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Comment: Re:Sandbox (Score 2) 94

by Eloquence (#49016021) Attached to: The Bizarre and Complex Story of a Failed Wikipedia Software Extension
Thank you for giving it a spin and reporting back, glad your tests worked. :-) Our policy is to not execute JS at all on older browsers like IE6 and IE7 (for security and maintenance reasons), which has the side effect of keeping us honest in ensuring all core features work without JavaScript.

Comment: Re:"Millions of dollars spent" / state of Flow (Score 4, Interesting) 94

by Eloquence (#49015921) Attached to: The Bizarre and Complex Story of a Failed Wikipedia Software Extension
Hey gl4ss, these are fair points, but I stand by my original estimate, including overhead & travel. A couple of things to keep in mind: 1) Although WMF is based in the SF Bay Area, it is a non-profit, there are no bonuses or stock options, and base comp is good but not as high as you can get elsewhere. We also hire internationally and our teams often include remote folks in regions with different pay scales. For positions like community liaisons, we often hire younger folks who don't get quite as high an hourly rate as an experienced engineer would. 2) Yes, managers need to get involved, there are meeeetings, etc., but our engineering managers tend to be responsible for pretty large groups (20+ folks) since teams working on user-facing features have their own dedicated Product Managers and most of the day-to-day decision making exists at the team level. This reduces the risk of micromanagement and keeps managers focused on supporting teams rather than getting in their way. 3) The delta in compensation between engineering managers and engineers is not as high as you might think.

Comment: Re:"Millions of dollars spent" / state of Flow (Score 3, Interesting) 94

by Eloquence (#49015835) Attached to: The Bizarre and Complex Story of a Failed Wikipedia Software Extension

Hi TuringTest, thanks for your comment! Contrary to your past tense, Flow continues to be in active development, and continues to be deployed to new use cases, most recently a new user help forum on French Wikipedia, and a technical support forum on Catalan Wikipedia. Since the only way to roll out a system like this is to replace existing use of wiki pages, we're proceeding conservatively to test it out in social spaces where people want to try a new approach, and improving it in partnership with real users in those venues.

It's true that talk pages, being ordinary wiki pages, support "making your own workflow". I love the Douglas Engelbart reference, though I doubt Engelbart would have remained content with talk pages for very long. The lack of a discrete identity for separate comments makes it impossible to selectively monitor conversations you're participating in (you literally have to use diffs to know what's going on), or to show comments outside of the context of the page they were added to. This is a pretty tough set of constraints to work with. At the same time, you're absolutely right that a modern system can't simply emulate patterns used by web forums or commenting systems like this one.

Like wiki pages, Flow posts have their own revision history. Flow-enabled pages have a wiki-style header. Each thread has a summary which can be community-edited. Threads can be collapsed and un-collapsed by anyone. All actions are logged. In short, wiki-style principles and ideas are implemented throughout the system. At the same time, we believe that as we add modern capabilities like tagging, we can replace some of the convoluted workflows that are necessary in wikitext. Already, Flow adds capabilities missing from talk pages -- notifications for individual replies, watching specific threads (rather than a whole page), in-place responses, etc. More to come.

Comment: Re:"Millions of dollars spent" / state of Flow (Score 4, Informative) 94

by Eloquence (#49015747) Attached to: The Bizarre and Complex Story of a Failed Wikipedia Software Extension

Hello metasonix! First, congratulations on the successful article submission. In answer to your question, I was referring to LQT development. LQT was put into maintenance mode in early 2011, so of your "10 plus year project", about 7 years elapsed with a little bit of paid effort dedicated to the development of LQT. $150K max spent (not all of it by WMF) on LQT is really a high estimate -- Andrew Garrett, the only dedicated developer, also worked on other projects during that time, including the widely used AbuseFilter extension.

Flow development kicked off in summer 2013, about 18-19 months of development effort so far by a team that's fluctuated in size but currently comprises three full-time engineers, about half a person's time for UX design and research, a product manager and a community liaison. During that entire timeframe, I would estimate money spent on the project so far at less than $1M. Even if you combine both efforts, "millions of dollars spent" is pure hyperbole, and adding up elapsed time to exaggerate scale and scope of these efforts is equally misleading.

Comment: "Millions of dollars spent" / state of Flow (Score 5, Interesting) 94

by Eloquence (#49015589) Attached to: The Bizarre and Complex Story of a Failed Wikipedia Software Extension

The article summary speaks of "millions of dollars spent" on a new discussion system for Wikipedia. The article actually tells a very different story -- the LiquidThreads extension started out as a Google Summer of Code project, was funded for a while by an interested third party, and then received a little attention from the Wikimedia Foundation (one designer, one developer) before development was put into maintenance mode. I would ballpark the total money spent around $100-$150K max. Elapsed time does not equate money spent. LQT continues to be in use on a number of projects, but its architecture and UX needed to be fundamentally overhauled.

Flow, the designated successor to LQT, continues to be in development by a small team, and is gradually being deployed to appropriate use cases. It is now running on designated pages in a couple of Wikipedia languages, and old LiquidThreads pages are being converted over using a conversion script developed by the Flow team. Contrary to the article's claim, WikiEducator upgraded to a recent version of LQT, and will be able to migrate to Flow in future using the conversion script.

You can give Flow a try in the sandbox on mediawiki.org and see for yourself whether the article's claims are hyperbole or not. Disclaimer: I am the person referenced in the headline of the Wikipediocracy article, so take my view with a grain of salt, as well. ;-)

Comment: Moving is always an option (Score 1) 405

by gowen (#48380129) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Unblock Email From My Comcast-Hosted Server?

"When I ask my other tech friends what they would do, they simply suggest changing ISPs. Nobody likes Comcast, but I don't have a choice here. I'm two years into a three-year contract. So, moving is not an option"

Moving is always an option. But you have to eat the cost of one year of Comcast. Sorry, but that's your solution.

+ - Single European Copyright Title on the Horizon->

Submitted by presroi
presroi (657709) writes "It has been 13 years after the last harmonization effort of copyright within the European Union and this period might soon be over. After the election of a new European Parliament in May this year, Jean-Claude Juncker has been nominated to become the new President of the European Commission. He has named a unified copyright his top priority, a statement repeated today at a hearing before the Greens/EFA group in the European parliament (transscript of the question by MEP Julia Reda and his answer in German, Video recording). These statements are coinciding with the upcoming release of a report by the General Directorate in charge of copyright, of which an advanced draft has been already leaked to the internet. The report analyzes four possible policy options, one of which is the introduction of a Single EU Copyright title."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:objective list (Score 4, Informative) 231

Wikipedia is very slanted towards recent and Eurocentric events.

Yes, this is somewhat explainable in terms of how much literature has been produced over time, and how much literature is accessible online. Wikipedia isn't the problem here, the problem is that the authors didn't acknowledge this issue, let alone attempt to account for it in their computation. (though it's a long paper, so I might have missed where it was discussed)

Comment: Re:if you want your day in court (Score 1, Insightful) 215

by Raul654 (#46979675) Attached to: Plaintiff In Tech Hiring Suit Asks Judge To Reject Settlement

> Why does the legal system allow settling class action suits?

Because when all the basic facts are the same, it makes *a lot* more sense to have one trial covering 64,000 victims than it does to have 64,000 trials. The *only* people who benefit from having all those unnecessary trials are the lawyers. If anything, class actions are less profitable for lawyers than the alternative.

Furthermore, unlike this case (where each plantiff suffered substantial harm: tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars each), imagine a case where the harm suffered is small-but-nonzero. (For example, a few years back, the music CDs with the rootkits on them. For most people, the harm is the cost of the CD, around $15. Maybe twice to four times that if you want to include the cost of rootkit removal) In those cases, nobody in their right mind is going to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to file a lawsuit to recover $15. So the victim's choice is a class action suit or nothing at all.

Comment: Re:Too Bad. (Score 1) 40

by Raul654 (#46414465) Attached to: US Drops Link Sharing Charges Against Barrett Brown

I'm not a lawyer either, but FYI even if the judge had agreed to dismiss the charges, that would not be binding on other courts either. It would not have become binding unless one side or the other appealed and the circuit court and got a decision there. That decision would then become binding on *only* that circuit.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser

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