I second Jan-Bart; thanks to Nat for this letter. As someone who asked for
a board statement, I appreciate this very much. And as someone who has also
been on the other side, like Jan-Bart I am aware of how much work a
statement like this likely took (and how difficult it is to balance many
perspectives, and address many audiences, knowing many will be irritated or
angry in any controversial debate).

I also take heart -- honestly and genuinely -- that we are debating this
issue. I am glad that enough people care about Wikimedia, and what it
means, that they are willing to argue the point -- it would be a sad day
indeed if that wasn't true. I take heart that we do want more people to
join our projects and movement, and are exploring ways to do that --
including how people know of us, our names and brands. I also, lastly, want
to acknowledge Brad's post, with which I agree. It is a fundamental role of
the Foundation to hold our marks in trust on behalf of the community. This
(like hosting the servers themselves, or other essential infrastructure
work) is part of what we need a corporate entity for. And our legal team,
over many years and many GCs and leaders, has done an admirable job of
defending those marks and keeping them for all of us. I appreciate that
very much. Keeping the marks is a social trust as well as a legal one, and
that social aspect is what we find ourselves discussing now.

For the staff involved, I want to acknowledge that many of you have been
working on this for years, and it must feel like you cannot win, or that
there is not enough consultation in the world. Is there enough consultation
in the world to get hundreds of thousands of Wikimedians to all agree?
Probably not, no. But is there enough consultation to, as the Quakers would
say, discern the sense of the meeting? I think that there is, and I think
with every consultation exercise we get closer to finding that consensus. I
wrote elsewhere on Meta that I was profoundly disappointed in this process.
That is true, and yet: I am also profoundly glad that I, and so many of us,
have such high standards for our movement -- our absolutely unique,
sometimes infuriating, and profoundly essential movement, that values
debate and dissent, collaboration and consensus. That is a brand we all
keep in trust.

-- Phoebe

On Mon, Jun 22, 2020 at 6:25 AM Jan-Bart de Vreede <jan-b...@wikimedia.nl>

> Hi Natalii (and everyone)
> Thank you for this mail. I know this was hard to write, also knowing that
> it will be dissected by a lot of people who will read it with a perspective
> all of their own.
> Having been on the other side of the fence I know how hard it is to
> (re)gain trust after mistakes have been made (and to be clear, mistakes
> have and will be made by everyone). In my opinion this is caused by an
> existing tension between the volunteer movement and the Foundation which is
> based mostly on emotions and a difference of opinion with regards to the
> best path forward for a lot of issues. Everyone seems to remember the time
> that the Foundation was tone deaf, but no one recalls all the things that
> are going well. So it is encouraging to read that we still have time before
> the board has to make this decision (and to understand that the deciion has
> not been made)
> Honestly: I realise that people find it annoying to be reminded that the
> board has the authority to change the name of the Foundation. But apart
> from being very direct it is not only true, but also your responsibility.
> As I stated elsewhere I look towards the board to make a decision which
> looks at the benefits (which could be financial or otherwise) and the costs
> (which in this case seem to include a lot of resistance from the
> community). Apparently you are not in a position to make that decision at
> this time, and that is understandable.
> However: there is a question if you can accurately measure the outcome of
> the survey as it is formulated now (which should give you a good indication
> of the movements feelings on this topic)… I have heard several people
> complain that it is “not easy” to fill in the survey to indicate that one
> is against a name change altogether. It might be a good idea to make this
> an easier option or gauge feedback in another way. by pausing or restarting
> the community consultation process in a different way.
> Thanks again for your efforts.
> Jan-Bart de Vreede
> PS: I am thinking of making a standard disclaimer under my emails on
> topics such as these: During my 9 years as a Board member of the Foundation
> I have made mistakes and so have the people I worked with, both volunteers
> and staff. I have however never doubted anyone’s intentions and have always
> noticed that  tensions such as these are also fueled  by a passion that can
> only come from caring a lot about the subject matter. It is often easy to
> forget that. I take the blame for the mistakes that were made during my
> tenure, and I hope that the above remarks can be seen as constructive.
> > On 22 Jun 2020, at 02:43, Nataliia Tymkiv <ntym...@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> >
> > Dear all,
> >
> > As Acting Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees since March
> > [1] I take full responsibility for this situation. I am truly sorry for
> all
> > the frustration this whole situation has caused to volunteers, who have
> > engaged in discussions expressing their concerns, and to the staff, who
> > have been working and not really sure if that is really the direction the
> > Board is prepared to seriously consider, or if it is just an exercise on
> > our part. As Chair of the Board, I recognize the Board owes clear
> > information to the communities and guidance to the staff.
> >
> > In 2017, the Board approved the 2030 Movement Strategic Direction,
> > recognizing the strategic importance of growing the reach of the
> Wikimedia
> > projects to new languages, communities, and geographies, as part of our
> > global mission. In June 2018, the Board approved a Foundation Annual Plan
> > that included research into the Wikimedia and Wikipedia brands to
> > understand how they could be tools in helping us reach these goals.
> >
> > In November 2018 [2], the staff presented research to the Board about the
> > Wikipedia and Wikimedia brands. I personally, even though a relatively
> long
> > term Wikipedian (and a bit less long term Wikimedian), was basically
> > convinced by the findings that a rebranding is needed and beneficial for
> > our mission and global vision, and furthermore that it should be based on
> > the Wikipedia brand. The information presented there also convinced the
> > Board that the team should continue their work, but as you can see from
> the
> > minutes the Board believed that communication is crucial, but already a
> > possibility for a new name for the Wikimedia Foundation was seriously
> > considered [3].
> >
> > And I am going to be frank here - intuitively taking the name of
> something
> > like “Wikipedia Foundation” makes a lot of sense, whether or not it makes
> > sense upon deeper consideration. But, of course, no one was planning to
> > just rename the organisation, more conversations were needed. It was
> > convincing enough for us (the Board) to approve the budget for this
> > initiative.
> >
> > The Board has received regular updates about the Brand work along the
> way,
> > including approving continued work in the 2019 and 2020 annual plans.
> > However, the Board has not yet had a very serious, frank conversation
> about
> > what the Board will do when the work is finished, including how to
> balance
> > feedback from many communities, and the importance of reaching new
> > communities. The Board also has not yet received a final report, as the
> > exploratory project was and still is ongoing.
> >
> > The process itself, even though the brand project team has designed its
> > process to be inclusive and transparent, has created bitterness in some
> > volunteers, some of whom feel they were led on or even actively
> > manipulated. I am sure there was no intent to do that. But, for instance,
> > people do point to a reported KPI (key performance indicator) in the
> > previous survey as an alleged attempt at deceiving either the community
> or
> > the Board. The Board did not make its decision to support the brand
> project
> > based on that number, nor does the clarification of that number or
> removal
> > of that KPI influence the Board’s support for the project. Good-faith
> > mistakes should not undermine trust in our colleagues’ intentions or the
> > purpose of an entire process. But this “elephant in the room” feeling is
> > hurting all of us - both volunteers and staff, so I acknowledge that this
> > created a lot of bitterness.
> >
> > I want us to take a step back and try to have an honest and constructive
> > conversation on what our future work will be together. I know there is
> > mistrust towards the Wikimedia Foundation acting in good faith, I also
> know
> > the staff members feel intimidated when talking with the communities, so
> it
> > is really difficult to have a frank dialog. We are all in this vicious
> > circle - we do not trust each other, so we do not talk honestly; we do
> not
> > talk honestly so we cannot build that trust. I truly want that to change.
> > So I am going to be as direct as possible about the Board’s perspective.
> >
> > The executive statement says, “A rebrand will happen. This has already
> been
> > decided by the Board” [4]. What does it mean? The brand project was
> > approved by the Board in 2018. Rebrand may include: names, logos,
> > “taglines,” colours, typography, or any combination of the above. An
> > outcome of the project will be a set of recommended new branding
> > practices.The Board has not approved any specific recommendations yet.
> > However, it is important to be clear: the Board absolutely can change the
> > name of the Wikimedia Foundation, even to the “Wikipedia Foundation,” if
> it
> > decides.
> >
> > Has the Board made the decision to change the name of Wikimedia
> Foundation
> > yet? No, the Board has not. In 2018, the Board agreed that the name of
> the
> > Wikimedia Foundation does not help us with our strategic goals. From
> > 2018-2020, the Board has been reviewing research and participating in the
> > brand process with the goal of finding a better name. The Board has not
> yet
> > made a decision to change the name to another name, as the Board has not
> > yet had a final report on the results of the Brand Project, or the
> > opportunity to discuss the findings and tradeoffs, and make a decision
> for
> > what the Board will do. The Board conversation about this is planned to
> > happen during the August meeting.
> >
> > Did the Board want to possibly have the rebranding (if approved) to take
> > place before Wikipedia’s 20th birthday in January 2021? Yes, in a way.
> The
> > resolution [5] talks about the work being done by then, but it is indeed
> > unclear whether the changing of the brand was included or just the
> > completion of the research by the Foundation. The timeline can still
> change
> > if the Board decides it.
> >
> > Should the Board be clearer in what the Board is directing the Wikimedia
> > Foundation to do? Yes, I believe so. Some of this unclarity and
> > misalignment is the cause of all this unfortunate frustration.
> >
> > What are the possible outcomes for the August Board meeting on branding?
> > The Board can 1) stop the project, 2) pause the work being done or 3)
> > continue with it.
> >
> > Does the Board still want you to take the survey [6] then? Yes. The
> > currently open survey [6] is intended to find the best possible outcome
> if
> > the Foundation's (!) branding were centered around Wikipedia, and your
> > voice is needed. It is an opportunity to provide constructive feedback on
> > those alternatives. If you are engaging in discussions around it, please
> be
> > kind to each other.
> >
> > Do all organisations in our movement have to have a uniform name? Per the
> > Board’s resolution from 2013
> > <https://foundation.wikimedia.org/wiki/Minutes/2013-11#Movement_roles>
> [7]
> > - yes, but it was a decision made at that time when the Board believed
> > there was a chance to increase visibility and recognition of Wikimedia
> as a
> > brand. It is 2020 now, and it may be the right time to loosen up on this
> > approach and allow all organisations in the movement to use different
> names
> > [8], best suited for their local context. Or keep uniform names, but
> allow
> > using any of our brands for fundraising purposes. Or something else. The
> > Board does have a sense that there is a need to be much more
> > outward-looking and optimize our key assets, including our brands, for
> the
> > challenges to come.
> >
> > All across the Movement we have a lot to do to accomplish our 2030 goals
> > and build out our movement strategy. And that work can be done as the
> > Wikimedia Movement, Wikimedia communities, and the Foundation even with a
> > new name, depending on our needs.
> >
> > Stay safe,
> >
> > antanana / Nataliia Tymkiv
> >
> > Acting Chair, Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees
> >
> >
> > [1] https://foundation.wikimedia.org/wiki/Minutes/2020-02#Board_Business
> >
> > [2]
> >
> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_Wikimedia_brand_strategy_proposal_for_2030.pdf
> >
> >
> > [3]
> https://foundation.wikimedia.org/wiki/Minutes/2018-11-9,10,11#Branding
> >
> > [4]
> >
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Communications/Wikimedia_brands/2030_movement_brand_project/Executive_statement
> >
> >
> > [5]
> >
> https://foundation.wikimedia.org/wiki/Resolution:Brand_Project_Support_(May_2020)
> >
> >
> > [6] 2030 Movement Brand Project: Naming Convention Proposals Survey:
> > https://wikimedia.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9G2dN7P0T7gPqpD
> >
> > [7] https://foundation.wikimedia.org/wiki/Minutes/2013-11#Movement_roles
> > [8]
> >
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_movement_affiliates/Naming_guidelines
> >
> > *NOTICE: You may have received this message outside of your normal
> working
> > hours/days, as I usually can work more as a volunteer during weekend. You
> > should not feel obligated to answer it during your days off. Thank you in
> > advance!*
> > _______________________________________________
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