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> Brion Vibber to leave WMF, ... yeah, it's official.
Alison
post Mon 28th September 2009, 8:18pm
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It looks like Brion is moving on to another company, soon. He's announced it on his blog amongst other places. While I wish him well - he's one of the good guys smile.gif - I have to wonder what this is going to do for Flagged Revisions and some of the other important software updates. Knowing geeks as I do, he'll probably still work voluntarily on the sidelines - I know I would.

Anyways - I guess Jimmy's going to be hiring programmers and CTOs again soon fear.gif
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Kelly Martin
post Mon 28th September 2009, 8:21pm
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QUOTE(Alison @ Mon 28th September 2009, 3:18pm) *
It looks like Brion is moving on to another company, soon. He's announced it on his blog amongst other places. While I wish him well - he's one of the good guys smile.gif - I have to wonder what this is going to do for Flagged Revisions and some of the other important software updates. Knowing geeks as I do, he'll probably still work voluntarily on the sidelines - I know I would.
It will, no doubt, be used as yet another excuse to delay flagged revisions. There seems to be no end of reasons for not implementing them.
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Malleus
post Mon 28th September 2009, 10:46pm
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I doubt that Brion's departure will make much difference, or that it was triggered by the ongoing flagged revisions fiasco.
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Kelly Martin
post Mon 28th September 2009, 10:52pm
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QUOTE(Malleus @ Mon 28th September 2009, 5:46pm) *

I doubt that Brion's departure will make much difference, or that it was triggered by the ongoing flagged revisions fiasco.
Concur. I doubt very much it has anything to do with flagged revisions, or even that he's terribly much disenchanted with working there; instead, Evan offered him something better.

I suspect there will be long-term consequences for Wikimedia, but I expect they'll muddle through with perhaps some difficulty.
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MBisanz
post Mon 28th September 2009, 10:53pm
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QUOTE(Malleus @ Mon 28th September 2009, 11:46pm) *

I doubt that Brion's departure will make much difference, or that it was triggered by the ongoing flagged revisions fiasco.

I agree that I doubt it was triggered by flagged revs, but I would disagree that it will not make a difference, Brion has been with MediaWiki since it was created and is probably one of the only individuals out there with a full idea of what is actually in the software (undocumented extension, TS apps, external apps, etc) as well as what direction the software should be developed in (what things to include in core, how to make it more stable, more usable, things not to do with it, etc). I do have confidence is our other paid devs, but I will not undervalue Brion's immense role in the project.
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Milton Roe
post Mon 28th September 2009, 10:58pm
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QUOTE(Alison @ Mon 28th September 2009, 1:18pm) *

It looks like Brion is moving on to another company, soon. He's announced it on his blog amongst other places. While I wish him well - he's one of the good guys smile.gif - I have to wonder what this is going to do for Flagged Revisions and some of the other important software updates. Knowing geeks as I do, he'll probably still work voluntarily on the sidelines - I know I would.

Anyways - I guess Jimmy's going to be hiring programmers and CTOs again soon fear.gif

Well, golly. I thought from his interviews that Jimbo coded up MediaWiki all by himself. I swear there were heroic images of him crawling though the server stacks personally, MySQL handbook in hand, to track down a bug. Think of Scotty crawling down a Jeffries Tube in the original Star Trek, to stick a magnetic probe up the antimatter stream. happy.gif rolleyes.gif

Guess Brion has done as much MediaWiki coding as anybody, and is getting a bit miffed that all his efforts are going for other people's Wikiprojects that are either non-profit or run badly and low profit.

So, what's his big idea for the next internet thing? Well, he writes in the link you give:

QUOTE(Brion Vibber)
The “big idea” driving StatusNet is rebalancing power in the modern social web — pushing data portability and open protocols to protect your autonomy from siloed proprietary services… People need the ability to control their own presence on the web instead of hoping Facebook or Twitter always treat you the way you want.


Pegging my irony-meter, as that's not that much different from how Wikipedia screws people now on BLP. Heh. Except you can't use software to protect you from WP, as the other side has cyborgized by turning innocent brains into human writer-bots, to dig up personal dirt about you. That's hard to match.

And Brion promises he'll help keep WP doing it, at least for a while. Meanwhile, his own project to help people protect their "presence" on the web. yecch.gif From sales organizations with a lot fewer brains working for them than WP has. Due to the fact that for-profit organizations have to PAY most or all of their people, and don't have most of the work done by volunteers....

Yeah, I know. Brion can't be accountable for what they do with his software. But somehow I don't think he's quitting in moral outrage. Unless it's moral outrage at running WP's software for 4 years and not getting a piece of the pie, because there isn't any pie... unhappy.gif
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dogbiscuit
post Mon 28th September 2009, 11:04pm
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QUOTE(MBisanz @ Mon 28th September 2009, 11:53pm) *

(undocumented extension, TS apps, external apps, etc)

Usually, if the software is dependent on some individual then it can be a good thing to get them to move on and knock it into shape.

However, what may be sound for a professional software company may not be the right approach from a bodge and dodge shop (and somehow, I can't imagine that Jimbo set up anything else). A bit less time on the trampolines, and bit more time documenting the bits that are too quirky for anyone's sanity.
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Kelly Martin
post Mon 28th September 2009, 11:17pm
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I think the one thing we can absolutely count on (we're already seeing it with Erik's latest on the flagged revisions discussion) is Erik heaping blame for any perceived failings of the tech team on Brion, even though the tech team is also Erik's responsibility.
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dogbiscuit
post Tue 29th September 2009, 12:41am
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...and Brion, just to rub it in, after Erik whines about pressures, conflicts, lack of sympathy for the poor souls who are so stressed that they can barely find time to trampoline, and even Jimbo chimes in with some hopeless hand-wringing to boot

switches on flagged revisions on the test site.

JFDI
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thekohser
post Tue 29th September 2009, 3:06am
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QUOTE(dogbiscuit @ Mon 28th September 2009, 8:41pm) *

...and Brion, just to rub it in, after Erik whines about pressures, conflicts, lack of sympathy for the poor souls who are so stressed that they can barely find time to trampoline, and even Jimbo chimes in with some hopeless hand-wringing to boot

switches on flagged revisions on the test site.

JFDI


Yeah, right.

And I'm an admin.

rolleyes.gif
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Alison
post Tue 29th September 2009, 3:07am
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Mon 28th September 2009, 8:06pm) *

02:51, 29 September 2009 Gmaxwell (Talk | contribs | block) changed group membership for User:Thekohser from (none) to Administrators and Editors ‎ (GregoryCabal)

"GregoryCabal" evilgrin.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif
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One
post Tue 29th September 2009, 3:24am
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QUOTE(Alison @ Mon 28th September 2009, 8:18pm) *

Anyways - I guess Jimmy's going to be hiring programmers and CTOs again soon fear.gif

Wouldn't an officer do that?

QUOTE(Kelly Martin @ Mon 28th September 2009, 11:17pm) *

I think the one thing we can absolutely count on (we're already seeing it with Erik's latest on the flagged revisions discussion) is Erik heaping blame for any perceived failings of the tech team on Brion, even though the tech team is also Erik's responsibility.

That does indeed seem pretty passive aggressive.
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MBisanz
post Tue 29th September 2009, 3:27am
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Tue 29th September 2009, 4:06am) *

QUOTE(dogbiscuit @ Mon 28th September 2009, 8:41pm) *

...and Brion, just to rub it in, after Erik whines about pressures, conflicts, lack of sympathy for the poor souls who are so stressed that they can barely find time to trampoline, and even Jimbo chimes in with some hopeless hand-wringing to boot

switches on flagged revisions on the test site.

JFDI


Yeah, right.

And I'm an admin.

rolleyes.gif

That link only works if the viewer is also an admin, here is a link for the rest of us: Log
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anthony
post Tue 29th September 2009, 3:32am
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QUOTE(Kelly Martin @ Mon 28th September 2009, 11:17pm) *

I think the one thing we can absolutely count on (we're already seeing it with Erik's latest on the flagged revisions discussion) is Erik heaping blame for any perceived failings of the tech team on Brion, even though the tech team is also Erik's responsibility.


"Sit down, and write two letters..."

QUOTE(Kelly Martin @ Mon 28th September 2009, 10:52pm) *

I doubt very much it has anything to do with flagged revisions, or even that he's terribly much disenchanted with working there; instead, Evan offered him something better.


He did just get demoted.
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thekohser
post Tue 29th September 2009, 4:01am
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I feel sorry for these us admins who have to learn how to actually do these flagged protections. I can't figure them out!
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Malleus
post Tue 29th September 2009, 9:59am
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QUOTE(dogbiscuit @ Tue 29th September 2009, 12:04am) *

QUOTE(MBisanz @ Mon 28th September 2009, 11:53pm) *

(undocumented extension, TS apps, external apps, etc)

Usually, if the software is dependent on some individual then it can be a good thing to get them to move on and knock it into shape.

Exactly. Writing PhP "programs" doesn't seem that difficult to me, but the irony is that software shops generally can't afford outstandingly talented programmers (no idea whether Brion is in that category or not), because their work needs to be understood by those who are left behind when the prima donna moves on.

This post has been edited by Malleus: Tue 29th September 2009, 10:10am
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anthony
post Tue 29th September 2009, 3:04pm
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QUOTE(Malleus @ Tue 29th September 2009, 9:59am) *

Writing PhP "programs" doesn't seem that difficult to me, but the irony is that software shops generally can't afford outstandingly talented programmers (no idea whether Brion is in that category or not), because their work needs to be understood by those who are left behind when the prima donna moves on.


Without outstandingly talented programmers, how is anything going to get done?

You just need to hire outstandingly talented managers as well, to make sure, among other things, that documentation gets written for the outstandingly talented programmers who take over to use to get up to speed.
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dogbiscuit
post Tue 29th September 2009, 3:31pm
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QUOTE(anthony @ Tue 29th September 2009, 4:04pm) *

QUOTE(Malleus @ Tue 29th September 2009, 9:59am) *

Writing PhP "programs" doesn't seem that difficult to me, but the irony is that software shops generally can't afford outstandingly talented programmers (no idea whether Brion is in that category or not), because their work needs to be understood by those who are left behind when the prima donna moves on.


Without outstandingly talented programmers, how is anything going to get done?

You just need to hire outstandingly talented managers as well, to make sure, among other things, that documentation gets written for the outstandingly talented programmers who take over to use to get up to speed.

You need outstandingly talented people to have the great ideas - but generally it is best not to let them implement any more than you have to. Most companies I've worked at have had a prima donna expert, and most have been better off when they have caged them. Most bright ideas end up having massive hidden maintenance costs.
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anthony
post Tue 29th September 2009, 3:42pm
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QUOTE(dogbiscuit @ Tue 29th September 2009, 3:31pm) *

QUOTE(anthony @ Tue 29th September 2009, 4:04pm) *

Without outstandingly talented programmers, how is anything going to get done?

You just need to hire outstandingly talented managers as well, to make sure, among other things, that documentation gets written for the outstandingly talented programmers who take over to use to get up to speed.

You need outstandingly talented people to have the great ideas - but generally it is best not to let them implement any more than you have to. Most companies I've worked at have had a prima donna expert, and most have been better off when they have caged them. Most bright ideas end up having massive hidden maintenance costs.


That's an interesting position. Having always been on the "outstandingly talented" side of that equation, I really can't understand it. Nine times out of ten my great ideas don't get implemented if I'm not heavily involved with the implementation myself.

But if it works for you, I guess I can't blame you.

As for me, I suppose that's why I moved out of the software industry and became a tax accountant. It was far too frustrating to watch my creations destroyed by idiot code monkeys managed by idiot project managers. I guess I got spoiled in my first job, working on Unix kernel code with a whole team of outstandingly talented individuals, led by an outstandingly talented manager. In hindsight I should have never quit, but how was I to know that the rest of the world wasn't going to run that same way?

This post has been edited by anthony: Tue 29th September 2009, 4:00pm
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Kelly Martin
post Tue 29th September 2009, 3:45pm
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QUOTE(dogbiscuit @ Tue 29th September 2009, 10:31am) *
You need outstandingly talented people to have the great ideas - but generally it is best not to let them implement any more than you have to. Most companies I've worked at have had a prima donna expert, and most have been better off when they have caged them. Most bright ideas end up having massive hidden maintenance costs.
This is why you often find the "founder" of many successful internet companies ensconced with a title like "Chief Scientist", usually with a nice office, but no direct reports. Such people are paid to Have Ideas and Convey Them To Others, who then turn them into viable product. Expecting people like that to also manage or direct is usually counterproductive.

Rumor has it that Cray paid people to steal his designs from him so that he wouldn't destroy them first; his rampant perfectionism would lead him to scrap perfectly viable ideas because, in the course of setting them down on paper, he'd realize some even better way to do something and would be tempted to throw the whole thing out. The key to his success in business was in not throwing out those "imperfect" ideas.
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