Two weeks ago I sent this email to my strategy working group (resource
allocation). I didn't plan to send a public email, just to share with the
rest of the group my reason to leave and just to disappear.
I receive feedbacks with many of the group members and also requesting
permissions to transfer it with others outside of the group, which leads to
more conversations that I had around it.

Last week we had our weekly phone call, during which we discussed our
feelings and opinions about the process so far. From our long conversation
and the conversations with the others, I learned that many of these
feelings exist among the other members, as well some ideas on how to make
it easier and less demanding and at the same time publishing the
conclusions sooner.
Yesterday, following a good conversation with one of the WMF's board
members about it, I was asked to share these thoughts with the movement's
list, so that it may also involve the community's feedback as well.

*Itzik Edri*
Chairperson (volunteer)

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Itzik - Wikimedia Israel <it...@wikimedia.org.il>
Date: Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 2:08 PM
Subject: I decided to leave the working group
To: <wg2030-resourceallocat...@wikimedia.org>

Dear friends,

For a long time I have been considering leaving the working group but each
time I decided to give it another chance. Yesterday, after long
consideration, I decided to write this email.

I must be honest - I was skeptical from the first moment about this
process. The huge amount of money which the board allocated to this process
together with the complicated and (very) long process planned for it - make
me doubt the ability to really have a real outcome in a reasonable time.
For the past two years, it seems to me like the strategy took over almost
every movement event and activity. I feel bad for investing millions of
dollars from our donations and uncounted hours of volunteer time into this

I also felt hypocritical in the way the foundation acts - while "freezing"
grant programs (such as APG) and holding affiliates from increasing their
programs and budgets, "because of the strategy process" while
simultaneously approving itself to increase its budget and staff year after
year by tens of percentage.

Despite my distrust of the chances of this process and the criticism I felt
for it, I instructed my organization to give it the full support we been
asked, as all our movement did. Later on, I decided to join this working
group as I felt we almost reached the final step of the process and I
wanted to help shape the recommendations. I was totally wrong.

In the first months of the workgroups, I felt it was completely wasted of
time. I saw how wonderful volunteers tried to lead the process within each
group (thank you Daria!) - but it wasn't their job, nor none of us. I felt
like I was returning to university, and every few weeks I received
instructions and homework from the lecturer, with assignments to the
following week - and in between, that we need to lead it and solve things
by ourselves. It took the core team a few months to change it and bring
external support, but even after the (right) change, it continues to feel
like I came *to work for *the strategic process, not with.

I felt like nothing happened for the past year(or years?) before the
working groups started to operate. As if we didn't have hundreds of
meetings around the world, with a total of tens of thousands of people and
an enormous amount of hours of conversations - and aside from a short few
sentences of a strategic direction, we started from scratch. A completely
new process.
From scratch to have discussions about what this process is, definitions
and concepts. What is the problem with the current system? What are the
challenges? What people shared during the first phase? Information which
wasn't available and ready for the group, and still isn't. Eight months
after we start, the real conversation about the subject which I joined to
discuss about and help shape recommendations around it, is far, far away
from even to start.

The more I spoke to more and more people who are part of the process, I
realized that this despair is not only with me but with many. But we are a
real Wikimedians, and we are committed to the things we start. We are bad
with stopping things when they don't work or have real reviews of the
things we do when we have the belief that this is the right thing. I
completely stopped thinking it is the right thing to our movement.

Last month, in our in-person meeting in Berlin, one of the opening
activities was to sum up the number of years we were all members of the
movement. Just think about doing the same, and sum up the number of
volunteer (and staff) hours invested until now in this process. We are
talking about tens of thousands of hours of work not even taking into
consideration the huge amount of money involved.
And the end of the process is very far away.

In one of our discussions, we doubt if to include volunteers as a resource
which can be allocated. We decided at the end it can't as such, but just
try to imagine it was, and try to think about a future whatever-will-be the
resource allocation body/structure: how he would deal with the decision
whether to approve such a huge amount of volunteer time and money in the
process. Did the WMF's board even consider and discuss these resources and
how it will affect the movement during the process years? I doubt.

We tend to say that the movement newest project is WikiData. I think we may
need to start address WikiStrategy as the newest project. Just think about
what we could do with that amount of resources.

The idea to massively involve the wide community within this process was
the right decision  - but the implementations from my point of view were
If the last strategy process was totally handled by outsiders - we took
this one completely to its opposite, without finding the right balance.

A strategy process is important, there is no doubt. And our movement needs
one, there is no doubt.
But a strategy process can't take over the organization' activities for

I want to warmly thank you, my teammates. It is heartwarming to see the
commitment and amazing energy of all the members of this process, and of
course, the core team which is dedicated to bringing a change. I have no
doubt that we all want to secure the future of our movement to years to
come and I don't know of such a high level of engagement and commitment
anywhere else. But at the same time, I think we should put limits to it and
reconsider it - and think how to make it shorter, lighter, less demanding
and expensive - both from the perspective of staff/volunteer time and money.


*Itzik Edri*
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: 
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and 
New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, 

Reply via email to