- Track: People and Processes
- Topic: The gradation of participation - what is a third party?
There persists confusion on what is a third-party and what does it mean to support them. Let's discuss how we define both "third-party" and "support" to help us better understand expectations from all perspectives and stakeholders. We might not come up with a solid agreed definition, but perhaps we can share a more nuanced understanding of who is participating and how to make more informed decisions across the technical community (Particular emphasis on Product and Tech functions of the foundation).
Questions to answer and discuss
Question: How do we define third-party?
Significance: There is a broad spectrum of participation in the Wikimedia/MediaWiki community. At what point do we define someone as a third party? Is someone who writes a user script a developer? What about someone who writes a MediaWiki extension? What if they are using VisualEditor on a non-Wikimedia wiki? What if they contribute user testing and bug reports? Who are the audiences we wish to engage with?
Question: How do we define support?
Significance: Once we have identified what audience (or audiences) exist as third party, can we define an expectation of support – for questions related to use, code review, documentation, decision making related to interoperability, etc.
Pre-reading for all Participants
Notes and Facilitation guidance
- Chris Koerner
Session Style / Format
Session Leaders please:
- Add more details to this task description.
- Coordinate any pre-event discussions (here on Phab, IRC, email, hangout, etc).
- Outline the plan for discussing this topic at the event.
- Optionally, include what this session will not try to solve.
- Update this task with summaries of any pre-event discussions.
- Include ways for people not attending to be involved in discussions before the event and afterwards.
We talk a lot about 3rd party: users, wiki, tools. There is no commonly agreed-upon definition to this "3rd party" term. We need to clearly define these terms in order to effectively communicate. Some say "non-Wikimedia" instead of "3rd party", but this isn't universal. If you consider the "movement" as a whole, it can be even less clear as to where these lines are drawn for "us" vs "them".
At its core, this term comes out of resource allocation. For example, the foundation must direct its focus to the Wikipedia sites as a priority. Somewhere in that priority are the other Wikimedia sites, probably chapter sites, maybe other "related" sites. Some person using MediaWiki for their personal site is probably near the bottom of that priority list. The resources are money and employees' time. The allocation spans these consumers of the product. The "product" includes the sites like Wikipedia and the software that powers them.
Post-event action items:
- Create a prioritized list of user groups (users of the sites and software supported)
- Discuss how individuals and groups within the foundation should decide how much of their time they should put toward these user groups based on priority (so there is no confusion between team members)