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create a vps for Gryllida for wiki related development work
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Description

We have an undeclared group of developers interested in writing software in Perl, Nodejs, JavaScript and PHP for Wikinews in different languages, to facilitate its testing and deployment across all languages. Please create a VPS for this at Wikimedia as this will make it easier for the different developers to host their code (in a cgit on the vps) and to write wiki extensions (on a mediawiki installed on the vps).

Monthly reports can be provided about completed development work to hold accountability for how the vps is used and what contributors have shell accounts on it and for what kind of development they are being used.

For the record, I've tried to self-host a wiki before, but my devices is in the process of several upgrades from 10 years old hardware (and using this for development means that I must share my home IP with the rest of the group and/or in release announcements. This is inconvenient.) It would be great if this kind of upgrades did not interfere with development work of the group. I've tried to use toolforge, but using this for hosting a wiki (without root access) is exceedingly difficult and I didn't even try; developing tools in perl is hindered by lack of root access to install debian packages.

Event Timeline

Gryllida renamed this task from create a vps for Svetlana for wiki related development qork to create a vps for Gryllida for wiki related development qork.Jun 30 2020, 10:55 AM
Gryllida updated the task description. (Show Details)
Gryllida renamed this task from create a vps for Gryllida for wiki related development qork to create a vps for Gryllida for wiki related development work.Jun 30 2020, 10:57 AM
Aklapper changed the task status from Open to Stalled.Jun 30 2020, 12:11 PM

@Gryllida: Hi, is there a clearer scope description of this instance, and more information which specific software is supposed to be written, functionality-wise, and who is going to work on this code? Currently this task sounds a bit like catch-all which feels vague.
Also note that VPS instances don't have capacity to be individual "playgrounds" (but not sure if that is the case here).

Currently developed software (known to me):

  • notification delivery to users who have opted in, of new drafts on wiki, by email [[ http:/en.wikinews.org/wiki/User:Gryllida/welcome-a-bit | documentation ]] 80% - currently deployed in english wikinews but korean and ukrainian language sections also would like to have it
  • notification delivery to life chat source 90%
  • gadget for new article creation wizard documentation. 70%
  • gadget to fill "source" template like "cite web" on English Wikipedia, currently in JavaScript, but would be great to have as a php extension if a dev environment is available. 10%
  • plagiarism checker - an upgrade of dupdet which is used at english wikipedia- but with a more user friendly output toolforge link, source of the current dupdet
  • code hosting, using cgit, of any software that any language section is using - to be collected
  • timezone converter to schedule meetings with other contributors toolforge link
  • delivery of new approved articles to social media platforms - don't have link to source of this off-hand, but I recall Russian language section having a tool like this deployed and the other language editions do not know a lot about it unless we start putting all such tools hosted in one place
  • a linux distribution aimed at people who write for wikimedia projects, with wiki editor installed by default
  • mobile Android or iOS apps are completely missing for this project
  • any other task from the brainstorm pit such as for AI-assisted news identification from social media and AI-assisted article writing

The main advantage of a VPS here would be the possibility of gathering developers from different language editions together

including working on a mediawiki instance without them needing to manually set it up

Currently involved users as developers:

  • Gryllida (Australia)
  • Acagastya (India)
  • Pi zero (United States)

Previously there was a 'User Group' for all different language section of Wikinews to group them together, and there was a mailing list on google groups for it, but this did not have a vps either. If signing up as a user group would facilitate such a vps request becoming successful, then I will consider it.

Right now this sounds like either a "laptop in the cloud" or an "umbrella" project, both of which are discouraged by https://wikitech.wikimedia.org/wiki/Help:Cloud_VPS_project#Reviews_of_Cloud_VPS_Project_requests. Can the scope be made more clear? Is hosting a MediaWiki instance for testing <<something>> the primary purpose for requesting a Cloud VPS project?

The code hosting goal is problematic I think. There is no guarantee of data preservation in Cloud VPS projects. Mostly this means there are currently no automated backup systems for instance local storage. This makes a Cloud VPS project a very bad place to host a version control system. Gerrit is the main supported git hosting solution for Wikimedia projects. Toolforge tools can also use Diffusion. Or there are a large number of both libre and gratis git hosting providers on the Internet at large.

The request seems also to have missed the template link provided at Cloud-VPS (Project-requests) to format the request itself for easier review.

Right now this sounds like either a "laptop in the cloud" or an "umbrella" project, both of which are discouraged by https://wikitech.wikimedia.org/wiki/Help:Cloud_VPS_project#Reviews_of_Cloud_VPS_Project_requests. Can the scope be made more clear? Is hosting a MediaWiki instance for testing <<something>> the primary purpose for requesting a Cloud VPS project?

Yes, this would be umbrella project. This means more developers and more projects can appear in the future. In my opinion this is a necessary part of any innovative ecosystem. Why is this discouraged here?

To clarify, this does not mean ownership will change (I will still continue to track and document individual subprojects status and where they are deployed), and the scope is limited by that these tools are deployed for the Wikinews family.

This is not laptop in the cloud; the aim is to have more than 2-3 people involved.

If I can bear with it if Wikimedia Foundation discourages this, then do any of the Wikimedia Chapters (Wikimedia UK, Wikimedia DE, etc) encourage this?

and using this for development means that I must share my home IP with the rest of the group and/or in release announcements. This is inconvenient

code hosting, using cgit, of any software that any language section is using - to be collected

The code hosting goal is problematic I think. There is no guarantee of data preservation in Cloud VPS projects.

This can be synced with my home laptop, which is also backed up to external USB media.

Right now this sounds like either a "laptop in the cloud" or an "umbrella" project, both of which are discouraged by https://wikitech.wikimedia.org/wiki/Help:Cloud_VPS_project#Reviews_of_Cloud_VPS_Project_requests. Can the scope be made more clear? Is hosting a MediaWiki instance for testing <<something>> the primary purpose for requesting a Cloud VPS project?

Yes, this would be umbrella project. This means more developers and more projects can appear in the future. In my opinion this is a necessary part of any innovative ecosystem. Why is this discouraged here?

Did you read the linked page? "Umbrella" projects with broad scopes are difficult to track over time because of organizational changes and lack of continuity in ownership. Time and time again, group projects with a broad scope have let to multiple instances which are broken or needing to be replaced due to operating system deprecation and no clear "ownership". For this reason we have pushed back relatively hard on creating new projects with overly broad scope for the last 4 years.

We do encourage innovation, in my option, but we encourage it to be done in well scoped chunks like a Toolforge tool or a Cloud VPS project with a clear goal and ideally narrow purpose. We have found this makes it easier to keep track of things and get agreement when experiments are done and the resources can be returned to the shared pool for the next project to use.

This is not laptop in the cloud; the aim is to have more than 2-3 people involved.

"Please create a VPS for this at Wikimedia as this will make it easier for the different developers to host their code (in a cgit on the vps) and to write wiki extensions (on a mediawiki installed on the vps)." To me this reads exactly like a typical "laptop in the cloud" request. Git hosting can be had more reliably elsewhere. MediaWiki-Vagrant and other solutions exist to support setting up a local development wiki. Gadgets and userscripts can be tested and collaborated on using the Beta Cluster. I don't personally recommend it for performance reasons, but I also know a number of MediaWiki wikis are run on Toolforge as well.

If I can bear with it if Wikimedia Foundation discourages this, then do any of the Wikimedia Chapters (Wikimedia UK, Wikimedia DE, etc) encourage this?

I do not know.

Andrew added a subscriber: Andrew.

@Gryllida We had our weekly review meeting and are going to close this request as 'denied' for now. Please do not take this as discouragement, though -- we would welcome a new request with a clearer scope. Specifically if it involves collaboration over a particular or extension and includes multiple named maintainers interested in the same work. In addition to the links that Bryan included here this page might also provide useful context: https://wikitech.wikimedia.org/wiki/Help:At_a_glance:_Cloud_VPS_and_Toolforge