Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: Shared list

2016-02-22 Thread Anthony Cole
I'm listening to this, and thank you all. I'll try to be less ... whatever
that is I'm being. I do know what you mean, and I'll tone it down. Oliver,
I had/have no intention of minimising the hurt felt by those involved. I
apologise if I gave that impression. But some of those hurt people have
been dishing out - en masse - a world of pain, themselves. I understand the
dynamic at play here.

In my defence - though I know it's no justification - I'm deeply affronted
by what's been happening here and, especially, on WW. I see its provenance
- the almost inevitability of it, given a hands-off (read that as slow,
ineffectual, irresponsible, mostly stupid and arrogant) board. But still,
this has been just awful to watch, and the behaviour of some here and
elsewhere has been truly, truly trashy.

I shall try to improve my game.

PS:

That's the first time I've ever made public a private email. Literally.
Ever. I assume it will be the last. That kind of thing, bullying people
into silence, quietly, off-list, is IMNSHO, poor behaviour, billinghurst.

Anthony Cole


On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 3:09 PM, Benjamin Lees  wrote:

> Someone complained to you off-list about the amount you're posting to
> the list.  You immediately forwarded his email to the list.  Is this
> the best approach?
>
> On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 12:13 AM, Anthony Cole 
> wrote:
> > I thought I was bringing a sorely under-represented perspective to the ED
> > discussion on this list and wasn't aware I'd said or done anything
> > inappropriate here.
>
> Well, Oliver Keyes said, 3 days ago:
>
> > Speaking as both a volunteer and staff, Anthony, I have found your
> > attitude in this conversation and others on the subject to be deeply
> > unproductive. It would be good if you spent more time asking questions
> > and less time dismissing people's concerns.
>
>
> For my part, I think it's inappropriate to, for example, take
> someone's statement: "I restrained from expressing publicly any issues
> I might have with your own performance; I would love you to not spread
> covert allegations on my performace and professional attitude" and
> proceed to "it is used as proof she's "literally Hitler"."  My
> guidance would be to think carefully about the way you're responding
> to others and whether you would like to be responded to in that way.
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Powerful on-wiki art visualization

2016-02-22 Thread Sam Klein
On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 10:25 PM, Dan Andreescu 
wrote:

> I have this funny feeling that we're about to see like a million of these
> happen.  I wonder if this is how people felt around 2005 : )
>

Based on how long it took me to make this one (following the theme), it may
be closer to what happened when easyTimeline extension came out.  But if a
few simple templates get a more streamlined UI for entering data, or a way
to enter a range of wikidata items, who knows...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_books#Interactive_graph



>
> On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 10:23 PM, Risker  wrote:
>
> > This is really cool, Yuri!  Thank you for sharing this.
> >
> > Risker
> >
> > On 22 February 2016 at 22:15, Yuri Astrakhan 
> > wrote:
> >
> > > First complex interactive graph in Wikipedia explores the most
> expensive
> > > paintings in history. Move the mouse around to view images, click the
> > > period or artist to highlight their work.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_paintings#Interactive_graph
> > >
> > > Thank you Jane [[user:Jhoffswell]], the VegaJS team, and
> > [[user:Primaler]]
> > > who designed the original graph!
> > >
> > > P.S. See graph demo page for examples and tutorial links
> > > https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Graph/Demo
> > >
> > > P.P.S. The "click to open a page" feature is still missing in Graphs
> > > extension, but is on my todo list.
> > > ___
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>



-- 
Samuel Klein  @metasj  w:user:sj  +1 617 529 4266
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: Shared list

2016-02-22 Thread Benjamin Lees
Someone complained to you off-list about the amount you're posting to
the list.  You immediately forwarded his email to the list.  Is this
the best approach?

On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 12:13 AM, Anthony Cole  wrote:
> I thought I was bringing a sorely under-represented perspective to the ED
> discussion on this list and wasn't aware I'd said or done anything
> inappropriate here.

Well, Oliver Keyes said, 3 days ago:

> Speaking as both a volunteer and staff, Anthony, I have found your
> attitude in this conversation and others on the subject to be deeply
> unproductive. It would be good if you spent more time asking questions
> and less time dismissing people's concerns.


For my part, I think it's inappropriate to, for example, take
someone's statement: "I restrained from expressing publicly any issues
I might have with your own performance; I would love you to not spread
covert allegations on my performace and professional attitude" and
proceed to "it is used as proof she's "literally Hitler"."  My
guidance would be to think carefully about the way you're responding
to others and whether you would like to be responded to in that way.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Timeline of recent events at the Wikimedia Foundation

2016-02-22 Thread GorillaWarfare
On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 2:03 AM, Theo10011  wrote:

> Please consider (for later) either linking or making a wiki version for
> Meta. Thanks for making this effort.
>

I intend to make a Mediawiki-friendly version once real life is out of the
way.

– Molly (GorillaWarfare)
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Timeline of recent events at the Wikimedia Foundation

2016-02-22 Thread Theo10011
Good Job GW!

Please consider (for later) either linking or making a wiki version for
Meta. Thanks for making this effort.

On Tue, Feb 23, 2016, Gerard Meijssen  wrote:
>
> All the shit from mailinglists is missing. For the temperature aka the
> understanding of the developments it is certainly as potent as some of the
> departures.
>

Hoi
 It is not the point but I will explain the point .

I think GW covered enough relevant points from the list. There are other
sources that cover similar comments from here, and sifting through a few
hundred long emails to find relevant quotes is going to be a time-consuming
activity which will require editorial choices. Choices, which you and
others might again disagree with. It's better to just cover big
announcements and important messages (important being subjective).

Also, please try to avoid colorful language and be appreciative of someone
else's effort.

Regards
Theo
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: Shared list

2016-02-22 Thread Oliver Keyes
If I might provide at least my, minor, perspective: there is a big
difference between "perspective" and "dissent" and some of your
communiques.

People, particularly at the Foundation, are hurting a lot right now.
And the tone of your messages has been a lot of: justifying actual
people being in actual pain and misery. "Lila is making great
changes!" "yes, but people are so hurt by the way it's been going on
they're going on _MEDICAL LEAVE_" "Oh yes but I support her continuing
work!"

"sorely under-represented perspective" or not, that kind of attitude
is of course going to piss people off. And it may be that denying the
value of peoples' experiences or dismissing their misery is not, in
fact, what you mean to be communicating. But it is how it's coming
out. For me, at least, that's why I find your emails frustrating.


On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 12:13 AM, Anthony Cole  wrote:
> I've just received this from someone called billinghurst:
>
> "Please stop this rebuttal of people's statements. Their opinions are as
> valuable, if not more valuable than yours as statements. Your name is
> appearing too often IMNSHO."
>
> I thought I was bringing a sorely under-represented perspective to the ED
> discussion on this list and wasn't aware I'd said or done anything
> inappropriate here. I sincerely apologise if I have, but I'll need a bit
> more guidance if that's the case. I see a lot of rebutting going on here. I
> thought civil rebuttal was how rational argument progressed. But I've been
> wrong before.
>
>
> -- Forwarded message --
> From: billinghurst 
> Date: Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 4:04 AM
> Subject: Shared list
> To: ahcole...@gmail.com
>
>
> Please stop this rebuttal of people's statements. Their opinions are as
> valuable, if not more valuable than yours as statements. Your name is
> appearing too often IMNSHO.
>
> - b
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> 

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Timeline of recent events at the Wikimedia Foundation

2016-02-22 Thread GorillaWarfare
On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 1:30 AM, Gerard Meijssen 
wrote:

> All the shit from mailinglists is missing. For the temperature aka the
> understanding of the developments it is certainly as potent as some of the
> departures.
>

Hi Gerard,

Quite a few of the entries refer to mailing list posts. I am aware that
responses to the "An Open Letter to Wikimedia Foundation BoT" thread are
missing, and I plan to go through and add the particularly relevant ones
later (unfortunately real life—that is, homework—has gotten in the way).

If you think that there are other emails from the list that should be
included, please let me know (via email or PR) specifically which and why.
Although I do keep an eye on Wikimedia-l and other Wikimedia mailing lists,
I know I do not watch them as closely as you or some other members of the
list, so your help would be appreciated in identifying the particularly
important gaps.

– Molly (GorillaWarfare)
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Powerful on-wiki art visualization

2016-02-22 Thread Bodhisattwa Mandal
Hi,

This is so cool. Great effort.

Thanks to the team,
Bodhisattwa
On Feb 23, 2016 10:40 AM, "Sam Klein"  wrote:

So nice - I just spent 10 minutes playing with this with friends over
dinner.
It's tough to construct a new one without a debugger, though.

On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 10:15 PM, Yuri Astrakhan 
wrote:


>
>
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_paintings#Interactive_graph
>
> Thank you Jane [[user:Jhoffswell]], the VegaJS team, and [[user:Primaler]]
> who designed the original graph!
>

Yes!
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Timeline of recent events at the Wikimedia Foundation

2016-02-22 Thread Gerard Meijssen
Hoi,
All the shit from mailinglists is missing. For the temperature aka the
understanding of the developments it is certainly as potent as some of the
departures.
Thanks,
  GerardM

On 22 February 2016 at 13:20, GorillaWarfare <
gorillawarfarewikipe...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Recent discussion of the Knowledge Engine/Wikimedia Discovery project,
> issues with senior leadership, lack of transparency, and the like has been
> fairly well spread across several Wikimedia projects and mailing lists, as
> well as on Facebook, in the media, and in other venues.
>
> I just published an attempt to aggregate some of the events that I think
> are particularly informative given what's been going on:
> http://mollywhite.net/wikimedia-timeline/
>
> I hope it's helpful, and please feel free to suggest changes if it's
> incomplete.
>
> – Molly (GorillaWarfare)
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: Shared list

2016-02-22 Thread Gerard Meijssen
Hoi,
You are not the only one who is told that dissent is not appreciated. It is
ironic that when openness and shared values are considered, these same
values are swept under the rug when people are not in line with "common"
thought.

Apparently thoughts are not so common and certainly not universally shared.
When community degenerates in universal enforced thought, are we still a
community?
Thanks,
GerardM

On 23 February 2016 at 06:13, Anthony Cole  wrote:

> I've just received this from someone called billinghurst:
>
> "Please stop this rebuttal of people's statements. Their opinions are as
> valuable, if not more valuable than yours as statements. Your name is
> appearing too often IMNSHO."
>
> I thought I was bringing a sorely under-represented perspective to the ED
> discussion on this list and wasn't aware I'd said or done anything
> inappropriate here. I sincerely apologise if I have, but I'll need a bit
> more guidance if that's the case. I see a lot of rebutting going on here. I
> thought civil rebuttal was how rational argument progressed. But I've been
> wrong before.
>
>
> -- Forwarded message --
> From: billinghurst 
> Date: Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 4:04 AM
> Subject: Shared list
> To: ahcole...@gmail.com
>
>
> Please stop this rebuttal of people's statements. Their opinions are as
> valuable, if not more valuable than yours as statements. Your name is
> appearing too often IMNSHO.
>
> - b
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: Shared list

2016-02-22 Thread Pete Forsyth
Anthony, two points:

1. Billinghurst is a very long-serving community member, and has always in
my experience been happy to talk things through. I'd urge you just to talk
with him directly.

2. Tension is high right now. If we're irritating each other more than
usual, keep that in mind...it may be a factor.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 9:13 PM, Anthony Cole  wrote:

> I've just received this from someone called billinghurst:
>
> "Please stop this rebuttal of people's statements. Their opinions are as
> valuable, if not more valuable than yours as statements. Your name is
> appearing too often IMNSHO."
>
> I thought I was bringing a sorely under-represented perspective to the ED
> discussion on this list and wasn't aware I'd said or done anything
> inappropriate here. I sincerely apologise if I have, but I'll need a bit
> more guidance if that's the case. I see a lot of rebutting going on here. I
> thought civil rebuttal was how rational argument progressed. But I've been
> wrong before.
>
>
> -- Forwarded message --
> From: billinghurst 
> Date: Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 4:04 AM
> Subject: Shared list
> To: ahcole...@gmail.com
>
>
> Please stop this rebuttal of people's statements. Their opinions are as
> valuable, if not more valuable than yours as statements. Your name is
> appearing too often IMNSHO.
>
> - b
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Powerful on-wiki art visualization

2016-02-22 Thread Sam Klein
So nice - I just spent 10 minutes playing with this with friends over
dinner.
It's tough to construct a new one without a debugger, though.

On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 10:15 PM, Yuri Astrakhan 
wrote:


>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_paintings#Interactive_graph
>
> Thank you Jane [[user:Jhoffswell]], the VegaJS team, and [[user:Primaler]]
> who designed the original graph!
>

Yes!
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership

2016-02-22 Thread Risker
On 22 February 2016 at 22:00, Sydney Poore  wrote:

> On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 2:08 PM, Pine W  wrote:
> >>
> > I also hope that the current Board members will thoughtfully consider
> > whether it's in the best interests of the Wikimedia Foundation and the
> > larger Wikimedia movement for them to continue as Board members.
>
> The instability that would result from large scale resignations of
> Board members would be devastating to WMF.
>
> That aside, under the best of circumstances, the volunteer BoT of WMF
> are faced with an extremely demanding and challenging work load. And,
> no volunteer board has the skill set to manage the problems that have
> come up over the last few months and have escalated out of control.
>
> I strongly encourage giving the BoT time to react to the most recent
> comments, and develop a responsible plan of action.
>
>

I also agree with Sydney, and will point out that in the past year, we have
had brand new board members in 3 board-selected seats (one of whom only
participated for a few weeks), and 3 community seats (two of whom remain in
place, the third being replaced by a former board member.  That is at least
five new members in a single year, no matter how one cuts it - and it
doesn't even take into consideration the ongoing process for
chapter-selected seats.

This past year has already seen the largest turnover in board membership
that the Foundation has ever experienced; it was unusual to have more than
two seats change incumbents in all the past years. We have already seen
very significant change in the make-up of the Board, and half the board is
still learning the ropes and responsibilities. This level of change is
likely to be at least partly responsible for some of the unfortunate
situations we have seen in the last several months. But those who are
seeking a new board...well, you already have one.

Risker/Anne
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Timeline of recent events at the Wikimedia Foundation

2016-02-22 Thread Dan Andreescu
Thank you!  For providing context to those that don't have it, structure to
those who do, and evidence of our values of collaboration, openness, and
empiricism.  Remarkable thing to accomplish with a timeline : )

On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 9:35 PM, Todd Allen  wrote:

> Yes, very nicely done indeed. I very much like that layout.
>
> On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 5:20 AM, GorillaWarfare <
> gorillawarfarewikipe...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Recent discussion of the Knowledge Engine/Wikimedia Discovery project,
> > issues with senior leadership, lack of transparency, and the like has
> been
> > fairly well spread across several Wikimedia projects and mailing lists,
> as
> > well as on Facebook, in the media, and in other venues.
> >
> > I just published an attempt to aggregate some of the events that I think
> > are particularly informative given what's been going on:
> > http://mollywhite.net/wikimedia-timeline/
> >
> > I hope it's helpful, and please feel free to suggest changes if it's
> > incomplete.
> >
> > – Molly (GorillaWarfare)
> > ___
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> > 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Powerful on-wiki art visualization

2016-02-22 Thread Risker
This is really cool, Yuri!  Thank you for sharing this.

Risker

On 22 February 2016 at 22:15, Yuri Astrakhan 
wrote:

> First complex interactive graph in Wikipedia explores the most expensive
> paintings in history. Move the mouse around to view images, click the
> period or artist to highlight their work.
>
>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_paintings#Interactive_graph
>
> Thank you Jane [[user:Jhoffswell]], the VegaJS team, and [[user:Primaler]]
> who designed the original graph!
>
> P.S. See graph demo page for examples and tutorial links
> https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Graph/Demo
>
> P.P.S. The "click to open a page" feature is still missing in Graphs
> extension, but is on my todo list.
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[Wikimedia-l] Powerful on-wiki art visualization

2016-02-22 Thread Yuri Astrakhan
First complex interactive graph in Wikipedia explores the most expensive
paintings in history. Move the mouse around to view images, click the
period or artist to highlight their work.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_paintings#Interactive_graph

Thank you Jane [[user:Jhoffswell]], the VegaJS team, and [[user:Primaler]]
who designed the original graph!

P.S. See graph demo page for examples and tutorial links
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Graph/Demo

P.P.S. The "click to open a page" feature is still missing in Graphs
extension, but is on my todo list.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership

2016-02-22 Thread Sydney Poore
On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 2:08 PM, Pine W  wrote:
>>
> I also hope that the current Board members will thoughtfully consider
> whether it's in the best interests of the Wikimedia Foundation and the
> larger Wikimedia movement for them to continue as Board members.

The instability that would result from large scale resignations of
Board members would be devastating to WMF.

That aside, under the best of circumstances, the volunteer BoT of WMF
are faced with an extremely demanding and challenging work load. And,
no volunteer board has the skill set to manage the problems that have
come up over the last few months and have escalated out of control.

I strongly encourage giving the BoT time to react to the most recent
comments, and develop a responsible plan of action.

Sydney
User:FloNight

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Timeline of recent events at the Wikimedia Foundation

2016-02-22 Thread GorillaWarfare
Thank you all so much for your feedback! I've just gone through all the
suggestions that you've sent via emails, messages, IRCs, and pull requests
and am really thrilled with all the help. I believe I'm caught up (for
now!) with reading through all that I've received, and I've incorporated
many of them!

– Molly (GorillaWarfare)
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Timeline of recent events at the Wikimedia Foundation

2016-02-22 Thread MZMcBride
GorillaWarfare wrote:
>Recent discussion of the Knowledge Engine/Wikimedia Discovery project,
>issues with senior leadership, lack of transparency, and the like has been
>fairly well spread across several Wikimedia projects and mailing lists, as
>well as on Facebook, in the media, and in other venues.
>
>I just published an attempt to aggregate some of the events that I think
>are particularly informative given what's been going on:
>http://mollywhite.net/wikimedia-timeline/
>
>I hope it's helpful, and please feel free to suggest changes if it's
>incomplete.

Thank you very much for creating and publishing this timeline, Molly. I
really appreciate that you built the timeline in a way that enables
tracking changes and allows for collaborative improvements. Well done!

MZMcBride



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership

2016-02-22 Thread Ryan Lane
Pine W  writes:

> 
> I would hope that the Board is now planning an executive transition for
> WMF. I would like to ask the Board to be transparent about this, including
> making timely posts to this mailing list and proactively posting documents
> and timelines on Meta and Commons.
> 

+1. Numerous staff members have publicly asked the the ED to step down or be
removed. The situation at this point is obviously unsalvageable. Even if
things were to magically turn around tomorrow and start going in the right
direction, this series of threads would be the new seeds of discontent. Even
if everyone says they'll forgive and forget, no one really forgets who
called for them to be fired.

It shouldn't take a public staff revolt for an ED to be removed from the
board. It shouldn't have lasted past the internal staff revolt months ago.
The only way to start healing the org is to start moving forward.

- Ryan


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Please change the subject when replying to Digests....

2016-02-22 Thread Edward Galvez
Thanks Richard for moderating this list and reminding us about good
practices. Really appreciate it.

On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 4:07 PM, Richard Ames  wrote:

> and if another writer makes the mistake --- Please try to correct it.
>
> Regards, Richard.
>
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-- 
Edward Galvez
Survey Specialist
Learning & Evaluation
Wikimedia Foundation
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[Wikimedia-l] Please change the subject when replying to Digests....

2016-02-22 Thread Richard Ames
and if another writer makes the mistake --- Please try to correct it.

Regards, Richard.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia-l Digest, Vol 143, Issue 141

2016-02-22 Thread George Herbert
Ido -

That was misattributed to Pine.  That's a quote from my 2am Pacific time mail 
on this thread.  The overly long one without a TLDR section at the top.

An approximate TLDR of the mail is that Lila's public statement articulates a 
vision and execution in progress of an intentionally destructive (to rebuild in 
another form) organizational shift, not an overly unusual change mechanism for 
tech organizations.  The term of art is "breaking a few eggs".

My core argument was that a change was possibly or probably needed, and it is 
not clearly wrong to have done that here, but that doing so in the Wikimedia 
Foundation without communicating clearly what was being done and why is 
probably the worst possible organization to do it in.  If the Board asked Lila 
to do that (not the change, but the destructive change without communications) 
it would have been a horrible error in the wider movement, a grave breach of 
trust. 

If they did not intend that or did not understand what was happening it's a 
very serious communications or governance issue.

That does not mean "fire the board" but it may mean we need a board change to 
gain the experience, skills, and perspective to avoid doing that again.

Board and ex board hints so far are that they did not mean to do that, so it 
appears to be the latter case.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

On Feb 22, 2016, at 2:18 PM, ido ivri  wrote:

>> 
>> I can only speak for myself here, but I'm really not tied to my position :)
>> If there is a clear signal from the wider community that I should step
>> down, I will.
> 
> There aren't such signals, and FWIW I think there shouldn't be: while quite
> a few people (myself included) expressed disappointment with the BoT as a
> governing body, you are the only member to have frequently and openly
> shared thoughts and information with the community. FWIW, I do hope you
> stick around - there are turbulent times ahead.
> 
> I do suggest, however, that for us to emerge better from all this, an
> honest, independent and *transparent* inspection of the BoT should take
> place. Such an inspection needs to offer suggestions to improve Board
> formation and size, communication, transparency, and, well, accountability
> towards the Foundation *and* the community. Dariusz, I hope you stay
> onboard (...) and push for something like that.
> 
> One side note, directed at Pine:
> It's irresponsible (and *deeply* disrespectful) for anyone on this list to
> be calling for resignations publicly - either those of Trustees, WMF
> Executives or anyone else. Yes, many of us agree that change needs to
> happen but let's not lose sight of how a good change process needs to
> occur: with civility and humility, with transparency and honesty and while
> preserving the good values[1] that already exist in our Movement and in the
> Foundation.
> 
> Ido
> 
> [1] https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Values
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia-l Digest, Vol 143, Issue 141

2016-02-22 Thread ido ivri
>
> I can only speak for myself here, but I'm really not tied to my position :)
> If there is a clear signal from the wider community that I should step
> down, I will.
>

There aren't such signals, and FWIW I think there shouldn't be: while quite
a few people (myself included) expressed disappointment with the BoT as a
governing body, you are the only member to have frequently and openly
shared thoughts and information with the community. FWIW, I do hope you
stick around - there are turbulent times ahead.

I do suggest, however, that for us to emerge better from all this, an
honest, independent and *transparent* inspection of the BoT should take
place. Such an inspection needs to offer suggestions to improve Board
formation and size, communication, transparency, and, well, accountability
towards the Foundation *and* the community. Dariusz, I hope you stay
onboard (...) and push for something like that.

One side note, directed at Pine:
It's irresponsible (and *deeply* disrespectful) for anyone on this list to
be calling for resignations publicly - either those of Trustees, WMF
Executives or anyone else. Yes, many of us agree that change needs to
happen but let's not lose sight of how a good change process needs to
occur: with civility and humility, with transparency and honesty and while
preserving the good values[1] that already exist in our Movement and in the
Foundation.

Ido

[1] https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Values
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership

2016-02-22 Thread George Herbert

I don't want to suggest the Board resign en masse today or anything like that; 
that would be overly catastrophic and dramatic, make recovering harder, hurt 
the people involved all around worse, etc.

I think we are getting more about what happened from Board perspectives.  That 
is very much appreciated.

The fixes will require why and how it happened.
 
If the answers to those indicate that the board's job description and skills 
needs changed, or other issues then you need to fix those either with training 
and growth or with new members.

You (we all) need to understand what the board's requirements and capabilities 
need to be.  Don't randomly change membership without knowing what is needed 
and whether new Trustees help solve that.

If you individually don't see yourself able to match those needs after they are 
articulated, I hope the Board members do the right thing for the movement and 
replace themselves with people who do. 

Thank you.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Feb 22, 2016, at 11:31 AM, Dariusz Jemielniak  wrote:
> 
>> On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 2:08 PM, Pine W  wrote:
>> 
>> I also hope that the current Board members will thoughtfully consider
>> whether it's in the best interests of the Wikimedia Foundation and the
>> larger Wikimedia movement for them to continue as Board members.
> 
> 
> I can only speak for myself here, but I'm really not tied to my position :)
> If there is a clear signal from the wider community that I should step
> down, I will. I'm not sure how this should work (obviously, there should be
> some practical balance between a valid concern of a community at large, and
> just a couple of people seeking disruption - which I'm not saying is the
> case here, just thinking about not creating a precedence), but all in all,
> the voice of the community should be heard, and especially in the case of
> community-elected seats - treated with utmost respect.
> 
> I believe that the community (including our staff) is the source of our
> competitive advantage. Not tech (great as it may be), not content (great as
> it is, but free to take). If this very community decides that I have failed
> in my role, or even that I have not, but there is a common perception that
> my continued tenure will not advance the movement, that's the way to go.
> 
> I don't think it would be wise to have a total simultaneous Board step-down
> though - at least a situation of zero continuity is dangerous.
> 
> dj
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Ilario Valdelli
Hi Kat
This is good.

But why not to look for a CTO?

Designing a CTO's profile and putting it in a CEO's profile is a big
challenge. This can happen but means also to have a big change of the
vision of WMF.

Kind regards
Il 22/Feb/2016 19:12, "Kat Walsh"  ha scritto:

> On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 2:03 AM, George Herbert
>  wrote:
>
> > One phrase I see used quite often is "sometimes we need to break a few
> eggs."  For those who are not native american english speakers, this is
> referring to the need to move beyond shifting things around into breaking
> things apart, letting people go who may not fit in the new plan, stopping
> things outright, etc.  The eggs - people, projects, structures, policies,
> assumptions - need to partly go away - be broken - in order to reform.
> >
> > Lila's vision here clearly calls the change campaign out as having
> explicitly intended to break eggs.
> >
> > It further suggests strongly that this was the Board of Trustees'
> intention in hiring her, and that they agreed with breaking those eggs.
>
> I left the board during the search process, but remained on the search
> committee. So while I cannot know what the board was thinking after
> her tenure began, I can say that the search committee was not looking
> for a "turnaround CEO"--at least to my understanding we were looking
> for someone who would be able to execute better on some of the areas
> (particularly engineering) where we wanted to make more improvements
> but hadn't.
>
> (Which would naturally involve some change--but sweeping reforms were
> not envisioned; part of why Sue stepped down when she did was that she
> felt the organization was basically stable and could be smoothly
> handed off. It is certainly possible for someone to come in and decide
> that was a wrong assessment, but it wasn't what the committee had been
> looking for.)
>
> -Kat
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership

2016-02-22 Thread Pete Forsyth
On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 11:31 AM, Dariusz Jemielniak 
wrote:

> On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 2:08 PM, Pine W  wrote:
>
> > I also hope that the current Board members will thoughtfully consider
> > whether it's in the best interests of the Wikimedia Foundation and the
> > larger Wikimedia movement for them to continue as Board members.
>
>
> I can only speak for myself here, but I'm really not tied to my position :)
> If there is a clear signal from the wider community that I should step
> down, I will. I'm not sure how this should work (obviously, there should be
> some practical balance between a valid concern of a community at large, and
> just a couple of people seeking disruption - which I'm not saying is the
> case here, just thinking about not creating a precedence),


Dariusz,

I think any steps that can be taken preemptively -- that is, steps that
avoid the need for broad community deliberation about who should step down
and who shouldn't -- would be most welcome. It seems rather clear to me
that whatever Trustees led the charge on the actions that have caused
strife are the ones whose departure would be the most beneficial. I suppose
I, like others, have some opinions about who those Trustees might be, but I
very much hope we are all spared the need to share our speculations
(especially because those of us outside the Board have very limited
information about its internal workings).

I believe that the community (including our staff) is the source of our
> competitive advantage. Not tech (great as it may be), not content (great as
> it is, but free to take). If this very community decides that I have failed
> in my role, or even that I have not, but there is a common perception that
> my continued tenure will not advance the movement, that's the way to go.
>

Thank you for articulating this principle. I won't comment on specific
Trustees here, but I do think that genuine participation (demonstrating
good listening, in addition to sharing views) in public forums is a great
asset in a Trustee, and some have exhibited that quality better than others.

I don't think it would be wise to have a total simultaneous Board step-down
> though - at least a situation of zero continuity is dangerous.


I agree that this is not a step to be taken lightly, and may not be needed
here. But given the extent of current problems, I wouldn't rule it out
entirely. It would of course have to be accompanied by a *very* strong
plan, *very* well vetted and communicated, for next steps. It is possible,
for instance, for current board members to continue to serve the movement
by sharing their knowledge (privately and/or publicly), without necessarily
having the authority of a voting position.

One thing that I hope is under careful consideration is the value of a seat
reserved for an individual (whether enshrined in the Bylaws or in
tradition). If Jimmy Wales were to stand for election, I am confident he
would win; but I think that method of getting on the board would be better
than Founder's Seat as an institution (as long as it doesn't come at the
expense of an existing community seat).

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership

2016-02-22 Thread Dariusz Jemielniak
On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 2:08 PM, Pine W  wrote:

> I also hope that the current Board members will thoughtfully consider
> whether it's in the best interests of the Wikimedia Foundation and the
> larger Wikimedia movement for them to continue as Board members.


I can only speak for myself here, but I'm really not tied to my position :)
If there is a clear signal from the wider community that I should step
down, I will. I'm not sure how this should work (obviously, there should be
some practical balance between a valid concern of a community at large, and
just a couple of people seeking disruption - which I'm not saying is the
case here, just thinking about not creating a precedence), but all in all,
the voice of the community should be heard, and especially in the case of
community-elected seats - treated with utmost respect.

I believe that the community (including our staff) is the source of our
competitive advantage. Not tech (great as it may be), not content (great as
it is, but free to take). If this very community decides that I have failed
in my role, or even that I have not, but there is a common perception that
my continued tenure will not advance the movement, that's the way to go.

I don't think it would be wise to have a total simultaneous Board step-down
though - at least a situation of zero continuity is dangerous.

dj
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership

2016-02-22 Thread Marc A. Pelletier
On 16-02-22 02:08 PM, Pine W wrote:
> Also in the long run I hope that the Wikimedia Foundation and our volunteer
> community will emerge strong, resilient, healthy, and vibrant.

I've not always agreed with you, Pine.  Not often, in fact.

But in this I think you will find broad agreement and a strong rallying cry.

I think staff and volunteers will always be a little at odd with each
other - even as they are part of each other.  I wore both hats, in a way
even before I was staff - and will always be a little of both even when
not employed by the WMF.  But, in the end, we're just working different
tacks to the same heading.

Regardless of how this resolves - and it /will/ resolve - the movement
will perdure and we'll forge on because we all share that vision.

-- Marc


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[Wikimedia-l] Transition plans for WMF leadership

2016-02-22 Thread Pine W
I would hope that the Board is now planning an executive transition for
WMF. I would like to ask the Board to be transparent about this, including
making timely posts to this mailing list and proactively posting documents
and timelines on Meta and Commons.

I would hope that people skills, communications skills, and cultural fit
are high on the list of priorities for the next executive.

I also hope that the current Board members will thoughtfully consider
whether it's in the best interests of the Wikimedia Foundation and the
larger Wikimedia movement for them to continue as Board members. By human
nature, people are suited to different roles, both in work and in volunteer
leadership capacities. It seems to me that Lila and at least some Board
members have interests, skills and abilities that could be beneficial in
other organizations or in different roles in the Wikimedia movement. Having
the courage to change is far from the end of the world; Arrnon did it, a
number of staff members are doing it, and I hope that Lila and at least
some Board members will follow their example so that in the long run
everyone will be in places that are good for them.

Also in the long run I hope that the Wikimedia Foundation and our volunteer
community will emerge strong, resilient, healthy, and vibrant.

Pine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread George Herbert
Thank you as well, Kat.

George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Feb 22, 2016, at 10:11 AM, Kat Walsh  wrote:
> 
> On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 2:03 AM, George Herbert
>  wrote:
> 
>> One phrase I see used quite often is "sometimes we need to break a few 
>> eggs."  For those who are not native american english speakers, this is 
>> referring to the need to move beyond shifting things around into breaking 
>> things apart, letting people go who may not fit in the new plan, stopping 
>> things outright, etc.  The eggs - people, projects, structures, policies, 
>> assumptions - need to partly go away - be broken - in order to reform.
>> 
>> Lila's vision here clearly calls the change campaign out as having 
>> explicitly intended to break eggs.
>> 
>> It further suggests strongly that this was the Board of Trustees' intention 
>> in hiring her, and that they agreed with breaking those eggs.
> 
> I left the board during the search process, but remained on the search
> committee. So while I cannot know what the board was thinking after
> her tenure began, I can say that the search committee was not looking
> for a "turnaround CEO"--at least to my understanding we were looking
> for someone who would be able to execute better on some of the areas
> (particularly engineering) where we wanted to make more improvements
> but hadn't.
> 
> (Which would naturally involve some change--but sweeping reforms were
> not envisioned; part of why Sue stepped down when she did was that she
> felt the organization was basically stable and could be smoothly
> handed off. It is certainly possible for someone to come in and decide
> that was a wrong assessment, but it wasn't what the committee had been
> looking for.)
> 
> -Kat
> 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread George Herbert
Thank you, Phoebe.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Feb 22, 2016, at 10:06 AM, phoebe ayers  wrote:
> 
> On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 5:03 AM, George Herbert
>  wrote:
> 
>> Lila's vision here clearly calls the change campaign out as having 
>> explicitly intended to break eggs.
>> 
>> It further suggests strongly that this was the Board of Trustees' intention 
>> in hiring her, and that they agreed with breaking those eggs.
> 
> Since you bring it up, and ask for the perspective of past trustees --
> as one of the people who helped hired Lila, I did so because I found
> much of how she thought about technology, contribution and open
> knowledge compelling -- some of which is stated in her mail above --
> and I hoped that she'd have the right combination of openness and
> boldness to help lead us. I also thought she had the right foundation
> of skills and values to do the work in our weird, complex environment.
> 
> The Board's initial task for her, as it might have been for any new
> ED, was to learn the organization, continue with the usual running of
> the organization, and to work with us and Wikimedia as a whole to
> develop a strategy for the future. We expected and supported her
> focusing on technology, given what a big piece of the organization
> this is and her own background; and we supported explorations into the
> organization's culture and how it could improve.
> 
> I've heard a few conspiracy theories about how the board must have
> intended to clean house with Lila's hire. From my perspective, that
> was not the case. We hoped of course that Lila would help the
> organization improve -- but I am thinking of improvements like
> speeding up development and reducing drama around software rollouts,
> goals that I don't think would either come as a surprise to anyone or
> are particularly controversial.
> 
> That does not mean I was surprised that some staff left, especially in
> the first few months after she was hired. People do leave in a
> leadership transition, for many reasons. And I also was not surprised
> by the possibility that Lila might create a  different style of
> working environment at the Foundation, which would lead others to
> leave later. I am surprised and saddened however by this current
> crisis (and the last few months leading up to it). According to many
> people, things seem to have gone quite badly in terms of
> communication, giving guidance and developing organizational consensus
> around strategy. Those problems are general problems of execution and
> management, and that is deeply unfortunate.
> 
> best,
> Phoebe
> 
> -- 
> * I use this address for lists; send personal messages to phoebe.ayers
>  gmail.com *
> 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Kat Walsh
On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 2:03 AM, George Herbert
 wrote:

> One phrase I see used quite often is "sometimes we need to break a few eggs." 
>  For those who are not native american english speakers, this is referring to 
> the need to move beyond shifting things around into breaking things apart, 
> letting people go who may not fit in the new plan, stopping things outright, 
> etc.  The eggs - people, projects, structures, policies, assumptions - need 
> to partly go away - be broken - in order to reform.
>
> Lila's vision here clearly calls the change campaign out as having explicitly 
> intended to break eggs.
>
> It further suggests strongly that this was the Board of Trustees' intention 
> in hiring her, and that they agreed with breaking those eggs.

I left the board during the search process, but remained on the search
committee. So while I cannot know what the board was thinking after
her tenure began, I can say that the search committee was not looking
for a "turnaround CEO"--at least to my understanding we were looking
for someone who would be able to execute better on some of the areas
(particularly engineering) where we wanted to make more improvements
but hadn't.

(Which would naturally involve some change--but sweeping reforms were
not envisioned; part of why Sue stepped down when she did was that she
felt the organization was basically stable and could be smoothly
handed off. It is certainly possible for someone to come in and decide
that was a wrong assessment, but it wasn't what the committee had been
looking for.)

-Kat

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread phoebe ayers
On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 5:03 AM, George Herbert
 wrote:

> Lila's vision here clearly calls the change campaign out as having explicitly 
> intended to break eggs.
>
> It further suggests strongly that this was the Board of Trustees' intention 
> in hiring her, and that they agreed with breaking those eggs.

Since you bring it up, and ask for the perspective of past trustees --
as one of the people who helped hired Lila, I did so because I found
much of how she thought about technology, contribution and open
knowledge compelling -- some of which is stated in her mail above --
and I hoped that she'd have the right combination of openness and
boldness to help lead us. I also thought she had the right foundation
of skills and values to do the work in our weird, complex environment.

The Board's initial task for her, as it might have been for any new
ED, was to learn the organization, continue with the usual running of
the organization, and to work with us and Wikimedia as a whole to
develop a strategy for the future. We expected and supported her
focusing on technology, given what a big piece of the organization
this is and her own background; and we supported explorations into the
organization's culture and how it could improve.

I've heard a few conspiracy theories about how the board must have
intended to clean house with Lila's hire. From my perspective, that
was not the case. We hoped of course that Lila would help the
organization improve -- but I am thinking of improvements like
speeding up development and reducing drama around software rollouts,
goals that I don't think would either come as a surprise to anyone or
are particularly controversial.

That does not mean I was surprised that some staff left, especially in
the first few months after she was hired. People do leave in a
leadership transition, for many reasons. And I also was not surprised
by the possibility that Lila might create a  different style of
working environment at the Foundation, which would lead others to
leave later. I am surprised and saddened however by this current
crisis (and the last few months leading up to it). According to many
people, things seem to have gone quite badly in terms of
communication, giving guidance and developing organizational consensus
around strategy. Those problems are general problems of execution and
management, and that is deeply unfortunate.

best,
Phoebe

-- 
* I use this address for lists; send personal messages to phoebe.ayers
 gmail.com *

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Brion Vibber
On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 9:38 AM, Theo10011  wrote:

> Is it time for a #IamwithVibber tag now? :)
>

a


> It might be time to consider just promoting Brion or something? (as deputy
> or head of engineering). There is no one the community would trust more on
> the engineering needs of WMF. And from the looks of it, he does have the
> support of staff and isn't holding back any relevant information or
> opinion. He can bring stability to a very shake ship right now.
>

Thanks, but I'll openly say that managing a department full of people is a
lot of very hard work and requires skillsets I do not have; that's why I
happily transitioned out of the CTO role in 2009 (and burnout related to
that was one of the reasons I left WMF for a while around that time,
returning in 2011).

-- brion


>
> On Mon, Feb 22, 2016, Austin Hair  wrote:
> >
> > I really don't think I can let this one go, though. Would you please
> > name one "pet project"—actually, I don't think it's so much to ask to
> > name them all—that's had to be shut down?
> >
>
> I think that might be a reference to Flow or AFT, even the MoodBar (3 off
> the top of my head). Apart from that staff roles and entire departments
> like Globaldev, and I even remember a strategy department briefly, that was
> reshuffled. The timeline isn't as clear when these things were refactored
> but a lot of things were abandoned over the years.
>
> Lila, I don't know what impression you had before you joined WMF. This
> wasn't a struggling project, or not at the desperate level that is forming
> your narrative now. We had larger and more successful fundraisers every
> year, the staff doubled and tripled, the pageviews rose, as did unique
> visitors, and we enjoyed an improving reputation - there were no immediate
> burning fires that needed addressing. This entire paradigm shift reeks of a
> desperation that isn't supported by facts.
>
> Your project and vision is far too radical for the need of the hour. Even
> the changes you speak of, they can only be achieved gradually. You can't
> turn this ship in such a dramatic fashion for such an ambitious project.
> You should have prototyped exactly what it is you want - you had more than
> enough funds and resources without this tiny Knight foundation grant and
> this whole drama.
>
> Regards
> Theo
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Theo10011
Is it time for a #IamwithVibber tag now? :)

It might be time to consider just promoting Brion or something? (as deputy
or head of engineering). There is no one the community would trust more on
the engineering needs of WMF. And from the looks of it, he does have the
support of staff and isn't holding back any relevant information or
opinion. He can bring stability to a very shake ship right now.

On Mon, Feb 22, 2016, Austin Hair  wrote:
>
> I really don't think I can let this one go, though. Would you please
> name one "pet project"—actually, I don't think it's so much to ask to
> name them all—that's had to be shut down?
>

I think that might be a reference to Flow or AFT, even the MoodBar (3 off
the top of my head). Apart from that staff roles and entire departments
like Globaldev, and I even remember a strategy department briefly, that was
reshuffled. The timeline isn't as clear when these things were refactored
but a lot of things were abandoned over the years.

Lila, I don't know what impression you had before you joined WMF. This
wasn't a struggling project, or not at the desperate level that is forming
your narrative now. We had larger and more successful fundraisers every
year, the staff doubled and tripled, the pageviews rose, as did unique
visitors, and we enjoyed an improving reputation - there were no immediate
burning fires that needed addressing. This entire paradigm shift reeks of a
desperation that isn't supported by facts.

Your project and vision is far too radical for the need of the hour. Even
the changes you speak of, they can only be achieved gradually. You can't
turn this ship in such a dramatic fashion for such an ambitious project.
You should have prototyped exactly what it is you want - you had more than
enough funds and resources without this tiny Knight foundation grant and
this whole drama.

Regards
Theo
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Post mortems

2016-02-22 Thread Pete Forsyth
On Sun, Feb 21, 2016 at 7:13 PM, Molly White <
gorillawarfarewikipe...@gmail.com> wrote:

> It would be fairly trivial to archive the discussions there someplace that
> was publicly viewable. However, it would require consent from the ~450 (at
> last glance) members that their comments and the names they use on Facebook
> be published, and I'm not sure that's feasible.
>

I suggested that on the group a week or two ago; a few individuals strongly
objected. But I agree, it would be valuable to have this option (even
partially).

Two possibilities:
(a) An opt-in registry somewhere, where those of us who don't mind having
our public comments repeated in a different public venue can clearly assert
that, as well as a blanket license for what we publish on Wikipedia Weekly;
(b) Software (I don't remember the name, but Erik know it) that makes
self-archiving of stuff like this easy. I don't know whether it yet has
Facebook compatibility, but presumably that could be added if not.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Jens Best
Hi All,

The core problem (as several times before) seems to me that all these broad
discussions are held AFTER things went wrong or a specific meta decision
got out of hand.

Obviously the current transparency of or even the current decision-making
process in its entirety isn't appropiate (anymore) for a movement of such
global variety and plurality.

The BoT is basically paralysed and most probably overstrained, because e.g.
for the sake of the rules of the current construct the relevant power play
decisions must stay non public, not to speak of possible hidden interests
which can conveniently sneak in. And as the icing of the cake a person
asking the wrong questions can easily be removed as a board member.

As much as I care basically more about the subject-oriented debates and the
discourse about the balanced appreciations of values I more and more
convinced that a critical review of the core decision-making processes
become necessary. Not as an end to itself, but to openly rethink the ways
how power and responsibilty in a global, pluralistic movement should be
organized. A movement with the kernel project of an encyclopedia still
being the biggest role model for the idea of an open and free knowledge
based internet (which not necessarily was to follow all the tech and social
media trends relevant to a more commercially oriented platform-monoculture
internet)

It's true, we have to change. But maybe the whys and the hows of change
should be discussed and decided more broadly, more democratically
represented as in the current structure. And especially BEFORE the paths
are already written in stone and the horses have bolted.


Best regards
Jens Best

2016-02-22 17:03 GMT+01:00 Anthony Cole :

> I found this response interesting. It highlights the imbalance we, on the
> outside, are having to deal with. It is OK for anyone to criticize the ED
> on this list and elsewhere but if she says something that implies
> shortcomings on the part of one or more of her staff or former staff - and
> if WMF had problems when she arrived at least some of them were staff
> problems -  it is used as proof she's "literally Hitler".
>
> None of us on the outside knows who's Hitler here. And I guess we never
> will. Sorry, but the volunteers who actually write and run Wikipedia can't
> just believe either of you.
>
> Does anyone know when the board is meeting (has it met) to resolve this? I
> don't want them to rush a poorly thought-through decision but, after a
> while, inaction in a human crisis like this becomes negligent abuse.
> On 22 Feb 2016 10:53 pm, "Giuseppe Lavagetto" 
> wrote:
>
> > Dear Lila,
> >
> > I woke up this morning and as usual I went for my WMF email with my
> coffee.
> >
> > I woke up to read my ED implying that the employee discontent[1] was due
> > to, amongst other things:
> >
> > > We’ve asked for adjustment in attitude towards work, our
> > responsibilities and professional relationships.
> > > We prioritised impact and performance so that we can provide more value
> > to our communities and the world.
> >
> > Now, one easy way to read this, the most obvious one, is that the
> > attitude towards work of the WMF employees was somewhat not right or
> > unprofessional, and that we were lazy and not goal-driven.
> >
> > I would find this inappropriate in an internal email, but you went to
> > state that in public, and I have to admit I find this is deeply
> > offending on a personal and professional level.
> >
> > I restrained from expressing publicly any issues I might have
> > with your own performance; I would love you to not
> > spread covert allegations on my performace and professional attitude
> > (not specifically, but well, I'm part of the staff here right?).
> >
> > For the first time in the two years since I joined the WMF I felt a
> > sour taste in my mouth for just sitting down to work.
> >
> > Deeply sad,
> >
> > Giuseppe
> > [1]
> >
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-01-06/News_and_notes
> > "WMF Staff morale"
> > --
> > Giuseppe Lavagetto
> > Senior Technical Operations Engineer, Wikimedia Foundation
> >
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Hay (Husky)
Hey everyone,
i'd really like to reaffirm what Àlex wrote in his mail: let's start
with people, not technology.

When i read this in Lila's message:
> Many companies copy our knowledge into their own databases and
> present it inside their interfaces. While this supports wider
> dissemination, it also separates our readers from our community.
It seems like it's a bad thing that people reuse our work. But isn't
that the whole point of our mission? Wikipedia might be the last big
site on the internet where the main focus is not on getting everyone
to share their content in the same walled garden (like Facebook,
Google, Twitter, etc.) but on altruistically creating something that
benefits the whole world.

I completely agree that Wikimedia should be a high-tech organization.
I'm very glad that the focus of development (and user experience in
particular) has shifted to the WMF the last couple of years, bringing
us great improvements like the Visual Editor. But we should not never
forget the purpose of all those improvements: it's to better serve the
community and our mission. We shouldn't be building tech for tech's
sake!

Everyone who has spent more than a few years in this community knows
how incredibly difficult it is to balance the needs of the editors,
the readers, and developers. I'm incredibly grateful to those who
managed to make improvements while not disturbing that balance too
much. Unfortunately, many of these people have left the WMF the last
few years, and that's a very sad thing. It's hard to get good people,
it's even harder to replace them when they're gone.

However important those technical improvements are, the greatest asset
of our movement is not the software we built. It's not even the hard
working people in chapters and the WMF. It's the more than 26 million
people who have had the courage in the last fifteen years to press the
'edit' button and voluntarily gave their time and knowledge for the
common good. When major decisions are made, we should be very sure
that they benefit those people.

Best,
-- Hay / Husky

On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 5:29 PM, Austin Hair  wrote:
> I think everyone should remember that sarcasm, and tone in general,
> frequently do not come through across the wires, as it were.
>
> For that matter, please, stay civil. I'm happy to report that I
> haven't had to moderate anyone, yet, but I think we can all appreciate
> the current circumstances.
>
> Austin
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Brion Vibber
On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 8:03 AM, Anthony Cole  wrote:

> I found this response interesting. It highlights the imbalance we, on the
> outside, are having to deal with. It is OK for anyone to criticize the ED
> on this list and elsewhere but if she says something that implies
> shortcomings on the part of one or more of her staff or former staff - and
> if WMF had problems when she arrived at least some of them were staff
> problems -  it is used as proof she's "literally Hitler".
>

I don't think she's even figuratively Hitler; rather, she's not good at
communicating ideas or demonstrating leadership.

Multiple staffers are interpreting Lila's message as a carefully
constructed narrative positioning herself as a strong-willed reformer in
opposition to intransigent/incompetent staff. If anything, it's the most
well-constructed communication she's created to date... but even if that
narrative spoke to me as an ideal ("kick out the bums! get work done!") it
doesn't gel with what I've seen, and what other staff have seen, in the
last year and a half. If you don't believe one of us, fine; if you don't
believe any of us, well, I don't know what to say.

The achievements she claims are those of staff, often created as skunkworks
"pet projects". The projects she cites as successes have been losing their
leaders to resignation after resignation. I just don't buy the new
narrative she's giving that our work environment problems are due to
non-performing staff angry at not being promoted or their pet projects
being shut down.


> Does anyone know when the board is meeting (has it met) to resolve this? I
> don't want them to rush a poorly thought-through decision but, after a
> while, inaction in a human crisis like this becomes negligent abuse.
>

Rumor mill says they're meeting again on the subject at 9am pacific today.

(As noted elsewhere, the November board meeting covered the topic of Lila's
performance as ED, and many staff do not feel there has been visible
improvement since. The Board could come back and say "we gave her until
April to improve, she's gotta stay until then, deal with it" or they could
come back with a different decision. Or they might continue to stay silent.
It's increasingly hard to read them, with so many board members failing to
engage in public discussion.)

-- brion



> On 22 Feb 2016 10:53 pm, "Giuseppe Lavagetto" 
> wrote:
>
> > Dear Lila,
> >
> > I woke up this morning and as usual I went for my WMF email with my
> coffee.
> >
> > I woke up to read my ED implying that the employee discontent[1] was due
> > to, amongst other things:
> >
> > > We’ve asked for adjustment in attitude towards work, our
> > responsibilities and professional relationships.
> > > We prioritised impact and performance so that we can provide more value
> > to our communities and the world.
> >
> > Now, one easy way to read this, the most obvious one, is that the
> > attitude towards work of the WMF employees was somewhat not right or
> > unprofessional, and that we were lazy and not goal-driven.
> >
> > I would find this inappropriate in an internal email, but you went to
> > state that in public, and I have to admit I find this is deeply
> > offending on a personal and professional level.
> >
> > I restrained from expressing publicly any issues I might have
> > with your own performance; I would love you to not
> > spread covert allegations on my performace and professional attitude
> > (not specifically, but well, I'm part of the staff here right?).
> >
> > For the first time in the two years since I joined the WMF I felt a
> > sour taste in my mouth for just sitting down to work.
> >
> > Deeply sad,
> >
> > Giuseppe
> > [1]
> >
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-01-06/News_and_notes
> > "WMF Staff morale"
> > --
> > Giuseppe Lavagetto
> > Senior Technical Operations Engineer, Wikimedia Foundation
> >
> > ___
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> > 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Austin Hair
I think everyone should remember that sarcasm, and tone in general,
frequently do not come through across the wires, as it were.

For that matter, please, stay civil. I'm happy to report that I
haven't had to moderate anyone, yet, but I think we can all appreciate
the current circumstances.

Austin

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Anthony Cole
Danny, four months ago the board decided to give her time. The vocal staff
have responded by rejecting that. The board needs to reconsider, in light
of that response, and either confirm their commitment to the ED or come to
a different resolution. Soon, preferably.
On 23 Feb 2016 12:09 am, "Danny Horn"  wrote:

> > Does anyone know when the board is meeting (has it met) to resolve this?
> I
> > don't want them to rush a poorly thought-through decision but, after a
> > while, inaction in a human crisis like this becomes negligent abuse.
> >
>
>
> Yeah, that happened four months ago. It's going great so far.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Danny Horn
> Does anyone know when the board is meeting (has it met) to resolve this? I
> don't want them to rush a poorly thought-through decision but, after a
> while, inaction in a human crisis like this becomes negligent abuse.
>


Yeah, that happened four months ago. It's going great so far.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Anthony Cole
I found this response interesting. It highlights the imbalance we, on the
outside, are having to deal with. It is OK for anyone to criticize the ED
on this list and elsewhere but if she says something that implies
shortcomings on the part of one or more of her staff or former staff - and
if WMF had problems when she arrived at least some of them were staff
problems -  it is used as proof she's "literally Hitler".

None of us on the outside knows who's Hitler here. And I guess we never
will. Sorry, but the volunteers who actually write and run Wikipedia can't
just believe either of you.

Does anyone know when the board is meeting (has it met) to resolve this? I
don't want them to rush a poorly thought-through decision but, after a
while, inaction in a human crisis like this becomes negligent abuse.
On 22 Feb 2016 10:53 pm, "Giuseppe Lavagetto" 
wrote:

> Dear Lila,
>
> I woke up this morning and as usual I went for my WMF email with my coffee.
>
> I woke up to read my ED implying that the employee discontent[1] was due
> to, amongst other things:
>
> > We’ve asked for adjustment in attitude towards work, our
> responsibilities and professional relationships.
> > We prioritised impact and performance so that we can provide more value
> to our communities and the world.
>
> Now, one easy way to read this, the most obvious one, is that the
> attitude towards work of the WMF employees was somewhat not right or
> unprofessional, and that we were lazy and not goal-driven.
>
> I would find this inappropriate in an internal email, but you went to
> state that in public, and I have to admit I find this is deeply
> offending on a personal and professional level.
>
> I restrained from expressing publicly any issues I might have
> with your own performance; I would love you to not
> spread covert allegations on my performace and professional attitude
> (not specifically, but well, I'm part of the staff here right?).
>
> For the first time in the two years since I joined the WMF I felt a
> sour taste in my mouth for just sitting down to work.
>
> Deeply sad,
>
> Giuseppe
> [1]
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-01-06/News_and_notes
> "WMF Staff morale"
> --
> Giuseppe Lavagetto
> Senior Technical Operations Engineer, Wikimedia Foundation
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Greg Grossmeier

> Why we’ve changed

Lila,

This is either the 3rd (or 4th?) semi-conflicting grand statement of
your overall thinking for the WMF that you have shared. If it’s not
that, it reads like an explanation for how you have been thinking about
the WMF since you started.

If the latter, why have we (staff and the community) not been told this
for 661 days? Or, in case I missed it, please do let me know where you
shared this previously. The best way to get people on board with your
thinking is by sharing your thinking in the first place.

Greg

-- 
| Greg GrossmeierGPG: B2FA 27B1 F7EB D327 6B8E |
| identi.ca: @gregA18D 1138 8E47 FAC8 1C7D |

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Giuseppe Lavagetto
Dear Lila,

I woke up this morning and as usual I went for my WMF email with my coffee.

I woke up to read my ED implying that the employee discontent[1] was due
to, amongst other things:

> We’ve asked for adjustment in attitude towards work, our responsibilities and 
> professional relationships.
> We prioritised impact and performance so that we can provide more value to 
> our communities and the world.

Now, one easy way to read this, the most obvious one, is that the
attitude towards work of the WMF employees was somewhat not right or
unprofessional, and that we were lazy and not goal-driven.

I would find this inappropriate in an internal email, but you went to
state that in public, and I have to admit I find this is deeply
offending on a personal and professional level.

I restrained from expressing publicly any issues I might have
with your own performance; I would love you to not
spread covert allegations on my performace and professional attitude
(not specifically, but well, I'm part of the staff here right?).

For the first time in the two years since I joined the WMF I felt a
sour taste in my mouth for just sitting down to work.

Deeply sad,

Giuseppe
[1] 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-01-06/News_and_notes
"WMF Staff morale"
--
Giuseppe Lavagetto
Senior Technical Operations Engineer, Wikimedia Foundation

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Àlex Hinojo
Hi,

First of all thank you Lila for making such a clear statement on how you
see the movement. I would like to go to the basics.

I do agree with your vision of what we did 15 years ago and could agree
about the changing environment and that we need to constantly rethink
ourselves in this hyper-innovation era. I also believe that we
have a huge opportunity to accelerate human understanding, but I'm not sure
if I agree with your proposal of solution.

You say let’s begin with technology and I would say let's begin with the
people.

Our mission doesn't talk about
tech. Tech is the tool to reach a goal. The tool is very very important,
but not the most.


I've always seen the WMF staff, BoT and ED as the "*concierge*" of the
Wikimedia projects. They have the "house keys", but they don't own it. We
need WMF-staff, BoT and ED to keep everything working, safe and clean, and
make, finnaly to make "community inner life easier", and most of the times
it happens. But lasts weeks life in the wikiverse is becoming weird (just
the common areas, projects are still ok).

I ask some of the concierges to put some order again in the neighborhood,
please. I need a lot of time and tranquility to keep wikiprojects ongoing,
editing Wikipedia takes a lot of time. ;)


Best





2016-02-22 15:13 GMT+01:00 Liam Wyatt :

> On Monday, 22 February 2016, Faidon Liambotis  > wrote:
> >
> > What you did instead was to sent a community-wide email making it sound
> > like this was a carefully executed plan and the only reason people are
> > revolting is because they're either change-averse or bitter for not
> > getting a promotion. This is downright insulting.
>
>
> It also slides over the fact that the people who have been leaving recently
> are people who had been hired or promoted during Lila's tenure. This is
> quite different from people leaving within the first months of a new
> director's arrival.
>
> The tricky thing is that the staff have been trying their best - because
> they are professionals - to keep internal "office problems" hidden from
> public view. They have not been advertising their frustrations on-wiki but
> trying to express their concerns through private and official procedures.
> This means that now we are at a stage where staff are OPENLY criticising
> the leadership that can appear to the wider wikiverse like the first sign
> of a problem and that they are being petty. But it is actually the end of a
> long road, not the beginning.
>
> Suffice to say - in an organisation where the staff are well know for their
> commitment to the values of the movement, to be complaining publicly (and
> not just one or two new people, all the senior people too - see the report
> of the staff survey in The Signpost) means that this is not an
> insignificant problem or concern only held by some troublemakers.
>
>
> > Finally, with all of your references to "community", it also sounds to
> > me like like you're trying to gain some support from our community and
> > effectively stategically place the (almost unanimously) revolting staff
> > at odds with our community, in the hopes that you can get supporters and
> > salvage your position. This would be a pretty desperate and selfish
> > move. I hope I'm wrong.
> >
>
> I too get the sense that this email as trying to claim a sense of
> martyrdom. Of pointing to the staff and and saying that "they" are
> unwilling to embrace change - particularly with regards to being a "high
> tech organisation". This might be a more believable argument if it was not
> for the tech department have been the most vocal in criticism. I don't
> think anyone was implacably opposed to improvements in the way tech should
> be managed - the smoothness of new rollouts and speed of development of new
> products was famously poor. But that's quite different from the
> silicon-valley mindset of paranoia about marketshare and product-secrecy.
>
> As several people have said to me in the last week (referencing
> an American-political aphorism) "it's not the crime, it's the coverup".
>
>
>
>
>
> --
> wittylama.com
> Peace, love & metadata
> ___
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-- 
--
Àlex Hinojo / Kippelboy
Programme Manager / Director de projectes
Amical Wikimedia
www.wikimedia.cat
@kippelboy / @Kippelboy_cat / @AmicalWikimedia
--
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[Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Liam Wyatt
On Monday, 22 February 2016, Faidon Liambotis > wrote:
>
> What you did instead was to sent a community-wide email making it sound
> like this was a carefully executed plan and the only reason people are
> revolting is because they're either change-averse or bitter for not
> getting a promotion. This is downright insulting.


It also slides over the fact that the people who have been leaving recently
are people who had been hired or promoted during Lila's tenure. This is
quite different from people leaving within the first months of a new
director's arrival.

The tricky thing is that the staff have been trying their best - because
they are professionals - to keep internal "office problems" hidden from
public view. They have not been advertising their frustrations on-wiki but
trying to express their concerns through private and official procedures.
This means that now we are at a stage where staff are OPENLY criticising
the leadership that can appear to the wider wikiverse like the first sign
of a problem and that they are being petty. But it is actually the end of a
long road, not the beginning.

Suffice to say - in an organisation where the staff are well know for their
commitment to the values of the movement, to be complaining publicly (and
not just one or two new people, all the senior people too - see the report
of the staff survey in The Signpost) means that this is not an
insignificant problem or concern only held by some troublemakers.


> Finally, with all of your references to "community", it also sounds to
> me like like you're trying to gain some support from our community and
> effectively stategically place the (almost unanimously) revolting staff
> at odds with our community, in the hopes that you can get supporters and
> salvage your position. This would be a pretty desperate and selfish
> move. I hope I'm wrong.
>

I too get the sense that this email as trying to claim a sense of
martyrdom. Of pointing to the staff and and saying that "they" are
unwilling to embrace change - particularly with regards to being a "high
tech organisation". This might be a more believable argument if it was not
for the tech department have been the most vocal in criticism. I don't
think anyone was implacably opposed to improvements in the way tech should
be managed - the smoothness of new rollouts and speed of development of new
products was famously poor. But that's quite different from the
silicon-valley mindset of paranoia about marketshare and product-secrecy.

As several people have said to me in the last week (referencing
an American-political aphorism) "it's not the crime, it's the coverup".





-- 
wittylama.com
Peace, love & metadata
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Timeline of recent events at the Wikimedia Foundation

2016-02-22 Thread Charles Gregory
That's a great wrap-up - thanks Molly!

For something a bit different, here is an outsiders view.  I found this on
reddit, posted by a user named Ken_Thomas (I don't know who this is, but it
seems to be someone vaguely aware of, but not heavily involved in, the
off-wiki side of things).  I thought it was worth sharing - even if there
are some factual inaccuracies and savage opinion - because it offers a much
different point of view from everyone here.

(Note that this is a copy of his post verbatim, and is *not my opinion)*

















*"From reading through the various articles, following the story for
awhile, and picking up data nuggets here and there, this is what I think is
going on.Wikimedia is a non-profit. Salaries there are pretty low for the
tech sector, and the workload is high. People who end up working there do
it because they believe in the mission. Over time, this has created a
pretty unique culture. The place is saturated with purists and idealists
who have good intentions but can be pretty insufferable about the whole
thing. They are also, generally speaking, not particularly disciplined and
not great business people.Tretikov was brought onboard to tighten things
up, basically. She comes from a business background. When she was hired all
the stories were about how she was going to 'save' Wikipedia by putting it
on a firm financial foundation and cracking the whip with the workforce.
I'm sure she admires the mission and thinks it's important and all that,
but I wouldn't put her in that 'purist and idealist' category at all.So
you've got this culture clash at the top, and the frustration from that has
been building for awhile.Some people had this idea to build a search engine
that would only search sites that offered 'free' information, probably
public domain or CC images, that sort of thing. Other people were irked
that Google is snagging Wikipedia's content and pasting it on their search
result pages. You get the impression that these two ideas came together and
they started some preliminary work on a search engine, saw how expensive it
was going to be, and applied for a grant to do it. The grant they got was
like 1/20th of what they requested, so they pretty much shut the project
down but were still noodling with the concept.None of that is really the
problem. Well, it was probably a dumb idea, but the search engine is kind
of the red herring here. The problem is that it was being done in
secret.Why? Because if you're from the business world, that's how things
are done.If you're a purist Wikipedian, it means you're literally
Hitler.Now it's coming out in the open and everybody is mad and no one can
understand why the other side is mad.Did that help?"*

Source:
https://www.reddit.com/r/wikipedia/comments/46rz1i/the_wikimedia_foundation_in_crisis_how_fast_is_it/d07tv95


Regards,
Charles / User:Chuq

On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 11:43 PM, Steven Crossin  wrote:

> minor correction - the ? in my reply was meant to be a period. I'll be
> keeping an eye on this timeline and watch the events unfold.
>
> *Steven Crossin*
> *cro0...@gmail.com *
>
> On 22 February 2016 at 23:37, Chris Keating 
> wrote:
>
> > Yes - very handy - thanks GorillaWarfare!
> >
> > On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 12:31 PM, Steven Crossin 
> > wrote:
> >
> > > Thank you Molly. This is indeed helpful?
> > >
> > > *Steven Crossin*
> > > *cro0...@gmail.com *
> > >
> > > On 22 February 2016 at 23:20, GorillaWarfare <
> > > gorillawarfarewikipe...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > > Recent discussion of the Knowledge Engine/Wikimedia Discovery
> project,
> > > > issues with senior leadership, lack of transparency, and the like has
> > > been
> > > > fairly well spread across several Wikimedia projects and mailing
> lists,
> > > as
> > > > well as on Facebook, in the media, and in other venues.
> > > >
> > > > I just published an attempt to aggregate some of the events that I
> > think
> > > > are particularly informative given what's been going on:
> > > > http://mollywhite.net/wikimedia-timeline/
> > > >
> > > > I hope it's helpful, and please feel free to suggest changes if it's
> > > > incomplete.
> > > >
> > > > – Molly (GorillaWarfare)
> > > > ___
> > > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > > > New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> > > > Unsubscribe:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
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> > > 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we’ve changed

2016-02-22 Thread billinghurst
> Why we’ve changed


> I want to address some of the many questions that are coming up in this
> forum. From the general to the very concrete, they all touch on the fact
> that many things about the WMF have been changing. We are in the thick of
> transformation, and you all have the right to know more about how and why
> this is occurring. This is not a statement of strategy, which will come out
> of the community consultation next week. This is the ED’s perspective only.

> After 15 years since the birth of Wikipedia, the WMF needs to rethink
> itself to ensure our editor work expands into the next decade. Recently we
> kicked-off some initiatives to this end, including aligning community
> support functions, focus on mobile and innovative technology, seeding the
> Wikimedia Endowment, re-organizing our internal structure, exploring
> partnerships and focusing on the most critical aspects of our mission:
> community and technology. We started this transformation, but as we move
> forward we are facing a crisis that is rooted in our choice of direction.

> The choice in front the WMF is that of our core identity. Our mission can
> be served in many ways, but we cannot do them all. We could either fully
> focus on building our content and educational programs. Or we can get great
> at technology as the force multiplier for our movement. I believe the the
> former belongs to our volunteers and affiliates and that the role of the
> WMF is in providing global support and coordination of this work. I believe
> in -- and the board hired me to -- focus on the latter. To transform our
> organization into a high-tech NGO, focused on the needs of our editors and
> readers and rapidly moving to update our aged technology to support those
> needs. To this end we have made many significant changes. But the challenge
> in front of us is hard to underestimate: technology moves faster than any
> other field and meeting expectations of editors and readers  will require
> undistracted focus.

Umm, since when have the volunteers stopped being part of the WMF? I
thought that volunteers are the heart of the the purpose, central to
the Foundation.  Since which point has the STAFF and their output
become *the WMF*?

I don't think that you will hear staff or volunteers dispute that we
want technological advancement, in fact it is clearly wanted. However,
I don't believe that they want technological advancement to come at
the expense of the community, or the exclusion of community. It is
this community that has invested itself in building the
content/systems/tools in wikipedia, commons, wikidata, wikisource,
wikiquote, wikiversity, wikivoyage, wiktionary, wikibooks, wikinews,
wikispecies, mediawiki,

The community strives to understand, and the community strives to
support. That it is hard to do so, especially in the current times,
can hardly be the fault of the community.

> What changed?

1) that staff are resigning at record rate;
2) that remaining staff seem to be in general revolt;
3) that the board and the CEO stopped presenting matters that clearly
illustrate a clear picture and vision
4) that the board didn't heed the implicit message from the political
editor-base about transparency, openness, and their desires
5) the peasants are now revolting;
6) there is next to no support for the CEO

After the staff leave, WMF stops being an employer of choice for the
socially conscience. The political editor-base get nothing but
disillusioned.

From outside, I have no clear perspective whether you are doing a good
job or a bad job for your hire.  That there is turmoil in the
workplace doesn't indicate that there is control, or the likelihood of
regaining control.

The indications that I see are a toxic workplace, and I see no
solution put forward. I see staff that I have watched, 'known' and
interacted for numbers of years in pain, in frustration, and
disengaging. I see numbers of them cowed, and I see few of them
leading any more. So we have the choice of removing all of those
staff, and trying to re-hire, and then the change management process
of engagement, team-building, ...

I don't see emotional intelligence, sustainable change, resonant
leadership, or team-building. I don't see evident situational
awareness, clear dynamic risk assessment and most definitely I don't
see effective controls.

I think that I see risk denial, and risk blindness from the the board
and the CEO.and a task-focus on a matter of a ship apparently left
harbour without passengers as it wants to get to a place.  I see
megaphone diplomacy.

I may be completely wrong in my assessment; I know that it is a harsh
judgment; but that is how it looks to me from the outside, and and
from the little bit of the inside that I had when I was a steward. It
is a situation that volunteers should not be forming such an opinion,
however the inability of yourself and the board to achieve a
resolution is a damning indictment.

Regards, Billinghurst
(now retreating to my 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Faidon Liambotis
Lila,

This is a pretty infuriating email, full of inaccuracies, FUD and
unnecessary platitudes. We're in need of answers and actions, not
essays.

After such a failed record as an ED, I would expect you to acknowledge
that we have indeed changed, but for the worst. Then, learn from your
mistakes and work on fixing them (possibly silently; I'd undrestand
that). I'm personally all for course-corrections and/or second chances.
As you probably know, I've been trying to be positive, calm and helpful
help during this mess -- this is one of my very few emails on the
subject of your performance.

What you did instead was to sent a community-wide email making it sound
like this was a carefully executed plan and the only reason people are
revolting is because they're either change-averse or bitter for not
getting a promotion. This is downright insulting.

Finally, with all of your references to "community", it also sounds to
me like like you're trying to gain some support from our community and
effectively stategically place the (almost unanimously) revolting staff
at odds with our community, in the hopes that you can get supporters and
salvage your position. This would be a pretty desperate and selfish
move. I hope I'm wrong.

Regards,
--
Faidon Liambotis
Principal Engineer, Technical Operations
Wikimedia Foundation

On Sun, Feb 21, 2016 at 04:22:07PM -0800, Lila Tretikov wrote:
> Why we’ve changed
> 
> 
> I want to address some of the many questions that are coming up in this
> forum. From the general to the very concrete, they all touch on the fact
> that many things about the WMF have been changing. We are in the thick of
> transformation, and you all have the right to know more about how and why
> this is occurring. This is not a statement of strategy, which will come out
> of the community consultation next week. This is the ED’s perspective only.
> 
> 
> After 15 years since the birth of Wikipedia, the WMF needs to rethink
> itself to ensure our editor work expands into the next decade. Recently we
> kicked-off some initiatives to this end, including aligning community
> support functions, focus on mobile and innovative technology, seeding the
> Wikimedia Endowment, re-organizing our internal structure, exploring
> partnerships and focusing on the most critical aspects of our mission:
> community and technology. We started this transformation, but as we move
> forward we are facing a crisis that is rooted in our choice of direction.
> 
> 
> The choice in front the WMF is that of our core identity. Our mission can
> be served in many ways, but we cannot do them all. We could either fully
> focus on building our content and educational programs. Or we can get great
> at technology as the force multiplier for our movement. I believe the the
> former belongs to our volunteers and affiliates and that the role of the
> WMF is in providing global support and coordination of this work. I believe
> in -- and the board hired me to -- focus on the latter. To transform our
> organization into a high-tech NGO, focused on the needs of our editors and
> readers and rapidly moving to update our aged technology to support those
> needs. To this end we have made many significant changes. But the challenge
> in front of us is hard to underestimate: technology moves faster than any
> other field and meeting expectations of editors and readers  will require
> undistracted focus.
> 
> 
> What changed?
> 
> 
> When Jimmy started Wikipedia, the early editors took a century-old
> encyclopedia page and allowed anyone to create or edit its content. At the
> time when creating knowledge was still limited to the chosen few, openly
> collaborating online gave us power to create and update knowledge at a much
> faster rate than anyone else. This was our innovation.
> 
> 
> As we matured, we encountered two fundamental, existential challenges. One
> is of our own doing: driving away those who would otherwise join our
> mission through complex policies, confusing user experiences, and a caustic
> community culture. The other is external and is emerging from our own value
> of freely licensed content: Many companies copy our knowledge into their
> own databases and present it inside their interfaces. While this supports
> wider dissemination, it also separates our readers from our community.
> Wikipedia
> is more than the raw content, repurposed by anyone as they like. It is a
> platform for knowledge and learning, but if we don't meet the needs of
> users, we will lose them and ultimately fail in our mission.
> 
> 
> Meanwhile, in the last 15 years revolutionary changes have taken hold. The
> rate of knowledge creation around the world is unprecedented and is increasing
> exponentially . User
> interfaces are becoming more adaptive to how users learn. This means we
> have a huge opportunity to accelerate human understanding. But to do so
> requires some significant change in technology 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Timeline of recent events at the Wikimedia Foundation

2016-02-22 Thread Steven Crossin
minor correction - the ? in my reply was meant to be a period. I'll be
keeping an eye on this timeline and watch the events unfold.

*Steven Crossin*
*cro0...@gmail.com *

On 22 February 2016 at 23:37, Chris Keating 
wrote:

> Yes - very handy - thanks GorillaWarfare!
>
> On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 12:31 PM, Steven Crossin 
> wrote:
>
> > Thank you Molly. This is indeed helpful?
> >
> > *Steven Crossin*
> > *cro0...@gmail.com *
> >
> > On 22 February 2016 at 23:20, GorillaWarfare <
> > gorillawarfarewikipe...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > Recent discussion of the Knowledge Engine/Wikimedia Discovery project,
> > > issues with senior leadership, lack of transparency, and the like has
> > been
> > > fairly well spread across several Wikimedia projects and mailing lists,
> > as
> > > well as on Facebook, in the media, and in other venues.
> > >
> > > I just published an attempt to aggregate some of the events that I
> think
> > > are particularly informative given what's been going on:
> > > http://mollywhite.net/wikimedia-timeline/
> > >
> > > I hope it's helpful, and please feel free to suggest changes if it's
> > > incomplete.
> > >
> > > – Molly (GorillaWarfare)
> > > ___
> > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > > New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> > > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > > 
> > ___
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> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > 
> >
> ___
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> 
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Timeline of recent events at the Wikimedia Foundation

2016-02-22 Thread Florence Devouard

Le 22/02/16 13:20, GorillaWarfare a écrit :

Recent discussion of the Knowledge Engine/Wikimedia Discovery project,
issues with senior leadership, lack of transparency, and the like has been
fairly well spread across several Wikimedia projects and mailing lists, as
well as on Facebook, in the media, and in other venues.

I just published an attempt to aggregate some of the events that I think
are particularly informative given what's been going on:
http://mollywhite.net/wikimedia-timeline/

I hope it's helpful, and please feel free to suggest changes if it's
incomplete.

– Molly (GorillaWarfare)
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Molly... Thank you ! Amazing job.

Florence


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Timeline of recent events at the Wikimedia Foundation

2016-02-22 Thread Chris Keating
Yes - very handy - thanks GorillaWarfare!

On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 12:31 PM, Steven Crossin  wrote:

> Thank you Molly. This is indeed helpful?
>
> *Steven Crossin*
> *cro0...@gmail.com *
>
> On 22 February 2016 at 23:20, GorillaWarfare <
> gorillawarfarewikipe...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Recent discussion of the Knowledge Engine/Wikimedia Discovery project,
> > issues with senior leadership, lack of transparency, and the like has
> been
> > fairly well spread across several Wikimedia projects and mailing lists,
> as
> > well as on Facebook, in the media, and in other venues.
> >
> > I just published an attempt to aggregate some of the events that I think
> > are particularly informative given what's been going on:
> > http://mollywhite.net/wikimedia-timeline/
> >
> > I hope it's helpful, and please feel free to suggest changes if it's
> > incomplete.
> >
> > – Molly (GorillaWarfare)
> > ___
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Timeline of recent events at the Wikimedia Foundation

2016-02-22 Thread Steven Crossin
Thank you Molly. This is indeed helpful?

*Steven Crossin*
*cro0...@gmail.com *

On 22 February 2016 at 23:20, GorillaWarfare <
gorillawarfarewikipe...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Recent discussion of the Knowledge Engine/Wikimedia Discovery project,
> issues with senior leadership, lack of transparency, and the like has been
> fairly well spread across several Wikimedia projects and mailing lists, as
> well as on Facebook, in the media, and in other venues.
>
> I just published an attempt to aggregate some of the events that I think
> are particularly informative given what's been going on:
> http://mollywhite.net/wikimedia-timeline/
>
> I hope it's helpful, and please feel free to suggest changes if it's
> incomplete.
>
> – Molly (GorillaWarfare)
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Florence Devouard

Le 22/02/16 11:03, George Herbert a écrit :


I have been letting Lila's mail stew in my brain for a little while, and I am 
going to respond now having had time to think it over.

I apologize in advance for the length.  There are three main sections to my 
analysis and argument, and then some concluding points and implications.


First - the good.  I believe most here should agree that the Wikipedia 
movement, communities, projects all have had and have today major challenges.  
An immense good is done by what we have all communally built, but there are 
things wrong we haven't fixed.

Lila's ED statement lays out a subset of the total problems, effectively 
briefly explains her reasoning on why they are problematic, and forms a vision 
statement for engaging with fixing them.  It's a vision statement and a call to 
action, and contains the kind of leadership we need.

One can quibble about the set of problems to focus on or priorities, long and 
short term goals.  I am sure people will.  But the Foundation needs a 
leadership vision like this.  It can evolve over time, but we should think in 
these terms.


Second - I want to focus now on this section to explain what I see as having 
gone wrong.

Quoting Lila:


In practice this means I demanded that we set standards for staff
communication with our community to be professional and respectful. It
meant transitioning people, shutting down pet projects, promoting some but
not others, demanding goals and results to get funding. This level of
change is necessary to set up our organization to address the challenges of
the next decade.


All of this means stepping away from our comfort zones to create capacity
for building programs and technologies that will support us in the future.
It is a demanding and difficult task to perform an organizational change at
this scale and speed.



For context:

I am an IT industry technical consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area with 
well over 20 years experience and 18 of those consulting.  I have literally 
seen the insides of 100 organizations big and small.

Many of those organizations were broken or failing, and needed serious reform 
to succeed.  I've seen and participated in a number of restructurings, 
including helping plan some.  These things are sometimes necessary.

One phrase I see used quite often is "sometimes we need to break a few eggs."  
For those who are not native american english speakers, this is referring to the need to 
move beyond shifting things around into breaking things apart, letting people go who may 
not fit in the new plan, stopping things outright, etc.  The eggs - people, projects, 
structures, policies, assumptions - need to partly go away - be broken - in order to 
reform.

Lila's vision here clearly calls the change campaign out as having explicitly 
intended to break eggs.

It further suggests strongly that this was the Board of Trustees' intention in 
hiring her, and that they agreed with breaking those eggs.

These types of reforms are at times necessary.  I do not know from the outside 
whether they were necessary for successful at the WMF, but for now I agree this 
may well have been necessary and proper.  Some of those affected may disagree; 
I don't seek to diminish that discussion but for now am putting it aside.

We come now to what I think went wrong with this change that I agree may have 
needed to happen.

Broken eggs type major organizational changes are launched with varying degrees 
of planning and vision and coordination beforehand.  I have seen such launched, 
in process, or the aftereffects across the range of initial planning and 
communications from none at all at one extreme to clearly envisioned, planned, 
communicated, and executed at the other.

Lila here and now communicated a clear vision for what was intended and why, and the 
intention to "break eggs" to do it.  I had not previously seen anything like 
this, or even a good suggestion of this.  Nobody I know of in the community seems to have 
seen or guessed at it.  From the comments we are seeing, a lot of current and ex 
Foundation staff do not seem to have seen it.  Nobody has yet admitted they had seen it, 
after Lila's post.

I don't know how well it was understood before/during by more senior staff / 
leadership staff, the Board, or laid out this clearly and coherently in Lila's 
head.

There are undoubtedly a range of answers to those questions depending on who 
you ask and what time period we ask about.

I will bound the extremes of credible answers with "clearly articulated and communicated at 
high levels, including commitment to change by breaking eggs", or at the other extreme 
"this was not clearly envisioned or articulated or communicated at high levels 
beforehand."

I want to emphasize this: Either the senior leadership launched a major broken 
eggs extent reform without communicating what was happening to major community 
and staff stakeholders on purpose, or by accident, or somewhere in 

[Wikimedia-l] Timeline of recent events at the Wikimedia Foundation

2016-02-22 Thread GorillaWarfare
Recent discussion of the Knowledge Engine/Wikimedia Discovery project,
issues with senior leadership, lack of transparency, and the like has been
fairly well spread across several Wikimedia projects and mailing lists, as
well as on Facebook, in the media, and in other venues.

I just published an attempt to aggregate some of the events that I think
are particularly informative given what's been going on:
http://mollywhite.net/wikimedia-timeline/

I hope it's helpful, and please feel free to suggest changes if it's
incomplete.

– Molly (GorillaWarfare)
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[Wikimedia-l] Open Belgium conference

2016-02-22 Thread Romaine Wiki
Hello all,

In one week is the annual Open Belgium conference: 29 February.

More information at:
2016.openbelgium.be


Greetings,
Romaine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Post mortems (second attempt)

2016-02-22 Thread Jane Darnell
Yes!!! This is why I haven't spent much time contributing on Meta at all
since then:
" We would say "we need pages," and they would explain why we didn't. We
would say "we need archives," and they would explain why good search was a
better idea. We would say "there's too much white space," and they would
explain that people like white space. And so on."

On Sun, Feb 21, 2016 at 10:42 PM, SarahSV  wrote:

> On Sun, Feb 21, 2016 at 8:19 PM, Pete Forsyth 
> wrote:
>
> >
> > Is it possible to imagine an effort that would not be shot down, but
> > embraced?
> >
> > What would need to be different?
> >
> > These are the kinds of questions I wish the Wikimedia Foundation would
> get
> > better at asking and exploring.
> >
> > ​Lila is good at asking the right questions of the community, which is
> why
> (so far as I can tell) editors like her. If you look at her meta talk page,
> you can see her asking good questions about Flow and trying to find out
> what editors need.
>
> That was literally the first time we felt we were being listened to. There
> was one point when Flow was introduced – and I have been trying to find
> this diff but can't – where there was something on the talk page that
> amounted to "if you agree with us that x and y, then you're welcome to join
> the discussion."
>
> So from the start, it felt as though staffers had ruled out the community
> as people who might know something about what tools are needed to
> collaborate on an article (which is not the same as chatting). People who
> had been doing something for years were not regarded as experts in that
> thing by the Foundation.
>
> We would say "we need pages," and they would explain why we didn't. We
> would say "we need archives," and they would explain why good search was a
> better idea. We would say "there's too much white space," and they would
> explain that people like white space. And so on.
>
> Sarah
>
> ​
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread George Herbert

I have been letting Lila's mail stew in my brain for a little while, and I am 
going to respond now having had time to think it over.

I apologize in advance for the length.  There are three main sections to my 
analysis and argument, and then some concluding points and implications.


First - the good.  I believe most here should agree that the Wikipedia 
movement, communities, projects all have had and have today major challenges.  
An immense good is done by what we have all communally built, but there are 
things wrong we haven't fixed.

Lila's ED statement lays out a subset of the total problems, effectively 
briefly explains her reasoning on why they are problematic, and forms a vision 
statement for engaging with fixing them.  It's a vision statement and a call to 
action, and contains the kind of leadership we need.

One can quibble about the set of problems to focus on or priorities, long and 
short term goals.  I am sure people will.  But the Foundation needs a 
leadership vision like this.  It can evolve over time, but we should think in 
these terms.


Second - I want to focus now on this section to explain what I see as having 
gone wrong.

Quoting Lila:

> In practice this means I demanded that we set standards for staff
> communication with our community to be professional and respectful. It
> meant transitioning people, shutting down pet projects, promoting some but
> not others, demanding goals and results to get funding. This level of
> change is necessary to set up our organization to address the challenges of
> the next decade.
> 
> 
> All of this means stepping away from our comfort zones to create capacity
> for building programs and technologies that will support us in the future.
> It is a demanding and difficult task to perform an organizational change at
> this scale and speed.


For context:

I am an IT industry technical consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area with 
well over 20 years experience and 18 of those consulting.  I have literally 
seen the insides of 100 organizations big and small.

Many of those organizations were broken or failing, and needed serious reform 
to succeed.  I've seen and participated in a number of restructurings, 
including helping plan some.  These things are sometimes necessary.

One phrase I see used quite often is "sometimes we need to break a few eggs."  
For those who are not native american english speakers, this is referring to 
the need to move beyond shifting things around into breaking things apart, 
letting people go who may not fit in the new plan, stopping things outright, 
etc.  The eggs - people, projects, structures, policies, assumptions - need to 
partly go away - be broken - in order to reform.

Lila's vision here clearly calls the change campaign out as having explicitly 
intended to break eggs.

It further suggests strongly that this was the Board of Trustees' intention in 
hiring her, and that they agreed with breaking those eggs.

These types of reforms are at times necessary.  I do not know from the outside 
whether they were necessary for successful at the WMF, but for now I agree this 
may well have been necessary and proper.  Some of those affected may disagree; 
I don't seek to diminish that discussion but for now am putting it aside.

We come now to what I think went wrong with this change that I agree may have 
needed to happen.

Broken eggs type major organizational changes are launched with varying degrees 
of planning and vision and coordination beforehand.  I have seen such launched, 
in process, or the aftereffects across the range of initial planning and 
communications from none at all at one extreme to clearly envisioned, planned, 
communicated, and executed at the other.

Lila here and now communicated a clear vision for what was intended and why, 
and the intention to "break eggs" to do it.  I had not previously seen anything 
like this, or even a good suggestion of this.  Nobody I know of in the 
community seems to have seen or guessed at it.  From the comments we are 
seeing, a lot of current and ex Foundation staff do not seem to have seen it.  
Nobody has yet admitted they had seen it, after Lila's post.

I don't know how well it was understood before/during by more senior staff / 
leadership staff, the Board, or laid out this clearly and coherently in Lila's 
head.

There are undoubtedly a range of answers to those questions depending on who 
you ask and what time period we ask about.

I will bound the extremes of credible answers with "clearly articulated and 
communicated at high levels, including commitment to change by breaking eggs", 
or at the other extreme "this was not clearly envisioned or articulated or 
communicated at high levels beforehand."

I want to emphasize this: Either the senior leadership launched a major broken 
eggs extent reform without communicating what was happening to major community 
and staff stakeholders on purpose, or by accident, or somewhere in between with 
mixed 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Amir Ladsgroup
I think the impact of HHVM rollout hasn't tested on new user survival rate
[1] they might become very active later.

[1]: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Surviving_new_editor

Best
On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 1:14 PM Ori Livneh  wrote:

> On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 1:26 AM, Tim Starling 
> wrote:
>
> > On 22/02/16 18:45, Erik Moeller wrote:
> > > The numbers for "very active editors" appear to have stabilized at a
> > > slightly higher level than previously. I can't find any firm
> > > conclusion on what has caused this in Wikimedia's public
> > > communications, but the HHVM rollout, long-planned and implemented in
> > > December 2014 under Ori Livneh's leadership seems like a plausible
> > > hypothesis:
> > >
> > >
> >
> https://blog.wikimedia.org/2014/12/29/how-we-made-editing-wikipedia-twice-as-fast/
> >
> > I don't think it is plausible, given the data collected at:
> >
> > <
> >
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:HHVM_newcomer_engagement_experiment
> > >
> >
> > 25,000 new users were put into an HHVM bucket, so the whole site was
> > twice as fast for them. Then they were tracked for a week. There was
> > no improvement in engagement or productivity.
> >
>
> Erik is supposing the impact was felt by highly-active editors, a
> hypothesis which was not tested by this experiment. Few users become active
> editors; few active editors become very active; and few very active editors
> become very active in their first week as registered users, which is all
> that the experiment considered -- the activity of new users during their
> first week.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Ilario Valdelli
Hi,
This explanation is really appreciated and it helps to understand a point
of view. The problem is that it's "a" point of view.

We can define it as a "change management". In this explanation are missed
some points.

The first point is the mapping of the stakeholders and to define what the
stakeholders think of this change and how they can influence or block this
change.

This point is really important and it's considered as "initiation phase" of
a change. Without this mapping a project can easily fail.

The second missed point is the communication.

A change should demonstrate to introduce several benefits and to be
efficient. Basically after the mapping, the communication helps to keep the
support of those stakeholders.

Personally I have seen big projects to fail cause a bad communication and
the creation of a block and of a resistance to the change in important
stakeholders. This is a risk that should be considered because this risk
can block any change even if good and rational.

A change cannot be "imposed" because WMF is an open system interacting with
the environment.

I remember that Sue Gardner, when introduced the strategic plan, spent a
long session during the chapters meeting in Berlin in order to communicate
and to collect feedbacks from the chapters considered an important
stakeholder.

Probably her strategic plan was weaker, but the introduction generated
lesser discussion and conflicts.

Kind regards


On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 1:22 AM, Lila Tretikov  wrote:

>
> This has not been easy.
>
>
> In practice this means I demanded that we set standards for staff
> communication with our community to be professional and respectful. It
> meant transitioning people, shutting down pet projects, promoting some but
> not others, demanding goals and results to get funding. This level of
> change is necessary to set up our organization to address the challenges of
> the next decade.
>
>
> All of this means stepping away from our comfort zones to create capacity
> for building programs and technologies that will support us in the future.
> It is a demanding and difficult task to perform an organizational change at
> this scale and speed.
>
>
> I believe that in order to successfully serve our community and humanity,
> the WMF has deliver best-of class technology and professional support for
> community. This will ensure we are delivering significant impact to
> volunteer editors and opening avenues for new types of contributions. This
> requires that we choose the route of technical excellence for the WMF with
> support and encouragement from our community partners. Without this
> empowerment, the WMF will not succeed.
>
>
> The world is not standing still. It will not wait for us to finish our
> internal battles and struggles. Time is our most precious commodity.
>
>
> Lila
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-- 
Ilario Valdelli
Wikimedia CH
Verein zur Förderung Freien Wissens
Association pour l’avancement des connaissances libre
Associazione per il sostegno alla conoscenza libera
Switzerland - 8008 Zürich
Wikipedia: Ilario 
Skype: valdelli
Tel: +41764821371
http://www.wikimedia.ch
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Post mortems (second attempt)

2016-02-22 Thread Yaroslav M. Blanter

On 2016-02-22 10:31, Erik Moeller wrote:

2016-02-22 1:14 GMT-08:00 Yaroslav M. Blanter :
Absolutely. This is absolutely what happened. At some point I had to 
state

that if FLOW gets introduced on all talk pages I would stop using talk
pages. I was replied that they are sorry but this is my choice.


Our early communications approach about Flow was terrible, it is true,
and I take responsibility for not handling it better. I saw some
messages that made me cringe, but I didn't step in to say "This is not
how we want to do things". I'm sorry. As for my own comms style when I
was around the wikis, I think people have often found it arrogant and
thereby offputting. I've learned over the years that folks who are
external to the community are often naturally better at this. It's
tempting as a (formerly very active) community member to draw on your
own expertise and hopes to the point that you're no longer listening,
or seen to be listening.

I believe Flow-related communications improved significantly later on,
but by that time a lot of bridges had already been burned^Wnuked from
orbit. I think this early history significantly impacted perception
especially in the English Wikipedia community, to the point that
raising the name of the project immediately triggers lots of people in
that community. At the same time, the more proactive and careful
approach later fostered some use cases, like the Catalan Wikipedia
converting its entire Village Pump over:

<...>


Hi Erik,

thank for your reply. I also fully agree that communication over FLOW 
was considerably, drastically improved, making it possible to introduce 
trials at other projects, e.g. on Wikidata. This is exactly what I meant 
yesterday when I said that things became much better in 2015 from my 
perspective as a volunteer.


Cheers
Yaroslav

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Ori Livneh
On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 1:26 AM, Tim Starling 
wrote:

> On 22/02/16 18:45, Erik Moeller wrote:
> > The numbers for "very active editors" appear to have stabilized at a
> > slightly higher level than previously. I can't find any firm
> > conclusion on what has caused this in Wikimedia's public
> > communications, but the HHVM rollout, long-planned and implemented in
> > December 2014 under Ori Livneh's leadership seems like a plausible
> > hypothesis:
> >
> >
> https://blog.wikimedia.org/2014/12/29/how-we-made-editing-wikipedia-twice-as-fast/
>
> I don't think it is plausible, given the data collected at:
>
> <
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:HHVM_newcomer_engagement_experiment
> >
>
> 25,000 new users were put into an HHVM bucket, so the whole site was
> twice as fast for them. Then they were tracked for a week. There was
> no improvement in engagement or productivity.
>

Erik is supposing the impact was felt by highly-active editors, a
hypothesis which was not tested by this experiment. Few users become active
editors; few active editors become very active; and few very active editors
become very active in their first week as registered users, which is all
that the experiment considered -- the activity of new users during their
first week.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Erik Moeller
2016-02-22 1:26 GMT-08:00 Tim Starling :
> I don't think it is plausible, given the data collected at:
>
> 
>
> 25,000 new users were put into an HHVM bucket, so the whole site was
> twice as fast for them. Then they were tracked for a week. There was
> no improvement in engagement or productivity.
>
> I'm sure the performance improvements we did in 2004-2005 had a big
> impact, especially initial batch of 9 Tampa servers in February 2004.
> There must be a scale effect: going from 20s to 10s is much more
> important than going from 2s to 1s.

I'm familiar with that research. I suggested at the time (see talk) to
specifically also evaluate impact on existing users. My reasoning was
that a new editor faces many barriers and high cognitive load, and as
you say, performance improvements at the level realized here are
probably not going to be the thing that helps you in making those
first edits. But if you're a power user who, say, performs a ton of
category edits with low cognitive load, reducing the amount of time
spent waiting ought to increase productivity.

Erik

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Post mortems (second attempt)

2016-02-22 Thread Erik Moeller
2016-02-22 1:14 GMT-08:00 Yaroslav M. Blanter :
> Absolutely. This is absolutely what happened. At some point I had to state
> that if FLOW gets introduced on all talk pages I would stop using talk
> pages. I was replied that they are sorry but this is my choice.

Our early communications approach about Flow was terrible, it is true,
and I take responsibility for not handling it better. I saw some
messages that made me cringe, but I didn't step in to say "This is not
how we want to do things". I'm sorry. As for my own comms style when I
was around the wikis, I think people have often found it arrogant and
thereby offputting. I've learned over the years that folks who are
external to the community are often naturally better at this. It's
tempting as a (formerly very active) community member to draw on your
own expertise and hopes to the point that you're no longer listening,
or seen to be listening.

I believe Flow-related communications improved significantly later on,
but by that time a lot of bridges had already been burned^Wnuked from
orbit. I think this early history significantly impacted perception
especially in the English Wikipedia community, to the point that
raising the name of the project immediately triggers lots of people in
that community. At the same time, the more proactive and careful
approach later fostered some use cases, like the Catalan Wikipedia
converting its entire Village Pump over:

https://ca.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viquip%C3%A8dia:La_taverna/Novetats
https://ca.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viquip%C3%A8dia:La_taverna/Multim%C3%A8dia
https://ca.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viquip%C3%A8dia:La_taverna/Propostes
https://ca.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viquip%C3%A8dia:La_taverna/Tecnicismes
https://ca.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viquip%C3%A8dia:La_taverna/Ajuda

I think a fair evaluation of the project's merits will need to look at
what actually happened in those communities that adopted it, whether
it's for wholesale usage on pages like this, or on user talk pages.
And if the numbers look positive and there's something that can be
done to heal the hurt that was caused in how the project was handled
early on, I'm happy to help if I can, even just by saying "Sorry".

Erik

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Tim Starling
On 22/02/16 18:45, Erik Moeller wrote:
> The numbers for "very active editors" appear to have stabilized at a
> slightly higher level than previously. I can't find any firm
> conclusion on what has caused this in Wikimedia's public
> communications, but the HHVM rollout, long-planned and implemented in
> December 2014 under Ori Livneh's leadership seems like a plausible
> hypothesis:
> 
> https://blog.wikimedia.org/2014/12/29/how-we-made-editing-wikipedia-twice-as-fast/

I don't think it is plausible, given the data collected at:



25,000 new users were put into an HHVM bucket, so the whole site was
twice as fast for them. Then they were tracked for a week. There was
no improvement in engagement or productivity.

I'm sure the performance improvements we did in 2004-2005 had a big
impact, especially initial batch of 9 Tampa servers in February 2004.
There must be a scale effect: going from 20s to 10s is much more
important than going from 2s to 1s.

-- Tim Starling


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Legoktm
Hi,

On 02/21/2016 04:22 PM, Lila Tretikov wrote:
> The world is not standing still. It will not wait for us to finish our
> internal battles and struggles. Time is our most precious commodity.

No, it's not.


-- Legoktm

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Post mortems (second attempt)

2016-02-22 Thread Yaroslav M. Blanter

On 2016-02-22 04:42, SarahSV wrote:

So from the start, it felt as though staffers had ruled out the 
community

as people who might know something about what tools are needed to
collaborate on an article (which is not the same as chatting). People 
who

had been doing something for years were not regarded as experts in that
thing by the Foundation.

We would say "we need pages," and they would explain why we didn't. We
would say "we need archives," and they would explain why good search 
was a
better idea. We would say "there's too much white space," and they 
would

explain that people like white space. And so on.

Sarah



Absolutely. This is absolutely what happened. At some point I had to 
state that if FLOW gets introduced on all talk pages I would stop using 
talk pages. I was replied that they are sorry but this is my choice.


Cheers
Yaroslav

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Post mortems

2016-02-22 Thread Yaroslav M. Blanter

On 2016-02-22 04:01, Gergő Tisza wrote:

One example of the shortcomings of emails as a medium for complex
discussions is how this thread about postmortems continues to be 
diverted

into discussions about Facebook, despite Pete's best efforts.

At the end of the day, people will prefer tools that work well over 
tools
that align philosophically. One can sabotage the development of tools 
that

would both work well and uphold Wikimedia's values, but cannot prevent
important discussions from moving to other venues (which will 
necessarily
be a worse match for those values). There is a lesson there, although 
I'm

afraid it will take some more time before we learn it.


Meta rather than the mailing list would be the proper place to discuss 
such things. However, for the last many years meta has been a terrible 
mess, where it is impossible to find anything, and which only 
meta-regulars (mainly people highly involved with WMF) were able to 
follow on a daily basis. The introduction of the global watchlist might 
solve this bit of the problem.


Cheers
Yaroslav

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Austin Hair
On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 1:22 AM, Lila Tretikov  wrote:
> In practice this means I demanded that we set standards for staff
> communication with our community to be professional and respectful. It
> meant transitioning people, shutting down pet projects, promoting some but
> not others, demanding goals and results to get funding. This level of
> change is necessary to set up our organization to address the challenges of
> the next decade.

I could take issue with several things you've said on this list, Lila,
but I've tried to remain neutral for the sake of fairly moderating the
conversation.

I really don't think I can let this one go, though. Would you please
name one "pet project"—actually, I don't think it's so much to ask to
name them all—that's had to be shut down?

And, for that matter, why? I honestly cannot think of any reason that
this could not be truthfully and immediately answered.

Austin

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Giuseppe Lavagetto
On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 2:41 AM, Brion Vibber  wrote:
>
> If your contention is that tech supports you as a silent majority, I have
> strong doubts that this is the case.

I think the silent majority of the WMF employees, tech or not,
expressed their opinion quite clearly with the employee engagement
survey.

[goes back to lurking]

Giuseppe
-- 
Giuseppe Lavagetto
Senior Technical operations engineer.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Erik Moeller
Hi Lila,

Thanks for the message. I won't go into this and the other aspects of
the current situation in detail -- I think this is an important
conversation primarily with current staff and active community members
--, but I'll respond to a couple points that I think are important,
and for which I can provide some historical perspective.

> In the past year we managed -- for the first time since 2007 -- to finally
> stem the editor decline.

This is a pretty powerful statement! As many folks know, "stemming the
editor decline" was long a top organizational priority, due to
research that showed an increasing tendency for new editors to
encounter barriers, such as the Editor Trends Study, summarized here:

https://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Editor_Trends_Study

Many will remember the graph illustrating this study, which
specifically underscores that new editors' 1-year retention decreasing
dramatically during Wikipedia's most rapid growth, and remained low
since then.

https://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Enwp_retention_vs_active_editors.png

As a consequence, an important number to pay attention to when
characterizing the editor decline is the number of new editors who
successfully join the project. Has that number increased or
stabilized?

It has not, as far as I can tell:
https://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesWikipediaZZ.htm

Note in interpreting all data that January is a seasonal recovery
month in editor statistics.

One number to look at here is "New editors", which is the number of
editors who have crossed the threshold of 10 edits in a given month.
For all Wikipedias combined, this number has been in the 12000-13000s
for the last 6 months. Near as I can tell, the last time it has
hovered around or below those levels for this long was a decade ago,
in December 2005. The more modern metric of "new editor activation"
(which does not seem to have the same level of data-completeness)
appears to show similar troubling signs:

https://vital-signs.wmflabs.org/#projects=all,ruwiki,itwiki,dewiki,frwiki,enwiki,eswiki,jawiki/metrics=RollingNewActiveEditor

Another key metric we paid attention to is the "Active Editors"
number, which has stagnated for a long time; it appears to continue to
do so with no recovery. The most complete visualization I was able to
find is still the one we created years ago, here:

https://reportcard.wmflabs.org/graphs/active_editors

Finally, there's the measure of "very active editors". These are folks
who make 100 edits/month, and one could also call this the "core
community". It's a measure less affected by new user barriers, and
more by the effectiveness of existing editing/curation tools. This is
one metric which does indeed show a positive trend, as was noted here:

https://blog.wikimedia.org/2015/09/25/wikipedia-editor-numbers/

This graph focuses on English Wikipedia; this table contains the
numbers for all languages combined, in the "Very active editors"
column:

https://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesWikipediaZZ.htm

The numbers for "very active editors" appear to have stabilized at a
slightly higher level than previously. I can't find any firm
conclusion on what has caused this in Wikimedia's public
communications, but the HHVM rollout, long-planned and implemented in
December 2014 under Ori Livneh's leadership seems like a plausible
hypothesis:

https://blog.wikimedia.org/2014/12/29/how-we-made-editing-wikipedia-twice-as-fast/

It seems reasonable to assume that very active editors would most
benefit from performance improvements.

One very positive trend is the Content Translation tool, and its
impact on new article creation, especially in combination with
targeted calls to action, as detailed here:

https://cs.stanford.edu/people/jure/pubs/growing-www16.pdf

But overall, it seems premature of speaking of "stemming the decline",
unless I'm missing something (entirely possible). I don't mean to be
negative about it -- I do think it's a super-important problem, and
hence important to be clear and precise about where we are in
addressing it.

> In practice this means I demanded that we set standards for staff
> communication with our community to be professional and respectful. It
> meant transitioning people, shutting down pet projects

Like Brion, I'm also curious what this ("pet projects") refers to.
With regard to tech, I'm not aware of any major projects that were
shut down. I read that major feature development on Flow was
suspended, but active maintenance work to support an active trial
(launched after said announcement) on user talk pages is ongoing, as
far as I can tell:

https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/#/q/Flow+status:merged,n,z

To be clear, the course of action taken here -- to evaluate a
controversial tool for a specific use case, and see how it fares --
seems completely reasonable to me. I'm just curious if that's what
you're referring to, though, or if there are other examples, perhaps
outside engineering, you have in mind?

Erik


Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Tim Starling
On 22/02/16 11:22, Lila Tretikov wrote:
> We started this transformation, but as we move
> forward we are facing a crisis that is rooted in our choice of direction.

Not really. The crisis has always been about means, not ends. I keep
hearing people say "this is a good idea, but why did it have to be
done this way?"

The gripe list which the staff presented to you in November
essentially said the same thing. It complained about process and the
absence of strategy, not the choice of direction.

> The choice in front the WMF is that of our core identity. Our mission can
> be served in many ways, but we cannot do them all. We could either fully
> focus on building our content and educational programs. Or we can get great
> at technology as the force multiplier for our movement. I believe the the
> former belongs to our volunteers and affiliates and that the role of the
> WMF is in providing global support and coordination of this work. I believe
> in -- and the board hired me to -- focus on the latter.

You are referring to the "narrowing focus" strategy introduced by Sue
Gardner in 2012. Indeed, you were hired to continue with Sue's
tech-focused strategy, which was already fully established by the time
you took office. Until now, I have not heard anyone suggest that it is
still a significant source of conflict within the Foundation.

> In the past year we managed -- for the first time since 2007 -- to finally
> stem the editor decline. 

Well, the minimum number of very active editors on en.wikipedia.org
was in September 2013, but yes, more or less. As the blog post said,
nobody is quite sure why this has happened. Nobody is saying that
Wikipedia is a lovely and friendly place to work.

There is no WMF initiative that fully explains the reversal, although
the Teahouse (which was not officially supported by WMF engineering)
may have played a role.

> Over the past two years I have actively pushed funding to improve
> anti-harassment, child protection and safety programs; work in these areas
> is ongoing. We are actively exploring some tangible approaches that -- I
> hope -- will turn into concrete outcomes
> . 

I am very happy to see this. For years I argued for more effective
moderation of Wikipedia as key to editor retention, and I was very
frustrated that nobody ever had the guts to do anything about it. Not
Sue, not the Board, not the ArbCom.

I agree with your broad strategic goals (educate, innovate, retain
volunteers, secure funding), I just doubt your ability to implement
them. Because an ED of a non-profit organisation needs to be able to
lead, not just dictate. And an effective manager should make decisions
rationally and collaboratively.

-- Tim Starling


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why we changed

2016-02-22 Thread Brion Vibber
On Sun, Feb 21, 2016 at 11:14 PM, rupert THURNER 
wrote:

> brion,
>
> there is 10'000 km between you and me so i only read mails on this
> list. would you mind detailing what you expect from your CEO to
> trigger "she benefits me"?
>

I'd say these would help a lot:

* articulate a vision for her leadership term that is aligned with the
stated mission of the Wikimedia Foundation
* communicate with staff to understand what we do for the mission & what we
believe we can do further, and to help us maximize our ability to achieve
great things
* foster a positive, creative work environment where staff can do that
without burning out
* communicate with our broader community of editors, volunteers, chapter
organizers, readers, educators, developers, students, photographers,
videographers, copyeditors, researchers, etc about what they need to
maximize their contributions to the mission and how Wikimedia Foundation
and its staff can help achieve that

I don't believe these have been achieved during Lila's tenure.

This thread is the closest to a leadership vision that I've seen, and it
comes after months of private complaints, some intervention from the board,
an employee engagement survey that indicated very low confidence in senior
leadership's ability to convey a strategy, and finally weeks of open
complaints from staff that communication is bad, morale is bad, and
strategy is missing. We've seen some public strategy consultation, but
that's been recent (after the November board meeting) and there remain
concerns as to how open and consultative the process is.

As for the work environment, I believe I've made clear that I don't think
it's super great, and we're losing valuable staff rapidly due to that and
will likely continue to lose more.

I'm glad that some people outside the organization reportedly feel that
communication between them and the Foundation has improved, but internally
many staff do not feel they have been communicated with clearly. We've
spent so long talking about things like the 'Knowledge Engine' project
origins because we never got straightforward answers about what direction
things were moving in...

-- brion
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