Pausing new development to do some bug smashing

User blog

Hey gang!

Before we dive into the future of the platform and the new Unified Customer Experience (AKA UCX) - and we will VERY soon - I wanted to take some time to talk about an all-hands quality of life project we’re working on right now, as all but one of the migrations to the Unified Community Platform (UCP) are now complete.

Yesterday, all four wiki platform engineering teams took a pause on UCX and other development work and dove into UCP bug fixing mode. While these teams have been working on critical bugs consistently for the past few months, there has been a steady build-up of non-critical bugs which are best described as “quality of life” issues. These are things that don’t quite work just right, but aren’t completely breaking a feature or preventing you from using the site. Things which will make your lives easier if they just work how they’re supposed to or, in some cases, how they did before.

For the next two weeks, their focus will be on knocking out as many fixes as possible for these issues and then checking back to see how the platform feels after that. While they are working on that, the rest of the UCX team will be working through feedback from the reveal of the design in progress at Community Connect this past weekend.

How did we get here?

Brandon has an analogy he’s quite fond of to describe the UCP project, which is that we built the airplane while we flew it. Some of you who attend Community Checkpoint on Discord twice a month (everyone is welcome!) will know that, with the exception of Jessica Clifford and one other person, we completely rebuilt the Product team at Fandom during the UCP project. From the start of the work in Spring of 2019 until now, all but 2 Product folks (out of 12) are new to the organization. With that level of restructuring comes all new processes and ways of working. We’ve changed how we run projects, how we log bugs, how we organize work, and how the different features of the platform are governed - all while continuing to push forward on necessary development work to provide a modern MediaWiki experience. This bug smashing project is a byproduct of that work, allowing us to highlight, triage, investigate, and resolve hundreds of bugs in a 2 week span. Going forward, we’ll be able to incorporate more non-critical bug fixes into regular development work, thanks to the new processes.

The result of that is a stronger structure for the future of our work, which you’ll soon be seeing the fruits of with the UCX and the ambitious set of creator tools we’re working on for the rest of 2021 and beyond. What got left behind, however, was some of the ownership of bugs and some institutional knowledge. For example, one such bug was introduced because we brought over a useful extension from the legacy Fandom platform that created redundant behavior with a core MediaWiki feature added in the past 8 years and stopped both from working. It was really odd behavior, took a lot of investigating to figure it out, and it’s something you’ll see in our bug fix list next week.

What’s next?

Like I said before, we’re diving into 2 weeks of intensive bug fixing for “quality of life” issues. I will be giving you a rundown of each week’s completed work in detail and the Community team will be collecting additional feedback to understand what we got right and what still needs attention. Once that is done, we’ll go back to our work delivering the future of Fandom, so that we can get the experience unified and return to a world of platform maintenance, continual improvement, and awesome new features for our creators.

We’re already rolling!

Here are the bugs we’ve already squashed as part of this work. Note that "fix" does not necessarily mean that the fix has been released onto the site, since our new releases are typically on Tuesday and Thursday. So if you're still experiencing one of these, it may not be until Tuesday until you notice the difference. But we're still rolling full steam ahead!

  • A bug in the Fandom Design System that caused some color mismatch on buttons and diff pages
  • A bug that caused article title to move after page load on mobile devices
  • A bug that caused the Social Activity page to parse template data into the feed, breaking the layout
  • A bug that prevented Gadgets preferences from saving properly
  • A bug that caused the letters F, D, and X to break galleries links
  • A bug with the layout of the namespace dropdown in Special:Contributions
  • A bug causing the project namespace to miss the right rail
  • A bug causing the table of contents to sometimes have both numbered and bulleted formats
  • A bug causing unread notifications to not show properly on Gamepedia wikis with FandomMobile
  • A bug causing hide/view deleted comments to not show for staff and non-admins with special permissions
  • A bug causing a staff and volunteer spam prevention tool to display an internal error message

And that’s just on the first day. Looking forward to getting more updates about this out to you over the next two weeks.

Fandom Staff
Will was the Global Communications Lead at Fandom, but no longer works here. Before that, he was the Community Manager for Gamepedia and the Gaming Community Manager for Imzy. Outside of work, he hangs at the beach, explores breweries, plays golf, and lifts big weights for fun.
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