Re: [Wikimedia-l] The Case for Federation: Should Parts of WMF Be Spun Off?

2016-03-18 Thread Pine W
I agree that these options should be explored. I'm wondering what the best
way would be to facilitate this conversation.

Perhaps, Erik, would you be willing to set up a page on Meta for discussion?

Also, I think it would be good to have an office hour, or more likely a
series of office hours over the next many months, to discuss this.

On the WMF side, I'm wondering how this would fit into their annual
planning. Their plan is supposed to be published on April 1. This
discussion will need resources from WMF's end in the form of staff time,
including Katherine's, as well as Board time. The required investment in
the short term will be modest, but cumulatively through the year it may be
significant, particularly if the discussions get momentum. So I'm wondering
how, at this point, it would be possible to take these discussions into
account in the WMF AP.

For the affiliates and possible new WMF spinoffs, I imagine that there may
be some requests for project grants to support both the discussions about
spinoffs as well as initial support for orgs when they leave, similar to
how Wiki Ed's departure worked. My guess is that Katy will want to have
this on her radar.

This series of operations, while complicated, may yield a more resilient
movement in the end, possibly with more combined funding, more
accountability and transparency, and more credibility.


On Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 7:22 PM, Erik Moeller  wrote:

> Hi folks,
> Now that the dust has settled a bit, I would like to expand on an idea
> that’s been touched on a few times (most recently, in an editorial by
> William Beutler [1]): the notion that WMF might be a more effective
> organization if it limited its own size in favor of focused spin-off
> organizations and affiliates.
> I was very much part of building the current WMF in terms of both size
> and structure, but I also think recent events underscore the fragility
> of the current model. WMF is still tiny compared with other tech
> companies that operate popular websites, but it’s a vast organization
> by Wikimedia movement standards. With nearly 300 staff [2] (beyond
> even our ambitious 2015 strategic plan staffing numbers), it dwarfs
> any other movement org.
> I can see three potential benefits from a more federated model:
> 1) Resilience. If any one organization experiences a crisis, other
> independent organizations suffer to a lesser degree than departments
> within that organization.
> 2) Focus. Wikimedia’s mission is very broad, and an organization with
> a clearly defined mandate is less likely to be pulled in many
> different directions -- at every level.
> 3) Accountability. Within a less centralized federation, it is easier
> to ensure that funding flows to those who do work the movement wants
> them to do.
> My experience is that growth tends to be self-reinforcing in budgetary
> processes if there are now clear ceilings established. I think that’s
> true in almost any organization. There’s always lots of work to do,
> and new teams will discover new gaps and areas into which they would
> like to expand. Hence, I would argue for the following:
> a) To establish 150 as the provisional ceiling for Wikimedia movement
> organizations. This is Dunbar’s number, and it has been used
> (sometimes intentionally, sometimes organically) as a limiting number
> for religious groups, military companies, corporate divisions, tax
> offices, and other human endeavors.  [3][4] This is very specifically
> because it makes organizational units more manageable and
> understandable for those who work there.
> b) To slowly, gradually identify parts of the WMF which would benefit
> from being spun off into independent organizations, and to launch such
> spin-offs, narrowing WMF's focus in the process.
> c) To aim to more clearly separate funding and evaluation
> responsibilities from programmatic work within the movement -- whether
> that work is keeping websites running, building software, or doing
> GLAM work.
> Note that I'm not proposing a quick splintering, but rather a slow and
> gradual process with lots of opportunity to course-correct.
> More on these points below.
> == Potential test case: MediaWiki Foundation ==
> A "MediaWiki Foundation" [5] has been proposed a few times and I
> suspect continues to have some currency within WMF. This org would not
> be focused on all WMF-related development work, but specifically on
> MediaWiki as software that has value to third parties. Its mission
> could include hosting services as earned income (and potentially as an
> extension of the Wikimedia movement’s mission).
> MediaWiki is used today by numerous nonprofit and educational projects
> that are aligned even with a narrow view on Wikimedia’s mission.
> Examples include Appropedia, OpenWetWare, WikiEducator, W3C’s
> WebPlatform, Hesperian Health Guides, and too many notable open source
> projects to list.
> Among commercial users, it has lost much 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] User interaction on Wikipedia --call for submissions

2016-03-18 Thread Derek V.Giroulle

Hello Moushira,

Iḿ sorry i didn't say this explicitely , i was n persoanlly attacking you
i was as you point  out  focussing the critic at jargon use in the WMF


On 16-03-16 17:58, Richard Symonds wrote:

Thanks Moushira :-)
On 16 Mar 2016 16:55, "Moushira Elamrawy"  wrote:

Hello again,

I see that we have an interesting input here.

Let me add further context, not to give any excuses but to put things in
their perspective. This has nothing do to with corporate or jargon Silicon
Valley culture, as I simply don't live in the US, and I don't have any
corporate background  :). I come from a design background, and while I am
not a native English speaker, I didn't encounter any previous
misunderstanding with using this word, in context, in the last decade, even
with other non-native speakers.

I now see the relevance of psychology in the use of the word "ideation"
(where regardless of the article quality, we have the word used in both


. Given my non-medical background, and my previous use of the word, without
failing to deliver what I needed to express at any point earlier, I,
therefore, made a choice to include it in my email, which I wrote by myself
without peer review.

I see the point around the Foundation's seemingly repeated pattern of using
words (or abbreviation) that aren't widely understood outside their
context, or by a broader audience. While this is a valid concern, I just
wanted to point out that our case here, is a matter of me failing to choose
a term that isn't apparently jargon, because sometimes it is tricky to

Again, this is a good lesson on the importance of simplifying and
globalizing my choice of words (oh, globalize could be, not
again ;).

Point taken, thanks again everyone.


On Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 4:41 PM, Oliver Keyes  wrote:

While I agree with people that it's an uncommon and exclusionary
phrase (and a confusing one!) it seems like Moushira fully
acknowledges this and is going to work harder on this sort of problem
in the future, for which I laud her.

If we want to have a general conversation about language choice at the
WMF, broadly-construed, it seems like it would be best to kick off a
new thread to avoid the appearance of a pileon.

On Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 9:13 AM, Derek V.Giroulle

Hello everyone ,

I agree with Fae and Craig,
It's foreign jargon especially in this context , and on top of that


form a professional background where the term has been misused (imho)
It has in my jargon the connotation of obsessively recurring idea ,



depressed patient
always coming back to ideas of suicide : the suicidal ideation
It would be the only place where i would allow fosuch reductive jargon
because it has precise meaning
i wouls never associate it with  idea generation or brainstorming what


wrong with using those words
as craig indicated : cringe worthy (business) jargon
the mere fact that product design (business ing general) is stealing a


form other jargon
show a lack of creativity of innovation

I would like to call on the communications dept to start  - and i can


picture someone for that task - a campaign
at WMF  to ban jargon  "simply says it better"


On 16-03-16 04:39, Craig Franklin wrote:

Hi Moushira,

The problem when you use jargon like "ideation" in this context is


you're essentially excluding anyone who isn't familiar with the


terminology used in the field.  Especially so when there are plenty of
plain-English alternatives that can be used in its place.  Note that


is a whole bunch of thought from experts that that word in particular

is a

particularly obnoxious piece of jargon:


It's hardly the worst example I've seen out of the WMF, but while



the topic it should be pointed out.  Just because it's used elsewhere,


doesn't mean that the WMF has to fall into the same trap.


On 16 March 2016 at 10:07, Moushira Elamrawy 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] any open search engine for web project starting

2016-03-18 Thread SarahSV
On Fri, Mar 18, 2016 at 5:17 PM, carl hansen 

> "We are building a nonprofit search engine for the Web"
> Sounds alot like Knowledge Engine, if there were such a thing.
> Any overlap with wikimedia projects?

​Thanks for the link, Carl. Erik and Lydia are advisors, so perhaps they
could say a bit more about it. ​

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Scholarship Decline

2016-03-18 Thread Ellie Young

I have asked the Scholarship Committee for Wikimania '16 to reply to your

Ellie Young
WMF Events Manager

On Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 12:30 PM, Vitor Mazuco 

> Hi everybody!
> my apply was decline.
> This is my second time that is decline, and my friend of Brazil goes
> every year, same users in every year and I never.
> If do you compare my contribution as long with their, I have much more
> and my apply is every year decline by WMF.
> Please, who can help with this?
> Thanks in advanced,
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The Case for Federation: Should Parts of WMF Be Spun Off?

2016-03-18 Thread Frank Schulenburg
Hi all,

I'd like to add some thoughts to the discussion about the potential pros
and cons of spinning parts of the Wikimedia Foundation off. I’m writing
this in my personal capacity and this email might not represent the views
of the Wiki Education Foundation.

This is a comparably long note; the upshot is that in my opinion there are
more pros than cons.

== PRO ==

* Distributed risk: If one part of the new ecosystem fails, the rest should
still be healthy enough to survive. Today, if the WMF implodes, everybody
else will be affected in a big way. If we manage to successfully create a
number of separate organizations of what is today WMF, the risk will be
spread. Some parts will still be vital for the survival of others, though.
So, that has to be taken into account during the process of spinning off.

* Specialization of EDs: People who are experts in their field tend to
produce better results. During the last ED search, WMF struggled with
finding a “unicorn”. In order to run the WMF, you’ll have to be able to
deal with a high level of complexity, understand the community, be willing
to deal with public criticism, understand how to build an effective
engineering organization, etc. Splitting WMF into different organizations
would make subsequent ED searches easier as their expertise won’t have to
be as broad as under the current conditions.

* Better focus: Organizations with a narrower focus are likely to do
better. Wiki Ed is only one example. I’ll leave it with that because LiAnna
has explained this point already nicely.

* Shorter and more efficient decision making processes: The larger an
organization, the more it tends having more levels of hierarchy. This
affects decision making – smaller organizations can react more quickly and
more efficiently to changing conditions.

* Feeling of ownership leads to higher job satisfaction: This one is
closely related to my last point: people in a smaller organization tend to
feel a much higher level of ownership over the outcomes of their work. As a
result, they’re more motivated (which, in most cases, will lead to better

* Stopping things that don’t work: Larger organizations tend to continue
projects although the outcomes of those projects are questionable. They can
simply afford it. Spinning off parts of the WMF would require the spin-offs
to justify their existence every single day. That seems to put a lot of
pressure on these spin-offs. However, the result would actually be good: if
an organization doesn’t continually deliver value to the ecosystem as a
whole, it will disappear. That’s better than a continued investment of
resources into projects that everybody knows don’t have the impact that
people expected them to have.

* More potential for innovation: Independent organizations have more
freedom to look at things from a fresh and different angle. While I was
still with WMF, everything needed to be done in MediaWiki. From the
perspective of the WMF that made sense. However, for what Wiki Ed needs to
accomplish, we believed that building our own software outside of MediaWiki
(but communicating with Wikipedia’s platform through OAuth) would be
better. Today, WMF is working on adapting Wiki Ed’s software to the needs
of a global community (see Edward’s email).

* Positive effects of competition: In a world, where organizations are more
independent, they won’t always choose a service provider within the
Wikimedia ecosystem. Instead they might decide to work with outside
contractors who are able to deliver better results in less time. As an
example, Wiki Ed worked with an outside contractor based in Seattle to
develop its dashboard. We could have partnered with WMF, but the project
might not have received the same level of attention. We’re happy with the
results, and now there’s one more company in the world that has a growing
understanding of Wikimedia’s requirements.

* Geographic diversity: if we decided to spin-off parts of WMF, we'd have
the opportunity to think about where these parts should be located. Given
the extremely high cost of living in the Bay Area and meager opportunities
for WMF to recruit people locally (for the many obvious reasons; e.g.
competing with Facebook and Google for talent is hard), some of the spun
off parts might be located in other regions of the world. This would make
the Wikimedia ecosystem more diverse than it is now and will most likely
reduce costs.

== CON ==

* Coordination gets more difficult: With parts of the WMF getting spun off,
coordination between these parts will be more vital than ever. The risk is
that one organization doesn’t know what another organization is planning to
do / started executing / learned along the way. A solid process of
communicating things can solve this. However, this requires the willingness
of everybody to communicate early and often. And, in fairness, this is
already an existing problem in need of better solutions, given the large
number of chapters and affiliates WMF 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikipedia Zero mass effect on Wikimedia projects

2016-03-18 Thread Gnangarra
some of the issue stems form the copyright laws of Angola, which are really
interesting to read -- read them in english --  of course I dont expect
people to know their copyright laws in detail or to have read them but they
do know the principles of it and what they can do

some points of interest

   - Non protected works Article  9 section c -- news of the day published
   by the press or broadcast
   - Chapter IV Uses lawful without Authorisation article 29 section b -
   reproduction by photographic process or process analogous to photographic
   process by  documentation centres  or teaching organisations
   . refers to minimum amount of copies necessary, but wither way
   Wikipedia would fall into either of these definitions as permitted to
   - article 30 - is the key here it enables translation into Portuguese
   after 3 years without any real restrictions - hence why the pt.wikis are
   having so much of an issue and by extension commons where they encourage
   uploading of media

Wikipedia zero implementation needs to also consider the implication of
local laws especially copyright on the projects where the laws are this
outdated and effectively enable copyright issues then WP Zero could provide
a read only option for IP's or a no upload option,  with a rights request
process on commons

On 19 March 2016 at 00:45, Lucas Teles  wrote:

> Hi, everyone.
> It is being recently reported on Portuguese Wikipedia and Commons (at
> least) the increasing ammount of improper editing coming from IP addresses
> located in Angola. Some users believe that this may be related with
> Wikipedia Zero and a partnership between WMF and a cellphone company [1]
> that allows reading and editing at free cost.
> One of the first reactions to that is a large range block that was just set
> on Commons in order to prevent these edits [2], as they are being done in a
> way that volunteers can't handle.
> That seems to be some kind of "second wave" as the first that hit Commons
> [3] had been already reported months ago [4] and seemed to be controled or
> just paused for a while. On Portuguese Wikipedia, one thing that seemss to
> be clear is that edits are done in good faith. However, they end by being
> undone as they are incorrect for some reason, whether being pages of files
> about themselves or just test edits. One of the users identified actually
> confirm [5] that he is editing through Wikipedia Zero.
> Concerning that more partnerships may occur in future, I think it is time
> for us to start talking about ways of dealing with that, other than
> blocking. Sadly, I don't have an answer to that problem, but I tend to
> believe that some way of mass reaching these potential users should be made
> out.
> The current process is that editors will be the ones to notice that (as I
> am not aware of any kind of follow up by WMF on that) and they will try to
> solve their way, which may cause too many collateral damage.
> I wonder if there is any kind of way to diminish the problem, by using any
> off-wiki strategy.
> Kind regards.
> Teles
> [1] -
> [2] -
> [3] -
> [4] -
> [5] -
> *Lucas Teles*
> *+55 (71) 98290 7553Steward at Wikimedia Foundation. Administrator *
> *at Portuguese Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons.*-
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[Wikimedia-l] any open search engine for web project starting

2016-03-18 Thread carl hansen

"We are building a nonprofit search engine for the Web"

Sounds alot like Knowledge Engine, if there were such a thing.
Any overlap with wikimedia projects?
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