IT Development/Technology committee meetings/Minutes 11 September 2014

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These minutes were approved at the Tech Com meeting on 23 October 2014.


  • Harry Burt (HB) (chair)
  • Carol Campbell (CC)
  • Charles Matthew (CM)
  • Richard Nevell (RN) (minutes)


Michael Maggs and Emmanuel Engelhart sent their apologies.

Meeting began at 17:14

Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the of the last meeting were considered by the committee and there were no objections.

Scoping exercise update on progress

The report recaps problems faced by the committee, in particular lack of capacity. HB noted there were no surprise and hoped that it would be endorsed by the board. In general terms, CM posited whether it will be possible to have a consistent strategy, how innovation should be balanced against existing projects, and whether we can do serious project management.

CC informed the committee that the board will discuss the report in their meeting on 4th October. She noted that Jon Davies supports the recommendation in the report that a Chief Technical Office is needed. The intention would be to remove operational tasks from the remit of the committee in order to introduce focus to meetings. CC would be interested in splitting the committee into two groups for day-to-day concerns and strategic aspects. HB favours the reports proposed strategic role for the committee. CM noted that the responsibilities of Tech Com have changed since it was founded and was of the opinion that the focus should be on strategy. He also suggested that the technology strategy needs to be integrated with the commications strategy. CC reassured CM that developing a communications strategy is a key objective over the coming two to three month.

Online voice recording

HB met Andy Mabbett at Wikimania and discussed developing an online recording tool. The tool has been prepared and is now with Andy for testing.

ACTION: HB to follow up with AM

Wikimania 2014: round up of activities

HB went to tech sessions and summarised his thoughts. There were people who might be interested in getting involves with Wikimedia UK's technology activities. RN questioned whether Tech Com would be engaging for new recruits. CM was of the opinion that meets up would be more effective for getting people involved. HB suggested that improving Tech Com would make it more engaging. There was news about the Visual Editor and Magnus' Wikidata game tool which has proved a good method of getting people contributing to Wikidata.

CM reported that the Wikimedia Sweden contact regarding badges has gone stale. CM also discussed the VLE presentation. The Public Catalogue Foundation and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biographyshowed interest in Wikidata. Overall CM is of the opinion that Wikidata is going to be a key focus along with Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, and Wikisource.

HB noted the implementation of the media viewer and the dynamic between chapters and the WMF in terms of development.

Bugzilla and Phabricator

Action carried over from the previous meeting.

ACTION: RN to draft a page explaining how bugs are handled by developers, and the function and expectation of the using Bugzilla

HB noted that the WMF are transitioning from Bugzilla to Phabricator and posed the question of whether Wikimedia UK should follow suit. CM suggested this might be something to discuss after the board has considered the recommendations of the scoping report.

Safe Sandbox

HB created a prototype. CM has not yet heard back from Ian Stuart but the intention is to have something to show at EduWiki in late October.

ACTION: CM to chase

HTTPS outage retrospective

RN updated the committee on Katherine Bavage's behalf. KB has submitted a report to the board.

CC noted the board was unhappy with the outage. KB's report contains recommendations to prevent this from happening again. CC asked whether the QRpedia issue was related to the outage. HB said that it was unclear but may have been tangentially linked.

CM felt that the wiki has been neglected with a spate of vandalism and performance issues as well as the HTTPS outage.

ACTION: CC to ask Michael Maggs to make the report public.

Addendum: KB's report can be read here.

Date and chair of next meeting

HB and CM felt six weeks may be an option. CC noted the board meeting may have a key agenda item after reading the scoping exercise. HB volunteered to chair, though it would require a 5pm or 6 pm start.

DECISION: HB to chair the next meeting.


CM seeking to get Virtual Learning Environment launched. Recent updates broke the Single Sign On module. Repairing this blocking issue is the key focus. Doug Taylor has been asked to look at it.

ACTION: CC to progress the SSO repair.

Meeting closed at 18:14