On Sat, May 23, 2015 at 7:22 AM, MZMcBride <z...@mzmcbride.com> wrote:

> I don't know how you're going to shoehorn "we" into "Wikimedia movement".
> I guess, similar to putting the "me" in "team", it will require
> transposing letters? Or perhaps dropping letters altogether (since we[!]
> already have a W and several Es)? Hmm, or I suppose a careful alignment of
> the two words might do it...

It is a matter of individual choice. I can choose to say that the wikimedia
movement is a matter of "we", you can choose to decide to hold the opposing
view, and it is fine like that. As long as more people decide that the
wikimedia movement is a matter of "we" then it *will* be a matter of "we"
and "team". It is the same magic as by the money works, people just decide
to give little paper pieces (now plastic, or just bits) value and they dare
to call it money! Even if the illusion is certified by a collective group
of people assigning them fancy names like "government" or "treasury", it is
not less of an illusion. There is no reason why each one of us couldn't
uphold the illusion that there is a "we" behind the wikimedia movement.

> Not to rain on your revelation, but I hardly think this is new or a
> paradigm shift. That said, I didn't attend Wikimedia Conference 2015.

It is the first time that I saw real intention behind those apparently
empty words, and that was new for me.

> Right now, the reality is that Wikipedia is massively popular without the
> help of nearly anyone at the upper level of the current Wikimedia
> Foundation management. In my mind, the new upper management of the
> Wikimedia Foundation has a lot more to learn from the Wikimedia movement
> than vice versa. Which one of them has over a decade of experience
> building Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia? :-)

Just because something has been true for the last ten years doesn't mean
that it couldn't change tomorrow, or the next ten years. I do not doubt the
usefulness of the WMF in performing tasks that allow the movement to be
more successful on the long run, even the record so far is not impressive,
the site works fine, and there have been changes and improvements, that are
indeed useful. It is however much easier to point out the faults than to
try to highlight what works.

> There's plenty of work to be done, to be sure, but I get annoyed when I
> read statements such as "decisions that must be taken to improve our
> sites" that created drama. Forcing software on a volunteer community is a
> bad idea and many of the recent dramas seem to involve some version of
> doing that. I think it says a lot that people at the Wikimedia Foundation
> have been so uncomfortable with the products they've created that the
> sheer awesomeness of the products alone can't attract people to want to
> use them. VisualEditor, ArticleFeedbackTool, MediaViewer, etc. are all
> examples of this. (VisualEditor, by the way, is a lot better now.)

Although the examples that you mention were considered failures, they were
done with the right intention of improving the movement. It is another
thing that should be recognized and accepted on a wider scale. The
possibility of making mistakes and failing big time. Without the
opportunity of failing there is no the opportunity of learning. In fact
what we call learning is just having the opportunity to do things were you
can fail until you master it. Since the community has let the wmf fail, now
that means that the gathered expertise should be put to good use, and
*keep* trusting the wmf. As you say the Visual Editor has gotten much
better, and that is thanks to people like Eric Moeller, who has been boo'ed
in the past for taking apparently bad decisions but which helped him (and
everybody else) to get more acquainted with the limits of our movement,
which limits and wishes, and expectations are not always clear-cut, they
are created on the go.

> It's not about open communication, exactly, it's about building products
> that people want and want to have enabled, instead of trying to force
> subpar products on volunteers, many of whom have limited time and patience.
> If you build great products, users will want to use them and have them
> enabled by default. If your users are all rejecting your product and your
> product is actively damaging the sites that these volunteers care for,
> your product sucks and you likely either don't understand your target
> audience or you don't understand the problems you're intending to solve.

You are not saying nothing new here, we are dealing with the unknown
constantly, and if it was known with exactly precision which products and
how they are integrated into the current ecosystem, then we wouldn't need
any discussion about this. Volunteers can help yes, but not any kind of
volunteers, you need volunteers with a great degree of involvement, the
same kind of volunteer that we are loosing more often because of burnout,
and of lack of understanding from the parties involved.

I very much doubt that this was the first time that Wikimedians sat down
> and discussed user groups. ;-)

I don't doubt that it has happen in the past, it is hardly new :) What is
new is the intention to escalate it and to integrate it with the internal
processes of the wmf. It is the "angular stone", and it is nor easy nor
obvious how it should happen. The fact that there was the first attempt to
create a togetherness it is by itself very promising.

> Like Jane, I'm curious what you mean by Commons reform. Can you please
> elaborate?

I meant Wikidata for Commons. I have not been following the last updates,
but I thought that there were many interested users in seeing that happen
to solve standing issues in Commons and to prepare it to compete at a
bigger scale with other sharing picture platforms out there.


PS: I thank you for sharing your thoughts, MZMcBride, I don't think we had
the pleasure to meet in person but I hope it happens soon at any venue :)
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