Community Wishlist Survey 2022/Larger suggestions/A banner on software-related Wikipedia articles to increase MediaWiki development and get Wishlist proposals implemented/Proposal

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  • Problem: We're having these surveys every year but only a very small fraction gets implemented.
There's also a large backlog of code issues on phabricator, and many even very basic features haven't been implemented so far.
This is despite of the code issues not including many existing and potential proposals.
Often code issues, if implemented at all, take over 5 years from creation to implementation. There could be much more development.
  • Proposed solution: Add a banner asking developers to help with MediaWiki development.
The banner is only displayed at the top of all software-related articles (at least all software development related ones). Alternatively it could also be displayed on all pages.
  • Who would benefit: Wikipedia as a whole and all existing and potential sites using MediaWiki software.
  • More comments: It could be further improved by setting up e.g. a competition-like leaderboard of volunteer developers who helped the most on the page the banner links to. Maybe there could also be functionality to donate to teams/people who implement Wishlist proposals to fund their implementation. However, I think it would be best if the first time such a campaign is run, only volunteer development gets facilitated, especially because it may be difficult to design this in a way that's fair and well-functioning if that's possible at all (I think it could be fairly simple).

    Engineering would be required to put the banner only on software development related pages. This could be done by using categories. It would also be required for things like rankinglists and badges. The badges could be rewarded for certain tasks like closing a difficult issue or a number of issues and would get certified. Users could then use these badges on their userpages and even outside of Wikipedia. Moreover, engineering could help ensure that people can get started with the development well and quickly and that efforts are streamlined in a way that ensures contributions are constructive. Further details and additional ways could be worked out later or get added to this proposal (via edits and comments).

This proposal also got substantial support on reddit on multiple subreddits.
It seems like at the talk page Ayack Otourly Stryn and Sänger expressed discontempt with how Wishlists have been implemented so far.

Wikipedia runs on MediaWiki software as its core and most proposals here are about this software. It is this page or a similar page, that the page of the banner should link to or whose information the page should contain.

Note that many proposals are not yet code issues. For example, I have many proposals I never published so far because I'm still waiting for more important issues to get solved first (like a button on the Watchlist to see all changes since last visit per page which could save a lot of editors' time).

I also think that more of the WMF's financial resources should be dedicated to software development of the Wishlist proposals and phabricator tasks (this also got substantial support on reddit). However, this proposal here is "only" about the banner (and everything directly related to it on the landing page etc). I think that regardless of what's decided related to the use of funds and funding-mechanisms, we should strive to maximize volunteer MediaWiki-related development.

Note that visibility, feedback and being part of a campaign (roughly described), rather than an unfacilitated strive to help out by interested individuals, can substantially increase motivation. This could also be the idea behind #1lib1ref.

I don't think that such a campaign would draw substantial human resources (or time, expertise, effort) away from other important software development. In particular, away from open source software development/maintenance of important packages.