> Why we’ve changed

> I want to address some of the many questions that are coming up in this
> forum. From the general to the very concrete, they all touch on the fact
> that many things about the WMF have been changing. We are in the thick of
> transformation, and you all have the right to know more about how and why
> this is occurring. This is not a statement of strategy, which will come out
> of the community consultation next week. This is the ED’s perspective only.

> After 15 years since the birth of Wikipedia, the WMF needs to rethink
> itself to ensure our editor work expands into the next decade. Recently we
> kicked-off some initiatives to this end, including aligning community
> support functions, focus on mobile and innovative technology, seeding the
> Wikimedia Endowment, re-organizing our internal structure, exploring
> partnerships and focusing on the most critical aspects of our mission:
> community and technology. We started this transformation, but as we move
> forward we are facing a crisis that is rooted in our choice of direction.

> The choice in front the WMF is that of our core identity. Our mission can
> be served in many ways, but we cannot do them all. We could either fully
> focus on building our content and educational programs. Or we can get great
> at technology as the force multiplier for our movement. I believe the the
> former belongs to our volunteers and affiliates and that the role of the
> WMF is in providing global support and coordination of this work. I believe
> in -- and the board hired me to -- focus on the latter. To transform our
> organization into a high-tech NGO, focused on the needs of our editors and
> readers and rapidly moving to update our aged technology to support those
> needs. To this end we have made many significant changes. But the challenge
> in front of us is hard to underestimate: technology moves faster than any
> other field and meeting expectations of editors and readers  will require
> undistracted focus.

Umm, since when have the volunteers stopped being part of the WMF? I
thought that volunteers are the heart of the the purpose, central to
the Foundation.  Since which point has the STAFF and their output
become *the WMF*?

I don't think that you will hear staff or volunteers dispute that we
want technological advancement, in fact it is clearly wanted. However,
I don't believe that they want technological advancement to come at
the expense of the community, or the exclusion of community. It is
this community that has invested itself in building the
content/systems/tools in wikipedia, commons, wikidata, wikisource,
wikiquote, wikiversity, wikivoyage, wiktionary, wikibooks, wikinews,
wikispecies, mediawiki,

The community strives to understand, and the community strives to
support. That it is hard to do so, especially in the current times,
can hardly be the fault of the community.

> What changed?

1) that staff are resigning at record rate;
2) that remaining staff seem to be in general revolt;
3) that the board and the CEO stopped presenting matters that clearly
illustrate a clear picture and vision
4) that the board didn't heed the implicit message from the political
editor-base about transparency, openness, and their desires
5) the peasants are now revolting;
6) there is next to no support for the CEO

After the staff leave, WMF stops being an employer of choice for the
socially conscience. The political editor-base get nothing but

From outside, I have no clear perspective whether you are doing a good
job or a bad job for your hire.  That there is turmoil in the
workplace doesn't indicate that there is control, or the likelihood of
regaining control.

The indications that I see are a toxic workplace, and I see no
solution put forward. I see staff that I have watched, 'known' and
interacted for numbers of years in pain, in frustration, and
disengaging. I see numbers of them cowed, and I see few of them
leading any more. So we have the choice of removing all of those
staff, and trying to re-hire, and then the change management process
of engagement, team-building, ...

I don't see emotional intelligence, sustainable change, resonant
leadership, or team-building. I don't see evident situational
awareness, clear dynamic risk assessment and most definitely I don't
see effective controls.

I think that I see risk denial, and risk blindness from the the board
and the CEO.and a task-focus on a matter of a ship apparently left
harbour without passengers as it wants to get to a place.  I see
megaphone diplomacy.

I may be completely wrong in my assessment; I know that it is a harsh
judgment; but that is how it looks to me from the outside, and and
from the little bit of the inside that I had when I was a steward. It
is a situation that volunteers should not be forming such an opinion,
however the inability of yourself and the board to achieve a
resolution is a damning indictment.

Regards, Billinghurst
(now retreating to my hole pulling the rock back over my head)

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