Critical issues presentations/Moving out of Home? MediaWiki Governance Revisited

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Submission no. 188
Title of the submission

Moving out of Home? MediaWiki Governance Revisited

Author of the submission
  • Markus Glaser
Country of origin



Governance, Technical

  • MediaWiki governance
  • MediaWiki development
  • Stakeholders

As MediaWiki grows up, it's time to move out of home. This session addresses issues about the development of MediaWiki and it's identity inside and outside of the Wikimedia world. A concrete solution is proposed in form of a new MediaWiki Foundation.

There are many organisations outside Wikipedia and sister projects which use MediaWiki. A lot of the publicly available instances are used to share knowledge that wouldn't be accepted on Wikipedia or sister projects. Supporting them fits perfectly into our mission.

Yet, because the foundation is rightly focussed on Wikipedia, the development of MediaWiki as a released software is not in the core focus of the Foundation's software engineering. This results in the lack of governance when it comes to MediaWiki core development and features not needed by the WMF, such das an installer. Furthermore, there is little organisational support for extension developers and the (barely existant) ecosystem around MediaWiki.

We propose a multistakeholder approach to resolve this situation: the MediaWiki Foundation (MWF, working title). There has been a lot of discussion and support for this idea in the past, but with the reorientation of MediaWiki towards service oriented architecture the time now seems ripe to tackle the task.

In this session, I want to introduce a concrete proposal covering these key issues for the MWF:

  • What is the scope of the organisation? MediaWiki core development, distribution and fostering a developer friendly ecosystem.
  • Who are the stakeholders of the organisation? The Wikimedia Foundation, of course, but also other groups and organisations, such as NASA, Pfiser, using MediaWiki
  • Where does the money come from? Part of it will come from the Wikimedia Foundation as a major stakeholder. But other organisations using MediaWiki have also indicated potential financial support. Also, depending on the for of incorporation, a MediaWiki Foundation could rise it's own donations.
  • What is the roadmap? As the idea starts to take shape, there will be a realistic roadmap proposal by the time of the talk.
  • What benefits do we get from all of this? MediaWiki core development will be goverend by an independent body that covers the interests of all MediaWiki users. It becomes very easy for involved stakeholders to contribute resources and money specifically to the development of MediaWiki. Furthermore, we will get the chance to raise funds directly for MediaWiki. Wikimedia Foundation will be able to focus on developing features for the public facing sites rather than the maintaining the platform that they all build on. The responsibility gap in MediaWiki development will be closed and the resources needed for development can be provided by more than one organisation.

The purpose of this talk is to popularize the idea of a MediaWiki Foundation and open the founding process to all relevant stakeholders. I hope during Wikimania, we will make significant steps towards a MediaWiki Foundation, and this talk can be seen as a kick-off. The target audience are all people with an interest in Wikimedia organisiational development, people with interest in the governance of MediaWiki software development and people who use MediaWiki as their platform base.



Interested attendees and comments

Interested attendees: