Re: [Wikimedia-l] Institutional memory @ WMF

2020-08-26 Thread Pete Forsyth
Correction:

It's been pointed out that I erred in two significant ways when discussing
Katherine's background: Prior to becoming CEO, she was Chief Communications
Officer, which is a more senior position than the one I named; and, where I
said that prior to her time at WMF her career was "largely in
communications," I was simply mistaken. Her background is covered in her
Wikipedia bio, and is indeed quite varied.

I regret both of those errors.

Pete

>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Institutional memory @ WMF

2020-08-26 Thread Pete Forsyth
Michael, thank you for weighing in. Your background in the movement and
perspective is unique and valuable. (For those who don't know, Michael was
an early WMF board chair, and also the founder of the Signpost newspaper.)

I'll respond to everybody in this thread, but I want to start with
Michael's comments.

On Tue, Aug 25, 2020 at 6:11 PM Michael Snow  wrote:

> I think [Pete's closing point] overrates the effect of the individual
> Executive Director/CEO on what are, after all, institutional and
> collective processes. While I recognize the importance of the role in
> heading the organization, that person may try to shape the overall
> culture, but they are not really the source of it.


This is a valid point, but I was trying to look at this from a broad
perspective. I think the source of any dissonance is this:

Institutional memory is important BOTH to staff of WMF, AND to the
volunteer community.

I think both you and I, Michael, have blurred these two issues to some
degree. It would be possible for (a) WMF to fully and privately document
the relevant history (which could be a function of top-down leadership
and/or staff culture), and for (b) volunteers to fully and publicly
document relevant history (growing out of volunteer culture, presumably
with some input from staff). To some degree this already happens. It would
be worthwhile to discuss the possible benefits, and the possible design, of
a system that facilitates those things happening in a mutually supportive,
or even merged way; I expect you and I have probably both explored that to
some degree in the past. But, getting into that would substantially expand
the scope of the present discussion, and I'm not going to assume we, or
anyone, want to go there right now.

In my message, I was only addressing the WMF's *institutional* memory (a).

Just consider what
> transpired between the two Executive Directors mentioned above; while
> that was a difficult time and the organizational culture suffered
> significantly, I would argue that the underlying culture at the
> community/staff/"grassroots" level is what forced the organization to
> reconsider and change directions.


Well, this illustrates the point I was making rather nicely: In order to
consider it, wouldn't it be nice to have an existing summary or two of
facts that allowed you and me to assess whether or not we share an
understanding of the facts, and permitted those unfamiliar with the facts
to catch up and follow what we're saying? (Maybe that exists, to some
degree, in the form of the volunteer-built Knowledge Engine
 article
on English Wikipedia. But for many other topics, that are vitally important
to our history but have not attracted independent journalistic inquiry, we
have no such Wikipedia article.)

WMF staff actually attempted to do much of that at the time. The transparency
gap 
page on Meta Wiki was started by WMF staff. I think it's an
excellent example that a unified "culture" of the staff and volunteer
community has often existed, and can produce valuable documents. But as far
as I could tell, it has never attracted significant notice from the WMF
board or executives. If there were directed outcomes from this body of
work, in terms of changing the policies or high-level practices of the
organization, I'm not aware of them.

Grassroots efforts are valuable (which in general is why most of us are
here), but when it comes to an organization like the WMF, much of their
value is only realized when they are recognized, and used as the foundation
for policy changes, at the board or executive level.


> 
>


> Pete also offers much good advice about maintaining institutional
> knowledge, but I think it's a mistaken dichotomy to view two different
> modes of presenting information ("encyclopedic" and "communications") as
> if they are conflicting philosophies rather than merely separate
> skillsets.


My apologies if I gave that impression. I agree with you 100% that the
skills are not mutually exclusive. As I have written about extensively
elsewhere, I think the Wikimedia community often mistakenly sees this issue
as more black-and-white than it is.

Still, I think the distinction is significant, and it does surprise me that
a community that is often so deeply opposed to communications and public
relations activities *outside* its own world (influencing corporate
Wikipedia articles, etc.) can be so blasé about these dynamics when it
comes to the Wikimedia Foundation itself. For instance, in 2017 Tony1 and I
wrote a Signpost article about WMF hiring a reputation management firm in
the early planning of its strategy process
.
That story, to which I devoted far more attention to the research and
writing than much of my other Signpost work, attracted comparatively 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Institutional memory @ WMF

2020-08-26 Thread Delphine Ménard
Dan, you're right, it's a bit of all, formal and informal, and it is
important that we keep this process flexible. This allows us to adapt to
changing circumstances and a movement which well... moves. :-)

This fiscal year, Talent & Culture (HR) will be working on streamlining the
onboarding experience at the Foundation. This is why I joined the Talent &
Culture department, to coordinate this project and contribute my Wikimedia
experience. One of my mandates is to tackle the piece of onboarding that
takes into account our history as a movement, our common failures and
successes and the cultural pieces that are at the heart of our relationship
with each other (Individuals in the community, Foundation, affiliates,
external partners...).

Our movement is complex, and there are no amount of explanations that will
portray its richness. I will be working to make sure that new hires at the
Foundation know to ask the right questions at the right time and to the
right people to minimize errors. Of course, I want to set realistic
expectations, this will not happen in a day, nor will it happen in a year
only. My goal is to start a process that will change and evolve with time,
as does our movement.

If any of you have any questions about how we are working on this, or want
to contribute ideas, please talk to me offlist!

Best,

Delphine

Le mer. 26 août 2020 à 14:40, Dan Garry (Deskana)  a
écrit :

> On Wed, 26 Aug 2020 at 12:16, Strainu  wrote:
>
> > Thanks for the response Dan!
> >
> > A rigorous study is IMHO impossible, since we're lacking a rigorous
> > definition of the limits between WMF and community.
> >
>
> Absolutely agreed.
>
>
> > OK, but how is this done precisely? Are there written docs? Mentors?
> > Is cross-team help common? Or is this kept at the anecdotal level ("oh
> > yeah, you should also keep in mind..." )?
> >
>
> In my experience, all of the above. What is done exactly depends on the
> situation, but all of those things you've listed can and do happen,
> depending on the nature and size of the project, the people involved, and
> so on. People keep their eye out, through both formal and informal
> mechanisms, and help out if they think they can.
>
> I don't want to go into specific details, as I'm doing it purely from
> memory and might misremember things, and things might've changed since I
> left the WMF two years ago. To be clear, I'm not under any kind of
> non-disclosure agreement, I just don't want to be inaccurate.
>
> Dan
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-- 
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Lead Orientation Specialist
User:Delphine_(WMF)
Wikimedia Foundation 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Institutional memory @ WMF

2020-08-26 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Wed, 26 Aug 2020 at 12:16, Strainu  wrote:

> Thanks for the response Dan!
>
> A rigorous study is IMHO impossible, since we're lacking a rigorous
> definition of the limits between WMF and community.
>

Absolutely agreed.


> OK, but how is this done precisely? Are there written docs? Mentors?
> Is cross-team help common? Or is this kept at the anecdotal level ("oh
> yeah, you should also keep in mind..." )?
>

In my experience, all of the above. What is done exactly depends on the
situation, but all of those things you've listed can and do happen,
depending on the nature and size of the project, the people involved, and
so on. People keep their eye out, through both formal and informal
mechanisms, and help out if they think they can.

I don't want to go into specific details, as I'm doing it purely from
memory and might misremember things, and things might've changed since I
left the WMF two years ago. To be clear, I'm not under any kind of
non-disclosure agreement, I just don't want to be inaccurate.

Dan
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Institutional memory @ WMF

2020-08-26 Thread Strainu
În mie., 26 aug. 2020 la 13:07, Dan Garry (Deskana)  a scris:
>
> On Tue, 25 Aug 2020 at 22:26, Strainu  wrote:
>
> > The pattern I'm seeing is: team gets a big project (in this case UCoC)
> > -> team hires -> newbie makes good faith edits that are known to cause
> > offense to some members of the community.
>
>
> This is basically always going to happen when new people are onboarded, or,
> indeed, as people make mistakes. By my observations, this happens a lot
> less nowadays than it used to. This is anecdotal on my part, but in the
> absence of any rigorous study of the frequency with which this occurs, this
> thread as a whole is anecdotal. That's not to say it's not valuable to
> discuss it, but it's worth bearing that in mind.

Thanks for the response Dan!

A rigorous study is IMHO impossible, since we're lacking a rigorous
definition of the limits between WMF and community.
>
>
> > This pattern can be broken
> > only if the organization has a process to teach newcomers things that
> > seem obvious to old timers ("don't go over community decisions if you
> > can avoid it", "don't change content", "try to talk to people before
> > doing a major change", "not everyone speaks English", "affiliates are
> > not the community" etc.)
> >
> > My question is: does the WMF has such a process?
> >
>
> When people are onboarded a lot of this is explained to them, and people
> are encouraged to reach out to those more experienced with the communities.
> That people get it wrong occasionally is expected.

OK, but how is this done precisely? Are there written docs? Mentors?
Is cross-team help common? Or is this kept at the anecdotal level ("oh
yeah, you should also keep in mind..." )?

Strainu

>
> Dan
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Institutional memory @ WMF

2020-08-26 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Tue, 25 Aug 2020 at 22:26, Strainu  wrote:

> The pattern I'm seeing is: team gets a big project (in this case UCoC)
> -> team hires -> newbie makes good faith edits that are known to cause
> offense to some members of the community.


This is basically always going to happen when new people are onboarded, or,
indeed, as people make mistakes. By my observations, this happens a lot
less nowadays than it used to. This is anecdotal on my part, but in the
absence of any rigorous study of the frequency with which this occurs, this
thread as a whole is anecdotal. That's not to say it's not valuable to
discuss it, but it's worth bearing that in mind.


> This pattern can be broken
> only if the organization has a process to teach newcomers things that
> seem obvious to old timers ("don't go over community decisions if you
> can avoid it", "don't change content", "try to talk to people before
> doing a major change", "not everyone speaks English", "affiliates are
> not the community" etc.)
>
> My question is: does the WMF has such a process?
>

When people are onboarded a lot of this is explained to them, and people
are encouraged to reach out to those more experienced with the communities.
That people get it wrong occasionally is expected.

Dan
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[Wikimedia-l] Language showcase, September 2, 2020

2020-08-26 Thread Amir E. Aharoni
Hello,

This is an announcement about a new installment of the Language Showcase, a
series of presentations about various aspects of language diversity and its
connection to Wikimedia Projects.

This next installment will deal with the Translatable modules project—a
proposal to make a framework that will make the localization of Scribunto
Lua modules as convenient as the localization of MediaWiki and extensions.

Everyone is welcome, especially developers of modules and templates in all
wikis!

This session is going to be broadcast over Zoom, and a recording will be
published for later viewing.

Please read below for the event details, including local time, joining
links and do let us know if you have any questions.

Past Language showcases:
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Language_engineering/Showcase

Thank you!

Amir

== Details ==

# Event: Language Showcase #7

# When: September 2, 2020 (Wednesday) at 02:00 PM UTC
check local time:
https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?iso=20200902T1400


# Where:

Join Zoom Meeting
https://wikimedia.zoom.us/j/95167235390


Meeting ID: 951 6723 5390

# Agenda:

Translatable modules project—a proposal to make a framework that will make
the localization of Scribunto Lua modules as convenient as the localization
of MediaWiki and extensions.

--
Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
http://aharoni.wordpress.com
‪“We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Language showcase, August 2020

2020-08-26 Thread Amir E. Aharoni
Sorry, I am feeling very unwell today, and since I am the main presenter
and host of this meeting, I have to reschedule for next week. My apologies
for the late notice. I'll send another email with new details in a minute.

--
Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
http://aharoni.wordpress.com
‪“We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬


‫בתאריך יום ב׳, 24 באוג׳ 2020 ב-15:55 מאת ‪Amir E. Aharoni‬‏ <‪
amir.ahar...@mail.huji.ac.il‬‏>:‬

> Hello,
>
> This is an announcement about a new installment of the Language Showcase,
> a series of presentations about various aspects of language diversity and
> its connection to Wikimedia Projects.
>
> This next installment will deal with the Translatable modules project—a
> proposal to make a framework that will make the localization of Scribunto
> Lua modules as convenient as the localization of MediaWiki and extensions.
>
> Everyone is welcome, especially developers of modules and templates in all
> wikis!
>
> This session is going to be broadcast over Zoom, and a recording will be
> published for later viewing.
>
> Please read below for the event details, including local time, joining
> links and do let us know if you have any questions.
>
> Past Language showcases:
> https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Language_engineering/Showcase
>
> Thank you!
>
> Amir
>
> == Details ==
>
> # Event: Language Showcase #7
>
> # When: August 26, 2020 (Wednesday) at 12:00 UTC
> check local time:
> https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?iso=20200826T1200
>
> # Where:
>
> Join Zoom Meeting
> https://wikimedia.zoom.us/j/96185098382
>
> Meeting ID: 961 8509 8382
>
> # Agenda:
>
> Translatable modules project—a proposal to make a framework that will make
> the localization of Scribunto Lua modules as convenient as the localization
> of MediaWiki and extensions.
>
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