Well, there's always good ol' Jimbo's talk page. 



On May 15, 2019, at 6:25 AM, Yaroslav Blanter <ymb...@gmail.com> wrote:

> This is of course fine, and everybody is free to participate or not to
> participate on this mailing list, but, generally speaking, does WMF have
> any channels to listen to the volunteers working on the project? They often
> say so, but in practice I do not see any. This list used to be the one, but
> it does not carry out this function. The corresponding part of Meta is
> dead, questions never get answered. Some (very few, as far as I can tell),
> WMF staff members are also active as volunteers, but they do not serve as
> liasons between WMF and communities, at least I do not see any indication
> that they would welcome these questions asked as their talk pages. Every
> time I see a WMF staffer on one of the projects I am active in, this is a
> one-way communication mode, not a dialogue.
> 
> Well, may be WMF does not need these channels, but then I do not understand
> why they continue claiming they are listening to the community. In my
> experience, this is not the case.
> 
> Cheers
> Yaroslav
> 
> On Wed, May 15, 2019 at 3:16 PM Joseph Seddon <josephsed...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> 
>> I do not think we should assign blame to those who left this list during
>> and because of the periods of toxicity, and who are disinclined to
>> participate here because of the memories of that and a continued perceived
>> unhealthiness in the tone. Their decision to leave was a valid one.
>> 
>> Not respecting that choice I suspect would just reaffirm their suspicions
>> and reinforces the lack of desire to commit here. A significantly more
>> positive tone needs to be made and a much more conciliatory stance taken.
>> Otherwise we all might as well pack our bags.
>> 
>> 
>> On Wed, May 15, 2019 at 2:17 AM Asaf Bartov <asaf.bar...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> 
>>> Speaking as a (very) longtime member of this mailing list, and one who is
>>> carefully observing it for a few years now as a volunteer list
>>> co-administrator:
>>> 
>>> On Wed, May 15, 2019 at 3:56 AM Joseph Seddon <jsed...@wikimedia.org>
>>> wrote:
>>> 
>>>> I, like many others, wish to see this list become a crucible of good
>>>> suggestions, healthy and critical debate about ideas and as a sound
>>>> mechanism for oversight and account . A huge amount of staff time and
>>>> movement resources is taken up by the consumption of its content. And
>> yet
>>>> it remains the greatest shame that much of the best most worthwhile
>>>> constructive discussions have moved to platforms like Facebook because
>>> this
>>>> list is viewed as hosting such an unhealthy atmosphere when emails are
>>>> written with such overt passive aggression.
>>>> 
>>>> I call it out because if we want people to participate on this list,
>> the
>>>> unhealthy way in which this list gets treated by some of its most
>> active
>>>> participants needs to be dealt with. Otherwise valid points will not
>> get
>>>> acknowledged or answered.
>>>> 
>>> 
>>> I am not sure the causality here runs in the direction you describe.
>> It's
>>> true that this list had some aggressive, even vulgar participants in the
>>> past, and that some senior staff members, as well as board members, have
>>> left the list in protest.  Personally, I think that was a mistake on
>> their
>>> part: to improve the list atmosphere, you model good behavior yourself,
>> and
>>> you call upon the rest of the list -- the "silent majority" -- to call
>> out
>>> bad behavior and enforce some participation standards (as, indeed, I and
>> my
>>> co-moderators have been doing since we took over).
>>> 
>>> By senior people's departing this list, and no longer requiring staff to
>> be
>>> on this list, a strong signal was sent that this is not a venue crucial
>> to
>>> listen to, and that, coupled with the decreasing frequency of WMF
>> responses
>>> to legitimate volunteer inquiries and suggestions, had a *powerful*
>>> chilling effect on the willingness of most volunteers to engage here.
>>> Especially when, as you say, they were able to get better engagement on
>>> Facebook and other channels, despite the serious shortcomings of
>>> accountability on those channels (immutable archiving, searchability,
>>> access to anonymous volunteers, etc.)
>>> 
>>> Yes, this list has also seen some pseudonymous critics whose questions
>> may
>>> have been inconvenient or troublesome to address.  Yet I think the
>>> accountable thing to do would have been to respond, however briefly, to
>>> prevent the sealioning and sanctimonious posts that filled the list --
>> and,
>>> I am sure, greatly annoyed and demotivated many subscribers.  Even a
>>> response stating WMF chooses not to respond to a certain question, or not
>>> to dig up certain data, would have been better than the stony silence
>> that
>>> has become the all-too-common stance for WMF on this list.
>>> 
>>> As you know, I also work for WMF (though I am writing this in my
>> volunteer
>>> capacity, and out of my care for the well-being of this list).  While I
>>> have never shied away from responding on this list, I have on occasion
>> been
>>> scolded (internally) for attempting to answer volunteer queries to the
>> best
>>> of my knowledge, for "outstepping my remit" or interfering in someone
>>> else's remit.  I have taken this to heart, and accordingly no longer try
>> to
>>> respond to queries such as Fae's (which in this case I find a perfectly
>>> reasonable question, meriting an answer).  Several past attempts by me to
>>> ping appropriate senior staff on questions on this list (or on talk
>> pages)
>>> have also met with rebuke, so I have ceased those as well.
>>> 
>>> For these reasons I do not accept this wholesale blaming of this list's
>>> subscribers on the difficulty having meaningful conversations here:
>>> 
>>> But if we want to see staff members more actively
>>>> participating here then those long standing individuals need to really
>>>> thing about the tone in which they engage here, particularly those who
>> do
>>>> so most often. If that does not change, this list will continue to
>>> languish
>>>> and those few staff members who continue to engage here will slowly
>>>> disappear. This now increasingly perennial topic keeps coming up and my
>>>> fear is that it will on go away through the increasing abandonment this
>>>> list faces.
>>>> 
>>> 
>>> It is WMF that is not behaving collaboratively here.  And it is within
>>> WMF's power to change it.  C-levels, the ED, and other managers at WMF
>>> could all decide to participate more actively in this list; to respond to
>>> questions or delegate the answering to their subordinates, who are
>> awaiting
>>> their cue; and indeed, they could themselves make more use of this list
>> as
>>> a sounding board, a consultation room, and a reserve of experience and
>>> diverse context.  They can be the change they (and you, and me) would
>> like
>>> to see.
>>> 
>>> Perhaps this e-mail could convince some of them.  And if not my words,
>> then
>>> perhaps those of some of the other list subscribers.
>>> 
>>>    A.
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