I subscribe what Yaroslav wrote, line by line.

My personal impression is that for the people who are at the onwiki
communities, in which I include myself till 2018, this whole Strategy 2030
thing looks indeed like something happening in a distant galaxy, led by
people with very little notion of what is actually happening in the
projects. And there is also this notion that sometime in the near/mid
future vogons would came in to impose whatever they had decided there, and
that they will have to be chased off.

I attended Iberoconf 2019[1] early this year in Santiago, where Strategy
2030 was supposed to be very much in focus, and I was hoping to have a
better idea of what it was over there. However, we ended up never talking
about it (at least that I can remember), so the idea I got was that it is
something of no importance or of very little importance, but on which, for
some reason, huge amounts of WMF funding is being thrown in.

I do not care about the money - it's their money, they do whatever they
want with it. But it kind of annoys me that Strategy 2030, while being
apparently useless, tends to pervade all Wikimedia events and spaces. It
kind of stays there, doing nothing and occupying space that could be better
used for more practical stuff.

Nothing against the people that is on the Working Groups, I'm sure most of
them are doing their best, as Itzik, but this whole thing at this point is
really looking as some failed experiment, and it would probably be better
to salvage what is possible from this and the other past "strategy"
experiments, look at what failed and start something new and better thought.

[1] -https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:Conference/WMCL/Iberoconf_2019

Best,
Paulo (DarwIn)


Yaroslav Blanter <ymb...@gmail.com> escreveu no dia quinta, 28/03/2019 à(s)
15:38:

> Hello Itzik,
>
> thanks for sharing this.
>
> I actually did not want to react, because I presumably sound too critical
> on this list in the last couple of years. However, 24h passed, and nobody
> reacted, and It would be unfortunate if we let this go.
>
> My own experience brought me to the same conclusions, even though I have a
> very different background. I am a project contributor, highly active on
> several WMF projects and having some advanced permissions there. I belong
> to the category which became common to refer to as "unorganized volunteers"
> (which we actually read as a derogatory name). I participated in the 2010
> strategy consultation, which was pretty much community driven, and I liked
> that one. My name is on the final document. However, I did not like the
> current process from the very beginning. In the first stage, facilitators
> were hired, and some of them genuinely wanted to do things but did not know
> how to activate the communities, and others did not even make an effort. As
> I already shared on this list, on one of the projects I am active in we
> took the challenge seriously and formulated quite a few of strategic
> directions - just to be told by the facilitator that this is not what we
> were expected to do. The final document had no trace of our suggestions. I
> was one of those who opposed the final document and signed for this on Meta
> - about 70 people signed and were duly ignored. I was not looking forward
> to the second round, but when I saw a call, I though "ok, I was criticizing
> the process a lot, but did I do enough to fix it", and I applied. My
> application was rejected, and a couple of days later there was a second
> call stating that the first one did not get enough applicants. Then I was
> sure I am happy that whatever final document would be there in the end is
> no way my name could be associated with it. Whatever else would happen
> around the strategy discussion this round, I am not going to be available
> to help. The strategy discussion is smth that happens in a different
> galaxy. The process is hopelessly broken and should have been killed at an
> earlier stage. I know that a lot of people I respect (and quite a few I do
> not) were and still are involved, but apparently the process design was not
> appropriate from the very beginning.
>
> I am generally very disappointed by an inability of many people at WMF and
> thematic organizations to realize what "strategy" actually means.
> Apparently, they really think that they are the movement, and volunteers at
> the projects ("unorganized volunteers") would do what they decide for them.
> We had already enough calls showing that the communities are not going to
> do what they are told if they do not think it is reasonable. And if
> somebody has forgotten the Wikitravel story, which tells us what happened
> if you push volunteers too much, it could be useful to read it again. I
> have an impression that some people really forget where their salary is
> coming from, that other people are working for free, and if they stop
> working for free, there is not going to be any salary any more. And if you
> can not understand what communities want, then you need to ask again, and
> not just write a few generic sentences and take it to another level. There
> are enough real challenges before the movement which, if inappropriately
> handled or not responded to, can just kill the whole Wikimedia universe. To
> write a text in which a lot of money and a lot of time is invested but
> which is not even specific about anything is not one of them.
>
> And if you ask me I would say that the strategy can not be determined
> solely by people who are not working in projects on a daily basis.
>
> Cheers
> Yaroslav
>
> On Wed, Mar 27, 2019 at 2:06 PM Itzik - Wikimedia Israel <
> it...@wikimedia.org.il> wrote:
>
> > Hi,
> >
> > 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)
> > it...@wikimedia.org.il
> > +972-54-5878078
> >
> >
> >
> > ---------- 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
> > process.
> >
> > 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
> > wrong.
> > 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
> > *years.*
> >
> > 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.
> >
> >
> > Yours,
> > Itzik.
> >
> >
> >
> > *Itzik Edri*
> > Chairperson
> > it...@wikimedia.org.il
> > +972-54-5878078
> > _______________________________________________
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