideas?
    • MW Association, MW Hub, MW Community, MW Organization, MW Corporation, MW Union, MW Consortium, MW Empowering Knowledge (Management)...
    • In the early MSG discussions, the name "Sunflower something" was thrown around, and I liked it. A little less obvious than MW something though.
      • Sunflower logo is trademarked by WMF (Serial Number 86203034). IANAL, but worth checking if we can use sunflower name.
  • Legal organization: 501.3c or 501.6c or?
    • Lego thinks we should focus on what we want MWF to do (i.e. roadmap), and then figure out legal structure after, which will best accomodate that
  • Roadmap
    • To gain legitimacy, focus on smaller improvements we can get shipped in releases *this year*, not grand things like "fix skinning system"

Discussion topics[edit]

  • topics of a possible Foundation
    • technical topics: Software distribution (Installer), upgrade process improvements and test integration for extensions; Visual Editor
    • documentation and education of users through how-to's
    • voice for 3rd party users (companies, government, private users, institutions)
  • proposal for WMF as basis for discussion and for external funding
    • vision & mission
    • common goals
    • benefit for WMF
  • funding: WMF, external sources or combination(s)
  • becoming a dialogue partner for the WMF
  • 3rd party users' involvement
    • communication with 3rd party users
  • work on low hanging fruits and start small VS. founding a Foundation
  • make achievements first, not too much planning VS. having a legal structure from the start
  • focus on developers VS. focus on users
  • goal to be responsible for MW Core VS. being part of WMF

Next steps[edit]

  1. Draft proposal for MW Foundation that takes into consideration of how to get what we want. Vision, mission, how to get there. Answer questions in Markus' proposal. What's in for everyone involved. (Mark, Markus, all)
  2. Involvement in strategy discussions with WMF (all of us)
  3. Governance discussion (all of us) https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T123606
  4. Get in contact with Frank Schulenberg from WikiEdu.org (Markus)
  5. Research for light-weight institution structures > present on next mwstake meeting (Alexis)
  6. Reach out to users, open communication: ideas, newsletter etc. (Chris, Sabine)
  7. Put names behind actions and check back later (next meeting)

Background reading[edit]

Open source foundation examples:[edit]

Developer Summit January 2016:[edit]

Non-WM deployments/governance model:[edit]

MWStakeholders' Group:[edit]


Quim suggests to think of requesting a grant to support the creation of the org, and then per project grants.



Wikimania Submission (by Mglaser): Moving out of Home? MediaWiki Governance Revisited[edit]

As MediaWiki grows up, it's time to move out of home. This session addresses issues about the development of MediaWiki and it's identity inside and outside of the Wikimedia world. A concrete solution is proposed in form of a new MediaWiki Foundation.

There are many organisations outside Wikipedia and sister projects which use MediaWiki. A lot of the publicly available instances are used to share knowledge that wouldn't be accepted on Wikipedia or sister projects. Supporting them fits perfectly into our mission.

Yet, because the foundation is rightly focussed on Wikipedia, the development of MediaWiki as a released software is not in the core focus of the Foundation's software engineering. This results in the lack of governance when it comes to MediaWiki core development and features not needed by the WMF, such das an installer. Furthermore, there is little organisational support for extension developers and the (barely existant) ecosystem around MediaWiki.

We propose a multistakeholder approach to resolve this situation: the MediaWiki Foundation (MWF, working title). There has been a lot of discussion and support for this idea in the past, but with the reorientation of MediaWiki towards service oriented architecture the time now seems ripe to tackle the task.

In this session, I want to introduce a concrete proposal covering these key issues for the MWF:

  • What is the scope of the organisation? MediaWiki core development, distribution and fostering a developer friendly ecosystem.
  • Who are the stakeholders of the organisation? The Wikimedia Foundation, of course, but also other groups and organisations, such as NASA, Pfiser, using MediaWiki
  • Where does the money come from? Part of it will come from the Wikimedia Foundation as a major stakeholder. But other organisations using MediaWiki have also indicated potential financial support. Also, depending on the for of incorporation, a MediaWiki Foundation could rise it's own donations.
  • What is the roadmap? As the idea starts to take shape, there will be a realistic roadmap proposal by the time of the talk.
  • What benefits do we get from all of this? MediaWiki core development will be goverend by an independent body that covers the interests of all MediaWiki users. It becomes very easy for involved stakeholders to contribute resources and money specifically to the development of MediaWiki. Furthermore, we will get the chance to raise funds directly for MediaWiki. Wikimedia Foundation will be able to focus on developing features for the public facing sites rather than the maintaining the platform that they all build on. The responsibility gap in MediaWiki development will be closed and the resources needed for development can be provided by more than one organisation.

The purpose of this talk is to popularize the idea of a MediaWiki Foundation and open the founding process to all relevant stakeholders. I hope during Wikimania, we will make significant steps towards a MediaWiki Foundation, and this talk can be seen as a kick-off. The target audience are all people with an interest in Wikimedia organisiational development, people with interest in the governance of MediaWiki software development and people who use MediaWiki as their platform base.

See also[edit]