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

2016-03-01 Thread Erik Moeller
2016-03-01 21:32 GMT-08:00 Andreas Kolbe :

> The gift from the Brin Wojcicki Foundation is of a little bit of interest,
> because its public announcement[3][5] came a mere three days after the
> Wikimedia Foundation said[9]

I see we're moving the goalposts back to an earlier conspiracy theory,
I guess that's success. The Brin Wojcicki Foundation actually made
their first gift to WMF in the 2010-11 fiscal year, just at a lower
level. [1] I was in the first meeting with them back in 2010, as well.
From everything I recall, they were a wonderful partner, and were
simply interested in supporting Wikimedia's existing activities and
plans.

Erik

[1] https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Benefactors/2010–2011

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

2016-03-01 Thread Andreas Kolbe
On Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 7:24 AM, Erik Moeller  wrote:

> > Anne, I have mentioned several times in the past few days here on this
> list
> > Sue Gardner's 2008 email suggesting that the WMF enter into an "umbrella
> > relationship/agreement" or "business deal" with Google. In case you
> missed
> > it, here is the link again:
> >
> > http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/sandberg.pdf
> >
> > Scroll to the very end of the document to see the email in question. I am
> > still interested in learning what the results of that effort were.
>
> Nothing other than establishing some mutual points of contact, as far
> as I know. [...]
>


Thanks for your replies, Erik, and this overview.



> We did continue to cultivate the relationship with Google and
> continued to ask for support, and eventually Google made a one-time
> $2M donation. [1] As you know, Google also was one of the early
> supporters of Wikidata [2], and Sergey Brin's family foundation has
> also given to WMF in the past. [3] This was all unambiguously good for
> Wikimedia, and is all public knowledge.
>


The gift from the Brin Wojcicki Foundation is of a little bit of interest,
because its public announcement[3][5] came a mere three days after the
Wikimedia Foundation said[9] it would join Google and other Internet giants
in their protest against the proposed SOPA/PIPA legislation – whose
implementation would have cost those companies *a lot* of money.

Today, we take it for granted that the Wikimedia Foundation is politically
active. But at the time, in 2011, many editors accustomed to practising
NPOV in their writing still assumed that the Wikimedia Foundation, as an
institution, would and should practise the same neutrality.

It always seemed likely to me that the $500,000 Brin Wojcicki Foundation
gift was related to the Wikimedia Foundation's support, especially as
Wojcicki, along with Jimmy Wales, was also on the board of Creative
Commons, where these matters were also being discussed.

At the time, Google critic Scott Cleland wrote[6], "Google led,
orchestrated, politically-framed and set the political tone for much of the
Web’s opposition to pending anti-piracy legislation, SOPA/PIPA, because
rule of law and effective enforcement of property rights online represent a
clear and present danger to Google’s anti-property-rights mission, open
philosophy, business model, innovation approach, competitive strategy, and
culture."

It left a little bit of a sour taste, because the Wikimedia Foundation
seemed to me to have loaded the dice in its communications to the
community, painting the consequences of the proposed legislation in the
most garish and alarming colours – implying that users might become
criminally liable for posting fair-use materials on Wikipedia,[9] that SOPA
threatened the survival of Wikipedia, etc. – in order to maximise community
support for the blackout.

WMF staffer Tim Starling later posted here on this list what seemed to me a
very cogent critique of some of the things the WMF did and didn't say to
the community.[7]

This lobbying partnership with Google has continued in the years since
then, with Jimmy Wales more recently joining Google's Advisory Council[8]
to campaign against European "right to be forgotten" legislation (another
law imposing cost burdens on Google).

One may agree with Google's political positions, for quite different and
independent reasons, but the fact that money changed hands to my mind
tainted the effort.

Andreas



> Beyond those donations, we've generally had an informal relationship
> with changing points of contact over the years. WMF has given tech
> talks at Google, for example, or our point of contact might help us
> get some passes for the I/O conference. Part of the mandate of the
> partnerships hire WMF made last year was to bring more of a systematic
> approach to these relationships, and as the org stabilizes it might be
> good to seek a broad conversation as to what that ideally should look
> like in terms of transparency, lines we shall not cross, etc.
>
> Generally speaking, when WMF did enter into significant business
> relationships, these are a matter of the public record in press
> releases and such: Yahoo back in 2005, Kaltura, PediaPress, Orange,
> the various WP Zero operators, some data center partners, etc. The
> Apple dictionary integration Brion mentions in [4] is an exception to
> the rule; contrary to Brion's recollection it actually predates even
> Sue Gardner and, as far as I know, was not announced at the time.
>
> Erik
>
> [1]
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/Wikimedia_Foundation_announces_$2_million_grant_from_Google
> [2] https://www.wikimedia.de/wiki/Pressemitteilungen/PM_3_12_Wikidata_EN
> [3]
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/Brin_Wojcicki_Foundation_Announces_$500,000_Grant_to_Wikimedia
> [4]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-February/082741.html
>
>
[5]

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

2016-03-01 Thread Kevin Gorman
Popping back earlier in the thread a bit:

The statement "The Board has decided unanimously to back Lila's continued
tenure," was false.  The statement "The Board has decided to back Lila's
continued tenure," was true.  The exact nature of any dissent doesn't need
to be publicized, and really the very fact that there was dissent doesn't
need to be publicized, especially because in what is generally considered
poor governance WMF BoT uses a lot of straw votes to avoid opinions being
recorded transparently  - but one of the earlier statements is true, and
one is false.  They aren't very different statements, and honestly, I do
not understand why the false statement was chosen.

The Board of Trustees needs outside review.  In what should be an
exceptionally transparent movement, they use practices that other
nonprofits that don't have the same values of transparency that we have get
slammed for.

---
Kevin Gorman

On Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 12:31 PM, Nick Wilson (Quiddity) <
nwil...@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> Craig, I believe it is all free (not purchased), per
> https://www.google.com/intl/en/nonprofits/products/#apps#tab5 ("Google
> Apps
> for Nonprofits")
>
> On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 6:27 PM, Craig Franklin  >
> wrote:
>
> > My understanding is that the Foundation purchases certain technical and
> > apps services (cloud email, for instance) from Google.
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Craig
> >
> > On 1 March 2016 at 12:15, Risker  wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > I cannot for the life of me imagine what Google sells that the WMF
> would
> > be
> > > interested in buying, so I'm finding your example a bit weird.
> > >
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-03-01 Thread Nick Wilson (Quiddity)
Craig, I believe it is all free (not purchased), per
https://www.google.com/intl/en/nonprofits/products/#apps#tab5 ("Google Apps
for Nonprofits")

On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 6:27 PM, Craig Franklin 
wrote:

> My understanding is that the Foundation purchases certain technical and
> apps services (cloud email, for instance) from Google.
>
> Cheers,
> Craig
>
> On 1 March 2016 at 12:15, Risker  wrote:
>
> >
> > I cannot for the life of me imagine what Google sells that the WMF would
> be
> > interested in buying, so I'm finding your example a bit weird.
> >
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-29 Thread Erik Moeller
> Anne, I have mentioned several times in the past few days here on this list
> Sue Gardner's 2008 email suggesting that the WMF enter into an "umbrella
> relationship/agreement" or "business deal" with Google. In case you missed
> it, here is the link again:
>
> http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/sandberg.pdf
>
> Scroll to the very end of the document to see the email in question. I am
> still interested in learning what the results of that effort were.

Nothing other than establishing some mutual points of contact, as far
as I know. Back in 2008, Sue and I reached out -- as WMF just had
relocated to the Bay Area -- to major tech companies to introduce
ourselves, with the help of Jimmy and some of our early supporters. We
made a pitch for donations, and in-kind hardware support where
appropriate. By and large corporate support didn't go very far,
because usually folks wanted PR benefits at a level we couldn't give
them. Some individual major donors did give their support, as noted on
the benefactors page.

Incidentally, this was also the year in which Google launched Knol,
which was sort of their version of the Knowledge Engine (official
line: "We have no intent of competing with Wikipedia" -> media
reports: "Google launches Wikipedia killer"). It was later converted
to a WordPress blog.

We did continue to cultivate the relationship with Google and
continued to ask for support, and eventually Google made a one-time
$2M donation. [1] As you know, Google also was one of the early
supporters of Wikidata [2], and Sergey Brin's family foundation has
also given to WMF in the past. [3] This was all unambiguously good for
Wikimedia, and is all public knowledge.

Beyond those donations, we've generally had an informal relationship
with changing points of contact over the years. WMF has given tech
talks at Google, for example, or our point of contact might help us
get some passes for the I/O conference. Part of the mandate of the
partnerships hire WMF made last year was to bring more of a systematic
approach to these relationships, and as the org stabilizes it might be
good to seek a broad conversation as to what that ideally should look
like in terms of transparency, lines we shall not cross, etc.

Generally speaking, when WMF did enter into significant business
relationships, these are a matter of the public record in press
releases and such: Yahoo back in 2005, Kaltura, PediaPress, Orange,
the various WP Zero operators, some data center partners, etc. The
Apple dictionary integration Brion mentions in [4] is an exception to
the rule; contrary to Brion's recollection it actually predates even
Sue Gardner and, as far as I know, was not announced at the time.

Erik

[1] 
https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/Wikimedia_Foundation_announces_$2_million_grant_from_Google
[2] https://www.wikimedia.de/wiki/Pressemitteilungen/PM_3_12_Wikidata_EN
[3] 
https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/Brin_Wojcicki_Foundation_Announces_$500,000_Grant_to_Wikimedia
[4] https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-February/082741.html

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

2016-02-29 Thread Andreas Kolbe
Anne,


On Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 2:15 AM, Risker  wrote:

> > They don't mean the same thing at all. But would you really dispute the
> > statement that WMF leaders should be both transparent AND honest?
> >
> > Transparency is a fundamental WMF value.
> >
> > Nobody here is talking about vendor agreements; at least I am not. I have
> > no problem whatsoever with your scenario. If the WMF enters into an
> > umbrella agreement or business deal with Google or whoever, then that is
> > something the community should know. If the WMF gets computer hardware
> at a
> > preferential rate, absolutely no one is interested in that.
> >
>
>
> Because, Andreas, I do not want the Wikimedia Foundation to commit
> suicide.  On what basis do you say, with complete confidence, that the
> basis of the issue is NOT a contract, or a legal agreement, or a human
> resources issue - all of which will likely require some degree of
> non-transparency?



Where did I say that? We were discussing a very specific thing: that the
board was split, and not unanimous, about whether Lila should stay on, and
that the board chair claimed otherwise in his communication with staff. You
seem to be saying that if the board is split on the matter, that is a human
resources issue and justifies telling staff that the board is unanimous. I
don't follow that reasoning.



> For example - if the focus of all this excitement is a
> human resources issue, there are very, very strict regulations about what
> can and cannot be public.  It's why there is an "executive session" at
> every board meeting - because human resource issues involving identifiable
> persons MUST not be publicly discussed.
>


If there are such issues, then it's still possible to be transparent about
what you can't be transparent about (as Todd's post just arriving in my
in-box points out as well).



> I cannot for the life of me imagine what Google sells that the WMF would be
> interested in buying, so I'm finding your example a bit weird.



Anne, I have mentioned several times in the past few days here on this list
Sue Gardner's 2008 email suggesting that the WMF enter into an "umbrella
relationship/agreement" or "business deal" with Google. In case you missed
it, here is the link again:

http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/sandberg.pdf

Scroll to the very end of the document to see the email in question. I am
still interested in learning what the results of that effort were.



> And
> unfortunately, there are indeed enough people around here who are so
> determined to have total transparency that they *would* believe that
> failure to publicly report that the WMF had received computer hardware at a
> preferential rate was *failing to be transparent.*
>


Perhaps, though I would not count myself among them. Though I have to say,
Richard Ames actually makes a good point in the thread he started on this
topic.


So yes, I do dispute that WMF leaders must always be both transparent and
> honest.  Honest, I'll go for - although as we're pretty clearly seeing in
> this situation, there's a pretty wide divergence between what different
> leaders consider honesty.  But not transparent.  I don't want them
> reporting personal human resources issues or other legally confidential
> issues publicly - if for no other reason than they'll be slapped with
> lawsuits that would be a terrible, terrible waste of our donor's money.
>


I don't want that either. If you know something about this whole affair
that I don't know, and that motivates your writing in this manner, fine;
but I'm still more likely to agree with Todd.

Andreas
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-29 Thread Craig Franklin
My understanding is that the Foundation purchases certain technical and
apps services (cloud email, for instance) from Google.

Cheers,
Craig

On 1 March 2016 at 12:15, Risker  wrote:

>
> I cannot for the life of me imagine what Google sells that the WMF would be
> interested in buying, so I'm finding your example a bit weird.
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-29 Thread David Emrany
Dear Anne

As a community member *I* am interested in knowing if WMF (or Jimmy)
is selling to Google - or to anybody else ... like the Chinese.[1]

David

[1] http://wikipediasucks.boards.net/post/762

On 3/1/16, Risker  wrote:
> On 29 February 2016 at 20:43, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:
>
>> On Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 12:52 AM, Risker  wrote:
>>
>> >
>> > So please, let's stop pretending those two words mean the same thing.
>> >
>>
>> Nobody here is talking about vendor agreements; at least I am not. I have
>> no problem whatsoever with your scenario. If the WMF enters into an
>> umbrella agreement or business deal with Google or whoever, then that is
>> something the community should know. If the WMF gets computer hardware at
>> a
>> preferential rate, absolutely no one is interested in that.
>>
>
> Because, Andreas, I do not want the Wikimedia Foundation to commit
> suicide.
>
> I cannot for the life of me imagine what Google sells that the WMF would be
> interested in buying, so I'm finding your example a bit weird. >
> RIsker/Anne

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

2016-02-29 Thread Todd Allen
On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 5:52 PM, Risker  wrote:

> On 29 February 2016 at 19:10, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:
>
> > 
> >
> > No. You are either transparent and honest, or you are not.
> >
> > Andreas
> > ___
> >
>
> Or you could be opaque but honest. "Honest" and "transparent" are not
> synonyms.
>
> There are several things that organizations cannot reveal, for legal,
> contractual, or ethical reasons - or at least they cannot reveal them
> without risking serious censure, lawsuits or in some cases regulatory
> charges.  Reputational risk is bad enough, but if a board member leaks
> something that leads to a credible threat of legal action or regulatory
> charges - even with the best of intentions and with no ill-will intended -
> not only does the board need to take action, but it needs not to compound
> the error in judgment by broadcasting it.
>
> Jimmy gave an example in an earlier post of the need to not reveal the
> terms of a contract that was extremely favourable to the WMF as a condition
> of the contract - the condition added because the contractor did not want
> to offer the same terms to other organizations.  If a board member leaked
> that to, say, a competitor of the contractor, that would violate the
> contract, even if the intention was good (such as trying to obtain
> favourable terms from the competitor as well).   Now...keep in mind that
> revealing the fact of a leak would have the same net effect of saying
> "Company A is giving us a special deal", i.e., the very thing that the
> contract is supposed to prevent.  If the board removed a member for a
> scenario along this line, they would be being honest, even if they were not
> being transparent because they did not reveal the precise reason for the
> removal.
>
> That is a scenario, and I have no inside knowledge or any reason at all to
> believe that this is what occurred on the WMF Board.  But I can think of
> several other similar scenarios that would fall into the same "honest but
> not transparent" response.
>
> So please, let's stop pretending those two words mean the same thing.
>
> Risker/Anne
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Risker,

I agree in general with your message, but there's still a critical
distinction to be drawn there.

There are legitimate reasons that a matter just cannot be discussed. Any of
us who've been on ArbCom, which you have too, know that. And I damn well
know the frustration of it; in a lot of those cases, I desperately wished I
could say why we did what we did, and we'd have gotten a lot fewer rocks
thrown at us. But in those cases, it wasn't possible (and you have to
protect the privacy of the jerks the same way as the innocent victims), so
you endure the suspicion and that's all you can do.

But there's still a critical distinction to be drawn there. In those cases,
we still said plainly "Sorry, but we're not able to discuss that." We
didn't dance around it, or obfuscate, or spin, or try to bury the fact that
we weren't going to answer it in pages upon pages of PR say-nothing crap.
"I cannot answer that", in cases where one genuinely can't, still is an
honest response that's as transparent as possible. Trying to deflect
attention away, bury it, and spin it is dishonest.

So that's the distinction I see there. Spin, PR, and obfuscation are
dishonest in all cases. If you can't or won't answer, then flatly and
unambiguously say that. If possible, at least say in general terms (legal
concerns, privacy, NDA, etc.) why you can't discuss it. Trying to deflect
and hoping people just lose interest is a fundamentally dishonest tactic.

Todd
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-29 Thread Leila Zia
I discussed with both James and Jimmy the choice of the word "unanimous".
I'm satisfied with their responses. The BoT had a straw poll to make a
decision about the leadership in November and the result of that poll may
or may not have been unanimous (I'm fine with it being a straw poll at that
point in time given the fact that there was a big information asymmetry
among BoT members which would question doing a real poll. I'm also happy to
see that BoT members are listening and want to improve our information
sharing mechanisms). However, all BoT members agreed to support Lila, which
is what Patricio has told us.

As a side note, I'd like to ask that we don't bring the conversations
specifically tagged private to lists or conversations that include a
broader audience. For example, staff were asked to create a safe space for
everyone and not share the content of the November meeting publicly.

Leila
On Feb 29, 2016 5:43 PM, "Andreas Kolbe"  wrote:

> On Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 12:52 AM, Risker  wrote:
>
> >
> > So please, let's stop pretending those two words mean the same thing.
> >
>
>
> They don't mean the same thing at all. But would you really dispute the
> statement that WMF leaders should be both transparent AND honest?
>
> Transparency is a fundamental WMF value.
>
> Nobody here is talking about vendor agreements; at least I am not. I have
> no problem whatsoever with your scenario. If the WMF enters into an
> umbrella agreement or business deal with Google or whoever, then that is
> something the community should know. If the WMF gets computer hardware at a
> preferential rate, absolutely no one is interested in that.
>
> Andreas
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-29 Thread Risker
On 29 February 2016 at 20:43, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:

> On Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 12:52 AM, Risker  wrote:
>
> >
> > So please, let's stop pretending those two words mean the same thing.
> >
>
>
> They don't mean the same thing at all. But would you really dispute the
> statement that WMF leaders should be both transparent AND honest?
>
> Transparency is a fundamental WMF value.
>
> Nobody here is talking about vendor agreements; at least I am not. I have
> no problem whatsoever with your scenario. If the WMF enters into an
> umbrella agreement or business deal with Google or whoever, then that is
> something the community should know. If the WMF gets computer hardware at a
> preferential rate, absolutely no one is interested in that.
>


Because, Andreas, I do not want the Wikimedia Foundation to commit
suicide.  On what basis do you say, with complete confidence, that the
basis of the issue is NOT a contract, or a legal agreement, or a human
resources issue - all of which will likely require some degree of
non-transparency?  For example - if the focus of all this excitement is a
human resources issue, there are very, very strict regulations about what
can and cannot be public.  It's why there is an "executive session" at
every board meeting - because human resource issues involving identifiable
persons MUST not be publicly discussed.

I cannot for the life of me imagine what Google sells that the WMF would be
interested in buying, so I'm finding your example a bit weird.  And
unfortunately, there are indeed enough people around here who are so
determined to have total transparency that they *would* believe that
failure to publicly report that the WMF had received computer hardware at a
preferential rate was *failing to be transparent.*

So yes, I do dispute that WMF leaders must always be both transparent and
honest.  Honest, I'll go for - although as we're pretty clearly seeing in
this situation, there's a pretty wide divergence between what different
leaders consider honesty.  But not transparent.  I don't want them
reporting personal human resources issues or other legally confidential
issues publicly - if for no other reason than they'll be slapped with
lawsuits that would be a terrible, terrible waste of our donor's money.

RIsker/Anne
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-29 Thread Andreas Kolbe
On Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 12:52 AM, Risker  wrote:

>
> So please, let's stop pretending those two words mean the same thing.
>


They don't mean the same thing at all. But would you really dispute the
statement that WMF leaders should be both transparent AND honest?

Transparency is a fundamental WMF value.

Nobody here is talking about vendor agreements; at least I am not. I have
no problem whatsoever with your scenario. If the WMF enters into an
umbrella agreement or business deal with Google or whoever, then that is
something the community should know. If the WMF gets computer hardware at a
preferential rate, absolutely no one is interested in that.

Andreas
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-29 Thread Anthony Cole
If a board member mentions staff fear, you might ask if item 2 of the code
of conduct [1] couldn't be rewritten so it's not a soviet-style catch-all
that outlaws discussion about anything that happens within the WMF.

Staff, if a board member mentions staff fear, you might ask if item 2 of
the code of conduct [1] could be rewritten so it's not a soviet-style
catch-all that prohibits discussion about anything that happens within the
WMF.

(Off topic, but: If Jimmy utters the word "accountable" over the next few
days, would one (or all) of you please take the opportunity to ask him to
relinquish his founder seat, abolish the seat, add another
community-selected seat, and run for election as a community-selected
trustee in the next round? (That's the next round, not in three years when
his current term expires.)

If any board member mentions "transparency", ask them if we could please at
least know what topics are discussed at board meetings. I.e., could the
secretary please take down and publish at least the barest minimum by way
of minutes, if that's not too much to ask.

Take notes. If they disallow note-taking in the meeting, sit down
immediately afterwards and summarise what happened, from memory.

1.
https://wikimediafoundation.org/w/index.php?title=Code_of_conduct_policy=toggle_view_desktop

On Tuesday, 1 March 2016, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:

> On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 4:44 PM, Oliver Keyes  > wrote:
>
> > So my concern is not that you lost touch with staff. I don't
> > particularly care about any one person. My concern is that the *board*
> > did. My concern is that when staff reached out the Board replied with
> > a letter indicating they had full and unanimous confidence in our
> > leadership. You indicating that you see a problem here and have some
> > sympathy is nice; so is you visiting the office. So is Alice visiting
> > the office. But nice is not sufficient.
> >
> > Guy Kawasaki, I believe, lives in the bay area (correct me if I'm
> > wrong). Denny works a 10 minute walk from the office. Kelly's org is
> > based in Mountain View. There are a whole host of trustees who could
> > be making it into the office, experiencing the culture and the
> > sentiment and the concerns directly. Why are they not coming in? Why
> > are they not listening to people?
> >
>
>
> I must confess that this was my initial response as well.
>
> My initial impression of Jimmy coming to SF was that this was a
> self-selected PR exercise for Jimmy – borne out of a desire to be seen as
> part of the solution of the problem, rather than part of its causes – and
> not so much an effort by the Board to develop a better rapport with staff.
>
> As you say, there are several board members who could comfortably pop in
> for afternoon tea at the WMF office any day of the week.
>
> Still, I hope the discussions with Jimmy and Alice in SF are fruitful.
>
>
>
> > While I appreciate, deeply, both you and Alice coming in, I am unable
> > to shake my concerns that the rest of the board making decisions
> > informed not by their perspectives but by your recollection of your
> > perspectives, is going to be tremendously limiting. We selected these
> > people because we thought they had something to contribute we didn't
> > already have: because their experiences would shape incoming
> > information in new and interesting ways. So let them receive that
> > information, and let them shape it. Let's have an informed board.
> > Because trust isn't great, right now, and this last year should have
> > made us steer *away* from processes with a small bus factor, not
> > towards them.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-29 Thread Risker
On 29 February 2016 at 19:10, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:

> 
>
> No. You are either transparent and honest, or you are not.
>
> Andreas
> ___
>

Or you could be opaque but honest. "Honest" and "transparent" are not
synonyms.

There are several things that organizations cannot reveal, for legal,
contractual, or ethical reasons - or at least they cannot reveal them
without risking serious censure, lawsuits or in some cases regulatory
charges.  Reputational risk is bad enough, but if a board member leaks
something that leads to a credible threat of legal action or regulatory
charges - even with the best of intentions and with no ill-will intended -
not only does the board need to take action, but it needs not to compound
the error in judgment by broadcasting it.

Jimmy gave an example in an earlier post of the need to not reveal the
terms of a contract that was extremely favourable to the WMF as a condition
of the contract - the condition added because the contractor did not want
to offer the same terms to other organizations.  If a board member leaked
that to, say, a competitor of the contractor, that would violate the
contract, even if the intention was good (such as trying to obtain
favourable terms from the competitor as well).   Now...keep in mind that
revealing the fact of a leak would have the same net effect of saying
"Company A is giving us a special deal", i.e., the very thing that the
contract is supposed to prevent.  If the board removed a member for a
scenario along this line, they would be being honest, even if they were not
being transparent because they did not reveal the precise reason for the
removal.

That is a scenario, and I have no inside knowledge or any reason at all to
believe that this is what occurred on the WMF Board.  But I can think of
several other similar scenarios that would fall into the same "honest but
not transparent" response.

So please, let's stop pretending those two words mean the same thing.

Risker/Anne
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-29 Thread Andreas Kolbe
On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 10:23 PM, Chris Keating 
wrote:

> On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 9:39 PM, Oliver Keyes  wrote:
> **To that end, the Board remains unanimously committed in
> > our support of Lila in her role** and in her efforts to adapt her
> > leadership and to address these issues."



> > Asterisks mine. If your commitment and straw poll wasn't unanimous
> > your chair lied to staff, and that's not a great opening to our
> > rebuilding.
>
>
> If the Board had decided, formally or informally, not to sack Lila in their
> November meeting then frankly "unanimous commitment to support her" is the
> only thing they could have done.
>
> The only course of action open to a Trustee who felt they *could not*
> support Lila continuing, if there was no majority to sack her right away,
> would have been to resign themselves (which none of them did).
>


Chris,

I really, really disagree.

If a board does "straw polls" to avoid having to record votes in the public
minutes, that is a problem.

If the chair of the board says the board is unanimous when the board is not
unanimous, that is a problem.

If a board feels dissenting board members have to resign, that is a problem.



> Doubtless many of them used "support" in the meaning of "do whatever is in
> their power to help improve Lila's performance and reduce stress on the
> staff, while keeping a very close eye to see whether their original
> instinct was in fact correct and whether Lila's departure was in fact
> inevitable."
>


This is not, I repeat NOT, what "unanimously committed in our support of
Lila in her role" means to the casual reader.

Please don't defend people writing in riddles.

There seems to be this idea in the Wikimedia universe that it's okay for
leading Wikimedia lights to write messages whose surface meaning turns out
be at stark variance with the facts, as long as it can be shown with
hindsight that there is a particular way of parsing the statement that
makes it compatible with those facts.

This sort of sophistry is not helpful. It does not build trust.

It's like me telling you "There isn't a single error in this document." So
you proceed on the assumption that the document is correct. And when you
find out, to your cost, that what the document said was complete
balderdash, I then turn around and tell you, "I never said the document was
correct. It is a total lie to claim I said that. I said that it didn't
contain a single error, and I absolutely stand by my statement. What I said
was 100% correct. The document contains hundreds of errors, not a single
one."

How much trust would you have in anything I might tell you next time?

If leaders have something to say, they should make every effort to say it
in such a way that anyone capable of speaking English understands it the
right way the first time, rather than sculpting sentences with hidden
trapdoors yielding secret meanings diametrically opposed to what the
message seemed to mean.



> (I also fail to see how the knowledge that the WMF Board retained
> confidence in the ED's abilities by a 5-4 or 7-2 or whatever vote would
> have helped *anyone* in November)
>


No. You are either transparent and honest, or you are not.

Andreas
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-29 Thread Oliver Keyes
On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 5:23 PM, Chris Keating
 wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 9:39 PM, Oliver Keyes  wrote:
>
>> On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 2:58 PM, James Heilman  wrote:
>> > Regarding to Oliver's comment: "My concern is that when staff reached out
>> > the Board replied with a letter indicating they had full and unanimous
>> > confidence in our
>> > leadership."
>> >
>> > This statement is not really true. We had a formal vote regarding the ED
>> in
>> > November and it was not unanimous. The vote unfortunately has not yet
>> been
>> > made public.
>> >
>>
>> Very well, let me quote directly from the email sent to staff by
>> Patricio Lorente in his role as Chair of the Board:
>>
>> "We are working with Lila to put together a plan to address these
>> issues. We are confident that she has the capability and the
>> commitment needed for this challenging time, and we know that, at the
>> present time, she is listening carefully to the Board, to you, and to
>> the community. **To that end, the Board remains unanimously committed in
>> our support of Lila in her role** and in her efforts to adapt her
>> leadership and to address these issues."
>>
>> Asterisks mine. If your commitment and straw poll wasn't unanimous
>> your chair lied to staff, and that's not a great opening to our
>> rebuilding.
>
>
> If the Board had decided, formally or informally, not to sack Lila in their
> November meeting then frankly "unanimous commitment to support her" is the
> only thing they could have done.
>
> The only course of action open to a Trustee who felt they *could not*
> support Lila continuing, if there was no majority to sack her right away,
> would have been to resign themselves (which none of them did).
>
> Doubtless many of them used "support" in the meaning of "do whatever is in
> their power to help improve Lila's performance and reduce stress on the
> staff, while keeping a very close eye to see whether their original
> instinct was in fact correct and whether Lila's departure was in fact
> inevitable."
>
> (I also fail to see how the knowledge that the WMF Board retained
> confidence in the ED's abilities by a 5-4 or 7-2 or whatever vote would
> have helped *anyone* in November)
>

Well, for me at least it would have given the impression that there
was actually support and genuine empathy and understanding of the
issues and concerns at the board's end. Because what "unanimous"
achieved - beyond, as we're now discovering, apparently not being
true, or at least being very economical with the truth - was conveying
the message that the board was not particularly worried. That the
efforts staff had made to surface issues, at risk to their own neck,
had not been convincing, and that we were essentially on our own when
it came to working out the problems.

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

2016-02-29 Thread Chris Keating
On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 9:39 PM, Oliver Keyes  wrote:

> On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 2:58 PM, James Heilman  wrote:
> > Regarding to Oliver's comment: "My concern is that when staff reached out
> > the Board replied with a letter indicating they had full and unanimous
> > confidence in our
> > leadership."
> >
> > This statement is not really true. We had a formal vote regarding the ED
> in
> > November and it was not unanimous. The vote unfortunately has not yet
> been
> > made public.
> >
>
> Very well, let me quote directly from the email sent to staff by
> Patricio Lorente in his role as Chair of the Board:
>
> "We are working with Lila to put together a plan to address these
> issues. We are confident that she has the capability and the
> commitment needed for this challenging time, and we know that, at the
> present time, she is listening carefully to the Board, to you, and to
> the community. **To that end, the Board remains unanimously committed in
> our support of Lila in her role** and in her efforts to adapt her
> leadership and to address these issues."
>
> Asterisks mine. If your commitment and straw poll wasn't unanimous
> your chair lied to staff, and that's not a great opening to our
> rebuilding.


If the Board had decided, formally or informally, not to sack Lila in their
November meeting then frankly "unanimous commitment to support her" is the
only thing they could have done.

The only course of action open to a Trustee who felt they *could not*
support Lila continuing, if there was no majority to sack her right away,
would have been to resign themselves (which none of them did).

Doubtless many of them used "support" in the meaning of "do whatever is in
their power to help improve Lila's performance and reduce stress on the
staff, while keeping a very close eye to see whether their original
instinct was in fact correct and whether Lila's departure was in fact
inevitable."

(I also fail to see how the knowledge that the WMF Board retained
confidence in the ED's abilities by a 5-4 or 7-2 or whatever vote would
have helped *anyone* in November)

Regards,

Chris
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-29 Thread Joseph Seddon
Similarly the following remark was made by Patricio at the all staff
meeting in November:

*"I want all of you know that the Board unanimously agreed to support our
current leadership."*

I would ask for the sake of the staff and community that a speedy and clear
explanation of whatever vote occurred be made.

Seddon

On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 9:39 PM, Oliver Keyes  wrote:

> On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 2:58 PM, James Heilman  wrote:
> > Regarding to Oliver's comment: "My concern is that when staff reached out
> > the Board replied with a letter indicating they had full and unanimous
> > confidence in our
> > leadership."
> >
> > This statement is not really true. We had a formal vote regarding the ED
> in
> > November and it was not unanimous. The vote unfortunately has not yet
> been
> > made public.
> >
>
> Very well, let me quote directly from the email sent to staff by
> Patricio Lorente in his role as Chair of the Board:
>
> "We are working with Lila to put together a plan to address these
> issues. We are confident that she has the capability and the
> commitment needed for this challenging time, and we know that, at the
> present time, she is listening carefully to the Board, to you, and to
> the community. **To that end, the Board remains unanimously committed in
> our support of Lila in her role** and in her efforts to adapt her
> leadership and to address these issues."
>
> Asterisks mine. If your commitment and straw poll wasn't unanimous
> your chair lied to staff, and that's not a great opening to our
> rebuilding.
>
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>



-- 
Seddon

*Advancement Associate (Community Engagement)*
*Wikimedia Foundation*
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-29 Thread Oliver Keyes
On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 2:58 PM, James Heilman  wrote:
> Regarding to Oliver's comment: "My concern is that when staff reached out
> the Board replied with a letter indicating they had full and unanimous
> confidence in our
> leadership."
>
> This statement is not really true. We had a formal vote regarding the ED in
> November and it was not unanimous. The vote unfortunately has not yet been
> made public.
>

Very well, let me quote directly from the email sent to staff by
Patricio Lorente in his role as Chair of the Board:

"We are working with Lila to put together a plan to address these
issues. We are confident that she has the capability and the
commitment needed for this challenging time, and we know that, at the
present time, she is listening carefully to the Board, to you, and to
the community. **To that end, the Board remains unanimously committed in
our support of Lila in her role** and in her efforts to adapt her
leadership and to address these issues."

Asterisks mine. If your commitment and straw poll wasn't unanimous
your chair lied to staff, and that's not a great opening to our
rebuilding.

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

2016-02-29 Thread Pierre-Selim
2016-02-29 20:58 GMT+01:00 James Heilman :

> Regarding to Oliver's comment: "My concern is that when staff reached out
> the Board replied with a letter indicating they had full and unanimous
> confidence in our
> leadership."
>
> This statement is not really true. We had a formal vote regarding the ED in
> November and it was not unanimous. The vote unfortunately has not yet been
> made public.
>

Just a question, do you think transparency is about having those kind of
vote in
public minutes ? The comment you made worries me a lot.


> --
> James Heilman
> MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian
>
> The Wikipedia Open Textbook of Medicine
> www.opentextbookofmedicine.com
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-- 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-29 Thread Andreas Kolbe
On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 4:44 PM, Oliver Keyes  wrote:

> So my concern is not that you lost touch with staff. I don't
> particularly care about any one person. My concern is that the *board*
> did. My concern is that when staff reached out the Board replied with
> a letter indicating they had full and unanimous confidence in our
> leadership. You indicating that you see a problem here and have some
> sympathy is nice; so is you visiting the office. So is Alice visiting
> the office. But nice is not sufficient.
>
> Guy Kawasaki, I believe, lives in the bay area (correct me if I'm
> wrong). Denny works a 10 minute walk from the office. Kelly's org is
> based in Mountain View. There are a whole host of trustees who could
> be making it into the office, experiencing the culture and the
> sentiment and the concerns directly. Why are they not coming in? Why
> are they not listening to people?
>


I must confess that this was my initial response as well.

My initial impression of Jimmy coming to SF was that this was a
self-selected PR exercise for Jimmy – borne out of a desire to be seen as
part of the solution of the problem, rather than part of its causes – and
not so much an effort by the Board to develop a better rapport with staff.

As you say, there are several board members who could comfortably pop in
for afternoon tea at the WMF office any day of the week.

Still, I hope the discussions with Jimmy and Alice in SF are fruitful.



> While I appreciate, deeply, both you and Alice coming in, I am unable
> to shake my concerns that the rest of the board making decisions
> informed not by their perspectives but by your recollection of your
> perspectives, is going to be tremendously limiting. We selected these
> people because we thought they had something to contribute we didn't
> already have: because their experiences would shape incoming
> information in new and interesting ways. So let them receive that
> information, and let them shape it. Let's have an informed board.
> Because trust isn't great, right now, and this last year should have
> made us steer *away* from processes with a small bus factor, not
> towards them.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-29 Thread Oliver Keyes
On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 9:13 AM, Jimmy Wales  wrote:
> On 2/29/16 2:25 AM, Molly White wrote:
>> Thank you for your reply, and I apologize for how late this one is. When
>> I asked how you intend to speak with the Board of Trustees and with staff, I
>> did not mean what technical means you will use. It doesn't much matter to me
>> whether you speak with them in person, over email, over Hangouts, or what 
>> have
>> you.
>
> Ah, ok. :)  I wondered why it mattered but thought I'd just answer
> plainly in case you were concerned that not doing it in person would
> fail to convey nuance, etc.  (A valid concern, always.)
>
>> I am instead concerned with how (and if) you will be able to clearly
>> communicate your discussions between these two groups, since you are 
>> apparently
>> the one doing so.
>
> I'm not the only one.  Alice is here in San Francisco, too.
>
>> Perhaps more concerning to me: do you intend to take steps to
>> make WMF staff comfortable speaking to you? If so, what are these steps? As
>> Oliver and others have made clear, staff have gone through what sounds like 
>> an
>> extended, traumatic period. I think the mass exodus of staff members makes 
>> that
>> very clear. Some have spoken of intimidation about speaking up with their
>> concerns. How will you ensure they don't feel the same around you?
>
> Sure.  It's a potentially tough problem, and likely made worse by a lot
> of misconceptions being thrown around by people who have misrepresented
> my views.  It's been claimed, for example, that I was the chief
> architect of a concept that staff shouldn't talk to board members -
> overcoming that misunderstanding is important to me.
>
> I am not involved at all in hiring and firing decisions, and don't
> intend to become so involved.  I'm not becoming the interim ED nor the
> permanent ED.  I've been here from the beginning and I am very
> passionate about Wikipedia and our mission.  I have no specific axe to
> grind other than that one.
>
> My heart is heavy about what has happened here, and one of the things
> that I feel most heavy about - and that I've heard from staff - is that
> I lost touch with them.  I remember driving to the November board
> meeting thinking "Well, this is going to be fairly routine and boring"
> because I had no idea what awaited me there - which was a train wreck of
> a meeting which left millions more questions than answers but which made
> it clear that something big was going on.

Well, to make my position as one (current, for a bit) staffer clear:
that *you* lost touch with things is not my worry. It's not the thing
I regret. This might simply be because I tend to treat you more as
"the guy who kicked things off and so has a board seat" rather than
"the carrier of the flame of What The Ethos Of Wikipedia Is". I rely
on the community trustees for that, because (1) the community ethos is
set by the community, not by what the community looked like in 2001
and (2) having a dependency on any one person is a terrible idea.

So my concern is not that you lost touch with staff. I don't
particularly care about any one person. My concern is that the *board*
did. My concern is that when staff reached out the Board replied with
a letter indicating they had full and unanimous confidence in our
leadership. You indicating that you see a problem here and have some
sympathy is nice; so is you visiting the office. So is Alice visiting
the office. But nice is not sufficient.

Guy Kawasaki, I believe, lives in the bay area (correct me if I'm
wrong). Denny works a 10 minute walk from the office. Kelly's org is
based in Mountain View. There are a whole host of trustees who could
be making it into the office, experiencing the culture and the
sentiment and the concerns directly. Why are they not coming in? Why
are they not listening to people?

While I appreciate, deeply, both you and Alice coming in, I am unable
to shake my concerns that the rest of the board making decisions
informed not by their perspectives but by your recollection of your
perspectives, is going to be tremendously limiting. We selected these
people because we thought they had something to contribute we didn't
already have: because their experiences would shape incoming
information in new and interesting ways. So let them receive that
information, and let them shape it. Let's have an informed board.
Because trust isn't great, right now, and this last year should have
made us steer *away* from processes with a small bus factor, not
towards them.

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

2016-02-29 Thread Oliver Keyes
On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 10:38 AM, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 3:06 PM, Jimmy Wales 
> wrote:
>
>> On 2/29/16 7:00 AM, Andreas Kolbe wrote:
>> > A few days ago, Oliver Keyes said[1] here on this list that, even though
>> he
>> > had already quit his job, he was scared to share with people the content
>> of
>> > the non-disclosure agreement he had to sign as a WMF staff member.
>> >
>> > Do you believe the various non-disclosure agreements and
>> non-disparagement
>> > clauses that staff have to sign to work at the WMF should be public? Will
>> > you encourage staff to share their content, in the interests of
>> > transparency?
>>
>> I don't know, as I haven't seen those.  If there is a standard
>> boilerplate non-disclosure agrement that all staff sign (normal
>> practice) then I don't see any reason why that shouldn't be made public.
>>  I also don't see much reason *for* it to be made public, if it's just
>> the usual sort of thing.  I don't see that it matters much either way,
>> to be frank.
>>
>
>
> Well, there's been enough interest in this over the years to justify it. It
> would quell speculation.
>
> As you are currently in SF, it should be fairly easy to arrange for someone
> to post the standard, boilerplate non-disclosure
> agreements/non-disparagement clauses that (1) staff and (2) management have
> to sign here on this list, or lets us know where we can find them on the
> WMF website.
>
> If universities and commercial companies are able to do that, so should WMF.
>

It's worth noting that publishing the current standard != publishing
what people have signed. The document has varied a lot over the years
(I helped tweak/copyedit some of the volunteer NDAs a few years back,
hence paying attention to this). I would really love if whatever the
latest version of the NDA is, everyone re-signed, to avoid ambiguity
here. At the moment what people are prohibited from doing varies
depending on when they joined the organisation.

The current staff NDA, interestingly, I can't find on the Office wiki.
The volunteer NDA is there, but even I don't know what the current
staff one is (I may just be missing a link, or having a bad search
experience, which given the team I work for would be a weird kind of
funny). The version I signed, way back when, both prohibited me from
disclosing confidential information and contained a non-defamation
clause around the organisation and its legal agents.

Now, I have no idea if this is still in the staff contract and NDA. I
sincerely hope it's not. But I hope people recognise that a clause
prohibiting staffers from saying a class of things about C-levels in
public, when most staff are not lawyers, is by definition going to
have a chilling effect on conversations about organisational direction
and staff performance. Sure, that class of things may in fact be
totally unacceptable and actually not things that we'd say...but how
the heck are we to know that?

So I support the idea, at a minimum, of publishing the current NDA and
contract form, and I would really like it if legal could bring all
staff NDAs up to spec.

One thing that was discussed early on that would also be fantastic;
the whistleblower policy currently protects people for reporting
*legal* violations to the *government*, and nothing else. Given that
California is an at-will state, broadening this would be...I was going
to say nice but really I mean "essential to any transparent
organisation that wants processes resistant to one bad apple".

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

2016-02-29 Thread Jimmy Wales
I agree with Dariusz on this, and have 2 additional thoughts:

1. I'm not sure that Silicon Valley organizations as a whole are more
secretive than many NGOs.  Some are famously super secretive - Apple.
Others are not really - Automattic (Wordpress).  Some NGOs tend to be
very controlling of messages, and some not so much.

2. The overall point, I think, is that we should make sure that employee
agreements are on the open end of the spectrum.  F/L/OSS movements and
organizations tend to be much more open than other organizations.  We're
a strongly community-driven movement *about the free sharing of
knowledge* - so our culture means we need to push openness to a point
that most organizations would find bewildering.

--Jimbo


On 2/29/16 7:26 AM, Dariusz Jemielniak wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 10:00 AM, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:
> 
>> Do you believe the various non-disclosure agreements and non-disparagement
>> clauses that staff have to sign to work at the WMF should be public? Will
>> you encourage staff to share their content, in the interests of
>> transparency?
>>
>>
> There are different ways to perceive the WMF and different benchmarks to
> relate to.  If we perceive the WMF as a Silicon Valley, high-tech
> organization, that just happens to be organized as an NGO, and is
> contemporarily relying on an open collaboration in a community of editors
> (until the machines can substitute them), then surely good benchmarks will
> be other Silicon Valley organizations, and using the industry standard
> non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements make sense.
> 
> I believe that we are something else. We are a social movement, and the WMF
> is a mission-driven NGO, that has its top competence in supporting the open
> knowledge community, and happens to be pretty good at legal and tech
> support, too. But tech has a supportive, not leading role. We,
> theoretically, could outsource a lot of tech, but we could not outsource a
> lot of community work.
> 
> Therefore I believe that better benchmarks would be other rights- and
> access-oriented NGOs (Amnesty International? Soros Foundation?), F/L/OSS
> movement (Apache Foundation? EFF?), and universities (Oxford? Harvard?
> Sorbonne?). By understanding these benchmarks, we can build adequate
> standards of transparency, and follow suit in legalese. I believe that a
> lot of our current tensions stem basically from not formulating the
> fundamental vision of who we are and who we want to be.
> 
> dj
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-29 Thread Andreas Kolbe
On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 3:06 PM, Jimmy Wales 
wrote:

> On 2/29/16 7:00 AM, Andreas Kolbe wrote:
> > A few days ago, Oliver Keyes said[1] here on this list that, even though
> he
> > had already quit his job, he was scared to share with people the content
> of
> > the non-disclosure agreement he had to sign as a WMF staff member.
> >
> > Do you believe the various non-disclosure agreements and
> non-disparagement
> > clauses that staff have to sign to work at the WMF should be public? Will
> > you encourage staff to share their content, in the interests of
> > transparency?
>
> I don't know, as I haven't seen those.  If there is a standard
> boilerplate non-disclosure agrement that all staff sign (normal
> practice) then I don't see any reason why that shouldn't be made public.
>  I also don't see much reason *for* it to be made public, if it's just
> the usual sort of thing.  I don't see that it matters much either way,
> to be frank.
>


Well, there's been enough interest in this over the years to justify it. It
would quell speculation.

As you are currently in SF, it should be fairly easy to arrange for someone
to post the standard, boilerplate non-disclosure
agreements/non-disparagement clauses that (1) staff and (2) management have
to sign here on this list, or lets us know where we can find them on the
WMF website.

If universities and commercial companies are able to do that, so should WMF.



> In some cases, employees will be bound by specific nondisclosure
> agreements with partner organizations that bind the Foundation.  I would
> not say that publishing the details of those makes sense.  Let me give a
> purely hypothetical example for the sake of clarity.
>
> Suppose we negotiate with a vendor to buy some hardware and manage to
> get a great discount because the vendor loves Wikipedia.  The vendor
> might say, hey, look, I can only give this discount to Wikipedia, and it
> would hurt my competitive position in the marketplace if the price I'm
> giving you were well known.  So they'll say, hey, I can give you this
> discount, but only under a nondisclosure agreement.
>
> I wouldn't support publishing that nondisclosure agreement.
>


Sure. Me neither.

Andreas
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-29 Thread Dariusz Jemielniak
On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 10:00 AM, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:

> Do you believe the various non-disclosure agreements and non-disparagement
> clauses that staff have to sign to work at the WMF should be public? Will
> you encourage staff to share their content, in the interests of
> transparency?
>
>
There are different ways to perceive the WMF and different benchmarks to
relate to.  If we perceive the WMF as a Silicon Valley, high-tech
organization, that just happens to be organized as an NGO, and is
contemporarily relying on an open collaboration in a community of editors
(until the machines can substitute them), then surely good benchmarks will
be other Silicon Valley organizations, and using the industry standard
non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements make sense.

I believe that we are something else. We are a social movement, and the WMF
is a mission-driven NGO, that has its top competence in supporting the open
knowledge community, and happens to be pretty good at legal and tech
support, too. But tech has a supportive, not leading role. We,
theoretically, could outsource a lot of tech, but we could not outsource a
lot of community work.

Therefore I believe that better benchmarks would be other rights- and
access-oriented NGOs (Amnesty International? Soros Foundation?), F/L/OSS
movement (Apache Foundation? EFF?), and universities (Oxford? Harvard?
Sorbonne?). By understanding these benchmarks, we can build adequate
standards of transparency, and follow suit in legalese. I believe that a
lot of our current tensions stem basically from not formulating the
fundamental vision of who we are and who we want to be.

dj
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-29 Thread Jimmy Wales
On 2/29/16 7:00 AM, Andreas Kolbe wrote:
> A few days ago, Oliver Keyes said[1] here on this list that, even though he
> had already quit his job, he was scared to share with people the content of
> the non-disclosure agreement he had to sign as a WMF staff member.
> 
> Do you believe the various non-disclosure agreements and non-disparagement
> clauses that staff have to sign to work at the WMF should be public? Will
> you encourage staff to share their content, in the interests of
> transparency?

I don't know, as I haven't seen those.  If there is a standard
boilerplate non-disclosure agrement that all staff sign (normal
practice) then I don't see any reason why that shouldn't be made public.
 I also don't see much reason *for* it to be made public, if it's just
the usual sort of thing.  I don't see that it matters much either way,
to be frank.

In some cases, employees will be bound by specific nondisclosure
agreements with partner organizations that bind the Foundation.  I would
not say that publishing the details of those makes sense.  Let me give a
purely hypothetical example for the sake of clarity.

Suppose we negotiate with a vendor to buy some hardware and manage to
get a great discount because the vendor loves Wikipedia.  The vendor
might say, hey, look, I can only give this discount to Wikipedia, and it
would hurt my competitive position in the marketplace if the price I'm
giving you were well known.  So they'll say, hey, I can give you this
discount, but only under a nondisclosure agreement.

I wouldn't support publishing that nondisclosure agreement.



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

2016-02-29 Thread Andreas Kolbe
On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 2:13 PM, Jimmy Wales 
wrote:

> Intimidation about speaking up is a terrible and perverse thing to
> happen in any organization.  If that's a feeling that the organization
> has had, I want to put forward the idea that it's over.  If I were
> moving into the ED position, it would be my first priority - to root
> that out.  It's devastating.  Work life shouldn't be about that - it
> should be about the mission, about everything we have all be dreaming of
> and working toward and enjoying for all these years.
>


A few days ago, Oliver Keyes said[1] here on this list that, even though he
had already quit his job, he was scared to share with people the content of
the non-disclosure agreement he had to sign as a WMF staff member.

Do you believe the various non-disclosure agreements and non-disparagement
clauses that staff have to sign to work at the WMF should be public? Will
you encourage staff to share their content, in the interests of
transparency?

Andreas
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-29 Thread Jimmy Wales
On 2/29/16 2:25 AM, Molly White wrote:
> Thank you for your reply, and I apologize for how late this one is. When
> I asked how you intend to speak with the Board of Trustees and with staff, I
> did not mean what technical means you will use. It doesn't much matter to me
> whether you speak with them in person, over email, over Hangouts, or what have
> you.

Ah, ok. :)  I wondered why it mattered but thought I'd just answer
plainly in case you were concerned that not doing it in person would
fail to convey nuance, etc.  (A valid concern, always.)

> I am instead concerned with how (and if) you will be able to clearly
> communicate your discussions between these two groups, since you are 
> apparently
> the one doing so.

I'm not the only one.  Alice is here in San Francisco, too.

> Perhaps more concerning to me: do you intend to take steps to
> make WMF staff comfortable speaking to you? If so, what are these steps? As
> Oliver and others have made clear, staff have gone through what sounds like an
> extended, traumatic period. I think the mass exodus of staff members makes 
> that
> very clear. Some have spoken of intimidation about speaking up with their
> concerns. How will you ensure they don't feel the same around you?

Sure.  It's a potentially tough problem, and likely made worse by a lot
of misconceptions being thrown around by people who have misrepresented
my views.  It's been claimed, for example, that I was the chief
architect of a concept that staff shouldn't talk to board members -
overcoming that misunderstanding is important to me.

I am not involved at all in hiring and firing decisions, and don't
intend to become so involved.  I'm not becoming the interim ED nor the
permanent ED.  I've been here from the beginning and I am very
passionate about Wikipedia and our mission.  I have no specific axe to
grind other than that one.

My heart is heavy about what has happened here, and one of the things
that I feel most heavy about - and that I've heard from staff - is that
I lost touch with them.  I remember driving to the November board
meeting thinking "Well, this is going to be fairly routine and boring"
because I had no idea what awaited me there - which was a train wreck of
a meeting which left millions more questions than answers but which made
it clear that something big was going on.

In my reporting back to the board, and in future discussions with the
interim ED and permanent ED, I intend to report generally and as NPOV as
I can on what I've learned.  I don't intend to name names, as that's not
really relevant.  I won't be making any hiring or firing
recommendations, as I'm not in a position to even begin to evaluate
people on that level.

Intimidation about speaking up is a terrible and perverse thing to
happen in any organization.  If that's a feeling that the organization
has had, I want to put forward the idea that it's over.  If I were
moving into the ED position, it would be my first priority - to root
that out.  It's devastating.  Work life shouldn't be about that - it
should be about the mission, about everything we have all be dreaming of
and working toward and enjoying for all these years.

And it will be one of the qualities that I'm looking for in any interim
and permanent ED - a sense that they will build a creative, nurturing,
bold workplace.  And I also think we absolutely need to build in
mechanisms for structured, professional, facilitated thoughtful feedback
from the staff directly to the board is a regular thing.

In short, there is no reason for anyone to be afraid to talk to me.

But, I should note, I've had a huge response to my offer to meet with
people, and as far as I can tell checking with people who know more
people than I do, I'm getting a nice mix of people - noisy ones, quiet
ones, angry ones, satisfied ones.

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

2016-02-29 Thread Molly White
Jimmy,

Thank you for your reply, and I apologize for how late this one is. When
I asked how you intend to speak with the Board of Trustees and with staff, I
did not mean what technical means you will use. It doesn't much matter to me
whether you speak with them in person, over email, over Hangouts, or what have
you.

I am instead concerned with how (and if) you will be able to clearly
communicate your discussions between these two groups, since you are apparently
the one doing so.

Perhaps more concerning to me: do you intend to take steps to
make WMF staff comfortable speaking to you? If so, what are these steps? As
Oliver and others have made clear, staff have gone through what sounds like an
extended, traumatic period. I think the mass exodus of staff members makes that
very clear. Some have spoken of intimidation about speaking up with their
concerns. How will you ensure they don't feel the same around you?

Thanks,
Molly (GorillaWarfare)


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

2016-02-28 Thread
A couple of responses in-line below.

Jimmy, if you would like me to be able to respond to issues on your
Wikipedia talk page, let me know. It's been 4 years now since you
censored me from writing there, which seems like a long time to hold a
grudge.

On 27 February 2016 at 14:39, Jimmy Wales  wrote:
> On 2/26/16 9:17 PM, Fæ wrote:
>> I hope you will be able to address nagging concerns about your
>> personal support for keeping the search project a secret last year,
>
> Sure - I never supported keeping the proposed and approved work on
> Discovery and Search secret last year at all.  I don't know of anyone
> who did.  The failure to sufficiently disclose happened, but it was not
> a point that was discussed at the board level to my knowledge.  I don't
> know of any board members, past or present, who think or thought that
> such things should be kept from the community.
>
> It is my longstanding and continued position that the Foundation should
> be as open as legally possible with only a very limited degree of
> non-disclosure, mostly around legal matters and around employee matters.
>  There are a few other examples, too, like price negotiations with
> vendors, and so on like that.  With regard to our long term strategy, I
> continue to strongly support that everything should not only be
> disclosed to the community, but that it makes no sense for it to be in
> conflict with the community, and that very often it should be led by the
> community in consultation with the Foundation.

As has been raised by others in this email thread, a key core and
legally defined duty of the board is to hold your senior management to
account. If the board of trustees is out of touch with the Wikimedia
community giving "plausible deniability" for a claim that throughout
2015 you thought your management team was being open about the huge
(in terms of relative staff numbers) Knowledge Engine / Search Engine
project and original Knight Grant application in 2015, even while
faced with many public requests for information about the grant and
the "secret project", then the WMF board was not competent or meeting
its commitment to transparency or basic governance.

Politically your words look good, but they must be able to be
demonstrated by action. The claim that you are personally pushing for
"the Foundation should be as open as legally possible with only a very
limited degree of non-disclosure" does not withstand comparison
against the facts. As a trivial example, you have been avoiding the
publication of your email to James about his dismissal, yet apparently
both you and he are agreed can and should be published. While you are
at it, could you copy to me the email(s) about me that you sent to
your fellow board members when I was Chair of the Chapters'
Association? You have a history of behind the scenes dealing and
politicking, when there are no "legal matters" that can apply to your
personal views in correspondence, so I am sure you can understand why
some of those Wikimedians that have become disillusioned as targets of
your non-public criticism or excruciating public criticism without
your engagement in a proper process of evidence or a right to
challenge, will continue to be sceptical of your ability to lead on
openness and transparency, unless you can honestly address those past
cases.

>> and your conflict of loyalties during that process, shortly after your
>> visit.
>
> I did not have any conflict of loyalties during that process.  Spending
> a reasonable portion of our IT budget on an ambitious project to improve
> search and discovery, and to conduct research and community consultation
> on that, is a great idea for Wikipedia and for the broader Wikimedia
> movement and I strongly support it.

Again I struggle to reconcile your opinions of your conflict of
loyalties, with how the general public would perceive a clearly
presented history of your role as an unelected WMF trustee, or
effective "trustee for life" as many have called it, with a personal
role for CEO selection that you have created for yourself, your part
in trustee appointments and the opportunities your regularly have on
the board to steer WMF strategy to encourage projects that suit your
preferences, with your significant financial interest in Wikia, Inc.,
your past experience with "Wikia Search" and how the WMF
Knowledge/Search engine development would fulfil Wikia's strategy for
selling more commercial services, selling Wikia user data and making a
greater profit from targeted advertising.[1] However I'll nail this
down a bit more in a separate thread as assessing the public
perception of your potential conflict of loyalties is worth having
multiple views on, rather than just your opinions or mine.

Links:
1. "Take advantage of Wikia's custom research solutions to achieve
campaign objectives, including brand lift studies, target audience
insights, and more!", "Reach the right audience with the right message
using Wikia's 

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

2016-02-28 Thread Andreas Kolbe
Hey Chris, that's great! I didn't know that. I really should have checked
the [[Template:Citation needed]] edit history yesterday.

There you are:

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Template:Citation_needed=17662960

Well done!

Andreas

Andreas

On Sun, Feb 28, 2016 at 3:37 AM, Chris Sherlock 
wrote:

>
> > On 28 Feb 2016, at 2:25 PM, Chris Sherlock 
> wrote:
> >
> >
> >> On 28 Feb 2016, at 1:16 PM, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:
> >>
> >> On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 8:44 PM, Anna Stillwell <
> astillw...@wikimedia.org>
> >> wrote:
> >>
> >>> Jimmy,
> >>>
> >>> I have a ridiculous amount of respect for you and what you have
> >>> accomplished. I have watched from afar (I was living a lot in other
> >>> countries) as this radical experiment in trust *exploded* on to the
> world.
> >>> It blew my mind. And some of the early rules that were set were nothing
> >>> short of genius (e.g. NPOV, AGF and due weight come to mind). It was an
> >>> ideal experiment: an open frontier with simple, limited rule sets. And
> the
> >>> icing on the cake is that "citation needed" ended up not just
> influencing
> >>> how I thought about an encyclopedic text, but how I thought about
> >>> discussing ideas.
> >>>
> >>
> >> Anna,
> >>
> >> Hold on just a moment. :)
> >>
> >> It's important to understand that Jimmy Wales didn't accomplish the
> things
> >> you speak of alone.
> >>
>
> Funny you should say this :-) I’m the “inventor” of [citation needed].
>
> You know why I created [citation needed] on Wikipedia? Because the amount
> of ill-informed, badly thought out, ridiculous claims on Wikipedia articles
> were getting out hand. I started removing them to the talk page, but then
> that same person not only refused to explain where they got their
> information from, but would put the "fact" back into the article. This
> would then perpetuate incorrect information.
>
> One day I had an epiphany. I realised that you can't just argue with these
> people, you need to have a reverse citation system - you need to clearly
> mark out information that is dubious, ill-informed, the result of ingrained
> prejudice (often unconsciously so) and almost always inaccurate.
>
> At the same time, there needed to be a way of allowing controversial views
> and sometimes accurate but controversial facts be detailed on the
> encyclopaedia.
> There was only one way I could see to do it - use the same citation system
> that referenced sources but invert it to highlight information that needed
> a source. Hence I created citation needed (originally without the square
> brackets, whoever added them was a genius in their own right).
>
> Guess what? It worked. 11 years later, despite the many issues on
> Wikipedia, finding out the source of assumptions is no longer a problem.
> People can go to the citations and see where the factoid is documented, or
> whose opinion is being expressed. It allows ordinary people to judge the
> view being expressed more accurately, or to look at how the data was
> extrapolated, to understand how the academic study was conducted, or to
> verify that what is claimed is actually what the original claimant was
> indeed claiming.
>
> But I’d like to make the point: I could *never* have created [citation
> needed] if someone had not created the policy to cite sources, and hundreds
> and hundreds of other editors didn’t have a commitment to sources. So
> whilst [citation needed] was probably one of my best ideas (sometimes I
> wonder if this might not be an indictment to my creativitity!) I have to
> say that it was only possible because of the commitment by my peers on
> Wikipedia to making the project great, and because of those who came before
> me.
>
> And I’m happy to know that my good idea has literally influences and
> improved the critical faculties of so many people who use our encyclopedia
> today!
>
> Chris
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-28 Thread Andreas Kolbe
Anna,

That too is largely due to volunteers. In early February 2002 for example,
Jimmy spoke of putting advertising on Wikipedia, saying on the Wikipedia-l
mailing list:[1][2]

---o0o---

However, with the ongoing hard times in the Internet economy, we do
anticipate adding some forms of advertising to the site in the near future.

---o0o---

The result of these plans being aired on the mailing list was a user
revolt.

The entire Spanish Wikipedia community jumped ship: they forked and created
their own project, the Enciclopedia Libre. It took the Spanish Wikipedia
years to catch up with and overtake EL.

Edgar Enyedy, one of the leaders of that revolt, shared his reminiscences
with Wired's Nathaniel Tkacz in 2011:[3]

---o0o---

[...]

*The clash that led to your departure from Wikipedia was sparked by a
seemingly insignificant remark, made by Sanger in passing about the
possibility of incorporating advertising in order to fund his future work
on the encyclopaedia(s). His exact words were, "Bomis might well start
selling ads on Wikipedia sometime within the next few months".[4] Can you
revisit this event and tell us how it unfolded? *

The possibility of advertising was out of the question. I asked Wales for a
public commitment that there would be no advertising, but this only came
after we left. Apart from those already mentioned (Sanger's role and the
autonomy of the Spanish version) there were other points of disagreement.

Firstly, all Wikipedia domains (.com, .org, .net) were owned by Wales. I
asked myself "why are we working for a dot com?" I asked for Wikipedia to
be changed to a dot org.

[...]

Because of these things, I didn't trust Wales' intentions. Not at all. We
were all working for free in a dot com with no access to the servers, no
mirrors, no software updates, no downloadable database, and no way to set
up the wiki itself. Finally, came the possibility of incorporating
advertising, so we left. It couldn't be any other way.

I would like to remark upon the fact that as it is known today, the
International Wikipedia that you all know and have come to take for
granted, might have been impossible without the Spanish fork. Wales was
worried that other foreign communities would follow our fork. He learnt
from us what to do and what not to do in future.

---o0o---

It's an interesting article, and a fascinating bit of Wikipedia history. At
one point, Jimmy Wales apparently envisaged selling hard copies (!) of the
encyclopedias; hence the GNU/FDL licence.

The point is, user revolts have always been a significant part of making
Wikipedia what it is today.

This includes its being an ad-free non-profit.

Andreas

[1] Feb. 2, 2002 mailing list post by Jimmy Wales:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2002-February/001279.html
[2] http://larrysanger.org/2011/01/jimmy-wales-on-advertisement/
[3]
http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-01/20/wikipedia-spanish-fork/viewall
[4] Feb. 13, 2002 mailing list post by Larry Sanger:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2002-February/001444.html

On Sun, Feb 28, 2016 at 4:58 AM, Anna Stillwell 
wrote:

> Andreas,
>
> > It's important to understand that Jimmy Wales didn't accomplish the
> things
> you speak of alone.
>
> Yes, I'm aware of this. Perhaps I should have been more clear. I was
> pointing to the fact that Jimmy did not mess it up. I don't ever
> underestimate that. Jimmy could have not allowed that to happen, he could
> have charged money, he could have done a lot of other things, and he did
> not. He did not mess it up and that is really saying something.
>
> Warmly,
> /a
>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-27 Thread Anna Stillwell
Cool. I think about [citation needed] all of the time when I am at work and
we are expressing opinions.

/a

On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 7:37 PM, Chris Sherlock 
wrote:

>
> > On 28 Feb 2016, at 2:25 PM, Chris Sherlock 
> wrote:
> >
> >
> >> On 28 Feb 2016, at 1:16 PM, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:
> >>
> >> On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 8:44 PM, Anna Stillwell <
> astillw...@wikimedia.org>
> >> wrote:
> >>
> >>> Jimmy,
> >>>
> >>> I have a ridiculous amount of respect for you and what you have
> >>> accomplished. I have watched from afar (I was living a lot in other
> >>> countries) as this radical experiment in trust *exploded* on to the
> world.
> >>> It blew my mind. And some of the early rules that were set were nothing
> >>> short of genius (e.g. NPOV, AGF and due weight come to mind). It was an
> >>> ideal experiment: an open frontier with simple, limited rule sets. And
> the
> >>> icing on the cake is that "citation needed" ended up not just
> influencing
> >>> how I thought about an encyclopedic text, but how I thought about
> >>> discussing ideas.
> >>>
> >>
> >> Anna,
> >>
> >> Hold on just a moment. :)
> >>
> >> It's important to understand that Jimmy Wales didn't accomplish the
> things
> >> you speak of alone.
> >>
>
> Funny you should say this :-) I’m the “inventor” of [citation needed].
>
> You know why I created [citation needed] on Wikipedia? Because the amount
> of ill-informed, badly thought out, ridiculous claims on Wikipedia articles
> were getting out hand. I started removing them to the talk page, but then
> that same person not only refused to explain where they got their
> information from, but would put the "fact" back into the article. This
> would then perpetuate incorrect information.
>
> One day I had an epiphany. I realised that you can't just argue with these
> people, you need to have a reverse citation system - you need to clearly
> mark out information that is dubious, ill-informed, the result of ingrained
> prejudice (often unconsciously so) and almost always inaccurate.
>
> At the same time, there needed to be a way of allowing controversial views
> and sometimes accurate but controversial facts be detailed on the
> encyclopaedia.
> There was only one way I could see to do it - use the same citation system
> that referenced sources but invert it to highlight information that needed
> a source. Hence I created citation needed (originally without the square
> brackets, whoever added them was a genius in their own right).
>
> Guess what? It worked. 11 years later, despite the many issues on
> Wikipedia, finding out the source of assumptions is no longer a problem.
> People can go to the citations and see where the factoid is documented, or
> whose opinion is being expressed. It allows ordinary people to judge the
> view being expressed more accurately, or to look at how the data was
> extrapolated, to understand how the academic study was conducted, or to
> verify that what is claimed is actually what the original claimant was
> indeed claiming.
>
> But I’d like to make the point: I could *never* have created [citation
> needed] if someone had not created the policy to cite sources, and hundreds
> and hundreds of other editors didn’t have a commitment to sources. So
> whilst [citation needed] was probably one of my best ideas (sometimes I
> wonder if this might not be an indictment to my creativitity!) I have to
> say that it was only possible because of the commitment by my peers on
> Wikipedia to making the project great, and because of those who came before
> me.
>
> And I’m happy to know that my good idea has literally influences and
> improved the critical faculties of so many people who use our encyclopedia
> today!
>
> Chris
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-27 Thread Chris Sherlock

> On 28 Feb 2016, at 2:25 PM, Chris Sherlock  wrote:
> 
> 
>> On 28 Feb 2016, at 1:16 PM, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:
>> 
>> On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 8:44 PM, Anna Stillwell 
>> wrote:
>> 
>>> Jimmy,
>>> 
>>> I have a ridiculous amount of respect for you and what you have
>>> accomplished. I have watched from afar (I was living a lot in other
>>> countries) as this radical experiment in trust *exploded* on to the world.
>>> It blew my mind. And some of the early rules that were set were nothing
>>> short of genius (e.g. NPOV, AGF and due weight come to mind). It was an
>>> ideal experiment: an open frontier with simple, limited rule sets. And the
>>> icing on the cake is that "citation needed" ended up not just influencing
>>> how I thought about an encyclopedic text, but how I thought about
>>> discussing ideas.
>>> 
>> 
>> Anna,
>> 
>> Hold on just a moment. :)
>> 
>> It's important to understand that Jimmy Wales didn't accomplish the things
>> you speak of alone.
>> 

Funny you should say this :-) I’m the “inventor” of [citation needed].

You know why I created [citation needed] on Wikipedia? Because the amount of 
ill-informed, badly thought out, ridiculous claims on Wikipedia articles were 
getting out hand. I started removing them to the talk page, but then that same 
person not only refused to explain where they got their information from, but 
would put the "fact" back into the article. This would then perpetuate 
incorrect information.

One day I had an epiphany. I realised that you can't just argue with these 
people, you need to have a reverse citation system - you need to clearly mark 
out information that is dubious, ill-informed, the result of ingrained 
prejudice (often unconsciously so) and almost always inaccurate.

At the same time, there needed to be a way of allowing controversial views and 
sometimes accurate but controversial facts be detailed on the encyclopaedia.
There was only one way I could see to do it - use the same citation system that 
referenced sources but invert it to highlight information that needed a source. 
Hence I created citation needed (originally without the square brackets, 
whoever added them was a genius in their own right).

Guess what? It worked. 11 years later, despite the many issues on Wikipedia, 
finding out the source of assumptions is no longer a problem. People can go to 
the citations and see where the factoid is documented, or whose opinion is 
being expressed. It allows ordinary people to judge the view being expressed 
more accurately, or to look at how the data was extrapolated, to understand how 
the academic study was conducted, or to verify that what is claimed is actually 
what the original claimant was indeed claiming.

But I’d like to make the point: I could *never* have created [citation needed] 
if someone had not created the policy to cite sources, and hundreds and 
hundreds of other editors didn’t have a commitment to sources. So whilst 
[citation needed] was probably one of my best ideas (sometimes I wonder if this 
might not be an indictment to my creativitity!) I have to say that it was only 
possible because of the commitment by my peers on Wikipedia to making the 
project great, and because of those who came before me. 

And I’m happy to know that my good idea has literally influences and improved 
the critical faculties of so many people who use our encyclopedia today!

Chris 
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-27 Thread Véronique Michaud
J'habite au Canada et rien ni personne ne peux ou ne veux porter respect et
compassion aucune Limite. Un monde assoiffé de vengeance, méchanceté aucune
reconnaissance .

Je suis véronique Michaud Only
Bye
Le 27 févr. 2016 2:37 PM, "phoebe ayers"  a écrit :

> On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 2:30 PM, Anna Stillwell
>  wrote:
>
> > Before adding another layer of process and reporting and complexity
> > structurally, we should more likely try to renew the heart of HR and
> allow
> > them to work with Legal in partnership as they had done so well
> throughout
> > our entire history.
>
> Fair, and I certainly appreciate this. To be clear my idea is only for
> a temporary position -- only a few months at most, really -- and could
> certainly happen concurrently with such a build-out of HR.
>
> Phoebe
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-27 Thread Anna Stillwell
Andreas,

> It's important to understand that Jimmy Wales didn't accomplish the things
you speak of alone.

Yes, I'm aware of this. Perhaps I should have been more clear. I was
pointing to the fact that Jimmy did not mess it up. I don't ever
underestimate that. Jimmy could have not allowed that to happen, he could
have charged money, he could have done a lot of other things, and he did
not. He did not mess it up and that is really saying something.

Warmly,
/a


On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 6:16 PM, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:

> On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 8:44 PM, Anna Stillwell 
> wrote:
>
> > Jimmy,
> >
> > I have a ridiculous amount of respect for you and what you have
> > accomplished. I have watched from afar (I was living a lot in other
> > countries) as this radical experiment in trust *exploded* on to the
> world.
> > It blew my mind. And some of the early rules that were set were nothing
> > short of genius (e.g. NPOV, AGF and due weight come to mind). It was an
> > ideal experiment: an open frontier with simple, limited rule sets. And
> the
> > icing on the cake is that "citation needed" ended up not just influencing
> > how I thought about an encyclopedic text, but how I thought about
> > discussing ideas.
> >
>
> Anna,
>
> Hold on just a moment. :)
>
> It's important to understand that Jimmy Wales didn't accomplish the things
> you speak of alone.
>
> First of all, the person who originally had the idea for Wikipedia was
> Larry Sanger.[1] Jimmy Wales reportedly thought at the time people would
> find the idea of an encyclopedia anyone can edit "objectionable".[2]
>
> But he let Sanger try it. That it "took off" was a surprise to everyone at
> the time!
>
> Sanger coined the name "Wikipedia"[3] and invited the first
> contributors.[4] Sanger wrote Nupedia's Non-bias policy, the precursor to
> NPOV, but Jimmy Wales made important input to the NPOV policy later on, in
> particular the "due weight" principle.[5]
>
> Sanger was Wikipedia's editor-in-chief in its early days, and had far more
> hands-on involvement in guiding the development of the project in its
> childhood. (Jimmy Wales made just 21 edits to Wikipedia in the year 2002,
> according to his edit history, while Sanger made hundreds.)
>
> "Assume good faith" was created by Morwen in March 2004. I'm not aware that
> Jimmy Wales had any role in its creation (he was hardly around on-wiki in
> the months prior to March 2004).
>
> So let's not forget that Wikipedia has always been the work of many people.
> :) That includes its fundamental policies.
>
>
>
> > So it is from that genuine respect base that I disagree with you on this
> > particular point:
> >
> > "> 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.
> >
> > I supported it with sadness.  The whole thing is a sad train wreck."
> >
> > I do not think this is a train wreck. I think this is one of the hottest
> > moments since this genius encyclopedia exploded onto the world.
> >
> > People are engaged.
> >
>
>
> Here I wholeheartedly agree with you. :) One of the best things to have
> come out of this is that there are bonds between volunteers and staff that
> have never been there before. These are exciting times.
>
> Best,
> Andreas
>
> [1]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2001-October/000671.html
> [2]
>
> http://web.archive.org/web/20030414014355/http://www.nupedia.com/pipermail/nupedia-l/2001-January/000676.html
> [3]
>
> http://web.archive.org/web/20030414021138/http://www.nupedia.com/pipermail/nupedia-l/2001-January/000680.html
> [4]
>
> http://web.archive.org/web/20010506042824/www.nupedia.com/pipermail/nupedia-l/2001-January/000684.html
> [5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view#History
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>



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Wikimedia Foundation
415.806.1536
*www.wikimediafoundation.org *
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-27 Thread Andreas Kolbe
On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 8:44 PM, Anna Stillwell 
wrote:

> Jimmy,
>
> I have a ridiculous amount of respect for you and what you have
> accomplished. I have watched from afar (I was living a lot in other
> countries) as this radical experiment in trust *exploded* on to the world.
> It blew my mind. And some of the early rules that were set were nothing
> short of genius (e.g. NPOV, AGF and due weight come to mind). It was an
> ideal experiment: an open frontier with simple, limited rule sets. And the
> icing on the cake is that "citation needed" ended up not just influencing
> how I thought about an encyclopedic text, but how I thought about
> discussing ideas.
>

Anna,

Hold on just a moment. :)

It's important to understand that Jimmy Wales didn't accomplish the things
you speak of alone.

First of all, the person who originally had the idea for Wikipedia was
Larry Sanger.[1] Jimmy Wales reportedly thought at the time people would
find the idea of an encyclopedia anyone can edit "objectionable".[2]

But he let Sanger try it. That it "took off" was a surprise to everyone at
the time!

Sanger coined the name "Wikipedia"[3] and invited the first
contributors.[4] Sanger wrote Nupedia's Non-bias policy, the precursor to
NPOV, but Jimmy Wales made important input to the NPOV policy later on, in
particular the "due weight" principle.[5]

Sanger was Wikipedia's editor-in-chief in its early days, and had far more
hands-on involvement in guiding the development of the project in its
childhood. (Jimmy Wales made just 21 edits to Wikipedia in the year 2002,
according to his edit history, while Sanger made hundreds.)

"Assume good faith" was created by Morwen in March 2004. I'm not aware that
Jimmy Wales had any role in its creation (he was hardly around on-wiki in
the months prior to March 2004).

So let's not forget that Wikipedia has always been the work of many people.
:) That includes its fundamental policies.



> So it is from that genuine respect base that I disagree with you on this
> particular point:
>
> "> 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.
>
> I supported it with sadness.  The whole thing is a sad train wreck."
>
> I do not think this is a train wreck. I think this is one of the hottest
> moments since this genius encyclopedia exploded onto the world.
>
> People are engaged.
>


Here I wholeheartedly agree with you. :) One of the best things to have
come out of this is that there are bonds between volunteers and staff that
have never been there before. These are exciting times.

Best,
Andreas

[1]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2001-October/000671.html
[2]
http://web.archive.org/web/20030414014355/http://www.nupedia.com/pipermail/nupedia-l/2001-January/000676.html
[3]
http://web.archive.org/web/20030414021138/http://www.nupedia.com/pipermail/nupedia-l/2001-January/000680.html
[4]
http://web.archive.org/web/20010506042824/www.nupedia.com/pipermail/nupedia-l/2001-January/000684.html
[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view#History
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-27 Thread Jimmy Wales
On 2/26/16 9:17 PM, Fæ wrote:
> I hope you will be able to address nagging concerns about your
> personal support for keeping the search project a secret last year,

Sure - I never supported keeping the proposed and approved work on
Discovery and Search secret last year at all.  I don't know of anyone
who did.  The failure to sufficiently disclose happened, but it was not
a point that was discussed at the board level to my knowledge.  I don't
know of any board members, past or present, who think or thought that
such things should be kept from the community.

It is my longstanding and continued position that the Foundation should
be as open as legally possible with only a very limited degree of
non-disclosure, mostly around legal matters and around employee matters.
 There are a few other examples, too, like price negotiations with
vendors, and so on like that.  With regard to our long term strategy, I
continue to strongly support that everything should not only be
disclosed to the community, but that it makes no sense for it to be in
conflict with the community, and that very often it should be led by the
community in consultation with the Foundation.

> and your conflict of loyalties during that process, shortly after your
> visit. 

I did not have any conflict of loyalties during that process.  Spending
a reasonable portion of our IT budget on an ambitious project to improve
search and discovery, and to conduct research and community consultation
on that, is a great idea for Wikipedia and for the broader Wikimedia
movement and I strongly support it.


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

2016-02-27 Thread Jimmy Wales
On 2/27/16 12:15 AM, Brion Vibber wrote:
> When it comes to your employees, setting the bozo bit is a *really* bad
> antipattern. Doubly so when they're coming out of a bad situation and have
> a lot to tell you.

I completely agree with this - let me remind the context of my remark.

For employees dealing with the community, particularly new employees,
there can be a lot of WMF-bashing and employee bashing that really
hurts.  People who have been around for a long time tend to come to an
understanding about people's ways of communicating and personality
styles.  This means that it's possible to understand that person A (a
person who habitually makes accusations and doesn't assume good faith)
screaming about something means something very different from person A
(a person who generally doesn't make drama and who tries to see the best
in things and people).

We had some disastrous rollouts of bad software in recent years.  This
has led, in my view, to a kind of vicious cycle - a loss of trust in the
Foundation means that people view new developments with a hostility that
is often excessive.  Employees who get beaten up over such things tend
to find it very unpleasant, particularly in those cases (we've all seen
examples) where the attacks get personal.  ("This software is buggy" not
easy to hear, but is an ok and honest remark.  "These developers are
idiots and the WMF is yet again trying to attack and destroy the
community" is very likely to give rise to a fear and also a disinterest
in engaging.  That's not good.

> I'm pretty sure that's not something you'll disagree with, but it's one of
> those things that we easily find ourselves doing wrong, and have to watch
> out for.

You are right on both points!

--Jimbo

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

2016-02-27 Thread Anna Stillwell
Jimmy,

I have a ridiculous amount of respect for you and what you have
accomplished. I have watched from afar (I was living a lot in other
countries) as this radical experiment in trust *exploded* on to the world.
It blew my mind. And some of the early rules that were set were nothing
short of genius (e.g. NPOV, AGF and due weight come to mind). It was an
ideal experiment: an open frontier with simple, limited rule sets. And the
icing on the cake is that "citation needed" ended up not just influencing
how I thought about an encyclopedic text, but how I thought about
discussing ideas.

So it is from that genuine respect base that I disagree with you on this
particular point:

"> 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.

I supported it with sadness.  The whole thing is a sad train wreck."

I do not think this is a train wreck. I think this is one of the hottest
moments since this genius encyclopedia exploded onto the world.

People are engaged.

Rock on,
/a

On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 11:59 AM, Anna Stillwell 
wrote:

> "I don't think what Anna described requires "a build-out" of HR.  What I
> am reading is a description of what HR should *already be*, and,
> crucially, *once used to be*."
>
> You're exactly right, Asaf. That's what I meant. Thank you for the
> clarification.
>
> /a
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 11:53 AM, Asaf Bartov 
> wrote:
>
>> On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 11:37 AM, phoebe ayers 
>> wrote:
>>
>> > On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 2:30 PM, Anna Stillwell
>> >  wrote:
>> >
>> > > Before adding another layer of process and reporting and complexity
>> > > structurally, we should more likely try to renew the heart of HR and
>> > allow
>> > > them to work with Legal in partnership as they had done so well
>> > throughout
>> > > our entire history.
>> >
>> > Fair, and I certainly appreciate this. To be clear my idea is only for
>> > a temporary position -- only a few months at most, really -- and could
>> > certainly happen concurrently with such a build-out of HR.
>> >
>>
>> I don't think what Anna described requires "a build-out" of HR.  What I am
>> reading is a description of what HR should *already be*, and, crucially,
>> *once used to be*.
>>
>> I second Anna (who, by the way, *is* one of those "people other people
>> turn
>> to", or "unappointed toxin handlers" mentioned) in everything she said.
>> If
>> the board would choose to pay attention, it would find new behaviors in HR
>> that veer away from our values, and that occasionally violate WMF's own
>> stated policies.  (one quick example: formally censuring an employee [not
>> me] without their direct manager present, or even informed.)
>>
>> I encourage looking into this, and doing whatever is necessary to "renew
>> the heart of HR".
>>
>>A.
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>
>
>
> --
> Anna Stillwell
> Major Gifts Officer
> Wikimedia Foundation
> 415.806.1536
> *www.wikimediafoundation.org *
>
>


-- 
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415.806.1536
*www.wikimediafoundation.org *
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-27 Thread Anna Stillwell
"I don't think what Anna described requires "a build-out" of HR.  What
I am reading
is a description of what HR should *already be*, and, crucially, *once used
to be*."

You're exactly right, Asaf. That's what I meant. Thank you for the
clarification.

/a







On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 11:53 AM, Asaf Bartov  wrote:

> On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 11:37 AM, phoebe ayers 
> wrote:
>
> > On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 2:30 PM, Anna Stillwell
> >  wrote:
> >
> > > Before adding another layer of process and reporting and complexity
> > > structurally, we should more likely try to renew the heart of HR and
> > allow
> > > them to work with Legal in partnership as they had done so well
> > throughout
> > > our entire history.
> >
> > Fair, and I certainly appreciate this. To be clear my idea is only for
> > a temporary position -- only a few months at most, really -- and could
> > certainly happen concurrently with such a build-out of HR.
> >
>
> I don't think what Anna described requires "a build-out" of HR.  What I am
> reading is a description of what HR should *already be*, and, crucially,
> *once used to be*.
>
> I second Anna (who, by the way, *is* one of those "people other people turn
> to", or "unappointed toxin handlers" mentioned) in everything she said.  If
> the board would choose to pay attention, it would find new behaviors in HR
> that veer away from our values, and that occasionally violate WMF's own
> stated policies.  (one quick example: formally censuring an employee [not
> me] without their direct manager present, or even informed.)
>
> I encourage looking into this, and doing whatever is necessary to "renew
> the heart of HR".
>
>A.
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-- 
Anna Stillwell
Major Gifts Officer
Wikimedia Foundation
415.806.1536
*www.wikimediafoundation.org *
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-27 Thread Anna Stillwell
I think that sounds like a good idea. Some extra, temporary support would
be useful. But I worry about how reporting lines could lead to duplicative
efforts and a lack of coherence.

If we get the right humans in human resources and then we also have someone
reporting to the ED...

As an employee, which person am I supposed to go to? Is this a matter of
personal preference or some structurally privileged channel? Are they
coordinating with each other? Might they both be working on similar issues
and not know it?...

Might all of this lead to employees losing confidence that the right hand
knows what the left hand is doing? Might an unintended consequence be a
further drop in trust?

From my vantage point, which is far from complete, it would be better to
bring extra support to HR at this time of need. Get that group of people
together, allow them a bit of space to clarify and explain their
philosophical stance toward employees (expectations are important!), and
let them fix this problem.

That's my take. What do you think about that? Do you see it differently? Am
I missing something?

Warmly,
/a

On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 11:37 AM, phoebe ayers 
wrote:

> On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 2:30 PM, Anna Stillwell
>  wrote:
>
> > Before adding another layer of process and reporting and complexity
> > structurally, we should more likely try to renew the heart of HR and
> allow
> > them to work with Legal in partnership as they had done so well
> throughout
> > our entire history.
>
> Fair, and I certainly appreciate this. To be clear my idea is only for
> a temporary position -- only a few months at most, really -- and could
> certainly happen concurrently with such a build-out of HR.
>
> Phoebe
>
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>



-- 
Anna Stillwell
Major Gifts Officer
Wikimedia Foundation
415.806.1536
*www.wikimediafoundation.org *
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-27 Thread Asaf Bartov
On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 11:37 AM, phoebe ayers 
wrote:

> On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 2:30 PM, Anna Stillwell
>  wrote:
>
> > Before adding another layer of process and reporting and complexity
> > structurally, we should more likely try to renew the heart of HR and
> allow
> > them to work with Legal in partnership as they had done so well
> throughout
> > our entire history.
>
> Fair, and I certainly appreciate this. To be clear my idea is only for
> a temporary position -- only a few months at most, really -- and could
> certainly happen concurrently with such a build-out of HR.
>

I don't think what Anna described requires "a build-out" of HR.  What I am
reading is a description of what HR should *already be*, and, crucially,
*once used to be*.

I second Anna (who, by the way, *is* one of those "people other people turn
to", or "unappointed toxin handlers" mentioned) in everything she said.  If
the board would choose to pay attention, it would find new behaviors in HR
that veer away from our values, and that occasionally violate WMF's own
stated policies.  (one quick example: formally censuring an employee [not
me] without their direct manager present, or even informed.)

I encourage looking into this, and doing whatever is necessary to "renew
the heart of HR".

   A.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-27 Thread phoebe ayers
On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 2:30 PM, Anna Stillwell
 wrote:

> Before adding another layer of process and reporting and complexity
> structurally, we should more likely try to renew the heart of HR and allow
> them to work with Legal in partnership as they had done so well throughout
> our entire history.

Fair, and I certainly appreciate this. To be clear my idea is only for
a temporary position -- only a few months at most, really -- and could
certainly happen concurrently with such a build-out of HR.

Phoebe

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

2016-02-27 Thread Anna Stillwell
 Phoebe,

Thank you for your post and the shout out. And Oliver, I appreciate where
you are coming from.

Ideally, if HR functions properly (e.g., both legally protects the
interests of the foundation AND caringly relates with employees as real
human beings), then this role should already be fulfilled. In that case, I
would see no need for an ombudsperson.

And that function was previously fulfilled at the Foundation. I know,
because I worked in HR in Learning and Org Dev under Gayle Karen Young and
in collaboration with Joady Lohr, who still occupies her post. We were a
unique team, willing to grapple with tough trade-offs to both protect the
foundation and respect the basic agency and dignity of our people.

When Gayle left, Joady and I did a good job of maintaining for as long as
we could. Joady managed operations like a master and I spent my time with
people, listening to them, building their skills, and helping them find
ways to solve their own problems with my support... problems of process,
strategy, collaboration, decision making, all the way to existential
problems (e.g., the death of a friend, the sick wife, the complicated
marriage). So I speak with some authority when I say that these are a
bright, capable group of people. I know them.

But for a series of reasons that we should no longer focus on, Joady and I
were not able to maintain our previously unique stance with staff. For a
brief moment, in spring of last year, Lila offered me the role of
ombudsperson. It never materialized. I moved to Major Gifts, but that's no
my point. My point is that I came to see the emerging need for the role of
ombudsperson was because HR had been somewhat strip mined of its heart.

Before adding another layer of process and reporting and complexity
structurally, we should more likely try to renew the heart of HR and allow
them to work with Legal in partnership as they had done so well throughout
our entire history.

Warmly,
/a

On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 11:08 AM, Oliver Keyes  wrote:

> On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 1:38 PM, phoebe ayers 
> wrote:
> > On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 12:43 PM, Anna Stillwell
> >  wrote:
> >>  +1 to what Oliver and Vibber said.
> >>
> >> The situation is still delicate, Jimmy.
> >>
> >> Staff are being extremely kind to one another. I was blown away by the
> >> respect and care that staff showed toward *the entire situation
> yesterday *when
> >> we met as a group*.* We were mature, measured, civil, reasonable and
> >> supporting and trusting of one another. Last but not least, we were
> forward
> >> thinking.
> >
> > This is great! I am glad to hear it.
> >
> > One thought. Given that it is a complex situation, with many
> > individual reactions and experiences as Brion points out, I wonder if
> > it would be good for the organization to appoint a temporary, but
> > on-site, omsbud who could listen to staff needs (...and those of
> > contractors, and those working closely with staff).
> >
> > I'm imagining someone who could both be a sounding board outside of
> > current structures, and who could assist any interim ED -- who
> > themselves will likely not have enough to time to do all of this and
> > also run the organization. An omsbud could triage issues: from those
> > requiring changes in process or even Board attention to those that can
> > be dealt with in other ways. And they could provide a place for those
> > who simply want to vent or discuss can do so. Ideally it would be
> > someone respected, empathetic and open, and with channels and
> > influence at a high level, but not someone with too much history at
> > the organization -- especially not recent history.
> >
> > I suggest this because I worry about the emotional load on people at
> > the WMF who others turn to the most -- people who are respected and
> > empathetic and thus have no doubt gotten a lot of extra work to do in
> > listening to their colleagues in recent months. I worry about people
> > who don't feel like they have anyplace to turn.  And I worry that the
> > official structures in place to report areas where change is needed
> > may not be sufficient given large-scale dissatisfaction.
> >
> > I think Jimmy's heart is absolutely in the right place for wanting to
> > listen to staff and I commend him for it, and for doing what many of
> > the other trustees are likely logistically unable to do right now. But
> > even he doesn't have enough time or energy to be at the WMF for a few
> > months, and calmly help facilitate the organizational processing that
> > seems like needs to happen. I think that needs to be a separate,
> > actual position, even if just for a brief period. And ideally, such a
> > position would not get in the way of but rather be able to facilitate
> > and sustain the self-generated group dynamic of support and energy for
> > forward momentum that Anna describes.
>
> I think this is a fantastic suggestion. We currently have an 

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

2016-02-27 Thread Oliver Keyes
On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 1:38 PM, phoebe ayers  wrote:
> On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 12:43 PM, Anna Stillwell
>  wrote:
>>  +1 to what Oliver and Vibber said.
>>
>> The situation is still delicate, Jimmy.
>>
>> Staff are being extremely kind to one another. I was blown away by the
>> respect and care that staff showed toward *the entire situation yesterday 
>> *when
>> we met as a group*.* We were mature, measured, civil, reasonable and
>> supporting and trusting of one another. Last but not least, we were forward
>> thinking.
>
> This is great! I am glad to hear it.
>
> One thought. Given that it is a complex situation, with many
> individual reactions and experiences as Brion points out, I wonder if
> it would be good for the organization to appoint a temporary, but
> on-site, omsbud who could listen to staff needs (...and those of
> contractors, and those working closely with staff).
>
> I'm imagining someone who could both be a sounding board outside of
> current structures, and who could assist any interim ED -- who
> themselves will likely not have enough to time to do all of this and
> also run the organization. An omsbud could triage issues: from those
> requiring changes in process or even Board attention to those that can
> be dealt with in other ways. And they could provide a place for those
> who simply want to vent or discuss can do so. Ideally it would be
> someone respected, empathetic and open, and with channels and
> influence at a high level, but not someone with too much history at
> the organization -- especially not recent history.
>
> I suggest this because I worry about the emotional load on people at
> the WMF who others turn to the most -- people who are respected and
> empathetic and thus have no doubt gotten a lot of extra work to do in
> listening to their colleagues in recent months. I worry about people
> who don't feel like they have anyplace to turn.  And I worry that the
> official structures in place to report areas where change is needed
> may not be sufficient given large-scale dissatisfaction.
>
> I think Jimmy's heart is absolutely in the right place for wanting to
> listen to staff and I commend him for it, and for doing what many of
> the other trustees are likely logistically unable to do right now. But
> even he doesn't have enough time or energy to be at the WMF for a few
> months, and calmly help facilitate the organizational processing that
> seems like needs to happen. I think that needs to be a separate,
> actual position, even if just for a brief period. And ideally, such a
> position would not get in the way of but rather be able to facilitate
> and sustain the self-generated group dynamic of support and energy for
> forward momentum that Anna describes.

I think this is a fantastic suggestion. We currently have an Employee
Relations person, but an Ombudsman (who was actually promised to staff
last year) has yet to appear.

To perpetuate Anna's pattern of thankfulness, I am very very thankful
that internally these are issues we have actively begun to discuss:
both the need for specialist help with recovery (HR has been very good
at this) and the emotional cost of people taking on the role of "toxin
handler" without it being in their JD, and without it being recognised
as real work.

>
> -- Phoebe
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-27 Thread phoebe ayers
On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 12:43 PM, Anna Stillwell
 wrote:
>  +1 to what Oliver and Vibber said.
>
> The situation is still delicate, Jimmy.
>
> Staff are being extremely kind to one another. I was blown away by the
> respect and care that staff showed toward *the entire situation yesterday 
> *when
> we met as a group*.* We were mature, measured, civil, reasonable and
> supporting and trusting of one another. Last but not least, we were forward
> thinking.

This is great! I am glad to hear it.

One thought. Given that it is a complex situation, with many
individual reactions and experiences as Brion points out, I wonder if
it would be good for the organization to appoint a temporary, but
on-site, omsbud who could listen to staff needs (...and those of
contractors, and those working closely with staff).

I'm imagining someone who could both be a sounding board outside of
current structures, and who could assist any interim ED -- who
themselves will likely not have enough to time to do all of this and
also run the organization. An omsbud could triage issues: from those
requiring changes in process or even Board attention to those that can
be dealt with in other ways. And they could provide a place for those
who simply want to vent or discuss can do so. Ideally it would be
someone respected, empathetic and open, and with channels and
influence at a high level, but not someone with too much history at
the organization -- especially not recent history.

I suggest this because I worry about the emotional load on people at
the WMF who others turn to the most -- people who are respected and
empathetic and thus have no doubt gotten a lot of extra work to do in
listening to their colleagues in recent months. I worry about people
who don't feel like they have anyplace to turn.  And I worry that the
official structures in place to report areas where change is needed
may not be sufficient given large-scale dissatisfaction.

I think Jimmy's heart is absolutely in the right place for wanting to
listen to staff and I commend him for it, and for doing what many of
the other trustees are likely logistically unable to do right now. But
even he doesn't have enough time or energy to be at the WMF for a few
months, and calmly help facilitate the organizational processing that
seems like needs to happen. I think that needs to be a separate,
actual position, even if just for a brief period. And ideally, such a
position would not get in the way of but rather be able to facilitate
and sustain the self-generated group dynamic of support and energy for
forward momentum that Anna describes.

-- Phoebe

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

2016-02-27 Thread Lucas Teles
With all due respect to Lila's work, but IIRC before she started working
for Foundation, it was said that the technology background was very
important, but communication could be a problem. That may have been
disregarded because the choice was already made or because volunteers
complain about everything anyway.

We saw improvements on technology at the expense of hiding things from
community or using [super]force on its implementation. A topic suggestion
is to discuss when volunteer community became a barrier on Foundation plans
and how to deal with that peacefully.

Sincerely wishing useful meetings to staff and sending good vibes from the
volunteer/spectator part of the whole thing.


Em sábado, 27 de fevereiro de 2016, Anna Stillwell 
escreveu:

>  +1 to what Oliver and Vibber said.
>
> The situation is still delicate, Jimmy.
>
> Staff are being extremely kind to one another. I was blown away by the
> respect and care that staff showed toward *the entire situation yesterday
> *when
> we met as a group*.* We were mature, measured, civil, reasonable and
> supporting and trusting of one another. Last but not least, we were forward
> thinking.
>
> Still, we've all been through something quite significant and we need a lot
> of care and feeding. This isn't to say that we can't have contentious
> discourse (I, for one, love to battle it out on ideas), but I think we
> would all really appreciate it if you step lightly. It's been really
> intense and I am no delicate flower.
>
> Further, although there are a variety of temperaments and responses to what
> happened, there is very little disagreement that the right decision was
> finally made. Actually, I have yet to find any disagreement--only deep
> relief. I have not spoken to everyone, but I have connected with and
> listened to a lot of people. So the idea that there are (or were) just a
> small group of consistent complainers, is not what I have seen and I have
> been on the ground the entire time. In fact, I saw the opposite. I saw
> people go out of their way, extend AGF beyond any reasonable application,
> and then arrive at a similar, if not identical, conclusion.
>
> There appears to have been a story that has succeeded (and been actively
> perpetuated) in some circles for some time. It's a story that paints staff
> as change averse luddites. It may have been told in a slightly more
> friendly manner in public, but that is the thesis if you dig into it. It
> was top notch spin, but it's not true.
>
> The really powerful and disarming story about what's actually going on
> inside? We are a thriving group of capable and principled people coming
> together to do right by a mission and community that we are genuinely
> devoted to. And that is the only part of what's recently happened that
> feels really, really good.
>
> I believe that staff have proven themselves to be legitimate stakeholders
> in this movement. We are worthy of your respect. We are worthy of the
> movement's respect.
>
> Warmly,
> /a
>
> On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 4:15 PM, Brion Vibber  > wrote:
>
> > On Feb 26, 2016 3:30 PM, "Oliver Keyes"  > wrote:
> > >
> > > 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 legitimate - dismissed.
> >
> > Seconded all this from Oliver.
> >
> > To Jimmy: we've been doing Wikipedia and Wikimedia a long time, you and
> I.
> > :) And in that time we've both learned good and bad habits.
> >
> > One of those bad habits is known as "setting the bozo bit" in old school
> > geek culture: http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?SetTheBozoBit
> >
> > Tuning out the concerns of people 

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

2016-02-27 Thread Anna Stillwell
 +1 to what Oliver and Vibber said.

The situation is still delicate, Jimmy.

Staff are being extremely kind to one another. I was blown away by the
respect and care that staff showed toward *the entire situation yesterday *when
we met as a group*.* We were mature, measured, civil, reasonable and
supporting and trusting of one another. Last but not least, we were forward
thinking.

Still, we've all been through something quite significant and we need a lot
of care and feeding. This isn't to say that we can't have contentious
discourse (I, for one, love to battle it out on ideas), but I think we
would all really appreciate it if you step lightly. It's been really
intense and I am no delicate flower.

Further, although there are a variety of temperaments and responses to what
happened, there is very little disagreement that the right decision was
finally made. Actually, I have yet to find any disagreement--only deep
relief. I have not spoken to everyone, but I have connected with and
listened to a lot of people. So the idea that there are (or were) just a
small group of consistent complainers, is not what I have seen and I have
been on the ground the entire time. In fact, I saw the opposite. I saw
people go out of their way, extend AGF beyond any reasonable application,
and then arrive at a similar, if not identical, conclusion.

There appears to have been a story that has succeeded (and been actively
perpetuated) in some circles for some time. It's a story that paints staff
as change averse luddites. It may have been told in a slightly more
friendly manner in public, but that is the thesis if you dig into it. It
was top notch spin, but it's not true.

The really powerful and disarming story about what's actually going on
inside? We are a thriving group of capable and principled people coming
together to do right by a mission and community that we are genuinely
devoted to. And that is the only part of what's recently happened that
feels really, really good.

I believe that staff have proven themselves to be legitimate stakeholders
in this movement. We are worthy of your respect. We are worthy of the
movement's respect.

Warmly,
/a

On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 4:15 PM, Brion Vibber  wrote:

> On Feb 26, 2016 3:30 PM, "Oliver Keyes"  wrote:
> >
> > 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 legitimate - dismissed.
>
> Seconded all this from Oliver.
>
> To Jimmy: we've been doing Wikipedia and Wikimedia a long time, you and I.
> :) And in that time we've both learned good and bad habits.
>
> One of those bad habits is known as "setting the bozo bit" in old school
> geek culture: http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?SetTheBozoBit
>
> Tuning out the concerns of people because they often disagree makes our own
> lives easier on the short term, but at best it's a risk that you'll lose
> useful feedback, and at worst you can alienate people who could have become
> allies on some other topic... Or helped you avoid a sticky situation they
> saw coming that you didn't.
>
> It's something I've tried very hard to get away from when I interact with
> other developers and users. And sometimes it's really hard. But a lot of
> the people I unset the bit from are now doing amazing things... Some of
> them now work for you as WMF developers and managers, and I'm glad I didn't
> mistreat them early on.
>
> When it comes to your employees, setting the bozo bit is a *really* bad
> antipattern. Doubly so when they're coming out of a bad situation and have
> a lot to tell you.
>
> This is the time to listen honestly even (especially?) to those whose
> narratives mismatch your own.
>
> I'm pretty sure that's not something you'll disagree with, but 

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

2016-02-27 Thread Andreas Kolbe
Well, Jimmy Wales has said here in this discussion that he is "continuing
to push for more disclosure and more openness."

Maybe he'll be so kind as to tell you now that you can publish that NDA
here on this list without fear of repercussions. I think we all agree that
kind of fear should have no place in the WMF.

Andreas

On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 1:22 PM, Oliver Keyes  wrote:

> Anthony has hit the nail on the head here with "could be used to
> punish or intimidate staff"; the reason I, at least, am uncomfortable
> talking about the internal details here (beyond the obvious PR
> elements for the Foundation) is that there's a lot of ongoing fear
> about repercussions. A couple of years ago this wouldn't have been the
> case.
>
> (This also indirectly answers the "can we see your NDA?" question. I
> don't know. And hell, I'm this scared having *already quit*.)
>
> More guidance, and public guidance at that, would be deeply
> appreciated. Within the Discovery Analytics team we've gone out of our
> way to write up pretty all-encompassing guidelines specifically for
> data (which I look forward to being able to publish pretty soon - we
> just got clearance to do so). It would be nice to have more firm
> guidance on what we should do with transparency around other kinds of
> information. It would, of course, be even nicer if we could rebuild
> trust, since that's the source of a lot of the fear.
>
> On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 6:40 AM, Anthony Cole  wrote:
> > It's not just NDAs that constrain you, staff. The WMF code of conduct
> >  (that
> > applies to staff and trustees) reads,
> >
> > "People acting on the Foundation’s behalf must respect and maintain the
> > confidentiality of sensitive information they have gained due to their
> > association with the Foundation. This may include personal information
> > about community members or members of the general public, and/or
> > information about the internal workings of the Foundation or its partners
> > or suppliers."
> >
> > "Information about the internal workings of the Foundation" is extremely
> > broad and vague, and could be used to punish or intimidate staff who talk
> > openly about anything. Perhaps you could add "some" ("some information
> > about the internal workings of the Foundation") and leave it to the
> > individual NDAs to specify what "some" means. Or perhaps you could just
> be
> > specific in the code of conduct.
> >
> > Anthony Cole
> >
> >
> > On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 6:51 PM, James Alexander <
> jalexan...@wikimedia.org>
> > wrote:
> >
> >> On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 11:17 PM, Pine W  wrote:
> >>
> >> > Something that I would like to understand is why so much WMF
> information
> >> is
> >> > cloaked under NDAs. It seems to me that this is philosophically at
> odds
> >> > with the values of the community, makes for poor governance, and
> provides
> >> > cover for opportunities for mischief. I hope that recent events will
> >> prompt
> >> > WMF to rethink its habits and assumptions in the realms of
> transparency,
> >> > openness, and values alignment.
> >> >
> >> > Pine
> >> >
> >>
> >> While on a base level I agree with you I feel its important to add some
> >> caveats to that. I think a good portion of this is actually everyone
> >> needing a better understanding about what 'is' expected to be private
> (and
> >> preferably why) from Management on down. I think a lot of what people
> are
> >> calling "under the NDA" may not be :).
> >>
> >> I also think it's important to consider the categories of private
> >> data/information too, however, because i fear we (both the staff and the
> >> community) use "under NDA" as a very broad and note always accurate
> >> description. The way I see it there is:
> >>
> >>
> >>1. Private WMF Data or information that is most definetly covered by
> the
> >>NDA: examples include most donor data, attorney-client privileged
> >>information, information that is legally protected, information we
> >> protect
> >>via official public policy etc.
> >>2. Information and notes that really don't need to be private: This
> is
> >>the stuff we're talking about releasing.
> >>3. Inter personal/team discussions and similar.
> >>
> >> [sorry, this turned out tldr, apologies. TLDR: Careful demanding
> sharing of
> >> internal team discussions]
> >>
> >> 3. I actually think is really important because it is not what we think
> of
> >> when we think of private information (and, honestly, probably isn't
> under
> >> the NDA usually) but can be very important to be kept privately even if
> the
> >> end result of the discussion should be made public etc.. This is
> especially
> >> true to allow open conversations between staff members. Not only do they
> >> need to feel comfortable bringing up crazy idea A (which some are now
> and
> >> could probably be done more with culture 

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

2016-02-27 Thread Samuel Klein
Dear Brion, your comments in this thread were wonderfully clear. Thank you.
On Feb 26, 2016 8:15 PM, "Brion Vibber"  wrote:

> Just a quick note:
>
> * some of the big staff conversations are indeed being very carefully
> note-taken or recorded internally. We are being very careful to plan and
> communicate how open they will be ahead of time and keep them both honest
> and not scary. I would not expect them to be made public (the ones made so
> far will definitely not because we already told people they were private to
> staff, and people have to be able to trust us on this stuff.)
>
> * There is also a big need for private conversations, which means many/most
> of these talks won't be recorded and definitely would not be made public in
> detail. Many won't feel comfortable in a recorded conversation. Many still
> won't feel comfortable in a large group that's not recorded. Many still
> won't feel comfortable in a small group conversation. And others still
> won't feel comfortable opening up in a 1:1 private conversation with
> someone in a power position at their employer.
>
> * it's also important to remember that people are individuals and have
> different experiences. Not everyone interprets or experiences the same
> events or in the same way. Some staff members are not comfortable
> expressing their experiences and feelings because they feel different from
> those speaking more loudly, or found the recent internal and public
> discussions more directly traumatic to themselves than what they
> experienced during the previous administration -- in which case a more
> private environment helps avoid the concern about feeling out of lock step
> or being treated as an ignorant outsider for not having shared the same
> issue.
>
> I think it's very important to have all of those levels of conversations,
> and distill and spread around the core issues, fears, hopes in a way that's
> safe, fair, and useful. And honestly I'd prioritize safe and fair over
> useful in some respects.
>
> Totally agree that facilitated conversations can be useful. There's at
> least some informal stuff going on but I hope we have some more
> purpose-designed facilitated discussions too.
>
> And I think some of us *would* love to have public talks about making
> things better -- such as those of us posting here. But that's going to be
> very distinct from what I think we're looking at this week.
>
> -- brion
> On Feb 26, 2016 4:13 PM, "Pete Forsyth"  wrote:
>
> > 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.
> > > > >
> > > 

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

2016-02-27 Thread Oliver Keyes
Anthony has hit the nail on the head here with "could be used to
punish or intimidate staff"; the reason I, at least, am uncomfortable
talking about the internal details here (beyond the obvious PR
elements for the Foundation) is that there's a lot of ongoing fear
about repercussions. A couple of years ago this wouldn't have been the
case.

(This also indirectly answers the "can we see your NDA?" question. I
don't know. And hell, I'm this scared having *already quit*.)

More guidance, and public guidance at that, would be deeply
appreciated. Within the Discovery Analytics team we've gone out of our
way to write up pretty all-encompassing guidelines specifically for
data (which I look forward to being able to publish pretty soon - we
just got clearance to do so). It would be nice to have more firm
guidance on what we should do with transparency around other kinds of
information. It would, of course, be even nicer if we could rebuild
trust, since that's the source of a lot of the fear.

On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 6:40 AM, Anthony Cole  wrote:
> It's not just NDAs that constrain you, staff. The WMF code of conduct
>  (that
> applies to staff and trustees) reads,
>
> "People acting on the Foundation’s behalf must respect and maintain the
> confidentiality of sensitive information they have gained due to their
> association with the Foundation. This may include personal information
> about community members or members of the general public, and/or
> information about the internal workings of the Foundation or its partners
> or suppliers."
>
> "Information about the internal workings of the Foundation" is extremely
> broad and vague, and could be used to punish or intimidate staff who talk
> openly about anything. Perhaps you could add "some" ("some information
> about the internal workings of the Foundation") and leave it to the
> individual NDAs to specify what "some" means. Or perhaps you could just be
> specific in the code of conduct.
>
> Anthony Cole
>
>
> On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 6:51 PM, James Alexander 
> wrote:
>
>> On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 11:17 PM, Pine W  wrote:
>>
>> > Something that I would like to understand is why so much WMF information
>> is
>> > cloaked under NDAs. It seems to me that this is philosophically at odds
>> > with the values of the community, makes for poor governance, and provides
>> > cover for opportunities for mischief. I hope that recent events will
>> prompt
>> > WMF to rethink its habits and assumptions in the realms of transparency,
>> > openness, and values alignment.
>> >
>> > Pine
>> >
>>
>> While on a base level I agree with you I feel its important to add some
>> caveats to that. I think a good portion of this is actually everyone
>> needing a better understanding about what 'is' expected to be private (and
>> preferably why) from Management on down. I think a lot of what people are
>> calling "under the NDA" may not be :).
>>
>> I also think it's important to consider the categories of private
>> data/information too, however, because i fear we (both the staff and the
>> community) use "under NDA" as a very broad and note always accurate
>> description. The way I see it there is:
>>
>>
>>1. Private WMF Data or information that is most definetly covered by the
>>NDA: examples include most donor data, attorney-client privileged
>>information, information that is legally protected, information we
>> protect
>>via official public policy etc.
>>2. Information and notes that really don't need to be private: This is
>>the stuff we're talking about releasing.
>>3. Inter personal/team discussions and similar.
>>
>> [sorry, this turned out tldr, apologies. TLDR: Careful demanding sharing of
>> internal team discussions]
>>
>> 3. I actually think is really important because it is not what we think of
>> when we think of private information (and, honestly, probably isn't under
>> the NDA usually) but can be very important to be kept privately even if the
>> end result of the discussion should be made public etc.. This is especially
>> true to allow open conversations between staff members. Not only do they
>> need to feel comfortable bringing up crazy idea A (which some are now and
>> could probably be done more with culture change, possible on both the
>> community and WMF sides) but they need to feel comfortable saying that
>> crazy idea A is crazy and bad for reasons X,Y and Z.
>>
>> Lodewijk made my main point well in the thread about Lawrence Lessig:
>> People get very uncomfortable talking about others in public. If Staff
>> member B is breaking apart Staff member A's proposal there is a good chance
>> at least one of them is going to be feeling very uncomfortable about it.
>> That discomfort often gets much bigger the more people who see what's
>> happening either because they feel more shame (to pick just one of the
>> 

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

2016-02-27 Thread Anthony Cole
It's not just NDAs that constrain you, staff. The WMF code of conduct
 (that
applies to staff and trustees) reads,

"People acting on the Foundation’s behalf must respect and maintain the
confidentiality of sensitive information they have gained due to their
association with the Foundation. This may include personal information
about community members or members of the general public, and/or
information about the internal workings of the Foundation or its partners
or suppliers."

"Information about the internal workings of the Foundation" is extremely
broad and vague, and could be used to punish or intimidate staff who talk
openly about anything. Perhaps you could add "some" ("some information
about the internal workings of the Foundation") and leave it to the
individual NDAs to specify what "some" means. Or perhaps you could just be
specific in the code of conduct.

Anthony Cole


On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 6:51 PM, James Alexander 
wrote:

> On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 11:17 PM, Pine W  wrote:
>
> > Something that I would like to understand is why so much WMF information
> is
> > cloaked under NDAs. It seems to me that this is philosophically at odds
> > with the values of the community, makes for poor governance, and provides
> > cover for opportunities for mischief. I hope that recent events will
> prompt
> > WMF to rethink its habits and assumptions in the realms of transparency,
> > openness, and values alignment.
> >
> > Pine
> >
>
> While on a base level I agree with you I feel its important to add some
> caveats to that. I think a good portion of this is actually everyone
> needing a better understanding about what 'is' expected to be private (and
> preferably why) from Management on down. I think a lot of what people are
> calling "under the NDA" may not be :).
>
> I also think it's important to consider the categories of private
> data/information too, however, because i fear we (both the staff and the
> community) use "under NDA" as a very broad and note always accurate
> description. The way I see it there is:
>
>
>1. Private WMF Data or information that is most definetly covered by the
>NDA: examples include most donor data, attorney-client privileged
>information, information that is legally protected, information we
> protect
>via official public policy etc.
>2. Information and notes that really don't need to be private: This is
>the stuff we're talking about releasing.
>3. Inter personal/team discussions and similar.
>
> [sorry, this turned out tldr, apologies. TLDR: Careful demanding sharing of
> internal team discussions]
>
> 3. I actually think is really important because it is not what we think of
> when we think of private information (and, honestly, probably isn't under
> the NDA usually) but can be very important to be kept privately even if the
> end result of the discussion should be made public etc.. This is especially
> true to allow open conversations between staff members. Not only do they
> need to feel comfortable bringing up crazy idea A (which some are now and
> could probably be done more with culture change, possible on both the
> community and WMF sides) but they need to feel comfortable saying that
> crazy idea A is crazy and bad for reasons X,Y and Z.
>
> Lodewijk made my main point well in the thread about Lawrence Lessig:
> People get very uncomfortable talking about others in public. If Staff
> member B is breaking apart Staff member A's proposal there is a good chance
> at least one of them is going to be feeling very uncomfortable about it.
> That discomfort often gets much bigger the more people who see what's
> happening either because they feel more shame (to pick just one of the
> emotions you can feel in that type of situation) or because they feel like
> they're doing more shaming then they want to do. That expanded discomfort
> can make them significantly less likely to do any number of things we don't
> want: get more defensive/less willing to change, be less wiling to propose
> those bold ideas that could be really great (or not), be less willing to
> speak out against the bad ideas etc.
>
> The other reason is another one that I imagine we're all familiar with on
> wiki: The more people who pile on in one direction (even if it's only 2-3
> frequently) (and in my experience the more public that discussion) the less
> likely people are going to be to oppose what the direction those initial
> commentators/voters/blah went. Suddenly people feel like they need to
> defend their opinion much more then they would otherwise or that they could
> be faced with angry opposition. These concerns are certainly possible on
> internal teams and mailing lists (the WMF Staff list is somewhat famous for
> people being afraid to pile on after a lot of people went the other way and
> I know some, including me, are trying to change that)  but 

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

2016-02-27 Thread James Alexander
On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 11:17 PM, Pine W  wrote:

> Something that I would like to understand is why so much WMF information is
> cloaked under NDAs. It seems to me that this is philosophically at odds
> with the values of the community, makes for poor governance, and provides
> cover for opportunities for mischief. I hope that recent events will prompt
> WMF to rethink its habits and assumptions in the realms of transparency,
> openness, and values alignment.
>
> Pine
>

While on a base level I agree with you I feel its important to add some
caveats to that. I think a good portion of this is actually everyone
needing a better understanding about what 'is' expected to be private (and
preferably why) from Management on down. I think a lot of what people are
calling "under the NDA" may not be :).

I also think it's important to consider the categories of private
data/information too, however, because i fear we (both the staff and the
community) use "under NDA" as a very broad and note always accurate
description. The way I see it there is:


   1. Private WMF Data or information that is most definetly covered by the
   NDA: examples include most donor data, attorney-client privileged
   information, information that is legally protected, information we protect
   via official public policy etc.
   2. Information and notes that really don't need to be private: This is
   the stuff we're talking about releasing.
   3. Inter personal/team discussions and similar.

[sorry, this turned out tldr, apologies. TLDR: Careful demanding sharing of
internal team discussions]

3. I actually think is really important because it is not what we think of
when we think of private information (and, honestly, probably isn't under
the NDA usually) but can be very important to be kept privately even if the
end result of the discussion should be made public etc.. This is especially
true to allow open conversations between staff members. Not only do they
need to feel comfortable bringing up crazy idea A (which some are now and
could probably be done more with culture change, possible on both the
community and WMF sides) but they need to feel comfortable saying that
crazy idea A is crazy and bad for reasons X,Y and Z.

Lodewijk made my main point well in the thread about Lawrence Lessig:
People get very uncomfortable talking about others in public. If Staff
member B is breaking apart Staff member A's proposal there is a good chance
at least one of them is going to be feeling very uncomfortable about it.
That discomfort often gets much bigger the more people who see what's
happening either because they feel more shame (to pick just one of the
emotions you can feel in that type of situation) or because they feel like
they're doing more shaming then they want to do. That expanded discomfort
can make them significantly less likely to do any number of things we don't
want: get more defensive/less willing to change, be less wiling to propose
those bold ideas that could be really great (or not), be less willing to
speak out against the bad ideas etc.

The other reason is another one that I imagine we're all familiar with on
wiki: The more people who pile on in one direction (even if it's only 2-3
frequently) (and in my experience the more public that discussion) the less
likely people are going to be to oppose what the direction those initial
commentators/voters/blah went. Suddenly people feel like they need to
defend their opinion much more then they would otherwise or that they could
be faced with angry opposition. These concerns are certainly possible on
internal teams and mailing lists (the WMF Staff list is somewhat famous for
people being afraid to pile on after a lot of people went the other way and
I know some, including me, are trying to change that)  but they become more
and more of a concern the wider that audience becomes and publishing those
discussions is a VERY wide audience.

I think that publishing the Discovery Team meeting with lila recently was a
right and proper move but I also think it was likely an exception to the
rule. Seeing people disagree so strongly and publicly with one of their
regular colleagues could very well scare away those colleagues and we don't
want that.





James Alexander
Manager
Trust & Safety
Wikimedia Foundation
(415) 839-6885 x6716 @jamesofur
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-27 Thread Anthony Cole
Can we see your NDA please, Oliver?

Anthony Cole


On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 3:17 PM, Pine W  wrote:

> Something that I would like to understand is why so much WMF information is
> cloaked under NDAs. It seems to me that this is philosophically at odds
> with the values of the community, makes for poor governance, and provides
> cover for opportunities for mischief. I hope that recent events will prompt
> WMF to rethink its habits and assumptions in the realms of transparency,
> openness, and values alignment.
>
> Pine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-26 Thread Pine W
Something that I would like to understand is why so much WMF information is
cloaked under NDAs. It seems to me that this is philosophically at odds
with the values of the community, makes for poor governance, and provides
cover for opportunities for mischief. I hope that recent events will prompt
WMF to rethink its habits and assumptions in the realms of transparency,
openness, and values alignment.

Pine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-26 Thread Oliver Keyes
I would also like that. To be perfectly honest the NDAs are vague
enough (deliberately) that it makes things very hard for anyone
outside of counsel to really determine what might be a problem.

From my perspective: so, as well as a prohibition on sharing anything
we learn exclusively through our work without authorisation, my
contract also features a clause that prohibits me from saying anything
that might defame the Foundation, its trustees, or its officers. Quite
how this is defined has never been made clear to employees, which
makes transparency in an era of obscurity, or transparency in an era
where there are a lot of sensitive, nuanced things to talk about,
difficult.

On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 10:36 PM, George Herbert
 wrote:
>
> It would be a good thing if the Board and current or expected interim ED 
> loosened up confidentiality on the employees.
>
> It helps internal morale and external confidence in reforms.
>
>
> George William Herbert
> Sent from my iPhone
>
>> On Feb 26, 2016, at 7:30 PM, Oliver Keyes  wrote:
>>
>>> On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 8:57 PM, Pine W  wrote:
>>> I admit to being surprised by the depth of the division between the ED and
>>> staff that we are hearing about. Thanks to the Signpost and internal leaks
>>> we in the community knew about the low marks in the staff survey, but I
>>> guess I didn't appreciate that the situation involved more than widespread
>>> professional disagreement and had reached such emotional depth for at least
>>> some staff.
>>>
>>> I would like to ask Brion, who seems to be acting as the de facto VP of HR,
>>> if he could ask people if they are willing to have their *anonymized*
>>> comments and notes be published. I think that these would be helpful to
>>> inform the discussions about the future.
>>
>> No, he's not. Don't get me wrong, Brion's help is TREMENDOUSLY
>> valuable and appreciated. But please recognise that you only see
>> things from the outside. Your understanding of what is going on,
>> absent internal discussions, is likely to be somewhat distorted. Brion
>> is one of the more preeminent volunteers for emotional support but he
>> is not acting without HR also acting.
>>
>>>
>>> I fully understand that people may feel comfortable venting and connecting
>>> about this situation in private. I am trying to respect that private space
>>> while also encouraging a flow of information that I hope will be beneficial
>>> for WMF in the rebuilding phase.
>>
>> The WMF's rebuilding is ultimately WMF-centric.
>>
>> There are elements with movement-wide components; reform of the board
>> of trustees, which is also supported by a lot of staff, is a good
>> example. But much of it is internal, private, and only fully
>> understood with an NDA. It's why so many people have been able to
>> gut-punch employees over the last few months: because there are a lot
>> of things where, even anonymised, we cannot say anything.
>>
>> Given that I would prefer not to risk compromising the healing with
>> publicly-shared transcripts, even anonymised ones. This is not to say
>> that public feedback and review and transparency isn't welcome and
>> needed: it is. Merely that this should not come from the commentary of
>> individual meetings.
>>
>>>
>>> Brion, thank you very much for taking on this role as staff facilitator.
>>>
>>> If a professional facilitator would help as well, I'd say to go for it.
>>
>> We already have one, and have for months.
>>
>>>
>>> Pine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-26 Thread George Herbert

It would be a good thing if the Board and current or expected interim ED 
loosened up confidentiality on the employees.

It helps internal morale and external confidence in reforms.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone

> On Feb 26, 2016, at 7:30 PM, Oliver Keyes  wrote:
> 
>> On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 8:57 PM, Pine W  wrote:
>> I admit to being surprised by the depth of the division between the ED and
>> staff that we are hearing about. Thanks to the Signpost and internal leaks
>> we in the community knew about the low marks in the staff survey, but I
>> guess I didn't appreciate that the situation involved more than widespread
>> professional disagreement and had reached such emotional depth for at least
>> some staff.
>> 
>> I would like to ask Brion, who seems to be acting as the de facto VP of HR,
>> if he could ask people if they are willing to have their *anonymized*
>> comments and notes be published. I think that these would be helpful to
>> inform the discussions about the future.
> 
> No, he's not. Don't get me wrong, Brion's help is TREMENDOUSLY
> valuable and appreciated. But please recognise that you only see
> things from the outside. Your understanding of what is going on,
> absent internal discussions, is likely to be somewhat distorted. Brion
> is one of the more preeminent volunteers for emotional support but he
> is not acting without HR also acting.
> 
>> 
>> I fully understand that people may feel comfortable venting and connecting
>> about this situation in private. I am trying to respect that private space
>> while also encouraging a flow of information that I hope will be beneficial
>> for WMF in the rebuilding phase.
> 
> The WMF's rebuilding is ultimately WMF-centric.
> 
> There are elements with movement-wide components; reform of the board
> of trustees, which is also supported by a lot of staff, is a good
> example. But much of it is internal, private, and only fully
> understood with an NDA. It's why so many people have been able to
> gut-punch employees over the last few months: because there are a lot
> of things where, even anonymised, we cannot say anything.
> 
> Given that I would prefer not to risk compromising the healing with
> publicly-shared transcripts, even anonymised ones. This is not to say
> that public feedback and review and transparency isn't welcome and
> needed: it is. Merely that this should not come from the commentary of
> individual meetings.
> 
>> 
>> Brion, thank you very much for taking on this role as staff facilitator.
>> 
>> If a professional facilitator would help as well, I'd say to go for it.
> 
> We already have one, and have for months.
> 
>> 
>> Pine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-26 Thread Oliver Keyes
On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 8:57 PM, Pine W  wrote:
> I admit to being surprised by the depth of the division between the ED and
> staff that we are hearing about. Thanks to the Signpost and internal leaks
> we in the community knew about the low marks in the staff survey, but I
> guess I didn't appreciate that the situation involved more than widespread
> professional disagreement and had reached such emotional depth for at least
> some staff.
>
> I would like to ask Brion, who seems to be acting as the de facto VP of HR,
> if he could ask people if they are willing to have their *anonymized*
> comments and notes be published. I think that these would be helpful to
> inform the discussions about the future.

No, he's not. Don't get me wrong, Brion's help is TREMENDOUSLY
valuable and appreciated. But please recognise that you only see
things from the outside. Your understanding of what is going on,
absent internal discussions, is likely to be somewhat distorted. Brion
is one of the more preeminent volunteers for emotional support but he
is not acting without HR also acting.

>
> I fully understand that people may feel comfortable venting and connecting
> about this situation in private. I am trying to respect that private space
> while also encouraging a flow of information that I hope will be beneficial
> for WMF in the rebuilding phase.

The WMF's rebuilding is ultimately WMF-centric.

There are elements with movement-wide components; reform of the board
of trustees, which is also supported by a lot of staff, is a good
example. But much of it is internal, private, and only fully
understood with an NDA. It's why so many people have been able to
gut-punch employees over the last few months: because there are a lot
of things where, even anonymised, we cannot say anything.

Given that I would prefer not to risk compromising the healing with
publicly-shared transcripts, even anonymised ones. This is not to say
that public feedback and review and transparency isn't welcome and
needed: it is. Merely that this should not come from the commentary of
individual meetings.

>
> Brion, thank you very much for taking on this role as staff facilitator.
>
> If a professional facilitator would help as well, I'd say to go for it.

We already have one, and have for months.

>
> Pine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-26 Thread Pine W
I admit to being surprised by the depth of the division between the ED and
staff that we are hearing about. Thanks to the Signpost and internal leaks
we in the community knew about the low marks in the staff survey, but I
guess I didn't appreciate that the situation involved more than widespread
professional disagreement and had reached such emotional depth for at least
some staff.

I would like to ask Brion, who seems to be acting as the de facto VP of HR,
if he could ask people if they are willing to have their *anonymized*
comments and notes be published. I think that these would be helpful to
inform the discussions about the future.

I fully understand that people may feel comfortable venting and connecting
about this situation in private. I am trying to respect that private space
while also encouraging a flow of information that I hope will be beneficial
for WMF in the rebuilding phase.

Brion, thank you very much for taking on this role as staff facilitator.

If a professional facilitator would help as well, I'd say to go for it.

Pine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-26 Thread Dan Garry
On 26 February 2016 at 17:15, Brion Vibber  wrote:
>
> * There is also a big need for private conversations, which means many/most
> of these talks won't be recorded and definitely would not be made public in
> detail. Many won't feel comfortable in a recorded conversation. Many still
> won't feel comfortable in a large group that's not recorded. Many still
> won't feel comfortable in a small group conversation. And others still
> won't feel comfortable opening up in a 1:1 private conversation with
> someone in a power position at their employer.
>

Well said. It's crucial to foster an environment in which anyone and
everyone can raise their concerns in a space that they are comfortable
with, in order to make sure people's voices are heard.

Dan

-- 
Dan Garry
Lead Product Manager, Discovery
Wikimedia Foundation
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-26 Thread Brion Vibber
Just a quick note:

* some of the big staff conversations are indeed being very carefully
note-taken or recorded internally. We are being very careful to plan and
communicate how open they will be ahead of time and keep them both honest
and not scary. I would not expect them to be made public (the ones made so
far will definitely not because we already told people they were private to
staff, and people have to be able to trust us on this stuff.)

* There is also a big need for private conversations, which means many/most
of these talks won't be recorded and definitely would not be made public in
detail. Many won't feel comfortable in a recorded conversation. Many still
won't feel comfortable in a large group that's not recorded. Many still
won't feel comfortable in a small group conversation. And others still
won't feel comfortable opening up in a 1:1 private conversation with
someone in a power position at their employer.

* it's also important to remember that people are individuals and have
different experiences. Not everyone interprets or experiences the same
events or in the same way. Some staff members are not comfortable
expressing their experiences and feelings because they feel different from
those speaking more loudly, or found the recent internal and public
discussions more directly traumatic to themselves than what they
experienced during the previous administration -- in which case a more
private environment helps avoid the concern about feeling out of lock step
or being treated as an ignorant outsider for not having shared the same
issue.

I think it's very important to have all of those levels of conversations,
and distill and spread around the core issues, fears, hopes in a way that's
safe, fair, and useful. And honestly I'd prioritize safe and fair over
useful in some respects.

Totally agree that facilitated conversations can be useful. There's at
least some informal stuff going on but I hope we have some more
purpose-designed facilitated discussions too.

And I think some of us *would* love to have public talks about making
things better -- such as those of us posting here. But that's going to be
very distinct from what I think we're looking at this week.

-- brion
On Feb 26, 2016 4:13 PM, "Pete Forsyth"  wrote:

> 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 

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

2016-02-26 Thread Brion Vibber
On Feb 26, 2016 3:30 PM, "Oliver Keyes"  wrote:
>
> 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 legitimate - dismissed.

Seconded all this from Oliver.

To Jimmy: we've been doing Wikipedia and Wikimedia a long time, you and I.
:) And in that time we've both learned good and bad habits.

One of those bad habits is known as "setting the bozo bit" in old school
geek culture: http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?SetTheBozoBit

Tuning out the concerns of people because they often disagree makes our own
lives easier on the short term, but at best it's a risk that you'll lose
useful feedback, and at worst you can alienate people who could have become
allies on some other topic... Or helped you avoid a sticky situation they
saw coming that you didn't.

It's something I've tried very hard to get away from when I interact with
other developers and users. And sometimes it's really hard. But a lot of
the people I unset the bit from are now doing amazing things... Some of
them now work for you as WMF developers and managers, and I'm glad I didn't
mistreat them early on.

When it comes to your employees, setting the bozo bit is a *really* bad
antipattern. Doubly so when they're coming out of a bad situation and have
a lot to tell you.

This is the time to listen honestly even (especially?) to those whose
narratives mismatch your own.

I'm pretty sure that's not something you'll disagree with, but it's one of
those things that we easily find ourselves doing wrong, and have to watch
out for.

Your staff is still raw and suspicious all around; the word "trauma" gets
used with total sincerity. We'd really appreciate care in how you describe
what's happening; it'll go a long way to making the next few days and the
further discussions you're planning to make really useful.

-- brion

>
> (As an aside from all of that, I entirely support Asaf's point about
> group meetings, with note-taking. I think it's good to have a record
> we can check what Everyone Knows against. Avoids FUD,[2] and at this
> critical time, increases transparency.)
>
> [0]
https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:LilaTretikov_%28WMF%29=prev=15301332
> [1] No, I was not one of them)
> [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt
>
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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] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-26 Thread Pine W
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 legitimate - dismissed.
>
> (As an aside from all of that, I entirely support Asaf's point about
> group meetings, with note-taking. I think it's good to have a record
> we can check what Everyone Knows against. Avoids FUD,[2] and at this
> critical time, increases transparency.)
>
> [0]
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:LilaTretikov_%28WMF%29=prev=15301332
> [1] No, I was not one of them)
> [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt
>
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> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-26 Thread Oliver Keyes
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 legitimate - dismissed.

(As an aside from all of that, I entirely support Asaf's point about
group meetings, with note-taking. I think it's good to have a record
we can check what Everyone Knows against. Avoids FUD,[2] and at this
critical time, increases transparency.)

[0] 
https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:LilaTretikov_%28WMF%29=prev=15301332
[1] No, I was not one of them)
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt

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

2016-02-26 Thread
Thanks for considering being the interim CEO Jimmy.

Your visit sounds useful, especially "I want to better understand the
outlines of what staff want from their next ED, so that information
can be used to help guide the search." Fortunate for the trustees who
are less proactive, that they can rely on your visionary guidance at
this time, and that you can take questions and speak on their behalf.

I hope you will be able to address nagging concerns about your
personal support for keeping the search project a secret last year,
and your conflict of loyalties during that process, shortly after your
visit. No doubt you will be able to apply your excellent communication
skills when engaging with the community to ensure the process stays on
your preferred path.[1]

I look forward to the feedback from your visit being posted, Asaf's
process sounds like it would be a great opportunity for airing the
issues and getting the important ones down in black and white. With
this banked, we may all be able to move towards a common understanding
of true deep root causes and how they can shifted.

Links
1. https://genderdesk.wordpress.com/2016/01/27/jimbotalk-explodes-with-jimbo/

Writing as a committed Wikimedian with no possible conflicts of interest,
Fae

On 26 February 2016 at 20:02, Jimmy Wales  wrote:
> On 2/26/16 3:46 PM, Theo10011 wrote:
>> Hmm. I wonder if Jimmy is going to be named the interim bosssomeone has
>> to be.
>
> No, that isn't going to happen.  There has been some staff and board
> advocacy of it - the idea has been floated - but although I took the
> idea seriously enough to think about it, I can see that it would not be
> the best thing.  Day to day management is not where I can best add value
> - never has been.
>
> --Jimbo
--
fae...@gmail.com https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae

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

2016-02-26 Thread Asaf Bartov
On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 12:00 PM, Jimmy Wales  wrote:

> On 2/26/16 10:39 AM, GorillaWarfare wrote:
> > frankly, Vibber's communications with the Wikimedia community outside of
> > the Foundation have far surpassed yours in clarity and transparency. I
> hope
> > that you will improve upon your messaging, but I would like clear
> > reassurance that you realize this is necessary.
>
> Yes, this is necessary.  I'm continuing to push for more disclosure and
> more openness.
>

Who's resisting?


> In particular, as I have been reflecting on all this, I realized that I
> was much closer to Sue and much more involved in her "on boarding" and
> learning about our culture.  I think I failed Lila in this regard - we
> talked from time to time, but I didn't do enough to help her understand.
>

Don't beat yourself up over it.  Unlike the days of Sue's onboarding, when
Lila came in there was an abundance of experienced staff with significant
community experience to help immerse her in the culture and to continually
offer advice, guidance, or point out pitfalls.  This was readily and
repeatedly on offer.  It was repeatedly rejected outright, and occasionally
heard out and ignored, apparently without rationale.  (I think it's
absolutely fine, of course, to hear out the advice or perspective of
experienced staff and to decide to act otherwise, with rationale -- even if
not stated explicitly.)  I can supply concrete examples, but at this point,
it is done, and it would be better to focus on principles and on rebuilding.


> 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.
>

That's certainly true.  But again: help with that was available.  It was
discounted.


> 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.
>

Excellent.  I encourage all my colleagues to make the most of this
opportunity.  I think it would be ideal if, in addition to allow people who
strongly prefer that to meet with him 1:1, we strive to meet with Jimmy as
teams or otherwise as groups, both to optimize time and make sure almost
everyone can be heard, and to create multi-perspective conversations
accompanied by note-taking.

I look forward to seeing you here soon, Jimmy.

   A.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-26 Thread Lodewijk
I'm guessing speculation at this point is just moot. The board will be
deciding on this, and most likely in silence. If you have candidates, the
best way to make their case is to send their names to someone on the board.
I'm assuming they will at least announce soon a contact point for such
suggestions (likely someoen at a recruitment agency?)

Lodewijk

On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 5:33 PM, Florence Devouard 
wrote:

> Le 26/02/16 16:46, Theo10011 a écrit :
>
>> Hmm. I wonder if Jimmy is going to be named the interim bosssomeone
>> has
>> to be.
>>
>
> Speechless...
>
> Finding an ED is a long painful process, something that is bound to get
>> more difficult after Lila and Arnon. The only question is, if the board
>> brings back someone or chooses to promote/move someone around. Food for
>> thought.
>>
>
> Either an interim ED (there are plenty on the market in SF), but I see way
> more reasons not to go down this route than benefits.
>
> Or getting a current (or ex) C level to be interim deputy whilst the
> loong search process delivers its fruits.
>
> Flo
>
>
>
> Theo
>>
>>
>> On Fri, Feb 26, 2016, Lodewijk  wrote:
>>
>> #Iamwithrisker
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-26 Thread Jimmy Wales
On 2/26/16 3:46 PM, Theo10011 wrote:
> Hmm. I wonder if Jimmy is going to be named the interim bosssomeone has
> to be.

No, that isn't going to happen.  There has been some staff and board
advocacy of it - the idea has been floated - but although I took the
idea seriously enough to think about it, I can see that it would not be
the best thing.  Day to day management is not where I can best add value
- never has been.

--Jimbo


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

2016-02-26 Thread Jimmy Wales
On 2/26/16 10:39 AM, GorillaWarfare wrote:
> How do you plan to communicate what you learn to the
> rest of the Board of Trustees, and to those who will be instrumental in
> shaping the changes that will happen to the WMF in the near future?

Through email, Google hangout meetings, and in person meetings.

> How do
> you plan to speak to staff members, who have seen many of their coworkers
> leave or be forced out in the last few years?

I'm scheduling 1-on-1 meetings with staff who ask to meet with me.
We'll be in a conference room.  In some cases I'll have particular
questions about things I want to learn more about; in all cases I'll
invite people to say whatever they think will be helpful.

> How do you plan to increase morale among an incredibly demoralized group?

My usual approach is to talk about our mission - it's what we are all
here for and it matters to me more than anything else.  I want to better
understand the outlines of what staff want from their next ED, so that
information can be used to help guide the search.

> But quite
> frankly, Vibber's communications with the Wikimedia community outside of
> the Foundation have far surpassed yours in clarity and transparency. I hope
> that you will improve upon your messaging, but I would like clear
> reassurance that you realize this is necessary.

Yes, this is necessary.  I'm continuing to push for more disclosure and
more openness.

> 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.

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

> I would also like to hear a clear statement about what you think can be
> gained from your return to San Francisco.

I hope to be helpful in moving us forward to a better state.  I've not
been as involved as I used to be in recent years, and I want to change that.

In particular, as I have been reflecting on all this, I realized that I
was much closer to Sue and much more involved in her "on boarding" and
learning about our culture.  I think I failed Lila in this regard - we
talked from time to time, but I didn't do enough to help her understand.

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.

--Jimbo


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

2016-02-26 Thread Florence Devouard

Le 26/02/16 16:46, Theo10011 a écrit :

Hmm. I wonder if Jimmy is going to be named the interim bosssomeone has
to be.


Speechless...


Finding an ED is a long painful process, something that is bound to get
more difficult after Lila and Arnon. The only question is, if the board
brings back someone or chooses to promote/move someone around. Food for
thought.


Either an interim ED (there are plenty on the market in SF), but I see 
way more reasons not to go down this route than benefits.


Or getting a current (or ex) C level to be interim deputy whilst the 
loong search process delivers its fruits.


Flo



Theo


On Fri, Feb 26, 2016, Lodewijk  wrote:


#Iamwithrisker
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-26 Thread Theo10011
Hmm. I wonder if Jimmy is going to be named the interim bosssomeone has
to be.

Finding an ED is a long painful process, something that is bound to get
more difficult after Lila and Arnon. The only question is, if the board
brings back someone or chooses to promote/move someone around. Food for
thought.

Theo


On Fri, Feb 26, 2016, Lodewijk  wrote:

> #Iamwithrisker
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-26 Thread Andreas Kolbe
On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 3:19 PM, Brion Vibber  wrote:

>
> Diplomacy requires talking to your enemies as well as your friends. (And in
> the real world, we are rarely all one or the other.)
>
> -- brion



Yes, that I can see, and well said.

Andreas
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-26 Thread Yaroslav M. Blanter

On 2016-02-26 16:23, Risker wrote:

Andreas, I think you are being unfair here.  Whatever anyone's personal
opinion of Jimmy, the bottom line is that WMF staff have expressed that 
the

Board has not been listening to them.  Jimmy is a board member.  He's
directly saying "I'm coming to listen to you".  And he's being 
transparent

about it,  by sharing his plan publicly on this list and perhaps
elsewhere.  That pretty much sounds as though he's being responsive.  
Now,
none of us knows what the outcome will be, and I don't think it would 
be
appropriate for any of us to speculate on how various staff members 
will
choose to interact given this direct opportunity.  Other board members 
live

in the immediate area and maybe they too will attend (and maybe not, we
don't know).  This is a very short notice attendance, and since many 
board

members have responsibilities to their employers, families, and other
activities, they may not be able to drop everything and jump on a 
plane,

even if they want to.

Myself, I'd suggest that staff take advantage of this opportunity, with 
the
hope of having a more responsive interaction than the November meeting. 
 It

is in *everyone's* interest that all of the groups within the Wikimedia
community start moving toward better integration, communication,
transparency, and  carving out a shared vision.  This is a step. It's 
only

a step.



Absolutely. Some people may have battleground mentality and wish the 
whole board to resign immediately, but generally it is a good 
opportunity to get out of the trenches.


Cheers
Yaroslav

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

2016-02-26 Thread Lodewijk
#Iamwithrisker

On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 4:23 PM, Risker  wrote:

> Andreas, I think you are being unfair here.  Whatever anyone's personal
> opinion of Jimmy, the bottom line is that WMF staff have expressed that the
> Board has not been listening to them.  Jimmy is a board member.  He's
> directly saying "I'm coming to listen to you".  And he's being transparent
> about it,  by sharing his plan publicly on this list and perhaps
> elsewhere.  That pretty much sounds as though he's being responsive.  Now,
> none of us knows what the outcome will be, and I don't think it would be
> appropriate for any of us to speculate on how various staff members will
> choose to interact given this direct opportunity.  Other board members live
> in the immediate area and maybe they too will attend (and maybe not, we
> don't know).  This is a very short notice attendance, and since many board
> members have responsibilities to their employers, families, and other
> activities, they may not be able to drop everything and jump on a plane,
> even if they want to.
>
> Myself, I'd suggest that staff take advantage of this opportunity, with the
> hope of having a more responsive interaction than the November meeting.  It
> is in *everyone's* interest that all of the groups within the Wikimedia
> community start moving toward better integration, communication,
> transparency, and  carving out a shared vision.  This is a step. It's only
> a step.
>
> As to this hypothetical Wikia connection, it's a speculation by Fae (and
> only  Fae, as far as I can see), who has not provided any evidence that his
> statement is based on some known information.  It may come as a surprise to
> a lot of people, but Wikia's software has been increasingly diverging from
> the MediaWiki we all use on Wikimedia projects, and they already have
> better inter-wiki search than WMF projects have.
>
> Risker/Anne
>
> On 26 February 2016 at 10:02, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:
>
> > Brion,
> >
> > I understand you and Jimmy Wales go way, way back. But what is the point
> of
> > "coming together" with someone who, just hours before the Knowledge
> Engine
> > grant agreement was released, insisted,
> >
> > ---o0o---
> >
> > 'To make this very clear: no one in top positions has proposed or is
> > proposing that WMF should get into the general "searching" or to try to
> "be
> > google". It's an interesting hypothetical which has not been part of any
> > serious strategy proposal, nor even discussed at the board level, nor
> > proposed to the board by staff, nor a part of any grant, etc. It's a
> total
> > lie.'
> >
> > ---o0o---
> >
> > When the grant agreement was released -- flatly contradicting his very
> > words, in the view of everyone who read it, including every single
> > journalist who wrote about it -- Jimmy Wales disappeared for four days
> from
> > the wiki. He eventually resurface and later made an appearance at the
> > Knowledge Engine FAQ on Meta explaining that he had only just learnt that
> > there really was a search engine project.[1]
> >
> > How plausible is that? By all accounts, James and Dariusz fought to be
> > shown the documents that were later leaked, against the resistance of
> other
> > board members, which presumably included Jimmy Wales (I don't think it
> > takes too much intelligence to figure out that Guy Kawasaki and Jimmy
> Wales
> > were among Lila's main supporters and defenders on the board).
> >
> > So are we to believe that Jimmy Wales had never seen the grant
> agreements,
> > had never seen those documents that all these arguments in the board were
> > about, had never even bothered to look at them?
> >
> > In November 2015, board discussions referred to the Knowledge Engine
> > project as a "moon shot", according to James. So all this time Jimmy
> Wales
> > was ignorant of what this "moon shot" was, until some staff member
> informed
> > him on February 19 that there really were plans for a search engine?
> >
> > "Nor even discussed at board level" my foot!
> >
> > Even if you bend over backwards to assume Jimmy Wales is telling the
> truth,
> > and he really didn't know anything about this (he might have been struck
> by
> > temporary deafness during these "moon shot" discussions, after all, or
> > suffered a bout of amnesia), what does it say about him that he blithely
> > went round denouncing people who were telling the truth as liars
> spreading
> > "bullshit", rather than asking questions and informing himself before
> > shooting his mouth off?
> >
> > What's the point of talking when you can't believe a word a person is
> > saying?
> >
> > Andreas
> >
> > P.S. Now, what is this about Wikia? This is news to me. How would Wikia
> > have profited from the Knowledge Engine? Did anyone plan to include Wikia
> > among the wikis the search engine would prominently surface?
> >
> > [1]
> >
> >
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Knowledge_Engine/FAQ=15365968=15365951
> >
> > 

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

2016-02-26 Thread Risker
Andreas, I think you are being unfair here.  Whatever anyone's personal
opinion of Jimmy, the bottom line is that WMF staff have expressed that the
Board has not been listening to them.  Jimmy is a board member.  He's
directly saying "I'm coming to listen to you".  And he's being transparent
about it,  by sharing his plan publicly on this list and perhaps
elsewhere.  That pretty much sounds as though he's being responsive.  Now,
none of us knows what the outcome will be, and I don't think it would be
appropriate for any of us to speculate on how various staff members will
choose to interact given this direct opportunity.  Other board members live
in the immediate area and maybe they too will attend (and maybe not, we
don't know).  This is a very short notice attendance, and since many board
members have responsibilities to their employers, families, and other
activities, they may not be able to drop everything and jump on a plane,
even if they want to.

Myself, I'd suggest that staff take advantage of this opportunity, with the
hope of having a more responsive interaction than the November meeting.  It
is in *everyone's* interest that all of the groups within the Wikimedia
community start moving toward better integration, communication,
transparency, and  carving out a shared vision.  This is a step. It's only
a step.

As to this hypothetical Wikia connection, it's a speculation by Fae (and
only  Fae, as far as I can see), who has not provided any evidence that his
statement is based on some known information.  It may come as a surprise to
a lot of people, but Wikia's software has been increasingly diverging from
the MediaWiki we all use on Wikimedia projects, and they already have
better inter-wiki search than WMF projects have.

Risker/Anne

On 26 February 2016 at 10:02, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:

> Brion,
>
> I understand you and Jimmy Wales go way, way back. But what is the point of
> "coming together" with someone who, just hours before the Knowledge Engine
> grant agreement was released, insisted,
>
> ---o0o---
>
> 'To make this very clear: no one in top positions has proposed or is
> proposing that WMF should get into the general "searching" or to try to "be
> google". It's an interesting hypothetical which has not been part of any
> serious strategy proposal, nor even discussed at the board level, nor
> proposed to the board by staff, nor a part of any grant, etc. It's a total
> lie.'
>
> ---o0o---
>
> When the grant agreement was released -- flatly contradicting his very
> words, in the view of everyone who read it, including every single
> journalist who wrote about it -- Jimmy Wales disappeared for four days from
> the wiki. He eventually resurface and later made an appearance at the
> Knowledge Engine FAQ on Meta explaining that he had only just learnt that
> there really was a search engine project.[1]
>
> How plausible is that? By all accounts, James and Dariusz fought to be
> shown the documents that were later leaked, against the resistance of other
> board members, which presumably included Jimmy Wales (I don't think it
> takes too much intelligence to figure out that Guy Kawasaki and Jimmy Wales
> were among Lila's main supporters and defenders on the board).
>
> So are we to believe that Jimmy Wales had never seen the grant agreements,
> had never seen those documents that all these arguments in the board were
> about, had never even bothered to look at them?
>
> In November 2015, board discussions referred to the Knowledge Engine
> project as a "moon shot", according to James. So all this time Jimmy Wales
> was ignorant of what this "moon shot" was, until some staff member informed
> him on February 19 that there really were plans for a search engine?
>
> "Nor even discussed at board level" my foot!
>
> Even if you bend over backwards to assume Jimmy Wales is telling the truth,
> and he really didn't know anything about this (he might have been struck by
> temporary deafness during these "moon shot" discussions, after all, or
> suffered a bout of amnesia), what does it say about him that he blithely
> went round denouncing people who were telling the truth as liars spreading
> "bullshit", rather than asking questions and informing himself before
> shooting his mouth off?
>
> What's the point of talking when you can't believe a word a person is
> saying?
>
> Andreas
>
> P.S. Now, what is this about Wikia? This is news to me. How would Wikia
> have profited from the Knowledge Engine? Did anyone plan to include Wikia
> among the wikis the search engine would prominently surface?
>
> [1]
>
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Knowledge_Engine/FAQ=15365968=15365951
>
> Andreas
>
> On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 12:09 PM, Brion Vibber 
> wrote:
>
> > Poo has indeed hit fans, as the metaphor goes. But that's hardly the time
> > to STOP talking.
> >
> > I'll be coming down to the SF office as well next week to talk
> > directly with Jimmy and with any 

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

2016-02-26 Thread Brion Vibber
On Friday, February 26, 2016, Andreas Kolbe  wrote:

> Brion,
>
> I understand you and Jimmy Wales go way, way back. But what is the point of
> "coming together" with someone who, just hours before the Knowledge Engine
> grant agreement was released, insisted,


Diplomacy requires talking to your enemies as well as your friends. (And in
the real world, we are rarely all one or the other.)

-- brion






>
> ---o0o---
>
> 'To make this very clear: no one in top positions has proposed or is
> proposing that WMF should get into the general "searching" or to try to "be
> google". It's an interesting hypothetical which has not been part of any
> serious strategy proposal, nor even discussed at the board level, nor
> proposed to the board by staff, nor a part of any grant, etc. It's a total
> lie.'
>
> ---o0o---
>
> When the grant agreement was released -- flatly contradicting his very
> words, in the view of everyone who read it, including every single
> journalist who wrote about it -- Jimmy Wales disappeared for four days from
> the wiki. He eventually resurface and later made an appearance at the
> Knowledge Engine FAQ on Meta explaining that he had only just learnt that
> there really was a search engine project.[1]
>
> How plausible is that? By all accounts, James and Dariusz fought to be
> shown the documents that were later leaked, against the resistance of other
> board members, which presumably included Jimmy Wales (I don't think it
> takes too much intelligence to figure out that Guy Kawasaki and Jimmy Wales
> were among Lila's main supporters and defenders on the board).
>
> So are we to believe that Jimmy Wales had never seen the grant agreements,
> had never seen those documents that all these arguments in the board were
> about, had never even bothered to look at them?
>
> In November 2015, board discussions referred to the Knowledge Engine
> project as a "moon shot", according to James. So all this time Jimmy Wales
> was ignorant of what this "moon shot" was, until some staff member informed
> him on February 19 that there really were plans for a search engine?
>
> "Nor even discussed at board level" my foot!
>
> Even if you bend over backwards to assume Jimmy Wales is telling the truth,
> and he really didn't know anything about this (he might have been struck by
> temporary deafness during these "moon shot" discussions, after all, or
> suffered a bout of amnesia), what does it say about him that he blithely
> went round denouncing people who were telling the truth as liars spreading
> "bullshit", rather than asking questions and informing himself before
> shooting his mouth off?
>
> What's the point of talking when you can't believe a word a person is
> saying?
>
> Andreas
>
> P.S. Now, what is this about Wikia? This is news to me. How would Wikia
> have profited from the Knowledge Engine? Did anyone plan to include Wikia
> among the wikis the search engine would prominently surface?
>
> [1]
>
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Knowledge_Engine/FAQ=15365968=15365951
>
> Andreas
>
> On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 12:09 PM, Brion Vibber  >
> wrote:
>
> > Poo has indeed hit fans, as the metaphor goes. But that's hardly the time
> > to STOP talking.
> >
> > I'll be coming down to the SF office as well next week to talk
> > directly with Jimmy and with any staff (and board members!) who want to
> > plan or brainstorm or vent or just share a moment of "aggghhh!" and I'm
> > very much hoping for the best.
> >
> > I think there's no expectation of magic resolutions, and Jimmy knows well
> > that there's been mistrust and there remain serious open issues. But this
> > is a rare inflection point, an opportunity to come together and seriously
> > explore how we got to this point and what we can all do to avoid a "next
> > time".
> >
> > Whatever the outcomes I'm glad to see Jimmy reach out and look forward to
> > some "real talk" and a better understanding of how we all can make
> positive
> > changes together.
> >
> > -- brion
> >
> > On Friday, February 26, 2016, Ruslan Takayev  >
> > wrote:
> >
> > > Jimmy, et al
> > >
> > > As yet, we have yet to have coherent believable reasoning for the
> removal
> > > of James Heilman from the BoT, but one of the reasons that has been put
> > out
> > > there (rightly or wrongly) is that James was talking to staff about the
> > > state of affairs at the WMF.
> > >
> > > Is this trip not the exact same thing that James was alleged to have
> done
> > > all those months ago? i.e. talking to staff.
> > >
> > > Why are trustees, including yourself, only now willing to listen to
> staff
> > > concerns? The time for that was BEFORE the proverbial poo hit the fan.
> > >
> > > I am seeing the announcement of your trip as nothing more than a
> "knight
> > in
> > > shining armor" routine, that frankly is too little too late.
> > >
> > > Warm regards,
> > >
> > > Ruslan 

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

2016-02-26 Thread Andreas Kolbe
Brion,

I understand you and Jimmy Wales go way, way back. But what is the point of
"coming together" with someone who, just hours before the Knowledge Engine
grant agreement was released, insisted,

---o0o---

'To make this very clear: no one in top positions has proposed or is
proposing that WMF should get into the general "searching" or to try to "be
google". It's an interesting hypothetical which has not been part of any
serious strategy proposal, nor even discussed at the board level, nor
proposed to the board by staff, nor a part of any grant, etc. It's a total
lie.'

---o0o---

When the grant agreement was released -- flatly contradicting his very
words, in the view of everyone who read it, including every single
journalist who wrote about it -- Jimmy Wales disappeared for four days from
the wiki. He eventually resurface and later made an appearance at the
Knowledge Engine FAQ on Meta explaining that he had only just learnt that
there really was a search engine project.[1]

How plausible is that? By all accounts, James and Dariusz fought to be
shown the documents that were later leaked, against the resistance of other
board members, which presumably included Jimmy Wales (I don't think it
takes too much intelligence to figure out that Guy Kawasaki and Jimmy Wales
were among Lila's main supporters and defenders on the board).

So are we to believe that Jimmy Wales had never seen the grant agreements,
had never seen those documents that all these arguments in the board were
about, had never even bothered to look at them?

In November 2015, board discussions referred to the Knowledge Engine
project as a "moon shot", according to James. So all this time Jimmy Wales
was ignorant of what this "moon shot" was, until some staff member informed
him on February 19 that there really were plans for a search engine?

"Nor even discussed at board level" my foot!

Even if you bend over backwards to assume Jimmy Wales is telling the truth,
and he really didn't know anything about this (he might have been struck by
temporary deafness during these "moon shot" discussions, after all, or
suffered a bout of amnesia), what does it say about him that he blithely
went round denouncing people who were telling the truth as liars spreading
"bullshit", rather than asking questions and informing himself before
shooting his mouth off?

What's the point of talking when you can't believe a word a person is
saying?

Andreas

P.S. Now, what is this about Wikia? This is news to me. How would Wikia
have profited from the Knowledge Engine? Did anyone plan to include Wikia
among the wikis the search engine would prominently surface?

[1]
https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Knowledge_Engine/FAQ=15365968=15365951

Andreas

On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 12:09 PM, Brion Vibber 
wrote:

> Poo has indeed hit fans, as the metaphor goes. But that's hardly the time
> to STOP talking.
>
> I'll be coming down to the SF office as well next week to talk
> directly with Jimmy and with any staff (and board members!) who want to
> plan or brainstorm or vent or just share a moment of "aggghhh!" and I'm
> very much hoping for the best.
>
> I think there's no expectation of magic resolutions, and Jimmy knows well
> that there's been mistrust and there remain serious open issues. But this
> is a rare inflection point, an opportunity to come together and seriously
> explore how we got to this point and what we can all do to avoid a "next
> time".
>
> Whatever the outcomes I'm glad to see Jimmy reach out and look forward to
> some "real talk" and a better understanding of how we all can make positive
> changes together.
>
> -- brion
>
> On Friday, February 26, 2016, Ruslan Takayev 
> wrote:
>
> > Jimmy, et al
> >
> > As yet, we have yet to have coherent believable reasoning for the removal
> > of James Heilman from the BoT, but one of the reasons that has been put
> out
> > there (rightly or wrongly) is that James was talking to staff about the
> > state of affairs at the WMF.
> >
> > Is this trip not the exact same thing that James was alleged to have done
> > all those months ago? i.e. talking to staff.
> >
> > Why are trustees, including yourself, only now willing to listen to staff
> > concerns? The time for that was BEFORE the proverbial poo hit the fan.
> >
> > I am seeing the announcement of your trip as nothing more than a "knight
> in
> > shining armor" routine, that frankly is too little too late.
> >
> > Warm regards,
> >
> > Ruslan Takayev
> >
> >
> > On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 4:06 AM, Jimmy Wales  > > wrote:
> >
> > > Here is a note that I just sent to the staff mailing list (stuck in a
> > > queue at the moment, so some staff will see it here first.).
> > >
> > > Hi everyone!
> > >
> > > I am coming to San Francisco on Saturday for a few days to meet with a
> > > lot of you.  I know many of you are not actually in San Francisco, so
> > > I'll be sure to set 

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

2016-02-26 Thread Oliver Keyes
On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 5:39 AM, GorillaWarfare
 wrote:
> I would be curious to hear precisely what you hope to accomplish from your
> trip to San Francisco. How do you plan to communicate what you learn to the
> rest of the Board of Trustees, and to those who will be instrumental in
> shaping the changes that will happen to the WMF in the near future? How do
> you plan to speak to staff members, who have seen many of their coworkers
> leave or be forced out in the last few years? How do you plan to increase
> morale among an incredibly demoralized group?
>
> I too hope that your return will be marked by "careful listening and
> thoughtful consideration" that Brion Vibber describes, not to mention
> strong actions resulting from what you learn during your trip. But quite
> frankly, Vibber's communications with the Wikimedia community outside of
> the Foundation have far surpassed yours in clarity and transparency. I hope
> that you will improve upon your messaging, but I would like clear
> reassurance that you realize this is necessary.
>
> There have been many things that have not impressed me recently: how the
> Wikimedia Foundation chose to handle the lack of transparency surrounding
> WMF actions (even once they were leaked), how the Board has handled the
> past unrest surrounding the Executive Director and senior leadership,
> communication surrounding James Heilman's removal... the list really goes
> on and on.
>
> 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.
>

I would very much like to know the answer to this question, in
particular. Any conversation with staff should be based first and
foremost on honesty, after everything that has happened.

> I would also like to hear a clear statement about what you think can be
> gained from your return to San Francisco.
>
> Thank you,
> Molly White
> User:GorillaWarfare
> English Wikipedia community member
> ___
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: 
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, 
> 

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

2016-02-26 Thread Brion Vibber
Poo has indeed hit fans, as the metaphor goes. But that's hardly the time
to STOP talking.

I'll be coming down to the SF office as well next week to talk
directly with Jimmy and with any staff (and board members!) who want to
plan or brainstorm or vent or just share a moment of "aggghhh!" and I'm
very much hoping for the best.

I think there's no expectation of magic resolutions, and Jimmy knows well
that there's been mistrust and there remain serious open issues. But this
is a rare inflection point, an opportunity to come together and seriously
explore how we got to this point and what we can all do to avoid a "next
time".

Whatever the outcomes I'm glad to see Jimmy reach out and look forward to
some "real talk" and a better understanding of how we all can make positive
changes together.

-- brion

On Friday, February 26, 2016, Ruslan Takayev 
wrote:

> Jimmy, et al
>
> As yet, we have yet to have coherent believable reasoning for the removal
> of James Heilman from the BoT, but one of the reasons that has been put out
> there (rightly or wrongly) is that James was talking to staff about the
> state of affairs at the WMF.
>
> Is this trip not the exact same thing that James was alleged to have done
> all those months ago? i.e. talking to staff.
>
> Why are trustees, including yourself, only now willing to listen to staff
> concerns? The time for that was BEFORE the proverbial poo hit the fan.
>
> I am seeing the announcement of your trip as nothing more than a "knight in
> shining armor" routine, that frankly is too little too late.
>
> Warm regards,
>
> Ruslan Takayev
>
>
> On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 4:06 AM, Jimmy Wales  > wrote:
>
> > Here is a note that I just sent to the staff mailing list (stuck in a
> > queue at the moment, so some staff will see it here first.).
> >
> > Hi everyone!
> >
> > I am coming to San Francisco on Saturday for a few days to meet with a
> > lot of you.  I know many of you are not actually in San Francisco, so
> > I'll be sure to set aside time for remote meetings as well.
> >
> > By now you of course have heard that Lila is leaving us, and my hope is
> > that we're going to enter a new era of stability and productivity.  And
> > for that to happen, the board - including me - needs to hear from you,
> > to listen and learn.
> >
> > Brion Vibber, who I hired as the first ever employee of the Foundation,
> > said this to me on Facebook recently: "Jimmy Wales welcome back to the
> > conversation. I look forward to how you address the current crisis, and
> > hope it will involve the kind of careful listening and thoughtful
> > consideration that I remember from 2001."
> >
> > That's what I want, too.  I want to listen and I want to help the board
> > make good decisions.
> >
> > For me, the mission - a free encyclopedia for every single person on the
> > planet, in their own language - is what brought us all together.  It's
> > what keeps us going even in difficult times.  But my view is that it
> > doesn't have to be difficult times.  Working at the WMF should be - and
> > will be, I really think - a joy: the joy of working with the best
> > colleagues, the joy of doing work that matters to the world, and the joy
> > of working for the fantastic global community of Wikipedians.
> >
> > I'll be reaching out to some of you - probably starting with people I
> > already know - but please reach out to me as well if you'd like to meet.
> >
> > I'm in SF from Saturday afternoon through Wednesday evening, so
> > depending on demand, I may not be able to see everyone, but I'd like to
> > get a good overview.
> >
> > --Jimbo
> >
> > ___
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org 
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > 
> ?subject=unsubscribe>
> ___
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-26 Thread
Enjoy your trip Jimmy. It's been about 20 years since I last travelled
there. Let me know if you want me to join you for a strategic chat.

Please consider declaring your conflicts of interest and conflicts of
loyalty more publicly, or changing your role away from being a voting
WMF trustee, say by becoming a respected WMF board advisor.

You have made many defensive remarks in public this year in advance of
Lila's resignation about the previously secret Knowledge Engine /
Search Engine project, yet you have not explained how ethically you
could at the same time be part of the WMF board decision to support
funding the project when Wikia would be a direct beneficiary of its
development, along with yourself benefiting financially.

As this is a matter of board governance, I am copying the board
members in on this email. Hopefully at least one of your fellow
trustees will want to ask some questions and publish some answers,
eventually.

Thanks,
Fae


On 26 February 2016 at 10:39, GorillaWarfare
 wrote:
> I would be curious to hear precisely what you hope to accomplish from your
> trip to San Francisco. How do you plan to communicate what you learn to the
> rest of the Board of Trustees, and to those who will be instrumental in
> shaping the changes that will happen to the WMF in the near future? How do
> you plan to speak to staff members, who have seen many of their coworkers
> leave or be forced out in the last few years? How do you plan to increase
> morale among an incredibly demoralized group?
>
> I too hope that your return will be marked by "careful listening and
> thoughtful consideration" that Brion Vibber describes, not to mention
> strong actions resulting from what you learn during your trip. But quite
> frankly, Vibber's communications with the Wikimedia community outside of
> the Foundation have far surpassed yours in clarity and transparency. I hope
> that you will improve upon your messaging, but I would like clear
> reassurance that you realize this is necessary.
>
> There have been many things that have not impressed me recently: how the
> Wikimedia Foundation chose to handle the lack of transparency surrounding
> WMF actions (even once they were leaked), how the Board has handled the
> past unrest surrounding the Executive Director and senior leadership,
> communication surrounding James Heilman's removal... the list really goes
> on and on.
>
> 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.
>
> I would also like to hear a clear statement about what you think can be
> gained from your return to San Francisco.
>
> Thank you,
> Molly White
> User:GorillaWarfare
> English Wikipedia community member
> ___
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: 
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
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> 



-- 
fae...@gmail.com https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae
Personal and confidential, please do not circulate or re-quote.

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

2016-02-26 Thread Pierre-Selim
Ruslan it's different. Way different I would say, being
head of staff is the role of the ED (when not steping down).

A board member messing with that is doing something bad
for the organization. If a board member is not happy with
the result of the ED, his option is simple, talk about it with
the board and act within the board.

Now, When an ED is stepping down, the board has to step up
during the transition.

Finding the limit of your mandate as board member is not easy
this is why lots of organizations write Board codex, board guidance
book, etc.

2016-02-26 11:16 GMT+01:00 Ruslan Takayev :

> Jimmy, et al
>
> As yet, we have yet to have coherent believable reasoning for the removal
> of James Heilman from the BoT, but one of the reasons that has been put out
> there (rightly or wrongly) is that James was talking to staff about the
> state of affairs at the WMF.
>
> Is this trip not the exact same thing that James was alleged to have done
> all those months ago? i.e. talking to staff.
>
> Why are trustees, including yourself, only now willing to listen to staff
> concerns? The time for that was BEFORE the proverbial poo hit the fan.
>
> I am seeing the announcement of your trip as nothing more than a "knight in
> shining armor" routine, that frankly is too little too late.
>
> Warm regards,
>
> Ruslan Takayev
>
>
> On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 4:06 AM, Jimmy Wales  wrote:
>
> > Here is a note that I just sent to the staff mailing list (stuck in a
> > queue at the moment, so some staff will see it here first.).
> >
> > Hi everyone!
> >
> > I am coming to San Francisco on Saturday for a few days to meet with a
> > lot of you.  I know many of you are not actually in San Francisco, so
> > I'll be sure to set aside time for remote meetings as well.
> >
> > By now you of course have heard that Lila is leaving us, and my hope is
> > that we're going to enter a new era of stability and productivity.  And
> > for that to happen, the board - including me - needs to hear from you,
> > to listen and learn.
> >
> > Brion Vibber, who I hired as the first ever employee of the Foundation,
> > said this to me on Facebook recently: "Jimmy Wales welcome back to the
> > conversation. I look forward to how you address the current crisis, and
> > hope it will involve the kind of careful listening and thoughtful
> > consideration that I remember from 2001."
> >
> > That's what I want, too.  I want to listen and I want to help the board
> > make good decisions.
> >
> > For me, the mission - a free encyclopedia for every single person on the
> > planet, in their own language - is what brought us all together.  It's
> > what keeps us going even in difficult times.  But my view is that it
> > doesn't have to be difficult times.  Working at the WMF should be - and
> > will be, I really think - a joy: the joy of working with the best
> > colleagues, the joy of doing work that matters to the world, and the joy
> > of working for the fantastic global community of Wikipedians.
> >
> > I'll be reaching out to some of you - probably starting with people I
> > already know - but please reach out to me as well if you'd like to meet.
> >
> > I'm in SF from Saturday afternoon through Wednesday evening, so
> > depending on demand, I may not be able to see everyone, but I'd like to
> > get a good overview.
> >
> > --Jimbo
> >
> > ___
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > 
> ___
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> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> 




-- 
Pierre-Selim
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-26 Thread GorillaWarfare
I would be curious to hear precisely what you hope to accomplish from your
trip to San Francisco. How do you plan to communicate what you learn to the
rest of the Board of Trustees, and to those who will be instrumental in
shaping the changes that will happen to the WMF in the near future? How do
you plan to speak to staff members, who have seen many of their coworkers
leave or be forced out in the last few years? How do you plan to increase
morale among an incredibly demoralized group?

I too hope that your return will be marked by "careful listening and
thoughtful consideration" that Brion Vibber describes, not to mention
strong actions resulting from what you learn during your trip. But quite
frankly, Vibber's communications with the Wikimedia community outside of
the Foundation have far surpassed yours in clarity and transparency. I hope
that you will improve upon your messaging, but I would like clear
reassurance that you realize this is necessary.

There have been many things that have not impressed me recently: how the
Wikimedia Foundation chose to handle the lack of transparency surrounding
WMF actions (even once they were leaked), how the Board has handled the
past unrest surrounding the Executive Director and senior leadership,
communication surrounding James Heilman's removal... the list really goes
on and on.

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.

I would also like to hear a clear statement about what you think can be
gained from your return to San Francisco.

Thank you,
Molly White
User:GorillaWarfare
English Wikipedia community member
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] I am going to San Francisco

2016-02-26 Thread Ruslan Takayev
Jimmy, et al

As yet, we have yet to have coherent believable reasoning for the removal
of James Heilman from the BoT, but one of the reasons that has been put out
there (rightly or wrongly) is that James was talking to staff about the
state of affairs at the WMF.

Is this trip not the exact same thing that James was alleged to have done
all those months ago? i.e. talking to staff.

Why are trustees, including yourself, only now willing to listen to staff
concerns? The time for that was BEFORE the proverbial poo hit the fan.

I am seeing the announcement of your trip as nothing more than a "knight in
shining armor" routine, that frankly is too little too late.

Warm regards,

Ruslan Takayev


On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 4:06 AM, Jimmy Wales  wrote:

> Here is a note that I just sent to the staff mailing list (stuck in a
> queue at the moment, so some staff will see it here first.).
>
> Hi everyone!
>
> I am coming to San Francisco on Saturday for a few days to meet with a
> lot of you.  I know many of you are not actually in San Francisco, so
> I'll be sure to set aside time for remote meetings as well.
>
> By now you of course have heard that Lila is leaving us, and my hope is
> that we're going to enter a new era of stability and productivity.  And
> for that to happen, the board - including me - needs to hear from you,
> to listen and learn.
>
> Brion Vibber, who I hired as the first ever employee of the Foundation,
> said this to me on Facebook recently: "Jimmy Wales welcome back to the
> conversation. I look forward to how you address the current crisis, and
> hope it will involve the kind of careful listening and thoughtful
> consideration that I remember from 2001."
>
> That's what I want, too.  I want to listen and I want to help the board
> make good decisions.
>
> For me, the mission - a free encyclopedia for every single person on the
> planet, in their own language - is what brought us all together.  It's
> what keeps us going even in difficult times.  But my view is that it
> doesn't have to be difficult times.  Working at the WMF should be - and
> will be, I really think - a joy: the joy of working with the best
> colleagues, the joy of doing work that matters to the world, and the joy
> of working for the fantastic global community of Wikipedians.
>
> I'll be reaching out to some of you - probably starting with people I
> already know - but please reach out to me as well if you'd like to meet.
>
> I'm in SF from Saturday afternoon through Wednesday evening, so
> depending on demand, I may not be able to see everyone, but I'd like to
> get a good overview.
>
> --Jimbo
>
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