Community Wishlist Survey 2020
Total: 72 proposals, 423 contributors, 1749 support votes
All phases of the survey begin and end at 18:00 UTC.
- Submit, discuss and revise proposals: 21 October – 11 November 2019
- Community Tech reviews and organizes proposals (includes time set aside for the Wikimedia Technical Conference): 5 November – 19 November 2019
- Vote on proposals: 20 November – 2 December 2019
- Results posted: 6 December 2019
We’re excited to share an update on the Community Tech 2020 Wishlist Survey. This will be our fifth annual Community Wishlist Survey, and for this year, we’ve decided to take a different approach. In the past, we've invited people to write proposals for any features or fixes that they'd like to see, and the Community Tech team has addressed the top ten wishes with the most support votes. This year, we're just going to focus on the non-Wikipedia content projects (i.e. Wikibooks, Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikisource, Wikiversity, Wikispecies, Wikivoyage, and Wikinews), and we're only going to address the top five wishes from this survey. This is a big difference from the typical process. In the following year (2021), we’ll probably return to the traditional structure.
So, why this change? We’ve been following the same format for years—and, generally, it has lots of benefits. We build great tools, provide useful improvements, and have an impact on diverse communities. However, the nature of the format tends to prioritize the largest project (Wikipedia). This makes it harder to serve smaller projects, and many of their wishes never make it onto the wishlist. As a community-focused team, we want to support all projects. Thus, for 2020, we want to shine a light on non-Wikipedia projects.
Furthermore, we’ll be accepting five wishes. Over the years, we’ve taken on larger wishes (like Global Preferences or Who Wrote That), which are awesome projects. At the same time, they tend to be lengthy endeavors, requiring extra time for research and development. When we looked at the 2019 wishlist, there were still many unresolved wishes. Meanwhile, we wanted to make room for the new 2020 wishes. For this reason, we’ve decided to take on a shortened list, so we can address as many wishes (new and remaining 2019 wishes) as possible.
As a team, we have spent some time to consider the guidelines that are appropriate for this year’s survey. We have made the following decisions (see below):
- Each wish should be for a non-Wikipedia content project that has no dedicated team (i.e., Wikibooks, Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikisource, Wikiversity, Wikispecies, Wikivoyage, and Wikinews).
- Wishes that are global (i.e., generally target all wikis) are not eligible.
- Wishes for Wikipedia or that apply to Wikipedias only are not eligible.
- Wishes for Wikidata or Wikimedia Commons are not eligible.
- The Community Tech team will make the final decisions regarding which wishes are manageable, within scope, and aligned with the guidelines.
Why no global wishes: We spent a lot of time discussing whether we should include global wishes. On the one hand, we genuinely understood the desire for global wishes. On the other hand, we didn't want global wishes to dominate the wishlist, thereby defeating the purpose of supporting smaller projects. We also discussed the possibility of permitting some global wishes. Overall, we decided that, because we're only accepting 5 new wishes this year, we didn't want to limit the already reduced resources available to smaller projects. With that being said, we still plan to address global wishes from last year’s wishlist (e.g., Watchlist Expiry, Section Name in Diff).
Why no Wikidata or Commons wishes: We decided to exclude Wikidata and Commons for a few reasons. First, both projects have dedicated teams or teams that have released large improvements (i.e., WMDE’s team for Wikidata; the Structured Data Team for Commons). This is a different situation than all the other non-Wikipedia projects, which have no dedicated teams and have historically struggled to find support from development teams. Second, Wikidata and Commons tend to be global in nature—which is fantastic, but not within the scope of the 2020 Wishlist.
Overall, this is an experiment, and we hope to learn a lot from it. For the upcoming year, we'll be able to interact with a range of communities, support underrepresented projects, and encourage all Wikimedians (including ourselves!) to think of how we can further empower smaller projects. Additionally, we’re excited to address global wishes from last year’s wishlist. We thank you for your feedback, and we look forward to seeing the proposals in November. Thank you!
The Community Tech team is a Wikimedia Foundation team focused on the needs of active Wikimedia contributors for improved curation and moderation tools. The projects that we primarily work on are decided by the Wikimedia community, through the annual Community Wishlist Survey.
Once a year active Wikimedia contributors can submit proposals for features and fixes that you'd like our team to work on. After two weeks, you can vote on the ideas that you're most interested in. The top 5 wishes will be investigated and addressed by the Community Tech team. Some of the other top wishes may be addressed by other development teams.
This survey process was developed by Wikimedia Deutschland's Technical Wishes team, who run a wishlist survey on German Wikipedia. The international wishlist process is supported by the Community Relations team. This is our fifth annual Community Wishlist Survey. See where we are with last year's wishes.
The proposal phase is the first two weeks of the survey.
In the proposal phase, contributors from every project and language can submit proposals for features and fixes that you'd like to see in 2020. Proposals may be submitted in any language. If you submit a proposal in a language other than English, we will attempt to get it translated so everyone can read and vote on it more easily.
Proposals should be discrete, well-defined tasks that will directly benefit active Wikimedia contributors. Proposals should answer the following questions:
- What is the problem that you want to solve?
- Which users are affected? (editors, admins, Wikisource editors, etc.)
- How is this problem being addressed now?
- What are the proposed solutions? (if there are any ideas)
Your proposal should be as specific as possible, especially in the problem statement. Don't just say that "(x feature) is out of date", "needs to be improved" or "has a lot of bugs". That's not enough information to figure out what needs to be done. A good proposal explains exactly what the problem is, and who's affected by it. It's okay if you don't have a specific solution to propose, or if you have a few possible solutions and you don't know which is best.
Submitting a proposal is just the beginning of the process. The two-week proposal phase is a time that the community can collaboratively work on a proposal that presents the idea in a way that's most likely to succeed in the voting phase. When a proposal is submitted, everyone is invited to comment on that proposal, and help to make it better — asking questions, and suggesting changes. Similar proposals can be combined; very broad proposals should be split up into more specific ideas. The goal is to create the best possible proposal for the voting phase.
The person who submits a proposal should expect to be active in that discussion, and help to make changes along the way. Because of that, we're going to limit proposals to three per account. If you post more than three proposals, we'll ask you to narrow it down to three. Bring your best ideas!
Similarly, only registered users can make proposals to ensure they can watchlist the discussion and respond to questions. Just as with voting, you should be an active editor on at least one Wikimedia project. If you do not meet this criteria, or you have hit your proposal limit but have more ideas, you can seek other users to adopt your proposals.
One more note: Proposals that call for removing or disabling a feature that a WMF product team has worked on are outside of Community Tech's possible scope. They won't be in the voting phase.
Yes, you may submit some proposals that didn't get enough support votes in past years, and deserve a second try.
If you decide to copy a proposal from the old survey into the new survey, we expect you to "adopt" that proposal—meaning that you'll be actively participating in the discussion about that idea, and willing to make changes to the proposal in order to make it a stronger idea when it moves to the voting phase. As we said above, there's a limit of three proposals per person, and posting a proposal from last year counts.
It's helpful if you want to post a link to the previous discussion, but please don't copy over the votes and discussion from last year. If there are good points that people made in last year's discussions, include the suggestions or caveats in the new proposal.
After the proposal phase, we take a break to review the proposals before the voting phase begins.
All active contributors can review and vote for the proposals that they want to support. You can vote for as many different proposals as you want. To ensure fair voting, only registered users can vote, and votes by very new accounts may be removed.
The only votes that are counted are Support votes. The final list of wishes will be ranked in order of the most Support votes. If you are the proposer, a support vote is automatically counted for your proposal.
However, lively discussion is encouraged during the voting phase. If you want to post an Oppose or Neutral vote with a comment, then feel free to do so. These discussions can help people to make up their mind about whether they want to vote for the proposals. The discussions also provide useful input to guide the work that will happen through the year.
A reasonable amount of canvassing is acceptable. You've got an opportunity to sell your idea to as many people as you can reach. Feel free to reach out to other people in your project, WikiProject or user group. Obviously, this shouldn't involve sockpuppets, or badgering people to vote or to change their vote. But a good-faith "get out the vote" campaign is absolutely okay.
The Community Tech team may decline proposals which do not meet the following criteria:
- The proposal should be about a technical change and not for a policy or social change
- The proposal should be about the problem and not necessarily ask for a specific solution
- The proposal should be a well-defined problem and not a mix and match of different unrelated issues
- The amount of work in the proposal is appropriate for the Community Tech team to work on along with the other wishes in the top 5
- The proposal is not already in another team's roadmap or has not been declined by other teams in the past
- The proposal has not been declined by Community Tech in the past
- The proposal should be within the team's scope
The Support-vote rankings create a prioritized backlog of wishes, and the Community Tech team is responsible for evaluating and addressing the top 5 wishes. To do that, we investigate all of the top wishes, and look at both the technical and social/policy risk factors.
The Oppose and Neutral votes are very helpful in raising potential downsides. For controversial wishes, we balance the voting with a more consensus-based review. As an example, this worked in the 2015 survey: The wish to "add a user watchlist" received a lot of votes but also some heartfelt Oppose votes. We listened to all sides, and made a decision on whether to pursue the project or not.
The 2020 Community Wishlist Survey is now complete! We want to thank everyone for their participation in this year’s survey. It was a very civil and smooth process, and we appreciate all of the help that we received. Now, we’re delighted to announce the top 5 wishes from the survey:
- Improve export of electronic books (Wikisource)
- New OCR tool (Wikisource)
- Migrate Wikisource specific edit tools from gadgets to Wikisource extension (Wikisource)
- Inter-language link support via Wikidata (Wikisource)
- Insert attestation using Wikisource as a corpus (Wiktionary)
Here’s what comes next: We’ll begin analyzing these five wishes after the new year. During our analysis, we’ll consider various factors, including possible dependencies and risks. Once we’ve completed this analysis, we’ll determine which wish to address first. We’ll create a project page on Meta-Wiki for that wish, which will outline the project vision. We’ll also ping all the wish voters, so everyone can share their suggestions and questions on the Talk page. From that point, updates will be found on the project page. The first project page should be launched in the next few months (no set date yet), but you can visit the Community Tech page for updates in the meantime.
As a team, our goal is to address every top wish in the Community Wishlist Survey. This means that we analyze each wish and determine if it’s workable (i.e., within scope, no major conflicts with other teams, etc). In many cases, the wish is workable. We then continue with the research and planning, followed by development, testing, and deployment. However, we sometimes identify significant issues or risks associated with a wish. In such cases, we investigate alternatives and ways to mitigate the risks. As a last resort, we sometimes decline certain wishes, but only after we rule out other options. Above all, we make sure to address each wish and share our findings with the community.
As this year draws to a close, we want to thank you, again, for participating in the survey! It was a fantastic experience for the team (and we hope for you too!). After the new year, we’ll begin reaching out with plenty of questions, ideas, and updates. We’re excited to begin the work to improve Wikisource and Wiktionary. Until then, we wish you a happy new year, and we look forward to collaborating with all of you!