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

2020-08-25 Thread Pete Forsyth
Thanks Philippe. Funny, the minute I hit "send" I thought of you -- I don't
know whether or not it was your idea originally, but the "Wikimedia-Pedia"
that was created during the 2010 Strategic Planning process was probably
the closest thing I've seen to an organized effort to do this.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Tue, Aug 25, 2020 at 5:25 PM Philippe Beaudette 
wrote:

> Pete, one thing that I loved about my time at reddit was the existence of
> a subreddit called “r/museumofreddit”. It was mandatory reading for every
> new hire on my team and every other team I could convince and it was
> critical to onboarding me.
>
> It lived to serve just the documentary process that you mention.
>
> Regards,
> pb
>
> Philippe Beaudette
>
> > On Aug 25, 2020, at 6:35 PM, Pete Forsyth  wrote:
> >
> > I've thought about institutional memory quite a lot since I stopped
> working
> > at WMF in 2011. A few points I think are worth considering:
> >
> >   1. Often, institutional memory is measured in terms of
> >   staff/executive/board turnover; while there has indeed been a very high
> >   rate of turnover at times, I would argue that another factor (see #2)
> is
> >   actually more important.
> >   2. An organization can do a great deal, with a well-planned top-down
> >   approach, to ensure institutional memory is *generated* and *retained*
> even
> >   if there's a lot of turnover.
> >   3. The main thing that can be done is to ensure that significant events
> >   are *debriefed and summarized *("documented") in a way that is clearly
> >   and concisely articulated, supported by evidence and logic, and fair to
> >   various good faith perspectives.
> >   4. We might call that an "encyclopedic" approach. (The skills required
> >   are almost exactly the skills that tend to be cultivated in our
> Wikipedia
> >   volunteer community, as codified in its policies and norms, and learned
> >   through practice by its core volunteers.)
> >   5. The Wikimedia Foundation has not historically done very much in
> terms
> >   of thorough encyclopedic documentation of important events in its
> history.
> >   There have been exceptions, and I believe that where it has been done
> and
> >   done well, much good has come of it. The best example of this, in my
> >   opinion, is the Assessment of Belfer Center Wikipedian in Residence
> >   program
> >   <
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Assessment_of_Belfer_Center_Wikipedian_in_Residence_program
> >.
> >   This was initiated by then-Executive Director Sue Gardner and her
> deputy
> >   Erik Möller, who participated actively in it. Specific programmatic
> >   improvements in the Grants department were a direct outcome.
> >   6. But many events have never been documented with
> >   guidance/resourcing/participation by the WMF. It's worthwhile to
> debrief
> >   and summarize both positive and negative experiences.
> >   7. If you don't document positive outcomes, WMF staff may have
> >   difficulty replicating that success, because the experience is not
> widely
> >   understood within the WMF (or in the community, etc.) The example
> foremost
> >   in my mind is the 2012 rewrite of the Terms of Use, overseen by
> >   then-General Counsel Geoff Brigham. He made changes to his process to
> >   leverage the knowledge and experience within the volunteer community,
> and
> >   ended up with a document substantially superior to his initial draft,
> and
> >   that also had the buy-in of many volunteers whose fingerprints were on
> the
> >   final document. (I hope to write this up myself some day; if I ever get
> >   around to it, it'll be linked here
> >   <
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Peteforsyth/governance#Organizational_governance
> >
> >   .
> >   8. If you don't summarize/debrief negative outcomes, you don't learn in
> >   the moment what went wrong (so as to avoid repeating the mistakes),
> and you
> >   leave anybody impacted by the problems (e.g. volunteers) with the
> >   impression that you don't care. The example I think of is Superprotect
> >   <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Superprotect>. As the author of a
> >   diplomatic letter, signed by more than 1000 people, making
> straightforward
> >   requests of the WMF, I am not too bothered that they didn't do what we
> >   requested; but I am very bothered that they never acknowledged the
> >   existence of the letter, nor stated which parts of it they
> agreed/disagreed
> >   with, or what motivated the subsequent decisions they

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Institutional memory @ WMF

2020-08-25 Thread Pete Forsyth
I've thought about institutional memory quite a lot since I stopped working
at WMF in 2011. A few points I think are worth considering:

   1. Often, institutional memory is measured in terms of
   staff/executive/board turnover; while there has indeed been a very high
   rate of turnover at times, I would argue that another factor (see #2) is
   actually more important.
   2. An organization can do a great deal, with a well-planned top-down
   approach, to ensure institutional memory is *generated* and *retained* even
   if there's a lot of turnover.
   3. The main thing that can be done is to ensure that significant events
   are *debriefed and summarized *("documented") in a way that is clearly
   and concisely articulated, supported by evidence and logic, and fair to
   various good faith perspectives.
   4. We might call that an "encyclopedic" approach. (The skills required
   are almost exactly the skills that tend to be cultivated in our Wikipedia
   volunteer community, as codified in its policies and norms, and learned
   through practice by its core volunteers.)
   5. The Wikimedia Foundation has not historically done very much in terms
   of thorough encyclopedic documentation of important events in its history.
   There have been exceptions, and I believe that where it has been done and
   done well, much good has come of it. The best example of this, in my
   opinion, is the Assessment of Belfer Center Wikipedian in Residence
   program
   
.
   This was initiated by then-Executive Director Sue Gardner and her deputy
   Erik Möller, who participated actively in it. Specific programmatic
   improvements in the Grants department were a direct outcome.
   6. But many events have never been documented with
   guidance/resourcing/participation by the WMF. It's worthwhile to debrief
   and summarize both positive and negative experiences.
   7. If you don't document positive outcomes, WMF staff may have
   difficulty replicating that success, because the experience is not widely
   understood within the WMF (or in the community, etc.) The example foremost
   in my mind is the 2012 rewrite of the Terms of Use, overseen by
   then-General Counsel Geoff Brigham. He made changes to his process to
   leverage the knowledge and experience within the volunteer community, and
   ended up with a document substantially superior to his initial draft, and
   that also had the buy-in of many volunteers whose fingerprints were on the
   final document. (I hope to write this up myself some day; if I ever get
   around to it, it'll be linked here
   

   .
   8. If you don't summarize/debrief negative outcomes, you don't learn in
   the moment what went wrong (so as to avoid repeating the mistakes), and you
   leave anybody impacted by the problems (e.g. volunteers) with the
   impression that you don't care. The example I think of is Superprotect
   . As the author of a
   diplomatic letter, signed by more than 1000 people, making straightforward
   requests of the WMF, I am not too bothered that they didn't do what we
   requested; but I am very bothered that they never acknowledged the
   existence of the letter, nor stated which parts of it they agreed/disagreed
   with, or what motivated the subsequent decisions they did make. (These are
   things they could still do, even several years later, that would still make
   a difference.)
   9. As any seasoned Wikipedia writer/editor knows, there is an important
   difference between writing that aims first and foremost to be useful and
   informative ("encyclopedic"), vs. writing that aims first and foremost to
   present an organization in a good light, or to advance an agenda ("public
   relations" or "communications" for an organization). People who excel at
   one of those types of writing are not always great at doing the other kind;
   the two types of writing require a different mindset.
   10. The kind of writing required to summarize and debrief
   important events, to create and preserve institutional memory, is (in terms
   of the ways I defined them above) *encyclopedic* writing.
   11. In closing, I'd like to make a point about the skillset the WMF
   board has hired. I want to be really explicit -- I like and admire the
   WMF's Executive Director/CEO; she is highly skilled, and a kind person. But
   I am continually surprised that there has been little acknowledgment of
   what the board did by hiring her, and the direction the WMF has
   (unsurprisingly) taken since her hire. She was previously the WMF's
   Communications Director, and her earlier career was largely in
   communications. I would urge others to consider that it is not surprising,
   if an organization is guided by an executive with a Communications
   

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Operation and oversight of OTRS system

2020-07-17 Thread Pete Forsyth
Andy, I agree with you on the substance -- that we should get to a place
where there are clearly articulated policies, with widespread buy-in, that
are reliably adhered to.

It's the interpersonal stuff that I feel is distracting in a public
discussion. If you feel it's worthwhile to talk that stuff through, I'd be
happy to do so offlist. But I won't discuss it further on this list, which
amounts to asking our colleagues in the Wikimedia world to endure something
they don't need to. I've already told you I regret my mistaken remark about
your intentions, so if you like, we could leave it at that.

Anyway, for the list -- what would you propose as a next step that you or I
could take, without relying on anybody else in the short term? Can you
think of anything? Or does that strike you as completely impossible? I am
rather skeptical that this particular 20-post thread has moved any hearts
or minds (but perhaps you have reason to disagree with that - ?)

-Pete
--
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Fri, Jul 17, 2020 at 12:41 PM Andy Mabbett 
wrote:

> On Fri, 17 Jul 2020 at 17:19, Pete Forsyth  wrote:
>
> > Since it seems
> > that multiple people are misunderstanding you on this point, I wonder
> > whether there's anything you could do to express your views on this point
> > more clearly.
>
> Here is the entire post I made to Commons:OTRS/Noticeboard on 27 February:
>
> #~#~#~#~#~#~#~#~#~#~#
>
> We need answers to the following questions (some asked, but not
> answered, above, some arising from that discussion):
>
> 1. what are OTRS' rules and policies?
> 2. where are those rules and policies documented, and why are they not
> public?
> 3. where are those rules and polices discussed and decided?
> 4. what is the process for getting those rules and policies changed
> (or reworded for clarity)?
> 5. how is OTRS overseen, and who by?
> 6. what is the approval process for an individual to become an OTRS agent?
> 7. what is the process for the community to remove an individual's
> OTRS permissions, if they fail to uphold or abide by policy?
> 8. if an individual has been acting contrary to policy, what is the
> process for reviewing and if necessary overturning their past actions
> (including contacting and apologising to their correspondents)?
> 9. which individuals can make someone an OTRS agent, or remove their
> permissions?
> 10. how are the individuals in #9 appointed and overseen?
>
> Clearly, the equivalent for these exists on Commons, and our sister
> projects. OTRS agents can not expect to act without equivalent levels
> of transparency and accountability, even if individual transactions
> are confidential.
>
> #~#~#~#~#~#~#~#~#~#~#
>
> Please tell me which parts of it could be more clear, and how.
>
> You certainly did not seem to be concerned about a lack of clarity in
> it, when you replied:
>
>Excellent list, Andy. I concur... I think it would be very much in
> the interests of OTRS
>agents and the Wikimedia movement overall to address this list of
> questions in a
>forthright way, and make some adjustments (such as publishing
> policies and a process
>for amending policies)
>
> shortly after I posted it.
>
> Or did you have some other unclear post in mind?
>
> --
> Andy Mabbett
> @pigsonthewing
> http://pigsonthewing.org.uk
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Operation and oversight of OTRS system

2020-07-17 Thread Pete Forsyth
On Fri, Jul 17, 2020 at 4:17 AM Andy Mabbett 
wrote:

> On Fri, 17 Jul 2020 at 02:47, Pete Forsyth  wrote:
>
> > We would be better off if
> > there were clearly articulated, published policies for OTRS
>
> Indeed.
>

Glad we agree on this central point! I think if we can stick to mapping out
a path that would get us to this, we can have. aproductive discussion.

>
> > I think Andy wants to hold somebody responsible for the
> > absence of those things
>
> You are mistaken; and I have complained previously in this thread and
> in the on-wiki discussion about other people attempting to ascribe to
> me motives or intentions that are not mine.
>
> I am unsure why this happens, why people are so bad at it, or what
> purpose it is supposed to achieve.
>
> Please do not do so.
>

My apologies. I will be more careful about it going forward. Since it seems
that multiple people are misunderstanding you on this point, I wonder
whether there's anything you could do to express your views on this point
more clearly.


>
> > But I would very much support an effort to draft, review, and publish
> > policies and procedures going forward.
>
> This is the wrong order; we /first/ need OTRS (or whoever oversees
> OTRS, though five months after asking, we still don't know who that
> is, if anyone) to publish its existing policies etc; then we can
> review them; then we can, if necessary, draft and propose changes or
> additions. And report any instances where OTRS agents are not acting
> within them.
>

I don't disagree -- the order you describe would be optimal. But it's not
in your control, it's not in my control, and I haven't seen anybody who has
access to that information commit to taking the first steps. So, it seems
worthwhile to discuss alternate ways to get to a goal that (I think)
everybody would support. Even if they're a little messy or less than
optimal. To me, the outcome is far more important than a perfect process.

>
> > For what it's worth, I was an OTRS agent for several years; but,
> precisely
> > because of the absence of policies
>
> This was presumably historical, because we have been told that there
> are (now) polices, but they are (partly, perhaps mostly) on a
> non-public wiki.
>

Let me clarify -- I didn't say there were no policies at all, but that the
absence of certain policies made it specifically challenging for me. If
memory serves, there were a few policy pages on the OTRS wiki, but not as
much detail as I would have liked to see, and there were transparency and
trust issues within the OTRS world (between agents and OTRS admins) as
well, which made internal discussion there challenging too.

-Pete
--
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Operation and oversight of OTRS system

2020-07-16 Thread Pete Forsyth
I believe there's an important point about OTRS to discuss, but the present
framing -- rooted in a challenging examination of the issue's history -- is
making it difficult to get at.

OTRS agents, both individually and as part of a collective, have a
tremendous influence over the perception of Wikipedia and Wikimedia by
those with whom they interact. They interact not only with a large *number* of
individuals, but also with some highly *influential* individuals (i.e.,
people deemed notable enough to be covered in our projects, or to serve as
official photographers of those individuals, etc.)

WIth great power comes great responsibility. So as I see it, this is a
situation in which clearly articulated policies, accompanied by clear
processes to permit influence of those policies, and commentary on the
implementation of those policies, would be ideal. We would be better off if
there were clearly articulated, published policies for OTRS, and if OTRS
were more accessible for comment by individual Wikimedians, and had good
internal processes for handling those comments.

On that much, I think Andy would agree with me; but beyond that point, I
think we diverge. I think Andy wants to hold somebody responsible for the
absence of those things, and given the history of OTRS, as described by
others in this thread, I'm not sure that's a reasonable objective.

But I would very much support an effort to draft, review, and publish
policies and procedures going forward.

For what it's worth, I was an OTRS agent for several years; but, precisely
because of the absence of policies, I reduced my activity to essentially
nothing, and I was eventually dropped from the team. (As a paid Wikipedia
trainer/consultant, I had opportunities to offer professional services to
those seeking OTRS assistance. This is not something I ever did, but I felt
that even the perception that I might be doing so would have been harmful
to Wikimedia and to OTRS. Since there were no ethical policies offering
guidance for somebody like me, the safest course of action was to pull
away.)

-Pete
--
User:Peteforsyth


On Thu, Jul 16, 2020 at 3:36 AM Andy Mabbett 
wrote:

> On Sun, 12 Jul 2020 at 00:09, effe iets anders 
> wrote:
> >
> > Jonatan: Implying that there's more secrecy than necessary, is unhelpful.
>
> Do you mean to suggest that the current level of secrecy is necessary?
>
> > I
> > would dare say that if the policies that Andy is looking for exist (given
> > his inquiry he's looking for a specific set), they should and would be
> > available on meta.
>
> Apparently they are not, they are on a closed wiki; and so secret.
>
> > If that is not the case, that is more likely due to
> > laziness and/or lack of time than by design
>
> I have been asking for them since February.
>
> > so if you know of policies
> > where that is not the case, please bring it up internally, ask for
> > objections to publish it, and lets rectify.
>
> We were told the matter had been raised on the private OTRS mailing
> list, in February, and that "several of us [on the mailing list] want
> to be involved in any follow up". Nonetheless, no response from that
> discussion has been forthcoming, and neither the editor who said they
> had raised it in the mailing list, nor the one who I quote here, has
> responded to requests for updates.
>
> > It seems that you're particularly concerned about the Commons/Permissions
> > queues.
>
> No; although this originally came to light due to a misapplication of
> the policy in relation to Commons, the questions apply to OTRS across
> the movement
>
> > I'm not exactly clear on what policies you're looking for
>
> All of them. Every single word of OTRS policy, guideline and
> boilerplate, that is not of necessity confidential due to containing
> personal information.
>
> > is a bit of a mess - much of OTRS has grown organically. I doubt you
> > expected much different.
>
> I expected transparency of the standard common throughout the rest of
> our movement.
>
> > the questions are too broadly formulated for a diffuse system like this.
>
> I very strongly disagree. But if we /cannot/ give any answer to
> questions like "what are OTRS' rules and policies?" or "how is OTRS
> overseen, and who by?", then that would highlight even more serious
> issues.
>
>
> More generally, I note that the discussion on Commons continues:
>
>
> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:OTRS/Noticeboard#Redux%2C_June_2020
>
> albeit with more heat that light, and that accusations about my
> motives are now being flung about. Still the questions have not been
> answered. Although we have been told, in the last hour or so "we do
> not have a process where we monitor what other OTRS volunteers does
> [sic]".
>
> --
> Andy Mabbett
> @pigsonthewing
> http://pigsonthewing.org.uk
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] New essay on the ambiguity of NC licenses

2020-07-13 Thread Pete Forsyth
Erik, thanks for posting the essay here. Glad to see the interest in this
topic.

I wrote this because I have found that when somebody asks me about the NC
provision, I often want to point them to a simple webpage (rather than
"reinventing the wheel" every time it comes up). There are some pages out
there (I listed some in the "See also" section), but I have yet to find
somewhere this particular point -- the need of a general license to issue
clear guidance -- articulated anywhere in a concise, accessible way.

I'm surprised (and a little disappointed) to see that the possibility of
Wikimedia generally accepting NC-licensed work is being discussed. But
apart from that discussion, I think many of you in this discussion have, at
one time or another, wanted to help guide someone toward using a more
permissive license, rather than a NC license.

For those who have, do you have favorite webpages you find helpful to
share? Does this one seem like a useful addition? I'd appreciate any
feedback or constructive edits to this essay; I also think it would be
useful to have some of the other arguments, currently collected in longer
documents, expressed in more "bite-sized" pieces like this, which could be
linked together. Do others agree, and if so, are you inclined to help draft
some complementary pages?

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Sun, Jul 12, 2020 at 3:23 PM effe iets anders 
wrote:

> The question is however as well: how many open licensed content creators
> would switch to NC if they were aware that this would be 'good enough' for
> Wikipedia - even if that means in reality only English Wikipedia (but who
> cares about other languages) and without actually allowing to build on top
> of it?
>
> I have found the argument 'don't use NC because then it can't be used on
> Wikipedia' rather convincing in the past. It will not always work, and I
> also wish it would convince /more/ organizations. But then, I would also
> wish that enwiki wouldn't use fair use exceptions - so maybe I'm not the
> benchmark you'd be looking at anyway.
>
> Lodewijk
>
> On Sat, Jul 11, 2020 at 5:32 PM James Heilman  wrote:
>
> > Yes one of the stronger reasons to reject all use of the NC license is
> that
> > it increases incentives for other organizations to actually adopt open
> > licenses. I simply wish that such a position would convince more
> > organizations. WHO has repeatedly told me that we, as a non-profit, are
> > already free to use their work and if we chose not to, that is on us.
> >
> > James
> >
> > On Sat, Jul 11, 2020 at 6:19 PM Erik Moeller 
> wrote:
> >
> > > Hi James :)
> > >
> > > (This is my last reply for today, given the recommended posting limit
> > > on this list.)
> > >
> > > > We all agree that NC licenses are exceedingly poor due to the reasons
> > > > listed, yet we leave a lot of useful content (such as Khan academy
> > > videos)
> > > > less accessible to our readers because we disallow any such use.
> > >
> > > I completely agree. I'm wondering if efforts have been made at the WMF
> > > or chapter level to partner with these organizations on new
> > > initiatives, where a more permissive license could be used? This could
> > > perhaps help to introduce CC-BY-SA/CC-BY to orgs like Khan Academy,
> > > and help lay the groundwork for potentially changing their default
> > > license.
> > >
> > > > This is a balance between pragmatism and idealism.
> > >
> > > I disagree with your framing here. There are many pragmatic reasons to
> > > want to build a knowledge commons with uniform expectations for how it
> > > can be built upon and re-used. It's also pragmatic to be careful about
> > > altering the incentive structure for contributors. Right now,
> > > Wikimedia Commons hosts millions of contributions under permissive
> > > licenses. How many of those folks would have chosen an "exceedingly
> > > poor" (your words) option like NC, if that was available? And if a
> > > nonfree carve-out is limited to organizations like Khan Academy, how
> > > is such a carve-out fair and equitable to contributors who have, in
> > > some cases, given up potential commercial revenue to contribute to
> > > Wikimedia projects?
> > >
> > > If a license is "exceedingly poor" and harmful to the goals of the
> > > free culture movement, incorporating more information under such terms
> > > strikes me as neither idealistic nor pragmatic -- it would just be
> > > short-sighted.
> > >
> > > Warmly,
> > > Erik
> > >
> > > ___
> > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > > New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> > > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > > 
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > James Heilman
> > MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian
> > 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Paid API?

2020-07-09 Thread Pete Forsyth
Worth noting, for those who may not have been tracking this issue in the
media in recent years: CEO Katherine Maher has prominently and frequently
highlighted how big tech companies benefit from Wikipedia and Wikimedia
content, and that they pay little if anything for it. This shows up in many
places; perhaps Joseph can add to this list if I haven't picked the best
example:

* April Glaser: YouTube Is Adding Fact-Check Links for Videos on Topics
That Inspire Conspiracy Theories, August 14, 2018, Slate
https://slate.com/technology/2018/08/youtube-is-adding-fact-check-links-from-wikipedia-and-encyclopedia-britannica-for-videos-on-topics-that-inspire-conspiracy-theories.html
* And a number of tweets such as:
https://twitter.com/krmaher/status/1113394557830483969

-Pete
--
User:Peteforsyth

On Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 10:20 AM Amir Sarabadani  wrote:

> Thanks Joseph for the links. It's more clear now.
>
> I think I need to clarify something: I'm not against asking the big corps
> to pay. If they are using a significant amount of our computational
> resources (=donors money) to make even more money, they should pay. And
> thank you for improving the movement's financial security. I don't oppose
> the general idea.
>
> That being said, what worries me are the details:
> * WMF is creating a company (LLC) and contracts that company, this means
> less transparency. This is the first time I think in the history of the
> foundation AFAIK that WMF is creating a company for legal reasons (I'm
> sorry if I missed anything).
> * That company is contracting another company for engineering work (even
> less transparency). We have lots of engineering resources at WMF.
> * As the result, for the first time, code produced by donors money is
> closed source and inaccessible to public (or at least I couldn't find the
> code linked anywhere)
> * 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.
> * There wasn't a period for giving feedback for example about the choice of
> cloud provider or anything, suddenly it came out ready. The rumors about it
> have been going around for months.
> * This has not been communicated properly to the community, I find this
> lack of communication and transparency concerning and insulting.
>
> Hope what I'm saying here makes sense.
>
> On Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 7:02 PM Todd Allen  wrote:
>
> > I tend to agree with this. I'm one of the first to criticize WMF when
> they
> > deserve it (I wish they didn't as often!), but I see nothing wrong with
> > consumers of huge amounts of data being asked to chip in to cover the
> costs
> > of providing it. That is, of course, provided that there is never any fee
> > for use of the API for users of data in regular amounts, but every plan
> > I've seen thus far accommodates that.
> >
> > Todd
> >
> > On Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 7:15 AM Ad Huikeshoven 
> wrote:
> >
> > > Hi,
> > >
> > > Great news: the WMF is going to charge the tech giants for using the
> API
> > > millions of times each day. Nothing in the free licenses we use
> obligate
> > us
> > > (that is we in our movement) to provide an API for free as in beer. It
> is
> > > part of KAAS: Knowledge As A Service, part of the strategic direction
> > > chosen in 2017.
> > >
> > > Thanks for your understanding,
> > >
> > > Ad Huikeshoven
> > >
> > > On Sun, Jun 14, 2020 at 8:33 PM Amir Sarabadani 
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Hello,
> > > > Today I stumbled upon this public phabricator ticket [1] created by
> > > someone
> > > > from WMF starting with:
> > > > "My team is creating bi-weekly HTML Dumps for all of the wikis,
> except
> > > for
> > > > wikidata as part of the paid API project."
> > > >
> > > > I have so many questions:
> > > >  - What is the "paid API" project? Are we planning to make money out
> of
> > > our
> > > > API? Now are we selling our dumps?
> > > >  - If so, why is this not communicated before? Why are we kept in the
> > > dark?
> > > >  - Does the board know and approve it?
> > > >  - How is this going to align with our core values like openness and
> > > > transparency?
> > > >  - The ticket implicitly says these are going to be stored on AWS
> ("S3
> > > > bucket"). Is this thought through? Specially the ethical problems of
> > > > feeding Jeff Bezos' empire? (If you have seen this episode of Hasan
> > > > Minhaj's on ethical issues of using AWS [2]). Why can't we do/host
> this
> > > on
> > > > Wikimedia infrastructure? Has this been evaluated?
> > > >  - Why is the community not consulted about this?
> > > >
> > > > Maybe I missed announcements, consultations or anything, forgive me
> for
> > > my
> > > > ignorance. Any pointers is enough. I also understand diversifying our
> > > > revenue is a good tool for rainy days but a consultation with the
> > > community
> > > > wouldn't be too bad.
> > > >
> > > > [1]: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T254275
> > > > [2]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5maXvZ5fyQY
> > > >
> 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Brand Project: Who are we as a movement?

2020-06-25 Thread Pete Forsyth
My apologies for the error, the "Governance Wiki" URL is:

foundation.wikimedia.org

On Thu, Jun 25, 2020 at 9:15 AM Pete Forsyth  wrote:

> As a former, active admin on Meta (but not a current one), I'd like to
> make a few points. I have also not been heavily involved in this rebranding
> project, though I should disclose that I've taken a position against it.
>
> 1. A page such as this one can play one or both of two roles: (a) a FAQ
> about the aims and philosophy of the WMF's rebranding project, and (b) a
> FAQ about the general concept of rebranding, and the community's views on
> the matter.
>
> 2. It seems reasonable to me that WMF staff have authority over (a), but
> certainly not over (b).
>
> 3. WMF staff could also, if they so choose, use the Wikimedia "governance
> wiki" (wiki.wikimediafoundation.org) to host (a); so the choice to post
> it on Meta Wiki itself might be questioned.
>
> 4. In an ideal world, community views on as important a topic as
> rebranding would be clearly synthesized into a document like a FAQ first,
> to a point where people advocating for various positions could agree that
> the basic information presented is accurate. (This is more or less the
> consensus process we use on Wikipedia and other projects.) Once that is
> done, it would be a fairly trivial matter for WMF to construct a FAQ,
> echoing or even incorporating the language already agreed to, that would
> both express its own objectives and views, and also honor opposing views.
>
> 5. These points, in my view, all point to the position expressed in recent
> days and weeks by many community members, i.e., that this process has been
> conducted in a way that is either too fast, or too poorly structured, or
> both, to establish a solid (excuse the word) foundation for a good decision.
>
> As a short comment on this disagreement, though, I think WMF staff has two
> simple options: (a) Move the FAQ to a site clearly under its own control,
> like the "Governance Wiki," or (b) permit the Meta Wiki community to assess
> the neutrality of the page. Neither option seems like a particularly bad
> one to me, so I'm a little surprised to see this spilling over onto the
> mailing list.
>
> -Pete
> --
> [[User:Peteforsyth]]
>
> On Thu, Jun 25, 2020 at 3:00 PM Quim Gil  wrote:
>
>> Hi Tito,
>>
>> On Thu, Jun 25, 2020 at 11:01 PM Tito Dutta  wrote:
>>
>> > Greetings,
>> > There was a continuous practice of citing/overciting the FAQ page,
>> > sometimes without answering the questions directly. This happened more
>> on
>> > the other mailing lists (For example:
>> >
>> >
>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2020-April/014589.html
>> > )
>> >
>> > Now, the /FAQ page, which was being continuously referred to, has a
>> > "neutrality of this page is disputed" tag
>> >
>> >
>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Communications/Wikimedia_brands/2030_movement_brand_project/FAQ=20200949
>> > .
>> > It earlier had an essay tag. I have read its talk page.
>> >
>> > Until things are settled, which page is recommended (if there is any)?
>> >
>> > (Not to anyone in specific, a question/thought in general)
>> >
>>
>> As the person who published that notice...
>>
>> I think the FAQ is an ok place to find answers to questions. The
>> Neutrality
>> notice was a short term solution to improve previous versions of notices
>> placed there. If anyone wonders about why these notices, you can find
>> several related discussions in the Talk page, and the edit history is also
>> quite telling. That page has been a tense corner for months.
>>
>> Beyond the specific scope of the Brand project, a point of contention has
>> been and continues to be more Meta: whether a project team (of any kind,
>> not just a Foundation team) can explain a project in their terms
>> (including
>> FAQs) or anyone can edit any page in Meta (including modifying, deleting
>> or
>> reverting answers from the project team in the project FAQ). The topic is
>> more nuanced and complex than this, I bet all parties are quite frustrated
>> by now, and this is probably a good meta conversation to have in Meta at
>> some point, detached from specific projects and heated discussions.
>>
>> Back to this FAQ, this week the team has prepared updates to that page.
>> Tito, you asking here is an extra motivation to proceed.  :)  If anyone
>> wants to help, watching the page and providing alternative views if new
>> discussions arise i

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Brand Project: Who are we as a movement?

2020-06-25 Thread Pete Forsyth
As a former, active admin on Meta (but not a current one), I'd like to make
a few points. I have also not been heavily involved in this rebranding
project, though I should disclose that I've taken a position against it.

1. A page such as this one can play one or both of two roles: (a) a FAQ
about the aims and philosophy of the WMF's rebranding project, and (b) a
FAQ about the general concept of rebranding, and the community's views on
the matter.

2. It seems reasonable to me that WMF staff have authority over (a), but
certainly not over (b).

3. WMF staff could also, if they so choose, use the Wikimedia "governance
wiki" (wiki.wikimediafoundation.org) to host (a); so the choice to post it
on Meta Wiki itself might be questioned.

4. In an ideal world, community views on as important a topic as rebranding
would be clearly synthesized into a document like a FAQ first, to a point
where people advocating for various positions could agree that the basic
information presented is accurate. (This is more or less the consensus
process we use on Wikipedia and other projects.) Once that is done, it
would be a fairly trivial matter for WMF to construct a FAQ, echoing or
even incorporating the language already agreed to, that would both express
its own objectives and views, and also honor opposing views.

5. These points, in my view, all point to the position expressed in recent
days and weeks by many community members, i.e., that this process has been
conducted in a way that is either too fast, or too poorly structured, or
both, to establish a solid (excuse the word) foundation for a good decision.

As a short comment on this disagreement, though, I think WMF staff has two
simple options: (a) Move the FAQ to a site clearly under its own control,
like the "Governance Wiki," or (b) permit the Meta Wiki community to assess
the neutrality of the page. Neither option seems like a particularly bad
one to me, so I'm a little surprised to see this spilling over onto the
mailing list.

-Pete
--
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Thu, Jun 25, 2020 at 3:00 PM Quim Gil  wrote:

> Hi Tito,
>
> On Thu, Jun 25, 2020 at 11:01 PM Tito Dutta  wrote:
>
> > Greetings,
> > There was a continuous practice of citing/overciting the FAQ page,
> > sometimes without answering the questions directly. This happened more on
> > the other mailing lists (For example:
> >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediaindia-l/2020-April/014589.html
> > )
> >
> > Now, the /FAQ page, which was being continuously referred to, has a
> > "neutrality of this page is disputed" tag
> >
> >
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Communications/Wikimedia_brands/2030_movement_brand_project/FAQ=20200949
> > .
> > It earlier had an essay tag. I have read its talk page.
> >
> > Until things are settled, which page is recommended (if there is any)?
> >
> > (Not to anyone in specific, a question/thought in general)
> >
>
> As the person who published that notice...
>
> I think the FAQ is an ok place to find answers to questions. The Neutrality
> notice was a short term solution to improve previous versions of notices
> placed there. If anyone wonders about why these notices, you can find
> several related discussions in the Talk page, and the edit history is also
> quite telling. That page has been a tense corner for months.
>
> Beyond the specific scope of the Brand project, a point of contention has
> been and continues to be more Meta: whether a project team (of any kind,
> not just a Foundation team) can explain a project in their terms (including
> FAQs) or anyone can edit any page in Meta (including modifying, deleting or
> reverting answers from the project team in the project FAQ). The topic is
> more nuanced and complex than this, I bet all parties are quite frustrated
> by now, and this is probably a good meta conversation to have in Meta at
> some point, detached from specific projects and heated discussions.
>
> Back to this FAQ, this week the team has prepared updates to that page.
> Tito, you asking here is an extra motivation to proceed.  :)  If anyone
> wants to help, watching the page and providing alternative views if new
> discussions arise is a good way to contribute to the improvement of the FAQ
> and hopefully the removal of that notice soon.
>
> --
> Quim Gil (he/him)
> Senior Manager of Community Relations @ Wikimedia Foundation
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Qgil-WMF
> ___
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Board Update on Branding

2020-06-23 Thread Pete Forsyth
I tend to agree with Nathan here. I don't know the history of the event
described, so I'm not sure whether or not it would be fair to bring up even
if it had been Natalia. But certainly, publicly identifying the incorrect
person in an accusation is no small thing.

Gnangarra, you have given yourself an opportunity to show the rest of us
what it looks like to take responsibility for doing something wrong. I
think we are all interested to see what path you take.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Tue, Jun 23, 2020 at 4:08 PM Nathan  wrote:

> Considering the context, Gnangarra, I think you owe something a little more
> substantial. In the midst of tearing Nat down for misdeeds which you
> yourself acknowledge she didn't personally commit (that of Board
> miscommunication), and considering your opposition is based on Board
> directives that she did not write, you slandered her with an accusation
> that is both incorrectly applied to her and false in any case.
>
> As you said, "Taking responsibility for a gross failure does in fact mean
> accepting and acknowledging you failed, and then stating what you intend to
> do to rectify that failing." I await your demonstration of this principle
> which is clearly so critically important to you. Nataliia is a human being
> and a volunteer, as are we all, and we should all be better than to toss
> off gross insults against colleagues on no basis whatsoever.
>
> On the topic, I think others have said it very well - the core problem is
> that this rebranding approach is backward. It should have begun with
> community conversations, with a "grass roots" effort to develop a common
> understanding of the problem. Instead the Board decided, paid some people a
> lot of money to present a narrow range of options, and planned the
> community consultation as a last and limited step. These are serious errors
> with significant consequences, as we see.
>
> On Tue, Jun 23, 2020 at 6:19 AM Gnangarra  wrote:
>
> > My apologies for that error
> >
> >
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Ombuds Commission - minor request for consistency in the name

2020-06-18 Thread Pete Forsyth
This is certainly a reasonable request, Fae, and I support it; there's no
reason not to forge ahead with this request.

However, for the benefit of anybody on this list who's not familiar, and
just to ensure that this point is in the record: there's a more complex
problem with the name of the "Ombuds* Commission".

According to Wiktionary, an ombuds* is expected to "investigate complaints,
generally on behalf of individuals such as consumers or taxpayers, against
institutions such as companies and government departments."

That is complaints rather broadly construed; in the Wikimedia case,
however, the remit of ombuds* is actually pretty narrow, as you described
in your initial message on this thread. The WMF does not have a clear,
unified entity to receive complaints more generally; so having a position
that is made up of volunteers, and has a much narrower remit, carry the
title "Ombuds" seems less than ideal.

I do not have a clear proposal for a solution at this point; just want to
be sure this point is made as long as we're on the topic.

That said, I agree...please go forth and fix the gender problem, post haste!

-Pete
--
[[User:Peteforsyth]] on English Wikisource, Wikipedia, Wikidata, etc. etc.




On Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 5:19 PM James Heilman  wrote:

> Sounds perfectly reasonable in my opinion. Have started discussion here
>
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Ombudsman_commission
>
> J
>
> On Wed, Jun 10, 2020 at 11:15 AM Fæ  wrote:
>
> > Dear WMF Board members,
> >
> > The Ombuds Commission acts on your behalf as part of the movements
> > governance processes and it is, therefore, the WMF board that
> > authorizes Ombuds policies. The Wikimedia project systems and policies
> > for the commission were established many years ago with rare
> > amendments since, and are not harmonized on the use of the word
> > "ombuds". For example, though the email contact group uses "ombuds",
> > the detailed policy page on Meta uses "ombudsman" and refers to
> > members of the group as "ombudsmen". As a gender-neutral form is in
> > common International English and American English usage and is already
> > used in some places and not others, can the WMF board agree that the
> > gender-neutral term is desirable in line with the goals of the
> > Wikimedia Foundation strategy and should be applied systematically?
> >
> > With your agreement, this would then harmonize in the names of email
> > groups, the group name configured into the system on Meta and the
> > wording of policies, and help avoid an accidental bias towards
> > identifying ombuds members as men. As this is a question of
> > harmonization, rather than a change in process, policy or scope, this
> > is a style issue rather than a change that required a resolution or a
> > community RfC.
> >
> > For those unaware, the Ombuds Commission "investigates complaints
> > about infringements of the Privacy Policy, the Access to nonpublic
> > personal data policy, the CheckUser policy and the oversight policy on
> > any Wikimedia project for the Board of Trustees. They also investigate
> > for the Board the compliance of local CheckUser or Oversight policies
> > or guidelines with the global CheckUser and Oversight policies."[1]
> >
> > Links:
> > 1. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ombudsman_commission
> > 2. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:GlobalUsers/ombudsman
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Fae
> > --
> > fae...@gmail.com https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae
> >
> > ___
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> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
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> > New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > 
>
>
>
> --
> James Heilman
> MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] New portal about Gender Gap on meta

2020-05-13 Thread Pete Forsyth
Very nicely done, Florence and Alacoolwiki! It was indeed very out of date,
and it seemed scattered. The new page seems much more readable,
informative, and sustainable.

I added a couple of suggestions for small improvements on the talk page.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Wed, May 13, 2020 at 12:03 PM Florence Devouard 
wrote:

> Hello everyone
>
>
> u:Alacoolwiki  and
> myself worked on the portal page of the Gender Gap on meta.
>
> Before :
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gender_gap=19889900
> New : https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Gender_gap
>
> Why ? The former page was very very outdated.
> So first task was to clean it up, remove outdated info
> Second task was to look for more recent data, do a bit of digging around.
> Third task was to reorganize the whole portal. This was done along the
> same lines than the *Wikimedia Resource Center
> <
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:MyLanguage/Wikimedia_Resource_Center>.
>
>
> *
>
>
> How you can help ?
> Please note that the goal is not necessarily to have regular information
> being updated over there (because we do know it will not happen, right ?
> :)),
> but to serve as a hub to link to all resources, groups, initiatives led
> within the community (and beyond). The current pages are by no means
> fully updated. Feel free to jump in and add.
> Please do NOT drop links and be done with it. Have a _curated approach_
> to make it useful AND practical.
>
> In particuliar, I hope that gender-gap oriented groups will make the
> effort of adding their groups to the page listing them if it is found to
> be missing : https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Gender_gap/Groups
>
> And I hope that people leading initiatives will add them here :
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Gender_gap/Initiatives
>
>
> I hope it can be useful and better reflect the diversity of our
> mouvement and of the approaches we follow.
>
> Last, I will outline that I am aware that the current design does not
> permit translation. I gave much thinking about that and, in light of
> former state of the page (very outdated) and former state of
> translations (very very weak...), I decided to favor design and
> useability :)
>
>
> Cheers
>
>
> Anthere
>
>
>
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[Wikimedia-l] Lessons from governance, collaboration, conflict

2020-05-09 Thread Pete Forsyth
All,

As we approach the 25th anniversary of wiki and 20th of Wikipedia, I'm
reflecting on the various lessons that can be drawn from the way our
community has approached governance over the years. We've had a number of
conflicts; many have had significant impacts on the structure and culture
of the Wikimedia movement, perhaps even on the Internet and the world
beyond wiki. Many of them are not very well documented.

I'm especially interested to hear success stories -- conflicts that ended
in a satisfying resolution, where parties in conflict reached some shared
understanding, or worthwhile policies or practices were put in place
following a conflict.

I prefer to hear your thoughts off list, but I'll try to follow the
discussion on the list too if people prefer to post here. You also may be
interested to follow my notes on Meta Wiki:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Peteforsyth/governance

The Signpost just published an essay of mine, written for Joseph Reagle and
Jackie Koerner's upcoming book "Wikipedia at 20," that touches on this
issue. It's about the principles driving software development in the
movement, and what lessons from the early days may have gone unnoticed:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2020-04-26/Opinion

Thanks in advance for any input on this topic.
-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]] on English Wikipedia, Wikisource, etc.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Comment Open on U.S. Open Access Policy

2020-04-20 Thread Pete Forsyth
Jake,

How can we most effectively support your excellent effort with this?

-Pete
--
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On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 1:22 PM Tito Dutta  wrote:

> Hello,
> Very well-written and well-supported by statistics. Thanks for sharing.
> Regards.
> User:Titodutta
>
>
> On Tue, Apr 21, 2020, 1:41 AM Jake Orlowitz  wrote:
>
> > My Letter to the U.S. Office for Science and Technology Policy regarding
> a
> > proposal for federally mandate open access to publicly-funded research...
> >
> > ---
> >
> > Wikipedia is one of the ten most popular websites in the world. Each
> month
> > 200,000 editors improve over 6 million articles. This vital public
> > information is viewed on 1 billion unique devices as our pages are loaded
> > by people around the globe 7,000 times per second.
> >
> > Wikipedia is the "free encyclopedia", both in its open CC-BY-SA licensing
> > as well as the unpaid contributions of its volunteer editors. Yet
> > Wikipedia's hundreds of thousands of editors struggle to access scholarly
> > research. And, if they are able to read and cite it, then hundreds of
> > millions of readers cannot verify or explore it for deeper research.
> >
> > Citations are the bridge between Wikipedia articles and a broader
> landscape
> > of reliable, secondary sources. Citations not only allow readers to
> verify
> > the reliability of the facts they find in Wikipedia; through citations
> > readers can also deep-dive into any given topic by exploring the books,
> > scholarly publications, and news stories referenced in an article.
> >
> > A recently released dataset of all citations with identifiers in
> Wikipedia
> > found that less than half of the official versions of scholarly
> > publications cited with an identifier in Wikipedia are freely available
> on
> > the web. This chasm of for editors and for readers is a tragedy of public
> > education and digital literacy.
> >
> > Just look at the most recent global catastrophe with Coronavirus. By
> April
> > 2020 the main articles on COVID-19 had received 50 million views.
> > Wikipedia's medical content--made up of more than 155,000 articles and 1
> > billion bytes of text across more than 255 languages--has been ranked as
> > one of the top-3 most viewed sources for medical information on the
> entire
> > internet.
> >
> > References are essential to the public's trust in Wikipedia. Indeed,
> > Wikipedia's medical content is supported by 757,855 references in English
> > and 1,596,528 in other languages, for a total of 2,354,383 across all
> > languages. In English 168,985 have a PMID while 261,850 do in other
> > languages. This means at least 430,835 references are journal articles.
> >
> > What happens when those journal articles lie behind a paywall? The public
> > suffers from a dearth of good information to make decisions about their
> > lives as independent citizens and members of a global community.
> >
> > As founder of The Wikipedia Library, I arranged partnerships with dozens
> of
> > leading scholarly journals, to give Wikipedia editors free access to
> their
> > reliable content and so they would be able to do effective and rigorous
> > research. This time-intensive process took 6 years to amass access to
> only
> > 1/5th of the most highly regarded academic publications. Frankly,
> Wikipedia
> > editors--volunteers who selflessly give of their intelligence and passion
> > to educate--should not have to beg and borrow to access publicly-funded
> > research. Readers should not hit paywalls when they are seeking
> > citizen-supported knowledge.
> >
> > I implore you to make the bold but entirely reasonable decision and
> ensure
> > that taxpayers have access to the vital scientific and scholarly studies
> > that they themselves fund. This is not only sensible, it is essential to
> > civic health, societal progress, and human flourishing.
> >
> >
> > Sincerely,
> > Jake Orlowitz
> > Founder of The Wikipedia Library
> >
> >
> > ---
> >
> > "Public Access to Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Publications, Data and Code
> > Resulting From Federally Funded Research"
> >
> >
> >
> https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/02/19/2020-03189/request-for-information-public-access-to-peer-reviewed-scholarly-publications-data-and-code
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Remember Wikipedia Zero.. Where is the research about the effects of its demise?

2019-11-26 Thread Pete Forsyth
I agree with Gerard. The Wikimedia Foundation invested substantial money,
and substantial reputational capital, into Wikipedia Zero, for many years.
A sober analysis of the consequences of those decisions would be valuable

Jason Koebler wrote a fascinating and somewhat disturbing series of
articles for Vice, about unintended consequences of the program; not long
after, the program was shut down.

For a major, multi-year effort of one of the world's top web sites, which
is known to have had complex outcomes, it would be really worthwhile to
have solid, well-vetted research into what the consequences and lessons
were. I thought Koebler's take was fascinating, but it wasn't peer reviewed
analysis, and I'm not aware of anybody else who dug into things the way he
did, or any basis to confirm or challenge his conclusions.

If anyone knows of internal Wikimedia program evaluation, or of independent
research, it would be good to know about it.

-Pete
--
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User:Peteforsyth

On Mon, Nov 25, 2019 at 9:34 PM Gerard Meijssen 
wrote:

> Hoi,
> Kiwix and off line Wikipedia did exist at the start of Wikipedia Zero.  It
> is great that you brought some to Africa but you do not scale and it is not
> a study into the effects of what the effects are of terminating Wikipedia
> Zero.
>
> No idea what "Starlink"  is but it is not a reality for a few more years..
> It sounds like we have thrown all these kids under the bus but hey, we have
> plan. A plan/action is having our own caches in Africa and providing edit
> and read capabilities for all who care to use it... and then measure the
> extend it helps us recover from our Wikipedia Zero public.
> Thanks,
>GerardM
>
> On Tue, 26 Nov 2019 at 02:48, James Heilman  wrote:
>
> > We have offline Wikipedia. I have shipped devices to Kinshasa, and
> > they arrived :-)
> >
> > Of course they do not at all address the need for two way communication.
> >
> > I am hoping Starlink will help when it comes online in a few years.
> >
> > James
> >
> > On Mon, Nov 25, 2019 at 12:19 AM Gerard Meijssen
> >  wrote:
> > >
> > > Hoi,
> > > The BBC shows how dramatically expensive internet is in Africa.. For in
> > my
> > > opinion local political reasons Wikipedia Zero has terminated. That is
> ok
> > > up to a point; the point being that we understand the consequences from
> > > this action.
> > >
> > > Given that our data is NOT local, people have to pay a premium. What
> are
> > we
> > > going to do to compensate for expensive Wikipedia that replaced
> Wikipedia
> > > Zero? Did we study the effects or are we not interested in the
> > consequences
> > > of our actions?
> > > Thanks,
> > >GerardM
> > >
> > > https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-50516888
> > > ___
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> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > James Heilman
> > MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian
> >
> > ___
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WikiConference North America live stream

2019-11-21 Thread Pete Forsyth
Phoebe and WikiConference team,

It was a great conference -- thank you! -- and wonderful to have
high-quality video made available. (To answer my earlier question -- the
link supplied before still leads to the videos, though you might have to
dig around to find any specific session.)

QUESTION: Do you know if MIT asserts any copyright over the videos? I'd
like to upload a couple to Commons, but want to be sure the copyright won't
be an issue.

-Pete
--
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On Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 11:31 AM phoebe ayers  wrote:

> Dear all,
> We are looking forward to WikiConference North America here at MIT in
> Cambridge, Massachusetts this weekend! We will be welcoming around 250
> people over the four-day weekend, with a museum and cultural institution
> culture crawl on Friday, conference sessions on Saturday and Sunday, and
> discussion/hackathon focused on reliability and credibility on Monday.
>
> For those who can't be here with us in person, we have a live stream
> planned of three of our session rooms on Saturday and Sunday. To access the
> stream, go here:
> http://web.mit.edu/webcast/wiki/f19/
>
> We are looking forward to sharing as much of the conference as we can with
> you all! To find out what is when, the schedule is here (all times eastern
> time):
> https://wikiconference.org/wiki/2019/Schedule
>
> We have a packed schedule with sessions about education, research,
> outreach, and more, as well as a special focus/track in our main auditorium
> on credibility and reliability in the news and media, which our partners at
> the Credibility Coalition are assisting with. As we think about the future
> of Wikipedia as a reliable source in a world where social media platforms
> and media networks are struggling with issues of misinformation and
> credibility, we hope that this program will be both timely and helpful.
>
> Let me know if you have any questions and I hope you are able to tune in
> online.
> Phoebe, for WCNA
>
>
> --
> * I use this address for lists; send personal messages to phoebe.ayers 
> gmail.com *
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WikiConference North America live stream

2019-11-07 Thread Pete Forsyth
Thanks Phoebe, looking forward to the conference -- and I think the college
students I presented to this morning, most of whom will not be able to
attend in person, will enjoy the opportunity to watch from afar.

Do you know whether the videos will be available afterwards, as well?

Pete
--
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On Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 2:31 PM phoebe ayers  wrote:

> Dear all,
> We are looking forward to WikiConference North America here at MIT in
> Cambridge, Massachusetts this weekend! We will be welcoming around 250
> people over the four-day weekend, with a museum and cultural institution
> culture crawl on Friday, conference sessions on Saturday and Sunday, and
> discussion/hackathon focused on reliability and credibility on Monday.
>
> For those who can't be here with us in person, we have a live stream
> planned of three of our session rooms on Saturday and Sunday. To access the
> stream, go here:
> http://web.mit.edu/webcast/wiki/f19/
>
> We are looking forward to sharing as much of the conference as we can with
> you all! To find out what is when, the schedule is here (all times eastern
> time):
> https://wikiconference.org/wiki/2019/Schedule
>
> We have a packed schedule with sessions about education, research,
> outreach, and more, as well as a special focus/track in our main auditorium
> on credibility and reliability in the news and media, which our partners at
> the Credibility Coalition are assisting with. As we think about the future
> of Wikipedia as a reliable source in a world where social media platforms
> and media networks are struggling with issues of misinformation and
> credibility, we hope that this program will be both timely and helpful.
>
> Let me know if you have any questions and I hope you are able to tune in
> online.
> Phoebe, for WCNA
>
>
> --
> * I use this address for lists; send personal messages to phoebe.ayers 
> gmail.com *
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Greener travel and the ethics of carbon offset for Wikimedia community events

2019-10-11 Thread Pete Forsyth
+1 to Mike's approach.

An *option* for carbon offsets seems worthwhile. A *requirement* seems
potentially at odds with our desire to be inclusive and accessible. And I
agree that something specifically tailored to a community built around
making information accessible would be a much better fit.

-Pete
--
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Fri, Oct 11, 2019 at 3:21 PM Mike Peel  wrote:

> I would suggest taking a different approach. Paying for carbon offsets
> does not further Wikimedia’s goals. It is, at best, a shortcut to brownie
> points as measured by other organisations. Requiring volunteers to pay
> extra for carbon offsets is doubly worse as they can’t then spend that
> money on their other Wikimedia activities.
>
> Instead, perhaps we could invest in projects that will improve our
> coverage of climate change? Imagine the impact that improving our freely
> licensed information about climate change could make. Good/featured
> articles about the organisations that have been named here already? More
> referenced information in the articles on this topic? More images to
> illustrate those articles? If that doesn’t make a difference, then we have
> to answer a rather more fundamental question about our impact on the world.
>
> Thanks,
> Mike
>
> > On 11 Oct 2019, at 22:27, Bence Damokos  wrote:
> >
> > In case it is interesting, for the tenders at my workplace that require
> > offsetting, we include this requirement:
> >
> > "
> > Carbon offsetting will be achieved by means of projects of the following
> > type: CDM (Clean Development Mechanism), JI (Joint Implementation) or VER
> > (Voluntary Emissions Reduction), all certified as 'Gold Standard' by
> bodies
> > accredited by the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
> > Change)."
> >
> > In practice, https://offset.climateneutralnow.org/ is a place I've used
> > personally where one can easily find projects meeting the above criteria.
> >
> > For more context, to save a bit of Google-ing:
> >
> > CDM projects are those assessed and verified by the United Nations
> > Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in developing countries
> > which can sell certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each one
> > equivalent to one ton of CO2. These CERs can be traded and sold and are
> > currently used by industrialized countries to meet a part of their
> emission
> > reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol(link is external)
> > <
> http://unfccc.int/kyoto_protocol/mechanisms/clean_development_mechanism/items/2718.php
> >
> > .
> >
> > Gold Standard projects are CDM or voluntary offset projects giving an
> > additional guarantee concerning sustainable development benefits. These
> are
> > projects awarded the 'Gold Standard'(link is external)
> >  quality label by a Swiss-based non-profit
> > foundation, supported by a group of 50 NGOs.[1]
> >
> >
> >
> > [1] From
> >
> https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/funding/faqs-toolkit-and-glossary/frequently-asked-questions-general_en
> >
> > Best regards,
> > Bence
> >
> > On Fri, 11 Oct 2019, 22:55 Fæ,  wrote:
> >
> >> Any general questions like catering for virtual attendees can be
> >> raised at the talk page for the 2020 LGBT+ conference.[1] The
> >> conference is at the proposal stage with funding yet to be agreed with
> >> the WMF. The proposers will be happy to receive feedback and respond
> >> to questions.
> >>
> >> If no previous conference within our wider Wikimedia movement has used
> >> carbon offset projects to benefit its green footprint, that's an
> >> interesting fact to confirm as this may well be a great opportunity to
> >> try this out.
> >>
> >> Links
> >> 1.
> >>
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants_talk:Conference/Kawayashu/Queering_Wikipedia
> >>
> >> Thanks,
> >> Fae
> >>
> >> On Fri, 11 Oct 2019 at 20:47, Chris Keating  >
> >> wrote:
> >>>
> 
>  This has nothing to do with how green WMF operations might be. It has
>  to do with the greener choices /we/ as volunteers can make for /our/
>  conferences.
> 
> >>>
> >>> Since a fortnight ago you were haranguing* the WMF for using too much
> air
> >>> travel and lacking "any actual measurable commitment to picking up a
> >>> telephone, holding a video conference, or holding a VR conference
> >> session",
> >>> it will be interesting to see what solutions you can come up with for
> >> this
> >>> conference you're organising. Did you consider the options other than
> an
> >>> in-person conference that you recommended the WMF adopt, out of
> interest?
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> *
> >>>
> >>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Wikipedia_Signpost/2019-09-30/News_from_the_WMF
> >>> ___
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [LGBT] Best practices for awarding scholarships

2019-10-10 Thread Pete Forsyth
Back to the original question (which is an interesting and worthwhile one,
surely applicable to many events across the movement), I would hope that
the WMF has some ability to provide guidance on these matters, or failing
that, the committees who have put together other conferences (e.g.,
WikiCite, WikiConference, etc. etc.) The WMF used to do some detailed work
on this, though my information is now nearly a decade out of date, I'm
pretty confident they still do. I'd suggest reaching out to the grants
folks at WMF and asking if they can pull something together.

Pete
--
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On Wed, Oct 9, 2019 at 8:20 AM Isaac Olatunde 
wrote:

> I completely agree with Risker here. In the recent time, most (if not all)
> Wikipedian of the year award recipients now have a Wikipedia article.
>
> One would wonder if Wikipedia of the year award confers notability.
>
> This is not to disrespect our WOTY but I do honestly feel that users who
> are not notable apart from receiving the award does not merit a Wikipedia
> article.
>
> Regards,
>
> Isaac
>
> On Wed, Oct 9, 2019, 4:10 PM Risker 
> > I've never created a Wikidata profile about anyone, not even someone who
> is
> > widely known.  I've never created or edited a biographical article about
> > someone who isn't really obviously notable, and who has a broad and
> widely
> > known profile as verified in multiple non-Wikimedia (or
> > Wikipedia/Wikimedia-related) sources.
> >
> > No, I would never create an article about a Wikimedian - or a Wikidata
> > profile either - unless they are clearly and obviously notable outside of
> > our little microcosm.  Frankly, with very few exceptions, almost nobody
> > whose "notability" is primarily related to this movement is actually
> > notable in the strictest reading of the policies of most of our Wikipedia
> > projects.  As far as I'm concerned, most of the Wikipedia/Wikimedia/other
> > project-related articles on most of our projects are a prime example of
> > navel-gazing rather than actual notability.
> >
> > Further, I think it's terrible use of Wikidata to use it to store what
> are
> > essentially the personnel records of Wikimedia volunteers.
> >
> > Risker/Anne
> >
> >
> >
> > On Wed, 9 Oct 2019 at 09:52, Henry Wood 
> wrote:
> >
> > > Risker
> > >
> > > > I'm pretty shocked at this idea; in fact, if someone created a
> Wikidata
> > > > profile about me, I'd have it taken down under applicable
> legislation.
> > >
> > > ... and yet you are an energetic volunteer for projects that assert
> > > the right to do that to other people?
> > >
> > > Henry
> > >
> > > ___
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Movement Strategy: Draft recommendations are here!

2019-08-12 Thread Pete Forsyth
On Mon, Aug 12, 2019 at 4:18 PM Nathan  wrote:

>
> One counter-argument that doesn't seem to come up that often is that the
> movement as a whole may be better placed to decide the needs of the
> movement as a whole than smaller, more local communities.


I think that idea does come up pretty often, and is usually, and
appropriately, viewed with some skepticism.

An idea I think is too little discussed is that, when you've had great
success at assembling hundreds of thousands of people to work on something,
it is a very risky proposition to make fundamental changes to that
"something" without first undergoing a deliberate and comprehensive
approach to building buy-in throughout that community. (See "Spanish Fork")

-Pete
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Wikidata, Commons, and Meta Wiki.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Movement Strategy: Draft recommendations are here!

2019-08-12 Thread Pete Forsyth
Ziko's original comment appears to derive from the "Terms of Use/Licensing"
section of the Recommendations.[1] It says: "Present licensing for both
text and photographs should change to allow restrictions for non-commercial
use and no derivative works, if those will improve the ability of the
project to better reflect diverse knowledge on a global scale, such as by
including videos, allowing culturally significant text or photos to remain
intact without misappropriation, etc."

The recommendation appears to have been written in the absence of a full
awareness of the extensive debate throughout the Wikimedia movement that
resulted in the present policies. That debate exists in mailing list
archives, Board of Trustees minutes, on Meta Wiki, and elsewhere.

Wikimedia already has a framework for permitting non-free files. It's
called an "Exemption Doctrine Policy"[2]; any project may adopt such a
policy according to a framework defined by the WMF in a 2007 resolution.[3]

I am someone who has tried hard to get such a policy passed on English
Wikisource, and I have failed. I believe it would be the right choice for
English Wikisource, but the people I have to persuade are English
Wikisource volunteers.

To have any weight, a recommendation like this one would need to
demonstrate familiarity with the history behind Wikimedia's current
policies toward licensing. Absent that, there is plenty of room to advocate
for the use of non-free files on a project-by-project basis. Demonstrating
an ability to win support at specific projects, and then demonstrating that
implementing an EDP paved the way toward good results, could form a
compelling argument.

Strong advocacy in a strategy document does not form a compelling argument.

-Pete
--
Pete Forsyth
Volunteer primarily on English Wikipedia, English Wikisource, Wikidata,
Commons, and Meta Wiki.

[1]
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Strategy/Wikimedia_movement/2018-20/Working_Groups/Diversity/Recommendations/9#Q_3_What_will_change_because_of_the_Recommendation
?
[2]
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Non-free_content#Exemption_Doctrine_Policy
[3] https://foundation.wikimedia.org/wiki/Resolution:Licensing_policy



On Mon, Aug 12, 2019 at 3:41 PM Aron Manning  wrote:

> On Mon, 12 Aug 2019 at 22:45, Ziko  wrote:
>
> The concern is that allowing NC and ND would lead to more content being
> > uploaded under these "unfree" conditions that otherwise would be uploaded
> > as "free".
>
>
> I share those concerns, and believe it's not in the general interest of
> uploaders to use nonfree licenses. These licenses limit the visibility of
> the content, therefore uploaders are generally demotivated from using it. I
> think we should focus on how to communicate that the use of these licenses
> do not benefit the uploader, or Wikipedia as a whole, or its users, except
> in a few marginal cases, when it is a necessity.
>
> There are a few options to do so, and minimize the proportion of free
> content converted to "unfree":
>
>- Free is the default. Make it a significant effort (multiple steps) to
>choose NC or ND license. This is what the cookie opt-out UIs do, very
>successfully.
>- At each step inform the uploader, that an unfree license severely
>limits the visibility of the content (no media, no private schools, no
>Internet-in-a-Box).
>- If a user mostly uploads non-free content, notify them, this
>negatively affects Wikipedia as whole in its mission to be a free
>encyclopedia.
>- If non-free content is uploaded in great quantity, that content should
>be examined by other editors, and proposed for deletion, if similar
> content
>is available with free license.
>- If some content is available elsewhere with free license, the content
>and license can be replaced with that. This can be automated to an
> extent
>with reverse-image search.
>- After all these measures, I will have good faith, that most editors
>understand the benefit of free content over non-free, and only uses
> these
>licenses when it's truly necessary.
>
>
>
> > See the excellent brochure published by WMDE some years ago.
> >
> >
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Free_Knowledge_thanks_to_Creative_Commons_Licenses.pdf
>
>
> Thank you, it's really excellent.
>
>
> > I fail to see how these two articles "explain the need for ND". The -
> >
> interesting - article about the daguerrotypes relates to images that are
> > long in the Public Domain.
> >
>
> My bad. 1st article
> <https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/20/us/slave-photographs-harvard.html> is
> about commercial use (NC): "the university is illegally profiting from the
> images by using them for “advertis

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Survey about the Foundation's Mission

2019-01-16 Thread Pete Forsyth

+1 to what Lane says.

I will not comment here on whether or not a specific user should be 
removed from the list, but I do feel that a survey like this one should 
not be sent to this list, especially from only one person without any 
apparent peer vetting etc. I would generally support considered actions 
from list moderators to reduce the number of notifications like this one.


-Pete

--

Pete Forsyth

[[User:Peteforsyth]] on meta etc.


On 1/16/19 11:04 AM, Lane Rasberry wrote:

Risker raises the point of moderating research requests. I do not want to
comment on this survey in particular, but in general, many researchers
target the wiki community continually. We do not have community capacity to
endlessly complete surveys, and I would like survey moderation.

Access to the wiki community is a privilege because we all pay a cost when
anyone makes a request for time, attention, and labor. Wiki community time
is not an unlimited free asset for the world to solicit.

Here is a live discussion about this centered on something I wrote.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Village_pump_(idea_lab)#Background

here it is archived.
https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Village_pump_(idea_lab)=878717026#Background

James, I appreciate your interest in research. I do wish you would register
your research and conform to
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:New_project
but currently, we have no wiki community rules that say for people to
register research. If anyone is upset about your research, then I wish that
the response to be to set general policy and practices for the many
surveyors and researchers seeking labor from Wiki community spaces and not
only look at this one channel, and this one survey.

thanks -


On Wed, Jan 16, 2019 at 1:48 PM James Salsman  wrote:


The "agenda" is shared by a majority of the survey respondents so far.
Why are these questions so offensive to the vocal minority who have
demanded that they not be discussed? Many nonprofit organizations
depending on volunteer labor advocates for social changes in support
of those volunteers, including by lobbying.




On Wed, Jan 16, 2019 at 10:05 AM Risker  wrote:

I regret to say that I feel James has abused this forum once again for

his

own personal agenda, much of which is unrelated even indirectly to the

WMF

or the Wikimedia movement. Further, I feel that he has done so in a way
that is deceptive to members of this mailing list, and that his actions

are

an abuse of the trust of the members of this mailing list.

Generally speaking, I'm pretty tolerant of people bringing different
perspectives and ideas to this mailing list; however, I believe this is a
step too far for someone who has been asked in the past on multiple
occasions to stay on topic.  I am not sure that James needs to remain a
contributor to this list.

Risker/Anne

On Wed, 16 Jan 2019 at 11:56, James Salsman  wrote:


On Wed, Jan 16, 2019 at 1:23 AM Kevin Payravi 
wrote:

I've heard confusion from a couple folks and want to make sure it's

clear

here that this survey is coming from you as an individual, Jim, and

has

no

origination or coordination with the Foundation - correct?

Yes, the survey is just from me, not the Foundation. I'm trying to
encourage the Executive Director to bring back the "Letter to Donors"
which was discontinued for reasons unknown, but not the explanation
given to me at the time, that it was forbidden by law:

https://twitter.com/jsalsman/status/998272655995240449
https://twitter.com/SuePGardner/status/998302792946102273

On Wed, Jan 16, 2019 at 3:44 AM Dan Garry (Deskana) 
... (free healthcare, universal basic income, etc.) have very little

to

do with the Foundation's mission.

That is precisely the matter of opinion which the survey measures. The
idea that the abundance of contributors would not increase under the
proposals is clearly not shared by most, and whether that means
contributors would therefore be "empowered" by them is subjective.


On Tue, Jan 15, 2019, 8:21 PM 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] +28K images freed from Israel archives and uploaded to commons

2018-11-13 Thread Pete Forsyth
That's wonderful news. For those of us who don't speak Hebrew, can you say
a bit more about how this project came about?
-Pete

On Tue, Nov 13, 2018, 10:16 PM  Hello,
>
> It is a great pleasure for me to let you all know that wikimedia Israel
> had developed a web scraper that crawled in various archives in Israel and
> uploaded more than 28K free images to commons.
>
> The tool (https://github.com/wmil-1946/wikiscraper) was developed to
> crawl the web site (list below) and clean them, remove water marks, etc.
>
> Only images taken before 1946 were uploaded, as per the law in Israel and
> United states.
>
> Many volunteers had joined the effort by categorizing, linking and using
> the images once uploaded.
>
> It even got coverage on Israeli media (here (
> https://www.calcalist.co.il/internet/articles/0,7340,L-3749654,00.html))
>
> Commons categories containing the files:
> [1 (
> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Files_from_JNF_uploaded_by_Wikimedia_Israel)
> 2 (
> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Files_from_ISA_uploaded_by_Wikimedia_Israel)
> 3 (
> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Files_from_Moshe_Sharett_Archive_uploaded_by_Wikimedia_Israel)
> 4 (
> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Files_from_Palmah_Archive_uploaded_by_Wikimedia_Israel)
> 5 (
> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Files_from_GPO_uploaded_by_Wikimedia_Israel
> )]
>
> Thanks to all the people involved in this gigantic effort and enjoy using
> historical images from the holy land! :)
>
> Matanya
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Board Recruitment Kick-Off: Changes to the Timeline

2017-03-17 Thread Pete Forsyth
Pine,

It's unusual, and discouraged by the IRS (the United States' tax agency),
for board members to be paid. I won't get into details, but I think this is
a good thing, as it's tough to avoid conflict of interest when earning
money from an entity you're seeking to get funding for. You can read a bit
more here:
https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/can-board-members-be-paid

However, if board members have to spend substantial time in the course of
their duties, that's something that could and should be solved. As I
understand it, the board could pay support staff (roles like "assistant to
the treasurer" or "assistant to the secretary"). They've already taken this
route to some degree by appointing WMF staff to serve officer roles; this
seems problematic to me, since as I understand it, the core function of
board officers is to provide oversight over the organization's staff. (So
it's odd to have a treasurer providing oversight over themselves.)

But unless I'm mistaken, there's nothing that would prevent the board from
hiring its own staff, as many as they deem appropriate, outside the
organizational structure of the WMF, simply to support the work of the
board members themselves.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 10:06 AM, Pine W  wrote:

> Hi Nataliia,
>
> Thanks for the update. An issue that keeps coming to my mind is whether WMF
> would get higher-quality Board candidates, and whether candidates would
> devote more time to Wikimedia matters, if Board membership was treated as a
> part-time job and paid accordingly. Many people who have the kinds of
> skills which are desirable for WMF Board membership can be paid (sometimes
> very well) for their services. My understanding is that WMF Board
> membership is far more involved than once-per-month meetings that might
> happen at smaller organizations which might be able to more feasibly get
> volunteers for board roles due to the lower time requirements. Personally,
> I would rather have many high quality WMF Board members and have them doing
> Board work for 8+ hours per week and pay them accordingly, than have
> difficulty finding high quality Board members who are willing to invest the
> time required to do their jobs well. This might also help with the problems
> which were discussed in other threads regarding WMF Board members feeling
> like they lack adequate time to do their jobs adequately with the time that
> they have; if Board members are paid for their services then I expect that
> there will be less difficulty in this regard.
>
> Thanks,
> Pine
>
>
> Pine
>
>
> On Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 9:10 AM, Nataliia Tymkiv 
> wrote:
>
> > Dear all,
> >
> > I have updates about the board recruiting process. As you may recall,
> March
> > 6 was the original deadline for accepting submissions [1], but we need
> more
> > time to develop more solid candidates. Our original deadlines were
> > extremely ambitious, thus we decided to extend the deadline by two
> months.
> > Here is an outline of the updated timeline:
> >
> >
> >-
> >
> >Application and referral submission period (January 23 - May 6)
> >-
> >
> >Application and referral review, proactive candidate recruitment, and
> >interviews (January - June 5)
> >-
> >
> >   Initial application review and screenings (January - May)
> >   -
> >
> >   Board Governance Committee
> >    > Board_Governance_Committee>
> >   (BGC) discussions with candidates (January - May)
> >   -
> >
> >   BGC meets and makes short list (May)
> >   -
> >
> >   Second-round interviews (May - June 5)
> >   -
> >
> >  Background check conducted by BGC and Wikimedia Foundation staff
> >  -
> >
> > Criminal and financial background check conducted by outside
> > firm
> > -
> >
> > Thorough review of online and public coverage of candidates
> > -
> >
> >Executive Director and BGC meet to determine recommendations and
> provide
> >recommendations to the full Board (June)
> >-
> >
> >Board vote to confirm candidate (July)
> >-
> >
> >Announcement of new candidates (mid-July)
> >
> >
> > We decided to run this search ourselves, rather than going with a
> > recruiting firm. If we need additional help, we’ll assess in one month
> and
> > potentially discuss whether we need to look for external firms to support
> > our recruitment efforts.
> >
> > As a reminder, applicants may apply online at:
> > https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Work_with_us#Wikimedia_Careers. We
> > also accept applications and referrals by email at
> > board-nominati...@lists.wikimedia.org. The recruitment materials can be
> > found at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/?curid=55283092 [2].
> >
> >
> > I shall update the Meta page shortly [3].
> >
> > Please forward this information 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF advanced permissions for employees

2017-02-17 Thread Pete Forsyth
I want to chime in briefly, since I have direct personal experience in 
WMF0-initiated bans.


Not long ago, Support & Safety took an action to exclude somebody for 
whom I, as a volunteer, felt some responsibility. Initially, I felt that 
there was inadequate communication with me, and as a result the action 
put me in a difficult position. I brought the issue to James Alexander's 
attention. He took the time to discuss the issue in some depth; he 
acknowledged that it should have been handled better by WMF, and assured 
me that the experience would inform future efforts. If we're going to be 
using letter grades, I would James and his colleagues an "A" on the 
debrief, and I am confident that he and his colleagues have done/will do 
better after the fact.


There are good reasons for some bans to be handled by volunteers, and 
good reasons for some bans to be handled entirely by professionals. 
There are also some incidents that clearly fall into a grey area where 
cooperation is needed, and it's important that such incidents be handled 
with a sensitivity to their unique qualities, which requires trust in 
the various people involved to judge how much public communication is 
appropriate.


Final point -- all of this is now very much a departure from the subject 
line and the original topic, which were about permissions *for WMF 
staff*. If discussion on bans continues, I'd suggest introducing a new 
subject line.


-Pete

[[User:Peteforsyth]]


On 02/17/2017 11:49 AM, Adrian Raddatz wrote:

I'm not convinced of the problem. The WMF global bans are designed to step
in where community processes would not be appropriate. From their page on
Meta: "global bans are carried out ... to address multi-project misconduct,
to help ensure the trust and safety of the users of all Wikimedia sites, or
to assist in preventing prohibited behavior". The last two reasons should
not be dealt with by the community; our volunteers do not have the
resources, qualifications, or liability required to deal with them. But
perhaps "multi-project misconduct" could be handled by the WMF differently.
Instead of imposing a WMF ban, they could build a case for a community ban,
and follow that process instead. As I said though, I'm not convinced that
there is a problem with how things are done currently. Some things
shouldn't be handled by community governance.

Adrian Raddatz

On Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 11:40 AM, Pine W  wrote:


How would you suggest modifying the process so that it is compatible with
community governance? Note that while I'm dissatisfied with the system that
is in place now, I doubt that there will be a perfect solution that is free
from all possible criticism and drama. I would give the current system a
grade of "C-" for transparency and a grade of "F" for its compatibility
with community governance. I don't expect ether grade to get to an "A", but
I would be satisfied with "B" for transparency and "B+" for community
governance.



Pine


On Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 11:21 AM, Adrian Raddatz 
wrote:


Wikimedia isn't a country, the global ban policy isn't a law. Any such
metaphors are honestly a bit ridiculous. The WMF bans are, for the most
part, sensitive. And that means that they all need to be, because if you
have a list of reasons that you can disclose, then any bans without

comment

are going to be on a very short list of quite serious reasons. Plus, the
ones without a reason would still have the "wikipediocracy-lite" crowd

that

seems to dominate this list in a fuss.

It's also worth noting that the WMF provides some basic details of global
bans to certain trusted community groups. The issue isn't with

disclosure,

it's with mass disclosure.

On Feb 17, 2017 11:09 AM, "Pine W"  wrote:


I am glad to hear that WMF global bans are processed through multiple
people. Still, I am deeply uncomfortable with the lack of community
involvement in this process as well as the lack of transparency. In the

US

we don't trust professional law enforcement agencies to make decisions
about who should go to jail without giving the accused the right to a

trial

by a jury of their peers. Unless we have lost faith in peer governance
(which would be a radical break with open source philosophy) I think it

is

both unwise and inappropriate to have "the professionals" make these
decisions behind closed doors and with zero community involvement in

the

process.

I am in favor of professionals working on investigations, and in
enforcement of community decisions to ban *after* those decisions have

been

made by the community through some meaningful due process. I oppose

letting

"the professionals" decide among themselves who should be banned.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Politics

2017-02-07 Thread Pete Forsyth

On 02/07/2017 12:07 PM, Bill Takatoshi wrote:

Anyone can go to Recent Changes and send a SurveyMonkey link to the
most recent few hundred editors with contributions at least a year
old, to get an accurate answer.

Will a respected member of the community please do this? I would like
to know what the actual editing community thinks of the travel ban and
their idea of an appropriate response. I don't want to see community
governance by opt-in participation in obscure RFCs.

I would offer to do this myself, but I value keeping my real name
unassociated with my enwiki userid.


Conducting a survey can have unforeseen challenges and impacts. A page 
worth reviewing before running a survey:

https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Survey_best_practices

The Wikimedia Foundation also offers support for those running surveys 
(which is a different thing from persuading the WMF to run a survey itself):

https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Surveys

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] banner proposals

2017-02-07 Thread Pete Forsyth

On 02/07/2017 04:36 AM, Gerard Meijssen wrote:


Hoi,
When we learned that one of our own was in a prison in Syria, we could not
care less. A lot of words were spend on expressing how sad it was but no,
we could do nothing about this because this would be "political".

For me it is proof how little we as a community care about our own.


That's still not an argument, it's repeated assertion. I remain unconvinced.

I see 158 "support" votes and 95 "opposes." I don't know how you define 
"care about our own," but I think the 158 in the majority care prima 
facie. Of the 95 who opposed, here are just a few quotes which I believe 
reflect compassion for Bassel:


"Per NoW 
 
and as someone already raising awareness on the subject /outside of 
Wikipedia"

"/ I understand the importance and urgency of this issue"
"A banner on Wikipedia will in no way help Bassel in his current situation."
"Bassel has all my sympathy, for seemingly being a like-minded 
individual, possibly facing death on the hands of a murderous, 
tyrannical regime."


https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Free_Bassel/Banner/Straw_poll

To my eyes, a strong majority care. You disagree, but I still have not 
seen reasons behind your disagreement.


-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] banner proposals

2017-02-07 Thread Pete Forsyth

On 02/06/2017 11:01 PM, Gerard Meijssen wrote:


The huha with no banner for Bassel has cost our community because it has
proven that we do not care about our own.
Thanks,
   GerardM


Gerard,

You may of course continue to assert what the "huha with no banner" 
proves. I happen to disagree, but you present no argument, so I will 
leave it at that.


However, other readers may wish to assess your assertion against the 
evidence. Here is the discussion I think you mean; to my eyes, it proves 
no such thing. (And for whatever it's worth, my vote was in favor of a 
banner.)


https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Free_Bassel/Banner/Straw_poll

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] [PRESS RELEASE] Wikimedia Foundation receives $500, 000 from the Craig Newmark Foundation and craigslist Charitable Fund to support a healthy and inclusive

2017-02-06 Thread Pete Forsyth

On 02/06/2017 12:43 AM, Christophe Henner wrote:


I'm delighted to see this issue getting some attention. I believe the core
of the problem comes from the WMF's identity, from the start, as a
technology company; so shifting in this direction might be an uphill
battle, but I feel strongly that it's the right way to go.

Be careful there, we're agreeing! :D

Joke aside, I'm not sure it is an uphill battle, but that is a shift I
believe we, not just WMF but all of us as a community, need to do. From
mere "tool" to a movement. Which means that the tech and the platform are a
way to enable us  to achieve our goals. But our goals aren't technical,
they're societal. We're a people movement not a tech movement :)
Never a surprise to find agreement with a Wikimedian in general, or with 
you in particular -- but I'm glad to hear it! I am heartened to hear 
that you believe this kind of shift is attainable, and look forward to 
seeing the WMF make some decisive moves toward centering on social 
dynamics before technical innovation.


One more past blog post of mine, which I think expresses the value of 
transitioning away from a tech focus, and toward a social focus: 
https://wikistrategies.net/wikimedia-needs-trustee/ (Please ignore the 
framing of "what WM needs in a trustee, I should probably republish this 
to be a bit more generic)


-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] "Delegation of policy-making authority" resolution

2017-02-06 Thread Pete Forsyth

On 02/06/2017 11:53 AM, Pine W wrote:

Hi Christophe,

You wrote, "This delegates authority, not responsability." Perhaps you
could explain the distinction. It seems to me that the two go hand in hand.

Pine, I disagree. I have had plenty of jobs where I had the authority to 
do something, but the ultimate responsibility fell to my boss. For 
instance, as a teenager I worked for a bakery. I could give away the 
occasional muffin to a dissatisfied customer, but if I had done so every 
day, or if I only gave muffins to my friends and cute girls, I would 
have been fired, and the bakery would have borne the responsibility of 
making good with any customers I had slighted via my decisions.


My reading of Christophe's message is that the board trusts the ED to 
know when, and what kind, of consultation is needed. An example that 
fits with my analogy: "Hey boss, I just spilled a full cup of coffee on 
this customer's purse. Yes, it's true I have a crush on her, and I 
realize she's gotten free muffins here in the past. OK with you if I 
give her a muffin anyway? I think it's in the bakery's best interests." 
Then, my boss could make the decision.


One might ask whether that trust is justified, and events from last year 
might even make such a question compelling -- but I think you'll agree, 
in a healthy organization, the board has reason to trust the ED; and I 
don't think we've seen any reason to doubt the current ED's trustworthiness.


All that said, I very much agree with the sense that the Delegation 
resolution was *impolitic*. The board has taken almost no substantive 
action via resolution; above all, it has declined to pursue an 
independent governance evaluation, which you (Pine) and many of us have 
urged. In that context, a single resolution to make its own job easier 
certainly *looks* weird, and *seems* like cause for concern. But in my 
view, Christophe's explanation is satisfactory, and suggests that the 
board wants to proceed in a way that presumes health, rather than 
dysfunction; that may be rather far from the present reality, but it's a 
worthy aspiration. I don't think this one resolution is a problem, 
provided that the board is fully willing to accept responsibility for 
any poor decisions made by its ED.

Stepping back a little, I am wondering if the underlying problem is that
the Board is finding itself overworked, especially keeping in mind that
Board members are not compensated for their time on the WMF Board (though
they do get some limited perks). If overwork is the problem, I would
suggest that there are other ways to address that problem that are less
risky.

I agree with this part, very much.
-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Announcing the Foundation's challenge to recent U.S. immigration executive order

2017-02-05 Thread Pete Forsyth

On 02/05/2017 10:10 PM, Michelle Paulson wrote:


Dear All,


We know that the Foundation’s prior statement[4] on this executive order
has generated debate in the communities, on mailing lists and in other
forums. Some disapprove, with concern that the Foundation has taken a
political stance on behalf of the movement. Others approve, with concerns
about the impact of this order on the practicalities and values of open
collaboration and sharing.

Michelle, thank you for this update and clarification.

I've followed this discussion (and previous, similar discussions) with 
great interest. My personal views align strongly with the WMF's 
position, but I also found Yair Rand's argument compelling. There's an 
important distinction I haven't seen clearly articulated, that might be 
helpful:


The WMF has a clear interest in protecting *its own* operations, and on 
that level, I think it makes perfect sense for it to advocate -- along 
with companies like the partners listed -- against policies that may 
substantially impede its employees' travel.


But the arguments I have seen advanced by the WMF about what is in its 
*communities'* interest are not as clear-cut as it may seem. The core 
activities of Wikimedians involve online collaboration; and while it may 
be the case that research and qualitative experience supports the notion 
that travel can enhance that collaboration, there are -- and will always 
be -- highly productive Wikimedians who never meet fellow volunteer in 
person, and have no particular interest in doing so. The projects have 
been built by millions of volunteers, but I would guess that the number 
of volunteers who have crossed international borders to serve the 
project number in the thousands (and even fewer have crossed the U.S. 
border).


Perhaps in the future, things will go more smoothly if the WMF be very 
clear in its public statements when it is speaking on *its own behalf*, 
and when it is speaking *on behalf of its communities*. And when it's 
the latter, if public statements could only result from consultations 
that clearly establish a strong consensus within the communities.


-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] [PRESS RELEASE] Wikimedia Foundation receives $500, 000 from the Craig Newmark Foundation and craigslist Charitable Fund to support a healthy and inclusive

2017-02-04 Thread Pete Forsyth

On Fri, Jan 27, 2017 at 9:17 AM, Lodewijk 
wrote:


What I am curious about, is whether there are also efforts ongoing that are
focused on influencing community behavior in a more preventive manner.

On 01/27/2017 09:54 AM, Danny Horn wrote:

Your idea for using aggression/harassment scores in admin applications is
really interesting; I hadn't thought of that before. Nothing's actually
planned right now, just research and conversations, but it's neat to see
people already coming up with interesting suggestions. :)
I'm delighted to see this issue getting some attention. I believe the 
core of the problem comes from the WMF's identity, from the start, as a 
technology company; so shifting in this direction might be an uphill 
battle, but I feel strongly that it's the right way to go. I'd like to 
highlight my first answer in my brief candidacy for the WMF board in 
2015 [1]:

The distinction between "the community" and "newcomers" is a false and dangerously misleading one. It does not 
accurately reflect reality. I have had numerous students, clients, and friends who believe "the community" or 
"Wikipedia" was unwelcoming; but on closer inspection, the one comment that formed that opinion in fact came from somebody who 
was newer than "the newbie." If civility and collegiality on our sites is an issue -- and it is -- the artificial idea that 
"the community" is mean, and in need of reform, will not move us toward a solution.

Yes, this is a matter the Board should take very seriously. The Board should 
seek the guidance of social scientists and experienced practitioners in social 
movements. Lecturing and assigning blame (example: [2]) may bring applause and 
headlines, but it will not lead to solutions. The solution to this kind of 
problem lies in studying what works well in our communities and others, and 
cultivating leadership. Social practices are a good medium for spreading social 
solutions; we should be more skeptical of technical approaches.


I elaborated on what I see as the WMF's problematic cultivation of a 
culture of blame and exclusion in a blog post. [3]


Coincidentally, the most interesting idea I'm aware of in this realm 
comes from a former Wikia employee I know named...Danny Horn, who 
invented a system to facilitate rapid introductions between new and 
experienced users. It's one we might do well to try out on Wikimedia 
projects, perhaps in connection with the Teahouse.


-Pete

[[User:Peteforsyth]]

[1] 
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Peteforsyth/2015_board_election_Peteforsyth_answers#Behavior_towards_new_editors


[2] 
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jimmy_Wales_at_Wikimania_2014_closing_ceremony_-_annoying_user_good_content_%28cropped%29.jpg


[3] https://wikistrategies.net/divide-and-subjugate/




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Re: [Wikimedia-l] guidance from Foundation leadership as to where to draw the line on policy requests?

2017-02-01 Thread Pete Forsyth
I strongly support keeping messages without a clear connection to
Wikimedia's purpose off this list -- especially when multiple people have
already objected to a certain topic.

I am as worried about world politics and the future as anybody on this
list, but Wikimedia has a fairly clear mission and purpose, and I do not
see how this topic fits here.

The best way IMO to work on these issues is to improve Wikimedia *content*
relating to, e.g., U.S./China relations. But one factor which may strongly
contribute to what's going on here, and which may be unknown to many on the
list: the originator of this thread (and I'm deliberately avoiding names)
has been banned from English Wikipedia for many years. Perhaps that's why
we keep getting messages here that might be more appropriate for article
talk pages.

But, in short, I concur with what's been said. We've heard enough about
this topic on this list. The passion is admirable; please direct it toward
a more effective venue.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

2017-01-25 Thread Pete Forsyth

On 01/25/2017 09:52 PM, Anna Stillwell wrote:
Got it. (I add color so I can see. I think I need better glasses. Sad!). 

:)

I was just asking whether you thought it was reasonable to give them the
time that they asked for.  It wasn't a governance question, or a discussion
about authority. I was just asking if those who commented, who all seemed
to have legitimate concerns, were willing to have the team get back to them
with any answers that they could fairly, justly, respectfully and legally
provide, but more likely they would talk about the future work.

In my mind I've been clear and consistent: "Hey, do you guys think it is
reasonable to give these guys some time?" But it seems like I've not made
this point clear. Would singing it at karaoke help?

Ha! Maybe.

I haven't said it's unreasonable, and I'm not sure anybody else has, 
either. In fact, I think The DJ explicitly acknowledged some of the 
points in your initial message, and by my reading implicitly 
acknowledged others. I don't think anybody is singling out the "pause in 
explaining the pause" as unreasonable.


I've heard the request, and with all the considerations, sure, it seems 
reasonable enough. What I've tried to do is express what some of the 
costs of further delay are; but asserting costs is not the same thing as 
saying further delay is unreasonable. I read Pine as trying to put it in 
a broader context of problems that may be systemic; but I don't think 
that's the same as saying it's unreasonable, either. So, perhaps we're 
not all as far apart as it might appear?

I'd be happy to chat if you come back to it at the end of Q3, if you'd
like.

Thanks. I'll reach out.

I'll have the karaoke machine ready!

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

2017-01-25 Thread Pete Forsyth

Anna,

I've now read what you quoted for a third time, and can confirm I did 
understand, and agree with, what you said. I'm sorry my summary was 
inadequate, and may have made it seem otherwise.


As for planning, I am not making assumptions, but perhaps interpreting 
differently from you. I'm happy to defer to Pine on the details; their 
recent message captures the gist of what I intended.


I can't give a solid estimate of the "half-life," but I do not think the 
enthusiasm I've seen (and the metrics I cited in my initial message on 
this thread) constitute a passing crush. I do think a "pause" that 
necessitates addressing uncertainty when discussing popular features can 
have a significant impact, and therefore should be minimized to whatever 
degree is attainable. I could be wrong, but that's my belief.


As for the request for more time, I guess I'm just not sure what to make 
of it. I make no demands, and I'm not sure I've heard Pine, James, DJ, 
or anybody in this thread make demands. Is there somebody with standing 
to grant such a request? I've heard it, and it makes sense. It's 
worthwhile to know that the team needs more time, and plans to share 
more on a scale that sounds like days-to-weeks. But if there's something 
specific being asked of me (or others on this list), I'm not clear on 
what it is.


I'd be happy to chat if you come back to it at the end of Q3, if you'd like.

-Pete

[[User:Peteforsyth]]


On 01/25/2017 06:38 PM, Anna Stillwell wrote:

On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 4:53 PM, Pete Forsyth <petefors...@gmail.com> wrote:


Anna,


Pete,


Your points are valid and well taken. If I may summarize what I think I
heard, it's basically: "Getting things right can be hard, and if full
preparations weren't made ahead of time, thorough answers may not be
readily available. Be compassionate/patient." Is that about right?


I appreciate that you are trying to understand what I mean. Thanks.

No, I didn’t say getting things right can be hard. I said, “This
communication thing is hard, especially when people are involved. Sometimes
there are laws that constrain what we say. Sometimes we don’t know whether
we are right yet and we need a further unpacking of the facts. The truth is
that there can be a whole host of reasons for partial communication that
aren’t related to competence or the intent to deceive.”

As for the preparations, it seems that a lot of assumptions are being made.
As for thorough answers, some might already be known and others known once
more planning is completed. However, it could be that the explanations you
want are not legal to share. There are many issues where employment law and
worker protections are crystal clear, as they should be.

As for compassion, I don’t require it. That seems like extra to me. I
usually prefer just paying attention, but that’s my personal choice.

The team asked for some time. I wondered if that would be a reasonable
request to grant them.

If so, I agree in principle and in spirit, but I think the point is in

tension with
another one:

Community and public enthusiasm for software can be a rare and important
thing. The conditions that make it grow, shrink, or sustain are complex,
and largely beyond the influence of a handful of mailing list participants.
The recent outputs of the Interactive Team have generated enthusiasm in a
number of venues, and many on this list (both volunteers and staff) would
like to see it grow or sustain, and perhaps throw a little weight behind an
effort to make it grow or sustain.


Good points. I mean that. Glad to hear of these recent outputs generate
excitement. I’m personally also getting quite excited about ORES
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Objective_Revision_Evaluation_Service> and
what’s going on with the Community Tech Wish List, Labs, and New Readers.
But I also get that you want to be clear: you'd like to see the interactive
team’s work grow or sustain. Makes sense.

The only thing I heard is that the team said that they needed to pause,
have a bit of time, and get back to everybody. “The team's aim during this
period is to get its work to a stable and maintainable state.”


But that enthusiasm has a half-life. What is possible today may not be
possible next week or next month. The zeitgeist may have evolved or moved
on by then.


I'm not in disagreement with your main point about enthusiasm for software.
I think it's a very good one. Enthusiasm with a half life of a week,
however, sounds more like a passing crush. Nevertheless, your point still
stands.


-Pete
--
[[User:Peteforsyth]]


/a
[[User:Annaproject]]


On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 3:53 PM, Anna Stillwell <astillw...@wikimedia.org>
wrote:


You make substantive points, Tim. Thank you.

"An employee should not experience their time off as a period where his
[her/they] work load is just temporarily buffered until his [her/they]
return, but where colleagues will step in and take care of busin

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

2017-01-25 Thread Pete Forsyth
Anna,

Your points are valid and well taken. If I may summarize what I think I
heard, it's basically: "Getting things right can be hard, and if full
preparations weren't made ahead of time, thorough answers may not be
readily available. Be compassionate/patient." Is that about right? If so, I
agree in principle and in spirit, but I think the point is in tension with
another one:

Community and public enthusiasm for software can be a rare and important
thing. The conditions that make it grow, shrink, or sustain are complex,
and largely beyond the influence of a handful of mailing list participants.
The recent outputs of the Interactive Team have generated enthusiasm in a
number of venues, and many on this list (both volunteers and staff) would
like to see it grow or sustain, and perhaps throw a little weight behind an
effort to make it grow or sustain.

But that enthusiasm has a half-life. What is possible today may not be
possible next week or next month. The zeitgeist may have evolved or moved
on by then.

-Pete
--
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 3:53 PM, Anna Stillwell 
wrote:

> You make substantive points, Tim. Thank you.
>
> "An employee should not experience their time off as a period where his
> [her/they] work load is just temporarily buffered until his [her/they]
> return, but where colleagues will step in and take care of business."
>
> I take this point seriously and don't wish you to think otherwise. In
> theory, I absolutely agree. In practice, sometimes we all face constraints.
> There are roughly 300 of us (order of magnitude). Every now and then, there
> are not enough of us to go around on everything on a timeline that meets
> the legitimate need that you present here. We'll continue to work on this.
> But, to clarify, no one ever said it was a "useful practice" nor did anyone
> suggest that it was generalized across the org.
>
> What I was wondering about in my previous email and now reiterating in this
> one too, are people willing to grant their request: a bit of time and allow
> for one person to return to work?
>
> Does that seem like a way to move forward?
>
> Warmly,
> /a
>
> On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 2:50 PM, Tim Landscheidt 
> wrote:
>
> > Anna Stillwell  wrote:
> >
> > > […]
> >
> > > I also hear that the pause on the interactive work is temporary. I’ve
> > heard
> > > them request time. I am comfortable granting that request, but no one
> is
> > > required to agree with me. They’ve also said that the person with the
> > most
> > > information is on vacation. As someone who has seen employees go
> through
> > > considerable stress in the last years, the entire executive team is
> > working
> > > to establish some cultural standards around supporting vacations. We
> want
> > > people here to feel comfortable taking proper vacations and sometimes
> > that
> > > can even need to happen in a crisis. People often plan their vacations
> > well
> > > in advance and may not know that something tricky will come up. Just so
> > you
> > > understand one bias I bring to this conversation.
> >
> > > […]
> >
> > I concur with DJ in his initial mail that this is not a use-
> > ful practice, and I doubt very much that it relieves employ-
> > ees' stress.  It conveys the organizational expectation that
> > employees are SPOFs without any backup.  An employee should
> > not experience their time off as a period where his work
> > load is just temporarily buffered until his return, but
> > where colleagues will step in and take care of business.
> > Especially such a major decision like "pausing" a team
> > should not depend on the inner thoughts of one employee, but
> > be backed and explainable by others.
> >
> > Tim
> >
> >
> > ___
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> > 
> >
>
>
>
> --
> "If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." - Margaret
> Fuller
>
> Anna Stillwell
> Director of Culture
> Wikimedia Foundation
> 415.806.1536
> *www.wikimediafoundation.org *
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Exciting update about development of structured data on Commons

2017-01-13 Thread Pete Forsyth
;Structured Data on Commons was in our product
> > > roadmap,
> > > > so
> > > > > > > this grant is not diverting our attention.  The grant simply
> > > enables
> > > > us
> > > > > > to
> > > > > > > accelerate the work we were planning to do".  Please would you
> > > > publish,
> > > > > > or
> > > > > > > point to, a version of that product roadmap that can inform the
> > > > > > community's
> > > > > > > participation in such planning exercises as the 2017 Wikimedia
> > > > Movement
> > > > > > > Strategy and other more tactical product planning processes.
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > Thanks in advance
> > > > > > > "Rogol"
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > On Mon, Jan 9, 2017 at 11:01 PM, Lisa Gruwell <
> > > > lgruw...@wikimedia.org>
> > > > > > > wrote:
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > Hi Pete and Gerard-
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > I just wanted to give my thoughts on restricted gifts.  Like
> > most
> > > > > > things,
> > > > > > > > there are both good and bad restricted gifts.  They can be
> bad
> > > if a
> > > > > > > funder
> > > > > > > > is making a well-intentioned gift that none-the-less pulls
> the
> > > > > > > organization
> > > > > > > > in direction that they were not planning to go.  Or even
> worse,
> > > > when
> > > > > a
> > > > > > > > funder pays for something outside of an org's plans that has
> > > > ongoing
> > > > > > > > maintenance cost that are not covered in the grant.
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > This is why the WMF board reviews all restricted grants per
> our
> > > > gift
> > > > > > > policy
> > > > > > > > <https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Gift_policy>.  Those
> are
> > > the
> > > > > > types
> > > > > > > > of
> > > > > > > > dynamics that the board considers when they review a
> restricted
> > > > > grant.
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > Structured Data on Commons was in our product roadmap, so
> this
> > > > grant
> > > > > is
> > > > > > > not
> > > > > > > > diverting our attention.  The grant simply enables us to
> > > accelerate
> > > > > the
> > > > > > > > work we were planning to do.  In terms of restrictions, we
> have
> > > to
> > > > > > follow
> > > > > > > > through with the plan we submitted.  In other words, do what
> we
> > > > said
> > > > > we
> > > > > > > are
> > > > > > > > going to do.  I think that accountability is a good thing.
> And
> > > the
> > > > > > Sloan
> > > > > > > > Foundation is a great long-term funder of WMF.  If something
> > > > changes
> > > > > as
> > > > > > > the
> > > > > > > > work progress, I have no doubt we could have a reasonable
> > > > > conversation
> > > > > > > with
> > > > > > > > them about adjusting the plan.
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > Best,
> > > > > > > > Lisa
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > On Mon, Jan 9, 2017 at 1:03 PM, Gerard Meijssen <
> > > > > > > gerard.meijs...@gmail.com
> > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > wrote:
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > Hoi,
> > > > > > > > > Maybe restricted but the subject matter is exactly what we
> > want
> > > > > > anyway.
> > > > > > > > > Where I have my reservations is that Wikidata will be set
> in
> > > > stone
> > > > > > and
> > > > > > > > > stuff that just is not r

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Keeping historical documents related to Wikimedia

2017-01-11 Thread Pete Forsyth
Thank you for bringing this up, Yann. Some relevant context is that Meta
Wiki users considered permitting such files on Meta Wiki a year and a half
ago, and decided not to. The electorate was not very big (14 votes, total),
but it was carefully considered, with compelling arguments made on both
sides.[1]

In my opinion, the best outcome would be that Meta Wiki should have an
Exemption Doctrine Policy (the board's name for a project's local policy
that would permit copyrighted files under specific circumstances)[2] I
think the Meta Wiki decision should be revisited and considered in more
depth, with more participation, and probably reversed (with some careful
work on defining the proper circumstances for an exemption).

But of course, that's not an easy task. I have no ready answer, but am
interested to see what ideas others have.
-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

[1]
https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Meta:Babel=prev=13362698#General_discussion_on_allowing_or_rejecting_fair_use_at_Meta
[2] https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Licensing_policy

On Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 3:04 PM, Yann Forget  wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I would like to get more opinions about what to do with files such as
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Education_and_WGIG.pdf
>
> This is a draft from a United Nations conference which mentions Wikipedia
> (the first and only AFAIK), and as such, an important historical document.
>
> It doesn't have a formal license, but there is no real copyright issue.
>
> Where and how should we keep such files?
>
> Regards,
>
> Yann Forget
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Exciting update about development of structured data on Commons

2017-01-09 Thread Pete Forsyth
Structured data on Commons is a huge and important area -- for one thing,
the whole Media Viewer project would have gone much more smoothly if there
were underlying structured data to rely on. Kudos to WMF and Sloan for the
focus on this issue!

If I'm not mistaken, this is by far the most extravagant restricted grant
in the history of the WMF. I believe the Stanton Foundation's usability
grant ($890k in 2008)[1] and Public Policy Initiative grant ($1.2 million
in 2010)[2] are the only ones that comes close. In the past, WMF board
members have expressed great skepticism about -- specifically -- the Sloan
Foundation's influence, when it sought to place an observer in WMF board
meetings. A former WMF Executive Director has written at length about the
dangers of restricted grants.

It appears there is a new theory in play around restricted grants. Will
somebody be expressing it publicly? Will the past practice of publishing
the details of the grant expectations be followed?[3]

-Pete
--
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

[1] https://blog.wikimedia.org/2008/12/03/improved-usability-in-our-future/
[2]
https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/May_2010_Wikimedia_Foundation_will_engage_academic_experts_and_students_to_improve_public_policy_information
[3]
https://outreach.wikimedia.org/wiki/Public_Policy_Initiative_project_details

On Mon, Jan 9, 2017 at 11:48 AM, Wes Moran  wrote:

> Hello Wikimedia community,
>
> It’s our delight to inform you that we received a US$3,015,000 grant from
> the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
>  [1] to expedite
> development of structured data on Commons. The grant will be given over the
> course of three years, and will allow us to develop a team, in
> collaboration with the Wikidata team at Wikimedia Deutschland, that can
> focus on integrating the structured data features of Wikidata into
> describing the media files on Commons.
>
> This work will allow us to expedite features both on the Wikidata
> development roadmap, and in other products supported by the Wikimedia
> Foundation. The grant also provides funding to ensure that movement
> stakeholders, like Wiki Loves Monuments and GLAM-Wiki program leaders, and
> external partners who contribute heavily to Commons, such as GLAMs, can be
> involved in the development.
>
> We have drafted a high level overview of the grant and its scope, available
> on Commons
> 
> [2]. A blog post about the grant is also available on the Wikimedia blog
> 
> [3].
>
> We are currently in the process of identifying the technical lead for the
> project. If you have questions, Alex Stinson, the Foundation’s GLAM-Wiki
> strategist, will be leading the community engagement and communications for
> the project until we hire a community liaison as part of the grant. Stay
> tuned for more details about the project in the coming months.
>
> We’re excited to be able to support this project, and look forward to your
> participation in its development.
>
> Thank you,
>
> Wes Moran and Maggie Dennis
>
> *Wes Moran, Vice President of Product*
> *Maggie Dennis, Interim Chief of Community Engagement *
> *Wikimedia Foundation*
>
> [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_P._Sloan_Foundation
> [2] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Structured_data/Sloan_Grant
> [3] https://blog.wikimedia.org/2017/01/09/sloan-foundation-structured-data
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fundraising Update - Big English Fundraiser

2016-12-01 Thread Pete Forsyth
Joseph,

Thank you for the timely and thorough response -- good info in there, and
I'm especially gratified to know that Lodewijk's op-ed has sparked some
worthwhile discussion.

However, I think I may not have been clear enough about what I was
suggesting. (And I should note, I understand this is an unusual kind of
approach, that might not feel very "wiki-like" to many in our community;
but if I'm right in my hunch that it would be an *effective* approach, it
might merit further consideration.)

I used the term "expert" to refer to two different kinds of efforts, which
I think made my point hard to follow. This is what I suggest:

* Hire a service provider that is *expert at learning from a certain
important audience*
* Work with that service provider to properly incentivize and efficiently
garner insights from those who are *expert about Wikimedia values* and how
they might apply to the fundraiser.

Speaking for myself, I would hesitate to devote an hour or similar of my
time to a feedback session run by the WMF. Partly, because I would want to
be compensated for that time; and partly, because I have some skepticism
about WMF's ability to run a session that would fully absorb the points I
might have to make. (I do not suggest that my own perspective is especially
important, but rather, that others might share one or both of my concerns.
And I mean no disrespect to WMF by saying this; most people and
organizations have difficulty fully absorbing feedback, and can benefit
from skilled facilitation of some kind.)

Sometimes, a trained professional whose expertise lies in helping
organizations understand what their stakeholders think can be very valuable.

In that way, what I suggest is fundamentally different from the expert
(Jelly, who is indeed extraordinarily good at what he does, even if that
one campaign did not turn out to everybody's liking), and is a
fundamentally different kind of engagement, from what you mention at the
end of your message.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Thu, Dec 1, 2016 at 5:25 PM, Joseph Seddon <jsed...@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> So we have definitely worked with market research companies, mostly to help
> us get a better understanding of our audience rather than directly sourcing
> design input. We worked with Lake Research Partners [1], on our English
> Reader Survey in 2014-15 [2] and our Japan Reader Survey in 2015-2016 [3].
> And we may consider commissioning similar research in other geographies but
> I don't believe we haven't taken any decision about future work at the
> moment.
>
> The purpose of the sessions is try and do what we can to ensure that the
> messaging we use is as representative of the community as we can make it
> whilst also having a successful fundraiser. To do that we need to be able
> to offer as many possibilities to volunteers to be able to contribute to
> the Fundraiser, and this touches on many of the issues in Lodewijk's op-ed
> in the Signpost over the weekend (which I intend to provide a fuller
> response to soon).
>
> Although we didn't run the second series in English we are still planning
> on running sessions for input in other languages next year. Most likely in
> Dutch and in Swedish where we've already gauged some early interest, and
> potentially other languages too if there is the desire for it.
>
> We ran a successful couple of test sessions back in September with
> community members and with staff earlier in year. They produced some
> fantastic input into our processes with both a critique of our banners as
> well as being a source new ideas. These sorts of sessions help guide us
> towards the areas that are important to our communities, allowing us to
> focus our efforts on dealing with issues raised by the community such as
> getting rid of the ominous black banners, not describing ourselves as a
> small non-profit and doing our best to find alternatives to the infamous
> coffee cup line that has been present in our appeals for th. Outside
> experts can't provide that same touch we are looking for that members of
> the movement, staff or community can provide.
>
> This particular way of garnering input wasn't successful at this moment in
> time but there will be other opportunities but it's not the only way and I
> am definitely hopeful to find other methods for the wider community to be
> able to get involved in the campaign.
>
> Plus experts gave us this:
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/
> 2009-11-16/Fundraiser
>
> Regards
> Seddon
>
> [1 http://www.lakeresearch.com/]
> [2
> https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/foundation/c/c2/
> Wikimedia_Survey_2014_English_Fundraiser.pdf
> ]
> [3
> https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/foundation/e/ef/
> Report.WikimediaJapan.f.071916.pdf
> ]
>
> On Thu, Dec 1,

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fundraising Update - Big English Fundraiser

2016-12-01 Thread Pete Forsyth
On Mon, Nov 28, 2016 at 5:25 PM, Joseph Seddon 
wrote:

>
> Finally we didn't get any interest in our fundraising feedback and design
> sessions last week and the week before so they were put on hold, however if
> there are individuals who are interested in taking part in such a session,
> one on one, then reach out to me and I would be happy to arrange a time
> with you.
>

Often, when an organization needs to get the sense of a stakeholder group,
they work with a market research firm, which would have expertise in
getting the needed feedback. It's common for that research to compensate
those participating.

I've participated in such studies; and while some of them evaluate common
products like refrigerators or cell phones, others are quite specialized.
An interesting example: I actually participated in one that was modeled
after a jury trial. The parties in an actual trial ran a process, which
included four juries of (if I recall correctly) 11 people each. We heard
expert testimony and lawyer arguments for two days before being sequestered
for deliberation; our findings were used to determine the settlement in the
case.

The kind of input the WMF seeks is fairly sophisticated. There are not many
people with the depth of knowledge of the Wikimedia movement to give
worthwhile input, and to be frank, I would imagine few of them, like me,
would be reluctant to volunteer time for the kind of session you suggest.

Has the WMF considered seeking the assistance of an experienced market
research firm, and/or compensating experts, to get the kind of input you
desire?

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The Signpost – Volume 12, Issue 29 – 26 November 2016

2016-11-26 Thread Pete Forsyth
I'd like to highlight some of the content in this edition:

* There's a deep look into the history and value of the GA Cup, a
longstanding contest on the English Wikipedia designed to reduce the
backlog of "Good Article" nominations. Fascinating, data driven research by
[[User:Wugapodes]], highly recommended.
* An op-ed from Lodewijk Gelauff explores fundraising data transparency, a
much-discussed topic on this list. This one has sparked extensive
discussion, not only on Wikipedia but (separately) on the Wikipedia Weekly
Facebook group. As a reminder, please consider making any comments on the
Wikipedia page so they will be visible to all.
* If you haven't heard enough about the U.S. presidential election, never
fear! "In the media" collects several themes in media coverage that relate
to Wikimedia, and the "Traffic report," as always, provides insight into
recent, politics-heavy readership.
* If you haven't seen them, you'll enjoy the winning photos from Wiki Loves
Earth (republished from the Wikimedia blog), and the country-level nominees
from Wiki Loves Monuments.

Happy reading,
-Pete
--
Pete Forsyth
Editor in Chief
The Signpost
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:SIGNPOST

On Sat, Nov 26, 2016 at 9:46 AM, Wikipedia Signpost <
wikipediasignp...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Special report: Taking stock of the Good Article backlog
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/
> 2016-11-26/Special_report
>
> News and notes: Arbitration Committee elections commence
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/
> 2016-11-26/News_and_notes
>
> In the media: Roundup of news related to U.S. presidential election and
> more
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/
> 2016-11-26/In_the_media
>
> Op-ed: Fundraising data should be more transparent
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-11-26/Op-ed
>
> Traffic report: President-elect Trump
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/
> 2016-11-26/Traffic_report
>
> Blog: The top fifteen winning photos from Wiki Loves Earth
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-11-26/Blog
>
> Gallery: Around the world with Wiki Loves Monuments 2016
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/
> 2016-11-26/Gallery
>
> Featured content: Featured mix
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/
> 2016-11-26/Featured_content
>
>
> Single-page view
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Signpost/Single
>
>
>
> https://facebook.com/wikisignpost
>
> https://twitter.com/wikisignpost
>
>
>
> --
> *Signpost* team
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Signpost
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] (no subject)

2016-11-14 Thread Pete Forsyth
On Sun, Nov 13, 2016 at 2:21 PM, Rogol Domedonfors 
wrote:

> Jimmy Wales wrote: "it is possible and welcomed to bring forward issues to
> board members at any time".


To Jimmy and the board:

This statement is, frankly, very much belied by the facts.

In 2014, I delivered a letter signed by *one thousand people* to every
member of the board. And yet, the existence of that letter has never been
formally acknowledged, much less have its requests been formally addressed.

One thousand people.

As long as that communication goes unacknowledged, many of us will have
little faith in assurances that communication to board members is a viable,
productive pursuit.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Editor safety and anonymity: ending IP address exposure?

2016-11-12 Thread Pete Forsyth
A fully enumerated list of "cons" would be an important place to start.
 Wikimedians and WMF have long promoted the existence of stuff ike the
"Congress edits" twitter account, which reports account-less edits from
capitol hill. We often block high school IP addresses at certain times in
the school year when lots of vandalism comes. Are these necessary? We would
need to take a broad and careful look to form a coherent opinion about
whether we can do without them. There would be substantial impacts on the
production processes of the wikis.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Sat, Nov 12, 2016 at 12:11 PM, Pine W  wrote:

> Coincidentally, #4 has been discussed in the past few days on the Analytics
> mailing list, and some of the discussion there about how to semi-anonymize
> IPs in logs might also be relevant to publicly exposed IP addresses.
>
> I would suggest that deep thought about IP address logging and exposure
> should wait until the ongoing Wikimedia account security problems are
> thoroughly addressed and investigated, as that is a more time-sensitive
> issue. Perhaps in the months ahead, we can have further discussions about
> IP address exposure and logging. (I'm most concerned about the latter, as
> it affects logged-in editors who can reasonably expect a fair amount of
> privacy about their IP addresses.)
>
> Pine
>
>
> On Sat, Nov 12, 2016 at 12:02 PM, Brion Vibber 
> wrote:
>
> > The biggest privacy problem in Wikipedia has always been the permanent
> > public exposure of casual editors' IP addresses.
> >
> > Secondarily, we store logged-in editors' IP addresses for a limited time,
> > exposing all editors' IP addresses to access by staff and volunteer
> > accounts which could be stolen or misused as well as to any potential
> > attacker who gains sufficient access to the database systems.
> >
> > I would like to suggest that the Wikimedia editor community, along with
> the
> > Wikimedia Foundation as steward of the software and servers, have a
> serious
> > consultation about committing to fix this:
> >
> >
> > 1) Eliminate IP address exposure for non-logged-in editors. Those editors
> > should be either given a random, truly anonymous identifier, or required
> to
> > create a pseudonym as a login.
> >
> > 2) Seriously think about how this will affect workflows tracking and
> > fighting vandalism, and provide tools that do not depend on public
> exposure
> > of network addresses.
> >
> > 3) Avoid public exposure or long-term logging of any other
> > location-specific or network-specific information about anonymous users.
> >
> > 4) Consider stronger controls on storage of IP addresses in the databases
> > and how they are secured, in the face of possible attacks through social
> > engineering, security vulnerabilities, or state action. Think about what
> > really needs to be stored and what types of data recovery are possible
> when
> > storing truly personal-private data in shared databases.
> >
> >
> > -- brion vibber (brion @ pobox.com / brion @ wikimedia.org)
> > Lead Software Architect, Wikimedia Foundation
> > ___
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Personal Update

2016-11-02 Thread Pete Forsyth
In case my blanket "I disagree" left doubt, let me state very clearly --
I'm not seeking anybody's resignation here. (Just reread Dan's message and
realized it's possible the beginning of my response could be read that way,
though I think I'm pretty clear further down.)
-Pete

On Wed, Nov 2, 2016 at 4:32 PM, Pete Forsyth <petefors...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Dan, I disagree. Three points:
>
> 1. Rogol explicitly said they *hesitate* to suggest that anybody resign;
> nobody on this list has asked her to resign. Best not to exaggerate.
>
> 2. It is true that there is a higher level of scrutiny of the board than
> there has been in the past. We should not forget that in the last year, the
> board or its members:
> * Ousted a community-selected member, for reasons generally regarded as
> frivolous and insufficient;
> * Defamed that same person following his ouster
> * Appointed a new member with insufficient vetting, who subsequently had
> to resign under pressure
> * Lost another community-selected member, who cited reasons he had been
> explicitly aware of during his candidacy
> * Appointed a member to a community-selected seat who had not, in fact,
> been selected by the community (I don't think this was actually a bad move
> given the circumstances, but it's worth noting nonetheless)
> * Lost an executive director (amid scandal) it had hailed as a perfect
> "unicorn" just two years ago
>
> It therefore stands to reason that people will be more critical than usual
> of the board's activities. I would argue this is healthy. The board has a
> great deal of work to do in regaining the trust it has lost as an
> institution. (I'll note that I published some suggestions about actions the
> board could take; I have seen no indication that the board even read this
> op-ed, much less considered implementing its suggestions.
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/
> 2016-03-16/Op-ed )
>
> 3. On the specifics mentioned here: Without suggesting that Ms. Battles or
> anybody has done anything wrong, it is indeed prudent, as Rogol suggests,
> to consider whether this might constitute a COI that directly impedes
> important work on Wikimedia's behalf. I'm personally not as worried about
> it as Rogol; I take it as a good sign that she has proactively announced it
> here, and I trust it will be noted in a more visible location as well. I am
> not sure that her area of specialization (finance) is something that would
> really suffer from this particular COI. But as important as legal vetting
> may be, it remains important that somebody pay attention to the fit of
> board members with the general mission of the organization -- and I
> wouldn't expect WMF staff lawyers to fill that role. Ordinarily, I think it
> would be the board's role to pay attention to that -- but for the reasons
> stated above, I think it's worthwhile if others in the movement pay
> attention too.
>
> -Pete
> [[User:Peteforsyth]]
>
> On Wed, Nov 2, 2016 at 3:48 PM, Dan Garry <dga...@wikimedia.org> wrote:
>
>> The mere potential that a conflict of interest may arise in the future is
>> not necessarily a reason to resign from the board. This is why we have
>> legal counsel such as Stephen and Michelle to determine whether such
>> conflicts are serious enough to be inappropriate. We should all be
>> satisfied with their opinions that this situation is fine in light of
>> their
>> reputation, experience, and credentials; I know I am.
>>
>> Minor conflicts of interest sometimes arise. That is normal, and as Kelly
>> said, such conflicts can be managed. For example, when it happens, the
>> relevant party can do things like recusing themselves from that discussion
>> and stepping out of the room until the discussion is complete. This is
>> standard procedure adopted by boards of other organisations, and also in
>> parts of our movement such as the Arbitration Committees or Funds
>> Dissemination Committee.
>>
>> Additionally, I am disturbed by the recent trend of seemingly all threads
>> involving members of the Board of Trustees inevitably having someone
>> asking
>> a trustee to resign. I hope this absurdity does not continue.
>>
>> Dan
>>
>> On 2 November 2016 at 22:34, Rogol Domedonfors <domedonf...@gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>> > Congratuations to Kelly Battles on her new job at Quora.  I believe I'm
>> > correct in saying that this is a company whose business is to make a
>> profit
>> > by pursuing its "mission is to share and grow the world’s knowledge".
>> > Surely that means that in general the more and better the Wikimedia
>> >

[Wikimedia-l] Exploring challenging topics in Wikimedia history: Belfer Center post mortem

2016-10-06 Thread Pete Forsyth
In my view, the Wikimedia movement and the WMF often miss important
opportunities to fully examine significant controversies in our history.
It's an important practice, and can help parties who disagree absorb
lessons, develop a shared understanding of what happened, and avoid causing
similar problems in the future.

There's one incident that stands out, to me, as a successful effort to do
just that. It comes out of an issue discussed extensively on this list. I
think it's worth pointing out a summary of outcomes that many may have
missed.

Brief summary: in 2013, the Wikimedia Foundation directed a Wikipedian in
Residence program at Harvard University; it was problematic in various ways.

When the problems surfaced the next year, Erik Möller and Sue Gardner (then
the top two executives at WMF) created a post mortem page on the Outreach
Wiki (now at Meta Wiki). They told the story from the WMF perspective,
updated it as their understanding evolved, and explicitly noted the lessons
learned. They also encouraged others to tell the story from their
perspective:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Assessment_of_Belfer_Center_Wikipedian_in_Residence_program

Readers of this list might be aware of that much; but the next part
happened more recently, and more quietly. But it's an important part of
bringing the issue to a close. In July 2016, Katy Love responded to
questions about how the experience had impacted way the WMF's grant
programs approach Wikimedians in Residence. Her statement was pretty
detailed, and helps those working on WiR programs understand the WMF's
thinking.
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Assessment_of_Belfer_Center_Wikipedian_in_Residence_program#WMF_grants_for_WiRs

Since the issue was heavily discussed on this email list in the past, it
seems fitting to acknowledge what I see as a highly successful resolution
here. In particular, I'd like to acknowledge the diligence of Sue Gardner,
Erik Möller, Lisa Seitz Gruwell, Katy Love, Asaf Bartov, and Siko Bouterse
(all currently or formerly of the WMF) in working through the issues.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

p.s. If you were watching this page on Outreach Wiki and want to follow any
future developments, you might want to add it to your watchlist on Meta
Wiki.
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[Wikimedia-l] New edition of the Signpost: AffCom, Olympics, ethics & research, and more

2016-09-07 Thread Pete Forsyth
The Signpost, Volume 12 #25 is out, covering English Wikipedia and beyond:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/Single/2016-09-06

Contents:

NEWS AND NOTES:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-09-06/News_and_notes
AffCom still grappling with WMF Board's criteria for new chapters

SPECIAL REPORT:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-09-06/Special_report
Olympics readership depended on language

IN THE MEDIA:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-09-06/In_the_media
Librarians, Wikipedians, and a library of Wikipedia coverage

WIKIPROJECT REPORT:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-09-06/WikiProject_report
Watching Wikipedia

FEATURED CONTENT:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-09-06/Featured_content
Entertainment, sport, and something else in-between

TRAFFIC REPORT:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-09-06/Traffic_report
From Phelps to Bolt to Reddit

TECHNOLOGY REPORT:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-09-06/Technology_report
Wikimedia mobile sites now don't load images if the user doesn't see them

RECENT RESEARCH:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-09-06/Recent_research
One study encounters critique of its ethics from Wikipedians; another
critiques the ethics employed by Wikipedia

BLOG:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-09-06/Blog
Upload of free photos from Swiss library underway

--
Pete Forsyth
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
co-Editor in Chief, The Signpost
enwp.org/WP:POST
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Please take part in the Flow satisfaction survey

2016-09-06 Thread Pete Forsyth
On Tue, Sep 6, 2016 at 11:19 AM, James Forrester 
wrote:

> All,
>
> *TL;DR*: Communities using Flow are invited to fill out a survey about what
> they want to see from Flow,


From this web page: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Flow#Development_status

"Starting in October 2015, Flow is not in active development."

There have been many questions asked in various venues over the last year
about whether Flow is alive or dead, and what its future looks like. James,
perhaps you could take a moment to address that fundamental question?

It's quite odd to have a survey published about something that's been
declared defunct (albeit unconvincingly).

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF C level hiring and retention

2016-08-14 Thread Pete Forsyth
Pine, maybe so, but if that's what you're going for, your best move might
be to privately urge the people who have talked to you to come forward
publicly -- rather than you sharing their words without attribution or
context.

The information that came through from your message is, "Pine asserts that
Wikimedia staff confide in him." That probably wasn't your intent, but I
agree with Keegan's characterization of it as gossip.
-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Sun, Aug 14, 2016 at 2:19 PM, Pine W  wrote:

> Discussing an organization's strengths and weaknesses, transparently,
> should be the norm for how business is done. Keeping quiet about problems
> is sometimes necessary, but transparency should be the norm.
>
> Pine
>
> On Sun, Aug 14, 2016 at 1:35 PM, Keegan Peterzell 
> wrote:
>
> > On Sun, Aug 14, 2016 at 12:28 AM, Pine W  wrote:
> >
> > > I agree that there can be a benefit to internal promotions in the sense
> > > that less onboarding is required. On the other hand, sometimes a fresh
> > > perspective is helpful, and at least one of the interim Cs has been
> > > insistent that they want to return to their previous job.
> > >
> > > Also, while people are in interim roles, their departments are down a
> > > person unless their previous positions are somehow backfilled, perhaps
> > with
> > > contractors. I have already heard from one department that they are
> > feeling
> > > the squeeze.
> > >
> > > Pine
> >
> >
> > ​I'm not really comfortable with gossip here, whether about a Wikimedia
> > project or the WMF.​
> >
> >
> > --
> > ~Keegan
> >
> > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Keegan
> >
> > This is my personal email address. Everything sent from this email
> address
> > is in a personal capacity.
> > ___
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] An example where search could be improved

2016-07-28 Thread Pete Forsyth
We recently had a huge amount of discussion about the importance of search,
on this list and elsewhere. My strong takeaway from that was, nobody
disagrees with the position you're advocating here, Jimmy - that our search
is problematic, and is worth investing in.

The only directly related ideas that *are* controversial, as I understand
it, are that (1) an investment approaching $100 million might not be an
easy sell to some (myself included), and (2) that such an investment should
be publicly vetted prior to taking strong steps in that direction.

Did you hear something different?

Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

P.S. in the specific example, your friend would have had no trouble if he
were doing serious research. The "History of WF" article is linked
prominently at the top of the relevant section of the "WF" article. That's
not to say we should consider the low search ranking acceptable, but it
might inform how this specific example speaks to urgency.

On Jul 28, 2016 5:09 AM, "Jimmy Wales"  wrote:

> First, some context:
>
> I was in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention earlier
> this week, where I had been invited to speak (in a small side event)
> about connectivity and global development.  I spoke about our work in
> the languages of the developing world, and made a point to say that bad
> laws in the developed world which might hurt our work can be damaging
> for the development of the Internet in the rest of the world and urged
> lawmakers to not just think of various Internet legal questions as being
> "Silicon Valley versus Hollywood" but to understand that they impact how
> our volunteer community and many other ordinary people online.
>
> Second, the story:
>
> The main conference was held in the [[Wells Fargo Center
> (Philadelphia)]], an indoor arena where basketball and hockey teams play
> normally.
>
> A journalist friend said to me that he "finally found something that
> Wikipedia doesn't have" and he was surprised.  What was that, I said?
> "The history of Wells Fargo".  What?!!  Really?!! That seemed impossible
> to me.  He said we have an article about Wells Fargo that seems to be
> mostly about the contemporary bank, and when you search for Wells Fargo
> history there's also an article about the Wells Fargo History Museum.
>
> I popped on my phone and used my own personal preferred method of
> finding things in Wikipedia: Google.  I typed in "Wells Fargo history"
> and sure enough, the first two links are history pages from their
> official websites and the third link is Wikipedia - a normal state of
> affairs.  He started to apologize for raising a false alarm
>
> I asked him for more details on exactly how he searched, and explained
> that I regard it to be very sad if some volunteers spend hundreds of
> hours working on an article, painstakingly going over tons of details in
> an effort to get it right, and then someone couldn't find it.
>
> Here's what he did - and I replicated the steps and all was clear.
>
> Go to http://www.wikipedia.org/
>
> Make sure the dropdown in the search box is set to 'EN' - which it would
> have been for him.
>
> Start typing 'Wells Fargo history' and watch as the dropdown selections
> narrow.  You'll have the experience that he had - you'll see the bank
> article prominently featured and then various buildings (they have a
> habit of sponsoring sports arenas in various US cities) and finally as
> you start typing history it focuses in on the History Museum.
>
> If you don't choose any of those, then hit enter, you'll get to the
> search results page.  This is the one with a huge box of options at the
> top (which will be confusing and frightening to people who aren't
> already wikipedians) and then by my count the desired article is 13th on
> the page: [[History of Wells Fargo]].
>
> Now, I strongly suspect this could be fixed by making a redirect from
> [[Wells Fargo history]] to [[History of Wells Fargo]].
>
> Or a more serious fix could be had if the search engine understood that
> very very often in English [[X of Y]] can be written [[Y X]].  ([[List
> of French monarchs]] becomes [[French monarchs list]], see:
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Search?search=french+monarchs+list
> where the desired article is in 10th place.
>
> But my point is not to argue for any specific fix.  My point is to
> illustrate that there is a real problem with search, that it is
> impacting users, and that we should invest in fixing it.
>
> --Jimbo
>
>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] New Elections Committee

2016-07-26 Thread Pete Forsyth
Sorry to post twice -- I spoke too soon with "single greatest opportunity."
An acknowledgment of community members' positive role in addressing the
Superprotect debacle is another important opportunity that should not be
missed.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]


On Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 12:37 PM, Pete Forsyth <petefors...@gmail.com>
wrote:

> Christophe and Pine,
>
> I am glad this loop is getting closed. I agree very much with Pine that
> eliminating the Founder's Seat as a (virtually) guaranteed position is
> something that has been suggested by a great many informed people who care
> about the movement, in a number of venues, and until now (as far as I'm
> aware) has not been acknowledged. I'm glad to know that the governance
> review will give it consideration. Wikimedia has recently been doing many
> good things to address the challenges of the last year or two, but this
> issue remains -- in my mind -- the single most significant opportunity to
> get things on track.
>
> One thing comes to mind, which may also be appropriate to the review:
> perhaps it would be good to have a more structured way of making
> suggestions to the Board. For tech issues, we have Phabricator; something
> along those lines might be worthwhile, as it creates a way to assess how
> many people are interested in a certain issue, and also whether and how it
> has been seen/acknowledged/is being addressed.
>
> -Pete
> [[User:Peteforsyth]]
>
> On Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 10:39 PM, Christophe Henner <chen...@wikimedia.org
> > wrote:
>
>> Hey,
>>
>> The question is not on the table right now.
>>
>> We're working to perform a gouvernance audit, board composition will be
>> part of it.
>>
>> Now, my personal opinion is it's neither urgent nor critical. And on top
>> of
>> that I'm not sure it would be a good idea.
>>
>> All that being said, I'm sure it will come up during the gouvernance
>> review.
>>
>> And yes I missed it, sorry. Gérard, no need for such email, just, as Pine
>> did, reask the question :)
>>
>> Have a nice day
>>
>> Le 26 juil. 2016 6:54 AM, "Pine W" <wiki.p...@gmail.com> a écrit :
>>
>> > Hi BGC,
>> >
>> > I asked a question earlier in this thread which seems to have been
>> > overlooked. Is the BGC (or the Board as a whole) considering whether the
>> > Founder's seat will become an elected seat in the forseeable future?
>> >
>> > Pine
>> >
>> > On Jul 20, 2016 21:20, "Pine W" <wiki.p...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> >
>> > > Thanks Daruisz and all who worked on this.
>> > >
>> > > Looking at the bigger picture, the tone and pace of changes in WMF
>> > > governance over the past few months feel like a breath of fresh air. I
>> > hope
>> > > that this direction and pace continue.
>> > >
>> > > Speaking of elections and governance, will the Founder's seat become
>> an
>> > > elected seat? It may be too early to answer this question, but I hope
>> > that
>> > > the BGC gives it some careful thought.
>> > >
>> > > Thanks again,
>> > >
>> > > Pine
>> > >
>> > > On Jul 20, 2016 18:00, "Dariusz Jemielniak" <dar...@alk.edu.pl>
>> wrote:
>> > >
>> > >> Dear members of the Wikimedia community,
>> > >>
>> > >> As you know the board passed a resolution allowing for the creation
>> of a
>> > >> standing Elections Committee in November of last year [1]. Per the
>> > >> implementing resolution, the Board Governance Committee (BGC) has
>> > >> appointed
>> > >> the initial members from the recommendation of the Executive Director
>> > and
>> > >> her staff. We will be starting with 6 committee members:
>> > >>
>> > >>
>> > >>-
>> > >>
>> > >>User:Ajraddatz
>> > >><https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:CentralAuth/Ajraddatz>
>> > >>-
>> > >>
>> > >>User:Mardetanha
>> > >><https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:CentralAuth/Mardetanha>
>> > >>-
>> > >>
>> > >>User:Ruslik0
>> > >><https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:CentralAuth/Ruslik0>
>> > >>-
>> > >>
>> > >>User:Philippe
>> > >><https://meta.wikimedia.

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight

2016-06-30 Thread Pete Forsyth
Excellent example Chris, thanks for taking the time to write that up. I
agree it would have had at least as much positive effect, and also
substantially less negative effect, than the original post.

One person's opinion might be especially worth considering: I wonder
whether the person whose name has been used as a subject line on a public
email list is pleased or displeased by the way it was brought up. I have
not talked to Rosie about this, but Gerard, it might be worthwhile for you
to ask her.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 2:33 PM, Chris "Jethro" Schilling <
cschill...@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> Gerard,
>
> Please don't fall back on the "ends justify the means" argument here.
> There were many, many other ways to call attention to this problem.  You
> chose a way that was needlessly aggressive and accusatory.  You didn't have
> to.  Here is how I would have done it with only minor changes to what you
> wrote:
>
>
> Hi folks,
>
> At Wikimania two wikipedians of the year were elected. The article for one
> of
> them and the data at Wikidata are somewhat lacking, and I think we can work
> together to put them in better shape given the recognition they received.
> The
> article is a one liner stub, and the Wikidata item had no statements
> and I added
> the few that were minimally needed.
>
> I've gotten started by adding some material, but any help would be
> appreciated.
>
> Thanks in advance,
>
> Jethro
>
> PS I have not looked at any of the others and I would welcome it when they
> get
> some proper attention.
>
>
> The results would have been the same, and perhaps you would have even
> gotten more engagement and better content from folks watching this list.
>
> - Jethro
>
>
> Chris "Jethro" Schilling
> I JethroBT (WMF) 
> Community Organizer, Wikimedia Foundation
> 
>
> On Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 12:55 PM, Gerard Meijssen <
> gerard.meijs...@gmail.com
> > wrote:
>
> > Hoi,
> > Maybe but both the article and the data have improved considerably.
> > Thanks,
> > GerardM
> >
> > On 30 June 2016 at 15:37, Asaf Bartov  wrote:
> >
> > > I agree with Ziko.
> > >
> > > Gerard, please believe us, even if you don't perceive it yourself, that
> > > your aggressive language, however well-intentioned, is
> counterproductive,
> > > and is keeping others from engaging with you, or even engaging on the
> > list
> > > in general.
> > >
> > >A.
> > > On Jun 30, 2016 4:22 PM, "Gerard Meijssen" 
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Hoi,
> > > > Yes that is incorrect. There is a Wikipedia article, it is one line
> > and I
> > > > have the distinct feeling that it is incorrect.
> > > > Thanks,
> > > >  GerardM
> > > >
> > > > On 30 June 2016 at 13:07, Joseph Fox 
> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > Gerard, I feel like you are basically describing the role of the
> > > > Wikimedia
> > > > > Blog. Is that incorrect?
> > > > >
> > > > > Joe
> > > > >
> > > > > On Thu, 30 Jun 2016 at 11:35 Gerard Meijssen <
> > > gerard.meijs...@gmail.com>
> > > > > wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > > Hoi,
> > > > > > Wikipedia is not my thing. I hardly ever write on articles. The
> > > article
> > > > > > states that Rosie wrote 1000 articles.. Hardly an argument why
> she
> > > > > became a
> > > > > > Wikipedian of the year.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > The other aspect I give attention to is that we are REALLY bad at
> > > > doing a
> > > > > > good job for our own. There is a lot that is uncontroversial that
> > can
> > > > be
> > > > > > added. It it the least that can be done to indicate why she is a
> > > > > Wikipedian
> > > > > > of the year.
> > > > > > Thanks,
> > > > > >  GerardM
> > > > > >
> > > > > > On 30 June 2016 at 12:05, Erik Zachte 
> > wrote:
> > > > > >
> > > > > > > Gerard, feel free to follow-up on your call to action with more
> > > > action.
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > Erik Zachte
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > -Original Message-
> > > > > > > From: Wikimedia-l [mailto:
> > wikimedia-l-boun...@lists.wikimedia.org]
> > > > On
> > > > > > > Behalf Of Gerard Meijssen
> > > > > > > Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2016 11:38
> > > > > > > To: Wikimedia Mailing List
> > > > > > > Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > Hoi,
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > At Wikimania two wikipedians of the year were elected. The
> > article
> > > > for
> > > > > > one
> > > > > > > of them and the data at Wikidata are pathetic.
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > The article is a one liner stub. The Wikidata item had no
> > > statements
> > > > > and
> > > > > > I
> > > > > > > added the few that were minimally needed.
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > I find it incredible that we take no care of our own even when
> > they
> > > > are
> > > > > > > obviously notable.
> > > > > > > Thanks,
> > > > > > >GerardM
> > > 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Our problem with India

2016-06-28 Thread Pete Forsyth
On Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 11:43 AM, Milos Rancic  wrote:

> In other words, although I am not disclosing all of information I
> have, mostly to protect privacy of some people,

Yes, this is a difficult line to walk. I have encountered this issue many
times in the Wikimedia world. In some cases, it simply means that public
discussion is not a useful tool for addressing the issue. I don't know
whether or not that is the case here, but it seems like a strong
possibility.


> I am not cryptic at all.

Well, thank you for clarifying that point for us ;)


> It is just a matter of what's perceived as important to a Western and what
> to an Indian Wikimedian.
>
One must know what something is, before one can make a judgment about how
important it is. So no, I don't think that is what's at issue here.

Speaking for myself, I believe (and have always believed) that improving
the ability of disadvantaged populations to engage with the Wikimedia
projects is a top priority. I know the same is true of many others on this
list as well. I can tell from your messages that you are concerned about
something in that realm; but I don't get a clear enough picture of what
you're talking about to see how I can contribute to a discussion.

I can reassert the general point as I did above, so I guess I am
politically correct. And I can redouble my efforts as an individual and as
a business owner to educate, guide, mentor, and learn from/with those
around me. Beyond that, I'll leave this discussion to those who understand
what it's about.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Our problem with India

2016-06-28 Thread Pete Forsyth
On Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 10:40 AM, Milos Rancic <mill...@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 7:27 PM, Pete Forsyth <petefors...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > On Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 10:03 AM, Milos Rancic <mill...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >>
> >> On the rest: being defensive is not useful; being constructive is.
> >>
> >
> > I don't see anything in this thread that looks defensive; what I see (and
> > thoroughly agree with) is a request to more clearly define the problem.
> I'd
> > add that some clarity around who "we" are who should do something --
> which
> > might be several categories of "we" for different kinds of actions --
> would
> > help, as well.
>
> I didn't say Risker is, for example, defensive; I said Asaf is defensive.
>
> If you have enough information on the issue, constructive approach is
> not to pretend to ask for more information, but to talk about what you
> know.
>

I'll leave the "defensive" bit aside, and just reiterate that I *still* do
not understand exactly what problem you're trying to focus discussion on.
In the piece of text Asaf quoted, you used the words "it" and "reports." I
don't know what you intend by those words. Maybe for some reason you feel
it's Asaf's job to clarify that for the rest of the list's readers; maybe
so. I don't have more to contribute on this point.

I do strongly agree with Gerard that a better interface for presenting the
excellent work of Wikisource communities to readers should be a high
priority.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Our problem with India

2016-06-28 Thread Pete Forsyth
On Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 10:03 AM, Milos Rancic  wrote:

>
> On the rest: being defensive is not useful; being constructive is.
>

I don't see anything in this thread that looks defensive; what I see (and
thoroughly agree with) is a request to more clearly define the problem. I'd
add that some clarity around who "we" are who should do something -- which
might be several categories of "we" for different kinds of actions -- would
help, as well.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Wikimedia Foundation Form 990 for FY 2014-2015 now on-wiki

2016-06-07 Thread Pete Forsyth
Risker, perhaps you missed this part of Patricio's message; I'm pretty
sure this is what Pine was referring to:

> In re-reading Jan-Bart’s original email [1] where he stated that Sue was
staying on as an advisor, it isn’t explicit that this was a paid position.
We should have been more clear on this point.

Speaking for myself, along with Patricio, I do appreciate Sue's
willingness to disclose information, presumably in the interest of
resolving this matter. I am accustomed to Sue acting in the best
interest of the Wikimedia movement, but we shouldn't take it for
granted; this would all be a much bigger fiasco without that bit of
information.

I do think it helps a great deal to know that, but it doesn't dismiss
all the important questions. Many of us (who are used to the term
"advisor" being used only for the unpaid advisory board) were
surprised to learn there was compensation at all. In addition, I'm not
so happy to hear from James Heilman (in a Facebook comment) that he
was unaware of Sue's availability as a paid advisor during his tenure
as a Trustee.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]


On 6/7/16, Risker  wrote:
> I think Patricio would be surprised that you have interpreted his email
> that way, Pine. There's nothing in his email that says anything about
> proactive disclosure of the salaries of individual employees or
> contractors. It would probably be appropriate to extend your thanks to Sue,
> who has agreed to the posting of her own direct salary for the 2015-16
> fiscal year, despite the fact that it would not come close to the Form 990
> reporting threshold.
>
> Risker
>
> On 7 June 2016 at 20:42, Pine W  wrote:
>
>> Thank you for pointing that out, Risker. The emails indeed cross paths and
>> I did not see it.
>>
>> The point remains: the standard is proactive disclosure, not minimum and
>> delayed disclosure. The latter happened, and it is not ok. It is a relief
>> that Sue was not getting $300k per year as an advisor, which helps the
>> situation considerably. Regardless, there should have been proactive
>> disclosure. I am glad that Patricio agrees. I think that we should
>> consider
>> more robust accounting procedures in the future. I do not appreciate being
>> blindsided.
>>
>> Pine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Harassment and blaming the victim

2016-06-05 Thread Pete Forsyth
Pine, as one of the admins who has worked to fend off this sustained
attack, I can attest it is exactly that. Your point is a valid one, but it
does not apply to this situation.
Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
On Jun 5, 2016 7:13 AM, "Pax Ahimsa Gethen" 
wrote:

> I am defining harassment primarily as personal attacks, not merely
> disputes (even strongly-worded disagreement) over content.
>
> Some examples of what I consider harassment:
>
> - Vandalizing an editor's user or talk page (hence my Inspire proposal:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab/Protect_user_space_by_default
> )
>
> - Making derogatory comments about an editor's gender, sex, race,
> ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or (dis)ability
>
> - Posting personal information about an editor that was gathered off-Wiki
>
> - Evading bans with IP-hopping to do any of the above.
>
> These actions not only cause "net harm to community health," they cause
> unnecessary, avoidable harm to specific individuals, and discourage
> marginalized people from participating in the project.
>
> - Pax
>
>
> On 6/5/16 5:09 AM, Pine W wrote:
>
>> Hi Pax,
>>
>> I agree that blaming the victim is an unsatisfactory resolution.
>>
>> On the other hand, defining what is meant by "incivility" and "harassment"
>> can be very tricky. Just because there is a strong disagreement doesn't
>> imply that people are being uncivil, and we cannot expect that no one will
>> ever lose his or her temper when provoked. Similarly, a pattern of
>> disagreement doesn't necessarily imply harassment, and the presumption of
>> good faith is rebuttable which means that questioning the motives of
>> others
>> is occasionally OK.
>>
>> So, as Sumana once said, we have a tricky situation with regards to
>> balancing free speech with hospitality.
>>
>> I think there are situations in which behavior is egregious enough that it
>> is a net harm to community health and cannot be excused. For example,
>> comments that demean someone on the basis of race, gender, age,
>> nationality, or religious or political beliefs, are generally out of
>> bounds.
>>
>> I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts about how we should define
>> harassment, and how we should seek to reduce the frequency of it on
>> Wikimedia sites.
>>
>> Thank you for speaking up.
>>
>> Pine
>> On Jun 4, 2016 19:15, "Pax Ahimsa Gethen" 
>> wrote:
>>
>> Hi all, I'm Pax aka Funcrunch [1]. I've been a Wikipedian since 2008, but
>>> this is my first post to this mailing list. (I've been reading list
>>> messages on the archives page occasionally for the last several months.)
>>>
>>> I'm writing because of a concern I have about the community's attitude
>>> toward harassment on Wikipedia. I got a Wikinotice about this month's
>>> Inspire Campaign, which specifically asks: "What ideas do you have that
>>> can
>>> help prevent and generally address cases of harassment?" [2] As a victim
>>> of
>>> several of the harassing behaviors mentioned as examples - " name
>>> calling,
>>> threats, discrimination, stalking, and impersonation" - I was encouraged
>>> to
>>> see that this problem was (hopefully) being taken seriously by the
>>> Foundation, and submitted a proposal.
>>>
>>> Looking at the other proposals submitted, I soon noticed that the most
>>> popular "ideas" on the list included complaints of "political
>>> correctness"
>>> and suggesting we shouldn't be so sensitive [3], and that we should just
>>> get some sleep and exercise and reconsider why we're so offended. [4]
>>> (That
>>> first "idea" has since been recategorized by a WMF staffer to remove it
>>> from the current campaign.)
>>>
>>> It really bothers me that a campaign specifically designed to combat
>>> harassment - which is a very serious and real problem for people of
>>> marginalized identities like myself [5]- is being co-opted by people
>>> saying
>>> things like " Harassment doesn't cause actual damage," " The existence of
>>> harassment is an opportunity to improve ourselves further through
>>> self-discipline," and " Harassment on Wikimedia has been exaggerated." I
>>> suggest that people who honestly believe this, but are willing to accept
>>> that they might be wrong, read a recent essay about online harassment by
>>> Anil Dash: "The Immortal Myths About Online Abuse." [6]
>>>
>>> I'm not "looking to be offended," and I'm not trying to "censor" people
>>> who simply disagree with me. I'm trying to help build an encyclopedia,
>>> without being harassed by block-evading stalkers hurling hate speech my
>>> way. The existing tools and policies are *not* sufficient to deal with
>>> this. That's (what I thought was) the point of this Inspire campaign, not
>>> complaining about censorship and " crybullying."
>>>
>>> I've posted a much shorter version of this concern on the Inspire
>>> Campaign
>>> talk page [7], so feel free to weigh in there instead of here on the list
>>> if that's more appropriate. 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] The end

2016-05-17 Thread Pete Forsyth
Reaching out offlist. Anyone who knows Chris well and has helpful input,
feel free to contact me offlist.
-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Tue, May 17, 2016 at 5:44 AM, Chris Sherlock 
wrote:

>
> I've just been blocked forever. I've been bullied, and I'm having suicidal
> thoughts.
>
> I don't know what to do now.
>
> Right now I'm reaching out to anyone who might listen.  I've been called
> obsessive, someone who attacks people, I've not been listened to and I've
> been lectured on policy by people who quote three letter shortcuts at me
> without reading the policy.
>
> An admin just told me that I had submitted too many kilobytes which
> violated some sort of policy. When I pointed out that half of the kilobytes
> were references I was ignored. When I pointed out that the one reverting me
> was deleting no contentious stuff I was told I was being contentious. When
> I pointed out I had been told I'm not allowed to use primary sources in any
> way and the policy was its ok but to use it with care, and all I was doing
> was checking a company directorship, I was ignored.
>
> I wrote your [[exploding whale]] article. I invented your [citation
> needed] tag. I started your admins noticeboard.
>
> But I'm not well, and nobody on Wikipedia seems to be kind. You are all so
> busy power tripping that you forget there is a real, live person on the
> other side. A person who is wounded. I haven't always been this depressed.
> Not anxious. I stupidly logged into my account yesterday, one that nobody
> knew I used, and tried to edit the Salim Mehajer article. I was surprised
> it wasn't there, but I've never been so obstructed I all my life. It's not
> even that there was a disagreement, it was like I wasn't worth anything. I
> spent hours of my time researching the article, trying to do a good job.
> But in an instant the material was ripped away, and I was called obsessed.
>
> That's not what I was called when I rewrote the [[USA PATRIOT Act]]
> article. People told me it was long, but they were encouraging. My hard
> work was appreciated.
>
> I've never attacked the subject of the article, Salim Mehajer. But when I
> was called obsessive, I guess something broke inside me. I reached badly
> and called the guy who called me obsessive a twit. Then I wrote a bitter
> article and posted it on my blog. You can read it here:
>
>
> http://randomtechnicalstuff.blogspot.com.au/2016/05/dont-bite-newbies-why-wikipedia-is-such.html
>
> Then I stewed. I couldn't stop thinking about how I'd tried to get a
> decent article sorted out again, but I just couldn't seem to get traction.
>
> I originally had taken material from the [[City of Auburn]] article that
> was about the individual. I should have realised it was partisan, and it
> was a bad judgement call. I write done more material, but it was far too
> negative. I guess o didn't see it that way at the time.
>
> I recall I went to bed and the next day I was accused of writing an attack
> article and an admin slapped on not one but two template telling me I was
> about to be blocked. Then I discovered the article had been deleted. Nobody
> had notified me. I couldn't work out what had happened. Then I realised it
> had been deleted.
>
> So I tried again. This time I started from scratch. I started to edit very
> carefully. I started with a paragraph stub which just very, very briefly
> noted Mehajor is a deputy mayor and property developer. I think I wrote a
> short paragraph Bout his wedding which was very notable. It's in the
> history.
>
> Then it was put up for deletion again. In the A7 category. I'm rusty at
> Wikipedia, sure, but what? A7? It was for notability. But, I thought, how?
> The man is highly significant! Not a day goes by without the media talking
> of his exploits!
>
> So I objected. The editor rounded on me. He's famous for being famous,
> like a Kardashian! he said. But I said, he was a deputy mayor and he's been
> in the Australian media extensively! It's not just his wedding (which was
> notorious) - it's his property deals, and his companies, and he got his
> entire council sacked! And he is in court all the time and is under an AFP
> investigation! That *is* notable!
>
> But, I was told, there's not enough In the article. I was referred to
> another acronym about notability. But I know about notability policy, I
> thought. It's about the subject, not the content of the article..,
> desperately I hunted through the policy git the section on this. I'd read
> it before, years ago. If the article was deleted before I got a chance to
> object, I'd be called a troll, or worse. I'd be blocked for recreating it.
> In the nick of time I found the section and objected, and I asked to have
> it put on Articles For Deletion. And I pointed out I was literally editing
> the article when it was almost deleted - because it didn't establish enough
> context. But, I thought, how do you establish context of the article is
> deleted midway 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Account of the events leading to James Heilman's removal

2016-05-08 Thread Pete Forsyth
Keegan, thank you for clarifying; I understand better now. I agree about
the dynamics; I wouldn't say Jimmy Wales' role on the Board is unrelated,
though, as Denny's message was intended to shed light on a dynamic that has
clearly involved Jimmy Wales in a central role.

All:

It seems (as is often the case) that we have gotten a little off track with
some details, where there is some disagreement; but I suspect there is a
pretty high degree of agreement on most of the steps Todd recommended
above. I'll summarize them again here:


   1. Restore James Heilman to the board (in Denny's now vacant seat)
   2. Never remove a community trustee
   3. Eliminate Founder's Seat, with various future possibilities for Jimmy
   Wales' role.
   4. (expressed as optional) Make Community seats truly elected; increase
   number.

I pretty much agree with all of this, and I feel it would be helpful if
others would briefly state if they do too. My comments:

1. We'd be lucky if James Heilman stays willing to serve. He was a good
trustee to begin with, and it seems apparent the reasons for his removal
were vastly insufficient. Jimmy and Denny have both made various efforts to
justify the decision, which is appreciated, but I find the results entirely
lacking. Guy Kawasaki, Frieda Brioschi, Alice Wiegand, and Patricio Lorente
remain on the board, but have said almost nothing on the topic. At least
one trustee has stated that he "voted with the majority" as though that is
compatible with good governance (which it obviously isn't, as no trustee
should be able to know others' votes for certain prior to deciding their
own); and as though the upgrade from "majority" to "two-thirds majority"
(required under Florida law for not-for-cause removal) isn't significant.

2. I agree with both Dariusz and James. I don't see an explicit need for
changes to policy, but some articulation of process, or commentary on what
kind of things could trigger expulsion could be very helpful.

3. Eliminate Founder's Seat: Yes. The board should vote to remove Jimmy
Wales from the Founder's Seat (because there is still more than 2.5 years
left in his term), and should vote to eliminate the Founder's Seat. What
happens after is a separate question; a special advisory role seems ideal
to me. These steps are easily accomplished. It's hard for me to imagine how
a trustee could persuade him or herself that Jimmy's continued presence in
the privileged Founder's Seat is in the best interests of the Wikimedia
Foundation.

By the way, I think the WMF board may have successfully obscured the fact
that Jimmy Wales' role has actually *increased* in recent months, not
decreased: board minutes that took a long time to publish revealed that he
was the first (and to my knowledge only) person selected as a Trustee of
the new Endowment. I haven't seen this discussed anywhere.

4. I agree that tinkering with board composition may be valuable, but is
secondary to the others. The main thing here is, the board should start to
get the very basics of governance right. Any consideration of the structure
of the board distracts from the fact that individuals made bad decisions.
The main focus should be on correcting those errors, and rebuilding trust.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]



On Sun, May 8, 2016 at 3:19 PM, Keegan Peterzell <keegan.w...@gmail.com>
wrote:

> On Sun, May 8, 2016 at 4:36 PM, Pete Forsyth <petefors...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Keegan, that may very well be true (though I would say it's certain
> > communication channels, not "our entire movement.")
> >
> > But stating that has no logical relation whatsoever to whether or not a
> > certain trustee should remain in their position.
> >
>
> ​You are correct, because that's not where I was going with that: Denny's
> account here has no logical relation as to whether or not Jimmy should be
> on the board. It's being used to promote a political position.​
>
>
> >
> > Also: If there are eight people who repeat something ad nauseum, doesn't
> it
> > stand to reason that there might be more than eight who feel the same
> way,
> > but don't see the benefit in repeating it ad nauseum? Doesn't it stand to
> > reason that there might be more than eight who *cannot* publicly state
> > their view, without risking (in reality or in their imagination)
> > substantial backlash due to their roles?
>
>
> ​Yes, there is a political camp within the movement that is anti-Jimmy that
> is larger than eight people. These eight do a fine job speaking up loudly
> to let us know that there is a political camp that is anti-Jimmy. That's
> fine to feel that way. To continually hijack important conversations about
> vision, strategy, and process to have to /always/ talk about a single
> individual or cause is harmful to our movement. It's simple
> DivideAnd

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Account of the events leading to James Heilman's removal

2016-05-08 Thread Pete Forsyth
Keegan, that may very well be true (though I would say it's certain
communication channels, not "our entire movement.")

But stating that has no logical relation whatsoever to whether or not a
certain trustee should remain in their position.

Also: If there are eight people who repeat something ad nauseum, doesn't it
stand to reason that there might be more than eight who feel the same way,
but don't see the benefit in repeating it ad nauseum? Doesn't it stand to
reason that there might be more than eight who *cannot* publicly state
their view, without risking (in reality or in their imagination)
substantial backlash due to their roles?

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Sun, May 8, 2016 at 2:31 PM, Keegan Peterzell 
wrote:

> On Sun, May 8, 2016 at 4:28 PM, Michel Vuijlsteke 
> wrote:
>
> > I would venture quite a bit more than 'eight people' are annoyed by the
> > constant and blatant double standard.
> >
> > And oh, I now anticipate a patronizing mail that starts with 'Hoi,' and
> > ends with 'Thanks' -- it's not just 'the same eight people' that keep
> > repeating their position ad nauseam.
> >
> >
> ​Our general movement mailing list is a cesspool of personal vendettas,
> fear, uncertainty, and doubt, and people taking advantage of that in the
> guise of caring about the movement. It's quite embarrassing.
>
> I now anticipate the {{cn}} response, so here it is:
>
> ​https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/
>
> --
> ~Keegan
>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Keegan
>
> This is my personal email address. Everything sent from this email address
> is in a personal capacity.
> ___
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Account of the events leading to James Heilman's removal

2016-05-08 Thread Pete Forsyth
Denny,

Like Todd and others, I appreciate your candid exposition of how things
went. It's important to have clarity about what happened here, and your
contributions are very helpful toward that end. Thank you.

However, these words ring hollow:

On Fri, May 6, 2016 at 9:03 AM, Denny Vrandečić  wrote:
>
> It strengthens my resolution to stay away from Wikimedia politics


You have also told us that you, a community-(s)elected trustee, played a
key role in the removal another community-(s)elected trustee:

Denny Vrandečić  wrote:

> I suggested James’ removal.


In so doing, you perpetrated perhaps the most brazen and unjustified
*political *act in the history of the Wikimedia Foundation. What could be
more political than pursuing the removal of your fellow appointee?

Your claim to want to avoid politics rings hollow. If you want to be a
political operative, that's fine -- there is no shame in that. Own it, and
do it. Follow your conscience, and act in your political capacity to the
best of your ability. But don't then denounce the very tool you used.
That's beneath you, and it does nothing to advance the discussion.

I know you are smarter than this. I endorsed your candidacy
 --
for the political position of Trustee -- because I believed in your ability
to grasp the values of the Wikimedia community, build consensus, and lead
us all in a better direction. You demonstrated your ability to do so
through your efforts with Wikidata. But your more recent actions have led
to the premature departure of not one, but *two *people (including
yourself) entrusted by Wikimedia volunteers to carry this movement forward.

Politics is a tool. It's not good or bad, it just is. When people with
varying points of view want to work together, you end up with politics.
Politics can be handled in a way that moves things forward smoothly with
extensive buy-in, or they can be handled in a way that produces pain and
impedes progress.

It is becoming vividly clear that Doc James was working in the best
interests of Wikimedia and WMF throughout his short tenure as a Trustee.
His efforts may not have been perfect, but they were clearly sincere,
well-intentioned, and in fact more reflective of reality than any of his
peers, including yourself.

And yet you led an effort to remove him.

I am disappointed.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] What New Thing is WMF Doing w. Cookies, & Why is Legal Involved?

2016-05-02 Thread Pete Forsyth
Adam,

Thank you for providing an informative and accessible answer to Trillium's
relevant questions. It's truly heartening to see the organization improving
in its ability to communicate its intentions, etc. I hope that when broad
consensus among staff is reached (as you express in footnote [1]), it will
become an increasingly high priority to clearly communicate that in public
fora. It really helps when we can understand what others are trying to do,
and how it aligns with our own ambitions.

Good stuff. I think this discussion got off to a rough start, but you have
gotten it back on track, and maybe to resolution.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Mon, May 2, 2016 at 12:21 AM, Adam Wight  wrote:

> Hi Trillium,
>
> These are great questions to ask, thank you for keeping the privacy
> conversation on track!
>
> As a technical employee of the Wikimedia Foundation who would have been
> involved if we were planning significant changes to expand or limit
> tracking, I can confirm that nothing rotten is in the wings.  In fact, the
> situation is better now than ever before (in my 4 years here).  There are
> internal accountability reforms under way to help us make strong guarantees
> about our users' privacy.  A brief investigation into assigning readers
> long-term unique identifiers--in lay person terms the gateway to dystopian
> tracking--opened and was immediately shut again.[1]  Data retention (what
> user data we collect and for how long) policy work is being tightened up,
> and done in public.[2] In Fundraising, we've found a way to measure
> aggregate data about our banner delivery without collecting information
> which lets us correlate anything else about readers.[3]
>
> While I feel good about what's happening now, it would be nice to have
> longer-term assurances that we won't go collectively nuts in the
> unforeseeable future.  I'm not sure what that assurance might look like,
> though...  Democratic stewardship of our shared resources?  Anyway, please
> do keep a critical eye on cookies and their brethren, and if you find
> anything out of joint I'm sure there will be plenty of allies left within
> the Foundation to help set it right.
>
> Regards,
> Adam Wight
> [[mw:User:Adamw]
>
>
> [1] Sorry, there was an all-staff internal discussion but I don't think
> this was published.  The idea at the time was to get our house in order and
> decide whether to start a public conversation about unique IDs.  There
> turned out to be many strong critics of the plan and no real supporters as
> far I could tell, and the initiative was abandoned, to my knowledge.  The
> motivation for the project was to get a better estimate of our unique
> visitor counts (a count of their devices, to be precise).  We've settled on
> the less accurate "last visited" measurement instead, which is described
> here: http://blog.wikimedia.org/2016/03/30/unique-devices-dataset/
> [2] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Data_retention_guidelines
> [3] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lightening_banner_history.pdf
>
> On Sun, May 1, 2016 at 9:21 PM, Oliver Keyes  wrote:
>
> > It seems like you can either deny James's knowledge of the
> technical/legal
> > overlap or ask him questions, but probably not both :p.
> >
> > One element I can answer: no, it does not contain flash objects, flash is
> > not a technology included in the Wikimedia stack on account of it barely
> > being classifiable as a technology.
> >
> > On Sunday, 1 May 2016, Toby Dollmann  wrote:
> >
> > > > It's certainly possible that this is only 'obvious' to me because of
> my
> > > > knowledge of outside organizations or law but it doesn't surprise me.
> > >
> > > Your reply is not obvious to me. I understand that your employment is
> > > exclusively with WMF and you do not appear to be particularly
> > > qualified (or experienced) in law.
> > >
> > > Treating the cookie statement as an explanation / extension of WMF's
> > > privacy policy and noting the poster's concern that the WMF legal team
> > > have amended certain descriptors for locally stored objects (not
> > > cookies) of indeterminate (theoretically infinite) persistence, would
> > > you clarify the following technical /legal aspects relating to cookies
> > > and their usage on Wikimedia.
> > >
> > > 1. Whether, or not, editors of Wikimedia websites", say
> > > "en.wikipedia.org" or "commons.wikimedia.org", can edit if cookies
> > > (broadly construed) are disabled and not stored on client devices.
> > >
> > > 2. Whether, or not, the locally stored objects referenced in the
> > > cookie policy include
> > > (i)  Javascript code, or
> > > (ii)  Flash objects
> > >
> > > 3. Whether, or not, the locally stored objects inserted by the WMF, on
> > > client computers and stored there, have the capability of collecting
> > > extensive personal information of editors, the degree of which not
> > > being explicitly disclosed in advance to users.
> 

[Wikimedia-l] Fwd: Open and recorded WMF Board meetings

2016-04-26 Thread Pete Forsyth
Trillium Corsage apparently tried to address this issue, but their message
has not gotten through email list moderation. I've included it below.

My reaction: I should paid more heed to Trillium's qualifier "basically."
Jimmy Wales didn't commit the egregious error I thought was being reported.
Still, I do feel that Wales' choices about what to say and what not to say
have been erratic (from the perspective of what's best for the movement and
the WMF) and self-serving. I can't think of other examples of an
organization's board members publicly commenting on whether or not they
supported an employee's departure. It seems to me there are very good
reasons not to get into that.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]


-- Forwarded message --
From: Trillium Corsage <trillium2...@yandex.com>
Date: Tue, Apr 26, 2016 at 7:02 AM
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Open and recorded WMF Board meetings
To: petefors...@gmail.com, nawr...@gmail.com




26.04.2016, 14:32, "Nathan" <nawr...@gmail.com>:
> On Mon, Apr 25, 2016 at 8:49 PM, Pete Forsyth <petefors...@gmail.com>
wrote:
>
>>  On Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 2:42 PM, Trillium Corsage <
trillium2...@yandex.com
>>  >
>>  wrote:
>>  >
>>  > Jimbo responded to arbitrator GorillaWarfare on this list, basically,
>>  > "yes, I supported with sadness the decision to dismiss Lila."
>>
>>  Wait -- seriously??
>
> No, it's a false quote. I don't know if Trillium falsified the quote or if
> he/she picked it up from a different source. Asked if he supported her
> departure, he wrote "I supported it with sadness. The whole thing is a sad
> train wreck."

Whoa whoa whoa. I answered this yesterday, but my emails have to be
approved by a moderator and none has done so. Here's the relevant part of
the email:



Craig gave the right link. Here's the exact exchange.

Gorillawarfare: I would love to know whether you supported Lila Tretikov's
departure. It is clear that she did not up and resign on her own, and I
would like to know if you were one of the folks who thought her departure
would be beneficial, or if you preferred she "weather the storm," so to
speak.

Jimbo Wales: I supported it with sadness. The whole thing is a sad train
wreck.

Yeah, it's accurate no-one says the word "dismissal." That was my
interpretation of it based on recollection, I wasn't trying to introduce a
new concept to anything.



That was my good-faith memory-based paraphrase of it, not any "false
quote." I'd also argue that the contextual part where Gorilla says "she did
not up and resign on her own" --which is not disputed by Wales-- should
figure into any interpretation of the exchange.

I also said "basically," which clues the reader in that it was paraphrase,
not quote. I didn't do this for any polemic reason either, I just genuinely
didn't have the exchange in front of me.

Pete, I'd appreciate if you'd convey my position on this matter to the list
if my own email doesn't appear by a few hours.

Trillium Corsage
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Open and recorded WMF Board meetings

2016-04-25 Thread Pete Forsyth
On Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 2:42 PM, Trillium Corsage 
wrote:
>
> Jimbo responded to arbitrator GorillaWarfare on this list, basically,
> "yes, I supported with sadness the decision to dismiss Lila."


Wait -- seriously??

I missed this piece until today. But if this is true, it is huge.

Lila's departure was publicly communicated as a resignation -- not as a
"decision [by the board] to dismiss."

Jimmy Wales has been quite vocal about wanting to defer to the board on
what should and should not be communicated.

In this instance, did he seriously acknowledge a vote that was kept private?

So...Jimmy Wales can share confidential information when it seems
personally convenient to him, but can withhold it when it seems personally
convenient to him -- is that the standard?

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

2016-03-15 Thread Pete Forsyth
But...but...Moushira just acknowledged the point. Gracefully, I think.
Can't we simply trust her to incorporate the feedback into future
announcements?

For anybody who had trouble discerning what the consultation is about, its
first question makes it clear:

"How can we make Wikipedia more interactive for Readers?"

Great question.
-Pete

On Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 8:39 PM, Craig Franklin 
wrote:

> Hi Moushira,
>
> The problem when you use jargon like "ideation" in this context is that
> you're essentially excluding anyone who isn't familiar with the particular
> terminology used in the field.  Especially so when there are plenty of
> plain-English alternatives that can be used in its place.  Note that there
> is a whole bunch of thought from experts that that word in particular is a
> particularly obnoxious piece of jargon:
>
> * http://money.cnn.com/2014/10/26/pf/corporate-jargon/
> * https://hbr.org/2008/08/why-jargon-feeds-on-lazy-minds.html
> *
>
> http://www.lifed.com/10-cringeworthy-business-jargon-examples-that-should-be-banned
>
> It's hardly the worst example I've seen out of the WMF, but while we're on
> the topic it should be pointed out.  Just because it's used elsewhere, it
> doesn't mean that the WMF has to fall into the same trap.
>
> Cheers,
> Craig
>
> On 16 March 2016 at 10:07, Moushira Elamrawy 
> wrote:
>
> > Hello Fae,
> >
> > Ideation phase [0], is a term widely used in product and design context.
> > Now, I see your point around how volunteers who are not related to these
> > fields, might not be familiar with it. Possibly something like, idea
> > generation, or brainstorming could have replaced it.
> >
> > I am not sure though if the factors that you have listed are relevant; I
> > think it is a matter of using a word in a certain context where it
> actually
> > fits, without realizing how a broader audience would perceive it.
> >
> > In any case, thanks for the note :-)
> >
> > [0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideation_%28creative_process%29
> >
> > Moushira
> >
> > On Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 1:51 AM, Fæ  wrote:
> >
> > > On 15 March 2016 at 22:33, Moushira Elamrawy 
> > > wrote:
> > > ...
> > > > The reading team is launching an experiment that supports early
> > > engagement
> > > > in ideation phase, with a wide variety of users.
> > > ...
> > >
> > > Hi, sorry to target your email with a more general observation,
> > > however there seems to be a lot of odd jargon in Wikimedia
> > > announcements over the last few months. It would be great to see more
> > > 'official' emails aimed at volunteers, written in plain and
> > > grammatically complete English. Phrases like "ideation phase" may be
> > > frequently used during meetings at the Wikimedia Foundation offices,
> > > but are unlikely to be heard in real life by volunteer contributors,
> > > and are unlikely to be easily understood outside of corporate America,
> > > especially by those without English as their first language.
> > >
> > > Sorry again about picking at your announcement rather than any other,
> > > it just stood out today.
> > >
> > > Thanks,
> > > Fae
> > > --
> > > fae...@gmail.com https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae
> > >
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Disabe Media Viewer for non-logged-in users and logged-in users on Wikimedia Commons

2016-03-14 Thread Pete Forsyth
In case anybody believes Wikimedia Foundation personnel have entirely
forgotten this issue, please be assured that is not the case.
https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T119595

Speaking for myself, I'm not convinced that taking action on a two year old
RFC at Commons is the most pressing component of this collection of issues
(though I understand and respect that others might feel differently).

I strongly agree with the principle that ignoring a request is far worse
than merely refusing to grant it. But I also feel that there is more
support for that perspective at the WMF these days than there has been
during the past two years. I think it's best if we all keep that
possibility in mind, as we make choices about what issues to bring up
again, and how to present them.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
(author of Letter to WMF on Superprotect and Media Viewer:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Letter_to_Wikimedia_Foundation:_Superprotect_and_Media_Viewer
)

On Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 2:01 PM, Vi to  wrote:

> Oh I missed dates, this is a good point then. Ignoring a wide community
> consensus is *always* a mistake. Final decisions might even diverge from
> consensus but *ignoring* is the worst way.
>
> Vito
>
> 2016-03-14 21:31 GMT+01:00 Michael Peel :
>
> > That's a good point. I've started a discussion on Commons' VP about this
> > at:
> >
> >
> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Village_pump#2014_RfC_for_the_Media_Viewer
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Mike
> >
> > > On 14 Mar 2016, at 17:03, Anthony Cole  wrote:
> > >
> > > That RFC is 20 months old. That media viewer is not today's media
> viewer.
> > >
> > > Anthony Cole
> > >
> > >
> > > On Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 11:12 PM, Marc A. Pelletier 
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > >> On 16-03-14 10:59 AM, Nathan wrote:
> > >>> the non-participation of
> > >>> non-participants can't render all decisions invalid.
> > >>
> > >> It rarely becomes a problem in practice; the vast majority of
> decisions
> > >> made on projects are editorial or internal management.
> > >>
> > >> In this particular case, there is a tiny segment of the editing
> > >> community making a sweeping UI decision that - by definition - doesn't
> > >> even affect *them*.
> > >>
> > >> That can't possibly be right.
> > >>
> > >> -- Marc
> > >>
> > >>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF non-disclosure agreements and non-disparagement clauses

2016-03-14 Thread Pete Forsyth
On Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 11:00 AM, Risker  wrote:

> There's a difference between "does the WMF generally include
> non-disparagement and non-disclosure clauses in separation agreements" and
> "how many separation agreements include non-disparagement and
> non-disclosure clauses".


Risker, can you say who you're attributing those quotes to? I only see the
words "how many" in your message -- not in any of the others in this thread.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] WMF non-disclosure agreements and non-disparagement clauses

2016-03-12 Thread Pete Forsyth
Guys...gals...some perspective?

The important thing (as Andreas initially said) is that informal
commitments from Trustees, to seek transparency in specific areas, not
continue to get lost.

The questions about what department it belongs in, the speed at which they
get addressed, etc. are all very much secondary to that general point. If
and when somebody from the organization acknowledges the general point, all
those tactical questions go away, because that person will presumably find
the most sensible way to address them.

I don't think it makes sense to use this email list to evaluate the proper
department for a specific task. A suggestion here and there, sure. But
fully evaluating it and coming to a strong conclusion...that's a job for
the organization, not for whatever volunteers happen to be following the
list at any given moment.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]


On Sat, Mar 12, 2016 at 7:26 PM, Risker  wrote:

> Ummwhat the NDA says is very much a part of employment standards.  The
> NDA is an employer-employee agreement.  It is not subject to the wishes of
> the Wikimedia community, except in a very indirect way.  NDAs are used to
> control people's behaviours - if they're employees, they get disciplined up
> to and including termination should they violate them.  In the case of
> volunteers (and yes, there are many volunteers who sign NDAs for various
> types of access, myself included), their privileged access can be removed
> and potentially they could face legal ramifications for disclosure
> depending on the nature of the disclosure.
>
> There have been transparency problems, no question about it.  But they had
> nothing to do with NDAs.  Let's leave NDAs out of it at this point.
> They're absolutely not within Community Engagement's purview.
>
> Risker/Anne
>
> On 12 March 2016 at 22:11, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:
>
> > Anne,
> >
> > This is not a question of employment standards – it's not about what
> these
> > NDAs etc. should or shouldn't say. We are talking about publication of
> > existing boilerplate agreements that are in routine use.
> >
> > It's a question of transparency. When volunteers talk to staff, it's
> useful
> > for them to have an accurate understanding of what staff can and can't
> talk
> > about, in particular as some staff members have raised this as an issue.
> >
> > If preparing this for publication takes a month or two, because there are
> > more pressing things to do right now, I have no problem with that. What
> > isn't good is if the community is told in response to queries, "Yes,
> > publishing the NDAs etc. is a reasonable idea", and those words just fade
> > into the mist because the task has never been actioned and delegated.
> > Perhaps we can agree on that.
> >
> > As Sarah says, a dedicated transparency officer within the community
> > engagement department would be a great idea, because this is a
> > community-facing issue. I'd be interested in hearing Maggie's views on
> > that.
> >
> > Andreas
> >
> > On Sun, Mar 13, 2016 at 2:25 AM, Risker  wrote:
> >
> > > Really, Andreas?  You're complaining that the resigning ED didn't do
> this
> > > and the one appointed less than 36 hours ago hasn't got around to it?
> > >
> > > This is not Maggie's responsibility - she is not responsible for
> > employment
> > > standards or expectations.  That would be the VP Human Resources...who
> > has
> > > just resigned, too, and has yet to be replaced.
> > >
> > > Risker/Anne
> > >
> > > On 12 March 2016 at 21:09, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:
> > >
> > > > On March 1, Jimmy Wales wrote:[1]
> > > >
> > > > things like standard boilerplate language to be signed by
> > > > > all employees doesn't strike me as something in and of itself to be
> > > kept
> > > > > private - there is a valid interest in showing that our policies
> are
> > > > > fair and humane for employees, responsible in terms of the privacy
> of
> > > > > personal information, etc.
> > > > >
> > > >
> > > > Nothing appears to have happened since then – we seem to be no nearer
> > to
> > > > transparency about the non-disclosure agreements and
> non-disparagement
> > > > clauses WMF staff have to sign than we were two weeks ago, when
> > > discussion
> > > > around this topic kicked off in another thread.[2]
> > > >
> > > > This seems to be a recurring (and daunting) pattern. People call for
> > > > transparency about a particular issue. Eventually, someone in a
> > > leadership
> > > > position responds that yes, demands for transparency about this issue
> > are
> > > > quite reasonable, and in fact more transparency would be absolutely
> > > > desirable.
> > > >
> > > > At this point, people relax, feeling they have been heard. The
> > clamouring
> > > > crowd disperses. But in fact, nothing happens, and the same questions
> > > arise
> > > > again some weeks, months, years down the line.
> > > >
> > > > Maggie, is this something your 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Cross-wiki notifications beta feature now available on all wikis

2016-03-11 Thread Pete Forsyth
I've enjoyed finding some messages I never knew were there, such as a
welcome message from two years ago on Basque Wikipedia, and a substantive
reply I had missed on Wikinews for 4 months. It's refreshing for a new
feature to make me immediately feel more connected to other volunteers.
Well done!
-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 3:12 PM, Sydney Poore 
wrote:

> Awesome news!!! I really appreciate this new feature.
>
> Sydney
>
> Sydney Poore
> User:FloNight
> Wikipedian in Residence
> at Cochrane Collaboration
>
> On Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 2:07 AM, Roan Kattouw 
> wrote:
>
> > In late 2015 and early 2016, the Collaboration team worked on building a
> > cross-wiki notification feature: listing notifications from other wikis
> in
> > the notification panel. We made this feature available on a small set of
> > wikis [1] initially, and about six hours ago we made it available on all
> > wikis as a beta feature.
> >
> > You can enable cross-wiki notifications by clicking the "Beta" link [2]
> in
> > the top right corner (or top left in RTL languages) and enabling the
> > "Enhanced notifications" setting. The notification panels (accessible
> > through the bell and speech bubble icons in the top right/left corner)
> will
> > now display an additional item telling you which other wikis you have
> > unread notifications on, and you can click this item to expand it and see
> > those notifications [3]. For more information, see the documentation on
> > mediawiki.org [4], with mostly complete translations in 13 languages at
> > the
> > time of this writing.
> >
> > Because we don't have cross-wiki preferences, enabling the beta feature
> on
> > one wiki doesn't automatically enable it on any other wiki. However, you
> > only have to enable the beta feature to see cross-wiki notifications on a
> > wiki, not to get them from that wiki. For example, if you only enable the
> > beta feature on the French Wikipedia, you will see notifications from the
> > French Wikisource, the Spanish Wikipedia and the Upper Sorbian Wiktionary
> > even if you haven't enabled the beta feature on those wikis. In fact, if
> > you've had an account for a while, you are likely to see some very old
> > notifications from wikis you haven't visited in years; Magnus Manske
> > tweeted a screenshot of this yesterday [5].
> >
> > Please try this out and let us know what you think! There's a talk page
> on
> > mediawiki.org [6] where you can leave feedback. If you find a bug,
> please
> > report it on Phabricator [7] or on the feedback page.
> >
> > Thanks a lot to the Collaboration team [8] as well as community liaisons
> > Nick Wilson (Quiddity) and Benoît Evellin (Trizek) for their work on this
> > over the past few months.
> >
> > --Roan Kattouw (User:Catrope)
> >
> > [1] All French wikis, all Hebrew wikis, Commons, Wikidata and
> > mediawiki.org
> > [2] Or go to [[Special:Preferences]] and click the "Beta features" tab
> > [3]
> >
> >
> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Notification_panel_with_cross-wiki_notification.png
> > [4] https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Help:Notifications/Cross-wiki
> > [5] https://twitter.com/MagnusManske/status/707712047065210882
> > [6] https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Help_talk:Notifications
> > [7]
> >
> >
> https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/maniphest/task/edit/form/1/?projectPHIDs=Notifications
> > [8] https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Staff#Collaboration
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikipedia.org portal page update!

2016-03-11 Thread Pete Forsyth
Thank you to the Discovery team -- it seems to me that your work has been
largely overshadowed by political concerns in recent months (which may have
been necessary, but not pleasant).

I'm delighted to see working and useful software emerge, in spite of the
challenging environment that has existed around your work. I'm delighted to
see your substantive engagement (e.g., Dan and Adam, above) with feedback
about the implementation.

Kudos!
-Pete

On Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 2:05 PM, Dan Garry  wrote:

> On 11 March 2016 at 11:35, Adam Baso  wrote:
>
> > Hi there - speaking to one thing I'm familiar with, with respect to image
> > selection, we believe https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T124225 should
> > address fair use ("non-free") images, although page reparses will happen
> > gradually (pages are cached for up to 30 days or so).
> >
>
> Indeed. I manually triggered a reparse on a page which I knew had a
> non-free page image (by adding a space
> <
> https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mario=prev=709579986
> >
> to a part of the page where it didn't affect the layout), and the page
> image was recalculated and is now a free image. Working as intended! :-)
>
> In reply to Geni's query, it is important to point out, however, that
> the English
> Wikipedia guidelines on non-free content
>  includes a list
> of exemptions
> 
> which
> explicitly allows non-free content to be surfaced in search results without
> accompanying fair use rationales. Additionally, English Wikipedia policy is
> not applicable on a global page such as wikipedia.org. Therefore, the
> portal was never actually in violation of any policy. Regardless, as Adam
> noted, for other reasons where this policy *did* apply, T124225
>  was enacted which prevents
> non-free images from appearing as thumbnails in search results.
>
> Thanks,
> Dan
>
> --
> Dan Garry
> Lead Product Manager, Discovery
> Wikimedia Foundation
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: A conversation?

2016-03-10 Thread Pete Forsyth
Manipulative behavior thrives in an environment where a person can say
different things to different audiences, and can speak freely with the
expectation they will not be held accountable for their words.

Erik, thank you for articulating your views. As for my own actions, you
have either made some incorrect assumptions about the background, or you
operate on a set of principles that I don't entirely share. I'm pretty sure
it's the former. I carefully considered whether to publish this email
before doing so. I'm confident I'm on solid ethical ground (i.e., didn't
violate anyone's rights), and I'm pretty sure the impact on Wikimedia will
be positive in the end as well. Jimmy Wales sending this email, in my view,
tends to damage our project. It's worthwhile for those who care about
Wikimedia's future to know.

I agree very much with what you said in reply to SarahSV. You present a
very useful overview of how things could or should go in the future. Thank
you for that.

Specifics about my choice to release the email below:

On Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 10:18 PM, Erik Moeller <eloque...@gmail.com> wrote:

> 2016-03-09 16:56 GMT-08:00 Pete Forsyth <petefors...@gmail.com>:
>
> > I feel this message can provide important insight into the dynamics
> > surrounding James H.'s dismissal, and various people have expressed
> > interest in seeing it, so I'm forwarding it to the list. (For what it's
> > worth, I did check with James H.; he had no objection to my sharing it.)
>
> Pete, regardless of Jimmy's words in this email, like others, I fail
> to see how it's okay to share a private email to this list. I can
> think of a few instances where this might be ethically defensible --
> like actual fraud being committed -- but this is not one of them. It's
> totally fair for people to ask Jimmy to clear the air on stuff
> himself, but this crosses the line, at least from my point of view.
>
> This comes down to giving a person you're corresponding with an
> honest, open channel by which they can apologize, clarify, and make
> things right. By violating that private channel you're making it
> implicitly impossible to have that kind of conversation.
>
> Meatball Wiki, as you know, has some wise words on this kind of stuff.
> http://meatballwiki.org/wiki/ForgiveAndForget is a good page to
> remember.
>
> And no, I'm not a fan how things have played out so far, and I'm not
> arguing for just moving on without addressing remaining grievances.
> But this isn't how we should move forward. Criticizing people's
> actions is fair game, even calling for resignation or other types of
> structural and organizational change. This kind of picking out of
> lines from private emails ought _not_ to be, in my view.
>
> Erik
>

Erik,

Jimmy Wales and I have never had a working relationship, or an ongoing
email correspondence. I'd guess we've exchanged under a dozen emails since
2008 or so, and spoken in person fewer times than that. I cannot think of a
single example of an exchange where we came to an agreement. The much more
common theme is that, the moment I express any kind of disagreement, he
vanishes without a word.

So the "private channel" you mention has never existed between Jimmy Wales
and myself. There has never been an agreement, either explicit or implied,
between us about whether our communications are private. Given our past
interactions, if he were to request of me that I keep our communications
private, I would refuse without hesitation.

Where I do have a healthy line of communication with someone, I agree with
you. It would take a very high bar (like fraud) for me to release such
communications publicly. We would simply work through any differences
together. I of course have this kind of communication all the time, as you
know. This situation is nothing like that, though. Jimmy and I have no such
relationship. And the bar is, indeed, pretty high: I read this as
manipulative communication, at odds with Jimmy's publicly expressed goals,
about things that impact the future of Wikimedia.

I did reply to Jimmy's email, and since my role is apparently something
people are interested in, I'm including my reply below. You'll see that I
was suggesting some of the same things you do, Erik. Jimmy never replied,
though.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]


-- Forwarded message --
From: Pete Forsyth
Date: Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 10:49 AM
Subject: Re: A conversation?
To: Jimmy Wales, James Heilman


Jimmy, thanks for following up -- and James, thanks for alerting me of this
(it went to an old email address I no longer check. Good reminder though, I
am putting an auto-reply on there.)

I see that we have three things under discussion, and I want to reiterate
that I strongly urge the first:

   1. JW and JMH have a private conversation with the support of an
   independent, skilled facilitator
   2. JW and

[Wikimedia-l] Fwd: A conversation?

2016-03-09 Thread Pete Forsyth
Below is a message Jimmy Wales sent to James Heilman and myself on Feb. 29.
I mentioned the existence of this message on the list on March 2:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-March/082901.html

I feel this message can provide important insight into the dynamics
surrounding James H.'s dismissal, and various people have expressed
interest in seeing it, so I'm forwarding it to the list. (For what it's
worth, I did check with James H.; he had no objection to my sharing it.)

For context, as I understand it, Jimmy's message was more or less in
response to this list message of mine:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-February/082764.html

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

-- Forwarded message --

*From: *Jimmy Wales

*Date: *February 29, 2016 6:21:46 AM

*To: *Pete Forsyth,James Heilman

*Subject: **A conversation?*


James, I wonder if you'd be up for a one on one conversation. I've been
struck in a positive way by some of the things that Pete has said and I
realize that moving things forward on wikimedia-l, being sniped at by
people who are as interested in creating drama as anything else, isn't
really conducive to reaching more understanding.

I have some questions for you - real, sincere, and puzzled questions.
Some of the things that you have said strike me as very obviously out of
line with the facts. And I wonder how to reconcile that.

One hypothesis is that you're just a liar. I have a hard time with that
one.

Another hypothesis is that you have a poor memory or low emotional
intelligence or something like that - you seem to say things that just
don't make sense and which attempt to lead people to conclusions that
are clearly not true.

Another hypothesis is that the emotional trauma of all this has colored
your perceptions on certain details.

As an example, and I'm not going to dig up the exact quotes, you said
publicly that you wrote to me in October that we were building a
Google-competing search engine and that I more or less said that I'm
fine with it. Go back and read our exchange. There's just now way to
get that from what I said - Indeed, I specifically said that we are NOT
building a Google-competing search engine, and explained the much lower
and much less complex ambition of improving search and discovery.

As another example, you published a timeline starting with Wikia Search.
It's really hard for me to interpret that in any other way than to try
to lead people down the path of the conspiracy theorists that I had a
pet project to compete with Google which led to a secret project to
biuld a search engine, etc. etc. You know as well as I do that's a
false narrative, so it's very hard for me to charitably interpret that.

Anyway these are the kinds of things that I struggle with.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Open and recorded WMF Board meetings

2016-03-09 Thread Pete Forsyth
On Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 10:35 AM, Jimmy Wales 
wrote:
>
> I rejoined this list after a long absence, and I was immediately
> reminded why some people call it "drama-l"


Jimmy, if you -- specifically, you -- want to do things to decrease drama,
there are much more effective things you can do. Your analysis and
commentary about the general dynamics are not, in my view, helpful (whether
or not they are accurate), because things that you, specifically and
repeatedly, have been asked to do to reduce drama have gone ignored.

You're on the record having dismissed a community-elected trustee's words
as "utter fucking bullshit." You recently doubled down on that statement in
an email to me and James. That's just one dimension of a huge collection of
issues. Many people have asked you to deal with the damage you have caused
recently and publicly, but none of the responses I have seen suggest that
you understand your own contribution to some pretty serious problems.

Telling the list what you think the general dynamics are, while you are
apparently oblivious to your contribution to them, is not helpful.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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[Wikimedia-l] Easier browsing of Board minutes, agendas, etc., plus summaries

2016-03-08 Thread Pete Forsyth
As many of you are aware, it's always been difficult to navigate
information about the proceedings of the Board of Trustees: minutes,
agendas, specific resolutions, notes, and commentary are split across Meta
Wiki, WMF Wiki, various mailing lists, etc.

So, I spent the last few days building a set of navigation templates on
Meta, tidying up page names, summarizing the Board's activities in recent
years, etc. I hope you will take a look at the before[1] and after[2] pages
on Meta. (There's still work to be done -- any help appreciated! Speaking
of which, thank you to MZMcBride and Rillke for helping get a useful gadget
up and running.)

== The most useful part ==
In addition to the navigation boxes (which I hope are helpful in themselves
to Trustees, staff, and any volunteers interested in governance issues), I
think perhaps the most useful pieces are the Annual Summary pages I put
together for 2014 [3] and 2015.[4] These aim to capture every resolution
passed in each year, separated according to those focused on Board
governance and more general votes. I have also included brief narratives
about issues that have been widely discussed (e.g., the absence of any
Advisory Board-related votes in 2015, and the implications of that). I have
tried to keep this very factual, to keep it short and useful for for
anybody interested in tracking the information. It could use additional
eyes, and probably additional links (to significant email messages, etc.)

== Curious observations ==
This is the deepest dive I've taken into Board proceedings, and as such, a
few interesting points struck me:

* Yesterday, for the first time, minutes and resolutions from the two
December 2015 Board meetings were published. As far as I know there was no
announcement of this; I wonder if in these tumultuous times, this has
slipped through the cracks. As you will see, there are several significant
pieces of information in there, and three months is a long time to wait for
it.

* December 2015: For the first time, we learn that Guy Kawasaki was
appointed to the Board Governance Committee (BGC). Ordinarily, a committee
appointment might not be of great interest; however, in this case, the
appointment came during the same meeting as the one where the BGC nominated
Arnnon Geshuri and Kelly Battles. If I'm not mistaken, those were the only
two candidates presented to the full board for a formal vote, meaning that
the members of the BGC had tremendous influence in appointing those two
seats. I think it would be worthwhile to hear from the Board whether or not
Guy had a role in deciding what candidates were presented to the Board. Was
this appointment fully forward-looking, or was it recognizing work that he
had already done with the BGC? Did Guy have a role in the formal decision
of who to present to the full Board?

* December 2015: The resolution establishing the Endowment Fund, which was
announced in a press release in January, is now referred to on the WMF
Wiki. However, the text of the resolution has not been published. I suspect
this is a mere oversight and will be corrected shortly; but this is a
significant development, and it will be good to see what was actually
decided.

* December 2015: As we knew, the Board approved the FDC's recommendation.
But the text in the Minutes and in the Resolution are interesting: (a) Many
staff and volunteers have praised the FDC's diligence in identifying the
WMF's performance in relation to the Annual Plan Grant standards. It would
be interesting to hear from the Board how it takes those comments, but
there is no mention of that in the Board resolution. (b) There are,
however, comments about the FDC's take on Wikimedia Germany's request for
restricted funds for Wikidata. I'm not as familiar with this issue, but it
appears there is a bit of a power struggle going on between the FDC, WMF,
and perhaps WMDE over this issue. This is something I hope we can all hear
more about, as it seems significant to the future of an important Wikimedia
project.

* January 2016: (No big surprise) Kelly Battles has been added to the Audit
Committee, and Jaime Villagomez has been appointed Board Treasurer.

* Going way back to August 2014, I noticed an interesting detail. Many who
follow the Board are aware that Alice Wiegand, who had previously been a
Chapters-nominated Trustee, lost her bid that year for a new nomination.
Frieda Brioschi was nominated in her place, and was appointed; Frieda had
previously been a Trustee some years before. And the Board immediately
appointed Alice anyway, succeeding Ana Toni, who resigned mid-term. Now,
for the part I had not noticed before: In the same meeting where she was
herself appointed, Frieda cast the sole dissenting vote for both of the
resolutions to reappoint Alice. (One to fill out the 2014 term, and another
for a new term starting in 2015.) This strikes me as highly significant:
Frieda surely knew that the vote would be successful, and that she would
then be faced with 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Open and recorded WMF Board meetings

2016-03-05 Thread Pete Forsyth
+1

Whether to record meetings is a separate question from whether to release
the recordings publicly.

We have seen a lot of disagreement among Trustees recently. That's a
massive and *entirely avoidable* distraction for the movement. Please,
start recording the meetings -- if only for the benefit of Trustees and
their (understandably fallible) memories.

And please revisit the question of whether or not to release some of those
video recordings publicly -- but not urgently. That part can wait until
after some more pressing things have been sorted out.

I have yet to hear a good argument why recording meetings (irrespective of
whether the recordings are made public) would be a bad thing.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Sat, Mar 5, 2016 at 7:15 PM, John Mark Vandenberg 
wrote:

> On Sun, Mar 6, 2016 at 9:58 AM, jytdog  wrote:
> > Hi
> >
> > This is my first posting here.  Sorry if I do anything wrong.
> >
> > I wanted to note here the following post from James Heilman:
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-February/082816.html
> >
> > And I guess this one too
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-February/082763.html
> >
> > I fully understand what folks have said about the unworkability of
> > videotaping meetings, and I also understand and appreciate what Risker
> > wrote about minutes being legal documents that need to reviewed and
> > approved by all.
> >
> > At the same time, some enduring record seems essential.  Recordings that
> > are not made public, but that can be used to verify when things like the
> > above happen?  So not open, but recorded?
> >
> > What is really hard about those two posts, is the irresolvable
> differences
> > in statements that were made about those events.  Really hard.
>
> I agree.
>
> Start recording now, for private use of the board and associated staff
> to save them time and so at least the internal disputes are about what
> was meant rather than what was actually said.
>
> And push the "open" part part of this topic until further down the
> road, when there is a little more bandwidth to evaluate it properly.
>
> --
> John Vandenberg
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Open and recorded WMF Board meetings

2016-03-03 Thread Pete Forsyth
Enjoying this discussion, glad to see it happening. One question I haven't
seen addressed:

Are there notes kept during executive sessions?

From what I've seen, it seems that the answer might be no -- and that
doesn't seem good. Having minutes is not the same thing as publishing
minutes; but keeping notes on private meetings, if only for the
participants to return to when there is a need to refresh their memories or
resolve disputes, seems important.

For similar reasons, I like the idea of video- or audio-recording meetings,
*independent* of the question of whether such recordings should be more
widely distributed.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Armenia candidate for the board

2016-03-02 Thread Pete Forsyth
Cristian, when I said I heartily endorse what Asaf said, I meant exactly
that. I agree with him, and with you, that accusatory email threads without
evidence are toxic, and should be avoided.

But questions about Conflict of Interest are appropriate. In a Board
selection process, we do not merely Assume Good Faith, we Assess the
Conditions Impacting Good Faith.

Or at least, we should.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 5:22 PM, Cristian Consonni <kikkocrist...@gmail.com>
wrote:

> 2016-03-03 2:06 GMT+01:00 Pete Forsyth <petefors...@gmail.com>:
> > I heartily endorse what Asaf has said here, but I'd add one thing:
> >
> > When someone runs for the board, that introduces a standard that goes
> > beyond Assume Good Faith.
>
> Yes, but please also note the difference between "assume good faith"
> and the moral duty of refraining from making unsubstantiated claims of
> being part of a corrupt and despotic system.
>
> Compare the last email from Andreas in this thread with the first two
> and draw your own conclusions.
>
> I would like that everybody on this list tries to hold up to the (much
> lower) second standard.
>
> You are of course welcome to ask tough questions to the candidates.
> IMHO, tough questions are usually so, because they present evidence to
> back their contents.
>
> C
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Armenia candidate for the board

2016-03-02 Thread Pete Forsyth
I heartily endorse what Asaf has said here, but I'd add one thing:

When someone runs for the board, that introduces a standard that goes
beyond Assume Good Faith. Ultimately, if appointed, a Trustee will need to
disclose any Conflicts of Interest. But those disclosures, as I understand
it, are not public; and waiting until the moment of appointment is less
than ideal.

I believe all candidates should be asked tough questions about possible
COI. This would have included me, when I ran last summer; I was asked some
good questions in private, but the public questioning was not very
substantive.[1] It should also apply to those appointed directly to the
board -- hopefully, the board has processes to assess COI prior to
appointment and required disclosure.

The traditional structure of the questioning on Meta Wiki is not especially
conducive to this; because every candidate's situation is unique. I believe
questions on COI should be tailored to each candidate's resume, not merely
asked as an abstract question. This might be a good issue for the election
committees to consider.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

[1]
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_elections/Board_elections/2015/Questions/1#Conflict_of_Interest_disclosure

On Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 4:50 PM, Asaf Bartov  wrote:

> On Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 4:36 PM, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:
>
> > Asaf,
> >
> > I hear you. My apologies to Susanna and the list for anything I have said
> > that cast aspersions on Susanna's character.
> >
>
> Thank you.
>
>
> > Nevertheless, I remain concerned. She is part of a state committee under
> > the authority of the Armenian Minister of Education and Science, who
> along
> > with other senior political figures has repeatedly been a featured
> speaker
> > at Wikimedia Armenia events during her tenure as the President of
> Wikimedia
> > Armenia.[1][2]
> >
> > I do not consider that sort of government proximity healthy or advisable.
> >
>
> I think it's fair to say any contact with a government (or similarly
> powerful entity) is *potentially* concerning.  But between potentially
> concerning and actually concerning, there is the all-too-crucial need for
> substantive evidence or cause for concern.
>
> As has been pointed out, quite a few Wikipedians are or were part of the
> civil service or otherwise close to powerful people in their regimes.  So
> long as there is no reason to suspect they are not managing their potential
> conflict of interest, we must assume good faith.
>
>A.
> --
> Asaf Bartov
> Wikimedia Foundation 
>
> Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the
> sum of all knowledge. Help us make it a reality!
> https://donate.wikimedia.org
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Open letter: Issues needing addressing by the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees

2016-03-02 Thread Pete Forsyth
The message below went without response on the list, but there was a
significant off-list response.

Jimmy Wales wrote to James Heilman, and CC'd me. His message professed to
praise this one, but missed its main points:
* There was no mention of professional mediation or facilitation to work
through disagreements
* Jimmy Wales had *even worse* things to say about James Heilman than he
has said in public.

I won't repeat those words on a public list, but I am unimpressed with the
tactic of moving personal attacks off list. Jimmy's message was sent 48
hours ago, and I immediately told him the things I've said here, but there
has been no response.

We should not use off-list messages to convey thoughts that would be
completely unacceptable if said in public. I don't want to be involved in
stuff like that -- and I'd much rather it didn't happen to begin with.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Sun, Feb 28, 2016 at 10:53 PM, Pete Forsyth <petefors...@gmail.com>
wrote:

> Jimmy and James, I'm glad to see you both agreeing on some facts. That's
> encouraging. But IMO you should both put some careful thought into this
> part:
>
> On Sun, Feb 28, 2016 at 9:36 PM, James Heilman <jmh...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Finally facts are not determined by a vote. That you got unanimity for
>> "The
>> board.. has offered no objections to any board member discussing long term
>> strategy with the community at any time" should make all of us worry. I
>> have provided evidence that refutes this claim here
>>
>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-02-03/In_focus
>
>
> As somebody who's following this, but who's not locked in a dispute, it
> seems there is a very natural explanation for this, that should not
> especially make us worry:
>
> Different people, reasonable people, can reasonably disagree about what
> constitutes "discussing long term strategy" and what does not.
>
> For the entire board to agree to a statement like that does not strike me
> as especially bad; perhaps there was a dominant idea of what constituted
> strategy and what didn't, and everybody voted with that idea in mind,
> without insisting on a clearer definition in the text of the statement. Not
> ideal, I think -- but also not the end of the world.
>
> But Jimmy, you have repeatedly claimed that vote as evidence that James
> told a lie.
>
> That claim introduces a lot of drama into the discussion -- and does
> exactly something you stated you didn't want to do, which is publicly
> assaulting James' reputation.
>
> I would suggest you both stop accusing each other of lying, long enough to
> figure out what facts you *can* agree on. You're both Wikipedians, we do
> this all the time. It might involve getting out of some of the language
> patterns you've been using, e.g. getting away from abstract notions like
> "long term strategy."
>
> A skilled, professional mediator, facilitator, or ombudsman can be an
> excellent resource for working through stuff like this.
>
> -Pete
> [[User:Peteforsyth]]
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Open letter: Issues needing addressing by the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees

2016-03-01 Thread Pete Forsyth
Dave, you're simply mistaken.

The paid editing amendment was passed by the Board in April 2014 (before
Lila was hired); it was merely *announced* in June.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 8:59 AM, David Emrany  wrote:

> Dear Coren
>
> I think you are mistaken. The paid editing amendment was added in 2014
> (16th June) during Lila's term.[1] Lila took over the reins from Sue
> on 1 June 2014.
>
> I'm appalled that you credit Sue for the steps taken (under Lila) to
> widen the volunteer base by exposing many rotten apples, including
> through better technology.
>
> I equally state with certainty that your claim re the WMF's not
> preventing in any way the investigations is tremendously flexible with
> the truth and is completely divorced from reality. The enforcement of
> the Terms of Use lies exclusively with the WMF. There is no point
> repeating here the legal defeats WMF has suffered in many
> international courts during Sue's regime. We can discuss this
> privately.
>
> [1]
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/w/index.php?title=Terms_of_Use=revision=98138=90463
>
> BTW, its unclear how someone "tangentially involved" can state facts
> with "absolute certainty".
>
> Dave
>
> On 3/1/16, Marc A. Pelletier  wrote:
> > On 16-03-01 03:57 AM, David Emrany wrote:
> >> What nobody is prepared to acknowledge is that only under Lila's term
> >> some of the most blatant and egregious instances of coordinated PR
> >> socking and on-wiki abuses could come out.
> >
> > I was tangentially part of the investigation that led to many of those
> > things being ferreted out and I can tell you with absolute certainty:
> >
> > (a) The Foundation did not in any way prevent those investigations for
> > abuse in the past (before or after Lila), so saying that "only under
> > Lila's term [they] could come out" is at best misguided.
> >
> > (b) The single biggest help we have had in being able that kind of abuse
> > were the revised terms of use, that were put in place in 2012 and
> > started being worked on at least a year prior.  As far as I know the ED
> > had minor to no involvement in this - that was a long-overdue initiative
> > from Legal.  But even *if* it had ED involvement, it would have been all
> > Sue.
> >
> > (c) The foundation has always given volunteers support when we needed
> > Legal/Comm help getting rid of significant abuse, for as long as I can
> > remember (At least since 2008).  The help they were *able* to give at
> > the time was more limited because the LCA team was tiny and overworked,
> > but they always tried their best.
> >
> > So, nobody is "prepared to acknowledge" your assertion because it has no
> > relationship with reality.
> >
> > -- Coren / Marc
> >
> >
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Open letter: Issues needing addressing by the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees

2016-02-28 Thread Pete Forsyth
Jimmy and James, I'm glad to see you both agreeing on some facts. That's
encouraging. But IMO you should both put some careful thought into this
part:

On Sun, Feb 28, 2016 at 9:36 PM, James Heilman  wrote:

> Finally facts are not determined by a vote. That you got unanimity for "The
> board.. has offered no objections to any board member discussing long term
> strategy with the community at any time" should make all of us worry. I
> have provided evidence that refutes this claim here
>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-02-03/In_focus


As somebody who's following this, but who's not locked in a dispute, it
seems there is a very natural explanation for this, that should not
especially make us worry:

Different people, reasonable people, can reasonably disagree about what
constitutes "discussing long term strategy" and what does not.

For the entire board to agree to a statement like that does not strike me
as especially bad; perhaps there was a dominant idea of what constituted
strategy and what didn't, and everybody voted with that idea in mind,
without insisting on a clearer definition in the text of the statement. Not
ideal, I think -- but also not the end of the world.

But Jimmy, you have repeatedly claimed that vote as evidence that James
told a lie.

That claim introduces a lot of drama into the discussion -- and does
exactly something you stated you didn't want to do, which is publicly
assaulting James' reputation.

I would suggest you both stop accusing each other of lying, long enough to
figure out what facts you *can* agree on. You're both Wikipedians, we do
this all the time. It might involve getting out of some of the language
patterns you've been using, e.g. getting away from abstract notions like
"long term strategy."

A skilled, professional mediator, facilitator, or ombudsman can be an
excellent resource for working through stuff like this.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

2016-02-27 Thread Pete Forsyth
Keegan and Oliver (again),

I've communicated a bit with Keegan off list, and I appreciate the feedback
from both of you. I intended to say something conciliatory, I didn't put
much thought into how I put it, and I achieved the opposite effect. I'm
sorry. I should have known better.

For whatever it's worth, I don't presume to speak for anybody, and I don't
have any illusion that my personal communication gives me special insights
unavailable to others. I can see how my message would give that impression
though.

What I DO believe is that currently, we have stronger lines of
communication among a lot of people than we're used to, and I think that
can be a positive force in both finding common cause and hearing individual
voices. Suggesting that anything would compensate for somebody not actively
representing themselves, though, was a mistake. The two points don't really
connect, and I shouldn't have tried.

Anyhow -- this thread was never meant to be about me, so I'll leave it at
that. (The subject line I chose was bad as well -- it puts way too much
emphasis on "my" role.) If either of you, or anybody else who was offended
by my words, feels that I'm still missing something, please let me know
offlist.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 7:33 PM, Oliver Keyes <ironho...@gmail.com> wrote:

> +1 to Keegan. I am glad you have spoken to staffers, Pete. I promise I
> can identify at least 300 other people that fall into that category
> too.
>
> On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 9:40 PM, Keegan Peterzell
> <kpeterz...@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> > On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 8:04 PM, Pete Forsyth <petefors...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> >> Still, my list is very much influenced by what I
> >> have heard from staff, board, etc. over many months -- so it's not like
> >> your seat is getting cold without you. :)
> >>
> >
> > My seat without me in it would be the very definition of it getting cold
> > without me in it, not to be glib. Your presumptions are starting to be
> > offensive.
> >
> > I am a person. I am a Wikimedian on my own,[0] apart from my role in my
> > signature line.
> >
> > I think what we need to *first* do is stop pigeonholing individuals, and
> > then presuming to know their opinions based on said hole placement, which
> > was the point of my initial email: do not presume to know what those who
> > are not speaking right now are thinking, and wait to hear from them. But
> I
> > guess you're missing the point.
> >
> > I know you're going to say that's not what you're intending to do, but
> it's
> > exactly what you're saying.
> >
> > Slow down. There are plenty of leaders with thoughts in this movement,
> give
> > everyone space.
> >
> > 0.
> >
> https://tools.wmflabs.org/xtools-ec/?user=Keegan=en.wikipedia.org=en
> >
> > --
> > Keegan Peterzell
> > Community Liaison, Product
> > Wikimedia Foundation
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

2016-02-26 Thread Pete Forsyth
On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 6:17 PM, Risker  wrote:
>
> Honestly, "we need a new board" is probably not an issue.


Risker, perhaps you missed this in my original message -- I did not express
that we need a new board.

Item #3 on my list was entirely under the heading:

"The Board should set up the next long-term ED for success"

I do not have strong opinions about whether or not substantial changes to
the board composition are in order. (Apparently you do.) But I DO think the
Board should be asking itself that question, alongside the other items (3a
through 3d).

That is what I suggested. Nothing more.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

2016-02-26 Thread Pete Forsyth
sues are is harmful to the human beings here.
> >
> > The collective "we" have not had time to understand the problems. Quite a
> > few of the "solutions" I've seen on this list in the last 24-48 hours are
> > nothing much more than personal wishlists; almost all of them are
> proposing
> > to solve problems that may or may not even exist.
> >
> > Let's work more on problem identification first.
> >
> >
> > Risker/Anne
> >
> > On 26 February 2016 at 19:44, Pete Forsyth <petefors...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> > > To Oliver and Keegan -- I hear you guys loud and clear, and I am very
> > aware
> > > that the trauma of the last few months has taken this kind of toll.
> > > Although there is of course much I don't know, I have been talking
> with a
> > > number of staff, board, etc. for many months now about this. So to
> > whatever
> > > degree it's possible to empathize without "being there," I do.
> > >
> > > However, I'm not trying to push things forward at a pace that's
> > comfortable
> > > *for me*, I'm trying to focus on things that will impact *what it's
> > > possible to do*.
> > >
> > > The prospect of a drawn-out, even multi-year search for the next
> > long-term
> > > Executive Director is not a good one. The way the organization rebuilds
> > > itself and sets expectations will have a huge impact on that. The
> impact
> > on
> > > fund-raising will be felt, as well; high-profile contention around a
> > grant
> > > is being discussed throughout the philanthropy world, and will impact
> the
> > > way individual donors respond to banners, as well.
> > >
> > > I am confident that the Board is already turning its attention to
> issues
> > > like these. Many things need to be done whenever an executive director
> > > leaves an organization, and there are many reasons to attend to them
> in a
> > > timely fashion -- without rushing through and making bad decisions.
> > >
> > > Individual Trustees have expressed interest and gratitude for the ideas
> > > under discussion, and I appreciate knowing that they are considering
> > input.
> > > This list may not be the best way to reach the board, but it's a good
> > place
> > > to see whether there is consensus around certain ideas.
> > >
> > > That's what I'm trying to do. I know that forging ahead while exhausted
> > > sucks, and I am not trying to push anybody faster than they want to go.
> > But
> > > I also think that this moment for careful deliberation shouldn't be
> > missed;
> > > some of the opportunities will pass by very quickly if nothing is done.
> > >
> > > -Pete
> > > [[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

2016-02-26 Thread Pete Forsyth
To Oliver and Keegan -- I hear you guys loud and clear, and I am very aware
that the trauma of the last few months has taken this kind of toll.
Although there is of course much I don't know, I have been talking with a
number of staff, board, etc. for many months now about this. So to whatever
degree it's possible to empathize without "being there," I do.

However, I'm not trying to push things forward at a pace that's comfortable
*for me*, I'm trying to focus on things that will impact *what it's
possible to do*.

The prospect of a drawn-out, even multi-year search for the next long-term
Executive Director is not a good one. The way the organization rebuilds
itself and sets expectations will have a huge impact on that. The impact on
fund-raising will be felt, as well; high-profile contention around a grant
is being discussed throughout the philanthropy world, and will impact the
way individual donors respond to banners, as well.

I am confident that the Board is already turning its attention to issues
like these. Many things need to be done whenever an executive director
leaves an organization, and there are many reasons to attend to them in a
timely fashion -- without rushing through and making bad decisions.

Individual Trustees have expressed interest and gratitude for the ideas
under discussion, and I appreciate knowing that they are considering input.
This list may not be the best way to reach the board, but it's a good place
to see whether there is consensus around certain ideas.

That's what I'm trying to do. I know that forging ahead while exhausted
sucks, and I am not trying to push anybody faster than they want to go. But
I also think that this moment for careful deliberation shouldn't be missed;
some of the opportunities will pass by very quickly if nothing is done.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-26 Thread Pete Forsyth
I agree with what Pine said -- it's worthwhile to consider keeping a record
of these conversations, at minimum for staff reference, even if making them
all public is not desirable.

Further to that point, I have found in many instances, involving a skilled
professional facilitator or mediator, who has no stake in the outcome, can
be an incredibly helpful in getting the maximum benefit from difficult
discussions. I hope that the WMF has considered hiring such a person for
Jimmy's visit, and to address any number of other aspects of the present
challenges.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 3:58 PM, Pine W  wrote:

> If I may make an even bolder proposal: these chats with Brion and Jimmy can
> be, with the consent of everyone involved in each particular meeting,
> video-recorded. Asking for the videos to be posted in public might be a
> step that's too uncomfortable for some people (although I think that the
> transparency would be refreshing and in the long run I would like WMF to
> exercise this degree of transparency), but I at least hope that the videos
> could be widely accessible inside of WMF.  I think that the videos would be
> instructive for the interim executive director, Human Resources, and other
> Board members to see, and might be helpful in discussing lessons learned
> and opportunities for organizational development.
>
> Pine
>
> On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 3:29 PM, Oliver Keyes  wrote:
>
> > On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 3:00 PM, Jimmy Wales 
> wrote:
> > >
> > > I can't speak for Lila, nor should I try.  But I know that for people
> > > new to our world, it's really quite confusing.  You hear a lot of
> voices
> > > and if you've been around for long enough, you get to know which ones
> > > are important and which ones are going to complain no matter what, with
> > > little substance.  If you listen to those who are going to complain no
> > > matter what, you can end up fearful and burned by communication.  If
> you
> > > don't listen to those who are only going to complain when it matters,
> > > you'll miss important things.  Knowing the difference is... well...
> > > ambiguous even in the best of times.
> > >
> > > So to go back to your question - what can be gained from my visit to
> San
> > > Francisco... it's only for a few days, but it will be followed by more
> > > visits in the coming months.  And part of what I want to do is get a
> > > better understanding of the specific concerns that serious people have,
> > > so that I can be more helpful to whoever ends up being the interim ED,
> > > and whoever ends up being our next permanent ED.
> >
> >
> > Jimmy,
> >
> > A word of advice on language (from me, of all people. Yes, I know;
> > stopped clocks and all that).
> >
> > A substantial number of staff at the Foundation have spent the last
> > few months in utter, miserable hell. Not in an abstract way, not
> > watching it from the sidelines (I've spent kind of a lot of time
> > wishing I was a volunteer in the last 6 months :/) but on a 9 to 5
> > basis, going into a space that has been deeply unpleasant, for the
> > sake of the mission. Part of this unpleasantness - a small part of the
> > problem, but a uniquely insidious and damaging part - was a refusal to
> > give more than lip-service to the concerns of some employees. Indeed,
> > some employees were actively warned, or prohibited from speaking, due
> > to how they chose to raise concerns;[0][1] And in the end, increasing
> > transparency revealed that the concerns of "disruptive" employees or
> > "chronic complainers" were eminently justified.
> >
> > When I hear language about "ignoring those who are going to complain
> > no matter what" and, in an email premised on visiting and spending
> > time with staff, a distinction between the pool of people you'll be
> > talking to and the "serious people", with an implication that only the
> > concerns of the "serious people" will be taken, well, seriously, that
> > worries me. It feels a lot like what we're coming out of. It feels
> > like it will be a hindrance to progressing beyond this awful
> > situation.
> >
> > I appreciate this is almost certainly not what you were trying to
> > communicate - indeed , I fully expect you'll come back confirming that
> > it wasn't. But it's best to be aware of the language you chose to use,
> > within the context of what staff have been going through since 2015. I
> > of all people know that how you choose to contextualise a situation
> > with your words has profound implications for how people approach you
> > and the treatment you receive. It's best to avoid unintentional
> > ambiguities or implications. When you use language that implies some
> > people or their concerns are worth ignoring, it's going to resonate
> > very strongly with the dividing tactics recently found at the
> > Foundation: where some people found their worries and issues - which
> > were totally 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Lawrence Lessig for ... WMF

2016-02-26 Thread Pete Forsyth
Lawrence Lessig has done wonderful things for the free culture movement
(including making that very phrase famous!) I am pretty confident, given
his recent interests, that he would not want this position,but he's well
worth discussing anyway.

Though I don't know Larry Lessig personally, I do know his organization
(Creative Commons) well. And interestingly enough, CC has recently
undergone a substantial shift in its leadership (board turnover and CEO
turnover). It has been carried out in a remarkably drama-free way; just
last week, I talked to the current CEO and two recent past leaders, who all
tell very much the same story, and all feel that the organization is better
off, despite having gone through some turbulent times, and despite having
further work ahead.

I would strongly support any organizational effort to learn from Creative
Commons' recent experiences, and how to emulate its success and/or learn
from less than ideal parts of its process.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 1:46 PM, Yuri Astrakhan 
wrote:

> I would like to continue the discussion of who, in an ideal case, would be
> a good fit for the ED position.  This person has to fit culturally, share
> movement's values, and be a trusted figure in the time of rebuilding.
>
> Lawrence Lessig seems to have a very strong support in the community, and
> even attempted to run (unsuccessfully) a large organization called United
> States.
>
> Thoughts?
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

2016-02-26 Thread Pete Forsyth
Thank you Yaroslav for this very important addition. Yes, let's call it #6
(even if it should be higher :) In terms of specific next steps, Anthony
Cole offered a very compelling point about transparency on Meta Wiki:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_noticeboard=1537440=15384280=15383429

In short, Wikimedia current Code of Conduct includes the following:
"People acting on the Foundation’s behalf must respect and maintain the
confidentiality of sensitive information ...[including] information about
the internal workings of the Foundation..."

This could easily be misinterpreted to having Trustees or staff default to
opacity even in cases where transparency would be beneficial. The Code of
Conduct should be amended to give clearer guidance on this point -- and
Board and staff onboarding processes should address it as well.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 12:41 PM, Yaroslav M. Blanter <pute...@mccme.ru>
wrote:

> On 2016-02-26 21:20, Pete Forsyth wrote:
>
>> All:
>>
>> Now that Wikimedia's Executive Director is leaving, a central point of
>> contention has been resolved. But as many have said, the "real work" of
>> getting back on track comes next. I have been thinking about what the next
>> specific steps should be, and I have some suggestions here. I present
>> these
>> points very directly, in order to be concise and in the hopes of hearing
>> the perspectives of others. In other words -- I think this is a good list,
>> but I'm open to persuasion -- as I think we all are in this community. I
>> look forward to hearing from others who take a broad view of where this
>> movement and organization are, and where we need to go. And of course,
>> much
>> of what I say below is inspired by previous messages from people like
>> Brion, Delphine, Asaf, Milos, etc. Anyhow, on to some specifics
>> suggestions:
>>
>>
> Hi Pete,
>
> thanks for excellent suggestions, which hopefully will give us all food
> for thought.
>
> I was searching your mail for the keyword "transparency" and did not find
> a single usage. I think this is an important point, which should possibly
> be considered as #6. Many of our troubles from the last year arose because
> people have acted untransparently. Whereas it is clear that some issues are
> privacy sensitive, and full disclosure would not be possible, we should
> agree that for every important decision it should be clear who made it,
> what was the motivation, and preferably important stkeholders (including
> the community) should have been contacted before the decision has been
> made, not after that.
>
> Cheers
> Yaroslav
>
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[Wikimedia-l] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

2016-02-26 Thread Pete Forsyth
All:

Now that Wikimedia's Executive Director is leaving, a central point of
contention has been resolved. But as many have said, the "real work" of
getting back on track comes next. I have been thinking about what the next
specific steps should be, and I have some suggestions here. I present these
points very directly, in order to be concise and in the hopes of hearing
the perspectives of others. In other words -- I think this is a good list,
but I'm open to persuasion -- as I think we all are in this community. I
look forward to hearing from others who take a broad view of where this
movement and organization are, and where we need to go. And of course, much
of what I say below is inspired by previous messages from people like
Brion, Delphine, Asaf, Milos, etc. Anyhow, on to some specifics suggestions:

1. The Board of Trustees should clearly establish that the interim
Executive Director position is NOT a fast-track to the long-term position.
While it may be tempting to ease the search for a long-term ED, I think the
greatest need from an interim is that they will bring some stability and
order back to the organization. An interim shouldn't be introducing big new
ideas, and shouldn't be distracted that they might need to introduce big
new ideas once the position becomes permanent; they will have enough work
to do just getting things back on track. This point should be made clear to
interim candidates, and also to the staff and volunteer communities at
large.

2. The Board should rethink the job listing of the long-term ED. As I
argued in an op-ed in 2014,[2] the single most important quality in an ED
for our movement is an ability to deal with broad and diverse groups of
stakeholders. This is a skill that exists in the world, it is not unique to
Wikimedia; many people who have been successful in roles like running a
university, a hospital system, working for change in a broad social
movement, etc. will have developed this kind of skill. Technical
proficiency would be valuable if a good candidate happens to have it; same
with an existing familiarity with Wikimedia. But neither technical
proficiency nor Wikimedia experience should be regarded as requirements.
The former can be delegated, and the latter can be learned (by a person
with the right kind of background).

3. The Board should set up the next long-term ED for success. Any good
candidate for the ED position will research what happened the last time
around, and will have pointed questions about how they are being set up for
success. It might be tempting for some to place the entire blame for where
we are with the departing ED; but that would be neither fair nor accurate,
and any smart candidate will be able to see that from the news coverage and
other public records and any private discussions they may have. So,
specifically:

3a. Changes to Board composition: Are there remaining members of the Board
whose approach to the last job search, and/or whose engagement with the
departing ED, pointed things in the wrong direction? If so, it might be
best for them to step aside and make room for other Trustees to try a
different direction. I make this suggestion mainly because of the tiny
number of individuals who populate the Board -- not as a personal criticism
of individuals. Stepping aside need not be equated with "guilt" or other
negative judgments; but since there are very few Board seats, it might be
more important for it to forge ahead with different membership, than to
attempt to adjust its internal relationships and deliberative dynamics AND
to adjust the external perceptions (whether accurate or not) of who is
driving the train.

3b. The Board should consider changes to its hiring process. How are
candidates moved through the process? How are they evaluated? Are these
processes respectful of their time and efforts? Good candidates can be
lost, or the evaluation of them can be flawed, if (for instance) the
process is not respectful of their time and effort; if there are changes
during the process in the expectations, or in who will be making decisions
to narrow the field or making the final choice.

3c. The Board should thoroughly and publicly debrief the problems of the
last year or so. I believe this will only be possible if the Board -- which
clearly made some errors in judgment -- is not driving the process. Many
questions remain, not least of which is why Dr. James Heilman was ousted
shortly after being elected with strong community support. I believe an
external entity should be engaged, in a way that makes it clear that their
purpose is to support healing and learning generally, not to appease the
current Board. We have some experience in the movement around this; the
Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia UK, for instance, commissioned a report
by an external entity a few years ago.[3c] Some were happier than others
with that outcome, but if nothing else it establishes a precedent to
consider, and perhaps improve upon. Also, the FDC's strong 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] What it means to be a high-tech organization

2016-02-26 Thread Pete Forsyth
Regarding the Wikimedia Foundation paying editors, brokering paid editing
to displace the role of PR agencies, etc.:

Since 2009, my full time work has centered on this area, in providing solid
advice to companies and other organizations on how to engage ethically and
effectively with Wikipedia. There is one central point that drives my work:
an ethic of transparency and non-pushy transparency is the main thing that
will lead companies toward engaging in ways that support Wikipedia's goals.
As for the identity and background of editors, their level of experience
with Wikipedia, and who does or does not pay them -- these things are all
important, but they are secondary to the way they approach their work, and
whether/how they express respect toward other Wikipedia editors on an
ongoing basis.

One aspect: working as a Wikipedian in Residence is no different, in
structure, from working for a PR company. I believe the Belfer Center
Wikipedian in Residence proves this point decisively;[1] simply having a
certain kind of title or affiliation is no guarantee that one's efforts
will be compatible with Wikipedia's values, policies, guidelines, or
cultural norms.

On the other hand, my clients routinely exhibit good behavior, and get good
results. Unfortunately I'm not able to disclose my connection with my
clients (who I merely advise -- I don't take any action on their behalf,
either on wiki or by reaching out to editors in private), but I can
disclose a few projects. The most recent case is the film The Hunting
Ground, where the immediate reaction of Wikipedians (including,
influentially, Jimmy Wales) was knee-jerk negative, but upon more careful
investigation Wikipedians identified no substantial problems in how my
client conducted himself. Wikipedians -- myself very much included -- are
not perfect. Making clear, meaningful disclosure of one's role, and
behaving in ways that reflect a genuine respect for the Wikipedia
community, are the key.

I have seen many instances of, as Sarah suggests, a paid editor being "more
persistent" than Wikipedia volunteers, and using that as a significant
tactical advantage. I abhor that practice, and guide my clients explicitly
in avoiding that kind of thing. It's in my clients' interest to avoid doing
that -- not just in Wikipedia's interest. My clients are typically
interested in good long-term results, and they do not want to be saddled
with a poor reputation among Wikipedians. It takes some explaining to help
them see how that plays out in practice -- but that's what they pay me for.
I routinely explain to them how winning a short-term victory through
persistence may have negative long-term impacts, because months or years
down the road it might result in their article getting deleted or massively
changed, or worse, it might land them negative news coverage. They are
generally persuaded by this argument.

I don't think the WMF should pay existing Wikipedians to write or edit
articles, or get involved in identifying which Wikipedians are "better"
than others. I have seen very good Wikipedians make errors in judgment; I
have made errors in judgment myself. I believe a practice of meaningful
transparency is the best approach, because it creates a layer of
accountability, where it's possible for others to notice and address errors
in judgment.

However, if the core interest (as Sarah suggests) is to create paid
opportunities for those who excel at Wikipedia writing and editing, those
opportunities exist, and are increasingly available. The money doesn't need
to flow through the WMF. In my opinion, it's much better if it doesn't; the
WMF has enough political challenges to deal with, without getting involved
in paid editing.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
Included for transparency: Founder/Principal of Wiki Strategies
wikistrategies.net

On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 9:49 PM, David Goodman  wrote:

> Involving the foundation as a broker would corrupt  the Foundation
> altogether.  It would in essence turn it into an advertising agency. We're
> supposed to be different from Google. Google earns money by letting itself
> be used as a medium for advertising. It at least  hopes to achieve this by
> while not being   evil, and succeeds reasonably well at the compromise.
>
> Wikipedia fortunately does not need to earn money, as ordinary people
> freely give  us more than enough for our needs,  and can therefore hope to
> achieve the positive good of providing objective information on
> encyclopedic topics that people want to read about, not information that
> other organizations want people to read.  We have no need to compromise.
>
> On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 11:15 PM, SarahSV  wrote:
>
> > On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 10:31 AM, Yaroslav M. Blanter 
> > wrote:
> >
> > - Possibly POV will be compromised in paid articles.
> > > - Unhealthy situation within the editing community. In the debates with
> > > WMF staff when we disagreed, I always 

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

2016-02-25 Thread Pete Forsyth
On Thu, Feb 25, 2016 at 10:17 AM, Chris Keating 
wrote:

> >
> > I have to register disagreement with the idea that the WMF board is
> > duty-bound to serve the Foundation over the Wikimedia movement.
> >
>
> I still feel this is more a semantic issue than a practical one.


I agree. I think Denny clarified his position nicely[1] -- and I'm glad he
did, as I was also confused and a little distressed by what I initially
*thought* he was saying.
-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

[1]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-February/082456.html
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Post mortems (second attempt)

2016-02-24 Thread Pete Forsyth
Anthony,

I see in this discussion we're conflating two things which, in my view are
entirely different (though they have common themes). I should have made
this distinction clearer from the outset:
1. A general debrief of the factors that led to the current crisis. This is
what I think you are discussing; and I agree, it's very important, and it
would ideally be conducted with somebody other than WMF in the driver's
seat.
2. A general practice of debriefing significant projects. I consider
organizational learning to be the primary benefit of this (so that mistakes
are repeated less often, and practices improve); so whether it attracts any
non-staff's attention is not of central importance in my view. But it *is*
very important that it include reflection from high in the org chart (which
was the case with the Belfer Center debrief, but not with the Media Viewer
debrief).

#2 is the one I had in mind for this particular thread, but #1 is very
important too.

Thank you for the kind words about my participation in #1. I do think,
generally, people with a good understanding of Wikimedia's history and
values, but without recent organizational ties, should be included. Whether
or not I'm right for the task, I'll leave aside for the moment.
-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 11:55 PM, Anthony Cole <ahcole...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Pete, I love this review committee idea. My concern is about who drives it.
> Provided it's driven by intelligent, skeptical volunteers (along the lines
> of the FDC), I'm very comfortable. If it's owned by WMF management, I
> wouldn't bother reading their reports.
>
> If you and Andreas were to sign on, that would be a very good start.
>
> On Wednesday, 24 February 2016, Pete Forsyth <petefors...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Hi Anthony,
> >
> > Thank you for sharing this. It's a very interesting, highly detailed
> > exposition of the history of Flow, and its predecessor, LiquidThreads.
> (And
> > some interesting points I hadn't been aware of, such as Hassar's efforts
> > dating back to 2004 to improve talk pages.) At least on a quick read, it
> > aligns well with what I know.
> >
> > I want to reiterate, though, the significance of the organization itself
> > publishing, and engaging with/incorporating feedback on, reports like
> this.
> > Scott Martin's piece appears to have value to whoever happens to read it;
> > but a post-mortem by the organization will tend to attract the input of
> all
> > significant stakeholder groups, and will command the attention of those
> > doing the work in the future.
> >
> > What I think is most valuable is the *learning process*, not merely the
> > *collection of factual/historical information*. The latter is valuable,
> of
> > course; but the learning is the key to an organization getting better at
> > what it does over time.
> >
> > -Pete
> > [[User:Peteforsyth]]
> >
> > On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 5:43 PM, Anthony Cole <ahcole...@gmail.com
> > <javascript:;>> wrote:
> >
> > > Wrong link. It's here.
> > >
> > >
> >
> http://wikipediocracy.com/2015/02/08/the-dream-that-died-erik-moller-and-the-wmfs-decade-long-struggle-for-the-perfect-discussion-system/
> > >
> > > On Wednesday, 24 February 2016, Anthony Cole <ahcole...@gmail.com
> > <javascript:;>> wrote:
> > >
> > > > This time last year, Scott Martin wrote up a history on
> Wikipediocracy
> > > > that seems to cover most of the milestones.
> > > >
> > >
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-February/082313.html
> > > >
> > > > On Monday, 22 February 2016, Pete Forsyth <petefors...@gmail.com
> > <javascript:;>
> > > > <javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml','petefors...@gmail.com
> <javascript:;>');>>
> > wrote:
> > > >
> > > >> Brandon and Sarah:
> > > >>
> > > >> I'm going to resist the urge to delve into the specifics of Flow
> here,
> > > as
> > > >> I'd really like to stay on the topic of whether post-mortems on
> > divisive
> > > >> issues are valuable, and how they should be approached.
> > > >>
> > > >> Do you agree that an annotated summary of what has gone well and
> what
> > > >> hasn't, in the case of discussion technology like Liquid Threads and
> > > Flow,
> > > >> might help us to have generative conversations on this topic? Or do
> > you
> > > >> disagree? What kinds of approaches do you think might help the
> > > >> organiza

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

2016-02-23 Thread Pete Forsyth
Hi Anthony,

Thank you for sharing this. It's a very interesting, highly detailed
exposition of the history of Flow, and its predecessor, LiquidThreads. (And
some interesting points I hadn't been aware of, such as Hassar's efforts
dating back to 2004 to improve talk pages.) At least on a quick read, it
aligns well with what I know.

I want to reiterate, though, the significance of the organization itself
publishing, and engaging with/incorporating feedback on, reports like this.
Scott Martin's piece appears to have value to whoever happens to read it;
but a post-mortem by the organization will tend to attract the input of all
significant stakeholder groups, and will command the attention of those
doing the work in the future.

What I think is most valuable is the *learning process*, not merely the
*collection of factual/historical information*. The latter is valuable, of
course; but the learning is the key to an organization getting better at
what it does over time.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 5:43 PM, Anthony Cole <ahcole...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Wrong link. It's here.
>
> http://wikipediocracy.com/2015/02/08/the-dream-that-died-erik-moller-and-the-wmfs-decade-long-struggle-for-the-perfect-discussion-system/
>
> On Wednesday, 24 February 2016, Anthony Cole <ahcole...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > This time last year, Scott Martin wrote up a history on Wikipediocracy
> > that seems to cover most of the milestones.
> >
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-February/082313.html
> >
> > On Monday, 22 February 2016, Pete Forsyth <petefors...@gmail.com
> > <javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml','petefors...@gmail.com');>> wrote:
> >
> >> Brandon and Sarah:
> >>
> >> I'm going to resist the urge to delve into the specifics of Flow here,
> as
> >> I'd really like to stay on the topic of whether post-mortems on divisive
> >> issues are valuable, and how they should be approached.
> >>
> >> Do you agree that an annotated summary of what has gone well and what
> >> hasn't, in the case of discussion technology like Liquid Threads and
> Flow,
> >> might help us to have generative conversations on this topic? Or do you
> >> disagree? What kinds of approaches do you think might help the
> >> organization
> >> and the community learn the best lessons from past efforts, avoid
> >> repeating
> >> mistakes, and find ever more effective ways to engage with each other?
> >>
> >> -Pete
> >> [[User:Peteforsyth]]
> >>
> >> On Sun, Feb 21, 2016 at 7:42 PM, SarahSV <sarahsv.w...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >>
> >> > On Sun, Feb 21, 2016 at 8:19 PM, Pete Forsyth <petefors...@gmail.com>
> >> > 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 wo

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] 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] 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] Post mortems (second attempt)

2016-02-21 Thread Pete Forsyth
On Sun, Feb 21, 2016 at 7:53 PM, SarahSV  wrote:

> ​Pete, I think having a "truth and reconciliation" period would be
> helpful. I would like to see that process include Lila, which is why I
> talked earlier about calling in a professional mediation service.
>
> But leaving that aside, for the Foundation and community a period of honest
> exchange and understanding could be very healing.


Thanks Sarah, I agree. As I stated in the earlier discussion, I think it's
especially valuable, for a significant issue, when someone in senior
leadership initiates the process, and takes a sustained interest in it
going well. The need for post-mortems presents, I would think, a good
opportunity for Lila (or any Board member) to begin taking a path forward.

Perhaps some reflection (either privately or publicly) on the impact of the
Belfer Center document would be a good starting point. (I don't suggest
that process was entirely perfect, but I do think it was effective.) Since
it predates Lila's hire, it might not carry as much baggage as other topics.

One small quibble -- I don't think "truth and reconciliation" is the best
framing, though in the current context I can see the relevance. But I would
suggest that in general, publicly documenting successful and unsuccessful
efforts is a fantastic way for organizations of all kinds to encourage
healthy communication and ongoing learning. It doesn't need to be a big
dramatic thing, and it doesn't need to be very time-consuming, to be
effective.

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

2016-02-21 Thread Pete Forsyth
> On Feb 21, 2016, at 3:54 PM, Thyge  wrote:
>
> I really wonder why wikimedia discussions have migrated to FB. ...

On Sun, Feb 21, 2016 at 4:00 PM, Brandon Harris  wrote:

> Because Talk pages suck as a medium for conversation and all
> attempts to fix this have been shot down with venom.


This is a very important point to discuss -- and actually circles us back
to the topic of post-mortems.

When software features are unpopular, it is very important to carefully
consider the reasons for their unpopularity. Here, Brandon, I think you're
implying that there is fundamental resistance to change. I disagree; I
think the attempts (Liquid Threads and Flow), though there was great
technical merit in them, were approached in ways that felt threatening to
Wikimedians.

If we disagree on this, that's OK -- I don't expect to resolve this
disagreement here on the list. But I do think we should have a thorough,
careful evaluation of how the Liquid Threads and Flow projects were
approached. It should include what factors contributed to and detracted
from their popularity among Wikimedians. That, I think, would establish a
shared understanding that would support discourse about whether or not it
is possible to design better discussion software, and how that could be
more effectively approached.

Why were past efforts shot down?

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.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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