Type of activity: Pre-scheduled session
Main topic: Building on Wikimedia services: APIs and Developer Resources
Bots and tools are a vital resource for many on-wiki content creation and curation activities. A typical bot/tool project begins life as a way for a motivated Wikimedia community member to make some on-wiki task easier (or possible). These individuals are "scratching their own itch" in the best tradition of open source development. Many of these projects have a short lifecycle due to factors such as loss of interest by the maintainer, insurmountable technical hurdles, or discovery of a better means to manage the original problem. Others however become popular and tightly integrated in the workflows of one or more on-wiki communities.
Popular tools and bots become de facto production software needed to keep the wikis healthy and happy. Their roots as weekend projects from motivated volunteers brought them their success, but ultimately pose a risk to their end users. Life happens and a single developer project is in perpetual danger of abandonment. Adopting basic FLOSS project practices and following some general rules of professional software and systems management can help protect the software and the wikis.
- Discuss potential "best practices" to promote to bot and tool maintainters directly.
- Discuss features/services that Tool Labs could provide to make following the recommended practices easier.
- Discuss how to reach bot and tool maintainers on and off wiki
- Discuss how to promote best practices to on-wiki groups that are affected when tools and bots die due to lack of active maintainership
Current status of the discussion
Gave a talk at WikiConf NA 2016. Published presentation artifacts on Wikitech.