Dan Poltawski's Blog

Excellent Contributing Experience With MediaWiki

Moodle Docs is built upon MediaWiki and this week I’ve been working on upgrading Moodle Docs to the latest MediaWiki release (1.23.0).

I use open source software all the time, but Mediawiki has strong parallels to Moodle1 and it gave me an opportunity for reflection whilst I was doing the sort of tasks Moodle administrators do; reading release notes, testing customisations and discovering bugs. I became involved in Moodle coming from exactly this situation but it’s been quite a few years since I was far enough removed to consider the experience objectively.

I’ve long held the view that making the process clear and responses prompt & encouraging is the key to the successfully converting first-time contributors into long time contributors.2 Mediawiki have nailed this experience in the last few hours:

Great job MediaWiki! I saw the emails this morning (Saturday) and was excited to respond to your feedback.

  1. Being a PHP based web application (though clearly the site profiles and functionality is dramatically different to Moodle)

  2. It was exactly that experience which lead me to stick around in Moodle.

  3. I have used gerrit with Mahara before, so may have had a head start..