Wikidata:Requests for comment/New user group for developers

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An editor has requested the community to provide input on "New user group for developers" via the Requests for comment (RFC) process. This is the discussion page regarding the issue.

If you have an opinion regarding this issue, feel free to comment below. Thank you!

I propose to add a new user group for developers (WMDE staff) which would have all the user rights that administrators, bureaucrats and translationadmins have except for adding and removing a user from several user groups (sysop, bureaucrat, bot, flooder, translationadmin, rollback, confirmed, propertycreator, ip-block-exempt) due to them being relevant to the community only. The WMDE contractors developers in the new group which is proposed here should only be able to add and remove a user to this particular user group. However, they should be able to change any user right set to their group freely according to their needs.

There are several reasons why creating such a separated group for non-community accounts might be senseful:

  1. This will make it clear to users browsing Special:ListUsers for active sysops/bureaucrats that WMDE contractors do not fulfill a community role and thus cannot be consulted for admin and bureaucrat tasks.
  2. Easier management of the group permissions applied to the staff group itself
  3. Easier user group management for WMDE as they would not need any external users (i. e. stewards) for a removal of work-related permissions.

This RFC, regardless how the outcome is, will finally community-approve WMDE members to hold advanced user rights on this wiki, regardless whether in a separated staff group, or in the sysop, bureaucrat groups like it is currently the case. --Glaisher [talk] 17:49, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

  • Addendum:
    1. Any developer (not only WMDE staff) may be granted access to this user group if they provide evidence of the need for the tools or if another existing developer approves them.
    2. For community control, bureaucrats should be able to add and remove a user to this group. For instance, it can be revoked if this right was abused or when a developer no longer needs access to the tools.

--Glaisher [talk] 12:21, 2 May 2014 (UTC)


  1. Symbol support vote.svg Support --Glaisher [talk] 17:49, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
  2. Symbol support vote.svg Support. Sounds reasonable to make a separate user group for the WMDE staff, because they are not part of the community but developers. --Stryn (talk) 17:55, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
  3. Symbol support vote.svg Support, though we would need to ensure that the WMDE staff really needs such a group or their access to testwikidatawiki is sufficient for their purposes. Vogone (talk) 18:13, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
  4. Symbol support vote.svg SupportΛΧΣ21 19:13, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
  5. Symbol support vote.svg Support, though I think it might be for (Developers) rather than just WMDE since other groups might well hire developers to work here (WMF? GLAM?) and WMDE staff who are not developers might do some editing here (e.g. discussions about german government database licenses?). Filceolaire (talk) 22:25, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
    I assume Glaisher also meant the group to be called "developer" ("I propose to add a new user group for developers"). A clarification would be nice, though. Vogone (talk) 22:32, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
    Yes, all developers. I have renamed this RfC and added a bit now. --Glaisher [talk] 12:21, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
  6. Symbol support vote.svg Support No problem for me ;) by ReviComplaint? at 16:47, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
  7. Symbol support vote.svg Support No problems here. It has always seemed weird to me for devs to make separate staff accounts, but then be given community rights. Ajraddatz (talk) 16:49, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
  8. Symbol support vote.svg Support I don't care anyways-DangSunM (talk) 20:03, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
  9. Symbol support vote.svg Support It's look reasonable. --Nouill (talk) 20:44, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
  10. Symbol support vote.svg Support--GZWDer (talk) 06:11, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
  11. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose This is a production wiki - not a test wiki. We have testwikidata for such purposes. Also giving users access to deleted content (which this will) without a full community vote is not something the Foundation allow, so a RfA type process would still be needed thus just ask for sysop. On the comment of WMDE staff - @Lydia Pintscher (WMDE): told me that staff do not require an entirely separate user group for their work. I'll let her comment in her official role but what we are doing here is effectively adding a group which is the same as what we have but giving allow it to be given out like candy on a production wiki. Since oppose and any similar type arguments are the same as annoying, I'll just that I am strongly against this unless a valid reason for this being added to a production wiki is necessary and the current set up is harming the knowledge base. John F. Lewis (talk) 19:32, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
    This is about whether the community requires a separated group for them, not about WMDE developers "needing" it. Though, if testwikidatawiki access is sufficient for developers, why do they have admin access then here at all? I don't recall them having applied for adminship as you describe it either and the WMF seems to tolerate (yes, even promote) it without having ever consulted the community (which also didn't exist back then yet). Vogone (talk) 19:51, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
    The community does not require a separate group - we grant sysop to those (as evidenced by past RfAs passing with the rationale 'I need it to edit x and x because of y'). They did not apply for adminship because back then there was no community and then they needed the rights. I don't think staff require the rights anymore - remember, when they were given theses rights, testwikidata did not exist back then. I think if we speak to Lydia, she'll make a more professional and official comment about this rather than us guessing. John F. Lewis (talk) 19:55, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
    See the top part of this RfC. If they no longer need the rights, then we will have them removed instead of creating this group (we are still awaiting a reply on that). Otherwise, this group will be for developers, not community members... so all that stuff about needing to pass a vote, etc, is not relevant in the same way it currently isn't for WMDE staff. Those same people would be in the developer group. Ajraddatz (talk) 20:27, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
    The only way to avoid the vote is a) already have the relevant rights to b) be employed by the WMF in some way. If they are the latter - it is a WMF thing to deal with, not community thing. WMDE have the rights because they needed them when Wikidata was in its inception stage. John F. Lewis (talk) 20:30, 9 May 2014 (UTC)
  12. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose the term "developers" but Symbol support vote.svg Support naming it "WMDE staff". It is very important to note that not all staff are developers, nor are all developers staff (you cannot even define "developer" because anyone can contribute to open-source software).--Jasper Deng (talk) 01:08, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
  13. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose naming it "developers" but Symbol support vote.svg Support naming WMDE staff per Jasper Deng. --Reception123 (talk) 05:24, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
    @Jasper Deng, Reception123: Please read the comment by Filceolaire which outlines why the name "WMDE staff" is rather not senseful. The group will firstly not include all WMDE staff members but only those who are in the Wikidata/Wikibase development team and secondly there is the possibility that other groups unrelated to WMDE may hire Wikidata/Wikibase developers who need such access. Regarding the "definition" of the term developers, it is already mentioned that they need a rationale similar to the one why the current WMDE developers have sysop access before being added to that group. Regards, Vogone (talk) 11:08, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
  14. Symbol support vote.svg Support. Can they be given the existing global group 'Staff' rights? If not, I would also prefer 'WMDE staff', and WMF staff can use 'staff', and no random 'developer' should be given this right on the production wiki. This should not be given out to anyone who isnt a WMDE employee that needs to make changes to production in order to keep the software working correctly. John Vandenberg (talk) 18:15, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
    @John Vandenberg: No, as that would also include global CU and OS. --Rschen7754 18:58, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
  15. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose the term "developers" being used as a user group. Legoktm (talk) 03:17, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
    @Legoktm: Would you please be so kind and add which term you prefer and for which reasons? Thank you very much. Vogone (talk) 04:33, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
    Well, I've thought about it a bit more, and I think there are a few other reasons. First, there hasn't been any comment from any of the WMDE staff saying they're in support of this. It seems a bit silly to have this discussion without that. I suppose I would prefer the name "WMDE staff" or something like that. My main objection is to the term "developers", which is way too broad, and would introduce even more confusion. Legoktm (talk) 07:08, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
    For the record, Lydia should be stopping by here later today with an official comment on the matter. I'll poke her in a few minutes to see if she has any comment as of yet however. John F. Lewis (talk) 15:01, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
  16. Ok since you're all waiting for a comment from me here you go:
    1. We don't need an RfC for this imho. A talk with me would have been a good start. I want this to be a project where the editors and the developers work very closely together in a great atmosphere. This includes talking about such things directly as a start. The dev team isn't some magic group out there that can't be reached - quite the contrary ;-)
    2. We don't need a staff group or anything like that imho.
    3. We still do need one or two people with advanced rights to be able to act in emergencies imho. I suggest me and Daniel Kinzler. Just the other day again change replication for example broke and worst case we would have needed to stop bots. Not too long ago I needed to look at a deleted revision to investigate a bug. Note that none of the dev team has abused their rights. We're always trying to find someone else to do these jobs if possible. But if worst comes to worst when for example a deployment is botched and a gadget needs to be fixed quickly then I'd like us to be able to do that. It is not and it will not be our first course of action. I believe we've shown to be trustworthy and mindful of the consequences of the rights since the start of the project over two years ago. --Lydia Pintscher (WMDE) (talk) 16:13, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
      Thank you very much for your answer but please see that the proposal covers more than just the WMDE development team. And reading the comments above, it seems to be a wish by our community to keep these non-community accounts in a clearly separated group, which can also be seen in Ajraddatz' comment. And obviously we completely trust the development team not to abuse their rights, otherwise not so many users would have voted in favour of such a developer resp. WMDE staff group. Regards, Vogone (talk) 19:13, 12 May 2014 (UTC)
      I don't get it. Why do normal non-WMDE developers need rights? They shouldn't, this isn't a test wiki, it's a production wiki. Legoktm (talk) 05:40, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
      As Filceolaire explained, there is a possibility that other chapters may hire developers for the work WMDE is doing right now and possibly WMDE won't be doing this forever. Obviously, the group name could be changed from "WMDE staff" to something else after that happened, but it would be less work if we used a broader name right from the beginning on. Vogone (talk) 08:19, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
      If you still need the rights, that's fine, but I'd prefer that you access them from a different, non-community group. Not so much about needing it as it being nice to ensure separation of the development and community sides. That's all :) Ajraddatz (talk) 00:07, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
  17. Symbol support vote.svg Support but per Legoktm; I think "WMDE Staff" is a more appropriate name than "Developers". --GeorgeBarnick (talk) 19:28, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
  18. Symbol support vote.svg Support - never mind how the group is named. Matěj Suchánek (talk) 13:13, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
  19. Symbol support vote.svg Support creating a group and Symbol support vote.svg Support the bikeshedding over the name. Let's call the group Lydia's posse. Multichill (talk) 17:30, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
  20. Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose any proposal that allows for sysop rights to be given out like candy on not just a production wiki, but such a large production wiki. --Rschen7754 01:33, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
    @Rschen7754: Just for clarification, you are in favour of removing sysop access from current (WMDE) staff accounts, as they also didn't undergo our community processes? Vogone (talk) 12:50, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
    Lydia commented on this matter already. If you wish to remove rights form the accounts, please speak to her. WMDE need sysop rights (one or two do) in order to manage technical matters in some cases. Although Lydia does go through other users. This is the same as WMF accounts having sysop on wikis yet we don't argue with that. John F. Lewis (talk) 17:00, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
    I am not in favor of giving the right out to developers. Personally, I believe that Lydia and her delegate should continue to retain administrator (but not bureaucrat) rights, for emergency access. --Rschen7754 18:58, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
    Alright, and why are you against creating a community-separated user group for them? Vogone (talk) 21:27, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
    I'm not against that, but that is not how this proposal is written... --Rschen7754 21:56, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
    That the proposal only consists of a "Comment" section was intentional and indicates that any kind of input/suggestions is welcome :-) Vogone (talk) 22:08, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
    @John F. Lewis: What has Lydia's starement to do with Rschen7754's personal opinion? I don't believe she can forbid it … Vogone (talk) 21:28, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
  21. Symbol support vote.svg Support--Akifumii (talk) 16:02, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
  22. Symbol support vote.svg Support Jianhui67 talkcontribs 14:37, 21 June 2014 (UTC)