* Hi folks!
I felt like Sue did a nice job earlier of responding in an earlier thread of http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2013-May/125807.html, but here’s my response as well. Wikimedia Foundation wiki has always been uniquely governed among the family of Wikimedia wikis, with decision-making authority historically placed with the WMF itself due to its purpose (hosting of official documents like bylaws, IRS tax returns, Board resolutions, staff listings, official WMF communications of various kinds, etc.). While the Board was described as the decision-making authority for content disputes before the organization had paid staff, in day-to-day practice, staff members are now helping to maintain and post many of those documents. Consistent with this, my goal was to ensure that the function of a wiki adminstrator, which is often identified with community self-governance, is clearly mapped against the governance model of the site: the organization, with that function delegated to staff members in day-to-day practice, is directly responsible for making and arbitrating decisions on the Wikimedia Foundation’s website. This does not preclude volunteers from being granted administrative-level access where a project requires it and where we have a good working relationship that makes this possible. However, I wanted to create clarity as early and possible, and therefore requested that administrator accounts initially be limited to staff. I think it's a reasonable criteria that in addition to having a project reason, being able to work with Foundation staff in a collaborative manner should be a part of that - and it does take two to tango (i.e. the Foundation should be as responsible for being collaborative). Clearly I did this in a manner which was needlessly abrupt and didn’t acknowledge the key role that many volunteers have played in the WMF wiki over the years - so I’ll say that this has been a hell of a learning experience, and one I’ve actually appreciated, as rough as it’s felt. For this, I have apologized both on the list and to the individuals affected. The overall change does reflect, in the Wikimedia Foundation’s view, a necessary clarification in how the contents of the Wikimedia Foundation site (wikimediafoundation.org) are governed and how decisions are made or abitrated. I know this will disappoint some of you, but I also want to say that I’m not planning to reverse this decision. I’m also wondering what’s necessary to create better interactions and more visibility with one another, which is one of the foundations of trust. I’m not so active on this mailing list, so you don’t know me and I don’t know a lot of you. My personal experience is that it helps to have a sense of who people are to really be able to assume good intent, so I’d like to also start a different conversation if y’all are game in the next few weeks. (Someone wrote me recently in light of this that I must be either stupid or malicious, which I thought was sort of funny, but it highlighted for me that without more visibility into me and what I do, you really could think either of me - or both.) John Gottman <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gottman>, in his research on healthy relationships, talks about the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse of relationships - elements that contribute negatively to every relationship. They are criticism, stonewalling, disdain, and contempt. These are elements that I aspire to eliminate in my correspondence with all of you, and that when I experience them aimed at me, erode my ability to be collaborative with y’all and I’d like to work on that. I realize I committed the first error in the last round, so I have some ground to cover. Negative interactions (mine included) “weigh” more than positive interactions. People remember them more, and are affected by them more deeply. Gottman, in marriage relationships, says you need a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions for healthy relationships. I think that's true in many kinds of relationships for them to be healthy, thriving interactions. He also mentions that having a sense of what matters to other parties in a conflict matters, so I wonder, do we have a sense of who each other is and what we care for? In the hope that it helps you to get to know me a little, I’d like to share a few things about who I am and also extend the invitation that I’d love to know these about any of you who care to respond. Most of my early world was on-line as a really awkward geek kid. I spent time on BBSes over modems growing up, so most of the way I knew my friends was through text, later playing an admin role on a few MUSHes. I have a lot of interest areas - I sing, I played LARPs, I love Star Trek and Broadway musicals, write fanfiction, am an avid reader, and love travel. In my spare time, I run an organization called Spark <http://www.sparksf.org>that works on global women’s human rights issues. My core commitment is to technology as a frontier for human rights work, because access to free knowledge is fundamental for social change. I am in awe of what Wikipedians have built. Last week, I was at a human rights conference. I learned things that scared me and met a ton of people who inspired me. For instance, I talked to a woman named Hannah Song of the organization Liberty in North Korea <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_in_North_Korea> about how to sneak Wikipedia and other media into North Korea. The North Korean government retaliates against three generations of a family if one person speaks out against their government. Things like that in our world are not okay with me. I’ve been doing leadership development work for 15 years, out of a conviction that the world needs more conscious leaders. (I’m not unaware of the irony of my own lack of consciousness over pulling the trigger on something on my to-do list right before I went somewhere. Definitely a comical wake-up call to re-examine my own behavior with some hubris.) Here are a couple things that are up for me around Foundation work this week, related to what I see as my core role of caring for people’s well being. Yesterday, we launched the “Aliens” group here at the Foundation last night. I’m very amused that they called themselves that. The purpose of the group is to help people we bring in from different parts of the world who have chosen to relocate to SF figure out how to live in the United States, and understand the arcane systems we have like health insurance and how credit scores in America works, and for them to share experiences with one another. We’re deep in improving our annual review process, so I wonder a lot about how to help people get the right feedback to help them improve in how we do things. A big thing that I’m taking very seriously is the ED transition - it matters to me that we have someone who can help us be even better, who gets the movement and its values, and who can navigate one of the most complex operating environments I’ve ever seen in all my years of leadership. So those are some things about me. I’d love to learn more about you. Warm regards, Gayle* -- Gayle Karen K. Young Chief Talent and Culture Officer Wikimedia Foundation 415.310.8416 www.wikimediafoundation.org _______________________________________________ Wikimedia-l mailing list Wikimediafirstname.lastname@example.org Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l