[Wikimedia-l] Re: Movement Charter Drafting Committee elections are now open!

2021-10-20 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Wed, 20 Oct 2021 at 10:10, Dan Garry (Deskana)  wrote:

> You're definitely right about that. SecurePoll is a mess. I was the
> product lead for a project to improve it in 2014, and whilst we did manage
> to make quite a few improvements to the functionality and management, we
> only got a fraction done of what we wanted to, the tool is still sorely
> deficient. There's documentation about the project
> <https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/SecurePoll_2014_Redesign>, if you're
> interested. I'm not surprised that WMF leadership is very reluctant to
> improve it, and if I were in their shoes, I'd be avoiding it, especially
> since none of the people involved in the 2014 project work at the WMF
> anymore.
>
> I think we need to get over the "not invested here"
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Not_invented_here> tendency when it comes
> to running elections, and research to see if there's a good third-party
> solution. I suspect we'd actually save money using a third-party solution
> compared to trying to improve SecurePoll. I've not done a competitive
> analysis, so I don't know what sorts of things are available, and maybe
> there aren't any. But, at least, we should look.
>

Or, scope out designing a lightweight tool hosted on Toolforge or similar
infrastructure, that integrates with the wikis and other data sources via
the API, rather than actually being a MediaWiki extension. So many of the
things that SecurePoll does (voter eligibility list generation,
authentication, vote collection and collation, etc.) can be done using API
integrations or data dumps; there's nothing instrinsic to it that requires
it to be a MediaWiki extension, it was only done that way because that's
the way we did everything back when. Developing a tool like that on
Toolforge is so much easier and less complex than developing a MediaWiki
extension. There's so many successful examples of this way of doing things;
pageviews.toolforge.org is a good example.

(Sorry for the follow-up email spam, the thought occurred to me as soon as
I hit send.)

Dan
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[Wikimedia-l] Re: Movement Charter Drafting Committee elections are now open!

2021-10-20 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Mon, 18 Oct 2021 at 12:30, Jan Ainali  wrote:

> I just wanted to note that UI of SecurePoll caused problem in the board
> election too, and that the same excuse was used then "in a short time once".
> Obviously this is a piece of infrastructure that we need in the movement
> and that any team doing one election should not need to fix the software
> for it.
>
> Hence, a specific project, unrelated to any election, should be tasked to
> solve this by the Wikimedia Foundation. And it should start soon to avoid
> us finding ourselves in the same problem when the next election is being
> called.
>

You're definitely right about that. SecurePoll is a mess. I was the product
lead for a project to improve it in 2014, and whilst we did manage to make
quite a few improvements to the functionality and management, we only got a
fraction done of what we wanted to, the tool is still sorely deficient.
There's documentation about the project
, if you're
interested. I'm not surprised that WMF leadership is very reluctant to
improve it, and if I were in their shoes, I'd be avoiding it, especially
since none of the people involved in the 2014 project work at the WMF
anymore.

I think we need to get over the "not invested here"
 tendency when it comes to
running elections, and research to see if there's a good third-party
solution. I suspect we'd actually save money using a third-party solution
compared to trying to improve SecurePoll. I've not done a competitive
analysis, so I don't know what sorts of things are available, and maybe
there aren't any. But, at least, we should look.

Dan
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[Wikimedia-l] Re: 100$ million dollars and still obsolete

2021-10-15 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Fri, 15 Oct 2021 at 11:03, Galder Gonzalez Larrañaga <
galder...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> Thanks Dan for using the Excuse 6: *At this point in the circle, there is
> some volunteer who wants to fix this and raises the tone of the request.
> Then we find the mother of all excuses, the wild card: you are being rude
> and do not assume good faith. Excuse 6.*
>

I guess you've got all the answers then, eh?

I think we're done here.

Dan
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[Wikimedia-l] Re: 100$ million dollars and still obsolete

2021-10-15 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Fri, 15 Oct 2021 at 08:47, Galder Gonzalez Larrañaga <
galder...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> Dear all,
> I don't know if this already has a name, but I'm going to invent one: The
> Great Circle of Excuse. It works like this: we have all realized that
> something needs to be improved, let's say the design of our website. Then,
> WMF gets a group of workers to think about it, and they come up with some
> changes that neither respond to the needs nor are really a change beyond
> certain aesthetic resources.
>

I stopped reading at this point. What you've written here is pretty
insulting. There's a valid point buried under your rhetoric, but you're
exacerbating the problem by being so rude and dismissive.

Dan
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[Wikimedia-l] Re: Welcoming María Sefidari as a Foundation consultant. :)

2021-06-25 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Thu, 24 Jun 2021 at 12:56, Chris Keating 
wrote:

> Thanks for the detailed comments. However, still, this doesn't really help
> that much.
>
> From your email it seems that over several months the WMF has created a
> new role which just happens to be ideal for its outgoing Chair to fill, and
> indeed could scarcely be filled by anyone else because it so closely
> relates to the Board's priorities.
>
> If this is allowed to happen then it raises serious questions about
> whether Board members make decisions about the WMF's priorities in order to
> create consultancy posts for themselves. As it happens I don't believe that
> is what has happened here, but one could be forgiven for drawing that
> conclusion. There is a clear appearance of a conflict of interest. And
> there is a real risk of undermining the credibility of pretty much any
> decision the Board might take in future, if people - the community, donors
> or the media - start to believe that those decisions are being taken
> because Board members will be eased into paid positions to implement them.
>
> No amount of reassurances that conversations happened in a particular
> order can avoid this. The letter and indeed the spirit of the WMF's
> conflict of interest policy may have been followed. But the object of the
> WMF's conflict of interest policy has not been achieved, quite the
> opposite. One can follow a policy and end up making the wrong decision, and
> that's what's happened here.
>

I agree wholeheartedly with Chris's eloquent comments on this situation.
What has happened here is very inappropriate, and deeply troubling.

Dan
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[Wikimedia-l] Re: Welcoming María Sefidari as a Foundation consultant. :)

2021-06-25 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Fri, 25 Jun 2021 at 11:26, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:

> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FOs9_l33gY=13s
>

That is an unhelpful and incredibly inappropriate response.

Dan
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Flourishing of the Endowment

2021-05-06 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Fri, 30 Apr 2021 at 15:02, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:

> The Wikimedia Endowment page on Meta[1] actually states very clearly in
> its lead paragraph who benefits from the Endowment. It says,
>
> "The funds may be transferred from Tides either to the Wikimedia
> Foundation or to other charitable organisations selected by the Wikimedia
> Foundation to further the Wikimedia mission."
>
> The Wikimedia Foundation alone controls how the funds are used (limited
> only by whatever UPMIFA or donor-specific constraints apply).
>

The Wikimedia Foundation legally controlling the funds, and the endowment's
purpose being to protect the project moving forwards, are not mutually
exclusive. Legally, yes, the Wikimedia Foundation controls the funds, so
for the page to say otherwise would be misleading. Unless some other entity
can somehow direct Tides to transfer the money, then the page shouldn't say
that.


Including the $100 million endowment, the WMF will now have investments of
> around $200 million (excluding cash and cash equivalents), for an annual
> investment income of over $10 million. That is already enough to run core
> services. Wikimedia posted total expenses of $3.5 million in 2007/2008, a
> year after Wikipedia became a global top-ten website.
>

Well, it's not 2007 anymore. Just because it cost $3.5 million in 2007
doesn't mean it'd cost $3.5 million now. I don't know enough about the
current financial situation, staff, data centre expenditure, hardware, etc.
to state whether $10 million is actually enough to continue to maintain the
infrastructure required for the project. Could you share your breakdown and
financial analysis?



> The problem for me – and many other rank-and-file volunteers – is not the
> idea of an endowment as such, but fundraising messages saying "Wikipedia
> really needs you this Tuesday" to donate money so Wikipedia can "stay
> online", "protect its independence", etc., or "to show the volunteers their
> work matters".
>
> The WMF creates the impression that it struggles to keep Wikipedia up and
> running; people then feel scared or guilty, think Wikipedia is struggling,
> or dying, or will soon put up a paywall;[2] and the WMF does little to
> correct that mistaken impression, even when directly asked about it as in
> Katherine's recent The Daily Show interview[3]. One is left with the
> uncomfortable conclusion that the WMF creates and fails to correct that
> false impression because it benefits financially from it.
>

Indeed, as the endowment grows I would expect our fundraising messaging to
change, from talking about donations being required to maintain the
projects, to instead highlighting the new developments that donations
enable. As mentioned before, I don't know if we're there yet. I look
forward to us getting there.

(I'll ignore your nonsenscial remark about the WMF somehow profiting from
this.)


I disagree, SJ. The Meta page[1] has a blue progress bar showing how much
> money is in the Endowment. To me it is incompatible with the idea of a wiki
> – a website designed to support continuous updates – for such a progress
> bar to be up to a year out of date. It's not what a reasonable reader of
> that page would expect.
>

"People expect wikis to be updated, and information on the endowment is on
a wiki, therefore we should have monthly updates on the endowment" isn't a
very compelling argument. I don't see why the reporting cadence should go
beyond what is typically expected of endowments in the nonprofit space.

If you have a problem with that particular bar on that page on Meta for
some reason, perhaps a disclaimer about the last time it was updated could
be added. That seems like a much simpler solution than drastically
increasing the financial auditing and reporting overhead.

Dan
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Board Ratification of Universal Code of Conduct

2021-02-22 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
It's so great to see the Universal Code of Conduct come to fruition. As a
movement we were severly lagging behind others in adopting a code of
conduct, and I'm glad to see we've reached parity. This is a step in the
right direction.

Dan

On Tue, 2 Feb 2021 at 11:59, María Sefidari  wrote:

> Hi everyone,
>
> I’m pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees has unanimously
> approved a Universal Code of Conduct for the Wikimedia projects and
> movement.[1]  A Universal Code of Conduct was one of the final
> recommendations of the Movement Strategy 2030 process - a multi-year,
> participatory community effort to define the future of our movement. The
> final Universal Code of Conduct seeks to address disparities in conduct
> policies across our hundreds of projects and communities, by creating a
> binding minimum set of standards for conduct on the Wikimedia projects that
> directly address many of the challenges that contributors face.
>
> The Board is deeply grateful to the communities who have grappled with
> these challenging topics. Over the past six months, communities around the
> world have participated in conversations and consultations to help build
> this code collectively, including local discussions in 19 languages,
> surveys, discussions on Meta, and policy drafting by a committee of
> volunteers and staff. The document presented to us reflects a significant
> investment of time and effort by many of you, and especially by the joint
> staff/volunteer committee who created the base draft after reviewing input
> collected from community outreach efforts. We also appreciate the
> dedication of the Foundation, and its Trust & Safety policy team, in
> getting us to this phase.
>
> This was the first phase of our Universal Code of Conduct - from here, the
> Trust & Safety team will begin consultations on how best to enforce this
> code. In the coming weeks, they will follow-up with more instructions on
> how you can participate in discussions around enforcing the new code. Over
> the next few months, they will be facilitating consultation discussions in
> many local languages, with our affiliates, and on Meta to support a new
> volunteer/staff committee in drafting enforcement pathways. For more
> information on the process, timeline, and how to participate in this next
> phase, please review the Universal Code of Conduct page on Meta.[2]
>
> The Universal Code of Conduct represents an essential step towards our
> vision of a world in which all people can participate in the sum of all
> knowledge. Together, we have built something extraordinary. Today, we
> celebrate this milestone in making our movement a safer space for
> contribution for all.
>
> On behalf of the Board of Trustees,
>
> María Sefidari
> Board Chair
>
> [1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Universal_Code_of_Conduct/Draft_review
>
>
> [2] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Universal_Code_of_Conduct
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF transfers $8.7 million to "Wikimedia Knowledge Equity Fund"

2021-01-02 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Sat, 2 Jan 2021 at 07:46, rupert THURNER 
wrote:

> have a good start into the new year everybody! should not, ideally, the
> legal team of amanda keton be able to tell if fundting something is legal?
> or is this a liability issue, so tides would be liable for misconduct, and
> not a person within wikimedia foundation?
>

Given Tides' core competencies as an organisation, one would expect that
the legal folks there have more experience in handling matters relating to
things like what activities a 501(c)(3) can fund, more knowledge of the
statutes, case law, precedent, etc. I'm sure the Legal team at the WMF
could do this too, but they might have less experience with it than in
other areas of the law, meaning they'd have to start from scratch with lots
of time-consuming research, whereas contracting with an organisation that
specialises in exactly this might be better.

So, I don't think it's quite as simple as whether they can do it or not,
but more about what would be more efficient and comprehensive.

Dan
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF transfers $8.7 million to "Wikimedia Knowledge Equity Fund"

2020-12-13 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
It seems disingenous to describe it as "secret" given that it was willingly
acknowledged in the the FAQ of the annual financial audit
.
The information provided in the FAQ is somewhat lacking, but these are not
the actions of people trying to sweep it under the rug.

Let us politely ask for more information without being unnecessarily
alarmist.

Dan

On Sun, 13 Dec 2020 at 08:54, Yair Rand  wrote:

> According to the recent Independent Auditors' Report of the WMF [1], at
> some point prior to the end of June 2020, an entity called the "Wikimedia
> Knowledge Equity Fund" was established, and $8.723 million was transferred
> to it by the WMF, in the form of an unconditional grant. The Fund is
> "managed and controlled by Tides Advocacy" (a 501(c)(4) advocacy nonprofit
> previously led by the WMF's current General Counsel/Board Secretary, who
> served as CEO, Board Secretary, and Treasurer there). Given that a Google
> search for "Wikimedia Knowledge Equity Fund" yields zero results prior to
> the release of the report, it is clear that the WMF kept this significant
> move completely secret for over five months, perhaps over a year. The
> Report FAQ additionally emphasizes that the WMF "has no right of return to
> the grant funds provided, with the exception of unexpended funds."
>
> The WMF unilaterally and secretly transferred nearly $9 million of
> movement funds to an outside organization not recognized by the
> Affiliations Committee. No mention of the grant was made in any Board
> resolutions or minutes from the relevant time period. The amount was not
> mentioned in the public annual plan, which set out rather less than this
> amount for the entire grantmaking budget for the year. No application was
> made through any of the various Wikimedia grants processes. No further
> information has been provided on the administration of this new Fund, or on
> the text of the grant agreement.
>
> I am appalled.
>
> -- Yair Rand
>
> [1]
> https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/foundation/f/f7/Wikimedia_Foundation_FY2019-2020_Audit_Report.pdf
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Donations - show the editors you care?

2020-12-07 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Mon, 7 Dec 2020 at 12:38, Demian  wrote:

> I'm assuming this points to the namespace of the edits, although it's not
> clear. It's unfortunate that Visual Editor can only be used in mainspace, I
> wish that wasn't the case, but to be exact, I was looking to understand why
> only 2.8% (47 out of 1668
> )
> of your mainspace edits since 2016 are made with Visual Editor. To answer
> Dan: I was unaware of the personal account with 189
> 
> /399 
> mainspace visual edits since 2016, which makes the grand total 11.41% (236
> out of 2067) of mainspace edits.
>

At this point, I think looking at the editing environment Seddon used
across his staff and personal edit history has dubious value to furthering
this discussion about fundraising.


> While Visual Editor has its benefits and I also use it on meta with
> similar success rate, for me the dream would be an editor that I can use at
> least 80% of the time, and the ultimate would be 100% like the service
> provided by Dropbox Paper, Google Docs, Coda and Nuclino for example.
>

I think we'd all love that. I certainly would. Making that happen would
probably be a large organisational pivot; I can't find any statistics about
how big the team is that made, say, Google Docs, but I suspect it's larger
than the entire Wikimedia Foundation. This topic would probably have been
better discussed in the movement strategy conversations, as a thread on a
mailing list won't make it happen.


> Therefore my concern is if Visual Editor met your expectations well, what
> was the reason not to use it for 1800+ edits, which includes most major
> edits on meta?
>

I'm sure the Editing team would appreciate your help with conducting
systematic user research. Have you reached out to them?

Dan
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Donations - show the editors you care?

2020-12-07 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Mon, 7 Dec 2020 at 05:55, Demian  wrote:

> With these different aspects in mind I wonder why you find the Visual
> Editor a dream to use, given that on average at most 4 in 500 of your
> edits
> 
>  (2
> ,
> 3
> ,
> 4
> ,
> 5
> ,
> search: "visual edit") are made using Visual Editor.
>

The visual editor is designed and optimised for editing articles, not pages
on Meta-Wiki, and definitely not pages in the MediaWiki, CNBanner, and
Template namespaces, which comprise over 50% of Seddon's last 500 edits.
You readily arrive at quite different conclusions if you, for example, look
at how many edits are made using the visual editor in mainspace on the
different Wikipedias, rather than a staff member's account on Meta-Wiki.

Please let us avoid using misleading statistics to make a point.

Dan
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Moving the technical infrastructure out of the US

2020-09-30 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Wed, 30 Sep 2020 at 09:49, Erik Moeller  wrote:

> I hope that some preliminary contingency plans exist or are being
> developed, and I'm sure that the movement-wide debate will widen if
> the US continues its downward slide into authoritarianism.
>

I agree with Erik. Even under the Obama administration, there were threats
to the existence of the movement, such as SOPA [1] which lead to a blackout
[2]. One can extrapolate from current events that these threats could well
get larger and more frequent, rather than smaller and less frequent, should
someone in the US Government decide to focus their attention on attacking
Wikipedia and free knowledge. It would be prudent to create a contingency
plan which includes an exploration of other options for a location of
operation for the Wikimedia Foundation and/or its servers, with their
advantages and disadvantages. I personally wouldn't necessarily advocate
for making the plan public; that would be ideal, but I'd be comforted
merely to know it exists.

On Tue, 29 Sep 2020 at 23:36, Joseph Seddon  wrote:

> I believe options are going to be explored for sustainability but right now
> legally speaking the US is the best jurisdiction for hosting us now and the
> foreseeable future.
>

I agree with this too. For now, the United States remains the best place
for the organisation to operate out of, and a move should not be actively
considered.

Dan

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act
[2]:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protests_against_SOPA_and_PIPA#Wikimedia_community
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Foundation and affiliates disclosing salaries on job ads & the effect of this on workplace equity

2020-09-12 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Fri, 11 Sep 2020 at 22:23, Michael Peel  wrote:

> This seems to be a restriction against employers asking for someone’s
> salary history, not against including the expected salary range in a job
> advert.


Yes. Apologies, the "undoubtedly not doing this" written in my earlier
email was a bit unclear. Thanks for the clarity.

Dan
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Foundation and affiliates disclosing salaries on job ads & the effect of this on workplace equity

2020-09-12 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Fri, 11 Sep 2020 at 12:39, Nathan  wrote:

> Shouldn't two candidates for the same position for the same company get
> roughly the same salary, regardless of where they live?
>

I don't know. Maybe.

Within the US, there are markets where decent, experienced software
engineers earn half of what a software engineer in San Francisco would
earn, and they would also probably have a comparable quality of life.
Outside the US, there are markets out there where the going rate
for decent, experienced software engineers is 15 times less than the going
rate for a software engineer in San Francisco. Due to the relative decrease
in purchasing power, the salary that's 15 times lower gives these people a
good quality of life comparable to (or possibly even better than) life in
San Francisco. Is it exploiting them to pay them 15 times less given that
their quality of life is the same, or even higher, than people in San
Francisco? Would it be fair to people in San Francisco, or other locations,
to do this? Should the Wikimedia Foundation pay people in this market 15
times more than they would earn at another company? As Gergő said, would
that be a responsible use of donor funds?

I don't have the answer to these questions. They are very hard questions
where there is no obviously correct answer.

Dan
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Foundation and affiliates disclosing salaries on job ads & the effect of this on workplace equity

2020-09-11 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
Asking candidates for their current salary is prohibited in San Francisco
as of July 2018 [1] which means that, as a San Francisco based
organisation, the Foundation will undoubtedly not be doing this. To my
knowledge, this wasn't done by the Foundation before either, but we can
confidently state that it won't be done now.

There are some complexities in disclosing salary ranges for the Foundation.
One practice that can be used for encouraging diversity in candidate
applications is to specify that a position is open to candidates with a
wide range of experience and in all locations in the world, in which case
the salary range posted will be so large that it will basically be
meaningless. On the other hand, another good practice for encouraging
diversity is to source internally for senior positions, which opens up more
junior roles that can be sourced externally, in which case a salary range
can be more meaningful and helpful. It's hard to figure out what the right
balance is.

Regardless, more public transparency in salary banding would be good to see.

Dan

[1]:
https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/state-and-local-updates/pages/san-francisco-bans-salary-history-questions.aspx

On Fri, 11 Sep 2020 at 10:44, Chris Keating 
wrote:

> Good morning everyone!
>
> There's a campaign(1) for nonprofits to disclose the salaries, or at least
> salary ranges, on job ads.
>
> An increasing body of evidence(2) shows that practices like not disclosing
> expected pay, and requiring applicants to disclose their current salary, is
> harmful to equity in the workplace.
>
> Not disclosing salaries affects pay levels within the organisation -
> because white men are usually relatively confident in negotiating their
> salaries upwards, so tend to end up with a better deal.
>
> It can also affect the diversity of candidates who apply. Candidates who
> have stronger networks within the industry they're moving into (again, more
> commonly white men with privileged social and educational backgrounds) also
> have clear expectations because they are 'in the know' about industry
> norms, while people who don't, find the lack of salary information a
> barrier to application. (After all, why take the time and effort to apply
> for a job when you have no idea how the likely pay compares to your current
> employment?)
>
> I know practices vary within the movement - I believe the WMF never
> mentions salaries on ads, and I don't know whether the range is disclosed
> to applicants or not - some chapters I know do advertise a salary. However,
> I'd urge all entities within the movement that hire staff to disclose the
> expected salary ranges for posts they are advertising, as part of their
> commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
>
> Thanks for reading,
>
> Chris
>
>
>
> (1): https://showthesalary.com/
> (2): e.g. at https://showthesalary.com/resources/
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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 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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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Universal Code of Conduct Drafting Committee - Call for participation

2020-07-31 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Fri, 31 Jul 2020 at 15:29, Todd Allen  wrote:

> That was a firm "No" on any Universal Code of Conduct. There shouldn't be a
> "drafting committee" for it, it was disapproved.
>

It's not clear to me what you're referring to here. What is the "that" that
was a "firm no"?

Dan
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Paid API?

2020-07-09 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Thu, 9 Jul 2020 at 21:15, Dan Garry (Deskana)  wrote:

> ECR and GKE.
>

Correction: I meant GCR, not GKE.

Dan
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Paid API?

2020-07-09 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Thu, 9 Jul 2020 at 18:20, Amir Sarabadani  wrote:

> * I find it ethically wrong to use AWS, even if you can't host it in WMF
> for legal reasons, why not another cloud provider.


Which cloud provider would you recommend? Popular alternatives to AWS
include GCP (by Google, who unscrupulously harvest user data and sell it
for profit) and Azure (by Microsoft who arguably owe their position in the
market due to numerous anti-competitive practices for which they have
fought, and lost, numerous lawsuits). In addition to that, there are
numerous other factors to consider, such as cost (we should be responsible
with donor money), and environmental impact of the hosting choice in
question. My point is, there is no objectively correct ethical choice.

There's also numerous other factors to take into account in addition to
ethics. There are different feature sets that each cloud provider offers;
as an example, I recently did a competitive analysis of different
cloud-hosted container registry providers, and was surprised at the large
number of feature differences in each provider, even for something as
relatively straightforward as a container registry, even between ECR and
GKE. Engineering productivity is an important factor too.

From a project management perspective, it seems to me that the most prudent
thing to do is to choose a solution for prototyping rather than spending an
excessive amount of time analysing it. After all, time is money. I would be
concerned by the choice of AWS if this were in any way a permanent choice,
but the docs specifically mention that AWS is being used for ease of
prototyping, and that the long-term solution is presently undetermined.

Dan
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[Wikimedia-l] Status of APG and FDC?

2020-03-10 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
Hi all,

Does anyone know what the status of the APG process and the FDC is? The
documentation on-wiki seems to be out of date:

   - The APG info page [1] says new applications are not being accepted,
   and there's a bunch of errors in the table.
   - The APG page [2] doesn't make reference to the above statement about
   new applications not being accepted.
   - The FDC page [3] says the terms of all of the members expired in
   either 2018 or 2019, and doesn't make any reference to the above either.

Thanks!

Dan

[1]: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:APG/Information
[2]: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:APG
[3]:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:APG/Funds_Dissemination_Committee
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Movement Strategy: Recommendations and community conversations launching next week

2020-02-03 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Sat, 25 Jan 2020 at 23:49, Pine W  wrote:

> Here are a couple of arguments from WMF in favor of SuperProtect, which was
> implemented to prevent local users from removing MediaViewer.


Superprotect is now over five years old. Superprotect's removal is now over
four years old. It was a mistake, and it was explicitly acknowledged as
such: the then-ED of the WMF said it had "set up a precedent of
mistrust". Almost all of the people involved in it are no longer affiliated
with the Wikimedia Foundation, and in fact, plenty of the staff members at
the Wikimedia Foundation were hired *after* superprotect was removed.

I don't think bringing up superprotect in this discussion is especially
relevant or helpful.

Dan

Source for most of the above: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Superprotect
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Ombuds Commission now accepting nominations for 2020

2019-10-11 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Fri, 11 Oct 2019 at 08:52, Henry Wood  wrote:

> So the Ombudsman Commission is managed by a department that they are
> likely to want to report on?
>

No. The Ombudsman Commission oversees volunteer actions only. Complaints
about staff should be sent directly to the Wikimedia Foundation.

I should note that the Ombudsman Commission page on Meta
 does not explicitly
state what I have said above; I am basing my comment on my past experience
when I was on the Ombudsman Commission.

Dan
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikitech-l] Community Tech: New Format for 2020 Wishlist Survey

2019-10-07 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Sun, 6 Oct 2019 at 05:50, Gerard Meijssen 
wrote:

> The disappointing you show and the grotesque conclusions are imho based
> in a sense of entitlement.


I don't think calling Yuri's conclusions grotesque or saying he is entitled
are particularly productive comments. Let's keep this list discussion calm,
please?

Dan
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Introducing Wikimedia Space: A space for movement news and conversations

2019-06-26 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Wed 26 Jun 2019 at 00:58, Amir Sarabadani  wrote:

> I have no comment on Wikimedia Space. IMHO it's too soon to criticize it
> but I want to point out to a pattern that I have been seeing in the past
> couple of months by several people in this very mailing list.
>
> You have been repeating the word "WMF" (four time, for four different
> purposes) and treating it as a big monolith which is far from truth, WMF
> consists of different teams with different focuses, priorities, goals, and
> processes.
>
> This type of comments also increases the tension by promoting concept of
> "volunteer vs. WMF". It's not a war, we have the same mission. Stop
> criticizing a huge organization devoted to support volunteers (which you
> can't deny all of its good deeds, like keeping servers the world-class
> website running while being horribly understaffed, we have only 1% of
> Google's staff) because you disagree with this project or that program.
>
> Criticize projects, criticize actions (which can be valid), but don't be
> like "here we go again, WMF".


Largest possible +1 to this. Thanks Amir.

Dan
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF commitment for a Wikimedia projects archive

2019-05-07 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Tue 7 May 2019 at 11:04, Fæ  wrote:

> I am sure this Wikimedia wide community run list is a perfectly good place
> to check whether the WMF has any commitment to long term public archives,
> or not.
>
> Thanks for your advice as to where to go, but the strategy process groups
> are undoubtedly a worse place to ask this question and expect a verifiable
> answer.


I see! Then I will defer to your clear expertise in getting definitive
answers. I look forward to seeing the outcome!

Dan
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF commitment for a Wikimedia projects archive

2019-05-07 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
I think the correct venue to ask for such a large, cross-cutting, strategic
commitment would be with the strategy process working groups, and not this
mailing list. Did you try engaging with them?

Dan

On Tue, 7 May 2019 at 09:35, Fæ  wrote:

> With all of the strategy discussions still on-going, it would be good
> to know where the long term public archive of our Wikimedia projects
> sits within it.
>
> As has been mentioned on this list previously, when volunteers donate
> to the Internet Archive, there is some comfort that their efforts in
> helping preserve public domain media will be accessible and archived
> for 100 years.
>
> I have been unable to work out what the Wikimedia Foundations
> commitment is to maintaining a publicly accessible project archive. I
> may be wrong and would love to have someone post a link that puts me
> right, but based on past discussions, I suspect that if a project gets
> closed or mothballed, there is no specific commitment to fund public
> access to any archives. The WMF may be unable to match the 100 year
> commitment that the Internet Archive plans for, but it would be jolly
> nice to have a commitment to something and have that promoted in the
> long term strategy.
>
> The best example I can think of is Wikimedia Commons as this is a
> significant size, so committing to maintaining a 10 or 20 year archive
> (not just an operational backup) is not an insignificant thing to find
> publicly accessible server space for or earmark a specific budget for.
>
> Thanks,
> Fae
> --
> fae...@gmail.com https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Supporting Wikinews [was: Reviewing our brand system for our 2030 goals]

2019-04-17 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Wed, 17 Apr 2019 at 15:41, Yaroslav Blanter  wrote:

> Indeed, I am not a fan of Wikinews and I do not particularly see the
> project as in any way successful. However, if the project is shut down
> against the will of the community (I now mean the Wikinews community, or
> perhaps even specifically the English Wikinews community), I will ask
> myself  whether Wikivoyage (I am active in the Russian Wikivoyage, where we
> have a couple of dozen active users) could also be shut down one day
> against the will of the community, just because we are not successful
> competing with the brands like Lonely Planet, DK, or Michelin, for example.
>

I've not seen any proposals involving shutting down projects without
community involvement, so hopefully you shouldn't need to worry about this.

Dan
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[Wikimedia-l] Supporting Wikinews [was: Reviewing our brand system for our 2030 goals]

2019-04-16 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
Splitting off the Wikinews discussion from the branding discussion...

On Tue, 16 Apr 2019 at 07:52, Jennifer Pryor-Summers <
jennifer.pryorsumm...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Compared to Wikitribune it is!  But more importantly, if Wikinews is not
> thriving, then why not?  Does it lack resources?  What could or should the
> WMF do to revive it?


In my opinion, nothing. Wikinews was a nice idea, but it didn't work out,
and I don't think the Wikimedia Foundation investing resources into trying
to bring it back to life is really worth it. In fact, I think the Wikimedia
Foundation isn't the right group to try to breathe new life into the
project anyway—we, as a volunteer community, could invest our time in
bringing new content into it. That doesn't happen though. Why is that? For
me, I'm voting with my actions rather than my words—it's because it just
isn't important enough compared to other things. It's okay to think that.

Also, I'd prefer to see the Wikimedia Foundation trying to do fewer things
but do them better rather than taking more on; I think the annual plan
reflects that it is trying to do so.


> Perhaps some of the money spent on rebranding would
> be better spent on the  projects that are not doing so well as the big
> Wikipedias -- or perhaps the WMF should cut its losses and close them down,
> on the principle of reinforcing success instead.
>

I suspect that significantly less money is being spent on this rebranding
effort than people might think. A short engagement with an external
consultant, and some staff time to think about it and publish some pages to
solicit comment, is a relatively small investment compared to what it might
take to bootstrap improvements to breathe life into a mostly dead project.
I don't think it's really helpful to guess about the cost of things... yes,
I broke my own rule right at the start of this paragraph. ;-)

Dan
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] branding is bikeshedding, how about CTO criteria or working group lists instead?

2019-04-16 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Mon, 15 Apr 2019 at 21:09, James Salsman  wrote:

> I withdraw any opinions and suggestions about the branding discussion,
> and don't intend to continue participating in it. Instead, I would
> like to have a more substantive discussion:
>
> (1) I ask that the CTO search team please publish their search and
> requirement criteria, including the CTO job description and any and
> all goals for the CTO position whether in current planning documents
> or unpublished drafts of planning materials.
>

Much of this is contained the job description
,
which is posted publicly on the Wikimedia Foundation website
.

Is there something specific you think is missing?

Dan
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] branding is bikeshedding, how about CTO criteria or working group lists instead?

2019-04-16 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Tue, 16 Apr 2019 at 10:14, Gerard Meijssen 
wrote:

> Hoi,
> Thank you for your sense of superiority..


It's not helpful to sarcastically "thank" someone like this. I don't find
Chris to have had a sense of superiority in his email, but even if he had,
this is not the correct way to address it.

Dan
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia has been accepted as a mentor organization in GSoC 2019!

2019-02-28 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
As Srishti says, community wishlist items tend to be very under-defined,
with open-ended and ambiguous deliverables, and exist in complex spaces.
These things are okay because the people handling them are professionals
who are trained specifically to distill open-ended projects into specific
deliverables, and because the contract with community wishlist items is
specifically *not* that the items will be done, but that the items will be
evaluated and responded to.

On the other hand, projects like GSoC are aimed at training and mentoring
people new to software development on best practices, coding paradigms, and
so on. The students need very well-defined, specific projects in order to
succeed, and wishlist items tend not to have these characteristics. Simply
funnelling wishlist items directly into GSoC would set up the participants
for failure.

So, some kind of refinement of the wishlist items is needed. Now, it
*is* possible
to distill certain wishlist items down into small, byte-sized, well-defined
GSoC projects, for sure. But that will take time, user research,
resourcing, etc. I think that's worth doing, but it is a resourcing
question, and we need to ask the question of what other work the product
folks will drop in order to make that happen.

Dan

On Wed, 27 Feb 2019 at 03:01, James Heilman  wrote:

> We have a lot of amazing potential projects that just missed the selection
> criteria for the community wish list in 2019
>
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Community_Wishlist_Survey_2019/Results
>
> Would some of these quality as projects?
>
> James
>
> On Tue, Feb 26, 2019 at 2:11 PM Srishti Sethi 
> wrote:
>
> > Hello everyone,
> >
> > Wikimedia has been accepted as a mentor organization in the Google Summer
> > of Code 2019 with 207 open source projects
> > 
> > :)
> > And, application period for Outreachy Round 18 started last week.
> >
> > We have listed a few ideas for projects for both programs on MediaWiki
> and
> > we are looking for more. Unlike Google Summer of Code, Outreachy is open
> to
> > non-students and non-coders and projects could be around documentation,
> > design, translation research, outreach, etc. View current list of ideas:
> >
> > https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Google_Summer_of_Code/2019
> >
> > https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Outreachy/Round_18
> >
> > Both these programs have a similar timeline for the summer round.
> Accepted
> > candidates will work with mentors from May to August 2019. If you are
> > interested in mentoring a project, create a task on Phabricator and tag
> it
> > with #outreach-programs-projects and #Google-Summer-of-Code (2019) or
> > #Outreachy (Round 18). You can also choose to mentor for projects already
> > on outreach-programs-projects
> > 
> > workboard. Remember, every project must have two mentors.
> >
> > Some helpful resources for you:
> > * Learn more about the roles and responsibilities of a mentor:
> > https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Google_Summer_of_Code/Mentors
> > https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Outreachy/Mentors
> >
> > * View full program timeline:
> > https://developers.google.com/open-source/gsoc/timeline
> > https://www.outreachy.org/apply/project-selection/
> >
> > Looking forward to your participation! :)
> >
> > Cheers,
> >
> > Srishti, Derick and Pratyush (Wikimedia org admins)
> >
> >
> > *Srishti Sethi*
> > Developer Advocate
> > Wikimedia Foundation 
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>
>
> --
> James Heilman
> MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Strategic planning for conferences

2019-01-31 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
It may be helpful if you repeat the specific question you're asking. Right
now from your email I don't know what your question is other than asking
what the "strategy for conferences" is, which is so open and vague as to be
basically unanswerable. I think you have perhaps made your question clearer
in the past, but staff are quite frequently buried in so many emails that
more difficult to answer emails tend to languish. The easier you make it to
get an answer, the more likely you are to get one.

Dan

On Wed, 30 Jan 2019 at 23:37, Pine W  wrote:

> Hi Alex,
>
> I hope that you are doing well. I originally started this email thread on
> Wikimedia-l near the end of September 2018, and four months have passed. I
> am still hoping to hear an update about WMF's strategy for conferences. I
> am trying to be patient and considerate, but I think that you may
> understand that I have difficulty with the length of the delay here. It
> seems to me that questions like this should not take WMF four months to
> answer, and that no one should need to send repeated requests for
> information like this. Once in awhile someone might be on vacation or an
> email might get stuck in a draft folder so one additional reminder or
> request might be necessary, but I think that the situation with this email
> thread should not ever happen. In addition to my original questions
> regarding conference strategy, I would like to know what has caused the
> lengthy delay and the lack of responsiveness from WMF. I am trying to be
> patient, but there is a problem here.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Pine
> ( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Survey about the Foundation's Mission

2019-01-16 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
James,

As is fairly typical with your proposals, most of the proposals in the
survey (free healthcare, universal basic income, etc.) have very little to
do with the Foundation's mission. If you're going to do a survey, I suggest
actually connecting it to the Foundation's mission, although sadly it seems
that suggestions like this fall on deaf ears.

Dan

On Wed, 16 Jan 2019 at 02:21, James Salsman  wrote:

> Happy 18th birthday to Wikipedia!
>
> What does it mean for the Wikimedia Foundation to empower
> contributors? Please share your opinion of what the Wikimedia
> Foundation's mission statement means when it describes empowering
> people to collect and develop educational content:
>
> http://bit.ly/wikimission
>
> The survey results are summarized after form submission.
>
> Best regards,
> Jim Salsman
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Update and feedback results from the Wikimedia's chairpersons retreat

2019-01-03 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Sun, 30 Dec 2018 at 03:39, Pine W  wrote:

> I am wondering whether, for the purposes of (1) increasing the cost
> effectiveness of travel expenses, (2) reducing the negative environmental
> effects from travel, and (3) increasing the number of chairpersons who
> participate, if future meetings could be scheduled immediately before or
> after Wikimania or the Wikimedia (WMF + Affiliates) Summit.


This is already being done to a large extent. For example, lots of team
offsites are scheduled to run either before or after the annual all staff
meeting, hackathons, Wikimania, etc, which wasn't really the case a few
years back. The effects of this policy can be seen in the annual financial
statements—in FY2013/14 and FY2017/8 the amount spent on travel and
conferences was almost exactly the same [1] in spite of the Foundation
having grown by around 100 staff [2].

As to whether more bundling of meetings with other meetings should be done,
I find it to be a mixed bag. On the one hand, travel spending is reduced,
and it's more likely that people can attend meetings due to bundling things
together. On the other hand, the effectiveness of the meetings is reduced;
conferences like Wikimania are exhausting enough without having to do
important meetings that require a lot of concentration either before or
afterwards. Whether that trade-off is worth it or not depends on the
situation. It's certainly not as clear cut as you make it out to be here.

With regards to environmental impact, I always recommend the "green stuff"
thread
.

Dan

[1]: Source: Wikimedia Foundation financial reports
. In FY2013/14
there was a total of $1,965,854 spent on travel and conferences, and in
FY2017/18 the same spending was $1,954,772. Travel spending fluctuated up
by around 17% in the years between these, but it went back down afterwards.
Travel spending has remained basically the same despite significant growth
of the organisation, demonstrating the effectiveness of policy changes on
decreasing travel spending.

[2]: Source: my memory. An exact figure could probably be figured out by
looking at the history of the staff and contractors page on
foundation.wikimedia.org.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Mobile fundraising ads

2018-12-10 Thread Dan Garry (Deskana)
On Wed, 5 Dec 2018 at 11:44, vermont--- via Wikimedia-l <
wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org> wrote:

> Entering Wikipedia while not logged in, from both a PC and mobile device,
> lead to an insane amount of large, bright red banners asking for donations.
> Statistics may show that this sort of advertising gains the most clicks
> and donations. That should not be the only metric by which donation
> requests are decided.
>
> We are losing readers because of this.
>

Whilst there are certainly anecdotes to this effect, there's no evidence at
present that we're losing any more readers than normal. For example, page
views to the Simple English Wikipedia

(I chose this wiki because you linked to it in your email) are relatively
stable. Now, eyeballing page view graphs like I did is not really
scientific, but it gives a better indication than relying on isolated
comments.

Criticism of the fundraising banners (and there is plenty of it) will be
better received by the Fundraising team if we all stick to the facts, and
avoid extrapolation and hyperbole.

Dan
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