Last year, Wikimedia Foundation launched Wikimedia Space to experiment with new ways to connect volunteers, increase movement participation, and showcase community stories. While we remain committed to this important goal, based on lessons learned through the Space prototype, the Foundation has decided to close Discuss Space. The Space blog, which continues to fill a need to share news for the movement by the movement, will continue in a new home.
We are starting work to move the blog to production and migrate existing content to a new site. Please continue to submit stories and news from the movement so we might highlight your work, lessons and successes.
The Wikimedia Foundation is starting focused discussions and planning to address the problems that Space aimed to solve. Our goals are to improve the Wikimedia infrastructure for information, collaboration and support, involve the communities in the design, and rely on the existing Wikimedia platforms whenever possible. We aim to define a strategy aligned with the Movement Strategy and the Foundation’s medium-term plan, and build resources accordingly.
Experimenting with the Space Prototype
Wikimedia Space was released as a prototype on 25 June 2019, motivated by the Wikimedia 2030 strategic direction pillar of Knowledge equity to support strong and diverse communities. It was setup to explore and experiment with solutions around key problems obstructing equal access to information and equal means of participation in the Wikimedia movement.
The proposal to establish the Space prototype based on existing open source products allowed for a quick launch and a hands-on comparison with other tools both in and outside Wikimedia’s infrastructure. This approach has provided us with a lot of practical experiences and feedback to work from, but also had its shortcomings. Adoption rates have been mixed: many curious and open-minded volunteers and groups joined Space and started to devise future plans counting on it, but only a small percentage stayed engaged.
Instead of keeping Space while planning and implementing the future plans the Foundation has decided to focus our resources on developing a more comprehensive strategy around movement engagement.
Stopping the development of Discuss Space
The team in charge of the Space prototype has stopped the development of new forum features, including the events calendar and map, mailing list mirrors and internationalization, and we are ramping down the maintenance work. Our current plan is to freeze Discuss Space by March 31, restricting the publishing of new forum posts and comments. The content published in Space before the freeze will remain publicly available while a longer term plan for it is defined.
Collecting lessons learned
We have learned a lot from this initiative and want to thank all Space users for their time and contributions. We also invite everyone interested in documenting lessons learned and discussing next steps to join us in taking this effort even further, either at the About Wikimedia Space category in Discuss or the Space talk page in Meta.