LQT Conspiracy Theories
You know, conspiracy theories like this don't exactly make me want to volunteer more time for WikEd. We've had detailed discussions about LQT on the mailing list, and the priorities for development have been directly informed by the feedback we've got - which is, frankly, limited in detail and specificity. For example, the issue of the workflow for new messages has never even been brought to my attention. I can't magically infer what improvements you want to see.
Erik, I'm Sorry if you find some conspiracy theories disruptive. And by no means I hope my sentiments keep you from volunteering. I know Wayne would be a little annoyed by my statements... To be honest after my eighteen years in software development I have never worked with someone who spends more time defending a position (and thinking they are right) than they do listening to the genuine frustrations and requests from a user community... All the best to you in your endeavours...
I think one of the improvements we wanted to see was the ability to have a tabbed approach... And as a group of educated and very experienced educators and systems developers your response to us is we didn't know what we were talking about and provided what I perceived as rhetoric... please refer back to the group discussion thread (http://groups.google.com/group/wikieducator/browse_thread/thread/846628e4111a1e42?hl=en). As a software engineer and the 7th most productive WE contributor I'd be very interested in reviewing the specifications being used to detail the current set of LQT fixes and enhancements.
Erik, I believe you have a strong and healthy ego, so I'm sure you can take a little constructive feedback in stride...
And I missed all this action going on in my talk page!! I just happened to click in here to see what I had missed over the months, and here it is.. not just this recent thread either! Perhaps I rely on email alerts all too much!
Erik, I don't know a lot about what you do, but I'll accept what others say when they say you do a lot and that your work for Wikied is important. I don't think the introduction, testing, acceptance of feedback, or communication around LQT has been your proudest moment so far. I'm a little dismayed to say the least at your dismissal of James, Brent, Peter, Steve, myself and others when we lobbied for LQT to be either removed a developed elsewhere, or for a tab option to be added to enable functional discussion on the wiki. I can't appreciate the way LQT was introduced (but that's history), and obviously it is seriously dysfunctional, and the way our concerns have been addressed is pretty ordinary to date. I thought the tab suggestion was a reasonable compromise between you wanting to continue development and testing, and us wanting reliable discussion pages. The usability argument just doesn't fly mate!
I imagine its tough for you being a volunteer/administrator/MW developer/Wikied-host, all in one. Those roles must get confusing. I know it is confusing for me when I consider in what capacity I communicate with you on matters to do with Wikied and what is acceptable communication from you. Here in this thread you adopt the role of volunteer when you say You know, conspiracy theories like this don't exactly make me want to volunteer more time for WikEd, but on the mailing list you're a developer when you address our concerns and argue for retaining LQT, and Wayne speaks of you as an administrator of the Wikied. On your profile you are primarily interested in other wiki projects with your only stated interest in Wikied being the provision of hosting services for it, and I guess you are paid something for that service. All this, plus your general approach to communication with us, inevitably leads some of us to frustration with honestly not knowing who we are communicating with. You have a lot of control over the way the WIkied runs Erik, and ultimately the way its community develops and functions. It seems to me, in light of that power, you will need to distinguish your roles more so we don't get confused and concerned, and so you don't inadvertently cross a line in conflicting interests.
The question about my role in WikEd is reasonable and I can understand the confusion. Since taking a job with WMF in January, I consider myself a "transitional hosting provider" for the wiki. I've not charged COL for any services other than for the server cost for a long time, and have tried to help out where I can as a volunteer. Wayne is transitioning to a new hosting arrangement, and I have given two volunteers from the WikEd community (Wen Chen and Jim Tittsler) full administrative access to the server.
As I've said before, if the community decides through any process to turn off LQT, that's its decision to make and implement: it has both the ability and the volunteer resources to do so. As we've made continual improvements since September 1, it continues to be my position as a volunteer and advisor that WikEd would be best served by helping to collect and resolve the key reservations regarding LQT, even if it decides to disable the technology at this point.
It seems clear to me that of all available technologies to build an easy-to-use discussion system for wiki newbies, LQT is by far the furthest along, and is the most likely to actually meet the needs of a community that is not dominated by technical users.
Thank-you for this clarification.
Could you please make the specification (requirement) documents of the improvements you have made since September 1st available to me, or point me toward the repository where they can be found. I would like to document WE needs regarding LQT in a specification format that you are familiar with. I created a user story in a related post (http://groups.google.com/group/wikieducator/msg/39b0e4c36be90f7b?hl=en), but I am uncertain if you are familiar with Agile approaches.
I honestly believe that a tabbed approach is the best compromise and a specification (user story) describing this may be a good place to start.
Peter and Leigh,
mmmm not sure that this is a productive discussion --- because not all the facts are on the table.
First, Erik has been an amazing pillar of support in getting WikiEducator to where it is today. I know of at least two occasions these past two months were Erik has stepped in to help out in mission critical reboots of the WE server (in the middle of the night). I contact Erik and he responds immediately to mission critical stuff, free of charge. That's beyond the call of duty. Our community has benefited in uncountable ways from Erik's extensive experience in open community models -- and I can assure you that his advice and support have accelerated WE's success by an order of magnitude. I confirm that the only costs COL has incurred in running WE since joining WMF have been the physical hosting costs of the server.
I also confirm that the hosting services provided by Jim and Wen Chen have been provided free of charge -- you have no idea of the levels of technical support the WE project receives from the gifting culture of many individuals. If we continue to criticise good intentions and contributions from our community -- we're a project in trouble.
Many of the refinements and work the team have been doing on LQT have not been implemented on the WikiEducator server because we are running an older version of the Mediawiki software. I take full responsibility for this, as I have instructed Jim and Wen to hold back on the updates to the server until I have clarity on a reliable hosting service for phase 2 hosting. I took this decision in the best interests of the future of WikiEducator, because I did not want to create future cost dependencies for a project which is moving into a new era. Gee I look forward to the Council because then they can take the wrap for decisions I've been forced to take on my own. The contracting processes used at international agencies are complex and there are a raft of contract related issues that need to be resolved with the migration of a project the size of WE. While these decisions take time, COL has been most supportive in finding the right solution.
So I do apologise for these teething problems in migrating to a new future. But so far, I'm the one carrying the load on top of all my other responsibilities. I ask for your understanding, support and help while we get all this detail sorted.
Thanks for all this clarification. I guess it all means that phase 2 hosting is near the top of your list?!?. Any time frame for phase 2 going live? As it would seem that may positive steps for WE are being held back by our current hosting situation...
As for productivity, it's never been so clear to me that I need to advocate for a tabbed approach once the new hosting is in place.
Hi Peter --
Believe me -- Phase 2 hosting is on the top of my list (along with 10 other things :-( ).
Next week I'm going to progress our discussions with Athabasca Uni -- who have offered to host the servers. I need to get a final decision on the actual boxes and then quotes for leasing. Not too straight forward -- because AU have offered us use of their storage systems (as opposed to RAID) and we need to figure this out. The next step is drafting contracts of the leasing, which is complicated by the fact that after 1 May these contracts need to be transferred to the new entity.
Assuming we can get contracts out within 2 weeks (optimistic), take delivery time into account plus the time Jim & Wen need to set up the servers --- depending on their availability would give you some idea of time line.
Kind of telling wouldn't you say that so much of the discussion re: LQT takes place on the 'mailing list' rather than on the wiki, so that rather than being organized around a central page on LQT they're lost in inboxes all over the world. The proliferation of such lists coincides with the implementation of LQT.