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Submissions/Waiting for Real-Time Collaboration

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This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2017.


This is an Open submission for Wikimania 2017 that has not yet been reviewed by a member of the Programme Committee.

Submission no. 3069 - T3, TC
Title of the submission
Waiting for Godot Real-Time-Collaboration
Type of submission (lecture, panel, tutorial/workshop, roundtable discussion, lightning talk, poster, birds of a feather discussion)
Author of the submission
C. Scott Ananian (cscott)
Language of presentation
E-mail address
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Wikimedia Foundation
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (up to 300 words to describe your proposal)
Like Godot, real-time collaborative editing (like Google Docs) has been talked about on Wikimedia projects for years but never quite arrives. The technology is not too difficult; indeed most of the necessary underpinnings are already present in Visual Editor. But collaborative editing would introduce a major change to the social process and user experience of editing on our projects. In this panel discussion we take the technology as a given and concentrate on the editor (and reader) experience.
  • How will we organize collaborative editing sessions, and how will we find editors to work with? How can we prevent vandalism inside a collaborative session?
  • Is there a real-time chat feature alongside the editing window, to coordinate changes? Is chat different from Talk pages? If the Rubicon (of real-time chat) is crossed, where else would we allow chat? How would we prevent harassment?
  • What happens to the article history? When is a collaborative session "done"? Who decides? Can we untangle individual contributions after the revision is saved? What if one of the participants was a paid editor?
  • What do real-time edits look like to readers? Can they see the page change in front of their eyes? If you begin to edit, are you told if there is an ongoing collaborative editing session already in progress? What does it feel like to participate in updating an Olympics result page in real time with a thousand others?
  • Can our vandalism and spam tools keep up with "collaborative" attackers? These tools need to be real-time, and perhaps we need faster notifications to admins as well.
Is this all a bad idea? Perhaps Wikipedia articles are best written/edited by a single person, undisturbed and contemplative. Perhaps Wikinews stories require a single unified voice for cohesion...
...or maybe this will finally unlock the next wave of editors. Let's discuss!
What will attendees take away from this session?
Attendees will learn about the challenges and possibilities of real-time collaboration on our projects and hopefully contribute to a discussion that could set the direction for these features on WMF projects.
There will be a panel of contrasting views, but I hope to heavily involve the audience in the discussion as well.
Theme of presentation
WikiCulture & Community / Technology, Interface & Infrastructure
(Goal is to steer the conversation away from "Technology" and toward "Community", although some discussion of "Interface" is inevitable.)
For workshops and discussions, what level is the intended audience?
Length of session (if other than 25 minutes, specify how long)
55 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
Technical presentation at Wikimania 2014: Real-time Collaborative Editing with TogetherJS
User-interface discussion at Wikimania 2015: Real-Time Collaboration
2016 Developer summit: phab:T112984
2017 Developer summit: Tackling chat
Slides for 2017 Wikimania session: Overview slides for panel discussion on Real-Time Collaboration at 2017 Wikimania.
Special requests
Is this Submission a Draft or Final?

This is a Completed submission for Wikimania 2017 ready to be reviewed by a member of the Programme Committee.

Interested attendees

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  1. Amir É. Aharoni (talk) 06:24, 9 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Daniel Mietchen (talk) 02:38, 10 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Pginer-WMF (talk) 15:33, 12 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  4. GDubuc (WMF) (talk) 20:28, 1 May 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  5. --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 13:43, 23 June 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  6. VMasrour (WMF) (talk) 17:01, 19 July 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Christina Rupprecht (WMDE) (talk) 10:50, 4 August 2017 (UTC)[reply]