Community Liaisons/Wikimania 2015

Community Liaisons held a roundtable discussion at Wikimania called "Do You Feel Heard?" to hear from participants about their involvement with product development. These notes came out of this conversation and are intended to kick off conversation to bring and support communities' voices within product development.


Do you feel heard?

  • Is collaboration respectful and informative?
  • How can we engage a broader range of voices?
  • What do community liaisons do which works?
  • How can community liaisons be more effective?

What we hope to achieve today:

  • Learn your ideas about how to better collaborate around product development
  • Understand what has worked (and what we can do more of)


These notes are written during the session as a means to capture the overall themes.

During the WMF community liaison's roundtable discussion, bullet point notes were written in order to capture the overall themes being raised.

Key Takeaways

Feedback channels and methodsEdit


  • Product and technical questions come up in many venues, but it's unknown as to whether anyone from Engineering reads those mailing lists.
  • There is a lack of clarity around roles: who is an expert in what?
  • This led the group to reports of lack of clarity around role and lack of clarity of the feedback channel. Examples given indicated that the process sounds and seems very ad-hoc. It was also noted that a challenge here is that some people prefer different communication channels than others.
  • When the conversation returned to feedback channels later in the session, an example given was that IRC was a casual means to answer one-off questions. It is also mentioned around this time by a WMF developer that IRC is actually a good way to reach engineers about bugs and that doing so indicates a sense of urgency and immediacy.
  • It was mentioned that the Foundation should pay attention to what feedback/communication channels are preferred over another by any given community that are not on-wiki, email, or IRC (e.g. Skype, Facebook groups).
  • A request for a Centralized system or CRM was suggested.
  • It was also requested that we are clear in saying what we will and will not do.
  • Global Watchlists were requested as a means to gain needed information.

Product prioritizationEdit


  • Lack of understanding about the product prioritization process was raised as an issue. It was expressed that we do not have a strong "What to build" prioritization process that includes community input, which is is in the works - the Foundation needs to build it out in a way that supports community voices.
  • It was mentioned that Community tech will have some challenges in this area as well.
  • It was mentioned that teams that have CLs as part of the product team seem to be more accepted.

Language and translations, MW vs. Local projectsEdit


  • From Hindi Wikipedia a community member mentioned an announcement blindness for statements beginning with "Apologies for writing in English". There was a concern expressed that perhaps obtaining the translation prior to the announcement would help some communities.
  • It was mentioned that many messages were understood via Stewards

Past issuesEdit


  • A community member who tested VE in 2013 stated that it would be useful when a "Won't Fix" becomes something that is fixed there was some way to communicate back to the person who'd raised the bug. If global watchlists came in a subpage on meta for each bug would do.

Humanity and personalizationEdit


  • It was suggested that knowing who we are, with avatars/photos - better identifiers of our human-ness, would be appreciated and perhaps help communities understand who we are.
    • (it was also mentioned that 1. Staff has WMF accounts and pages that users can click on to see us, as most of us have photos, and 2. allowing for maintenance of privacy and potential for staff burnout)
  • WMDE's Tech on Tour is mentioned as a model that engages communities. It is mentioned by CL staff that we are speaking with WMDE about this model but that scaling to a worldwide community is a different model. This is acknowledged by the room.


  • It is noted that in order to do some things well/better, that there are some things that we need to stop doing. This was generally mentioned by WMF staff and may need to be reiterated

Getting community supportEdit


  • Recruiting more volunteers is recommended
  • It is then identified that if there is a community request that the Foundation then undertakes, in the past the WMF has not included communities very much in the product development process, and has sometimes resulted in *not what the communities want*.

See AlsoEdit