Hey DJ

These seem like reasonable concerns and I am glad you and others are
raising them. I hope you continue to do so. We’re all getting better at
working together and it is clear that the foundation has made mistakes in
the past, so it is right and good to hold us accountable. I mean that

I’ve heard a few preliminary answers offered. As I see it, it seems like
rather than waiting to get everything perfect (and likely with a bit of
spin), these people are trying to communicate what they know when they know
it. I support them for doing so and hope that all of us in the foundation
continue in this direction. But there is a challenge to this approach also…
when you share early, you might not yet have all of the answers. Sometimes,
but not always, mutual disclosure may require some patience while we all
muddle through and arrive at shared understanding.

I also hear that the pause on the interactive work is temporary. I’ve heard
them request time. I am comfortable granting that request, but no one is
required to agree with me. They’ve also said that the person with the most
information is on vacation. As someone who has seen employees go through
considerable stress in the last years, the entire executive team is working
to establish some cultural standards around supporting vacations. We want
people here to feel comfortable taking proper vacations and sometimes that
can even need to happen in a crisis. People often plan their vacations well
in advance and may not know that something tricky will come up. Just so you
understand one bias I bring to this conversation.

Last, but not least, it’s not always as easy as it seems. This
communication thing is hard, especially when people are involved. Sometimes
there are laws that constrain what we say. Sometimes we don’t know whether
we are right yet and we need a further unpacking of the facts. The truth is
that there can be a whole host of reasons for partial communication that
aren’t related to competence or the intent to deceive.

I’m wondering if we can grant their two requests, can we wait for a return
from vacation and a clarification of some kind will follow?

Next time I see you, I hope we can have a beer and argue about something


On Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 2:26 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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"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." - Margaret

Anna Stillwell
Director of Culture
Wikimedia Foundation
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