Category: MyWikis

The struggle with migrating to PHP 7


When PHP 7 was first released, I was very excited to install it on one of MyWikis’ servers. In retrospect, I was too excited to install it—I should have been more patient. Some critical components of our website ended up breaking because they were incompatible with PHP 7. Of course, I hastily reverted back to PHP 5.6 and have kept it that way since.

Today, I’ve been thinking about whether to begin migrating to PHP 7. It has matured and many PHP applications have had time to adjust to PHP 7. The primary application I have in mind is MediaWiki—the lifeblood of MyWikis. Since MediaWiki 1.27.4, it has been fully compatible with PHP 7. It is now viable for MyWikis to initiate an upgrade of PHP on our servers. However, my answer to upgrading is still no.

I truly do look forward to unwaveringly upgrading to PHP 7. However, that day has not yet arrived. Too many legacy web applications are still stuck in PHP 5. Heck, many of them are stuck in PHP 5.3. In fact, 5.3 strikes that sweet balance between old PHP and new PHP (as it only deprecates certain legacy features instead of removing them). I have taken the responsibility of maintaining an old website that my mom wrote in PHP ten years ago (yes, really, in 2008). This website is deeply sentimental to me because my mom made it for an eight year old me. When I restored it back from a backup, it was an honor to fix the PHP errors that had appeared. I assume the website was written in PHP 5.2 standards, so when it was upgraded to 5.4, I had to remove all of the register_globals() functions, LOL!

But my point is, as a businessman whose livelihood depends on PHP, I don’t have the liberty to screw around and upgrade PHP to the latest version whenever I please. I have to consider its compatibility with legacy software that, while not up-to-date yet, is vital to my business. Today is not the day that MyWikis will be upgrading to PHP 7. I don’t think the day will come until PHP 5.6 is completely EOL’d. I do believe this is the best course of action, as upgrading will only bring havoc to our tranquil servers in their status quo and disqualify our servers from handling potentially important legacy software.

Until PHP 5 completely flatlines, MyWikis will not be upgrading to PHP 7.

Why MyWikis will no longer interview prospective employees


This post applies more to my personal life than the events of my company, so I’ve decided to write about it here on my personal blog. That being said, according to the title of this post, it has led to changes within my company.

You may think that I spend every single living hour outside of academics on MyWikis. This simply isn’t the case. Aside from MyWikis, I have plenty of things to do. (To be honest, I originally was  extremely passionate about MyWikis’ mission, which is why I founded the company of course, but five years puts a heavy toll on your passion. Today, I’m not as fired up about MyWikis as I was five years ago. And that’s okay! So I spend it somewhere else.) Two days ago, I started up a Bukkit server. Recently, since I’m a student too, I’ve been studying for some upcoming tests. I’ve been going to college admission information sessions too, so I can get an inside scoop on college admissions. And yes, college essays. Plus, did I mention I’m doing paid summer research for ten weeks at UNT? Yeah, my plate is loaded. I’ll admit to that.

I also founded the TAMS Cybersecurity Association, so I have lots of work to do in order to prepare this club for the upcoming fall semester. The reason I decided to found it was because of a lack of focus on cybersecurity-related topics in the TAMS community. Furthermore, being rejected from every single club and organization’s officer positions to which I applied resulted in my freedom to pursue something else. Since I wasn’t bound to an existing club, I decided to bring unfulfilled passions to share with everyone at TAMS. But from my experiences of being rejected, I was humiliated by the gruelling interview process. The questions being asked, as well as the surprise tasks that we were asked to perform, resulted in this said humiliation. I really had to sell my soul for these interviews, to show my passion for these clubs (and yes, they were true passions). Until they said, “nope, we don’t think you’re good enough compared to others.” Awkward.

Did you see something wrong with the fact that I was setting up a Minecraft server? Yeah, I’m bored. Let’s be honest. I’m not exactly pleased with the idea of studying for a test, then going to do research for 10 weeks, right after I finished a gruelling semester. My company? I love it, but I can’t spend all day on it at this point. I mean, I guess I could, but it’s not as good as—working on a fresh idea that has potential.

So I called up some of my friends who were working on a project that was just that. Previously, I worked with one of them on an open source project. It no longer exists today as a service, but I didn’t regret a second of developing it. And it was so. much. fun! My expectation was that I could hop on as a part-time contributor. These friends of mine gave me a formal interview at Starbucks, akin to the extremely triggering experiences I had at TAMS club officer interviews. Okayy… I knew the route this was going, with my luck. Sure enough, the interview process turned out to be the final nail in the coffin instead of the cherry on top.

In case you don’t know how hurt I was by the overall TAMS officer selection process, below is an excerpt I’ve taken from that article.

Through all of the assistance and leadership that I have shown this year, I have been stabbed in the back by every opportunity. Nothing seems to matter anymore. Apparently, I am an annoying, unqualified, “blacklisted” student that nobody likes and nobody wants to be a leader… Whenever I compare TAMS to the outside world, I see how I can make a true difference in real life, where my assistance is not only appreciated, it’s rewarded. I consistently contribute my time with a non-profit, and unlike TAMS clubs, they don’t treat me as if I were utter shit.

I’ve since come to the realization that the interviews given for TAMS and this opportunity to contribute to a project (free of salary) were humiliating. To be exact, I realized this twice: when I left Starbucks and when I received the email that I was not welcome to help because of my preexisting commitments.

Interviews are humiliating.

It felt like an initiation where I was asked to humiliate myself. For fraternities, that’s called hazing. I don’t know what it’s called in this case.

When you open up, when you are interrogated, when you are asked to share things too personal and too meaningful to you, and then to see them all dusted away as if they were nothing, you are humiliated.

Furthermore, friends don’t conduct formal interviews with each other. These things are mutually exclusive. Or so I thought? When I asked friends to join my company and help out (and paid them—remember I didn’t ask for a single cent from this new venture), I never put them through a formal interview process. Sure, I knew them, but I didn’t even question their true proficiency in what’s required to work in my company, and they ended up doing their job very well. I have now realized that I don’t need to interview someone to get a good sense of how suitable they are for a job.

Realizing how destructive and dehumanizing interviews have been, I have decided to completely eliminate any form of interviewing for MyWikis jobs. That’s right. Starting now, I am not going to even ask for “your worst quality and your best quality,” which is an absolutely bullshit question. I don’t give a crap about that. Everyone has them; no need to embarrass ourselves. I do know, however, that someone will do a good job if they’re qualified. And I’ll figure that out through an objective, fact-based simulation of how someone handles their job and communicates with others. Oh, and I’m not going to have people humiliated by having “surprises.” Applicants will have ample time to prepare before they enter the simulation. And that’ll be their training if they are hired, which they will, because they will be capable.

One last thing I forgot to mention: keeping talent on retainer means giving flexible work times, which is exactly my company’s policy on work. Matthew McConaughey might be a professor at UT Austin, but he isn’t working there full time. Yet UT respects his talents and gives him free reign over how he manages his time while bettering his students and the community overall.

See here for an update to our recent job posting:

In order to determine fit within our current company, you will be asked to complete a MyWikis-administered simulation where you will collaborate with others.

As a result of our recently-implemented No Interview Policy, we will not interview you for this job.

I am extremely serious and conscious about how people are treated, even if I’m not able to develop a harassment-fighting AI. As I once said in a TAMS seminar, humanity cannot be automated. That’s why I place more emphasis on ways humans can improve their behavior and attention to emotion, not just how a machine can do so in a regulated way.

I hope the elimination of any form of formal interviewing in the MyWikis job application process will reduce humiliation—a form of harassment. Destiny’s ironic.