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User:Aschmidt/Don't break the community

On 7 June 2014, I put some points to the wikitech-l mailinglist in a thread on introducing Flow for discussion pages. I think WMF policy on introducing new software on Wikipedia is a danger to the development of our community. User:Nemo_bis compiled some quotes from my posts in the essay Don't break the community. For the record, here are my posts in full:

The most important point about everything new the WMF is currently developing is that it really can frustrate and drive away even more old editors. The WMF only talks about new editors, but does not take into account that we need to keep the old ones in the first place.

To give you some more background: Our community has suffered a lot of stress over the past years which results in frustration in many places. Many long-time editors have gone inactive because of that. Some of the stress is self-made, some came in from the German chapter, mostly last year (this will hopefully change now), and some of the stress comes from San Francisco. The latter stems mostly from new developments in technical terms. Remember that this is only a small community of only a few hundred regulars, and that we had to fight against visual editor, and when media viewer was announced the first question was whether it would still be possible to switch it off when it would not be beta any more. Many of us are exhausted and tired to fight against the Wikimedia bodies.

That's why I interfere when there is talk about Flow. Both visual editor and flow have the potential of providing another and perhaps final blow to the still active old editor community. There is only one community. We don't have another one as substitutes to take over. If a wiki project is dead and broken once it will be broken forever.[1]


Again, I would like to invite you to think twice. I talked about the psychological foundation for participating in such a large project as Wikipedia. It needs tact not to harm an already suffering community when such sweeping changes should be introduced.

No one has ever asked for our opinion whether we want this or not. It is decided over our head, par ordre de mufti. Most of us insist on community processes taking place for introducing new technology on such a big scale, not in order to deactivate it.

Again, this is all about breaking a community. And we cannot discuss this in terms of what is good or bad because you cannot revert the negative impact new technology will have on old editors. This is not only about technology. It's about psychology. And the latter will prevail.[2]


To sum it up for tonight, I was speaking about tact and psychology in the first place. And I said that this is not about some old-timers, but about the bulk of our community. The heart of this project is comprised of some 300 to 400 editors you cannot substitute.[3]