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Developers accused of making Toolserver fight "pointless"

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By Jarry1250

Volunteer root admin criticises developer approach

Wikimedia Labs: natural replacement or unfair competition?

Last week, the Signpost reported on a feeling at the Amsterdam hackathon that Toolserver developers were coming round to the idea of migrating to Wikimedia Labs (for full context on the migration and why it's happening, see previous Signpost coverage). This week, the theme was picked up by Toolserver volunteer admin and advocate DaB. in a dramatic email to the toolserver-l mailing list where he outlined his reasons for his losing hope in the continuity of the Toolserver as an independent project beyond the Labs switchover date:

DaB. also cited the introduction of a second paid root who could take over his duties, as well as the lack of commitment to the Toolserver (both spiritual and financial) German chapter Wikimedia Deutschland had demonstrated over the last six months. In short, he said he was upset that tool developers cared about the Toolserver-Labs debate only in terms of functionality and not of ideology, that they "think that the Toolserver is dead, that it is not worth the fight, that WMF has already won. You were the last group I had that supported me with the Toolserver. I had already lost the WMDE’s CEO, the general member meeting and also WMDE’s board. Losing you made it pointless to continue the struggle [but] I can not resent you [for wanting] to move to a place that has a future, may be faster and maybe better administrated".

DaB.'s instinct is probably not far from the truth. Giving a flavour of moderate opinion, Carl (CBM) suggested why he did not share DaB.'s inclination to defend the Toolserver's integrity:

At the more extreme end of the spectrum, while most thanked DaB. for his work as a volunteer, tool developer Tim Landscheidt was more critical:

The only WMF response so far comes from Marc-Andre Pelletier (User:Coren) who is contracting with the WMF to assist with Tool Labs and the Toolserver migration:

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 several weeks. This week's In brief includes material that originally appeared in Tech News, a Foundation-assisted attempt to create weekly tech briefings.

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I haven't used it yet, but I really like both the idea and the execution of the "Thanks" feature. Is there any chance of it coming over to Wikidata soon? Sven Manguard Wha? 22:59, 6 June 2013 (UTC)[reply]

It is tied into the Echo extension, and you can see the status of that discussion at d:WD:PC. --Rschen7754 23:20, 6 June 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • "all you were interested in was that ToolLabs provides the same environment so your tools can continue to run there". So, DaB is angry that Toolserver users are trying to make the best of a bad situation and migrate over to Tool Labs precisely because Tool Labs is going to continue running. WMDE saw the writing on the wall. The users - that is, the Wikimedians who use the tools that are hosted on Toolserver/Tool Labs don't really give a fuck so long as the tools work. Who gets to duct it all together is just insider politics and not worth getting in a strop about. —Tom Morris (talk) 11:57, 7 June 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • Is there any way we could try to make the title more biased in future? I'm worried that it may actually neutrally portray the discussion rather than, for example, making an email thread that blew over in a week sound like a massive controversy to pique readers' interest. Ironholds (talk) 00:10, 8 June 2013 (UTC)[reply]
    • I don't see your point here Ironholds. By necessity a headline picks out a single point from a story and then seeks to put that in context in the content of the article (if OTOH your accusation is that the story itself is biased, then I'm all ears). Is your concern that people don't click through (and go away with an incomplete picture)? Or that they click through and... actually I'm not sure what the problem is then. Indeed, hopefully, the interesting headline drew in readers who e.g. hadn't heard of Wikimedia Labs, and now have hopefully an idea of the project and its trajectory. In any case, "blew over in a week" is itself a rather incomplete picture of events -- this is the latest (and IMHO important, but YMMV) part of a discussion that's been going on for seven months already, and will go on for at least another year, if not 18 months. It should be situated in that context. - Jarry1250 [Vacation needed] 10:37, 8 June 2013 (UTC)[reply]
      • I'd disagree that it's by necessity; you couldn't pick out a headline that communicated "Toolserver root admin argues with developers"? My concern is that you seem to be overestimating the instinctive rationality of readers. While I can't speak for every reader, I am instinctively emotional and, upon reflection, rational. If you present me with a biased headline (and what is interesting to the public is not what's in the public interest), my first reaction is going to be emotional and I'll click through on those grounds, leading to a very different read of the story and a very different reaction to it than if the headline had avoided deliberately poking the brain's default schaudenfreude button. Ironholds (talk) 16:12, 8 June 2013 (UTC)[reply]


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