IT Development/Technology committee meetings/Minutes 4 February 2014

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These minutes were approved at the Tech Com meeting on 4 March 2014.

Apologies and introductions[edit | edit source]

Attendees[edit | edit source]

In office

  • Carol Cambpell (CC)
  • Jonathan Cardy (JC)
  • Katie Chan (KC)
  • Michael Maggs (MM)
  • Charles Matthews (CM)
  • Richard Nevell (RN) (minutes)


  • Harry Burt (HB)
  • Emmanuel Engelhart (EE)
  • Mike Peel (MP)
  • Joseph Seddon (JS)
  • Doug Taylor (DT)

Apologies[edit | edit source]

Tom Morton sent his apologies. He had been intending to join to meeting, but last minute events had changed his plans. Roger Bamkin had previously let it be known that he is unable to make committee meetings which take place during work hours.

Minutes of previous meeting[edit | edit source]

The minutes of the previous were approved without objection.

14:10 People at the WMUK office left the telecon due to a fire alarm. Discussion continued in their absence.

IT privacy policy[edit | edit source]

The various privacy policies were discussed. It was noted that there are now too many of them (there are currently four), and the page at Privacy policy should be turned into a disambig page.

The document was thought of as being IT guidelines, rather than a policy. Falls into the category of additional documentation/implementation notes/guidelines adding detail to the policy, rather than being a policy in itself. Looks like good ideas, doesn't need recommending/approval?

People in the office rejoined the meeting at 14:24. KC and JC joined the meeting.

Discussion of need for a committee chair[edit | edit source]

MM asked the committee on their opinions on whether a chair was needed to keep activity levels up between meetings, or whether a project manager would be sufficient. JS opined that a member of staff could lead the sessions. JC and MP made the point that staff could do the secretarial work, but that a chair in the meetings (important especially for phone calls to keep conversations manageable) would not necessarily be in a good position to complete the operation tasks, and could continue to be chosen from attendees at the start of each meeting. HB thinks it would be easy to find a chair specifically for meetings, but that the follow up might take more time.

MM made the point that chairing is more about leadership, vision, and pushing projects along than the administrative side. He felt that it should be a volunteer rather than trustee or staff member. DT disagreed as volunteers do not have an obligation, it is a hobby rather than a job and availability may vary. CC felt that the admin tasks could be carried out by staff, but that the committee's current structure needed to be considered as there are items on the agenda which are piling up. JS felt there was a need from over-riding vision. JC and RN in favour of volunteer chair. CC moved to suggest to Jon Davies that more of RN's time would be spent in admin tasks surrounding Tech Com until a project manager is in post. Action was unanimously agreed.

ACTION: CC to suggest to Jon Davies that more of RN's time would be spent in admin tasks surrounding Tech Com until a project manager is in post

The general consensus was that a floating chair, swapping between meeting would be preferred, with staff support in between meetings.

Policy and impact[edit | edit source]

At the previous meeting it was agreed that the committee's primary role should be fielding project proposals and advising the board on what tech projects to support. CM felt that the existing infrastructure for getting people involved with making proposals was not adequate. Key questions were what would the criteria for projects be and how should they be approved. JS offered to make the application template a bit more user friendly. MP suggested merging the process with the grant system. MM preferred to keep them separate as the grants system relates largely to fully-worked out and costed proposals made for support within an already-defined funding structure. A separate tech projects board should be much broader, to include ideas that are not necessarily fully thought through or funded yet, but which might be worth pursuing. He thought that the board would be sympathetic to innovative ideas backed by the committee if real impact could be expected.

MP left the meeting at 14:59

Hosting[edit | edit source]

Database server has been procured and Moodle has been moved over. cf bug 183

CM made the point that when matters are discussed on the list it is not always clear who will carry out the action.

Use of Bugzilla[edit | edit source]

Previous items taken on by KB will be transferred to RN. Actions carried forward to next meeting.

ACTION: RN to take over KB's actions

Contractors were strongly in favour of using Bugzilla to report everything - regardless of severity. Everyone was encouraged to use Bugzilla. CM volunteered to transfer items over to Bugzilla as and when they appear on the mailing list. DT was keen to ensure that the list was still used for urgent items. It was agreed to use both the list and Bugzilla.

ACTION: CM to ensure actions on agreed on the mailing list are transferred to Bugzilla as and when they crop up.

Tech wiki[edit | edit source]

The issue of whether to continue to use the tech wiki was considered. DT has found Bugzilla hard to navigate, and the search function not particularly helpful. RN agreed with this point. DT felt that having pages on-wiki would help navigation, perhaps with an index of bugs. It might be an option to use the UK wiki for this purpose.

ACTION: The tech wiki will be retired

Suggested that RN systematically go through Bugzilla to see how many are open and index them on the UK wiki, conferring with EE and HB over what items should be migrated to UK wiki.

ACTION: RN to email EE and HB to get this started

EE offered to install the Mediawiki Bugzilla extension

ACTION: EE installing the extension

Programme Manager post[edit | edit source]

KB met with James Knight for consultation about the job. JS has drafted a job description for consideration by the committee. JS pointed out that it will be difficult to fill the post if advertised at below industry rates. DT cautious about asking the Chief Executive to directly manage too many people. Opinions on the specifics of the descriptions were asked for. HB was broadly supportive of the description. DT felt the reporting and management structure was a serious consideration. He felt that the developer qualifications were very covered in the description, but that project management was not sufficiently emphasised. CM agreed with this point. CC suggested that if a good candidate does not come forward, it should be referred back to the board to ask for more money to ensure the right person is in post. JS suggested approaching WMF and WMDE for additional funding. KC said this would not be in line with the Foundation's grants process. DT suggested putting the job description live and seeing how the applicants fare. In the meantime, the job description will continue to be worked on by JS with help from JS. Deadline for the end of March.

ACTION: JS and DT to continue refining the draft and once complete to pass onto Jon Davies.

Virtual Learning Environment[edit | edit source]

External consultancy has taken place. For information: a key recommendation was that the hardware would need to be revised: a server with 4GB of RAM is now being considered. The office is dealing with the matter and will keep Tech Com informed.

Wikisoba[edit | edit source]

CM's proposal to develop a 'lite' Moodle version. DT felt that this type of new technology was the kind of project Tech Com should be supporting. CC and MM agreed.

Accessibility[edit | edit source]

ACTION: CC will meet with Jon Davies to discuss how to proceed

FTP service[edit | edit source]

No appreciable movement since the last meeting.

ACTION: JC to ask Fae to respond regarding the project

WikiVIP[edit | edit source]

The issue was making uploading voice clips easier. HB has developed a prototype.

OpenID[edit | edit source]

WMF is no longer prioritising OpenID. HB suggests asking WMF to help with OpenID.

ACTION: HB will email WMF about OpenID

EE asked whether having separate log ins is a problem? CM pointed out that having a single log in would help with the VLE once it is running.

Categorising pages on the UK wiki[edit | edit source]

CM opined that the current category tree is unsatisfactory. It was agreed to let CM categorise as he saw fit.

ACTION: CM to establish a working category tree

AOB[edit | edit source]

Cyber squatting issue regarding QRpedia. MM will refer the matter to the board to discuss whether WMUK should consider trademarking QRpedia.

MP had previously made the point that he was not in favour of the current meeting format: namely partly in person and partly remote. He felt that remote participants might find it more difficult to take a full and active role in discussions. RN asked the four remote participants how the meeting went. HB felt he was able to contribute while remote, though in person was easier. DT pointed out that in person is easier for chairing and makes discussions easier, but that remote participate is the only way some people can participate. He is happy with the current format as is JS.

EE wants regular progress meetings for contractors to discuss with the office as the Tech Com meetings do not necessarily address all issues which contractors deal with, for example CiviCRM.

ACTION: MM to talk to Jon Davies about how to line manage the developers

Timing of meeting during working hours discussed: better for staff than volunteers. CM felt the issue was whether volunteers are picking up actions and completing them.

ACTION: RN to conduct a straw poll to ascertain the preferred method of connecting to calls

Date of next meeting[edit | edit source]

DECISION: The next meeting will be held at 14:30 to 16:30 on 4th March

The meeting closed at 16:07