Hi Delphine, many thanks for your insight, and I definitely understand why you're pointing out the problematic areas, as well as I share some of your specific concerns.
I'm going to fall silent on the list for a while, as I really don't want to sound as the "nothing to watch, move on" guy, and I don't have anything concrete to add. take care! :) dj On Fri, Feb 19, 2016 at 11:17 AM, Delphine Ménard <notafi...@gmail.com> wrote: > I believe that Dariusz' comment was somewhat blown out of proportions > (due in part to difficulties in communication inherent to our > multicultural movement). I also think that some of the statements he > made were too "blanket" to let go, so I understand the frustration. > > This said, Ori, I want to thank you for what I believe is the most > daring, heartfelt and bold emails ever written to this list. > > And I use the word bold very specifically because I believe that this > is what is missing today. Boldness. Boldness does not only translate > in taking (un)calculated risks, it also comes in the capacity of > admitting failure. > > I'll tell you where I think we, as an organisation, have failed. It > was already a long time ago, when we started to talk about efficiency. > When the Foundation started working and acting like an American Global > Corporation, and stopped cherishing our diversity and leverage it to > do that thing we once all dreamed of "taking over the world". I will > give you a few examples which I think illustrate the failure to be > bold in organisational ways. They might shed a light on today's > governance chaos. > > Fundraising & Trademark: For the longest time, we've been analyzing > what risks there were if Chapter/Entity XYZ fundraised, or used the > trademark. What are the terrible things that would happen if someone > got in trouble at the other end of the world and they had anything to > do with Wikimedia or Wikimedia money. No-one ever said: "let us find a > solution to leverage our diversity and fundraise all over the world, > and make sure that we get all there is to get, together". Or: "Let us > recognize how every single person using the trademark is an asset to > that trademark". No one said, let us work together to make sure that > our organisational network represents our diversity, our collective > core. We're only afraid of what may happen if. We are afraid, or cosy. > After 10 years, Wikimedia Germany and Wikimedia Switzerland are the > only parts of the world where fundraising is happening locally. And > it's not because anyone ever thought that they did it better (well, I > do ;)), but because of technicalities. We have never thanked the > thousands of volunteers handing out flyers for their part in making > our trademark an amazing thing. instead, we're calculating all the > risks, the "what happens if". The "product" by definition is owned by > all of us, and more. While protecting it is a good thing, keeping it > behind bars isn't. We are diverse, we will make mistakes and learn > from them. We freaking built an encyclopedia, of course we can take > care of it without having to fear everyone and their brother! And > while an organisation is not a wiki, and revert not always an option, > I'm pretty sure that > > Governance: No members at the Foundation. OK, I am not for or against > it, but the whole speech "we answer to 80000 volunteers" which has > been served to me over the years (as opposed to a mere 300 members in > that chapter or that other) is a load of BS. Because what I have > observed in the past few years, the Board only serves itself or the ED > (your pick), or "the Foundation" (the word "fiduciary responsibility" > still makes me cringe today). I am questioning who feels "served" > today. Doesn't seem like a lot of people. But you know, nobody > represents anyone, they're only "selected"... > > Governance again: 10 board members. No clear cut majority, ever. > Impossible. No-one can take charge and make things change drastically. > Not the community and "chapter" seats, not the appointed people. An > inertia of the likes I have *never* seen. I have been very close to > the board in extremely different contexts, extremely different > constellations and I have come to the conclusion that however smart > the people on it were, the sum of their intelligence as a collective > body amounted to less than their average intelligence when taken as > individuals. Insane. You cannot "govern" when the gap in opinions is > so huge that you can only always go for the "middle", which makes > nobody happy. I have seen people on the board get lashed at because > their vote on the outside looked like they were betraying the people > they were close to. But we don't know what the options on the table > were, and who knows, how they might have been so much worse. So middle > it is. Bold is but a faint memory (and the bold ones still get lashed > at, look at Dariusz being the only one talking here, and the one who > takes the blows). > > Loyalty: We never really prodded for loyalty. Chapters were left to > develop in their own chaotic ways, pushed away because they were a > risk, and when they strayed they were put back under the iron hand of > the Foundation and handled like kids. We never said: "gals and guys, > we're all in this together, let us work together to be better, > together". I know I am not doing justice to all the amazing work that > has been done in the grants department, among others, but hear me out. > I want chapters and affiliates and communities and staff to feel they > owe and own the Foundation at the same time. Back to "governance > again", no representation, a self-serving body. There are still (too > many) people out there who feel "the Foundation" does not represent > them. How do we change that? How do we make sure that people feel they > have a voice, and give them the will to give back to the whole? > > Impact: Wow, that one is a big one. We don't know the impact we have > because we never really asked ourselves what impact in our context > really means. Oh, we do have data, tons of it. But what does it mean > to have impact when you're Wikimedia? page views? Number of mobile > devices in the Global South (sorry kittens) accessing the content for > free? Number of mentions of Wikipedia at dinner parties to check who's > right or who's wrong on who last won the Superbowl? We're trying hard, > but not finding a common definition. Or even agreeing on the fact that > there might not be one. Again, how do we find a common direction? It > takes leadership in thinking out difficult questions and strength in > making them heard and embraced. One thing is sure, there are many > people asking others to show impact, but no-one within our governance > ranks making a real and beneficial one in giving a strong sense of > direction. > > So yes, I think I understand your frustration. And I wish that someone > had the boldness to take their fingers out of their... ears, and make > things change. Too many people in too little time have been "moving > on" or "exploring other opportunities". And this is indeed a strong > sign that something must be done. You pointed out in a direction, I am > of a mind that it is not the only direction, even if it might be the > most acute and the (relatively) easiest to address. > > > Cheers, > > Delphine > > > PS. For history's sake, I have worked for the Foundation, I have left > it too, I know the feeling, to my bones. It was not an easy decision > and today, 8 years later, there are times where I regret it, and > others when I think to myself "good riddance". I also had quite a few > other volunteer roles in chapters, committees and whatnots. > > PPS. I say *we* and take my part of responsibility, as I have been in > positions where I should have worked harder at changing things. > > On Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 7:33 PM, Ori Livneh <o...@wikimedia.org> wrote: > > On Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 4:47 AM, Dariusz Jemielniak <dar...@alk.edu.pl> > > wrote: > > > >> There is way too much blaming/bashing/sour expectations > >> working both ways - we almost forget how unique we are, irrespective of > >> many slips and avoidable failures we make (and WMF is definitely > leading > >> here, too! ;) > >> > > > > No, we're not. My peers in the Technology department work incredibly hard > > to provide value for readers and editors, and we have very good results > to > > show for it. Less than two years ago it took an average of six seconds to > > save an edit to an article; it is about one second now. (MediaWiki > > deployments are currently halted over a 200-300ms regression!). Page load > > times improved by 30-40% in the past year, which earned us plaudits in > the > > press and in professional circles. The analytics team figured out how to > > count unique devices without compromising user anonimity and privacy and > > rolled out a robust public API for page view data. The research team is > in > > the process of collecting feedback from readers and compiling the first > > comprehensive picture of what brings readers to the projects. The TechOps > > team made Wikipedia one of the first major internet properties to go > > HTTPS-only, slashed latency for users in many parts of the world by > > provisioning a cache pop on the Pacific Coast of the United States, and > is > > currently gearing up for a comprehensive test of our failover > capabilities, > > which is to happen this Spring. > > > > That's just the activity happening immediately around me in the org, and > > says nothing of engineering accomplishments like the Android app being > > featured on the Play store in 93 countries and having a higher user > rating > > than Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Netflix, Snapchat, Google Photos, etc. > Or > > the 56,669 articles that have been created using the Content Translation > > tool. > > > > This is happening in spite of -- not thanks to -- dysfunction at the top. > > If you don't believe me, all you have to do is wait: an exodus of people > > from Engineering won't be long now. Our initial astonishment at the > Board's > > unwillingness to acknowledge and address this dysfunction is wearing off. > > The slips and failures are not generalized and diffuse. They are local > and > > specific, and their location has been indicated to you repeatedly. > > _______________________________________________ > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines > > New messages to: Wikimediafirstname.lastname@example.org > > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, > <mailto:wikimedia-l-requ...@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe> > > > > -- > @notafish > > NB. This gmail address is used for mailing lists. 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