Changes to the identification policies and procedures

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Changes to the identification policies and procedures

MZMcBride-2
Hi.

This doesn't seem to have hit this list yet, so I'm posting here for general
information and discussion.

Effective February 1, 2011, there are two substantive changes to the
policies and procedures surrounding identifying to the Wikimedia Foundation.

The first change is that OTRS agents will now be required to identify to the
Wikimedia Foundation. The second change is that the submitted information
will now be retained, when it was previously destroyed.

This raises a number of questions:
* Who made these decisions?
* Why were these decisions made?
* Who was consulted about these decisions?
* Was potential impact to OTRS or other volunteer groups measured before
these decisions were made? (This is particularly important given that (a)
the collected information is not verified, raising questions about the
virtue of this entire process; and (b) certain volunteers have already
stated they will no longer volunteer in a particular capacity due to these
changes.)
* Will these decisions extend beyond OTRS agents?
* As identification is primarily a legal issue, was legal counsel sought?
(And if legal counsel was sought, who was involved, given the lack of a
General Counsel currently?)
* What will the data retention policies be for the collected information?
* What will the data destruction policies be for the collected information?
* Under what circumstances can this collected information be released? Does
this information fall under the standard Wikimedia privacy policy?
* Who has access to the submitted information (both in theory and in
practice)?

Looking at this more broadly:
* What's the virtue of identification?
* Is there a reasonable rationale or justification for it, given that the
identities are not verified?
* Can the submitted information be verified?
* Should the submitted information be verified?

In the interest of transparency, I should note that I've been involved in at
least two discussions about identification on the English Wikipedia:
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Identification
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrator_accountability

I believe these issues are of interest to both the Wikimedia community and
the outside community. As such, I've posted these questions to Meta-Wiki
here: <http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Identification_questions_and_answers>.
I encourage others to add questions or improve the page as they see fit.

Philippe is taking a well-deserved vacation currently following the 2010
fundraiser, but other members of both the Community Department and the
Wikimedia Foundation should be able to answer most or all of these
questions. If others aren't able to answer some of these questions, the
questions can wait until Philippe returns.

However, I believe it's very important that these questions and answers be
publicly available as soon as reasonably possible, especially given some of
the past explicit statements that said, for example, that IDs are always
destroyed. (To be clear, these statements weren't inaccurate at the time,
but now are.) Substantive changes such as these should be well-documented
and discussed.

MZMcBride



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Re: Changes to the identification policies and procedures

Nathan Awrich
Where were the changes announced, and who announced them?

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Re: Changes to the identification policies and procedures

MZMcBride-2
Nathan wrote:
> Where were the changes announced, and who announced them?

An e-mail was sent by an OTRS admin to (at least)
[hidden email] and [hidden email] on
February 1, 2011 announcing these changes. I personally don't see any reason
that the author or contents of that announcement e-mail need to be kept
private, but I'll leave it up to that individual to make that call.

MZMcBride



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Re: Changes to the identification policies and procedures

Steven Walling
In reply to this post by Nathan Awrich
These changes were going to be discussed and documented in public, but they
weren't announced publicly yet because staff are still in discussion on the
OTRS mailing list and wiki with those volunteers about the best way for the
new identification process to work. OTRS volunteers and the groups who've
had to identify in the past are the ones most affected by this change, so
it's prudent to discuss it with them before making any general announcement.

Speaking as an OTRS volunteer not as a staff member (this initiative isn't
part of my job), I think it was completely inappropriate to prematurely
divulge activity in those forums. The people who are being asked to identify
are working with staff to reach a consensus on the safest and most agreeable
way to go forward. No one can give definitive answers about a process that
isn't finalized yet, and it's been conducted in private for the last couple
days out of respect for the people whose personal information is potentially
involved here.

On Feb 3, 2011 5:28 PM, "Nathan" <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Where were the changes announced, and who announced them?
>
> _______________________________________________
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> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
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Re: Changes to the identification policies and procedures

MZMcBride-2
Steven Walling wrote:
> These changes were going to be discussed and documented in public...
[...]
> Speaking as an OTRS volunteer not as a staff member (this initiative isn't
> part of my job)...

I don't follow. How do you know that these changes were going to be
discussed and documented in public? These changes have been discussed for at
least some portion of January without any community involvement. When,
exactly, was the community going be made aware that these changes were being
discussed? When was the community going to be made aware that these changes
had been implemented? An announcement has already been made. When was the
Community Department going to involve the community (at least to give it a
courtesy heads-up)?

> No one can give definitive answers about a process that
> isn't finalized yet, and it's been conducted in private for the last couple
> days out of respect for the people whose personal information is potentially
> involved here.

Can you explain this further? You won't discuss an issue that involves the
community because of respect for what? What you're saying makes absolutely
no sense. If basic questions can't be answered about, for example, data
retention after this change has been announced (and to an extent
implemented), I don't see how Wikimedia is respecting its volunteers or
their private information.

MZMcBride



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Re: Changes to the identification policies and procedures

Steven Walling
The discussion has only been going on at the OTRS list sine February 1st. I
know a public announcement is coming because it's standard operating
procedure at the Foundation. Please be patient.

On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 7:09 PM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Steven Walling wrote:
> > These changes were going to be discussed and documented in public...
> [...]
> > Speaking as an OTRS volunteer not as a staff member (this initiative
> isn't
> > part of my job)...
>
> I don't follow. How do you know that these changes were going to be
> discussed and documented in public? These changes have been discussed for
> at
> least some portion of January without any community involvement. When,
> exactly, was the community going be made aware that these changes were
> being
> discussed? When was the community going to be made aware that these changes
> had been implemented? An announcement has already been made. When was the
> Community Department going to involve the community (at least to give it a
> courtesy heads-up)?
>
> > No one can give definitive answers about a process that
> > isn't finalized yet, and it's been conducted in private for the last
> couple
> > days out of respect for the people whose personal information is
> potentially
> > involved here.
>
> Can you explain this further? You won't discuss an issue that involves the
> community because of respect for what? What you're saying makes absolutely
> no sense. If basic questions can't be answered about, for example, data
> retention after this change has been announced (and to an extent
> implemented), I don't see how Wikimedia is respecting its volunteers or
> their private information.
>
> MZMcBride
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: Changes to the identification policies and procedures

Pedro Sanchez-2
On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 9:27 PM, Steven Walling <[hidden email]> wrote:
> The discussion has only been going on at the OTRS list sine February 1st. I
> know a public announcement is coming because it's standard operating
> procedure at the Foundation. Please be patient.

at the english otrs list, to be precise

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Re: Changes to the identification policies and procedures

Risker
In reply to this post by Steven Walling
On 3 February 2011 22:27, Steven Walling <[hidden email]> wrote:

> The discussion has only been going on at the OTRS list sine February 1st. I
> know a public announcement is coming because it's standard operating
> procedure at the Foundation. Please be patient.
>
>
Steven, I recognize you're in a difficult spot here, and so are some other
staff members who I know are genuinely working in good faith here. However,
thinking that one could send out an instruction like that to hundreds of
volunteers throughout all of these different projects, and not having it
surface, is just a little bit naive.

Further, there are some serious concerns being expressed in various places,
which go all the way down to whether or not the resolution on which the
instruction is based actually has the effect that is intended.  Simply put,
identifying to the WMF does not, in law, make a person accountable, if it
cannot be proven that they know what they're accountable for, or to whom
they are accountable. Unverified identification provides even less
protection.  Methods of securing the data have not been addressed fully
addressed, nor has the issue of whether this applies to *every*
identification made to the WMF as of now, or if it applies only to OTRS
agents identifying.  We have a pile of people about to run in the steward
elections, will it affect them?

I support the notion of individuals with advanced permissions and access to
nonpublic information being accountable to the WMF for the use of this
information. But sending in an unverified document isn't going to do that,
and it never was.

Risker/Anne
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Re: Changes to the identification policies and procedures

Steven Walling
Risker,

I'm not arguing here about the merits of the change itself. All I said is
that demanding answers about a very sensitive discussion on a private
mailing list is inappropriate right now, and that there's no reason to
panic, since the standard operating procedure is to make a public
announcement about something when a project is ready.

Demanding answers on Foundation-l is a lot different than the news about an
upcoming change trickling out into the community prior to an official
announcement. The latter does no harm. The former can derail a productive
discussion about a delicate issue before it's ready for public comment.

On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 7:39 PM, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 3 February 2011 22:27, Steven Walling <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > The discussion has only been going on at the OTRS list sine February 1st.
> I
> > know a public announcement is coming because it's standard operating
> > procedure at the Foundation. Please be patient.
> >
> >
> Steven, I recognize you're in a difficult spot here, and so are some other
> staff members who I know are genuinely working in good faith here. However,
> thinking that one could send out an instruction like that to hundreds of
> volunteers throughout all of these different projects, and not having it
> surface, is just a little bit naive.
>
> Further, there are some serious concerns being expressed in various places,
> which go all the way down to whether or not the resolution on which the
> instruction is based actually has the effect that is intended.  Simply put,
> identifying to the WMF does not, in law, make a person accountable, if it
> cannot be proven that they know what they're accountable for, or to whom
> they are accountable. Unverified identification provides even less
> protection.  Methods of securing the data have not been addressed fully
> addressed, nor has the issue of whether this applies to *every*
> identification made to the WMF as of now, or if it applies only to OTRS
> agents identifying.  We have a pile of people about to run in the steward
> elections, will it affect them?
>
> I support the notion of individuals with advanced permissions and access to
> nonpublic information being accountable to the WMF for the use of this
> information. But sending in an unverified document isn't going to do that,
> and it never was.
>
> Risker/Anne
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: Changes to the identification policies and procedures

Christine Moellenberndt
In reply to this post by MZMcBride-2
Hi everyone,

Yes, there are some changes happening.  We announced it to the OTRS
volunteers as they are the first to be directly impacted by this
change.  Part of being an OTRS volunteer is the agreement that they
would be willing to provide identification to the Foundation if
requested.  I understand the frustration here, but Board policy says
that those with access to non-public data must ID to the Foundation,
OTRS volunteers have served with the understanding that they agree to ID
if asked, we're now asking them to do so.  We are working with the OTRS
volunteers to find the safest way to do so, that will comply with the
Board but will also provide safety and security to the community.

-Christine and the vacationing Philippe

---------
Christine Moellenberndt
Community Associate
Wikimedia Foundation

[hidden email]


On 2/3/11 5:20 PM, MZMcBride wrote:

> Hi.
>
> This doesn't seem to have hit this list yet, so I'm posting here for general
> information and discussion.
>
> Effective February 1, 2011, there are two substantive changes to the
> policies and procedures surrounding identifying to the Wikimedia Foundation.
>
> The first change is that OTRS agents will now be required to identify to the
> Wikimedia Foundation. The second change is that the submitted information
> will now be retained, when it was previously destroyed.
>
> This raises a number of questions:
> * Who made these decisions?
> * Why were these decisions made?
> * Who was consulted about these decisions?
> * Was potential impact to OTRS or other volunteer groups measured before
> these decisions were made? (This is particularly important given that (a)
> the collected information is not verified, raising questions about the
> virtue of this entire process; and (b) certain volunteers have already
> stated they will no longer volunteer in a particular capacity due to these
> changes.)
> * Will these decisions extend beyond OTRS agents?
> * As identification is primarily a legal issue, was legal counsel sought?
> (And if legal counsel was sought, who was involved, given the lack of a
> General Counsel currently?)
> * What will the data retention policies be for the collected information?
> * What will the data destruction policies be for the collected information?
> * Under what circumstances can this collected information be released? Does
> this information fall under the standard Wikimedia privacy policy?
> * Who has access to the submitted information (both in theory and in
> practice)?
>
> Looking at this more broadly:
> * What's the virtue of identification?
> * Is there a reasonable rationale or justification for it, given that the
> identities are not verified?
> * Can the submitted information be verified?
> * Should the submitted information be verified?
>
> In the interest of transparency, I should note that I've been involved in at
> least two discussions about identification on the English Wikipedia:
> * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Identification
> * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrator_accountability
>
> I believe these issues are of interest to both the Wikimedia community and
> the outside community. As such, I've posted these questions to Meta-Wiki
> here:<http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Identification_questions_and_answers>.
> I encourage others to add questions or improve the page as they see fit.
>
> Philippe is taking a well-deserved vacation currently following the 2010
> fundraiser, but other members of both the Community Department and the
> Wikimedia Foundation should be able to answer most or all of these
> questions. If others aren't able to answer some of these questions, the
> questions can wait until Philippe returns.
>
> However, I believe it's very important that these questions and answers be
> publicly available as soon as reasonably possible, especially given some of
> the past explicit statements that said, for example, that IDs are always
> destroyed. (To be clear, these statements weren't inaccurate at the time,
> but now are.) Substantive changes such as these should be well-documented
> and discussed.
>
> MZMcBride
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l

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Re: Changes to the identification policies and procedures

Pedro Sanchez-2
On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 10:57 PM, Christine Moellenberndt
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi everyone,
>
> Yes, there are some changes happening.  We announced it to the OTRS
> volunteers as they are the first to be directly impacted by this
> change.  Part of being an OTRS volunteer is the agreement that they
> would be willing to provide identification to the Foundation if
> requested.  I understand the frustration here, but Board policy says
> that those with access to non-public data must ID to the Foundation,
> OTRS volunteers have served with the understanding that they agree to ID
> if asked, we're now asking them to do so.  We are working with the OTRS
> volunteers to find the safest way to do so, that will comply with the
> Board but will also provide safety and security to the community.
>
> -Christine and the vacationing Philippe
>
> ---------
> Christine Moellenberndt
> Community Associate
> Wikimedia Foundation
>
> [hidden email]
>

My issue is that I've already identified, verified, ok'd, and it
seems, that's not nough anymore, now WMF wants to keep a permanent
record of who am I, with the possible implications of it.

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Re: Changes to the identification policies and procedures

theo10011
In reply to this post by Steven Walling
Steven,The Meta page for OTRS was updated to reflect the changes from Feb 1.

http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=OTRS/volunteering/Header&diff=prev&oldid=2341291

<http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=OTRS/volunteering/Header&diff=prev&oldid=2341291>
http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=OTRS/volunteering/Header&diff=prev&oldid=2341294

<http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=OTRS/volunteering/Header&diff=prev&oldid=2341294>People
have made numerous mentions of the Identification issue publicly on Meta.

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Cbrown1023#OTRS_Access


Regards


Theo


On Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 8:57 AM, Steven Walling <[hidden email]>wrote:

> The discussion has only been going on at the OTRS list sine February 1st. I
> know a public announcement is coming because it's standard operating
> procedure at the Foundation. Please be patient.
>
> On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 7:09 PM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > Steven Walling wrote:
> > > These changes were going to be discussed and documented in public...
> > [...]
> > > Speaking as an OTRS volunteer not as a staff member (this initiative
> > isn't
> > > part of my job)...
> >
> > I don't follow. How do you know that these changes were going to be
> > discussed and documented in public? These changes have been discussed for
> > at
> > least some portion of January without any community involvement. When,
> > exactly, was the community going be made aware that these changes were
> > being
> > discussed? When was the community going to be made aware that these
> changes
> > had been implemented? An announcement has already been made. When was the
> > Community Department going to involve the community (at least to give it
> a
> > courtesy heads-up)?
> >
> > > No one can give definitive answers about a process that
> > > isn't finalized yet, and it's been conducted in private for the last
> > couple
> > > days out of respect for the people whose personal information is
> > potentially
> > > involved here.
> >
> > Can you explain this further? You won't discuss an issue that involves
> the
> > community because of respect for what? What you're saying makes
> absolutely
> > no sense. If basic questions can't be answered about, for example, data
> > retention after this change has been announced (and to an extent
> > implemented), I don't see how Wikimedia is respecting its volunteers or
> > their private information.
> >
> > MZMcBride
> >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > foundation-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
> >
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: Changes to the identification policies and procedures

MZMcBride-2
In reply to this post by Christine Moellenberndt
Christine Moellenberndt wrote:
> I understand the frustration here, but Board policy says that those with
> access to non-public data must ID to the Foundation...

Will local administrators be next? Surely they have access to deleted
content, which is non-public data.

> We are working with the OTRS volunteers to find the safest way to do so, that
> will comply with the Board but will also provide safety and security to the
> community.

How does collecting unverified personal information provide safety and
security to the community?

MZMcBride



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Re: Changes to the identification policies and procedures

Zack Exley
Max,

Thanks for raising all these good and important questions. I think that we
really should wait until Philippe gets back. He is leading this. The couple
of other staffers capable of dealing with these questions are busy with
other work. And anyways, it would be better not to have the discussion
without Philippe.

Zack



On Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 8:16 AM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Christine Moellenberndt wrote:
> > I understand the frustration here, but Board policy says that those with
> > access to non-public data must ID to the Foundation...
>
> Will local administrators be next? Surely they have access to deleted
> content, which is non-public data.
>
> > We are working with the OTRS volunteers to find the safest way to do so,
> that
> > will comply with the Board but will also provide safety and security to
> the
> > community.
>
> How does collecting unverified personal information provide safety and
> security to the community?
>
> MZMcBride
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>



--

Zack Exley
Chief Community Officer
Wikimedia Foundation
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R: Changes to the identification policies and procedures

Riccardo Burdisso
Ok Max
But you say that all volunteers need to give ID before 2011/03/02.
Is also this term suspended because we have a lot of work and discussions
to do?

Riccardo (Abisys)

-----Messaggio originale-----
Da: [hidden email]
[mailto:[hidden email]] Per conto di Zack Exley
Inviato: venerdì 4 febbraio 2011 17:41
A: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List
Oggetto: Re: [Foundation-l] Changes to the identification policies and
procedures

Max,

Thanks for raising all these good and important questions. I think that we
really should wait until Philippe gets back. He is leading this. The
couple
of other staffers capable of dealing with these questions are busy with
other work. And anyways, it would be better not to have the discussion
without Philippe.

Zack

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Re: R: Changes to the identification policies and procedures

Zack Exley
On Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 9:12 AM, Riccardo Burdisso <[hidden email]>wrote:

> Ok Max
> But you say that all volunteers need to give ID before 2011/03/02.
> Is also this term suspended because we have a lot of work and discussions
> to do?
>
>
If it's necessary, I'm sure Philippe will be flexible with any deadlines
when he is back.


> Riccardo (Abisys)
>
> -----Messaggio originale-----
> Da: [hidden email]
> [mailto:[hidden email]] Per conto di Zack Exley
> Inviato: venerdì 4 febbraio 2011 17:41
> A: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List
> Oggetto: Re: [Foundation-l] Changes to the identification policies and
> procedures
>
> Max,
>
> Thanks for raising all these good and important questions. I think that we
> really should wait until Philippe gets back. He is leading this. The
> couple
> of other staffers capable of dealing with these questions are busy with
> other work. And anyways, it would be better not to have the discussion
> without Philippe.
>
> Zack
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>



--

Zack Exley
Chief Community Officer
Wikimedia Foundation
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Re: Changes to the identification policies and procedures

phoebe ayers-3
In reply to this post by MZMcBride-2
On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 7:09 PM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Steven Walling wrote:
>> These changes were going to be discussed and documented in public...
> [...]
>> Speaking as an OTRS volunteer not as a staff member (this initiative isn't
>> part of my job)...
>
> I don't follow. How do you know that these changes were going to be
> discussed and documented in public? These changes have been discussed for at
> least some portion of January without any community involvement. When,
> exactly, was the community going be made aware that these changes were being
> discussed? When was the community going to be made aware that these changes
> had been implemented? An announcement has already been made. When was the
> Community Department going to involve the community (at least to give it a
> courtesy heads-up)?

I will note, as a member of both of these lists, that you did not
actually ask these questions - at least not publicly, that I could
find - before sending a note to foundation-l. Probably doing so would
have been helpful :)

It seems to me that a good-faith interpretation is that not announcing
changes right this second was the right thing to do -- since there was
so much controversy among OTRS agents the staff may choose to change
or modify the original plan, in which case it's not clear to me what
would be announced. The original announcement did affect only a
limited number of volunteers, and there was no implication that it
would be extended to admins, etc. Of course, broader discussion of the
issue of identification and access to non-private data (and who should
have it) in general is great, and if people have thoughts they should
weigh in.

For those not on the OTRS list, it's a list that is used
(unsurprisingly) for coordinating OTRS -- things like "there's a new
template for common question XYZ". It is and has always been a closed
list, because access to OTRS is closed and some things are sensitive
("hey, did can we merge all the mails from this person?") It is
typically pretty unexciting -- this is the longest discussion I think
I've ever seen on it in my 5+ years of being subscribed :)

-- phoebe

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Re: Changes to the identification policies and procedures

phoebe ayers-3
On Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 9:34 AM, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 7:09 PM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Steven Walling wrote:
>>> These changes were going to be discussed and documented in public...
>> [...]
>>> Speaking as an OTRS volunteer not as a staff member (this initiative isn't
>>> part of my job)...
>>
>> I don't follow. How do you know that these changes were going to be
>> discussed and documented in public? These changes have been discussed for at
>> least some portion of January without any community involvement. When,
>> exactly, was the community going be made aware that these changes were being
>> discussed? When was the community going to be made aware that these changes
>> had been implemented? An announcement has already been made. When was the
>> Community Department going to involve the community (at least to give it a
>> courtesy heads-up)?
>
> I will note, as a member of both of these lists, that you did not
> actually ask these questions - at least not publicly, that I could
> find - before sending a note to foundation-l. Probably doing so would
> have been helpful :)
>
> It seems to me that a good-faith interpretation is that not announcing
> changes right this second was the right thing to do -- since there was
> so much controversy among OTRS agents the staff may choose to change
> or modify the original plan, in which case it's not clear to me what
> would be announced. The original announcement did affect only a
> limited number of volunteers, and there was no implication that it
> would be extended to admins, etc. Of course, broader discussion of the
> issue of identification and access to non-private data (and who should
> have it) in general is great, and if people have thoughts they should
> weigh in.

er, private data :) Of course if you want to discuss non-private data
too, go for it!

phoebe

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Re: Changes to the identification policies and procedures

Nathan Awrich
Why is it such a transgression to bring the discussion to
foundation-l? The change was discussed on meta, announced on the otrs
lists, etc... I'm not clear on what was left to decide in the
discussion on OTRS, or why that discussion couldn't happen on a list
with broader participation. The Foundation's position on
identification affects not only OTRS volunteers, but also stewards,
checkusers and ombuds committee members, among others, and anyone who
is considering volunteering for those roles.

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Re: Changes to the identification policies and procedures

MZMcBride-2
In reply to this post by phoebe ayers-3
phoebe ayers wrote:
> It seems to me that a good-faith interpretation is that not announcing
> changes right this second was the right thing to do -- since there was
> so much controversy among OTRS agents the staff may choose to change
> or modify the original plan, in which case it's not clear to me what
> would be announced.

In my discussions with people about these recent decisions, some people have
tried to pivot the conversation with statements such as "but Wikimedia is
allowed to do this" and "the non-public data access policy is determined by
staff." I don't disagree.

My issue is that this was presumably discussed for weeks prior to the
announcement to the OTRS list, without any community notification. Even a
courtesy heads-up ("we're currently re-evaluating whether certain volunteers
need to identify") would have been good, especially as it brings forth a lot
of questions from the community that Wikimedia apparently had not
considered. (This is pretty clearly evident from the discussion on the OTRS
mailing list.) When these decisions are issued by fiat and out of the blue,
it raises suspicion about why the discussions weren't public or at least why
there weren't any notifications that discussions were taking place. Was it
intentional? Was it simply an oversight?

Nobody is saying anyone was outside their remit to implement these changes
(and to an extent, these changes are sensible, in as much as they make the
pointless procedure a little less pointless), but the Community Department
doesn't seem particularly keen on involving (or even notifying) the
community. That's the larger issue, as I see it.

Some of the comments in this thread have read like "oh, but we were going to
announce this as soon as we had decided everything privately." That doesn't
seem to fit in with Wikimedia's governance model and more often than not, it
leads to situations where the announced implementation of decisions like
these have to be re-worked and re-released because adequate discussion and
thought weren't given the first time. Again, the discussion on the OTRS
mailing list is pretty clear evidence of this.

> The original announcement did affect only a limited number of volunteers, and
> there was no implication that it would be extended to admins, etc. Of course,
> broader discussion of the issue of identification and access to non-private
> data (and who should have it) in general is great, and if people have thoughts
> they should weigh in.

People do have thoughts and have tried to weigh in, but they're being
chastised for doing so on this list (not by you, to be clear). I don't see
how it's fair to contributors to encourage discussion and debate in some
posts while condemning open discussion and debate in other posts (referring
here primarily to Steven's posts).

MZMcBride



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