Wikimedia Space is a platform for information, collaboration and support comprising a blog and a forum. Launched by the Wikimedia Foundation's Community Relations team in June 2019, it aims to become a platform for movement organizers, affiliates, contributors, partners, and the Foundation to share news, questions, and conversations.
The Wikimedia Space project aligns with the Wikimedia 2030 strategic direction on Knowledge equity. For this reason, it strives to "welcome people from every background to build strong and diverse communities" and "break down the social, political, and technical barriers" for entry to our movement. To this end, the team has taken foundational decisions like providing a mainstream Internet user experience, develop a truly multilingual platform, offer one location for ask questions of any kind, establish a code of conduct enforced, and keep all the Wikimedia movement within scope.
Information is power, and Wikimedia's information infrastructure is disempowering for most. Finding sources for news and support is hard for insiders and harder for newcomers. Channels are overlapping, difficult to find, difficult to maintain, and often intimidating. Those looking for information are often confused by the use of Talk pages, mailing lists, and IRC. Many community members end up asking over email or in third party platforms, turning this into a very complicated process.
Growing participation means new opportunities for cross-wiki collaboration, social interaction, and information sharing, and we lack safe spaces to support that. Proactive contributors are increasingly using social media to exchange information and provide support to one another, trading our values for pragmatism. Especially newer/smaller communities are taking these conversations away from Wikimedia platforms. Fragmentation grows.
The Wikimedia Foundation does not offer one single venue for Foundation-related information. There is no centralized place that hosts content and updates related to the Foundation. Different teams publish (usually with great effort) in different places using different workflows and tools. The Wikimedia Foundation website (including its News section) has evolved as a front door for external audiences, leaving a void that was partially filled by blog.wikimedia.org.
A news and discussion space for the Wikimedia movement run by Community Relations. The Community Relations team runs a centralized space for information sharing and collaboration.
Open to all languages. The technical infrastructure and human workflows are consolidated in English at first, and then open the gate to other languages. Multilingual features are available for translated content and a localized user interface.
Welcoming to newcomers. Friendly interface, familiar features, encouraging participation.
Safe. Code of Conduct observed through community moderation.
Open to contributors. Blog is open to authors and stories following the editorial guidelines and review workflows, which are supervised by an editorial board created by the Wikimedia Foundation.
Open to private communications. Personal messaging, groups, and moderator channels.
Open to email interactions. Post via email and mailing list workflows are supported.
Connected to on-wiki and chat channels. Through automatic notifications.
Wikimedia Space will be a single point of information sharing and discussion, but will consist of two components: a news platform using WordPress, and a discussion platform using Discourse.
WordPress is an open-source tool designed to publish news on the web. The platform can be fine tuned to offer fine grained permission control, subscriptions to content, RSS feeds for specific categories and tags, embedding content from other websites, and other features that help keep the Wikimedia movement connected.
Using MediaWiki efficiently as a blog would be hard, and it brings little benefit. In contrast, the collaborative features that make MediaWiki unique are underutilized in a blog setup.
WordPress is a popular free software blogging platform that offers solid core functionality and a wide catalog of plugins to cover special use cases. The Wikimedia Foundation and many affiliates have used WordPress for a number of years, with success.
Discourse is an open-source forum software. Discourse is very newcomer friendly, thanks to its ease of use, simple UI, and engagement features. It is also a powerful platform for experienced users, moderators and administrators.
Currently MediaWiki doesn't have any alternative at this level. Additionally, specialized Q&A alternatives offer additional features like voting questions/answers and nested comments.
Finally, it allows for integration with WordPress, and will be configured to allow users to access the entire Wikimedia Space with their Wikimedia account.
These are some of the features both components share:
- Easily search for content using keywords, tags, date range, author, with results sorted by relevance, most recent, most viewed.
- Customize notifications, with possibility of integrating with wiki notifications in the future.
- Engage in community moderation through enforcement of a code of conduct, and privately report topics or comments containing disrespectful behavior, spam or vandalism.
- Log in with your existing Wikimedia username.
There are, as well, features that are specific to each part of the space.
- Build editorial workflows to support community participation.
- Simple translation interface.
- Integration with Discourse for comments and discussion related to news.
Wikimedia Space is governed by two guidelines aimed at fostering civilized discussion of quality content.
All participants are responsible for building a Wikimedia Space that is welcoming and friendly to everyone. Wikimedia Space is a tool that enables knowledge sharing and movement organizing, and supports work in communities of all sizes. It is a hub for people to connect, support each other's work, and share the diverse perspectives that enrich Wikimedia projects and move us toward knowledge equity.
In order to make Wikimedia Space a safe place where everyone feels comfortable to contribute regardless of who they are, it is governed by a set of Guidelines authored by the Foundation and enforced by participatory community moderation. These guidelines include a code of conduct based on the code of conduct for Wikimedia technical spaces. They outline principles, behaviors, reporting mechanisms and implementation, and they may evolve as new needs are identified.
The Editorial guidelines provide information on the scope of content, authoring of content, and news-related roles and responsibilities, which include the formation and maintenance of an editorial board. They describe the publication process, from the inception of a post through its release on Wikimedia Space.