Time for another update about our multimedia project. We’re sorry about the radio silence in recent weeks, as many of us were tied up at Wikimania and/or traveling.
1. Media Viewer Improvements
We are now working to improve Media Viewer in coming weeks, to address editor concerns while making it even more useful for readers — our main target users for this product. Here are some of the improvements we are planning to test and develop for the next version:
2. Community Discussions
While Media Viewer has generally been well received on most wikis, you’ve probably heard by now that it was the subject of three separate Requests for Comments on the English and German Wikipedias, as well as on Wikimedia Commons.
The Wikimedia Foundation has now responded to all three RfCs, as briefly summarized below. We understand that a majority of editors participating in these RfCs would prefer that Media Viewer be disabled by default for all users. Yet many of those editors have also correctly pointed out that Media Viewer is primarily aimed at readers — and the feedback we have collected so far shows that many readers find this tool useful, across our projects. We also note that if Media Viewer were to be disabled by default, it would be very difficult for those readers to re-discover it and re-enable it. So it seems important to keep it enabled for logged-out users, instead of preventing them from using it, if they find valuable. And while we recognize that enabling Media Viewer by default can be inconvenient for logged-in editors, it’s also easy to disable -- either within the tool itself, or in their preferences -- and we plan to make it even easier to opt out in the next version. For software tools like these, our view is that we should let individual users decide for themselves if they want to keep new features enabled.
For these reasons, the foundation respectfully declined to disable Media Viewer by default for either logged-in or logged-out users on the English and German Wikipedias at this time. On Wikimedia Commons, however, the tool has just been disabled for logged in users by default, as a special exception due to that project's primary focus on media curation. Each community has responded in different ways to the foundation’s statements. In one case, our decision to leave Media Viewer enabled by default led to a conflict escalation between the foundation and some German community members, which we deeply regret. In coming weeks, we will exert our best efforts to resolve these issues in a variety of ways, from improving Media Viewer itself (see above), to improving the process by which new features are developed, tested and released (see below).
3. Working Together
As our executive director Lila Tretikov stated on her talk page (3), the foundation is committed to working with the community towards a constructive resolution of this and any future disputes. We are now reviewing our current development processes and exploring new approaches to allow for feedback at more critical and relevant junctures. With that in mind, we invite you to help brainstorm ideas that might improve community engagement for future product rollouts, on this special page (4). I will also be going to Germany in about a month to discuss some of these issues in person with community members, whom I really look forward to meeting face-to-face.
4. Wikimania Update
Most of our multimedia team was present at Wikimania in London, where we hosted 7 different roundtable discussions and sessions, which we found extremely productive. Topics ranged the gamut from the Structured Data to Upload Wizard, Media Viewer, Video, Community Engagement — and yes, even Kindness. We really enjoyed our many constructive conversations with hundreds of community members, who worked with us as partners to improve our plans and products in a variety of useful ways. We’re very grateful for these special collaborations, which keep getting stronger year after year. In coming days, we will share what we learned together in some of these sessions. For now, you can check each session's slides and notes, which are linked on this overview page (5). You might also enjoy some of my favorite photos from this exceptional gathering (6), as well as the latest installment in my ongoing series of community ideas on how to improve Wikipedia (7). Finally, those of you who read German might appreciate User:Ziko’s excellent article for the Kurier on our in-depth conversation in London (9).
Overall, the wonderful collaborations we’ve enjoyed with many of you at Wikimania are a great example of what is possible when we all work together in good faith and with mutual respect for each other.
Thanks to everyone who made this inspiring event possible!
I am sorry about the length of this message, but we had a lot to catch up on: I wanted to cover some of the recent events, so we can move forward with a shared understanding of how we got there, where we’re going, and how we can improve things together.
We all look forward to more collaborations with you on Structured Data, Upload Wizard, Video and other projects looming on the horizon — above and beyond Media Viewer. :)
To be continued …
Fabrice — for the Multimedia Team.