I think it's a good question.

The first thing, I think, is to regain the community's trust, which has
been very badly damaged at this point. I only see one way for them to do
that, and that is to back off, sooner rather than later. Ensure the
community that this will not happen again, at least not until a solution
workable to all sides can be arrived at. (And while I shouldn't have to say
it--honor that.) If the WMF carries on the way that it is now, that loss of
trust may become irreparable. In 2006-2007, when the WMF was starting to
expand its role, some community members expressed a fear of this very type
of situation, that the WMF would consider itself "in charge" of the
project. They were, of course, ensured that, no, WMF's just here to handle
the clerical stuff and keep the servers ticking along, that'd never happen.
Some of us were around long enough to remember when those things were said,
and that makes it feel, not just like a power grab, but like a betrayal.
Don't say one thing and do something else.

From there, if you think there's a problem with the English Wikipedia,
discuss it with the community there. Not in carefully parsed and polished
corporatese, but in frank, direct language. If you think something's wrong,
say so. Be aware that "I want to see your source for that" is almost
second-nature on the project, as well it should be. Come prepared. If you
just kind of have a hazy guess based on a couple anecdotes, that's not
going to fly. (Note that this means a widely publicized discussion on ENWP.
NOT meta.)

From there, don't approach with the attitude of "Now, here is the solution
that we will be imposing." Instead, have an attitude of "What can we do to
fix this and make things work better?". Whatever "it" may be. If it's like
the points in the earlier email, that there are copyright violations, well,
the community doesn't want those either. If it's poor sourcing, we don't
want that. Errors? Don't want 'em. So, if those problems exist, of course
we'll want to fix them too. You will not get an argument over those

Once there actually is a consensus on a fix, then it can be proceeded with.
There, the software fiascos are instructive. The first time around on them,
WMF tried to use a "cram it down your throat" approach, with the
predictable results since the software was not yet fit for purpose. After
they withdrew it and fixed it, they came back and asked "Does this look
alright to you now?". The result was overwhelming support to go forward
with the deployments. Even those few people who still vehemently didn't
want them didn't try to start a fight against it, or disable it by editing
the MediaWiki namespace, because the community had come to a consensus on
the matter and they weren't going to defy that.

Basically, you cannot start shoving someone and then be amazed and
surprised when they fight back. Talk instead. It is utterly stupid and
counterproductive for the community and WMF to be in a fight. That should
absolutely never happen, and this situation was entirely preventable. But
the WMF must very clearly understand that the English Wikipedia community,
at least (and I suspect many others as well) will not willingly give up
their editorial independence to the Foundation. That portion, I'm afraid,
is never going to be negotiable. But without doing that, I think the
community and the WMF can collaborate to solve problems, if and only if
that relationship can be one based upon trust. But the community didn't
swing first on this one, and the Foundation has absolutely got to stop
picking these fights if it wants any credibility at all. You do not get
someone to trust you by trying to force them to do something they don't
want to.


On Sun, Jun 16, 2019 at 8:21 AM Gerard Meijssen <gerard.meijs...@gmail.com>

> Hoi,
> It is not so much Wikipedia that is failing, it is the Wikipedia "business
> as usual" attitude that is failing. The challenge we face is now that we
> know and expect that things are to change, how do we introduce change and
> steer it in a way where people feel less threatened by the usual suspects.
> What I have noticed is that there has been no room for real arguments,
> arguments where points of view are floated and considered for their merits.
> So what does it take for people to consider the merits of proposals without
> immediately reverting to "but that is not how I/we do things"?
> Important when you want to consider points of view is the way in which we
> converse. There is a huge difference between calling a point of view
> bullshit and calling the person a bullshit artist. Even so, calling a POV
> bullshit is acceptable when arguments are provided WHY you consider
> something bullshit.
> Technically many things have progressed to a point where Wikipedia could
> take them seriously. This does not happen even when it is all too obvious
> how our public would benefit. As our intention is to share in the sum of
> all knowledge, we do not need to have it all available, we can point to
> partners eg Open Library where publications are available written by the
> subject of an article. We do have the data in Wikidata and we could
> experiment by including Open Library in the {{authority control}}. Many
> more practical opportunities exist where Wikipedia would objectively
> benefit from a different modus operandi.
> Given that as always, there are those who insist that Wikipedia has failed
> let us prove them wrong. Let's consider what is needed to make Wikipedia
> innovative again, what it takes for our community to be considered as not
> toxic. We can and, as a community we will benefit but as important
> Wikipedia, the project we all care for will turn a page.
> Thanks,
>         GerardM
> On Sun, 16 Jun 2019 at 14:18, Mister Thrapostibongles <
> thrapostibong...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Dear all,
> > The discussion triggered by recent WMF T&S actions has tended to focus on
> > the merits or otherwise of that specific action (even though as I have
> > pointed out elsewhere this is very much a case of those who know don;t
> talk
> > and those who talk don't know).  So I though it might be helpful to try
> and
> > abstract some more general points for discussion.
> >
> > The long-term future of the Community, and the relationship between the
> > Foundation and its volunteers is under discussion in an elaborately
> > structured consultation announced already here in September 2017.  It
> would
> > not be particularly helpful to try to run a parallel discussion here.
> But
> > in the short to medium term, it seems that it will be necessary for the
> > Foundation to take a different stance with respect to the management of
> the
> > various projects, and the English Wikipedia in particular.
> >
> > It is often said that "The problem with Wikipedia is that it only works
> in
> > practice. In theory, it can never work."  Well, that's half true.  What
> the
> > experiment has proved is that the theory was indeed correct -- Wikipedia,
> > as currently constituted, does not work.  There are two inter-related
> > aspects to its failure: content and conduct, inextricably related in a
> > project founded on crowd-sourcing.
> >
> > Let's look at the content first.  Even on Wikipedia's own terms, it has
> > failed.  It is a principle that Wikipedia is founded on reliable sources,
> > and by its own admission, Wikipedia itself is not such a source.  That
> > bears repetition -- a project aiming to be an encyclopaedia, that
> compares
> > itself with Britannica, explicitly is not reliable.  Foundation research
> > has shown that about one fifth of Wikipedia articles are supported  by
> > references that are inadequate to support the text or simply are not
> > there.  That's about a million articles each on of the larger Wikpedias.
> > Some thousands of those are biographies of living people and in view of
> the
> > risk of defamation, no such articles should exist on Wikipedia at all.
> > There are several thousand articles that are possible copyright
> violations:
> > again such articles should not be there.  And when I say "should not", I
> > mean according to the rules adopted by the Wikipedia volunteer community
> > itself.
> >
> > This links to the conduct aspects.  The self-organising policies of the
> > "encyclopaedia that anyone can edit" have flattened out the formal
> > hierarchy to the extent that it has been replaced, necessarily, by an
> > informal but strong hierarchy based on a reputation econiomy.  This
> creates
> > an unpleasant and hence ineffective working environment, and makes it all
> > but impossible to organise a volunteer workforce into coping with the
> major
> > violations of content policy alreay mentioned.  Indeed, the conduct
> policy
> > makes it all but impossible to effectively handle cases of major abuse,
> > witting ot uwitting.  For example, one reason for the failure to manage
> > copyright violations is that some thousand of articles were written by a
> > volunteer who was unable or unwilling to comply with the copyright
> > requirements applicable to their contributions   There is simply no
> > mechanism that allows for contributions to be effectively checked either
> > when contributed or subsequently, bcause there is no mechanism that makes
> > it possible to manage or organise the work of the volunteers, and
> existing
> > community norms will not accept such a degree of organisation.
> >
> > These mutually reinforcing failures make to necessary for some degree of
> > organisation and management of content and conduct to be imposed from
> > outside the volunteer community.  The Foundation has the resources and is
> > the only entity that can acquire and deploy the expertise required to do
> > so.  No doubt this is unpalatable to some of the more vociferous members
> of
> > the community -- those who stand highest in the reputation economy and
> have
> > most to lose by it being replaced by an effective management policy.  But
> > the fact remains -- Wikipedia is failing, and in its present form will
> > inevitably continue to do so.
> >
> > Foundation or failure -- which is it to be?
> >
> > Thrapostibongles
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