Saturday, March 05, 2016

#Wikimedia - the #adoption and #development of #functionality

If there is one chasm between developers and the "community" it is how functionality is perceived. A well known graph explains much of the pain. Software once developed, goes live. When it does for software like MediaWiki everybody in the community will be confronted with the new functionality at the same time. Adoption according to the graph is very much absent.

Some software can be implemented without much opposition. Great examples were the implementation of functionality that improves performance or the implementation of Wikidata to replace the old interwiki links. It is rather obvious because the average Community Joe does not really notice either. When they hear that things improved they are mostly happy for a job well done.

When Community Joe hears about new functionality is relevant. Development is discussed in its own environment but for most people new software is news at the time of deployment. For developers production is end of the line; time to move on. In a typical process from moving from design to a working product, things change. It will not work completely as anticipated even when the best user interface experts were involved. People expect magic and they get what humans can make.

When the community is involved in architecture, there is an even bigger chasm. Many community members are well qualified to argue their case. There are many of them and typically they get disappointed.

After the recent upheavals, it is time to move on. I have participated in the "Inspire campaign" with two ideas. I do not expect much but by expressing these ideas in a place where they are likely to be seen they have a better chance.

What is your idea? What does it take for you to be "inspired"?
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