Anna

Thank you for that.  In general an engagement works well when both, or all,
parties have something to bring to the table and something to gain from the
engagement (and certain other factors are in .  So for example, in the
field of software planning one might expect that an engagement between
members of the community with an interest in and experience of software
issues as they affect contributors, and the WMF management developing the
software roadmap would be effective.  I do hope the WMF decides to try that
some time.  In this instance, there seems little that members of the
community can do to help the WMF management handle a team problem that is
taking place entirely within the WMF as an organisation.  It may well be
that there are people in the community with experience in managing software
teams, but it seems unlikely that they will be in a position to give you
the help you need on the time scales that you need it.  Perhaps at some
later date the senior leadership will want to do a lessons learned exercise
and it might be that certain community members could help, but I would not
use up the valuable bandwidth of staff and volunteers giving a blo-by-blow
account of this particular incident.  In the middle ground, there is the
issue of the current product roadmap and its delivery.  Perhaps an
indication of what that roadmap is may help to refine and revise the plan
that will have to be drawn up for executing the work that is left hanging
by these events.

"Rogol"

On Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 11:12 PM, Anna Stillwell <astillw...@wikimedia.org>
wrote:

> Rogol,
>
> Good to hear from you.
>
> "I am surprised by the notion that WMF middle management is in some way
> answerable to the Community. I would have thought that was the least
> productive
> form of engagement between the two sides."
>
> Rogol, I'd like to hear more about what you mean here, specifically in this
> instance. Then, would you be willing to generalize in categories: a
> spectrum of the least productive forms of engagement between the
> communities and WMF to the most productive forms of engagement?
>
> "But doing planning better is a lesson for management to learn, not for the
> Community."
>
> Yes. Agreed. Though generally I would say that everybody should always be
> learning on all sides of the fence, but I can't disagree with your
> statement.
>
> /a
>
> On Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 2:30 PM, Rogol Domedonfors <domedonf...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > I am surprised by the notion that WMF middle management is in some way
> > answerable to the Community.  I would have thought that was the least
> > productive form of engagement between the two sides.  The issue is what,
> if
> > anything, will happen to the tools that the contributors want and need to
> > carry on doing their work.  Wes Moran says that they will be delivered on
> > schedule and I presume he is in a position to make that happen.
> >
> > It's disturbing to read that the failure of this team is attributed by
> > Chris Koerner to planning.  But doing planning better is a lesson for
> > management to learn, not for the Community.  It so happens that I have
> > advocated for involving the Community in the planing more, earlier and
> at a
> > higher level.  But I do not regard this setback as attributable to the
> > Foundation's reluctance to do that.
> >
> > "Rogol"
> >
> > On Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 10:18 AM, James Heilman <jmh...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> > > I guess the question is was this a request for input on what the
> > community
> > > thinks of the Interactive Team or the strategy of the discovery team?
> Or
> > > was it simply a "for your information", we have decided to do X, Y, and
> > Z.
> > > The first is much more preferable to the second, but it appears the
> > second
> > > was what was intended. We as Wikipedians, of course, while give you our
> > > opinions on these decisions whether you request them or not :-)
> > >
> > > Now to be clear I am not requesting an official response. I am
> expressing
> > > 1) my support for the work that the Interactive Team was carrying out.
> 2)
> > > my great appreciation to Yuri for the years he has dedicated to the WM
> > > movement. IMO him being let go is a great loss to our movement. People
> > who
> > > both understand tech and can explain tech to the non expert are few and
> > far
> > > between and Yuri was both. While I imagine and hope that he will
> continue
> > > on as a volunteer, it is easy to get distracted by working to put food
> on
> > > the table. Maybe another team within the WMF or within the Wikimedia
> > > movement will pick him up.
> > >
> > > Best
> > > James
> > >
> > > On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 9:52 PM, Anna Stillwell <
> > astillw...@wikimedia.org>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 9:14 PM, Pete Forsyth <petefors...@gmail.com
> >
> > > > wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > Anna,
> > > > >
> > > > > I've now read what you quoted for a third time, and can confirm I
> did
> > > > > understand, and agree with, what you said. I'm sorry my summary was
> > > > > inadequate, and may have made it seem otherwise.
> > > > >
> > > > > As for planning, I am not making assumptions, but perhaps
> > interpreting
> > > > > differently from you. I'm happy to defer to Pine on the details;
> > their
> > > > > recent message captures the gist of what I intended.
> > > > >
> > > > > I can't give a solid estimate of the "half-life," but I do not
> think
> > > the
> > > > > enthusiasm I've seen (and the metrics I cited in my initial message
> > on
> > > > this
> > > > > thread) constitute a passing crush. I do think a "pause" that
> > > > necessitates
> > > > > addressing uncertainty when discussing popular features can have a
> > > > > significant impact, and therefore should be minimized to whatever
> > > degree
> > > > is
> > > > > attainable. I could be wrong, but that's my belief.
> > > > >
> > > >
> > > > Got it.  (I add color so I can see. I think I need better glasses.
> > Sad!).
> > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > As for the request for more time, I guess I'm just not sure what to
> > > make
> > > > > of it. I make no demands, and I'm not sure I've heard Pine, James,
> > DJ,
> > > or
> > > > > anybody in this thread make demands. Is there somebody with
> standing
> > to
> > > > > grant such a request? I've heard it, and it makes sense. It's
> > > worthwhile
> > > > to
> > > > > know that the team needs more time, and plans to share more on a
> > scale
> > > > that
> > > > > sounds like days-to-weeks. But if there's something specific being
> > > asked
> > > > of
> > > > > me (or others on this list), I'm not clear on what it is.
> > > > >
> > > >
> > > > I was just asking whether you thought it was reasonable to give them
> > the
> > > > time that they asked for.  It wasn't a governance question, or a
> > > discussion
> > > > about authority. I was just asking if those who commented, who all
> > seemed
> > > > to have legitimate concerns, were willing to have the team get back
> to
> > > them
> > > > with any answers that they could fairly, justly, respectfully and
> > legally
> > > > provide, but more likely they would talk about the future work.
> > > >
> > > > In my mind I've been clear and consistent: "Hey, do you guys think it
> > is
> > > > reasonable to give these guys some time?" But it seems like I've not
> > made
> > > > this point clear. Would singing it at karaoke help?
> > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > I'd be happy to chat if you come back to it at the end of Q3, if
> > you'd
> > > > > like.
> > > > >
> > > >
> > > > Thanks. I'll reach out.
> > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > -Pete
> > > > >
> > > > > [[User:Peteforsyth]]
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > On 01/25/2017 06:38 PM, Anna Stillwell wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > >> On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 4:53 PM, Pete Forsyth <
> > petefors...@gmail.com>
> > > > >> wrote:
> > > > >>
> > > > >> Anna,
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> Pete,
> > > > >>
> > > > >> Your points are valid and well taken. If I may summarize what I
> > think
> > > I
> > > > >>> heard, it's basically: "Getting things right can be hard, and if
> > full
> > > > >>> preparations weren't made ahead of time, thorough answers may not
> > be
> > > > >>> readily available. Be compassionate/patient." Is that about
> right?
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>
> > > > >> I appreciate that you are trying to understand what I mean.
> Thanks.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> No, I didn’t say getting things right can be hard. I said, “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.”
> > > > >>
> > > > >> As for the preparations, it seems that a lot of assumptions are
> > being
> > > > >> made.
> > > > >> As for thorough answers, some might already be known and others
> > known
> > > > once
> > > > >> more planning is completed. However, it could be that the
> > explanations
> > > > you
> > > > >> want are not legal to share. There are many issues where
> employment
> > > law
> > > > >> and
> > > > >> worker protections are crystal clear, as they should be.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> As for compassion, I don’t require it. That seems like extra to
> me.
> > I
> > > > >> usually prefer just paying attention, but that’s my personal
> choice.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> The team asked for some time. I wondered if that would be a
> > reasonable
> > > > >> request to grant them.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> If so, I agree in principle and in spirit, but I think the point
> is
> > in
> > > > >>
> > > > >>> tension with
> > > > >>> another one:
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> Community and public enthusiasm for software can be a rare and
> > > > important
> > > > >>> thing. The conditions that make it grow, shrink, or sustain are
> > > > complex,
> > > > >>> and largely beyond the influence of a handful of mailing list
> > > > >>> participants.
> > > > >>> The recent outputs of the Interactive Team have generated
> > enthusiasm
> > > > in a
> > > > >>> number of venues, and many on this list (both volunteers and
> staff)
> > > > would
> > > > >>> like to see it grow or sustain, and perhaps throw a little weight
> > > > behind
> > > > >>> an
> > > > >>> effort to make it grow or sustain.
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> Good points. I mean that. Glad to hear of these recent outputs
> > > generate
> > > > >> excitement. I’m personally also getting quite excited about ORES
> > > > >> <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Objective_Revision_
> > > Evaluation_Service>
> > > > >> and
> > > > >>
> > > > >> what’s going on with the Community Tech Wish List, Labs, and New
> > > > Readers.
> > > > >> But I also get that you want to be clear: you'd like to see the
> > > > >> interactive
> > > > >> team’s work grow or sustain. Makes sense.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> The only thing I heard is that the team said that they needed to
> > > pause,
> > > > >> have a bit of time, and get back to everybody. “The team's aim
> > during
> > > > this
> > > > >> period is to get its work to a stable and maintainable state.”
> > > > >>
> > > > >> But that enthusiasm has a half-life. What is possible today may
> not
> > be
> > > > >>> possible next week or next month. The zeitgeist may have evolved
> or
> > > > moved
> > > > >>> on by then.
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> I'm not in disagreement with your main point about enthusiasm for
> > > > >> software.
> > > > >> I think it's a very good one. Enthusiasm with a half life of a
> week,
> > > > >> however, sounds more like a passing crush. Nevertheless, your
> point
> > > > still
> > > > >> stands.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> -Pete
> > > > >>> --
> > > > >>> [[User:Peteforsyth]]
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> /a
> > > > >> [[User:Annaproject]]
> > > > >>
> > > > >> On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 3:53 PM, Anna Stillwell <
> > > > astillw...@wikimedia.org
> > > > >>> >
> > > > >>> wrote:
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> You make substantive points, Tim. Thank you.
> > > > >>>>
> > > > >>>> "An employee should not experience their time off as a period
> > where
> > > > his
> > > > >>>> [her/they] work load is just temporarily buffered until his
> > > [her/they]
> > > > >>>> return, but where colleagues will step in and take care of
> > > business."
> > > > >>>>
> > > > >>>> I take this point seriously and don't wish you to think
> otherwise.
> > > In
> > > > >>>> theory, I absolutely agree. In practice, sometimes we all face
> > > > >>>>
> > > > >>> constraints.
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>>> There are roughly 300 of us (order of magnitude). Every now and
> > > then,
> > > > >>>>
> > > > >>> there
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>>> are not enough of us to go around on everything on a timeline
> that
> > > > meets
> > > > >>>> the legitimate need that you present here. We'll continue to
> work
> > on
> > > > >>>>
> > > > >>> this.
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>>> But, to clarify, no one ever said it was a "useful practice" nor
> > did
> > > > >>>>
> > > > >>> anyone
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>>> suggest that it was generalized across the org.
> > > > >>>>
> > > > >>>> What I was wondering about in my previous email and now
> > reiterating
> > > in
> > > > >>>>
> > > > >>> this
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>>> one too, are people willing to grant their request: a bit of
> time
> > > and
> > > > >>>>
> > > > >>> allow
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>>> for one person to return to work?
> > > > >>>>
> > > > >>>> Does that seem like a way to move forward?
> > > > >>>>
> > > > >>>> Warmly,
> > > > >>>> /a
> > > > >>>>
> > > > >>>> On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 2:50 PM, Tim Landscheidt <
> > > > >>>> t...@tim-landscheidt.de
> > > > >>>>
> > > > >>>> wrote:
> > > > >>>>
> > > > >>>> Anna Stillwell <astillw...@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> > > > >>>>>
> > > > >>>>> […]
> > > > >>>>>> 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.
> > > > >>>>>> […]
> > > > >>>>>>
> > > > >>>>> I concur with DJ in his initial mail that this is not a use-
> > > > >>>>> ful practice, and I doubt very much that it relieves employ-
> > > > >>>>> ees' stress.  It conveys the organizational expectation that
> > > > >>>>> employees are SPOFs without any backup.  An employee should
> > > > >>>>> not experience their time off as a period where his work
> > > > >>>>> load is just temporarily buffered until his return, but
> > > > >>>>> where colleagues will step in and take care of business.
> > > > >>>>> Especially such a major decision like "pausing" a team
> > > > >>>>> should not depend on the inner thoughts of one employee, but
> > > > >>>>> be backed and explainable by others.
> > > > >>>>>
> > > > >>>>> Tim
> > > > >>>>>
> > > > >>>>>
> > > > >>>>> _______________________________________________
> > > > >>>>> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/
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> > > > >>>>>
> > > > >>>>>
> > > > >>>>
> > > > >>>> --
> > > > >>>> "If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." -
> > > > >>>> Margaret
> > > > >>>> Fuller
> > > > >>>>
> > > > >>>> Anna Stillwell
> > > > >>>> Director of Culture
> > > > >>>> Wikimedia Foundation
> > > > >>>> 415.806.1536
> > > > >>>> *www.wikimediafoundation.org <http://www.
> wikimediafoundation.org
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> > > >
> > > > --
> > > > "If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." -
> > Margaret
> > > > Fuller
> > > >
> > > > Anna Stillwell
> > > > Director of Culture
> > > > Wikimedia Foundation
> > > > 415.806.1536
> > > > *www.wikimediafoundation.org <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>*
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> > > --
> > > James Heilman
> > > MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian
> > >
> > > The Wikipedia Open Textbook of Medicine
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> Fuller
>
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> Wikimedia Foundation
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