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Cross-functional support for rich media
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Oct 6 2016, 10:48 PM
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Type of activity: Pre-scheduled session.
Main topic: Handling wiki content beyond plaintext

The problem

The issue: good support for rich media (video/audio and beyond -> from panoramas to maps to interactive timelines to diagrams that move etc) on Wikipedia will need support from multiple functional areas of the MediaWiki landscape and Wikimedia world. How can we make this happen?


  • need folks to help with making MultimediaViewer extension more extensible
  • need folks to help devise a good iframe embedding system -- see -- to allow sharing over InstantCommons etc
  • need folks to help with TimedMediaHandler, 3d, ??something for panoramas??, ??something for interactive diagrams and simulations??, etc !
  • need good infrastructure in the wiki for storing large files and making derivitives that may be slow
  • need to make sure the caching/storage layers handle large files or they are split up
  • need low-level players -- integrate outside libraries
  • need to talk to editors to find what THEY need to actually produce and upload and edit things!
  • need to talk with curators and upload reviewers, make sure the tools they need to cull problem files are there
  • etc

How can we get this support going in various directions?

  • within WMF, there's separate Reading and Editing groups which may need to coordinate
  • who within or outside WMF will be responsible for core support issues?
  • how to get things tested and deployed?
  • how to make sure we coordinate with GLAMs and individuals who can provide material in various formats, and make sure that their formats and our formats are compatible?

Expected outcome

  • get some folks to commit to providing some backing support within WMF Reading and Editing departments, if possible
  • figure out who to work with in other directions!
  • next steps -> reach out to users for ideas, testing and support

Current status of the discussion


Event Timeline

Qgil added a subscriber: Qgil.

Thank you for your proposal, @brion!

I guess this proposal aims to be pre-scheduled in relation to the main topic Handling wiki content beyond plaintext? Please follow the instructions at to clarify these and other details.

@brion, regarding "need good infrastructure in the wiki for storing large files and making derivitives that may be slow", what's the class of thing that may be slow?

If I may say so, I feel like this "cross-functional support for rich media" topic is worth a 50-90 minute slot of its own to kick off its discussion. In terms of ordering, perhaps this "cross-functional support for rich media" topic should precede the "handling wiki content beyond plaintext" kickoff.

@brion, regarding "need good infrastructure in the wiki for storing large files and making derivitives that may be slow", what's the class of thing that may be slow?

The creation of the derivative file -- for instance encoding video at high resolutions may be slower than real-time, so a 1-hour conference video might take a good several hours to completely process at several output resolutions, especially as we move towards newer codecs that compress better (VP9 -- half the bitrate but up to several times the encode time vs VP8).

We already have problems with the job queue when creating the faster Theora and VP8 derivatives, with timeouts causing additional jobs to be fired off before the first job completes, overloading the video scaler machines.

Large video files are also a moderate problem for operations that need to re-fetch the files from the SWIFT backend, such as purging and rebuilding metadata, which can take a while on a 1gig+ video file.

There are similarly some issues with streaming/caching large files between the Varnish frontend and the SWIFT backend, which sometimes causes delays when loading files. (I haven't fully quantified this problem, needs further investigation.)

Please remember the next deadline in the selection process:

2016-11-14: Deadline for defining a good problem statement, expectations, and links to relevant resources.

That is next Monday.

cscott updated the task description. (Show Details)
cscott added a subscriber: cscott.

@brion: I reformatted this to match the dev summit template. Could you fill in the "current status of discussion" and "links" section? I've assigned the task to you, assuming that you would present/facilitate this.

(I may combine this topic with several similar proposals in the "beyond wikitext" track, so you don't have to fill a whole 80-minute slot with this if you don't want to.)

Niharika rescinded a token.
Niharika awarded a token.

If I may say so, I feel like this "cross-functional support for rich media" topic is worth a 50-90 minute slot of its own to kick off its discussion.

There is nothing stopping this discussion to be kicked off here, before the Summit, right? That is the point.

I am moving this proposal to "on track" not because there has been significant discussion here so far, neither because it has received a large support. I am keeping it on track because the topic seems relevant and there are no other proposals discussing this area (?). Also because I assume that the Architecture Committee thinks it is important, since Brion is pushing for it?

In any case, unless this proposal receives more explicit support and kicks off a real discussion, it is very likely that it will be moved to the Unconference.

@brion Hey! As developer summit is less than four weeks from now, we are working on a plan to incorporate the ‘unconference sessions’ that have been proposed so far and would be generated on the spot. Thus, could you confirm if you plan to facilitate this session at the summit? Also, if your answer is 'YES,' I would like to encourage you to update/ arrange the task description fields to appear in the following format:

Session title
Main topic
Type of activity
Description Move ‘The Problem,' ‘Expected Outcome,' ‘Current status of the discussion’ and ‘Links’ to this section
Proposed by Your name linked to your MediaWiki URL, or profile elsewhere on the internet
Preferred group size
Any supplies that you would need to run the session e.g. post-its
Interested attendees (sign up below)

  1. Add your name here

We will be reaching out to the summit participants next week asking them to express their interest in unconference sessions by signing up.

To maintain the consistency, please consider referring to the template of the following task description:

As a Summit proposal, this topic will be part of T151952: Media, Visualizations, and Layout at Wikidev'17.

This task has a live of its own though, so I am just removing it from the Summit workboard.

@brion, can you come up with no-more-than-ten slides to introduce & overview this topic?

SamanthaNguyen added a subscriber: SamanthaNguyen.

From my understanding, it seems like this is just related to Wikimedia Video's stuff, so I'm removing Video (non-WMF) since the name indicates otherwise, and the tag I mentioned is for an extension different from what Wikimedia uses to my knowledge. At the time this tag was included it was named Video, so I recently renamed it although I forgot to mention it here - hope that clears up the confusion, sorry about that! Social-Tools was auto-added only because Video (non-WMF) is an extension under the Social-Tools extension umbrella.

(Although if this is related to even media that includes third-party stuff, then feel free to re-add it - sorry for all the mess!)

This task has been assigned to the same task owner for more than two years. Resetting task assignee due to inactivity, to decrease task cookie-licking and to get a slightly more realistic overview of plans. Please feel free to assign this task to yourself again if you still realistically work or plan to work on this task - it would be welcome!

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