Talk:Discussion Room

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Specific topics and more general topics

My impression from last year is that there are of course people fully involved in the projects (wanting maybe to bring up issues, explore specific details) and other people who are more interested in the most common Wikipedia-related issues (i.e. why did "they" delate my article? who are "they"?... - I am formulating the questions this way because they are actually the real questions people ask me as soon as I tell them I contribute). I think both kind of approaches can have a space in the discussion room. --iopensa (talk) 14:22, 9 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]

That is an interesting thought. There are indeed people who want to bring up very specific issues. I'm not sure if a discussion room format is the most suitable for that, something like a 'help desk' where a small group of experienced editors is willing to sit with you, think about what happened, dig into the history, and find you some solutions (maybe mediators?) could be a more helpful approach. What I always find tricky about people bringing personal issues to the table, is that the whole room listens to it, and spends time on it, and it rarely brings a solution. 90% of the room will be operating on assumptions of their understanding of the situation. A more personal approach would probably help these people better. What about asking two or three people to have a short session at the end of each day? A helpdesk is maybe not the right word in English, but basically it is a buoy where you can throw your questions at, and clamp on for support/advise. Effeietsanders (talk) 22:41, 9 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Policies - Having a person with the task of providing pure information when needed

I think having a person nominated in the room to work as "policy reader/speaker" can be useful. This person can simply have the task to provide "information" (not opinion, not emotions...), just "what is the rule". Andy did it for us last year (very clear, very well-done) and it was useful in my opinion to allow discussion to really be on topic and not to take a different direction due to uniformed options. --iopensa (talk) 14:22, 9 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]

I guess it depends on the topic, but indeed, sometimes it makes a lot of sense to invite an expert to the discussion explicitely to introduce, give a bit of background. Provided, of course, that this is a modest person like Andy, that is there to help discussion, and not to steer it. Indeed good to keep in mind once the topics get their shape! Effeietsanders (talk) 22:43, 9 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Room size

Last year I was hoping to make some of the discussion sessions, but whenever I tried to go to one the room was already packed. Could they be in a bigger room this time around please? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 17:00, 7 June 2015 (UTC)[reply]

I'm a little on the fence here: we have to strike a balance between allowing lots of participation on one side, and actually allowing lots of people to participate actively on the other. I'm afraid if we go beyond ~50 the group might become too big to manage for a roundtable (and that's stretching it). Any thoughts from other people on room sizes? (eventually, we're highly dependent on the venue organisers though!) Effeietsanders (talk) 20:28, 9 June 2015 (UTC)[reply]


Thanks for working on this, it's a fantastic format. --Nemo bis (talk) 23:08, 11 June 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Moved from the page


A guiding committee has been set up to guide this Discussion Room process, and pick the relevant topics, made up by:

  • Lodewijk Gelauff
  • Iolanda Pensa
  • Galileo Vidoni


A public call is made for suggested topics, which are discussed on this page. For the sake of easy process, the guiding committee will decide going up to Wikimania which topics will appear on the program, and will prepare them for the sessions. After that, we will prepare the discussions together in more detail: agree on specific goals, and see which questions are best to be put forward. Scenarios may be prepared in some cases, or a basis for brainstorm. In the end the discussion facilitator will use this input to lead the discussion to a fruitful conclusion.
Relevant steps (not necessarily in that order):
- Yes check.svg Done Agree on planning (time table towards the conference)
- Yes check.svg Done (time table during the conference): depends on the conference program
- Yes check.svg DoneCall for topics: End of March/begin April
- Agree on methods of facilitation: April/May
- Agree on moderators/facilitators: May
- Community consultation: (done to some extent)
- Yes check.svg DoneAgree on tentative topics: June
- Work out detailed topics: June/July
- Finalize program for the Discussion Room (~2 weeks before conference, if printing deadline permits)


Ideally, we would set the list of topics in its final shape one month before the conference after community consultation. That way we can ensure that the topics are currently relevant to the community and that there is a maximum impact. The focus will be on topics where real life discussion add value over on-wiki discussion. Also, previous conferences suggest that there is a high interest for such discussions, but that it is typically hard to find people to be interested, willing to propose it months in advance and lead the discussion all at the same time.

Some example topics (just made these up from the top of my head - feel free to suggest more!):
  • Welcoming new users to Wikimedia projects - best practices from around the world
  • Dream on: what kind of publicly curated content would you like to see released for use on Wikimedia projects?
  • Paid editing (probably can be split up in multiple discussions even)

Topics of 2014

  • Session 1a, 09.30 - 10.10: "What do new users need to be successful?"
  • Session 1b, 10.15 - 11.00: "Welcoming and retaining new users."

Morning break

  • Session 2a, 11.30 - 12.10: "Wikimedia Commons - Needs and wishes for the perfect Wikimedia media database."
  • Session 2b, 12.15 - 13.00: "Will we still need categories in times of Wikidata?"

Lunch break

  • Session 3a, 14.30 - 15.10: "What topics are relevant/notable?"
  • Session 3b, 15:15 - 16.00: "Exchange of deletion/review processes and best practices."

Afternoon break

  • Session 4a, 16.30 - 17.10: "Admins: editors with extra buttons or community leaders."
  • Session 4b, 17:15 - 18.00: "Mass article creation - who should write Wikipedia?"

Suggested topics for 2015

  • Should we accept large donations of content, as a community? If so, under what conditions?
  • Translating articles from other Wikipedia's: good or bad?
  • How to handle incoming students from schools? (define age)
  • How to handle groups of students from (successful) education projects?
  • User names for users from companies, universities and GLAM-institutions. Common rules on all projects and languages?
  • Is it time to move all infobox content to Wikidata?
  • How communities can upgrade Help namespace (and related contents)?
  • Should we set up interlanguage templates? What are the advantages, what are the problems? (maybe we can broaden this discussion?)
  • How to reach out to expert communities (e.g. learned societies, or research and higher education institutions) to help improve Wikimedia content? (noteː not sure if that fits the topic)
  • How to empower users doing dull, shadow work (OTRS volunteers, bot operators, template creators and maintainers, newbie nurses etc.)?
  • How to deal with intolerant experienced community members?
  • Should 'wiki-stalking' (tracking every single edit of a small group of users) be forbidden? Should it be facilitated? Is it?
  • How to make powerusers who do a lot of routine work from turning sour? Should we protect them against themselves?
  • How to keep the Village Pump a healthy discussion space? Can it be?
  • What is your most annoying Wikipedia experience (community wise)? What is your most beautiful memory? (goal: top-3 annoyances & top-3 hoorays)
  • How to recognise a 'POV-pusher' and avoid false positives. Follow-up: How to transform them to constructive editors.
  • What to do with the trolls we love to feed?
  • When to use Wikidata to include information in a page, and when not?
  • Different approaches to conflict resolution.
  • Now that Wikipedia has become so important, we should start protecting it more rigorously.
  • One big family: will Wikipedia get a little sister anytime soon? We could discuss rules, or we could discuss the candidates that are up.
  • What are effective communication channels? Internally, and by 'externals' (WMF, chapters, other organisations) to the community?
  • Could there be a use for further crosswiki collaboration (setting aside the technical difficulties)? For instance, would there be a benefit to cross-Wikipedia/universal templates? Category trees?
  • The education program: how does it fit with the communities, what are the difficulties, how can we make it scale? Focus of the discussion should be on community aspects, not the chapters/wmf/education foundations etc.
  • How is sourcing of facts in biographies of living people treated across the world? What facts require a source? What are relevant/sufficient source?
  • Should Wikimedia include large amounts of links to external websites, with relevant information? Where? How? When?
  • What would be a good governance model for MediaWiki? How can we care for the needs of Wikimedia sites as well as all the other sites running on Mediawiki?
  • ...

Discussion Program

It is not known yet on which day or days the Discussion Room will be scheduled. The aim is at this point to get 1,5-2 days worth of discussions in English, and 0,5-1 days worth of discussions in Spanish. This depends of course on how many cool topics you deliver!

Help scheduling another discussion

I'm planning to prime a discussion about how to move beyond "Undo", to make the effect less confrontational. My talk was accepted, then cancelled at the last minute on a technicality, but I'm still preparing materials and hoping to find a time to engage with editors. Any help finding time for this discussion would be appreciated!

Adamw (talk) 14:28, 9 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Discussions' visibility?

Hey Effeietsanders, are the Discussion Room sessions being publicized anywhere? Just curious. Best, --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 16:51, 15 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]

They have been included in the programme, and should as such be advertised in the usual ways. We get no special treatment, but if you have ideas that's welcome! Effeietsanders (talk) 19:57, 15 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]