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User talk:BryanDavis/Rebranding Cloud Services products
Call for participation
I am seeking constructive participation. Arguments that the status quo is fine and that changes are unneeded are not constructive. Suggestions of which problems have been missed or which changes would be of the most beneficially impact are constructive. Suggestions of past efforts which might be examined and other communities that have solved certain problems are constructive. Prognostications of failure due to past performance of initiative X, Y, or Z are not constructive.
I think as much work as possible should be done to prevent breaking links. Even if we fix all the links on Wikimedia projects, we don't know where else links are being used. To this end, once we figure out a new approach, we should have robust redirect rules in place, such that tools.wmflabs.org/$1 consistently redirects to $1.wikimediatools.org (or whatever the domain is). This minimizes disruption and makes it easier for all of us since we won't have to immediately hunt down all the wmflabs.org links. Harej (talk) 20:41, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
- I agree with this 100% line of thinking. In the current proposal I'm actually advocating for not changing the tools.wmflabs.org and other *.wmflabs.org URLs at all. There is a suggestion that in the future we tie transitioning away from the wmflabs.org domain to a major platform change that would start as a voluntary process and take a reasonable amount of time to fully complete. --BryanDavis (talk) 21:13, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
- I must've misread, then. If the links are going to be stable then that's fine. (Alternatively, we could say no new domains on the wmflabs.org domain, have new subdomains on the new domain only, and encourage others to switch, but at their own pace.) Harej (talk) 21:18, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
As a whole, I support re-branding. I've felt for a while that "Labs" is a misnomer, since the most significant software projects on Labs are in fact quasi-production, used in the real world. "Cloud" is probably not the best branding – depending on your tolerance for fads – but it's in common usage, it parallels services like Google Cloud, and I don't have any better ideas. So on the whole I say let's go for it. My nitpicks are as follows:
- I wasn't sure where the idea for "Tool Forge" came from, then I saw the Wikipedia article on software forges and it made a lot more sense. I assume this is a term in common usage and I just didn't know about it. But why Tool Forge, as opposed to something like Wikimedia Tools, if it's just going to be abbreviated as Tools anyway?
- To the extent we want as clear names as possible, I think we should reserve "Wikimedia Cloud" for the parent entity/brand, Wikimedia Cloud Services, and pick a different name for Cloud VPS, just as how it's Tool Forge / Tools and not "Cloud Tools." One obvious choice is "Wikimedia VPS" but I feel like we can do better.
- I'll start another thread about "why cloud" because its a topic that is likely to drag on for a bit based on past discussions. :)
- I actually wasn't aware of w:Forge_(software), but its a nice tie in. For me the reference was more to w:Forge and the idea that those of us who craft custom software tools have similarities with town blacksmiths who provided a service of creating custom tools for their customers. This same core idea led to the naming of Striker as well.
- Product names with "Wikimedia" in them are things that the Foundation likes to trademark. This makes "Wikimedia Tools" more costly than "Tool Forge". Also "tools" is a generic term of art in the Wikimedia movement that covers a wide range of software that could be hosted/executed anywhere. Calling the shared hosting product maintained by Cloud Services "Tools" would be inventing a new version of the "labs labs labs" problem. "Tool Forge" distinguishes the product of our hosting environment tailored to the needs of tools from tools as a semi-generic term. People will naturally shorten it to Tools in some conversational contexts. There's really nothing that can be done about that.
- "Wikimedia VPS" has the same trademark issues as "Wikimedia Tools". My understanding (IANAL) is that the protection we are already planning to seek for "Wikimedia Cloud" will be structured such that "Wikimedia Cloud Services", "Wikimedia Cloud VPS", "Wikimedia Cloud $SOMETHING" are protected under the same filing. This needs to be solidly confirmed however. If this is not the case, the product branding should shift to something without "Wikimedia" in the name to avoid the trademark issues.
- --BryanDavis (talk) 21:50, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
- I think having Tool Forge refer specifically to the platform, and "tools" being a generic term, makes sense. If we are going in that direction, then documentation and branding materials should consistently refer to it as Tool Forge, and we should use that term as consistently as possible when referring to the Tool Forge platform. People might refer to it informally as "Tools" but such usage should not be encouraged (since, as you said, it's too ambiguous).
- Re. the issue with "Wikimedia VPS," does that mean the brand needs to be "Wikimedia Cloud $1" or something without "Wikimedia" in it? Harej (talk) 22:13, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
- "Yes". :) My current understanding is that if it is "Wikimedia $X" it really needs to be "Wikimedia Cloud $X" or we will have to spend a non-trivial amount of money and time to file an additional trademark. If it does not include "Wikimedia" I think we can mostly do what we want without many restrictions. I had "Wikimedia VPS" in the earlier drafts of this doc until that was pointed out to me. I do need to check with Legal to be 100% sure of this either way however. --BryanDavis (talk) 23:20, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
General term "project" in Phabricator
At the phabricator section, the very general term "project" is used often, and unfortunately sometimes without "VPS project". I think that's bad, because I'm not sure that this one is really unambiguous, especially in phabricator where there are "phabricator projects".
Most times it'll be clear from the context, but a sentence like "We should archive unused projects" might refer to language versions of Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikiversity, ... that should be locked, to old phabricator projects that should be marked as archived or to cloud projects which should be deleted. Especially we already have a #Project-Admins phabricator project, which is about creating new phabricator projects and has nothing to do with cloud services, but matches the suggested new naming convention #project-*.
Maybe we should go with #vps-project-* for "Volunteer projects" and #vps-project-requests for the milestone of #vps. I think it's worth to add those four characters to not run into a "Projects projects projects" at some point.
That's also more consistent: We're refering to "Misc volunteer tools" as #tools and to specific "Volunteer tools" as #tool-*. Also we're naming "Misc volunteer projects" #vps-projects, so making specific "Volunteer projects" be tagged with #vps-project-* would make sense in that way.
Thanks to everybody that you take time to care about this, reach out for feedback and put effort into resolving the Labs labs labs problem. As someone who started contributing to wm projects just a few months ago I remember that this ambiguity hit me often in the first weeks. I was so confused by it that I went to the Labs labs labs page about a dozen times the first day. EddieGP (talk) 21:20, 11 May 2017 (UTC) (PS: I probably won't look on this page again often or regularly, please feel free to ping me if there's some question or answer on this topic, thanks!)
- @EddieGP: The overload of the term "project" in Phabricator is a great point and just the sort of thing that I was hoping for help spotting in this consultation. I'm going to update the proposal to use the "vps-" prefix as you have suggested. --BryanDavis (talk) 21:57, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
Why was "cloud" chosen?
Cloud computing is a type of Internet-based computing that provides shared computer processing resources and data to computers and other devices on demand. It is a model for enabling ubiquitous, on-demand access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., computer networks, servers, storage, applications and services), which can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort.—w:Cloud Computing
When Chase and I were putting together a pitch to form a new team we knew that one of the issues we wanted to take on strongly was the 'Labs labs labs' confusion that we had both seen people inside and outside of the Foundation struggle with. We tried out a lot of different names like "Wikimedia Hosting", "Wikimedia Web Services", etc. I was a proponent of "Wikimedia Cloud" through all of it for one simple reason that the excerpt from the enwiki article I think points out. The term "cloud computing" directly describes the suite of services that are offered by the Foundation to the movement via the team. Its also a word that non-technical people have some idea about. The idea that "cloud" means something about computer things is pretty strong (thanks mostly to horrible overuse in marketing in past years, yes). "Labs" could mean anything. Science, experiments, beta features, working on something. It does not distinctly say "computers that can be used to solve problems". The immediate recognition of "cloud" is what I advocated for, and ultimately won enough people over with. Adding "services" at the end to make "Wikimedia Cloud Services" was a late stage change, but one that I'm fine with. Our suite of products are services based on a common cloud computing model. Obviously this comes down to opinion at some point, but I really think that the over use of 'cloud' only affected the opinion of technology insiders (like say professional developers of web software). The majority of current and future Wikimedia Cloud Services customers are not members of this class. Love it, hate it, or be ambivalent about it; "cloud" here to stay at least until the next engineering reorg. --BryanDavis (talk) 23:06, 11 May 2017 (UTC)