Tech News – How is it written?

RIAN archive 801943 Printing house of Sovetsky Sport newspaper.jpg
File:RIAN_archive_801943_Printing_house_of_Sovetsky_Sport_newspaper.jpg () by Vladimir Vyatkin / Владимир Вяткин, CC-BY-SA-3.0.
  • English: “Printing house of Sovetsky Sport newspaper”. The printing house of the Sovetsky Sport newspaper.
  • Русский: «Типография газеты “Советский спорт”». Типография газеты “Советский спорт”. Россия, Москва

Tech News is a newsletter for reaching out with technical updates to the general Wikimedia editor communities, to make sure they can keep track of what’s happening.

It is a popular publication, typically distributed in 15–20 languages due to the fantastic help of volunteer translators. It reaches roughly 100 community pages (Village Pumps, etc.) and some 780 individual subscribers (add yourself!) weekly, in addition to those who read it on Meta, see it included in the Signpost or other community publications, or get it in their email inbox.

But do you know how is Tech News written?

Suggest items!

You have built a new universal tool for the Wikimedia community? Or you plan to push a change into production that will change things for everyone? Please add it to the next issue of Tech News! The newsletter relies on additions or suggestions made by the technical community.

What to add to Tech News?

We welcome any kind of information that has a technical impact on the wikis. Typical items are new or upcoming features, or potential breaking changes. However, we have several cases where Tech News is not the right place. We have listed several inclusion criteria. If you have any doubt, please ask us!

But in short, any change that has a significant impact on the wikis should be added on Tech News (and the earlier, the better).

How to add something?

There are several ways to make the communities aware of a technical change.

The most common way is: please add your update yourself! Tech/News/Next will take you to the relevant issue. Remember to link to a relevant Phabricator task, wiki page or email.

To add your item to the next issue, the recipe for a good addition is very simple:

  • a couple of sentence per item, written in a simple English — making it too long puts an unreasonable burden on the translators.
  • a link to a Phabricator task, a wiki page or an email if they need more information.

And that’s all! Don’t worry about polish, we’ll take care of that. But keep an eye on it: we may need some more information from you!

Tech News is for non-technical readers, and for an international audience. It should be easy to translate as well as be written for people who’s native language is not English (en-1 and en-2 readers).

Concerning other options, there’s a “#user-notice” tag in Phabricator. Add it to the task together with a simple 1–3 sentence explanation of what this is and how it affects editors. And you can always write a message on Tech News talk page.

To keep things focused, keep in mind that Tech News is not a general Wikimedia newsletter, or a way to reach the Wikimedia technical community.

Rule of thumb: the earlier you keep Tech News editors aware of a possible changes, the better! This way, communities will have the information in advance.

Translations and distribution

When we have all the news, we assemble the newsletter. Translations are really important. This is why we have a tight calendar concerning inclusions:

  • Most important information for the week is gathered on a first draft on Thursday. This draft is sent to translators for an early translation round.
  • On Friday, the information is checked again. Some last minute items are added, no-relevant anymore ones are removed. Sometimes things are updated. Then, the newsletter is frozen for good: no more additions are allowed.
  • Over the weekend, volunteer translators work on translations.
  • The distribution is done on Monday afternoon/evening UTC.

We are always looking for translators. We post reminders to translators’ mailing-list weekly, and a direct translation link is available when you visit Tech News homepage on Friday or over the weekend. Please consider to help!

How can we make Tech New better?

As we rely on collaboration to create the newsletter weekly, we also rely on your opinion to improve Tech News.

Are there ways we could make Tech News better at spreading information about technical updates that are relevant for Wikimedia contributors? Something we do that’s unnecessary? Things we’re often missing? Things we fail to explain? Anything we’re particularly good at and should keep doing? Tell us – on
Tech News’ talk page, privately, or, of course in the comments below.


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