The Signpost

The full set of findings is available, in the form of a 119-page PDF, on Commons.
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  • So, now it's time to allow VisualEditor in Talk. Not that VE is ready for prime time, but it is developing. Jim.henderson (talk) 23:37, 3 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Flow is the Duke Nukem Forever of MediaWiki extensions. It was developed with no clear plan or requirements, without any regard whatsoever to the purpose of Wikipedia or whether it was actually wanted and prematurely deployed in an unacceptably buggy and incomplete state. It is symbolic of everything that is wrong with WMF "Features" technology management. Good riddance. MER-C 00:59, 4 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • The effective termination of Flow is probably the best news about Wikipedia that I think we're gonna hear this year. Anybody who witnessed the destruction wrought upon the "Off-Wiki" website through the introduction of LiquidThreads (forerunner of Flow) can not have been anything but terrified about the forced adoption of this software. It was an asteroid on collision course with English-Wikipedia — now fortunately diverted. Kudos to Lila T. and the new cooperative attitude emanating from San Francisco. Carrite (talk) 01:05, 4 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • As mentioned in the article there is a lot of great stuff we can do to improve our current talk page system that with effort could be easily rolled out in a timely manner. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:22, 4 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • I am not sad to see Flow finally being practically being the given the coup de grâce. I am sad about all the time and money that has been wasted on it while other far more serious priorities have been more quietly swept under the carpet. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:29, 4 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Thank you for mentioning my departure. That's very kind. A couple of little corrections: I wasn't head of fundraising, I was head of the annual giving campaign (Zack Exley was the closest thing to Head of Fundraising, which included other teams as well as mine - Foundation relations, Major Gifts, etc.). I was also not Head of Legal and Community Advocacy - I was Director of Community Advocacy, with no authority over the "L" in "LCA" at all. Nothing like titles and job functions that are as clear as mud, huh? Thanks again. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 03:43, 4 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • but plenty of other core improvements, like interwiki transclusion (to centralize template complexity) and further development of Echo notifications (to unify notification streams), remain to complete <-- They remain to complete, because essentially nobody is working on them. They certainly aren't the sort of thing you can do in a weekend, but its not like they are impossible tasks either. In fact, I would consider them significantly less ambitious then a lot of things that the foundation does. If they were considered high priority things, with a team actively working on them, both of those could probably be done in a couple months. I'm also not sure how they would really help flow's nebulous goal (or past goal, I don't think its been a "real" goal of flow for quite some time now) of being a replacement for everything involving a discussion. Bawolff (talk) 07:29, 4 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Imma offer a somewhat contrarian position here. I've always been concerned about how the current Talk system is trying to use a free-form wiki page for mostly structured discussions. Most of the world does not use free form pages for structured discussions, which may say something about its suitability. Easy to put stuff in the wrong place of the conversation, the need for signing, easy to get confused about where X's post stops and Y's post starts and so on. Putting up header messages is really the main shortcoming in Flow, but a remediable one. Interwiki transclusion and interwiki notifications would be a great thing to work on, now. Also, farewell to Philippe. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 09:47, 4 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Hooray! Now I don't need to invent creative workarounds for Flow! A shame about all the time and money spent on it, though... Double sharp (talk) 13:35, 4 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • When there is an announcement to make about a project which involves test subjects, volunteers who participated in the research should be the first to be notified. I am a participant in a WikiProject where the members gave consent to test Flow so that the developers could get user data. Using Flow caused problems which volunteers would not have had otherwise, but I am glad that the developers got some test data. I have no opinion about what is reported in this article - Flow was a nice idea, and am I am sure the decision to stop development was thoughtful.
I feel that the Flow developers should have notified the communities using Flow first, so that those communities could be prepared to have discussions about their future relationship with Flow when more public announcements are made and the wider community is ready to discuss these things. This is true of research generally - volunteer research participants should get priority notification of news about research in which they participate and which affects them. As things are, I have doubts that forums that used Flow would agree to continue using Flow if the developing team does not want userdata any longer. I posted a message to the Flow developer page, but I might have preferred that developers come to the forums where they asked to test Flow and give an option to revert the format to the usual style and let the community decide what to do next.
I am going to signal this at meta:Research:Committee also. When research happens and involves human participants there should be awareness built into the research of how much volunteer time is being consumed and how the impact to volunteers can be minimized. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:52, 4 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Re "We're now focusing our strategy on the curation, collaboration, and admin processes that take place on a variety of pages", WP:DRN and WP:FIX are two such pages that could really use some help from the WMF. How do I inform the appropriate people at the WMF that such a need exists so someone can prioritize it among the other requests for help? --Guy Macon (talk) 00:46, 5 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • I for one am gutted at the news that development is to stop on Flow. I think it's an excellent tool that works much better than talk pages, and in the vast majority of cases is already at a point where it would be beneficial to replace them with Flow. I'm really pleased to hear there will still be an opt-in to convert user talk pages to Flow, I'll certainly be signing up for that. WaggersTALK 11:59, 7 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • About

    There's already been one failed initiative to replace them, LiquidThreads...

    You should actually count that as two initiatives, since mw:LiquidThreads 3.0 also didn't succeed. Helder 16:44, 9 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • While I agree that the talk page system could be made more user-friendly for newbies, I am glad Flow is on the chopping block. Modeling everything on WP to be more like Facebook is not the way to go.
Although we've already had a final heckling of Philippe on the functionaries mailing list, I'd like to publicly thank him for all his work over he years. He did a lot for this project, answering emergency emails at 3 AM, helping us deal with the worst of the worst of abusive users, and keeping the functionaries informed about things that affected us. Although I have no doubt His replacement is up to the task, he will be missed. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:14, 10 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • @Resident Mario: Thanks for linking to my Wikipediocracy piece about LQT and Flow.  — Scott talk 09:19, 11 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I am shocked that we are now permitting linkage to a hate & attack site! - 2001:558:1400:10:502C:71A6:6A0:2CFD (talk) 13:10, 11 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Not everything Wikipediocracy ever published is bad. ResMar 13:15, 11 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I think that Mr 2001, the Comcast employee, sorry user from Philadelphia might not need to be told that.-- (talk) 13:27, 11 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
What is this place coming to? (talk) 20:06, 11 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • This is more WMF "Communication problems". There is a temporary pause on Flow "discussion features", but the WMF is still developing Flow and still planning to deploy. In fact the WMF Executive Director announced an intent to deploy it to replace her own Talk page, and still plans on "eventually getting it ready for prime-time". The announcement that they were shifting to work on stuff to help the community was also very misleading. I spoke to the project manager. What they meant is that they are working on a FLOW-ONLY project. (Called workflow.) He said that many of the large projects will get no benefit from it..... because we haven't converted our pages to Flow. When this was initially announced he promised the project would be driven by the needs expressed by the communities. I said obviously the new workflow project should be compatible with existing pages. No dice. I asked if he would respect an RFC saying we need workflow to be compatible with existing pages. I was told that an RFC wasn't needed, the community were a bunch of change-averse luddites, and basically that those Community Needs would be ignored. I then asked if I brought him multiple RFCs (or a multi-wiki RFC) resonably representing the broader Community, would he respect that. So far no response, and it doesn't look promising. The WMF wants our existing pages GONE, still intents to deploy Flow, and is developing new projects as Flow-only. If we don't want Flow, we get a 'screw-you'. The AGF here is that the WMF thinks it's doing the right thing..... maybe their announcements were unintentionally misleading.... but nonetheless everyone (including the author of this Signpost story) were grossly misled by the WMF announcments. Alsee (talk) 23:38, 17 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
P.S. I tested Flow a bit. Every time I touch it I run into critical problems. Just to cite SOME of the issues I've reported, copy-paste mangles content. Trying to UNDO an edit can mangle content. Flow has two edit modes (Visual and Wikitext)... merely switching between the two modes can mangle content. The Flow discussion threading model mixes top-posting with bottom-posting, which turns larger discussions into incomprehensible spaghetti. Flow expands discussions to more than twice the vertical size (the Flow FAQ has a section "Why does it look like Facebook", explaining this is because Facebook-type usability testing says it's better). Initially Flow developers were simply told to build a chatboard - and they succeed at that. But now Flow is a pile of awful kludges trying to upgrade that chatboard into something editors can use. The kludges are bursting at the seams. It's a disaster. It seems Flow actually worked BETTER when I tested it a year ago. Alsee (talk) 23:53, 17 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]


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