I have waited to return to this thread until I could clear enough
space in my mind to try to address it thoroughly. Apologies for the
delay. I will try to address multiple topics in one email.

I think that the Wikipedia brand is, in a way, the brand of the
community. WMF is the steward of the brand, and should not use the
brand in ways which the community has not authorized by consensus.

There was a previous mailing discussion on Wikimedia-l in September
2019. I would have expected an update after that discussion if WMF was
considering moving ahead with rebranding itself. An email announcing
that the matter was being reviewed by the Board, and/or that WMF was
starting an RfC, would have been fine. Community consultations or an
RfC could have taken place at that time without using outside

I don't appreciate being surprised. Given that the focus of this
effort in WMF is inside of its Communications Department, I think that
staff should be especially proactive in communicating what they are
doing with regards to major initiatives, and prior to engaging in a
contracting process with donors' funds.

Staff appear not to have addressed, at least in public on English
Wikipedia, the sockpuppeting allegations with regards to Snøhetta. [1]

Also worth noting is the RfC, which was previously mentioned in this
The current count as of the time of my writing this email is 26
support and 292 oppose.

This series of events should have been handled differently. Nobody is
perfect, but there are problems here that appear to be more
significant than a simple one time failure to communicate on an issue
of moderate importance.

One oversight that I made in my earlier email, and which I will
correct with an apology for not stating this earlier (I too can be
wrong), is that problems in this series of events could include
decisions that were made by the WMF Board. However, without access to
WMF's internal communications, it is impossible to know how this
series of events happened.

I am not advocating adding stress to people who do good work, or
people who have so much work that they can't realistically handle
everything that they're told to do. It is possible that staff are
simply overworked. However, while I don't enjoy writing about this
topic, sometimes changing personnel is for the best. This happens in
government organizations and companies, and I imagine happens on
occasion in WMF, although often in private. Also, in WMF and in
affiliate boards, sometimes board members are replaced as a result of
elections. In the community, we occasionally revoke people's
permissions or block people in public, and here too people sometimes
are replaced as a result of elections. I realize that this is a topic
that can be stressful, but I think that candor is appropriate. I feel
rooted in the English Wikipedia community and I think that what I say
in this paragraph is consistent with how our community works, and is
consistent with how I see government agencies sometimes work in the
United States. At the same time (and I wish that I said this in my
previous email) the point isn't to have a culture where people should
be fearful on a daily basis. I would hope that generally things go OK
for people, and that one time mistakes which are easily reversed don't
result in someone feeling fearful. What is more concerning is a
pattern of problems, or an error that results in a single major
problem that is difficult to reverse.

I personally have made considerable efforts during my personal time to
try to address what I heard was widespread fear among WMF staff about
communicating in public, and that interest continues. A "culture of
fear" can limit communication and erodes trust. At the same time, I
think that the WMF Board and staff should communicate proactively
about initiatives and decisions with significant implications.

( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Sn%C3%B8hettaAS
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Leilaoes

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