Wikimedia Meta-Wiki

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Wiki engine: MediaWiki
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Main topic: Wikimedia Foundation
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original Meta-Wiki logo

Wiki Size: 41,927 pages see stats...
(As of: 2014-07-28)

Wikimedia Meta-Wiki – this 'meta' wiki is used by the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) to act as a central primary coordination wiki for all of their 'projects' and activities, which include running Wikipedia and various sister projects, and also originally included developing their own wiki engine software, known as MediaWiki.

This meta wiki also used to include a lot of information about the MediaWiki wiki engine; including user manuals, installation manuals, and development information; however, this has now all been moved to the MediaWiki.org wiki (a more logical place for it). Inevitably, the discussion pages related to those manuals start to act as a kind of support forum, but there are other channels for seeking user/admin/development support.

[edit] Purposes

The main purposes of Wikimedia Meta-Wiki are to help facilitate:

  1. Discussion and formulation of Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) projects, in particular policy discussion relevant to across projects, such as open-content licensing. The central venue for discussion is the Wikimedia Forum. Some high-level discussions, held mainly in 2009, were split to Wikimedia Strategic Planning (also known as Strategy Wiki – itself now closed).
  2. Interlingual (cross-wiki) and international coordination concerning the WMF projects and the Wikimedia movement in general, including discussion in languages other than English. This includes requests (for pan-Wikimedia or other wikis), translations and news, and the description, documentation, and discussion of real-life activities and facts related to the Wikimedia Foundation and affiliates. This includes reports, events, outreach:, and grants.
  3. Writing and dissemination of personal essays about WMF projects. Because these are usually not delivered from a neutral point of view, they are often summarized on neutral issues pages from multiple points of view. There is a degree of freedom in determining what is related to Wikimedia projects, which makes Meta also a meatball wiki of sorts; discussing such matters as wiki culture and patterns. This role includes more formal research and related discussion.

The third purpose, essays, has not actually resulted in a large number of essays; only something in the low triple digits.ref Likewise, there are not many issues pages.ref Meta is specifically excluded from the list of projects that adhere to a neutral point of view.ref Although theoretically,ref Meta is a place for debate and advocacy concerning controversial policies and practices, behaving in too opinionated of a manner concerning contentious issues has resulted in blocks and bans.

Elections of Wikimedia Foundation board members,ref stewards,ref global sysops,ref etc., occur at Meta-Wiki, and sometimes users of all projects are invited to comment on proposed global policies at Meta. Sometimes, users make complaints about what is going on at other projects, if it appears that the sysops of those projects have run amok, and that intervention from stewards may be necessary. This is usually only allowed when the projects are relatively small and it is clear that the sysops are going against the will of the community; otherwise, the argument will be raised the Meta is not an appeals court.ref The Requests for Comment (RFC) page is a venue for these types of complaints, as well as debate on a wide variety of other matters, such as policy; proposals for what to do with wikis that are in incubation or that are proposed to be brought under the Wikimedia Foundation umbrella; and requests for global bans.ref

Meta is also the location of the global spam blacklistref and the interwiki map.ref

[edit] Culture

A lot of high-level Wikimedia Foundation staff members, stewards, global sysops, etc. frequent Meta. Many of them use it as their 'home base', and ask that users on other projects contact them there. As a result of these users being so readily accessible on-wiki, and rubbing shoulders now and then with other Meta users in the course of carrying out their duties, participating in the global wikigovernance aspects of Meta, and responding to communications; other Meta users tend to become at least superficially acquainted with them. Accordingly, disputes that occur on Meta often quickly get escalated to the highest levels of WMF, with complaints being posted on those users' talk pages, which would not be the case on other wikis. Thus, it is fairly common to see, for example, attempts to drag high ranking Wikimedia legal counsel into conflicts that would, on another wiki, be settled at a much lower level.

It is fairly easy to get blocked or banned from Meta, often with little explanation or with a vague and/or misleading explanation. Usually, the blocks for common vandalism are for lengthier periods than would be the case on English Wikipedia. Although there is no Arbitration Committee (ArbComm), the goings-on at Meta are not completely transparent because there is a great deal of revision deletion that occurs there.

As is the case on MediaWiki.org, Meta sysops typically have free rein to do what they wish, as the community does not exercise much oversight over them. The difference is that there is more likelihood of disputes because of the controversial subject matter (policies, etc.) that are discussed at Meta, so users are more likely to get blocked. The equivalent of an administrators' noticeboard incidents page is "Requests for help from a sysop or bureaucrat" (RFH).ref As is the case on English Wikipedia, repeated bickering tends to result in warnings and/or eventual blocks for the participants.

Essentially, the procedure on Meta, as on many other wikis, is that if a sysop warns a user that a behavior he is engaging in must stop, then he can either (1) stop, (2) communicate with other sysops through non-public channels (e.g. email) and try to get those sysops to warn the other sysop to back off, or (3) take the matter to a public forum for community input. However, the third option is risky because it can be viewed as disruptive and result in blocks or bans. If the sysop blocks the user for such "disruption", and no other sysop is willing to reverse the block, then the block stands, unless someone else who is not yet blocked takes the matter to a public forum such as RFH and gets the community to reverse the decision.

Dissident views on some topics are considered so disruptive that, even though they are on-topic for Meta-Wiki given its stated mission, they cannot be expressed. The rationale behind disallowing the wisdom of suppressing these views from being openly debated or even challenged is that this too would be contentious. Therefore, the meta-discussion, and meta-meta-discussions, and so on, are suppressed as well. There is no equivalent to the previous question or objection to the consideration of the question that would allow the community to vote on a matter without discussion.

There are not many rules governing conduct, so it is left up to sysops to make their own judgments of what is appropriate or inappropriate. Specifically, there are only seven policies applicable to Meta in particular.ref Meta has an "anti 'snowball' policy" that prohibits speedy closure of discussions at this project, but in practice, sysops can and do close discussions summarily and implement what they think is best sometimes.ref

The users of Meta-Wiki tend to be more multilingual than those of other projects, and much of the editing that goes on consists of translations of pages.

[edit] See also


The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), founded 20 June 2003, is the non-profit organization responsible for a very large number (over 850 in total) of very active wikis, grouped together and known as 'projects'; as well as the wiki engine software initially developed for them known as MediaWiki. The Foundations' wiki projects include Wikipedia (encyclopedias), Wiktionary (dictionary and thesaurus), Wikiquote (quotations), Wikibooks (open content textbooks), Wikinews (news source), Wikisource (free content primary and secondary source texts), Wikispecies (a free species directory), and many others as listed below. Most of these projects have separate wiki versions written in many different languages. There is also the Wikimedia Commons (for images, videos and other media files that can be used by all the Wikimedia projects), Wikidata (central space for data used on all WMF projects), and the Wikimedia Meta-Wiki (for issues common to all Wikimedia projects). Its most recent project, Wikivoyage (a 'travelpedia'), was inducted to WMF in late 2012.

Wikimedia Foundation is a member of the Open Source Initiative.

All Wikimedia Foundation projects and wikis (edit) • (category)

Wikipedia • Wiktionary • Wikibooks • Wikiquote • Wikisource • Wikispecies • Wikinews • Wikiversity • Wikivoyage • Commons • MediaWiki • Meta-Wiki • Incubator • Chapters • Wikimania • Outreach • Toolserver • Statistics • Wikitech • Labs • Downloads • Wikidata • Blog • Shop • Donate • Login

Wikimedia Foundation private and management wikis

Office • Board • BoardGovCom • Executive • Internal • Movement Roles • Chapcom • Collab • OTRS • Audit Committee • Search Committee • Advisory Board • Quality • Usability Initiative • Strategic Planning • SP-Com