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Video subtitling tool, staff vs. volunteer developers, brief news

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By Jarry1250

Universal Subtitles editor comes to Commons

The Universal Subtitles editor can be selected from the "CC" icon in any mwEmbed player

For some time, visitors to Wikimedia Commons have been able to access "timed text" (a system of time references and accompanying text, better known by its applications as subtitles and closed captions) via the mwEmbed gadget. The subtitling effort has been hampered, however, by the lack of a useful editor for the timed text. "Universal Subtitles", a Mozilla Drumbeat project, aims to fill the void for all websites, but Wikimedia had not been able to integrate it. That changed this week, when developer Michael Dale announced that (Wikimedia Techblog):

An example is available, and it is also possible to leave feedback.

Staff, paid developers and volunteers: discussions continue

This week saw a revitalised drive towards reaching an understanding between WMF staff decision-makers, WMF paid developers, and the volunteer development community. For a long time the creation of the MediaWiki software, which Wikimedia, Wikia and a number of other sites rely on, had a development cycle that operated like a wiki, for better or worse. It included a large number of volunteer developers and only a handful of paid employees (for example, Brion Vibber); their contributions were checked and deployed in sequential order. With its budget expanding in recent years, the Foundation has been able to hire more developers, who are now involved in a large number of projects some would perceive as being nearly impossible for a volunteer to complete in their spare time. Likewise, the review system has been updated to allow important fixes to be deployed out-of-cycle without first reviewing other more minor edits. Staff and developers, both paid and volunteer, are now concerned that a tension is growing between the various parts of the jigsaw, an "us vs. them dynamic" (Erik Möller, Deputy Director), similar to the conflict that had flared up earlier this year between the User Experience team and volunteer developers over a seemingly minor issue (the display of interwiki links, see Signpost coverage), where Möller had likewise observed "a widening gap between staff and volunteer contributions". Paid developer Roan Kattouw put his thoughts down (Wikitech-l mailing list):

Volunteer Aryeh Gregor responded:

More optimistically, the discussion turned to possible solutions. There was general agreement that getting back to more regular updates was the solution (Roan Kattouw):

This sentiment was mirrored by Aryeh Gregor:

There was continuing disagreement, however, about whether or not the Foundation was doing enough to achieve this goal, and how quickly it needed to be achieved. Discussion included the expansion of the code review base - including the rehiring of Brion Vibber, for example - which unfortunately coincided with the paternity leave of head code reviewer Tim Starling.

In brief

Not all fixes may have gone live to WMF sites at the time of writing; some may not be scheduled to go live for many weeks.

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The "WikiBhasha" is rather interesting, and ties in with a conversation just started at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Unreferenced_articles#Well_Referenced_in_other_languages. JeepdaySock (AKA, Jeepday) 17:01, 19 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]

m:Developer payment makes for quite an interesting comparison with the situation in summer 2004, when payment of developers was first introduced. Regards, HaeB (talk) 01:10, 5 November 2010 (UTC)[reply]


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