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[Session] What do tool maintainers want from Toolhub?
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  • Title of session: What do tool maintainers want from Toolhub?
  • Session description: Toolhub wants to be the best place for people to go to find out about helpful tools in the Wikimedia ecosystem. What do the maintainers of these tools want from Toolhub? Let's talk about what Toolhub does today, and what features y'all would like to see added to it in the future.
  • Username for contact: BDavis (WMF)
  • Session duration (25 or 50 min): 50 min
  • Session type (presentation, workshop, discussion, etc.): discussion
  • Language of session (English, Arabic, etc.): English
  • Prerequisites (some Python, etc.): ?none?
  • Any other details to share?:
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Event Timeline

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1== What do tool maintainers want from Toolhub? ==
3Date & time: Saturday, May 20th at 15:00 pm EEST / 12:00 pm UTC
5== Relevant links ==
6* Phabricator task:
7* Toolhub:
8* Toolhub workboard:
11== Participants ==
14== Notes ==
15Been working on Toolhub as a main project for the last couple of years.
16Many years ago, there were frequent questions about "is there a tool to do [x]", in mailinglists, talkpages, IRC, etc. The answers were lost in archives.
17Now there is Toolhub, a community-authored catalog of Wikimedia Tools.
18This followed on from Hay's Directory (, started in 2014, which he talked a bit about in an earlier session. There were a few indexes, but no metadata, and no way to search them, and they were scattered across all the wikis.
19The multipart problem now, is that we have the index, but we need to get more tools and more details about them into Toolhub. We have almost 3,000 tools indexed, including Toolforge tools, userscripts, external tools, and more. But there are many missing.
21Big questions:
22* What pieces of data are missing?
23* What other ways should we be collecting data?
24* How else could we be inspiring people to contribute?
26Toolhub can be told about your tools in 2 different ways:
27* Fill out a form on Toolhub itself
28* Use a json file (that conforms to either Hay's old specification or the new expanded specification). Once an hour the service checks each of the files it knows about.
30Once a tool is indexed, there's a fulltext search system. it also has faceted search, a collection of attributes you can filter the results by. E.g. target-audiences, wikis it focuses on, tasks it helps with, licenses used, etc.
32Unsurprisingly, Magnus is the most prolific tool-author!
34There's also a personal Favourites list, and a public-list system so you can share any kind of grouping.
36There's ongoing work on a prototype that enables embeded onwiki indexes, and a special-search page for searching locally.
38Q: Is it possible to get screenshots/images of the tools into Toolhub?
39A: We can currently add a single image as an icon/logo. -- But don't want to store lots of images within it, and would want to store them in Commons. Challenge of displaying them in the results.
40* Hay: could also use Commons categories, e.g. Depictor has a category. Could either use the API, or just scrape the category.
41* Some challenges with getting lots of authors to contribute images for their tools.
42* Hay: Could also be useful for encouraging more illustrated documentation. (But don't want to turn Toolhub into the documentation-center)
43* Hay: Perhaps similar to chrome extension site, IIRC they have both icon and image.
44* Perhaps also checking the Wikidata entity for image.
46Q: Are other people able to edit my stuff?
47A: We have 2 origins -
48* original content in the base-layer json.
49* Whoever creates the entry via the form in Toolhub itself - gets designated as the owner.
50** Then whoever has oauthed into the Toolhub interface can update/add things, but without being able to override the origin base layers.
51** There are also ~6 attributes that are annotation-only, can always be overridden by community, because not in json spec, like audiences, content types, subject domains, tasks.
53Q: Are there metrics on quantity of users?
54A: The data exists, but we don't have UIs to view it, so it's not checked very often. Data in the hadoop tables. Need to run manual queries to see it.
55* Perhaps some simple counters of "homepage views", and "most clicked tools in the results"?
56* Slightly contentious question, e.g. on hay's Directory, all the tools are purposefully in random order, to avoid people naming their tool "AAAA Useful tool".
58Q: Are there metrics on most-used tools?
59A: We've been asking how to evaluate "quality" (imperfect word), but some kind of "signals" to users, that helps end-users pick a tool. Difficult because of the diversity of tools within Toolhub, and the different interaction-methods and locations they have. (onwiki-scripts, external-tools, Toolforge tools, etc)
60* "Edits" is a difficult metric, because lots of tools don't make edits. (e.g. Edit-counters).
62Q: Maybe a rating system? 1-5 stars?
63* Concerns about favouritism, or negatively impacting the morale of developers.
64* But need a way to find the right tool within the ~3,000 items...
65* Perhaps a way for developers to realize that users have migrated away from their tool to something else, and they can stop putting effort into maintaining them.
66* But perhaps it could help pick between 3 almost-identical tools, for which to try first.
67* Perhaps only showing "highest rated"
68* Maybe "tools that are added to numerous lists/favourites"?
70Suggestion: Last-updated time for the code. -- Yes, but lots of code never needs updates, e.g. Replag hasn't been updated in many years, but doesn't need it.
72Another way to rank things, is whether the details are filled-out, using the correct (non-default) icon.
73Maybe add ways that people could easily spice-up their entries.
74* See the session tomorrow on ToolHunt!
75** Need a way to indicate "This tool needs better details in the 'Description' field" and send that information to Toolhub/the developer.
76* Some way to show a developer why their tool is lower in the ranking. E.g. "Only 1 maintainer", "No Source-code URL", "No license specified". -- Perhaps tools that have all the requisite best practices covered, get an icon for "Follows FLOSS best practices"
77* Similar challenges for the "Coolest Tool Award" committee.
79* Suggestions:
80* Recommendations for devs on other ways/places to popularize their tools,
81* A way for devs to indicate "I want help (re)writing the description of this tool"

bd808 moved this task from In Progress to Review on the Toolhub board.
bd808 triaged this task as Low priority.Jul 10 2023, 5:40 PM

Remaining work here is making sure that actionable suggestions from the discussion are captured in Phabricator tasks for further investigation.