Thanks for the summary, Chris.
Communications problems with WMF are a sore spot for me, as I've suffered
through a number of them. Despite years of talking about improving
communication, I've seen mixed results to date. I think that the community
liaisons have been valuable, but there is still much room for improvement,
particularly when it comes to how unpredictable WMF staff are in responding
to talk page and email inquiries.
Narrowing focus a little bit to to expand on my earlier point on the value
of having the decision-maker available to answer questions: if the
decision-maker is unavailable for a good reason (and I don't mean a
scheduled vacation, as a decision to pause the work for a team should have
been thoughtfully considered prior to its announcement, and there is every
good reason to budget an hour or two to prepare communications before
announcing decisions like this), I think it's reasonable to expect that
someone else with full access to the facts should be available for Q&A.
That might be a communication person or a technical liaison, or the
person's supervisor. The impression I get is that Dan was making a
good-faith effort to answer questions but did not have access to all of the
facts. I hope that in future cases where the decision-maker is unavailable,
that there will be better planning so that someone who does have access to
all of the facts is available for Q&A.
I'm going to be frank. A scheduled vacation isn't an excuse for poor
planning. I don't mean to say that in a punitive way (I've made planning
errors myself), but rather in the sense that I hope that there will be
thought invested in how to do better planning in the future for
communications surrounding significant decisions when the decision-maker
will be unavailable. Looping back to the beginning of this thread, I agree
with DJ: "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." I've had
similar frustrations with unresponsiveness from other staff, and I'd like
to see some meaningful effort invested in ensuring that every good-faith
inquiry gets a timely and well-informed answer.
This email is probably a little harsher than I would like it to sound. I
admit to being frustrated -- not so much about this particular case, but
the general situation of the very mixed levels of WMF staff responsiveness
to requests for information.
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