Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Community Engagement to leave the Foundation

2019-11-19 Thread Gregory Varnum
Hello,

Aron - I have posted a response to your inquiry on Wikimedia Space - thank you 
for sharing it there as well: 
https://discuss-space.wmflabs.org/t/wikimedia-foundation-chief-of-community-engagement-to-leave-the-foundation/2194/3

Thank you to everyone for your feedback, offers of support, and keen insights. 
We will share more information in the coming months as we complete this 
transition.

-greg

---
Gregory Varnum
Communications Strategist
Wikimedia Foundation 
gvar...@wikimedia.org
Pronouns: He/Him/His


> On Nov 17, 2019, at 1:56 PM, Aron Manning  wrote:
> 
> Katherine Maher wrote:
> 
>> Valerie and her team drafted
>> an ambitious new vision for the work of Community Engagement—focused on
>> decentralization of power and resources, safe and welcoming spaces,
>> equitable collaboration, increased language and cultural fluency, dedicated
>> programs for groups such as women and young people, and expansive
>> partnerships in service of free knowledge.
> 
> 
> 
>> With this vision in hand, Val and I both see this as the right juncture
>> for
> 
> her to move on to her next professional challenge.
> 
> 
> I'm sorry to hear the news of her leaving. I wish her good fortune in her
> next endeavour and I wish success for the WMF in implementing the vision of
> her team.
> 
> 
> Katherine Maher wrote:
> 
>> We will not be starting a search for a new Chief of Community Engagement.
>> Instead, over the course of the next few weeks, the seven teams currently
>> within the Community Engagement (CE) department will be integrated into the
>> Foundation’s other departments.
> 
> 
> I believe this change might give a new chance to improve community
> engagement with the WMF teams.
> The Movement Strategy community conversations
> 
> and the office actions consultation
> 
> was
> a step in the good direction, but the community is looking for a more
> engaged, real-time, person-to-person discussion with team members, besides
> the unidirectional flow of these plans. As Valerie's ted talk states:
> "Think Circles, Not Pyramids". We very much appreciate the contributions of
> the few working group members, who joined the discussions, but hoped at
> least one member of all working groups would join.
> I hope as a result of this restructuring all teams and members will take
> part to some extent in "community engagement". Direct communication is the
> most effective way to achieve community goals. With the strong divide
> between the WMF and the communities, I see direct communication as the only
> way to bridge those gaps and create healthy cooperation between the
> communities and the WMF.
> I believe if engagement with the communities increases, the communities
> will be more trusting and helpful to the teams, thereby paving the road to
> success for the Movement's goals.
> 
> 
> Katherine Maher wrote:
> 
>> For example, if you need something from Trust & Safety or Community
>> Resources,
> 
> they’ll continue to be here to work with you.
>> 
> 
> I appreciate the time invested by Karen (KBrown) and Samuel in the partial
> bans consultation. In other matters however it is very hard to gain the
> attention of T I assumed it's the T team's purpose to address
> community health issues, but I might be wrong. When I've reported an issue
> of tool abuse and possible harassment to the T - that previously received
> no response (not even acknowledgment
> )
> from the ArbCom -, almost 2 months (sic!) later I've received the following
> response: "The issues you have described in your communication to us are a
> local community governance matters, which fall outside of the Foundation's
> remit. We respect the autonomy of the Wikimedia communities and, as a rule,
> do not interfere."
> This was at the time when Fram was temporarily banned by the T for
> harassment.
> I've clarified in a response that the issue involved Terms of Use
> violation, which is the policy of the WMF, not the community. There was no
> answer in the last 3 months.
> 
> As the community health research projects revealed in previous years,
> editors are occasionally bullied, harassed; often this is done to influence
> decisions and silence different POVs.  Established editors are part of a
> social network of fellow editors, who can protect them from harm, but new
> and casual editors don't enjoy such safety.
> As an example: the first response I've received *from the OTRS*, when I
> asked how to handle an issue of preferential treatment, that I often see
> new users are a victim of:
> "Report them to ANI and *hope you're not hit in the face with a boomerang*."
> This is the safety new users can expect currently. Needless 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Community Engagement to leave the Foundation

2019-11-17 Thread Aron Manning
Katherine Maher wrote:

> Valerie and her team drafted
> an ambitious new vision for the work of Community Engagement—focused on
> decentralization of power and resources, safe and welcoming spaces,
> equitable collaboration, increased language and cultural fluency, dedicated
> programs for groups such as women and young people, and expansive
> partnerships in service of free knowledge.



> With this vision in hand, Val and I both see this as the right juncture
> for

her to move on to her next professional challenge.


I'm sorry to hear the news of her leaving. I wish her good fortune in her
next endeavour and I wish success for the WMF in implementing the vision of
her team.


Katherine Maher wrote:

> We will not be starting a search for a new Chief of Community Engagement.
> Instead, over the course of the next few weeks, the seven teams currently
> within the Community Engagement (CE) department will be integrated into the
> Foundation’s other departments.


I believe this change might give a new chance to improve community
engagement with the WMF teams.
The Movement Strategy community conversations

and the office actions consultation

was
a step in the good direction, but the community is looking for a more
engaged, real-time, person-to-person discussion with team members, besides
the unidirectional flow of these plans. As Valerie's ted talk states:
"Think Circles, Not Pyramids". We very much appreciate the contributions of
the few working group members, who joined the discussions, but hoped at
least one member of all working groups would join.
I hope as a result of this restructuring all teams and members will take
part to some extent in "community engagement". Direct communication is the
most effective way to achieve community goals. With the strong divide
between the WMF and the communities, I see direct communication as the only
way to bridge those gaps and create healthy cooperation between the
communities and the WMF.
I believe if engagement with the communities increases, the communities
will be more trusting and helpful to the teams, thereby paving the road to
success for the Movement's goals.


Katherine Maher wrote:

> For example, if you need something from Trust & Safety or Community
> Resources,

they’ll continue to be here to work with you.
>

I appreciate the time invested by Karen (KBrown) and Samuel in the partial
bans consultation. In other matters however it is very hard to gain the
attention of T I assumed it's the T team's purpose to address
community health issues, but I might be wrong. When I've reported an issue
of tool abuse and possible harassment to the T - that previously received
no response (not even acknowledgment
)
from the ArbCom -, almost 2 months (sic!) later I've received the following
response: "The issues you have described in your communication to us are a
local community governance matters, which fall outside of the Foundation's
remit. We respect the autonomy of the Wikimedia communities and, as a rule,
do not interfere."
This was at the time when Fram was temporarily banned by the T for
harassment.
I've clarified in a response that the issue involved Terms of Use
violation, which is the policy of the WMF, not the community. There was no
answer in the last 3 months.

As the community health research projects revealed in previous years,
editors are occasionally bullied, harassed; often this is done to influence
decisions and silence different POVs.  Established editors are part of a
social network of fellow editors, who can protect them from harm, but new
and casual editors don't enjoy such safety.
As an example: the first response I've received *from the OTRS*, when I
asked how to handle an issue of preferential treatment, that I often see
new users are a victim of:
"Report them to ANI and *hope you're not hit in the face with a boomerang*."
This is the safety new users can expect currently. Needless to say, such
response in a professional support team would be unacceptable.

My questions are: Where should new and casual editors seek help in the new
team structure if the communities ignore their problem? What team and
individuals will work to improve community health?


Paul J. Weiss wrote:

> I definitely do not want Trust & Safety to narrow its focus to ensuring

enforcement & reducing liability. As you know, legal but negative behavior
> is a significant threat to the future of Wikipedia and sister projects. The
> team needs to be organizationally placed to maximize, not minimize, its
> access to resources, the community, and other staff as well as its impact.
> Placing it in Legal could, for example, decrease significantly contact and
> trust from our community 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Community Engagement to leave the Foundation

2019-11-16 Thread Gerard Meijssen
Hoi,
It is all a matter of perception. I work at Wikidata particularly on
Africa. I notice how little data we have on Wikidata. Today for instance I
added ministers of health because we just did not have this. We do not have
the geographic data that is what we need if we only want to know where
someone was born/died.. I regularly add universities to Wikidata because we
do not have them.

You can say that everything is well in hand, we were there, and these nice
people are really active. Sure. Compare that with the American meet up
where it was professionals getting to grips with how to get the most out of
our projects.

We took away what enabled children to make use of Wikipedia, the question
is what did we do to compensate.
Thanks,
  GerardM

On Sat, 16 Nov 2019 at 19:19, Paulo Santos Perneta 
wrote:

>  What websites are you talking about, Gerard? I couldn't get that part.
>
> Africa is way more engaged and active that the impression that often passes
> to the rest of the movement, and I believe that the WMF staff that went to
> Wiki Indaba has noticed that (it was impossible not to notice it, IMO). I
> was at Wiki Indaba, and my impression is that the WMF was well and properly
> represented at the conference, that the money was well spent and that there
> will be/ already are practical and noticeable improvements in the
> engagement with the wiki communities in Africa on the part of the WMF after
> that.
>
> Best,
> Paulo
>
> Gerard Meijssen  escreveu no dia sábado,
> 16/11/2019 à(s) 16:12:
>
> > Hoi,
> > What language does the staff, the departments speak.
> >
> > What chance for the current bias to be sustained and for no real progress
> > where we do a mediocre job at best.. Did we EVER research what the effect
> > was of ending the free access to our articles when we ended our program.
> Do
> > we know how to make a difference and are we willing to let go of what
> holds
> > us back?
> >
> > Just compare the recent conventions and the money spend. Africa could be
> so
> > much more active when our websites are as good there as what we are
> > accustomed to. Yes, staff went to Africa and then what?
> > Thanks,
> >GerardM
> >
> > On Sat, 16 Nov 2019 at 16:04, Peter Southwood <
> > peter.southw...@telkomsa.net>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > If the changes get staff more directly and personally involved in
> > > communicating with the rest of the community it could be helpful to
> both
> > > groups,
> > > Cheers,
> > > Peter
> > >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Wikimedia-l [mailto:wikimedia-l-boun...@lists.wikimedia.org] On
> > > Behalf Of Dariusz Jemielniak
> > > Sent: 16 November 2019 12:39
> > > To: Wikimedia Mailing List
> > > Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Community
> > > Engagement to leave the Foundation
> > >
> > > hi,
> > >
> > > speaking just in my personal opinion and capacity, without discussing
> it
> > > with anyone else: only time will tell whether this structural change
> > works,
> > > and jumping to conclusions is definitely premature.
> > >
> > > In principle, as a person specializing in management and organizational
> > > change, I can tell that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. I can
> > > definitely see a lot of possible benefits to the restructuring though,
> > and
> > > we definitely DO want all WMF departments to be in touch with the
> > > communities. The proposed approach tries to address the siloses. Every
> > > department will have good interface with the CE issues, and this is a
> > good
> > > thing. Whether it leads to better CE prioritization is unknown yet, but
> > > structurally it can definitely help.
> > >
> > > On a practical level, given the fact that our previous search for the
> > > C-level position for CE took more than half a year, AFAIR, in the short
> > > term the assumed approach allows us to leapfrog a lot of turmoil, which
> > > could be damaging to community engagement in this crucial moment (last
> > > stretch of our strategic exercise effort). In the long run - I am
> certain
> > > that the WMF leadership does not believe in things written in stone.
> > >
> > > I'd be really reluctant to assume the restructuring is good or bad for
> > the
> > > community as it is, everything depends on how the new structure is used
> > in
> > > practice.
> > >
> > > best,
> > >
> > > dj "pundit"
> > >
>

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Community Engagement to leave the Foundation

2019-11-16 Thread Paulo Santos Perneta
 What websites are you talking about, Gerard? I couldn't get that part.

Africa is way more engaged and active that the impression that often passes
to the rest of the movement, and I believe that the WMF staff that went to
Wiki Indaba has noticed that (it was impossible not to notice it, IMO). I
was at Wiki Indaba, and my impression is that the WMF was well and properly
represented at the conference, that the money was well spent and that there
will be/ already are practical and noticeable improvements in the
engagement with the wiki communities in Africa on the part of the WMF after
that.

Best,
Paulo

Gerard Meijssen  escreveu no dia sábado,
16/11/2019 à(s) 16:12:

> Hoi,
> What language does the staff, the departments speak.
>
> What chance for the current bias to be sustained and for no real progress
> where we do a mediocre job at best.. Did we EVER research what the effect
> was of ending the free access to our articles when we ended our program. Do
> we know how to make a difference and are we willing to let go of what holds
> us back?
>
> Just compare the recent conventions and the money spend. Africa could be so
> much more active when our websites are as good there as what we are
> accustomed to. Yes, staff went to Africa and then what?
> Thanks,
>GerardM
>
> On Sat, 16 Nov 2019 at 16:04, Peter Southwood <
> peter.southw...@telkomsa.net>
> wrote:
>
> > If the changes get staff more directly and personally involved in
> > communicating with the rest of the community it could be helpful to both
> > groups,
> > Cheers,
> > Peter
> >
> > -Original Message-
> > From: Wikimedia-l [mailto:wikimedia-l-boun...@lists.wikimedia.org] On
> > Behalf Of Dariusz Jemielniak
> > Sent: 16 November 2019 12:39
> > To: Wikimedia Mailing List
> > Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Community
> > Engagement to leave the Foundation
> >
> > hi,
> >
> > speaking just in my personal opinion and capacity, without discussing it
> > with anyone else: only time will tell whether this structural change
> works,
> > and jumping to conclusions is definitely premature.
> >
> > In principle, as a person specializing in management and organizational
> > change, I can tell that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. I can
> > definitely see a lot of possible benefits to the restructuring though,
> and
> > we definitely DO want all WMF departments to be in touch with the
> > communities. The proposed approach tries to address the siloses. Every
> > department will have good interface with the CE issues, and this is a
> good
> > thing. Whether it leads to better CE prioritization is unknown yet, but
> > structurally it can definitely help.
> >
> > On a practical level, given the fact that our previous search for the
> > C-level position for CE took more than half a year, AFAIR, in the short
> > term the assumed approach allows us to leapfrog a lot of turmoil, which
> > could be damaging to community engagement in this crucial moment (last
> > stretch of our strategic exercise effort). In the long run - I am certain
> > that the WMF leadership does not believe in things written in stone.
> >
> > I'd be really reluctant to assume the restructuring is good or bad for
> the
> > community as it is, everything depends on how the new structure is used
> in
> > practice.
> >
> > best,
> >
> > dj "pundit"
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Sat, Nov 16, 2019 at 1:29 AM Paul J. Weiss  > pjwe...@uw.edu>> wrote:
> > I find the disbanding of the Community Engagement department at WMF to be
> > quite concerning. I will go so far as to say that I view it as a mistake
> > that will have negative impacts well into the future.
> >
> > For one thing, the structure of an organization is in some sense a
> > statement of priorities. I believe this move does indeed say to
> employees,
> > the community, allied organization, and the rest of the world that the
> WMF
> > is now placing less value on engaging the community. Given that many in
> the
> > community have been feeling this already, this is not an opportune time
> to
> > make this transition, even if it were a good idea for other reasons.
> >
> > Another issue is the specific placement of individual teams. For example,
> > you say that returning the Trust & Safety team to the Legal department is
> > intuitive. It certainly is not to me, and that move in particular is
> > concerning. The team's homepage on Meta states that it "identifies,
> builds
> > and – as appropriate – sta

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Community Engagement to leave the Foundation

2019-11-16 Thread Gerard Meijssen
Hoi,
What language does the staff, the departments speak.

What chance for the current bias to be sustained and for no real progress
where we do a mediocre job at best.. Did we EVER research what the effect
was of ending the free access to our articles when we ended our program. Do
we know how to make a difference and are we willing to let go of what holds
us back?

Just compare the recent conventions and the money spend. Africa could be so
much more active when our websites are as good there as what we are
accustomed to. Yes, staff went to Africa and then what?
Thanks,
   GerardM

On Sat, 16 Nov 2019 at 16:04, Peter Southwood 
wrote:

> If the changes get staff more directly and personally involved in
> communicating with the rest of the community it could be helpful to both
> groups,
> Cheers,
> Peter
>
> -Original Message-
> From: Wikimedia-l [mailto:wikimedia-l-boun...@lists.wikimedia.org] On
> Behalf Of Dariusz Jemielniak
> Sent: 16 November 2019 12:39
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Community
> Engagement to leave the Foundation
>
> hi,
>
> speaking just in my personal opinion and capacity, without discussing it
> with anyone else: only time will tell whether this structural change works,
> and jumping to conclusions is definitely premature.
>
> In principle, as a person specializing in management and organizational
> change, I can tell that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. I can
> definitely see a lot of possible benefits to the restructuring though, and
> we definitely DO want all WMF departments to be in touch with the
> communities. The proposed approach tries to address the siloses. Every
> department will have good interface with the CE issues, and this is a good
> thing. Whether it leads to better CE prioritization is unknown yet, but
> structurally it can definitely help.
>
> On a practical level, given the fact that our previous search for the
> C-level position for CE took more than half a year, AFAIR, in the short
> term the assumed approach allows us to leapfrog a lot of turmoil, which
> could be damaging to community engagement in this crucial moment (last
> stretch of our strategic exercise effort). In the long run - I am certain
> that the WMF leadership does not believe in things written in stone.
>
> I'd be really reluctant to assume the restructuring is good or bad for the
> community as it is, everything depends on how the new structure is used in
> practice.
>
> best,
>
> dj "pundit"
>
>
>
>
> On Sat, Nov 16, 2019 at 1:29 AM Paul J. Weiss  pjwe...@uw.edu>> wrote:
> I find the disbanding of the Community Engagement department at WMF to be
> quite concerning. I will go so far as to say that I view it as a mistake
> that will have negative impacts well into the future.
>
> For one thing, the structure of an organization is in some sense a
> statement of priorities. I believe this move does indeed say to employees,
> the community, allied organization, and the rest of the world that the WMF
> is now placing less value on engaging the community. Given that many in the
> community have been feeling this already, this is not an opportune time to
> make this transition, even if it were a good idea for other reasons.
>
> Another issue is the specific placement of individual teams. For example,
> you say that returning the Trust & Safety team to the Legal department is
> intuitive. It certainly is not to me, and that move in particular is
> concerning. The team's homepage on Meta states that it "identifies, builds
> and – as appropriate – staffs processes which keep our users safe; design,
> develop, and execute on a strategy that integrates legal, product,
> research, and learning & evaluation to proactively mitigate risk as well as
> manage the overall safety of our online and offline communities when
> incidents happen." The legal aspect is only one of many in the team's
> purview, and hopefully not a large one.
>
> In my experience, units within legal departments take a very legalistic
> view of their work. As one example, many colleges and universities have an
> office for students with disabilities. In the US, those that are in legal
> or policy departments tend to focus very much on doing the minimum they
> have to do under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), rather than
> being student-centered. (This is the case here at the University of
> Washington.) Compare this to the focus of units for women, students of
> color, etc., often hierarchically under student services, who are much more
> proactive and supportive.
>
> I definitely do not want Trust & Safety to narrow its focus to ensuring
> enforcement & reducing li

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Community Engagement to leave the Foundation

2019-11-16 Thread Peter Southwood
If the changes get staff more directly and personally involved in communicating 
with the rest of the community it could be helpful to both groups,
Cheers,
Peter

-Original Message-
From: Wikimedia-l [mailto:wikimedia-l-boun...@lists.wikimedia.org] On Behalf Of 
Dariusz Jemielniak
Sent: 16 November 2019 12:39
To: Wikimedia Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Community Engagement 
to leave the Foundation

hi,

speaking just in my personal opinion and capacity, without discussing it with 
anyone else: only time will tell whether this structural change works, and 
jumping to conclusions is definitely premature.

In principle, as a person specializing in management and organizational change, 
I can tell that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. I can definitely see a 
lot of possible benefits to the restructuring though, and we definitely DO want 
all WMF departments to be in touch with the communities. The proposed approach 
tries to address the siloses. Every department will have good interface with 
the CE issues, and this is a good thing. Whether it leads to better CE 
prioritization is unknown yet, but structurally it can definitely help.

On a practical level, given the fact that our previous search for the C-level 
position for CE took more than half a year, AFAIR, in the short term the 
assumed approach allows us to leapfrog a lot of turmoil, which could be 
damaging to community engagement in this crucial moment (last stretch of our 
strategic exercise effort). In the long run - I am certain that the WMF 
leadership does not believe in things written in stone.

I'd be really reluctant to assume the restructuring is good or bad for the 
community as it is, everything depends on how the new structure is used in 
practice.

best,

dj "pundit"




On Sat, Nov 16, 2019 at 1:29 AM Paul J. Weiss 
mailto:pjwe...@uw.edu>> wrote:
I find the disbanding of the Community Engagement department at WMF to be
quite concerning. I will go so far as to say that I view it as a mistake
that will have negative impacts well into the future.

For one thing, the structure of an organization is in some sense a
statement of priorities. I believe this move does indeed say to employees,
the community, allied organization, and the rest of the world that the WMF
is now placing less value on engaging the community. Given that many in the
community have been feeling this already, this is not an opportune time to
make this transition, even if it were a good idea for other reasons.

Another issue is the specific placement of individual teams. For example,
you say that returning the Trust & Safety team to the Legal department is
intuitive. It certainly is not to me, and that move in particular is
concerning. The team's homepage on Meta states that it "identifies, builds
and – as appropriate – staffs processes which keep our users safe; design,
develop, and execute on a strategy that integrates legal, product,
research, and learning & evaluation to proactively mitigate risk as well as
manage the overall safety of our online and offline communities when
incidents happen." The legal aspect is only one of many in the team's
purview, and hopefully not a large one.

In my experience, units within legal departments take a very legalistic
view of their work. As one example, many colleges and universities have an
office for students with disabilities. In the US, those that are in legal
or policy departments tend to focus very much on doing the minimum they
have to do under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), rather than
being student-centered. (This is the case here at the University of
Washington.) Compare this to the focus of units for women, students of
color, etc., often hierarchically under student services, who are much more
proactive and supportive.

I definitely do not want Trust & Safety to narrow its focus to ensuring
enforcement & reducing liability. As you know, legal but negative behavior
is a significant threat to the future of Wikipedia and sister projects. The
team needs to be organizationally placed to maximize, not minimize, its
access to resources, the community, and other staff as well as its impact.
Placing it in Legal could, for example, decrease significantly contact and
trust from our community members whose experience with laws is that they
are used as weapons and tools to oppress rather than engendering fairness
and cooperation.

Please, please carefully consider the all ramifications of this
reorganization before it is implemented.

Thank you,
Paul Weiss
Libcub on en.wp

- Original Message -
Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Community Engagement
to leave the Foundation
From: 'Katherine Maher' mailto:kma...@wikimedia.org>>
Date: 11/15/19 3:36 pm
To: 'Wikimedia Mailing List' 
mailto:wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org>>

Hello everyone,

I am writing to let you know that Val D

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Community Engagement to leave the Foundation

2019-11-16 Thread Dariusz Jemielniak
hi,

speaking just in my personal opinion and capacity, without discussing it with 
anyone else: only time will tell whether this structural change works, and 
jumping to conclusions is definitely premature.

In principle, as a person specializing in management and organizational change, 
I can tell that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. I can definitely see a 
lot of possible benefits to the restructuring though, and we definitely DO want 
all WMF departments to be in touch with the communities. The proposed approach 
tries to address the siloses. Every department will have good interface with 
the CE issues, and this is a good thing. Whether it leads to better CE 
prioritization is unknown yet, but structurally it can definitely help.

On a practical level, given the fact that our previous search for the C-level 
position for CE took more than half a year, AFAIR, in the short term the 
assumed approach allows us to leapfrog a lot of turmoil, which could be 
damaging to community engagement in this crucial moment (last stretch of our 
strategic exercise effort). In the long run - I am certain that the WMF 
leadership does not believe in things written in stone.

I'd be really reluctant to assume the restructuring is good or bad for the 
community as it is, everything depends on how the new structure is used in 
practice.

best,

dj "pundit"




On Sat, Nov 16, 2019 at 1:29 AM Paul J. Weiss 
mailto:pjwe...@uw.edu>> wrote:
I find the disbanding of the Community Engagement department at WMF to be
quite concerning. I will go so far as to say that I view it as a mistake
that will have negative impacts well into the future.

For one thing, the structure of an organization is in some sense a
statement of priorities. I believe this move does indeed say to employees,
the community, allied organization, and the rest of the world that the WMF
is now placing less value on engaging the community. Given that many in the
community have been feeling this already, this is not an opportune time to
make this transition, even if it were a good idea for other reasons.

Another issue is the specific placement of individual teams. For example,
you say that returning the Trust & Safety team to the Legal department is
intuitive. It certainly is not to me, and that move in particular is
concerning. The team's homepage on Meta states that it "identifies, builds
and – as appropriate – staffs processes which keep our users safe; design,
develop, and execute on a strategy that integrates legal, product,
research, and learning & evaluation to proactively mitigate risk as well as
manage the overall safety of our online and offline communities when
incidents happen." The legal aspect is only one of many in the team's
purview, and hopefully not a large one.

In my experience, units within legal departments take a very legalistic
view of their work. As one example, many colleges and universities have an
office for students with disabilities. In the US, those that are in legal
or policy departments tend to focus very much on doing the minimum they
have to do under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), rather than
being student-centered. (This is the case here at the University of
Washington.) Compare this to the focus of units for women, students of
color, etc., often hierarchically under student services, who are much more
proactive and supportive.

I definitely do not want Trust & Safety to narrow its focus to ensuring
enforcement & reducing liability. As you know, legal but negative behavior
is a significant threat to the future of Wikipedia and sister projects. The
team needs to be organizationally placed to maximize, not minimize, its
access to resources, the community, and other staff as well as its impact.
Placing it in Legal could, for example, decrease significantly contact and
trust from our community members whose experience with laws is that they
are used as weapons and tools to oppress rather than engendering fairness
and cooperation.

Please, please carefully consider the all ramifications of this
reorganization before it is implemented.

Thank you,
Paul Weiss
Libcub on en.wp

- Original Message -
Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Community Engagement
to leave the Foundation
From: 'Katherine Maher' mailto:kma...@wikimedia.org>>
Date: 11/15/19 3:36 pm
To: 'Wikimedia Mailing List' 
mailto:wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org>>

Hello everyone,

I am writing to let you know that Val D’Costa, Chief Community Engagement
Officer, is leaving the Wikimedia Foundation. I also want to share some
changes we’re making around how the Foundation organizes staff in the
Community Engagement department.

Val joined us last January, bringing nearly three decades of experience
launching and growing international initiatives in emerging markets. With
the Wikimedia 2030 movement strategy as a guide, Val and her team drafted
an ambitious new vision for the work of Community Engagement—focused on

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Community Engagement to leave the Foundation

2019-11-16 Thread Chris Keating
On Sat, Nov 16, 2019 at 6:29 AM Paul J. Weiss  wrote:

> I find the disbanding of the Community Engagement department at WMF to be
> quite concerning. I will go so far as to say that I view it as a mistake
> that will have negative impacts well into the future.
>

Actually I think the opposite is just as likely to be true. I've been
thinking for a while that actually the best way for the WMF to be good at
working with "the community" (or, indeed, the many other communities that
we should be working with) is not necessarily for the WMF to have a
department called "community engagement". The other departments within WMF
should (and, in many cases, do) have many competencies, projects and areas
of focus that involve working with communities, and it looks like the aim
here is to make 'community engagement' more mainstream within the other
parts of the WMF.

You're right to point out that there are ways that this could go wrong, if
parts of CE end up being put in places where their new managers and wider
teams don't get it or don't prioritise that kind of work. However, it could
also go right, if those other teams/departments broaden in scope in
response to include more goals around working with the community. It all
depends how deeply embedded a culture of community engagement becomes
across the organization.

I did just want to ask about this, though:

Some people may be wondering, what does this mean for ... the planned
> restructure of the
> Community Engagement department to a new regional approach?


I'd not heard that this was happening, possibly because I'd not been paying
attention or because it's been discussed in other fora but not this one. If
this is still likely to happen in the new structure, can someone tell us
more?

Thanks!

Chris
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Community Engagement to leave the Foundation

2019-11-16 Thread Pine W
Paul raises an interesting point about the placement of T that I hadn't
considered, although I am thinking about this from a different angle.

After the departure of Michelle Paulson, I've found WMF Legal to be
considerably less responsive to emails that I've sent to legal@, and it
would be disappointing if T adopted the apparent mentality in WMF Legal
that ignoring messages is okay. Once in awhile something will slip through
the cracks (I'm aware of my seemingly endless Wikimedia email backlog), but
given the number of lawyers on WMF"s staff and how much more responsive the
department was to my communications when Michelle Paulson was in charge, I
think that some changes should be considered for that department if they
haven't already been implemented by the new General Counsel.

Returning focus to T, I agree that legalistic minimalism would be
disappointing, but I hope that T has decided after a wasteful,
unnecessary, and high profile conflict earlier this year

that overreach is a bad idea. There is room for a middle ground of T
supporting research into ways that community administrators can be more
effective and skillful, and collaborating with the community to design
features that promote collaboration, while avoiding both legal minimalism
or arrogant overreach. I think that the placement of T in Legal is a
manageable risk, but I hope that WMF will think carefully about how to
manage the cultures and priorities for the merged department.

Paul, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Pine
( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )


On Sat, Nov 16, 2019 at 6:29 AM Paul J. Weiss  wrote:

> I find the disbanding of the Community Engagement department at WMF to be
> quite concerning. I will go so far as to say that I view it as a mistake
> that will have negative impacts well into the future.
>
> For one thing, the structure of an organization is in some sense a
> statement of priorities. I believe this move does indeed say to employees,
> the community, allied organization, and the rest of the world that the WMF
> is now placing less value on engaging the community. Given that many in the
> community have been feeling this already, this is not an opportune time to
> make this transition, even if it were a good idea for other reasons.
>
> Another issue is the specific placement of individual teams. For example,
> you say that returning the Trust & Safety team to the Legal department is
> intuitive. It certainly is not to me, and that move in particular is
> concerning. The team's homepage on Meta states that it "identifies, builds
> and – as appropriate – staffs processes which keep our users safe; design,
> develop, and execute on a strategy that integrates legal, product,
> research, and learning & evaluation to proactively mitigate risk as well as
> manage the overall safety of our online and offline communities when
> incidents happen." The legal aspect is only one of many in the team's
> purview, and hopefully not a large one.
>
> In my experience, units within legal departments take a very legalistic
> view of their work. As one example, many colleges and universities have an
> office for students with disabilities. In the US, those that are in legal
> or policy departments tend to focus very much on doing the minimum they
> have to do under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), rather than
> being student-centered. (This is the case here at the University of
> Washington.) Compare this to the focus of units for women, students of
> color, etc., often hierarchically under student services, who are much more
> proactive and supportive.
>
> I definitely do not want Trust & Safety to narrow its focus to ensuring
> enforcement & reducing liability. As you know, legal but negative behavior
> is a significant threat to the future of Wikipedia and sister projects. The
> team needs to be organizationally placed to maximize, not minimize, its
> access to resources, the community, and other staff as well as its impact.
> Placing it in Legal could, for example, decrease significantly contact and
> trust from our community members whose experience with laws is that they
> are used as weapons and tools to oppress rather than engendering fairness
> and cooperation.
>
> Please, please carefully consider the all ramifications of this
> reorganization before it is implemented.
>
> Thank you,
> Paul Weiss
> Libcub on en.wp
>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Community Engagement to leave the Foundation

2019-11-15 Thread Paul J. Weiss
I find the disbanding of the Community Engagement department at WMF to be
quite concerning. I will go so far as to say that I view it as a mistake
that will have negative impacts well into the future.

For one thing, the structure of an organization is in some sense a
statement of priorities. I believe this move does indeed say to employees,
the community, allied organization, and the rest of the world that the WMF
is now placing less value on engaging the community. Given that many in the
community have been feeling this already, this is not an opportune time to
make this transition, even if it were a good idea for other reasons.

Another issue is the specific placement of individual teams. For example,
you say that returning the Trust & Safety team to the Legal department is
intuitive. It certainly is not to me, and that move in particular is
concerning. The team's homepage on Meta states that it "identifies, builds
and – as appropriate – staffs processes which keep our users safe; design,
develop, and execute on a strategy that integrates legal, product,
research, and learning & evaluation to proactively mitigate risk as well as
manage the overall safety of our online and offline communities when
incidents happen." The legal aspect is only one of many in the team's
purview, and hopefully not a large one.

In my experience, units within legal departments take a very legalistic
view of their work. As one example, many colleges and universities have an
office for students with disabilities. In the US, those that are in legal
or policy departments tend to focus very much on doing the minimum they
have to do under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), rather than
being student-centered. (This is the case here at the University of
Washington.) Compare this to the focus of units for women, students of
color, etc., often hierarchically under student services, who are much more
proactive and supportive.

I definitely do not want Trust & Safety to narrow its focus to ensuring
enforcement & reducing liability. As you know, legal but negative behavior
is a significant threat to the future of Wikipedia and sister projects. The
team needs to be organizationally placed to maximize, not minimize, its
access to resources, the community, and other staff as well as its impact.
Placing it in Legal could, for example, decrease significantly contact and
trust from our community members whose experience with laws is that they
are used as weapons and tools to oppress rather than engendering fairness
and cooperation.

Please, please carefully consider the all ramifications of this
reorganization before it is implemented.

Thank you,
Paul Weiss
Libcub on en.wp

- Original Message -
Subject: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Community Engagement
to leave the Foundation
From: 'Katherine Maher' 
Date: 11/15/19 3:36 pm
To: 'Wikimedia Mailing List' 

Hello everyone,

I am writing to let you know that Val D’Costa, Chief Community Engagement
Officer, is leaving the Wikimedia Foundation. I also want to share some
changes we’re making around how the Foundation organizes staff in the
Community Engagement department.

Val joined us last January, bringing nearly three decades of experience
launching and growing international initiatives in emerging markets. With
the Wikimedia 2030 movement strategy as a guide, Val and her team drafted
an ambitious new vision for the work of Community Engagement—focused on
decentralization of power and resources, safe and welcoming spaces,
equitable collaboration, increased language and cultural fluency, dedicated
programs for groups such as women and young people, and expansive
partnerships in service of free knowledge.

With this vision in hand, Val and I both see this as the right juncture for
her to move on to her next professional challenge. While she will be
leaving the position of Chief of Community Engagement, she will remain on
as a consultant to me for a brief period.

I am deeply appreciative of Val’s time with us at the Foundation and want
to thank her for the contributions she has made to the Wikimedia movement.
She has been a passionate and persuasive advocate for our mission and
pushed us to expand our vision of what could be possible for our movement.
I wish her the absolute best in what she does next.

*== What comes next for Community Engagement ==*

I'll be direct -- we are making changes to the CE department structure.

We will not be starting a search for a new Chief of Community Engagement.
Instead, over the course of the next few weeks, the seven teams currently
within the Community Engagement (CE) department will be integrated into the
Foundation’s other departments. By January, all of the teams will have
joined their new departments, and “Community Engagement” will no longer be
a standalone department.

The teams currently in CE will be integrated with other Foundation
departments aligned with executive leadership goals and based on their
scope and 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Community Engagement to leave the Foundation

2019-11-15 Thread Elena Lappen
Hi all,

It seems two extra characters made their way into the end of the Wikimedia 
Space link. Here is the correct link, in case you’d like to leave your question 
there: 
https://discuss-space.wmflabs.org/t/wikimedia-foundation-chief-of-community-engagement-to-leave-the-foundation/2194
 



Thanks,
Elena

--
Elena Lappen (she/her)
Community Relations Specialist 
Wikimedia Foundation 



> On Nov 15, 2019, at 3:36 PM, Katherine Maher  wrote:
> 
> Hello everyone,
> 
> I am writing to let you know that Val D’Costa, Chief Community Engagement
> Officer, is leaving the Wikimedia Foundation. I also want to share some
> changes we’re making around how the Foundation organizes staff in the
> Community Engagement department.
> 
> Val joined us last January, bringing nearly three decades of experience
> launching and growing international initiatives in emerging markets. With
> the Wikimedia 2030 movement strategy as a guide, Val and her team drafted
> an ambitious new vision for the work of Community Engagement—focused on
> decentralization of power and resources, safe and welcoming spaces,
> equitable collaboration, increased language and cultural fluency, dedicated
> programs for groups such as women and young people, and expansive
> partnerships in service of free knowledge.
> 
> With this vision in hand, Val and I both see this as the right juncture for
> her to move on to her next professional challenge. While she will be
> leaving the position of Chief of Community Engagement, she will remain on
> as a consultant to me for a brief period.
> 
> I am deeply appreciative of Val’s time with us at the Foundation and want
> to thank her for the contributions she has made to the Wikimedia movement.
> She has been a passionate and persuasive advocate for our mission and
> pushed us to expand our vision of what could be possible for our movement.
> I wish her the absolute best in what she does next.
> 
> *== What comes next for Community Engagement ==*
> 
> I'll be direct -- we are making changes to the CE department structure.
> 
> We will not be starting a search for a new Chief of Community Engagement.
> Instead, over the course of the next few weeks, the seven teams currently
> within the Community Engagement (CE) department will be integrated into the
> Foundation’s other departments. By January, all of the teams will have
> joined their new departments, and “Community Engagement” will no longer be
> a standalone department.
> 
> The teams currently in CE will be integrated with other Foundation
> departments aligned with executive leadership goals and based on  their
> scope and focus, as well as how they might grow in the future. Some of
> these alignments are intuitive, such as Trust & Safety returning to the
> Legal department; others might not be immediately apparent.
> 
> *== What does this mean for your work?  ==*
> 
> Although we have a good sense of which teams will integrate with which
> departments, we are still meeting with the individual teams to work on the
> specific details of the transition. Our focus is on continuity for existing
> community programs and support for Foundation staff in making this change.
> You may hear from staff seeking input on those arrangements, and I want to
> thank you in advance for any feedback you may have.
> 
> We expect to wrap up these conversations in early December, to begin
> transitions in mid-December, and for the transitions to be completed by the
> beginning of January, at which point we’ll be able to share an overview of
> the new arrangements in full.
> 
> The work of the Community Engagement teams will remain the same throughout
> this period of transition. For example, if you need something from Trust &
> Safety or Community Resources, they’ll continue to be here to work with
> you. If you have a project or program underway with a CE team or staff
> member, that work will also continue. If you have any questions, please
> feel free to reach out to Greg Varnum at gvar...@wikimedia.org or leave
> your question in Wikimedia Space [1] and we’ll make sure we find an answer
> to your question.
> 
> *== Why are we making this change? ==*
> 
> The Community Engagement department has grown and evolved since it was
> created in 2015. We have brought in people with an increasingly diverse set
> of skills and backgrounds and introduced new support for additional
> languages, geographies, and areas of work, such as community health.
> 
> While this has helped the Foundation come a long way in addressing the
> needs of the movement, it has also created complexity. The breadth of
> activities and competencies now supported by the department is quite
> large—today, we have people working on issues as diverse as GLAM collection
> management, participatory grantmaking, and contributor safety—and
> increasingly, across many geographies, cultures, and 

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Foundation Chief of Community Engagement to leave the Foundation

2019-11-15 Thread Pine W
Thanks very much for the thorough explanation, Katherine.

I'll share a few comments below. These aren't directed to anyone in
particular.

I have no opinion one way or another about the change of structure, but I
hope that for everyone's sake this will be okay, perhaps even a net
positive in the medium term. My guess is that some of the team changes will
be fine with minor adjustments while others will have more issues to work
through.

I wouldn't be surprised if there is a Community Engagement Department again
in the future.

Have a good weekend,

Pine
( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
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