Re: [Wikimediaindia-l] Let's *Talk*

2011-11-15 Thread Moksh Juneja
+1

On Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 09:52, Hisham hmun...@wikimedia.org wrote:

 Hi Folks

 I'm deliberately opening a new mail chain on this.  This is at the risk of
 me being told off for doing so - but I believe that email protocol is one
 thing - but communication philosophy is (arguably) even more critical.

 I (and personally upsetting to me, others at India Programs - namely
 Nitika  the Campus Ambassadors) have taken some beating over the past few
 days.  Some has been personal and not been circumspect or constructive;
 not pretty.  I have been touched by the offlist messages of comfort and
 support that I and the others have got.

 I am exceedingly worried about the impact it has had on team morale.  To
 all those who have criticised the India Education Program, spare a thought
 for the volunteers who have helped out on this.  I want to tell the Campus
 Ambassadors to be strong and keep your chins up.  You guys have been
 incredible.  Hand on heart, you have given your hearts and souls and have
 conducted probably the single biggest Wikipedia outreach program in the
 world.  (btw, I really don't care if someone wants to tag this as {citation
 required.})  You have taken time out of your working lives and college
 days.  I know how tough it's been  - conducting more than 100 in-class
 sessions, working with so many students and faculty, reaching out on email
 and talk pages and SMS and mobile calls and social networks and in
 canteens, poring over student entries, learning Wikipedia policies,
 figuring out new tools to help your work, building relationships  with
 other editors across the globe, doing the back-breaking documentation
 that's been required on project  course pages, and I can go on and on and
 on.  I know that sustaining this level of motivation and energy over months
 has been hard on you.  I also know some of you faltered.  I know some of
 you wanted to scream and kick someone some times, maybe even many people
 many times! Keep the faith, guys.

 I am sorry for the personal attack on Nitika.  To her, I want to publicly
 apologise.  I know her to be hard-working, diligent, honest, competent and
 an all-round professional.  She's new and she's learning and has and will
 make mistakes - like all of us do.  It is fantastic to have her on the
 team.  Period.

 The program is a pilot - and we made a ton of mistakes.  Sorry, let me
 rephrase that.  I led the initiative so all responsibility should be mine.
  I made a ton of mistakes.  I promise the following.  We will have a
 thorough, honest and fact based evaluation.  We will be open to make all
 the changes that are required.  We will not let the events of the past few
 days force us into a bunker mentality.  We will be open and we will be
 intellectually rigorous.  We will learn and we will improve.  The India
 opportunity is massive - and our ambitions are huge.  It is also fraught
 with challenges.  Unless we try and do things - new and tough and complex
 things - we will never be able to realise our true potential.

 I know that some who have participated in these exchanges are driven by an
 awe-inspiring love and passion for Wikipedia.  I urge you to continue to
 come forward and work with others and us.  Come forward early though - and
 stay engaged through the journey.  It will have ups and downs.

 On communication, I urge everyone to maintain WP:CIVILITY and WP:NPOV in
 all our interactions.  On this - and to be fair - quite a few other
 interactions recently on totally unrelated topics (and involving a whole
 host of others), I daresay we have drifted from core Wikipedia principles.
  These should apply to us to all our community's interactions as
 religiously as we apply them to our projects.

 I would urge folks who agree with me to write back.  Even a +1 will do.
  Let's hear the voices of the quieter folks.  Let's hear from the folks who
 don't always get involved in mailing list exchanges out of either
 apprehension or apathy.  Let's move forward.

 Warm Regards,

 hisham


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Re: [Wikimediaindia-l] Let's *Talk*

2011-11-15 Thread Abhilash

+1

From one another of those silent spectator or quiet one.. :)

A pilot program is undertaken to always test the situation and gauge how 
it would deliver in a real life situation. That is exactly why it is 
known as a pilot or a UAT or a test.


With due respect to others in the thread, whoever has been expressing 
their opinions and thoughts, lets be honest about the fact that the Pune 
Pilot has been a success, a resounding success. The pilot was intended 
to be a learning experience and you should be taking back that learning 
to fine tune the future initiatives. It needs to be gauged on the 
learning that has been gained and nothing else, absolutely nothing else 
should be the benchmark.


Let us only look at what has been gained and not at what has been lost. 
May be that is the Indian mentality, but that is a mentality which is 
encouraging for all those CA's to contribute further and evolve 
themselves as better Wikipedians.


Abhi

On 15-Nov-2011 9:52 AM, Hisham wrote:

Hi Folks

I'm deliberately opening a new mail chain on this.  This is at the 
risk of me being told off for doing so - but I believe that email 
protocol is one thing - but communication philosophy is (arguably) 
even more critical.


I (and personally upsetting to me, others at India Programs - namely 
Nitika  the Campus Ambassadors) have taken some beating over the past 
few days.  Some has been personal and not been circumspect or 
constructive; not pretty.  I have been touched by the offlist messages 
of comfort and support that I and the others have got.


I am exceedingly worried about the impact it has had on team morale. 
 To all those who have criticised the India Education Program, spare a 
thought for the volunteers who have helped out on this.  I want to 
tell the Campus Ambassadors to be strong and keep your chins up.  You 
guys have been incredible.  Hand on heart, you have given your hearts 
and souls and have conducted probably the single biggest Wikipedia 
outreach program in the world.  (btw, I really don't care if someone 
wants to tag this as {citation required.})  You have taken time out of 
your working lives and college days.  I know how tough it's been  - 
conducting more than 100 in-class sessions, working with so many 
students and faculty, reaching out on email and talk pages and SMS and 
mobile calls and social networks and in canteens, poring over student 
entries, learning Wikipedia policies, figuring out new tools to help 
your work, building relationships  with other editors across the 
globe, doing the back-breaking documentation that's been required on 
project  course pages, and I can go on and on and on.  I know that 
sustaining this level of motivation and energy over months has been 
hard on you.  I also know some of you faltered.  I know some of you 
wanted to scream and kick someone some times, maybe even many people 
many times! Keep the faith, guys.


I am sorry for the personal attack on Nitika.  To her, I want to 
publicly apologise.  I know her to be hard-working, diligent, honest, 
competent and an all-round professional.  She's new and she's learning 
and has and will make mistakes - like all of us do.  It is fantastic 
to have her on the team.  Period.


The program is a pilot - and we made a ton of mistakes.  Sorry, let me 
rephrase that.  I led the initiative so all responsibility should be 
mine.  I made a ton of mistakes.  I promise the following.  We will 
have a thorough, honest and fact based evaluation.  We will be open to 
make all the changes that are required.  We will not let the events of 
the past few days force us into a bunker mentality.  We will be open 
and we will be intellectually rigorous.  We will learn and we will 
improve. The India opportunity is massive - and our ambitions are 
huge.  It is also fraught with challenges.  Unless we try and do 
things - new and tough and complex things - we will never be able to 
realise our true potential.


I know that some who have participated in these exchanges are driven 
by an awe-inspiring love and passion for Wikipedia.  I urge you to 
continue to come forward and work with others and us.  Come forward 
early though - and stay engaged through the journey.  It will have ups 
and downs.


On communication, I urge everyone to maintain WP:CIVILITY and WP:NPOV 
in all our interactions.  On this - and to be fair - quite a few other 
interactions recently on totally unrelated topics (and involving a 
whole host of others), I daresay we have drifted from core Wikipedia 
principles.  These should apply to us to all our community's 
interactions as religiously as we apply them to our projects.


I would urge folks who agree with me to write back.  Even a +1 will 
do.  Let's hear the voices of the quieter folks.  Let's hear from the 
folks who don't always get involved in mailing list exchanges out of 
either apprehension or apathy.  Let's move forward.


Warm Regards,

hisham




Re: [Wikimediaindia-l] Let's *Talk*

2011-11-15 Thread Vickram Crishna
On Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 1:08 PM, Erik Moeller e...@wikimedia.org wrote:

 And - to stay with the sandbox metaphor from another thread - if the
 majority of contributors to a university-based program in India can
 reach won't be able to contribute at an acceptable quality in WP
 proper, then perhaps it's also time to think about more aggressive
 sandboxing of contributions early in the game, at least when we're
 dealing with a course where we either don't know what to expect, or we
 _do_ based on experiences like the one to date. Possibly even using an
 external sandbox.


If I understand it rightly, Erik points out that one of the questions
raised here is the validity of the University-centric approach to this
program.

Hisham will recall I had queried this approach at a meetup way back when.
This was before I found that it had a history, being a successful
initiative in another milieu. I am sure now, with this experience, we can
find ways to make the program work more effectively here, one possibility
(not the only one) being shedding the college campus-centric focus, and
reaching out more widely to people, in order to welcome more people within
the contributory fold.  As Abhilash points out, this was a pilot, and it is
up to us to evaluate its learnings and move forward from it, not trash it
or its participants.

-- 
Vickram
Fool On The Hill http://communicall.wordpress.com
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Re: [Wikimediaindia-l] Let's *Talk*

2011-11-15 Thread Arnav Sonara
+1

Also enough of fault finding has been done I guess, lets move to Solution
now. We ll definitely come back, and we ll come back with a greater impact
in which everyone's participation is expected. So henceforth please give
solutions rather than finding faults.

 Sincerely,
A Wikipedian Campus Ambassador.

On Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 4:26 PM, Vickram Crishna
vvcris...@radiophony.comwrote:

 On Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 1:08 PM, Erik Moeller e...@wikimedia.org wrote:

 And - to stay with the sandbox metaphor from another thread - if the
 majority of contributors to a university-based program in India can
 reach won't be able to contribute at an acceptable quality in WP
 proper, then perhaps it's also time to think about more aggressive
 sandboxing of contributions early in the game, at least when we're
 dealing with a course where we either don't know what to expect, or we
 _do_ based on experiences like the one to date. Possibly even using an
 external sandbox.


 If I understand it rightly, Erik points out that one of the questions
 raised here is the validity of the University-centric approach to this
 program.

 Hisham will recall I had queried this approach at a meetup way back when.
 This was before I found that it had a history, being a successful
 initiative in another milieu. I am sure now, with this experience, we can
 find ways to make the program work more effectively here, one possibility
 (not the only one) being shedding the college campus-centric focus, and
 reaching out more widely to people, in order to welcome more people within
 the contributory fold.  As Abhilash points out, this was a pilot, and it is
 up to us to evaluate its learnings and move forward from it, not trash it
 or its participants.

 --
 Vickram
 Fool On The Hill http://communicall.wordpress.com

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-- 
Thanks
Arnav (ricku).
(User:Rangilo_Gujarati) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Rangilo_Gujarati
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Re: [Wikimediaindia-l] Let's *Talk*

2011-11-15 Thread Anivar Aravind
On Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 4:26 PM, Vickram Crishna
vvcris...@radiophony.com wrote:
 On Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 1:08 PM, Erik Moeller e...@wikimedia.org wrote:

 And - to stay with the sandbox metaphor from another thread - if the
 majority of contributors to a university-based program in India can
 reach won't be able to contribute at an acceptable quality in WP
 proper, then perhaps it's also time to think about more aggressive
 sandboxing of contributions early in the game, at least when we're
 dealing with a course where we either don't know what to expect, or we
 _do_ based on experiences like the one to date. Possibly even using an
 external sandbox.


 If I understand it rightly, Erik points out that one of the questions raised
 here is the validity of the University-centric approach to this program.
 Hisham will recall I had queried this approach at a meetup way back when.
 This was before I found that it had a history, being a successful initiative
 in another milieu. I am sure now, with this experience, we can find ways to
 make the program work more effectively here, one possibility (not the only
 one) being shedding the college campus-centric focus, and reaching out more
 widely to people, in order to welcome more people within the contributory
 fold.  As Abhilash points out, this was a pilot, and it is up to us to
 evaluate its learnings and move forward from it, not trash it or its
 participants.
 --
 Vickram

+1 Vickram.

I shared the same concerns on assignment based university centric
model. In addition I had concerns with omitting indic language wiki
contributions from Pune Pilot , which i tried to express in an IRC
meetup.  Lets move forward with the learnings, but with wide
consultations on improved programme plan with the involvement of
communities .

This whole story , reminds me some experience in FOSS domain

When we are volunteering with Free software movement , to spread FOSS
in various campuses,  the first info we used to  provide after any
presentation  while reaching out to a new campus is  sharing
information on how to join in local LUG , or initiate a LUG in
college. During the same time, companies like SUN was appointing
campus ambassadors, and pumping money to promote their open source
initiatives, but in a non-collaborative way,through direct links with
college administration. Many times FOSS Activists have to fight with
this approach of Campus Ambassadors, who does not value the movement
or community to get permission for holding a programme in campus .
But over time,  what sustained is FOSS community initiatives and their
mode of budding new developers .

Anivar

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Re: [Wikimediaindia-l] Let's *Talk*

2011-11-14 Thread Ashwin Baindur
+1

Warm regards,

Ashwin Baindur
--


On Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 9:52 AM, Hisham hmun...@wikimedia.org wrote:

 Hi Folks

 I'm deliberately opening a new mail chain on this.  This is at the risk of
 me being told off for doing so - but I believe that email protocol is one
 thing - but communication philosophy is (arguably) even more critical.

 I (and personally upsetting to me, others at India Programs - namely
 Nitika  the Campus Ambassadors) have taken some beating over the past few
 days.  Some has been personal and not been circumspect or constructive;
 not pretty.  I have been touched by the offlist messages of comfort and
 support that I and the others have got.

 I am exceedingly worried about the impact it has had on team morale.  To
 all those who have criticised the India Education Program, spare a thought
 for the volunteers who have helped out on this.  I want to tell the Campus
 Ambassadors to be strong and keep your chins up.  You guys have been
 incredible.  Hand on heart, you have given your hearts and souls and have
 conducted probably the single biggest Wikipedia outreach program in the
 world.  (btw, I really don't care if someone wants to tag this as {citation
 required.})  You have taken time out of your working lives and college
 days.  I know how tough it's been  - conducting more than 100 in-class
 sessions, working with so many students and faculty, reaching out on email
 and talk pages and SMS and mobile calls and social networks and in
 canteens, poring over student entries, learning Wikipedia policies,
 figuring out new tools to help your work, building relationships  with
 other editors across the globe, doing the back-breaking documentation
 that's been required on project  course pages, and I can go on and on and
 on.  I know that sustaining this level of motivation and energy over months
 has been hard on you.  I also know some of you faltered.  I know some of
 you wanted to scream and kick someone some times, maybe even many people
 many times! Keep the faith, guys.

 I am sorry for the personal attack on Nitika.  To her, I want to publicly
 apologise.  I know her to be hard-working, diligent, honest, competent and
 an all-round professional.  She's new and she's learning and has and will
 make mistakes - like all of us do.  It is fantastic to have her on the
 team.  Period.

 The program is a pilot - and we made a ton of mistakes.  Sorry, let me
 rephrase that.  I led the initiative so all responsibility should be mine.
  I made a ton of mistakes.  I promise the following.  We will have a
 thorough, honest and fact based evaluation.  We will be open to make all
 the changes that are required.  We will not let the events of the past few
 days force us into a bunker mentality.  We will be open and we will be
 intellectually rigorous.  We will learn and we will improve.  The India
 opportunity is massive - and our ambitions are huge.  It is also fraught
 with challenges.  Unless we try and do things - new and tough and complex
 things - we will never be able to realise our true potential.

 I know that some who have participated in these exchanges are driven by an
 awe-inspiring love and passion for Wikipedia.  I urge you to continue to
 come forward and work with others and us.  Come forward early though - and
 stay engaged through the journey.  It will have ups and downs.

 On communication, I urge everyone to maintain WP:CIVILITY and WP:NPOV in
 all our interactions.  On this - and to be fair - quite a few other
 interactions recently on totally unrelated topics (and involving a whole
 host of others), I daresay we have drifted from core Wikipedia principles.
  These should apply to us to all our community's interactions as
 religiously as we apply them to our projects.

 I would urge folks who agree with me to write back.  Even a +1 will do.
  Let's hear the voices of the quieter folks.  Let's hear from the folks who
 don't always get involved in mailing list exchanges out of either
 apprehension or apathy.  Let's move forward.

 Warm Regards,

 hisham


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Re: [Wikimediaindia-l] Let's *Talk*

2011-11-14 Thread Gautam John
+1

Thank you.

Best,

Gautam
(handheld)
On Nov 15, 2011 9:53 AM, Hisham hmun...@wikimedia.org wrote:

 Hi Folks

 I'm deliberately opening a new mail chain on this.  This is at the risk of
 me being told off for doing so - but I believe that email protocol is one
 thing - but communication philosophy is (arguably) even more critical.

 I (and personally upsetting to me, others at India Programs - namely
 Nitika  the Campus Ambassadors) have taken some beating over the past few
 days.  Some has been personal and not been circumspect or constructive;
 not pretty.  I have been touched by the offlist messages of comfort and
 support that I and the others have got.

 I am exceedingly worried about the impact it has had on team morale.  To
 all those who have criticised the India Education Program, spare a thought
 for the volunteers who have helped out on this.  I want to tell the Campus
 Ambassadors to be strong and keep your chins up.  You guys have been
 incredible.  Hand on heart, you have given your hearts and souls and have
 conducted probably the single biggest Wikipedia outreach program in the
 world.  (btw, I really don't care if someone wants to tag this as {citation
 required.})  You have taken time out of your working lives and college
 days.  I know how tough it's been  - conducting more than 100 in-class
 sessions, working with so many students and faculty, reaching out on email
 and talk pages and SMS and mobile calls and social networks and in
 canteens, poring over student entries, learning Wikipedia policies,
 figuring out new tools to help your work, building relationships  with
 other editors across the globe, doing the back-breaking documentation
 that's been required on project  course pages, and I can go on and on and
 on.  I know that sustaining this level of motivation and energy over months
 has been hard on you.  I also know some of you faltered.  I know some of
 you wanted to scream and kick someone some times, maybe even many people
 many times! Keep the faith, guys.

 I am sorry for the personal attack on Nitika.  To her, I want to publicly
 apologise.  I know her to be hard-working, diligent, honest, competent and
 an all-round professional.  She's new and she's learning and has and will
 make mistakes - like all of us do.  It is fantastic to have her on the
 team.  Period.

 The program is a pilot - and we made a ton of mistakes.  Sorry, let me
 rephrase that.  I led the initiative so all responsibility should be mine.
  I made a ton of mistakes.  I promise the following.  We will have a
 thorough, honest and fact based evaluation.  We will be open to make all
 the changes that are required.  We will not let the events of the past few
 days force us into a bunker mentality.  We will be open and we will be
 intellectually rigorous.  We will learn and we will improve.  The India
 opportunity is massive - and our ambitions are huge.  It is also fraught
 with challenges.  Unless we try and do things - new and tough and complex
 things - we will never be able to realise our true potential.

 I know that some who have participated in these exchanges are driven by an
 awe-inspiring love and passion for Wikipedia.  I urge you to continue to
 come forward and work with others and us.  Come forward early though - and
 stay engaged through the journey.  It will have ups and downs.

 On communication, I urge everyone to maintain WP:CIVILITY and WP:NPOV in
 all our interactions.  On this - and to be fair - quite a few other
 interactions recently on totally unrelated topics (and involving a whole
 host of others), I daresay we have drifted from core Wikipedia principles.
  These should apply to us to all our community's interactions as
 religiously as we apply them to our projects.

 I would urge folks who agree with me to write back.  Even a +1 will do.
  Let's hear the voices of the quieter folks.  Let's hear from the folks who
 don't always get involved in mailing list exchanges out of either
 apprehension or apathy.  Let's move forward.

 Warm Regards,

 hisham


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Re: [Wikimediaindia-l] Let's *Talk*

2011-11-14 Thread Srikeit
I guess I'm one of the apprehensive/apathetic quiet ones Hisham's mail
refers to, so here goes:

+1

I have maintained my silence so far in the numerous discussions as I
intended to express my views cohesively at the opportunity given to me at
the WikiConference. However, I feel obliged to speak up when the
discussions have moved past criticism to borderline attacks on people who
have worked hard and worked honestly.

I have been involved in the Pune pilot as a fellow, at first, and
informally later. I too, therefore, shoulder the responsibility of the
results of the program being a contributor to it. I will also be presenting
a review (my opinions and experiences) from at the WikiConference. Having
been the only 'Wikipedian' in the program, let me first stand up and say,
if we do brand the Pune Pilot as a failure (which it definitely is not), it
must classify as an effort which has achieved more than most successful
Wiki-initiatives. I would also point out the untiring dedication and hard
work put in by the CAs, the superhuman efforts of PJ Tabit in setting up
the program and the superlative leadership efforts of Hisham and Nitika.

That having been said, the program isn't where it set out to be. But that
is what a pilot programme is. A dipstick test. A method, field tested to
understand real-world reactions to it. I remember one statement made by
Hisham, right at the beginning of the program while we were approaching
colleges to sign up for the program who were urging us to alter the nature
of the program to suit them:

*It is important that we decide one way of doing the program and stick
with the core principles of it. This would be better than trying several
approaches, failing and not knowing where you went wrong* [not verbatim,
my interpretation of something similar]

I considered this to be a obfuscated yet quintessential objective of a
Pilot program. To try, to stumble and then evaluate. And the evaluation
will happen. Discussions about the campus program are a significant chunk
of the program schedule at the WikiConference. And informal discussions
will undoubtedly extend the allotted time. The reviews have already begun
in the discussions on this list where significant headway has been made in
the evaluation. But it is unfortunate when criticisms overflow into
personal jabs and aspersions on competence.

Srikanth earlier in the discussion had stated that he wondered if we're
succumbing to the Indian mentality of highlighting only success and hiding
failures. I believe that we must also move away from the stereotyped Indian
mentality of punishing failures to evaluating good-faith ventures and
collaboratively developing improvements towards a common goal.

No grudges held, no bad faith assumed.

On Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 9:52 AM, Hisham hmun...@wikimedia.org wrote:

 Hi Folks

 I'm deliberately opening a new mail chain on this.  This is at the risk of
 me being told off for doing so - but I believe that email protocol is one
 thing - but communication philosophy is (arguably) even more critical.

 I (and personally upsetting to me, others at India Programs - namely
 Nitika  the Campus Ambassadors) have taken some beating over the past few
 days.  Some has been personal and not been circumspect or constructive;
 not pretty.  I have been touched by the offlist messages of comfort and
 support that I and the others have got.

 I am exceedingly worried about the impact it has had on team morale.  To
 all those who have criticised the India Education Program, spare a thought
 for the volunteers who have helped out on this.  I want to tell the Campus
 Ambassadors to be strong and keep your chins up.  You guys have been
 incredible.  Hand on heart, you have given your hearts and souls and have
 conducted probably the single biggest Wikipedia outreach program in the
 world.  (btw, I really don't care if someone wants to tag this as {citation
 required.})  You have taken time out of your working lives and college
 days.  I know how tough it's been  - conducting more than 100 in-class
 sessions, working with so many students and faculty, reaching out on email
 and talk pages and SMS and mobile calls and social networks and in
 canteens, poring over student entries, learning Wikipedia policies,
 figuring out new tools to help your work, building relationships  with
 other editors across the globe, doing the back-breaking documentation
 that's been required on project  course pages, and I can go on and on and
 on.  I know that sustaining this level of motivation and energy over months
 has been hard on you.  I also know some of you faltered.  I know some of
 you wanted to scream and kick someone some times, maybe even many people
 many times! Keep the faith, guys.

 I am sorry for the personal attack on Nitika.  To her, I want to publicly
 apologise.  I know her to be hard-working, diligent, honest, competent and
 an all-round professional.  She's new and she's learning and has and will
 make mistakes - like 

Re: [Wikimediaindia-l] Let's *Talk*

2011-11-14 Thread Ram Shankar Yadav
+1 for Hisham and Srikeit.


On Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 10:38 AM, Srikeit srik...@gmail.com wrote:

 I guess I'm one of the apprehensive/apathetic quiet ones Hisham's mail
 refers to, so here goes:

 +1

 I have maintained my silence so far in the numerous discussions as I
 intended to express my views cohesively at the opportunity given to me at
 the WikiConference. However, I feel obliged to speak up when the
 discussions have moved past criticism to borderline attacks on people who
 have worked hard and worked honestly.

 I have been involved in the Pune pilot as a fellow, at first, and
 informally later. I too, therefore, shoulder the responsibility of the
 results of the program being a contributor to it. I will also be presenting
 a review (my opinions and experiences) from at the WikiConference. Having
 been the only 'Wikipedian' in the program, let me first stand up and say,
 if we do brand the Pune Pilot as a failure (which it definitely is not), it
 must classify as an effort which has achieved more than most successful
 Wiki-initiatives. I would also point out the untiring dedication and hard
 work put in by the CAs, the superhuman efforts of PJ Tabit in setting up
 the program and the superlative leadership efforts of Hisham and Nitika.

 That having been said, the program isn't where it set out to be. But that
 is what a pilot programme is. A dipstick test. A method, field tested to
 understand real-world reactions to it. I remember one statement made by
 Hisham, right at the beginning of the program while we were approaching
 colleges to sign up for the program who were urging us to alter the nature
 of the program to suit them:

 *It is important that we decide one way of doing the program and stick
 with the core principles of it. This would be better than trying several
 approaches, failing and not knowing where you went wrong* [not verbatim,
 my interpretation of something similar]

 I considered this to be a obfuscated yet quintessential objective of a
 Pilot program. To try, to stumble and then evaluate. And the evaluation
 will happen. Discussions about the campus program are a significant chunk
 of the program schedule at the WikiConference. And informal discussions
 will undoubtedly extend the allotted time. The reviews have already begun
 in the discussions on this list where significant headway has been made in
 the evaluation. But it is unfortunate when criticisms overflow into
 personal jabs and aspersions on competence.

 Srikanth earlier in the discussion had stated that he wondered if we're
 succumbing to the Indian mentality of highlighting only success and hiding
 failures. I believe that we must also move away from the stereotyped Indian
 mentality of punishing failures to evaluating good-faith ventures and
 collaboratively developing improvements towards a common goal.

 No grudges held, no bad faith assumed.

 On Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 9:52 AM, Hisham hmun...@wikimedia.org wrote:

 Hi Folks

 I'm deliberately opening a new mail chain on this.  This is at the risk
 of me being told off for doing so - but I believe that email protocol is
 one thing - but communication philosophy is (arguably) even more critical.

 I (and personally upsetting to me, others at India Programs - namely
 Nitika  the Campus Ambassadors) have taken some beating over the past few
 days.  Some has been personal and not been circumspect or constructive;
 not pretty.  I have been touched by the offlist messages of comfort and
 support that I and the others have got.

 I am exceedingly worried about the impact it has had on team morale.  To
 all those who have criticised the India Education Program, spare a thought
 for the volunteers who have helped out on this.  I want to tell the Campus
 Ambassadors to be strong and keep your chins up.  You guys have been
 incredible.  Hand on heart, you have given your hearts and souls and have
 conducted probably the single biggest Wikipedia outreach program in the
 world.  (btw, I really don't care if someone wants to tag this as {citation
 required.})  You have taken time out of your working lives and college
 days.  I know how tough it's been  - conducting more than 100 in-class
 sessions, working with so many students and faculty, reaching out on email
 and talk pages and SMS and mobile calls and social networks and in
 canteens, poring over student entries, learning Wikipedia policies,
 figuring out new tools to help your work, building relationships  with
 other editors across the globe, doing the back-breaking documentation
 that's been required on project  course pages, and I can go on and on and
 on.  I know that sustaining this level of motivation and energy over months
 has been hard on you.  I also know some of you faltered.  I know some of
 you wanted to scream and kick someone some times, maybe even many people
 many times! Keep the faith, guys.

 I am sorry for the personal attack on Nitika.  To her, I want to publicly
 apologise.  I know her to be 

Re: [Wikimediaindia-l] Let's *Talk*

2011-11-14 Thread Erik Moeller
Well said, Hisham, Srikeit at al. Nobody's asking for rah-rah
excitement. Being dispassionate and critical is the goal. Being
hostile and dickish is unhelpful -- there's no possible useful end
that could serve.

So: If you're adding more heat than light to a conversation, please
don't join the conversation. If you're attacking others and calling
into question their legitimacy in being here, without them having
violated any of the ground rules of good faith behavior, you begin
violating those norms yourself. Calm down, have a tea, and read some
good poetry (or write it, if you're truly suffering :-).

At WMF, we'd be completely happy to abandon the Global Education
Program model altogether if it turned out to be a failure, and we'd be
happy to abandon it for India or other countries if it turned out to
be a failure there. Nobody wants to spend $$$ and blood/sweat equity
(the only type that exists in nonprofits) on stuff that isn't
achieving its intended impact.

So far, however, what I've seen is a very successful US initiative
followed by an India pilot which has encountered very serious, deep
challenges with contribution quality. The analysis that I've seen so
far really suggests that what it comes down to is abject contribution
quality by lots of the participating students and a routine pattern of
copyright infringement (and I would label it plagiarism if they're not
identifying the source). Let me know if I got that wrong.

That sucks, but if so, that's a problem that needs to be named to be
tackled in a serious fashion. No amount of tweaking the program
parameters would have solved the issues of the scale and type that
have been pointed out. This goes to the fundamentals.

And - to stay with the sandbox metaphor from another thread - if the
majority of contributors to a university-based program in India can
reach won't be able to contribute at an acceptable quality in WP
proper, then perhaps it's also time to think about more aggressive
sandboxing of contributions early in the game, at least when we're
dealing with a course where we either don't know what to expect, or we
_do_ based on experiences like the one to date. Possibly even using an
external sandbox.

Lastly, let's not forget that we haven't made any determination as to
what the best methods are to gain, and keep, great new contributors in
India (or elsewhere, for that matter). We can, and should, continue to
experiment with many different approaches, including some of the
suggestions that have been made in previous threads.

All the energy, including the occasional flamewar, that I'm seeing
here really speaks tons to the strengths of the India community as a
whole. Energy, creativity, intelligence and healthy tension are the
ingredients of success, not failure.

Srikeit, I'll unfortunately miss your talk on Saturday as I'll be at
the hackathon. But I look forward to hearing about it and hopefully
catching up on Friday. :-)
-- 
Erik Möller
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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