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Create public mailing list for WMF Reading
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Description

(non-authoritative request)

Currently the main venue of public communication for the Reading department is mobile-l, even for completely non-mobile-related mails such as this or this. This makes starting threads difficult (should I write to mobile-l when the topic is desktop-related? Should I spam wikitech-l or wikimedia-l when it probably does not interest everyone?) and fuels the community conviction that the Reading department only cares about mobile. We need a mailing list which can be the default venue of communication.

(Also a #wikimedia-reading IRC channel, but that probably does not require a Phabricator ticket(?).)

Event Timeline

Tgr created this task.Aug 27 2015, 8:12 PM
Tgr updated the task description. (Show Details)
Tgr raised the priority of this task from to Needs Triage.
Tgr added a subscriber: Tgr.
Restricted Application added a subscriber: Aklapper. · View Herald TranscriptAug 27 2015, 8:12 PM

Couldn't you use wikitech-l? Most of what you talk about will be of general interest, won't it? We decided not to create one for the Editing Department for this reason.

greg added a subscriber: greg.Aug 27 2015, 8:28 PM

Note, the second linked URL was actually cross-posted on a bunch of lists, not just mobile-l.

This said, still a valid conversation to have.

What do we do with mobile-l?

Just use wikitech-l. I highly doubt you'll be able to send enough emails that people ask you to stop using the list. Emails like the first one are relevant to everyone.

Would it make sense to use wikitech-l by default, then cross-post to mobile-l if it's mobile specific?

Would it make sense to use wikitech-l by default, then cross-post to mobile-l if it's mobile specific?

That, or just archive mobile-l too.

What about the existing users on that list who are focused on mobile-l?

Here's a quick description of how I use the mailing lists Discovery has, if it helps:

  • wikimedia-search-private
    • Administrative/organisational stuff goes here (e.g. "I will be late", "let's organise our offsite)
    • Private stuff covered under NDA or other restrictions goes here (e.g. "Here are the top 5 search queries", "Here is the IP of a user who's spamming us")
  • wikimedia-search
    • Any discussions not covered under the above go here (e.g. "Here's the status on X project)
    • Less formed ideas go here (e.g. "Have we thought about trying X?")
  • wikitech-l
    • Technical announcements of note to wider audiences go here (e.g. "We're running an A/B test tomorrow", "We're changing API feature X")
    • Emails must be entirely self contained and make sense without the context of other emails
Tgr added a comment.Aug 28 2015, 12:11 AM

We could use wikitech-l (and wikimedia-l for nontechnical discussions like project prioritization) but in practice we don't seem to. I think there are social factors behind that which could be alleviated by having a mailing list we own (both in the sense of it being dedicated to Reading-related topics and in the the sense of handling conduct issues, if it comes to that). It is important to avoid list proliferation but not as important as keeping conversations public in the first place.

(Adam: yeah, sorry, I see it was posted with slightly different titles to different lists, I didn't notice that. In hindsight, the "apologies for cross-posting" part could have given me a hint.)

Mobile-l is used for various mobile related discussions. For whatever reasons we have various active helpful participants there that we don't have on wikitech. Personally I would be unhappy for us to get rid of it.

I agree with @jamesF though. We don't need another one

Moushira added a subscriber: Moushira.EditedAug 28 2015, 6:04 PM

If the concern is to ensure that all relevant discussions are made publish, we can alternatively advocate for adding [Reading] to subject line on wikitech and mobile-l. In general, it is not a terribly bad idea to discuss web issues on mobile-l, to break the notion of mobile being an island on its own :). Would that be a good compromise, @Tgr?

Tgr added a comment.Aug 31 2015, 12:16 AM

Some quick stats for August:

  • reading-wmf: 316 emails; by my quick (and no doubt very subjective) tally about 150 of them do not meet Dan's above criteria for private lists. (Many of those were cross-posted to a public list - I couldn't think of a quick way to count that.)
  • mobile-l: from 153 mails total, about 80 written by Reading members. (Queried @wikimedia.org addresses with thread mode off in Gmail, then counted WMF members not from Reading.)
  • wikitech-l: from 369 mails total, 30 mails from Reading members. Of those, 19 were Reading Infra or S on documentation things, 4 were Reading members participating in the code of conduct discussion. The remaining seven were either announcements by Moushira or mobile-l threads which were at some point crossposted to wikitech and when some Reading member pressed reply all, that reply also got cross-posted. The only mail that looked like it was intentionally sent there was the WikidataPageBanners announcement.

This is of course not surprising, since apart from Reading Infra and S, pretty much no one is working on anything non-mobile-related, so almost all public conversations fit well on mobile-l. It has been repeatedly declared that that is not going to be the case in the future, though, and I can't help but feel that there is a chicken-and-egg problem there.

Dzahn changed the task status from Open to Stalled.Sep 1 2015, 2:58 PM
Dzahn triaged this task as Normal priority.
Dzahn added a subscriber: Dzahn.

The current description of https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/mobile-l made me not realize that mobile-l@ is a way to contact the Reading team in public. (In this case, about the Gerrit Cleanup Day.)

Is there any progress on this regarding whether a mailing list should be created or not?

Thanks for the bump -- the task status (stalled) is definitely accurate.

I'll own gathering team thoughts on this this week and share them publicly.

I think once another mailing list would be useful, if there wouldn't already be one list, which is (in fact) used for Reading purposes, too. A Reading list for readin (desktop web???) would fragment the content more and more, which makes it more difficult to find a specific e-mail again (if you use the archives), and, on the other hand, makes it more and more difficult for new volunteers to find "the correct" mailing lists to subscribe, too.

I think, wikitech-l and mobile-l is enough to fit the needs of Reading web. Maybe we could rephrase the description of mobile-l to make the scope of this list more clear (I think it's primarily for mobile purposes (e.g. Apps and MobileFrontend), but it's not "false" to post readiing related things there), and I would prefer to see Reading-web related things on wikitech-l :)

Side note:

Some quick stats for August:

  • reading-wmf: 316
  • wikitech-l:369

Wow ;)

I recommend the following:

  • Shift to wikitech-l (this ia already starting to happen for tech stuff), but steer discussions to the wiki when it comes to feature planning and the like (non-technical stuff either should go to a different list or, if it belongs on an internal discussion, then internal).
  • @Moushira is onto something here with a convention of [Reading] in the subject line.
  • Cross-post to mobile-l as appropriate, but again don't use mobile-l as the canonical place to start if it's about our Foundation's Reading-oriented work.
  • Formalize a #wikimedia-reading IRC channel and ask people to please conduct themselves there instead of on #wikimedia-mobile. #wikimedia-mobile is fine when people who know the channel drop in to talk, but by using #wikimedia-reading we follow the example of Editing (#wikimedia-editing) and Discovery (#wikimedia-reading). We could have the channel topic on #wikimedia-mobile instruct people to go to #wikimedia-reading and when we get around to it update our wiki pages to point people at #wikimedia-reading as well.
Dzahn removed a subscriber: Dzahn.Oct 22 2015, 5:44 PM

Argh -- I'd like to move forward with the suggestions Adam captured in the
previous comment. I'll create a sub-ticket for the IRC channel and for
communicating this out.

-Toby

I recommend the following:

...

  • Formalize a #wikimedia-reading IRC channel and ask people to please conduct themselves there instead of on #wikimedia-mobile. #wikimedia-mobile is fine when people who know the channel drop in to talk, but by using #wikimedia-reading we follow the example of Editing (#wikimedia-editing) and Discovery (#wikimedia-reading). We could have the channel topic on #wikimedia-mobile instruct people to go to #wikimedia-reading and when we get around to it update our wiki pages to point people at #wikimedia-reading as well.

Well, but that sounds like a recipe for confusion, unless the scopes of the two channels are delineated more clearly.

If the intention is to have the new channel #wikimedia-reading supersede the old one, why not simply redirect #wikimedia-mobile to #wikimedia-reading? (See https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/IRC/Instructions#Channel_operator_commands )

@Tbayer, sweet! Who has permissions to setup channel redirection?

@Tbayer, sweet! Who has permissions to setup channel redirection?

Channel operator commands can only be executed by channel operators. It turns out that this particular channel has restrictions in place for making yourself op ("/msg chanserv op #wikimedia-mobile") or even just finding out who has the right to become op ("/msg chanserv flags #wikimedia-mobile"). I'll ask around.

JohnLewis closed this task as Declined.Nov 3 2015, 4:26 PM
JohnLewis claimed this task.

Since this ticket is about a mailing list which seems there is consensus that wikitech-l would be sufficient (for now at least!), I'm going to close this as declined.

@Tbayer, sweet! Who has permissions to setup channel redirection?

Channel operator commands can only be executed by channel operators. It turns out that this particular channel has restrictions in place for making yourself op ("/msg chanserv op #wikimedia-mobile") or even just finding out who has the right to become op ("/msg chanserv flags #wikimedia-mobile"). I'll ask around.

For the record, it turns out that @MaxSem and Tomasz still have that right, and Max would be available to turn on that redirect once the time comes. I don't think we need to add new ops because the channel will be deprecated anyway, but some instructions are here just in case.