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Proposal talk:Host a microblogging service

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Latest comment: 14 years ago by Bodnotbod

How would a micro-blogging functionality be distinct from the ability to create a page and have contributors add short text or leave short messages in change summaries and have them show up in Recent Changes or Related Changes? How will imposing a 140 character limit improve our ability to communicate? Could these ends be better met by functionality which exported project activity out to external microblogging services? --Gmaxwell 03:41, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

The microblogging service would not be limited to messages directly related to editing or on-wiki activity. It would be a way for the Wikimedia community (or rather, those who choose to take part) to connect with wider microblogging communities and to create another node (the more the better, to some extent) in a decentralized open microblogging network. The main motivations are a) to improve the public sphere (in the Habermas sense), which other WMF projects are doing in other ways, and b) to improve the social tools of the projects and make it easier to enter and more enjoyable to remain in the community. The microblogging mode of communication is very different from the watchlist mode: more fine-grained and selective in terms of what information is intended for whom, and lower transaction costs for some kinds of communication (trusting other people's judgment about what info merits wider circulation, rather than relying on the blunt and cumbersome tool of non-selective, hand-assembled watchlists.)--ragesoss 05:07, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

I say we amend this proposal to include a 140 char limit on the mailing lists, too. -- Phoebe 04:53, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

That should be a separate proposal; even at 140 char each, I don't want the whole mailing list output clogging my stream.--ragesoss 05:07, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
not on twitter (or in-house laconica, or whatever!) I mean on the actual mailing list. -- Phoebe 05:10, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
Yeah, but limiting to 140 is just going to make people post even more. It will take like 25 posts for the typical rant.--ragesoss 15:26, 14 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
I guess you're right. There would have to be a # of posts limit, too. Oh well. I guess dedicated microblogging is a better idea :) -- Phoebe 03:05, 15 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
I support ways of helping Wikimedians to communicate. I just don't think this is it. Instead of microblogging I'd rather improve tools for w:WP:Wikiprojects and other sub-communities to talk to their members. --Bodnotbod 15:33, 18 November 2009 (UTC)Reply


Back on topic... Laconica is free software, LAMP-based, and there's overlap in contributors w/ folks on the MediaWiki and Wikimedia ends. Certainly it would be the obvious choice for backend if we do want to fire up any microblogging integration.

The system (using OMB protocol) is designed for federation, so having our own instance wouldn't isolate us -- we'd be tied in with eg http://identi.ca/ ... and further there are bridges with other non-OMB services like Twitter and Facebook to limited degrees.

We may want to tie down a little the uses we'd expect, and how we'd present the interface...

  • Part of a general 'social networking' push for activity sharing and interpersonal/group info sharing?
  • Groups/tags as channels for "dear lazyweb" requests for help and calls to action?

And of course how would we integrate with other things?

  • Talk pages (think of LiquidThreads)
  • User-to-user messaging...
  • What about IRC and other IM media?

The important thing is making sure that if there are multiple channels of communication, that they're either cleanly integrated or cleanly separate. It should be reasonably clear how to best communicate with someone in some instance, and if you pick the 'wrong' one it should be easy to move a discussion over somewhere else. --Brion VIBBER 20:23, 17 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

Those are excellent questions, Brion. To the first set (how to present the interface) I would say the latter: encourage editors to use it for editing-related messages. For example, each WikiProject could be encouraged to form a group, so that it would be easy let members know about related issues without the relatively high transaction cost of going to a WikiProject talk page to post a minor announcement. But I also think the use guidelines should allow for more strictly social uses; editors should feel free to use it the way they might currently use Twitter or Identi.ca.
For the second question set, maybe sidebars on talk pages showing all dents that mention the article title, all dents that invoke the username, etc. Best practices might be to encouage people to dent things that are likely to be ephemeral, and bring things to talk pages things of lasting relevance.--ragesoss 23:29, 17 August 2009 (UTC)Reply
I don't know how IRC and other IM ought to connect.--ragesoss 23:29, 17 August 2009 (UTC)Reply

merge with real-time chat

Combine this with proposal:real-time chat and you have a winner. If you give every editor a way to share short messages about what they are doing (and a sandkbox in which to find comments from other wikimedians), that would be page-independent -- something that hangs around in your skin and may interact with other plugins (which might automatically generate part of a dent; or scriptedly reshare edit summaries). This is like leaving a loaf of bread out in a shared kitchen when you're done baking. People will come back to it and enjoy it over the course of the day.

Similarly, giving people a way to drop into a real-time chat within the context of a page/topic/pProject is like bringing food to a potluck. You have something to share, you want to actively engage and share with/from others, you might want to drag some people away with you afterwards to do something else. Sj 01:18, 20 August 2009 (UTC)Reply


Some proposals will have massive impact on end-users, including non-editors. Some will have minimal impact. What will be the impact of this proposal on our end-users? -- Philippe 00:10, 3 September 2009 (UTC)Reply