Good answer.

-----Original Message-----
From: Wikimedia-l [] On Behalf Of 
Anna Stillwell
Sent: Saturday, 11 February 2017 3:34 AM
To: Wikimedia Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on 

On Sun, Feb 5, 2017 at 10:03 AM, Rogol Domedonfors <>

> Anna,
> > As you may have noticed, threaded discussions become difficult for 
> > me to visually navigate after a while. Thus, the color.
> >
> Sorry, colour doesn't come through on the mailing list.

Thank you for explaining that. I appreciate you teaching me the rules.
After I posted, I also had a number of wiki elves simultaneously ping me on a 
number of different channels to let me know the very same thing. A bunch of 
gardeners just tending to the commons. It was delightful. It felt like an 
entrance into a different world. I was wondering when the hobbits would show up 
with second breakfast and above all: ale. I want some ale.

> > Call me naive, but I’m excited by the prospect of the movement 
> > strategy 
> > <>. 
> > I
> know
> > that many other things will need to happen to arrive at the state 
> > that
> you
> > speak of, but thinking together at that scale is likely a good start 
> > in
> my
> > mind.  It might even be a necessary but insufficient pre-requisite 
> > for
> the
> > kind of collaboration you speak of.
> >
> Let us hope that it does what is both necessary and sufficient.


Sometimes I wonder if hope isn’t at the base of it all. Perhaps hope is 
necessary but certainly not sufficient for it all to transpire. Hope is not a 
strategy. But maybe it's a foundation.

Besides, I could use some. Hope, that is. It’s looking bleak out there.
It’s tough to wake up in the middle of your life and realize that it looks like 
most of the world thinks a regression back to nationalism and censorship and 
white, straight power is a good idea. Not as tough as needing knowledge and 
food and health every single day and not having access to it, but tough in a 
Maslow’s-hierarchy-kinda-way.  There is so much work to do on so many fronts.

I wake up thinking about and feeling unsure about the future.

> > The current notion being instantiated in the proposed Technical
> guidelines
> > > is very much about a wise and benevolent Foundation steering its 
> > > ideas through a reluctant community.  That is frankly insufficient.
> > >
> >
> > Would you direct me to those Technical guidelines? I don’t know the 
> > reference and I should.
> >
> They are at
> Guidance
> which is currently under discussion.  This appears to be a successor 
> project to
> process/Communities which is described as stalled.

Thank you. I have not yet read these because I spent a lot of time this week 
clarifying Joady’s and my role with KM and JL. We all wanted clarity on which 
problems we were solving and which ones we were not. My JD is at the end of the 
email if you would like that clarity as well.


> > >
> > > >
> > > > Maybe not. But if it could strike a deeper cord around 
> > > > transparency,
> I
> > > > wanted to show up for that conversation. Talk openly. Let people 
> > > > know
> > > that
> > > > we are listening, that we believe in transparency… that’s why we 
> > > > all
> > > fought
> > > > for it.
> > > >
> > > > To be clear, I have no sense whether it did strike a cord around 
> > > > transparency, but I enjoyed the conversation nevertheless.
> > > >
> > >
> > > My experience of the Foundations notion of Transparency has been 
> > > patchy
> > at
> > > lest -- and that's a polite way of saying breathtakingly awful.
> >
> >
> > That good? All jokes aside, I take this very seriously. I’d like to 
> > hear your notion of transparency, but first I’ll offer this one that 
> > I
> recently
> > heard because I have the sense that it will resonate with you. We're 
> > in
> the
> > final stages of an org-wide conversation on our values 
> > <>. We 
> > invited some current and former community-selected board members as 
> > well
> as
> > volunteers beyond the board to these conversations.  I enjoyed them 
> > very much.
> >
> > Normally, I would attribute this quote, but these conversations were 
> > anonymized, so I don’t have permission to reveal my brilliant source.
> They
> > talked about how transparency was likely not the right word for what 
> > they really wanted. They wanted a way to join in. They wanted to 
> > know where
> they
> > could plug in. Is that a notion of “maybe more than transparency" 
> > that resonates with you?
> >
> > That’s the problem that I’m chewing on. And so your ideas around 
> > collaboration are interesting to me. So I’m thinking about them. 
> > What
> they
> > would mean, how it could be done, the myriad of constraints that 
> > make it seem quite difficult to orchestrate.
> >
> The difference between Transparency and Engagement is indeed what I 
> have been concerned about.  But genuine engagement cannot take place 
> on a basis of asymmetric access to information.  So transparency seems 
> to be the prerequisite
> Cool. I think we’re thinking in some similar directions. It seems like
we're interested in similar problems. I still don’t know what to do about it. 
It's not as easy as it looks, but it definitely looks like that is the 
direction we should go in.

> >
> >
> > > What has changed in the last fortnight to make me expect that it 
> > > will
> be
> > > different this year?
> > >
> >
> > Look, if there’s one thing I think I’ve learned throughout my 
> > career,
> it’s
> > all of the things that could go wrong. Sometimes it feels like 
> > that’s
> all I
> > have to offer: what not to do.
> >
> > I also don’t think grand pronouncements are the way to go. So I’d be
> happy
> > to explain some of the things that I do think have changed, as long 
> > as
> you
> > know I’m not trying to convince you of anything. I’m just 
> > legitimately answering your question from my partial point of view.
> >
> > Leadership has changed. I see more people internally looking to 
> > involve relevant stakeholders in their work (New Readers and ORES come to 
> > mind).
> > I’m also hopeful about the movement strategy process. It looks like 
> > a
> good
> > faith effort on everyone’s part to come together and discuss the 
> > future
> in
> > open, inclusive, documented discourse 
> > <>.
> >
> > I see progress, not perfection.
> >
> I see confusion.  In the last fortnight was a reference to the ED's 
> public pronouncement that she thought it waste of her time to engage 
> with people like me directly on her Meta talk page.  Her predecessor 
> had not thought that.

I don't have time to investigate this statement and work to piece together what 
happened, and since I don't have that time, I will not comment in any way on 
this particular instance.

Generally, I am thinking about community service training across the 
organization. I would love your help with that. I can do little about the past. 
I can address the future. To properly address the future, ad hoc and particular 
solution sets won't suffice. We'll need coherent and general solution sets, 
with enough particulars to keep the solution set honest.

> > > > 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.
> >  [...]
> >
> > I don’t have enough information.
> >
> > [...]
> > >
> > > Is any of those close to the truth, do you think?
> > >
> >
> > I do not know.
> >
> I want to be polite here.

We're cool.

> It is very unusual for an organisation like the WMF not to have the 
> sort of Roadmap that I describe,

 I didn’t say that we didn’t have a Roadmap. I said that I did not know.

> and extraordinarily unusual that a person at your level in the 
> organisation should not know of its existence and be able to confirm 
> at least whether or not it exists.


One caveat: I am a Director in Talent and Culture. Please allow me to explain. 
You may have noticed we’ve had some talent and culture challenges as of late. 
I’m sure you can imagine how those challenges could keep me (one of two senior 
leaders in a department of 10, 5 of whom are solely dedicated to recruiting and 
1 dedicated solely to employee benefits), relatively busy. Although I agree 
with you in principle, I’m just asking you to see how under those circumstances 
it could make sense that a Director in T&C might not be up to date on what is 
going on relative to Product Roadmaps.

However, I am here now.

> You must be aware that your answer suggests at a bare minimum the 
> possibility that you, as an officer of the WMF, are evading the question.

That possibility genuinely never occurred to me. Evading the question? Quite 
the contrary, Rogol. I have answered in the most exposing and real way 
possible. I have said, "I don’t know", on a public mailing list. Talk about a 
total lack of spin!  I think that is in the Wharton-Business-School 
manual... admit that you don't know something in public.

To be any more transparent, I would have to wear a body cam. I trust the NSA is 
working on it.

If I may be so bold, it seems that your interpretation of my words lacks even 
basic faith. It seems to be the penultimate worst possible interpretation (the 
worst being lying, the second... evading).

But your nearly automatic interpretation may point to a deeper issue. I hear 
you saying that you don't take me at my word. That you may not take us at our 
word. And I imagine that we have done some things to earn your distrust. I hear 

But I assure you that I am telling you the truth now: I do not know.

I work to identify general problems. Once identified, I seek to understand 
which problems are my most important problems. I don't think in terms of 
priorities. I think about my most important problems because the wording helps 
me get to and stick to the heart of it.

Then I like to debate my most important problems because someone could see 
information that I can't. Why those problems? What is the rationale?
I revise my most important problems based on input or reading or speaking to 
other knowledgeable people.

Then I decide which problems I am going to work to solve. Then I think about 
the best way to solve them. Then I try to imagine all of the things that could 
wrong. Then I remember that no plan survives its first engagement with reality 
and that I have to get started experimenting.

> > You've helped me see some new possibilities for how we might organize.
> > Thank you.
> Thank you,
> "Rogol"

Ok. How do you pronounce your fictitious name? I asked around, “Hey, how do you 
pronounce Rogol’s fictitious name”? Everyone pronounced it differently.
Some had a hard g. Some had a soft one. Some placed emphasis on the first 
syllable. Some on the second.

I couldn’t stop laughing. I said to them, “But he’s made up…. how can you be 
*so sure*?”

It made me want a fictitious title for myself that no one could pronounce.
Perhaps that’s why my new title, which someone else came up with, sounded so 
fun to me: it’s a fictitious title that almost no one can pronounce. For 
example, when I first said it to Guillaume, he winced at my pronunciation.
He tried not to. He really did. He put in a good faith effort.

But that made me wonder, does Rogol even know how to pronounce his fictitious 


Chargé d’Affaires

Collaboratively build a culture and organization for the future.


   In partnership with the executive team, think and act in service of
   talent and culture needs for the future of our projects and movement
   (e.g., forecast future talent needs—individual and collective

   Co-design (with Joady) the vision and execute a leading-edge,
   comprehensive talent management strategy.

   Co-define and co-execute (with Joady) a coherent, inclusive philosophy
   across the employee lifecycle.

   Champion our values, embed them throughout the employee lifecycle.

   Champion special projects and ideas worthy of support.

   Represent culture and organizational design at executive team.

Collaboratively recruit high-level roles for the future:
Board of Trustees, Endowment Board, executives, and special projects.

Engage leaders in their own development:


   Roll out a leadership framework, a central architecture of
   accountabilities at different levels of leadership throughout the
   organization, sync JDs.

   Drive and evolve our cutting-edge leadership program.

   Drive adoption of our leadership practices.

   Develop, drive, and evolve manager training (hiring, orienting,
   performance management, development, succession planning).

   Drive adoption of management practices.

   Lead the people side of succession planning.

   Manage and evolve cultural orientation.

Be an ambassador (Charge d’Affaires)


   Make WMF a creative, generative, well-regarded culture to work within.

   Develop and represent the public profile of the Wikimedia Foundation as
   an employer and culture leader, including writing, external networking, and
   representing the foundation at public engagements.

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"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." - Margaret Fuller

Anna Stillwell
Chargée d’Affaires / VP
Wikimedia Foundation
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