Dear Wes et. al.,

Thank you for quickly providing some further information.

We at the Signpost sometimes have unique opportunities for insight into
what is resonating in the Wikimedia community. Our readership is of course
not a statistically representative sample, but I do believe it's an
important one. With that in mind, two features that I believe came out of
the Interactive Team have, in recent weeks, generated a great deal more
enthusiasm than we're used to seeing. (See metrics below.)

With that in mind, I'd like to underscore what Derk-Jan said. When the WMF
manages to generate strong enthusiasm through its software offerings, it
seems natural that an action that impacts that team might draw some
concern, from beyond the reach of the relatively tech-focused Discovery
email list.

-Pete
--
Pete Forsyth
Editor in Chief, The Signpost
http://enwp.org/WP:Signpost

Signpost story:
* 1,060 page views on our story (lead story on a page that also covered the
Developer Summit and the Community Wishlist) https://tools.wmflabs.org/page
views/?project=en.wikipedia.org&platform=all-access&agent=
user&start=2017-01-17&end=2017-01-23&pages=Wikipedia:
Wikipedia_Signpost/2017-01-17/Technology_report
(Not far behind our main "News and Notes" section, at 1337 page views;
compare to only 767 views on the previous Tech Report in its first 7 days)

On Twitter:
* 19 retweets, 13 likes, and some substantive discussion about data storage
location: https://twitter.com/PeteForsyth/status/821523405287530496
(This is a strong performer relative to most of my personal tweets and most
tweets from @wikisignpost)

In the Wikipedia Weekly group on Facebook:
* 20 likes and a couple strong endorsements in comment thread:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/wikipediaweekly/permalink/1208201305894365/
* Facebook reports to me that the above link reached 1,098 people, 326 of
whom watched the video (extremely strong performance relative to my other
posts)
* 31 likes, some positive comments, and some substantive design discussion
relating to GeoHack features: https://www.facebook
.com/groups/wikipediaweekly/permalink/1210565832324579/
(My sense is, this is a fairly strong performance relative to other WW
posts, but I don't track the numbers from this group closely)


On Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 3:40 PM, Wes Moran <wmo...@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> Hello everyone,
>
> We introduced this upcoming change last week[1] on the Discovery list. At
> the time, we didn’t have the full details to share, but wanted to let
> people directly engaging with that team know that some changes were being
> planned. We were originally going to share more details once they were
> finalized. However, I realized after reading the post from Derk-Jan that we
> should share the information we have now.
>
> The work of the Interactive team[2], a sub-team within the team focused on
> Maps and Graphs, will be temporarily paused beginning this quarter. These
> efforts are important, and the Product Department is committed to
> continuing them. We expect to fulfill our Annual Plan commitments related
> to the Interactive team’s work, and are currently determining how best to
> make this transition. But we need to take some time to determine the best
> path forward for this team within Discovery.
>
> We’ll communicate more broadly about the future of this work as the
> situation evolves. Until then, we are going to review current bugs and
> tasks that were committed to in the Annual Plan, as well as requests in the
> community wishlist, and decide when and how to proceed.
>
> We welcome questions and conversation, but have to ask some patience as
> some members of the team are out of office at the moment.  Please direct
> further questions on the topic to the Discovery list.[3]
>
> Thanks,
> Wes
> VP of Product, Wikimedia Foundation
>
> [1] https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/discovery/2017-
> January/001421.html
>
> [2] https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Interactive_Team
>
> [3] https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/discovery
>
>
>
> On Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 5:26 PM, Derk-Jan Hartman <
> d.j.hartman+wmf...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > Hi all,
> > > The Interactive Team in Discovery is in the process of putting its work
> on
> > > pause. The team's aim during this period is to get its work to a stable
> and
> > > maintainable state.
> > > Currently, work on new features is on hold. It is not yet known what
> the
> > > timeline is for this transition to a paused state, or whether there
> will be
> > > further deployments of features that have already been completed. I
> will
> > > update this list when there is more information.
> > > Thanks,
> > > Dan
> > > --
> > > Dan Garry
> > > Lead Product Manager, Discovery
> > > Wikimedia Foundation
> >
> >
> > So it seems all work on Maps, Graphs and other interactive features is
> > going to be halted pretty soon. I was directed at this notification after
> a
> > Maps ticket mentioned:
> >
> > With the team winding down
> >
> >
> > To which I asked:
> >
> > > Why is the team winding down ?
> >
> >
> > To which Dan Garry responded:
> >
> > > There were expectations that were set regarding things such as team
> goals,
> > > working collaboratively with stakeholders, and advance notice to
> > > communities, that were repeatedly not met by the team.
> >
> >
> > And he pointed me to this discovery mailing list announcement, which well
> > isn't really an explanation as much as a statement on the effect that
> > 'winding down' will have.
> >
> > My interpretation of the information up to here was: "we are dissolving
> > this team because it didn't perform and by posting to discovery mailing
> > list we did the minimal effort required to notify people, but lets hope
> > nobody notices what the notification really means"
> > At the same time Dan's words are a rather hefty review on the performance
> > of a team, which I'm not used to seeing from WMF. Refreshing, but
> unusual.
> >
> > This annoys me and I answer:
> >
> > > 1: I'd expect this to be announced on wikimedia-l, if we start a team
> we
> > > always seem more than anxious to do so.
> > > 2: I'd like some details. I thought we had left behind all the "let's
> try
> > > and hide this and hope no one notices it"-shit in 2016.
> > > 3: Thank you team ! You did some great work, and it was more productive
> > > and groundbreaking than many other teams have been able to do in 5
> years.
> >
> >
> > A bit hyperbolic on all fronts, I admit.
> >
> > To which Dan responds with:
> >
> > > I am not the person who made this decision. I do not know all of the
> > > reasons it was made. The person who made the decision is on vacation
> for
> > > the next few weeks. I am trying my best to communicate as much as I can
> in
> > > her absence, which is why I made a public announcement of all that I
> know
> > > now rather than waiting weeks for my manager to return. I am afraid
> that
> > > some patience is required until Katie gets back from vacation.
> >
> >
> > So now Dan doesn't know enough to be able to discuss this, even though he
> > gave a rather destructive team review earlier.
> >
> > 1: This is exactly the kind of communication that 'the community' keeps
> > complaining about. Reactive instead of proactive. Evasive instead of
> > transparent. Now volunteers need to spend time to figure out what is
> > happening here ? This has cost me over 3 hours today. I would have liked
> to
> > have spent that time differently.
> > 2: It shouldn't matter that Katie is on holidays, I'd assume/hope someone
> > takes over her duties while she is away (Likely Dan himself and/or Wes
> > Moran). Providing information on topics like this shouldn't have to wait
> > until someone returns from a (likely well deserved) holiday.
> > 3: Why do I have to write this email ? It's really not that hard: Make a
> > decision, explain it.
> >
> > DJ
> > _______________________________________________
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