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[Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

Derk-Jan Hartman
> Hi all,
> The Interactive Team in Discovery is in the process of putting its work on
> pause. The team's aim during this period is to get its work to a stable and
> maintainable state.
> Currently, work on new features is on hold. It is not yet known what the
> timeline is for this transition to a paused state, or whether there will be
> further deployments of features that have already been completed. I will
> update this list when there is more information.
> Thanks,
> Dan
> --
> Dan Garry
> Lead Product Manager, Discovery
> Wikimedia Foundation


So it seems all work on Maps, Graphs and other interactive features is
going to be halted pretty soon. I was directed at this notification after a
Maps ticket mentioned:

With the team winding down


To which I asked:

> Why is the team winding down ?


To which Dan Garry responded:

> There were expectations that were set regarding things such as team goals,
> working collaboratively with stakeholders, and advance notice to
> communities, that were repeatedly not met by the team.


And he pointed me to this discovery mailing list announcement, which well
isn't really an explanation as much as a statement on the effect that
'winding down' will have.

My interpretation of the information up to here was: "we are dissolving
this team because it didn't perform and by posting to discovery mailing
list we did the minimal effort required to notify people, but lets hope
nobody notices what the notification really means"
At the same time Dan's words are a rather hefty review on the performance
of a team, which I'm not used to seeing from WMF. Refreshing, but unusual.

This annoys me and I answer:

> 1: I'd expect this to be announced on wikimedia-l, if we start a team we
> always seem more than anxious to do so.
> 2: I'd like some details. I thought we had left behind all the "let's try
> and hide this and hope no one notices it"-shit in 2016.
> 3: Thank you team ! You did some great work, and it was more productive
> and groundbreaking than many other teams have been able to do in 5 years.


A bit hyperbolic on all fronts, I admit.

To which Dan responds with:

> I am not the person who made this decision. I do not know all of the
> reasons it was made. The person who made the decision is on vacation for
> the next few weeks. I am trying my best to communicate as much as I can in
> her absence, which is why I made a public announcement of all that I know
> now rather than waiting weeks for my manager to return. I am afraid that
> some patience is required until Katie gets back from vacation.


So now Dan doesn't know enough to be able to discuss this, even though he
gave a rather destructive team review earlier.

1: This is exactly the kind of communication that 'the community' keeps
complaining about. Reactive instead of proactive. Evasive instead of
transparent. Now volunteers need to spend time to figure out what is
happening here ? This has cost me over 3 hours today. I would have liked to
have spent that time differently.
2: It shouldn't matter that Katie is on holidays, I'd assume/hope someone
takes over her duties while she is away (Likely Dan himself and/or Wes
Moran). Providing information on topics like this shouldn't have to wait
until someone returns from a (likely well deserved) holiday.
3: Why do I have to write this email ? It's really not that hard: Make a
decision, explain it.

DJ
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

Wes Moran
Hello everyone,

We introduced this upcoming change last week[1] on the Discovery list. At
the time, we didn’t have the full details to share, but wanted to let
people directly engaging with that team know that some changes were being
planned. We were originally going to share more details once they were
finalized. However, I realized after reading the post from Derk-Jan that we
should share the information we have now.

The work of the Interactive team[2], a sub-team within the team focused on
Maps and Graphs, will be temporarily paused beginning this quarter. These
efforts are important, and the Product Department is committed to
continuing them. We expect to fulfill our Annual Plan commitments related
to the Interactive team’s work, and are currently determining how best to
make this transition. But we need to take some time to determine the best
path forward for this team within Discovery.

We’ll communicate more broadly about the future of this work as the
situation evolves. Until then, we are going to review current bugs and
tasks that were committed to in the Annual Plan, as well as requests in the
community wishlist, and decide when and how to proceed.

We welcome questions and conversation, but have to ask some patience as
some members of the team are out of office at the moment.  Please direct
further questions on the topic to the Discovery list.[3]

Thanks,
Wes
VP of Product, Wikimedia Foundation

[1] https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/discovery/2017-January/001421.html

[2] https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Interactive_Team

[3] https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/discovery



On Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 5:26 PM, Derk-Jan Hartman <
[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > Hi all,
> > The Interactive Team in Discovery is in the process of putting its work
on
> > pause. The team's aim during this period is to get its work to a stable
and
> > maintainable state.
> > Currently, work on new features is on hold. It is not yet known what the
> > timeline is for this transition to a paused state, or whether there
will be

> > further deployments of features that have already been completed. I will
> > update this list when there is more information.
> > Thanks,
> > Dan
> > --
> > Dan Garry
> > Lead Product Manager, Discovery
> > Wikimedia Foundation
>
>
> So it seems all work on Maps, Graphs and other interactive features is
> going to be halted pretty soon. I was directed at this notification after
a

> Maps ticket mentioned:
>
> With the team winding down
>
>
> To which I asked:
>
> > Why is the team winding down ?
>
>
> To which Dan Garry responded:
>
> > There were expectations that were set regarding things such as team
goals,

> > working collaboratively with stakeholders, and advance notice to
> > communities, that were repeatedly not met by the team.
>
>
> And he pointed me to this discovery mailing list announcement, which well
> isn't really an explanation as much as a statement on the effect that
> 'winding down' will have.
>
> My interpretation of the information up to here was: "we are dissolving
> this team because it didn't perform and by posting to discovery mailing
> list we did the minimal effort required to notify people, but lets hope
> nobody notices what the notification really means"
> At the same time Dan's words are a rather hefty review on the performance
> of a team, which I'm not used to seeing from WMF. Refreshing, but unusual.
>
> This annoys me and I answer:
>
> > 1: I'd expect this to be announced on wikimedia-l, if we start a team we
> > always seem more than anxious to do so.
> > 2: I'd like some details. I thought we had left behind all the "let's
try
> > and hide this and hope no one notices it"-shit in 2016.
> > 3: Thank you team ! You did some great work, and it was more productive
> > and groundbreaking than many other teams have been able to do in 5
years.
>
>
> A bit hyperbolic on all fronts, I admit.
>
> To which Dan responds with:
>
> > I am not the person who made this decision. I do not know all of the
> > reasons it was made. The person who made the decision is on vacation for
> > the next few weeks. I am trying my best to communicate as much as I can
in
> > her absence, which is why I made a public announcement of all that I
know

> > now rather than waiting weeks for my manager to return. I am afraid that
> > some patience is required until Katie gets back from vacation.
>
>
> So now Dan doesn't know enough to be able to discuss this, even though he
> gave a rather destructive team review earlier.
>
> 1: This is exactly the kind of communication that 'the community' keeps
> complaining about. Reactive instead of proactive. Evasive instead of
> transparent. Now volunteers need to spend time to figure out what is
> happening here ? This has cost me over 3 hours today. I would have liked
to

> have spent that time differently.
> 2: It shouldn't matter that Katie is on holidays, I'd assume/hope someone
> takes over her duties while she is away (Likely Dan himself and/or Wes
> Moran). Providing information on topics like this shouldn't have to wait
> until someone returns from a (likely well deserved) holiday.
> 3: Why do I have to write this email ? It's really not that hard: Make a
> decision, explain it.
>
> DJ
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
<mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

Pete Forsyth-2
Dear Wes et. al.,

Thank you for quickly providing some further information.

We at the Signpost sometimes have unique opportunities for insight into
what is resonating in the Wikimedia community. Our readership is of course
not a statistically representative sample, but I do believe it's an
important one. With that in mind, two features that I believe came out of
the Interactive Team have, in recent weeks, generated a great deal more
enthusiasm than we're used to seeing. (See metrics below.)

With that in mind, I'd like to underscore what Derk-Jan said. When the WMF
manages to generate strong enthusiasm through its software offerings, it
seems natural that an action that impacts that team might draw some
concern, from beyond the reach of the relatively tech-focused Discovery
email list.

-Pete
--
Pete Forsyth
Editor in Chief, The Signpost
http://enwp.org/WP:Signpost

Signpost story:
* 1,060 page views on our story (lead story on a page that also covered the
Developer Summit and the Community Wishlist) https://tools.wmflabs.org/page
views/?project=en.wikipedia.org&platform=all-access&agent=
user&start=2017-01-17&end=2017-01-23&pages=Wikipedia:
Wikipedia_Signpost/2017-01-17/Technology_report
(Not far behind our main "News and Notes" section, at 1337 page views;
compare to only 767 views on the previous Tech Report in its first 7 days)

On Twitter:
* 19 retweets, 13 likes, and some substantive discussion about data storage
location: https://twitter.com/PeteForsyth/status/821523405287530496
(This is a strong performer relative to most of my personal tweets and most
tweets from @wikisignpost)

In the Wikipedia Weekly group on Facebook:
* 20 likes and a couple strong endorsements in comment thread:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/wikipediaweekly/permalink/1208201305894365/
* Facebook reports to me that the above link reached 1,098 people, 326 of
whom watched the video (extremely strong performance relative to my other
posts)
* 31 likes, some positive comments, and some substantive design discussion
relating to GeoHack features: https://www.facebook
.com/groups/wikipediaweekly/permalink/1210565832324579/
(My sense is, this is a fairly strong performance relative to other WW
posts, but I don't track the numbers from this group closely)


On Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 3:40 PM, Wes Moran <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hello everyone,
>
> We introduced this upcoming change last week[1] on the Discovery list. At
> the time, we didn’t have the full details to share, but wanted to let
> people directly engaging with that team know that some changes were being
> planned. We were originally going to share more details once they were
> finalized. However, I realized after reading the post from Derk-Jan that we
> should share the information we have now.
>
> The work of the Interactive team[2], a sub-team within the team focused on
> Maps and Graphs, will be temporarily paused beginning this quarter. These
> efforts are important, and the Product Department is committed to
> continuing them. We expect to fulfill our Annual Plan commitments related
> to the Interactive team’s work, and are currently determining how best to
> make this transition. But we need to take some time to determine the best
> path forward for this team within Discovery.
>
> We’ll communicate more broadly about the future of this work as the
> situation evolves. Until then, we are going to review current bugs and
> tasks that were committed to in the Annual Plan, as well as requests in the
> community wishlist, and decide when and how to proceed.
>
> We welcome questions and conversation, but have to ask some patience as
> some members of the team are out of office at the moment.  Please direct
> further questions on the topic to the Discovery list.[3]
>
> Thanks,
> Wes
> VP of Product, Wikimedia Foundation
>
> [1] https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/discovery/2017-
> January/001421.html
>
> [2] https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Interactive_Team
>
> [3] https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/discovery
>
>
>
> On Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 5:26 PM, Derk-Jan Hartman <
> [hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > > Hi all,
> > > The Interactive Team in Discovery is in the process of putting its work
> on
> > > pause. The team's aim during this period is to get its work to a stable
> and
> > > maintainable state.
> > > Currently, work on new features is on hold. It is not yet known what
> the
> > > timeline is for this transition to a paused state, or whether there
> will be
> > > further deployments of features that have already been completed. I
> will
> > > update this list when there is more information.
> > > Thanks,
> > > Dan
> > > --
> > > Dan Garry
> > > Lead Product Manager, Discovery
> > > Wikimedia Foundation
> >
> >
> > So it seems all work on Maps, Graphs and other interactive features is
> > going to be halted pretty soon. I was directed at this notification after
> a
> > Maps ticket mentioned:
> >
> > With the team winding down
> >
> >
> > To which I asked:
> >
> > > Why is the team winding down ?
> >
> >
> > To which Dan Garry responded:
> >
> > > There were expectations that were set regarding things such as team
> goals,
> > > working collaboratively with stakeholders, and advance notice to
> > > communities, that were repeatedly not met by the team.
> >
> >
> > And he pointed me to this discovery mailing list announcement, which well
> > isn't really an explanation as much as a statement on the effect that
> > 'winding down' will have.
> >
> > My interpretation of the information up to here was: "we are dissolving
> > this team because it didn't perform and by posting to discovery mailing
> > list we did the minimal effort required to notify people, but lets hope
> > nobody notices what the notification really means"
> > At the same time Dan's words are a rather hefty review on the performance
> > of a team, which I'm not used to seeing from WMF. Refreshing, but
> unusual.
> >
> > This annoys me and I answer:
> >
> > > 1: I'd expect this to be announced on wikimedia-l, if we start a team
> we
> > > always seem more than anxious to do so.
> > > 2: I'd like some details. I thought we had left behind all the "let's
> try
> > > and hide this and hope no one notices it"-shit in 2016.
> > > 3: Thank you team ! You did some great work, and it was more productive
> > > and groundbreaking than many other teams have been able to do in 5
> years.
> >
> >
> > A bit hyperbolic on all fronts, I admit.
> >
> > To which Dan responds with:
> >
> > > I am not the person who made this decision. I do not know all of the
> > > reasons it was made. The person who made the decision is on vacation
> for
> > > the next few weeks. I am trying my best to communicate as much as I can
> in
> > > her absence, which is why I made a public announcement of all that I
> know
> > > now rather than waiting weeks for my manager to return. I am afraid
> that
> > > some patience is required until Katie gets back from vacation.
> >
> >
> > So now Dan doesn't know enough to be able to discuss this, even though he
> > gave a rather destructive team review earlier.
> >
> > 1: This is exactly the kind of communication that 'the community' keeps
> > complaining about. Reactive instead of proactive. Evasive instead of
> > transparent. Now volunteers need to spend time to figure out what is
> > happening here ? This has cost me over 3 hours today. I would have liked
> to
> > have spent that time differently.
> > 2: It shouldn't matter that Katie is on holidays, I'd assume/hope someone
> > takes over her duties while she is away (Likely Dan himself and/or Wes
> > Moran). Providing information on topics like this shouldn't have to wait
> > until someone returns from a (likely well deserved) holiday.
> > 3: Why do I have to write this email ? It's really not that hard: Make a
> > decision, explain it.
> >
> > DJ
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

Pine W
Hi Wes,

For future reference, one suggestion that I would make is that
decision-makers should be available to answer questions at the time that an
announcement is made. Otherwise their absence can put many people in
difficult positions (both staff and community) with limited information and
needing to wait potentially long periods of time before getting definitive
answers, which can be both frustrating and costly.

I think it was good to put this announcement on the Discovery list; sharing
it more broadly would have made sense given the impact to others'
workflows. I realize that we have so many communications channels that it's
not always clear what scope should be assigned to various communications,
and would encourage thinking about that in the context of improving WMF
communication in general.

Pine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

jmh649
I find all this a little disconcerting.

The "Interactive Team" was making significant progress. Maps have been a
great success and prevented a near blow up over at Wikivoyage as they
solved a critical issue just as it was noticed. The new graphing tools were
getting really good (with a bunch of us waiting patiently for them to
become more widely avaliable / easily usable).

From page 39 of our reader survey from 2015 "rich content" such as what
that team was building was second only to "apps and mobile" as the most
desired features. In that survey while "search features" ranked 13th with
about three times as many of our users supporting further work on "rich
content".

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/Community_Consultation_on_Strategy%2C_WMF_Metrics_Meeting_July_2015.pdf

Best
James

On Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 6:41 PM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi Wes,
>
> For future reference, one suggestion that I would make is that
> decision-makers should be available to answer questions at the time that an
> announcement is made. Otherwise their absence can put many people in
> difficult positions (both staff and community) with limited information and
> needing to wait potentially long periods of time before getting definitive
> answers, which can be both frustrating and costly.
>
> I think it was good to put this announcement on the Discovery list; sharing
> it more broadly would have made sense given the impact to others'
> workflows. I realize that we have so many communications channels that it's
> not always clear what scope should be assigned to various communications,
> and would encourage thinking about that in the context of improving WMF
> communication in general.
>
> Pine
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>



--
James Heilman
MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian

The Wikipedia Open Textbook of Medicine
www.opentextbookofmedicine.com
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

Anna Stillwell
In reply to this post by Derk-Jan Hartman
 Hey DJ

These seem like reasonable concerns and I am glad you and others are
raising them. I hope you continue to do so. We’re all getting better at
working together and it is clear that the foundation has made mistakes in
the past, so it is right and good to hold us accountable. I mean that
sincerely.

I’ve heard a few preliminary answers offered. As I see it, it seems like
rather than waiting to get everything perfect (and likely with a bit of
spin), these people are trying to communicate what they know when they know
it. I support them for doing so and hope that all of us in the foundation
continue in this direction. But there is a challenge to this approach also…
when you share early, you might not yet have all of the answers. Sometimes,
but not always, mutual disclosure may require some patience while we all
muddle through and arrive at shared understanding.

I also hear that the pause on the interactive work is temporary. I’ve heard
them request time. I am comfortable granting that request, but no one is
required to agree with me. They’ve also said that the person with the most
information is on vacation. As someone who has seen employees go through
considerable stress in the last years, the entire executive team is working
to establish some cultural standards around supporting vacations. We want
people here to feel comfortable taking proper vacations and sometimes that
can even need to happen in a crisis. People often plan their vacations well
in advance and may not know that something tricky will come up. Just so you
understand one bias I bring to this conversation.

Last, but not least, it’s not always as easy as it seems. This
communication thing is hard, especially when people are involved. Sometimes
there are laws that constrain what we say. Sometimes we don’t know whether
we are right yet and we need a further unpacking of the facts. The truth is
that there can be a whole host of reasons for partial communication that
aren’t related to competence or the intent to deceive.

I’m wondering if we can grant their two requests, can we wait for a return
from vacation and a clarification of some kind will follow?

Next time I see you, I hope we can have a beer and argue about something
something.

Warmly,
/a

On Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 2:26 PM, Derk-Jan Hartman <
[hidden email]> wrote:

> > Hi all,
> > The Interactive Team in Discovery is in the process of putting its work
> on
> > pause. The team's aim during this period is to get its work to a stable
> and
> > maintainable state.
> > Currently, work on new features is on hold. It is not yet known what the
> > timeline is for this transition to a paused state, or whether there will
> be
> > further deployments of features that have already been completed. I will
> > update this list when there is more information.
> > Thanks,
> > Dan
> > --
> > Dan Garry
> > Lead Product Manager, Discovery
> > Wikimedia Foundation
>
>
> So it seems all work on Maps, Graphs and other interactive features is
> going to be halted pretty soon. I was directed at this notification after a
> Maps ticket mentioned:
>
> With the team winding down
>
>
> To which I asked:
>
> > Why is the team winding down ?
>
>
> To which Dan Garry responded:
>
> > There were expectations that were set regarding things such as team
> goals,
> > working collaboratively with stakeholders, and advance notice to
> > communities, that were repeatedly not met by the team.
>
>
> And he pointed me to this discovery mailing list announcement, which well
> isn't really an explanation as much as a statement on the effect that
> 'winding down' will have.
>
> My interpretation of the information up to here was: "we are dissolving
> this team because it didn't perform and by posting to discovery mailing
> list we did the minimal effort required to notify people, but lets hope
> nobody notices what the notification really means"
> At the same time Dan's words are a rather hefty review on the performance
> of a team, which I'm not used to seeing from WMF. Refreshing, but unusual.
>
> This annoys me and I answer:
>
> > 1: I'd expect this to be announced on wikimedia-l, if we start a team we
> > always seem more than anxious to do so.
> > 2: I'd like some details. I thought we had left behind all the "let's try
> > and hide this and hope no one notices it"-shit in 2016.
> > 3: Thank you team ! You did some great work, and it was more productive
> > and groundbreaking than many other teams have been able to do in 5 years.
>
>
> A bit hyperbolic on all fronts, I admit.
>
> To which Dan responds with:
>
> > I am not the person who made this decision. I do not know all of the
> > reasons it was made. The person who made the decision is on vacation for
> > the next few weeks. I am trying my best to communicate as much as I can
> in
> > her absence, which is why I made a public announcement of all that I know
> > now rather than waiting weeks for my manager to return. I am afraid that
> > some patience is required until Katie gets back from vacation.
>
>
> So now Dan doesn't know enough to be able to discuss this, even though he
> gave a rather destructive team review earlier.
>
> 1: This is exactly the kind of communication that 'the community' keeps
> complaining about. Reactive instead of proactive. Evasive instead of
> transparent. Now volunteers need to spend time to figure out what is
> happening here ? This has cost me over 3 hours today. I would have liked to
> have spent that time differently.
> 2: It shouldn't matter that Katie is on holidays, I'd assume/hope someone
> takes over her duties while she is away (Likely Dan himself and/or Wes
> Moran). Providing information on topics like this shouldn't have to wait
> until someone returns from a (likely well deserved) holiday.
> 3: Why do I have to write this email ? It's really not that hard: Make a
> decision, explain it.
>
> DJ
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>




--
"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." - Margaret
Fuller

Anna Stillwell
Director of Culture
Wikimedia Foundation
415.806.1536
*www.wikimediafoundation.org <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>*
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

Lane Rasberry
Hello,

I do not know the situation with the Interactive Team but among other
things, there is a wiki community request for better communication about
projects. I would like to share something positive that already happens,
and which is an opportunity for better communication going forward.

I happen to live in New York City, and one of the developers on this team
happens to live here also.

Yuri Astrakhan
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Yurik>

In NYC in the last year we have 1-2 administrative meetups a month for
people to talk about coordinating Wikimedia projects. Yuri has presented at
several of these local meetups to 200+ people total in the past few months.
He is a great speaker who pleases audiences of developers, and audiences of
general Wikipedians, and audiences of people who come to Wikipedia meetups
without ever having edited any wiki before. Among others, he works on the
projects mentioned in this email thread -

<https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/API:Main_page>
<https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Maps>
<https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Graph>

I cannot speak to the entire challenge of improving communication among WMF
developers, the regular Wiki community like subscribers to this list,
people who request better on-wiki documentation, and the general public,
but I can say that I have felt that there was some loss when someone like
Yuri is so personable, involved, and talented as a speaker and yet has
limited opportunity to be heard. He is great in person, and when I hear
him, I wish his presentations could be recorded and shared. Here is one
attempt that we in NYC made to record him on Wikipedia Day, 15 January.
<https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wikipedia_Day_NYC_Jan_15_2017_-_04_
Multimedia_-_Tech_Panel.ogg>

If the presentations which people like Yuri already make were recorded and
better circulated, then perhaps some problems related to lack of
communication would be lessened.

I think there is some demand in the wiki community for more access to time
in front of a camera to give presentations. NYC has the privilege of
getting to hear a lot of great speakers in person. Globally at local
meetups everywhere and even at Wikimania events, many talented people put a
lot of labor and insight into the presentations they do. Usually those
presentations do not persist beyond the live performance. When the
presentation is video recorded, it usually has low quality audio and video
that is not of the standard that many people expect from YouTube and other
similar sites, and I think that the challenge of producing good video is
more of a barrier to communication than lack of great presenters with
interesting things to say. Encouraging people to do video presentations
might not be the solution to communication challenges, but when there is
someone who puts the work into making a great in-person presentation, then
I wish it were easier to record and share it. I have not been satisfied
with most of the wiki-related recordings produced, except for the most
professional ones made with professional equipment and editing. I wish that
there could be more video support getting more interviews and updates from
more people at wiki events around the world.

I have been very pleased with the quality of in-person, in NYC
presentations that Yuri has shared about maps and graphs. I think that he
and others like him would use opportunities to be interviewed and better
presented in wiki community media, and I think that the community wants
better in-community media coverage. I feel grateful to have heard Yuri in
my own city and the WMF should be glad to have someone who is a developer
and such a great speaker.

yours,


On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 11:11 AM, Anna Stillwell <[hidden email]>
wrote:

>  Hey DJ
>
> These seem like reasonable concerns and I am glad you and others are
> raising them. I hope you continue to do so. We’re all getting better at
> working together and it is clear that the foundation has made mistakes in
> the past, so it is right and good to hold us accountable. I mean that
> sincerely.
>
> I’ve heard a few preliminary answers offered. As I see it, it seems like
> rather than waiting to get everything perfect (and likely with a bit of
> spin), these people are trying to communicate what they know when they know
> it. I support them for doing so and hope that all of us in the foundation
> continue in this direction. But there is a challenge to this approach also…
> when you share early, you might not yet have all of the answers. Sometimes,
> but not always, mutual disclosure may require some patience while we all
> muddle through and arrive at shared understanding.
>
> I also hear that the pause on the interactive work is temporary. I’ve heard
> them request time. I am comfortable granting that request, but no one is
> required to agree with me. They’ve also said that the person with the most
> information is on vacation. As someone who has seen employees go through
> considerable stress in the last years, the entire executive team is working
> to establish some cultural standards around supporting vacations. We want
> people here to feel comfortable taking proper vacations and sometimes that
> can even need to happen in a crisis. People often plan their vacations well
> in advance and may not know that something tricky will come up. Just so you
> understand one bias I bring to this conversation.
>
> Last, but not least, it’s not always as easy as it seems. This
> communication thing is hard, especially when people are involved. Sometimes
> there are laws that constrain what we say. Sometimes we don’t know whether
> we are right yet and we need a further unpacking of the facts. The truth is
> that there can be a whole host of reasons for partial communication that
> aren’t related to competence or the intent to deceive.
>
> I’m wondering if we can grant their two requests, can we wait for a return
> from vacation and a clarification of some kind will follow?
>
> Next time I see you, I hope we can have a beer and argue about something
> something.
>
> Warmly,
> /a
>
> On Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 2:26 PM, Derk-Jan Hartman <
> [hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > > Hi all,
> > > The Interactive Team in Discovery is in the process of putting its work
> > on
> > > pause. The team's aim during this period is to get its work to a stable
> > and
> > > maintainable state.
> > > Currently, work on new features is on hold. It is not yet known what
> the
> > > timeline is for this transition to a paused state, or whether there
> will
> > be
> > > further deployments of features that have already been completed. I
> will
> > > update this list when there is more information.
> > > Thanks,
> > > Dan
> > > --
> > > Dan Garry
> > > Lead Product Manager, Discovery
> > > Wikimedia Foundation
> >
> >
> > So it seems all work on Maps, Graphs and other interactive features is
> > going to be halted pretty soon. I was directed at this notification
> after a
> > Maps ticket mentioned:
> >
> > With the team winding down
> >
> >
> > To which I asked:
> >
> > > Why is the team winding down ?
> >
> >
> > To which Dan Garry responded:
> >
> > > There were expectations that were set regarding things such as team
> > goals,
> > > working collaboratively with stakeholders, and advance notice to
> > > communities, that were repeatedly not met by the team.
> >
> >
> > And he pointed me to this discovery mailing list announcement, which well
> > isn't really an explanation as much as a statement on the effect that
> > 'winding down' will have.
> >
> > My interpretation of the information up to here was: "we are dissolving
> > this team because it didn't perform and by posting to discovery mailing
> > list we did the minimal effort required to notify people, but lets hope
> > nobody notices what the notification really means"
> > At the same time Dan's words are a rather hefty review on the performance
> > of a team, which I'm not used to seeing from WMF. Refreshing, but
> unusual.
> >
> > This annoys me and I answer:
> >
> > > 1: I'd expect this to be announced on wikimedia-l, if we start a team
> we
> > > always seem more than anxious to do so.
> > > 2: I'd like some details. I thought we had left behind all the "let's
> try
> > > and hide this and hope no one notices it"-shit in 2016.
> > > 3: Thank you team ! You did some great work, and it was more productive
> > > and groundbreaking than many other teams have been able to do in 5
> years.
> >
> >
> > A bit hyperbolic on all fronts, I admit.
> >
> > To which Dan responds with:
> >
> > > I am not the person who made this decision. I do not know all of the
> > > reasons it was made. The person who made the decision is on vacation
> for
> > > the next few weeks. I am trying my best to communicate as much as I can
> > in
> > > her absence, which is why I made a public announcement of all that I
> know
> > > now rather than waiting weeks for my manager to return. I am afraid
> that
> > > some patience is required until Katie gets back from vacation.
> >
> >
> > So now Dan doesn't know enough to be able to discuss this, even though he
> > gave a rather destructive team review earlier.
> >
> > 1: This is exactly the kind of communication that 'the community' keeps
> > complaining about. Reactive instead of proactive. Evasive instead of
> > transparent. Now volunteers need to spend time to figure out what is
> > happening here ? This has cost me over 3 hours today. I would have liked
> to
> > have spent that time differently.
> > 2: It shouldn't matter that Katie is on holidays, I'd assume/hope someone
> > takes over her duties while she is away (Likely Dan himself and/or Wes
> > Moran). Providing information on topics like this shouldn't have to wait
> > until someone returns from a (likely well deserved) holiday.
> > 3: Why do I have to write this email ? It's really not that hard: Make a
> > decision, explain it.
> >
> > DJ
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> > wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
>
>
>
> --
> "If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." - Margaret
> Fuller
>
> Anna Stillwell
> Director of Culture
> Wikimedia Foundation
> 415.806.1536
> *www.wikimediafoundation.org <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>*
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wik
> i/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>



--
Lane Rasberry
user:bluerasberry on Wikipedia
206.801.0814 <(206)%20801-0814>
[hidden email]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

Lane Rasberry
Hello,

I have just been informed that Yuri is no longer with the WMF. I was not
aware. I think he might have left within the past 10 days, or perhaps I am
just way out of touch.

Whatever the case - that is all the more reason to seize the moment!
Brilliant people come and go in the wiki community, and when they are gone,
it becomes more difficult to access the institutional knowledge they had.
Catch people when they are presenting!

Yuri is a Wikipedian to the core and I expect him to be around as a
volunteer, but still - I wish it were easier for more people to present
their stories more often in more attractive formats, whether video,
interviews, or anything else that has a human element of reporting in it.

yours,



On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 1:39 PM, Lane Rasberry <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Hello,
>
> I do not know the situation with the Interactive Team but among other
> things, there is a wiki community request for better communication about
> projects. I would like to share something positive that already happens,
> and which is an opportunity for better communication going forward.
>
> I happen to live in New York City, and one of the developers on this team
> happens to live here also.
>
> Yuri Astrakhan
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Yurik>
>
> In NYC in the last year we have 1-2 administrative meetups a month for
> people to talk about coordinating Wikimedia projects. Yuri has presented at
> several of these local meetups to 200+ people total in the past few months.
> He is a great speaker who pleases audiences of developers, and audiences of
> general Wikipedians, and audiences of people who come to Wikipedia meetups
> without ever having edited any wiki before. Among others, he works on the
> projects mentioned in this email thread -
>
> <https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/API:Main_page>
> <https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Maps>
> <https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Graph>
>
> I cannot speak to the entire challenge of improving communication among
> WMF developers, the regular Wiki community like subscribers to this list,
> people who request better on-wiki documentation, and the general public,
> but I can say that I have felt that there was some loss when someone like
> Yuri is so personable, involved, and talented as a speaker and yet has
> limited opportunity to be heard. He is great in person, and when I hear
> him, I wish his presentations could be recorded and shared. Here is one
> attempt that we in NYC made to record him on Wikipedia Day, 15 January.
> <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wikipedia_Day_NYC_
> Jan_15_2017_-_04_Multimedia_-_Tech_Panel.ogg>
>
> If the presentations which people like Yuri already make were recorded and
> better circulated, then perhaps some problems related to lack of
> communication would be lessened.
>
> I think there is some demand in the wiki community for more access to time
> in front of a camera to give presentations. NYC has the privilege of
> getting to hear a lot of great speakers in person. Globally at local
> meetups everywhere and even at Wikimania events, many talented people put a
> lot of labor and insight into the presentations they do. Usually those
> presentations do not persist beyond the live performance. When the
> presentation is video recorded, it usually has low quality audio and video
> that is not of the standard that many people expect from YouTube and other
> similar sites, and I think that the challenge of producing good video is
> more of a barrier to communication than lack of great presenters with
> interesting things to say. Encouraging people to do video presentations
> might not be the solution to communication challenges, but when there is
> someone who puts the work into making a great in-person presentation, then
> I wish it were easier to record and share it. I have not been satisfied
> with most of the wiki-related recordings produced, except for the most
> professional ones made with professional equipment and editing. I wish that
> there could be more video support getting more interviews and updates from
> more people at wiki events around the world.
>
> I have been very pleased with the quality of in-person, in NYC
> presentations that Yuri has shared about maps and graphs. I think that he
> and others like him would use opportunities to be interviewed and better
> presented in wiki community media, and I think that the community wants
> better in-community media coverage. I feel grateful to have heard Yuri in
> my own city and the WMF should be glad to have someone who is a developer
> and such a great speaker.
>
> yours,
>
>
> On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 11:11 AM, Anna Stillwell <[hidden email]
> > wrote:
>
>>  Hey DJ
>>
>> These seem like reasonable concerns and I am glad you and others are
>> raising them. I hope you continue to do so. We’re all getting better at
>> working together and it is clear that the foundation has made mistakes in
>> the past, so it is right and good to hold us accountable. I mean that
>> sincerely.
>>
>> I’ve heard a few preliminary answers offered. As I see it, it seems like
>> rather than waiting to get everything perfect (and likely with a bit of
>> spin), these people are trying to communicate what they know when they
>> know
>> it. I support them for doing so and hope that all of us in the foundation
>> continue in this direction. But there is a challenge to this approach
>> also…
>> when you share early, you might not yet have all of the answers.
>> Sometimes,
>> but not always, mutual disclosure may require some patience while we all
>> muddle through and arrive at shared understanding.
>>
>> I also hear that the pause on the interactive work is temporary. I’ve
>> heard
>> them request time. I am comfortable granting that request, but no one is
>> required to agree with me. They’ve also said that the person with the most
>> information is on vacation. As someone who has seen employees go through
>> considerable stress in the last years, the entire executive team is
>> working
>> to establish some cultural standards around supporting vacations. We want
>> people here to feel comfortable taking proper vacations and sometimes that
>> can even need to happen in a crisis. People often plan their vacations
>> well
>> in advance and may not know that something tricky will come up. Just so
>> you
>> understand one bias I bring to this conversation.
>>
>> Last, but not least, it’s not always as easy as it seems. This
>> communication thing is hard, especially when people are involved.
>> Sometimes
>> there are laws that constrain what we say. Sometimes we don’t know whether
>> we are right yet and we need a further unpacking of the facts. The truth
>> is
>> that there can be a whole host of reasons for partial communication that
>> aren’t related to competence or the intent to deceive.
>>
>> I’m wondering if we can grant their two requests, can we wait for a return
>> from vacation and a clarification of some kind will follow?
>>
>> Next time I see you, I hope we can have a beer and argue about something
>> something.
>>
>> Warmly,
>> /a
>>
>> On Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 2:26 PM, Derk-Jan Hartman <
>> [hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> > > Hi all,
>> > > The Interactive Team in Discovery is in the process of putting its
>> work
>> > on
>> > > pause. The team's aim during this period is to get its work to a
>> stable
>> > and
>> > > maintainable state.
>> > > Currently, work on new features is on hold. It is not yet known what
>> the
>> > > timeline is for this transition to a paused state, or whether there
>> will
>> > be
>> > > further deployments of features that have already been completed. I
>> will
>> > > update this list when there is more information.
>> > > Thanks,
>> > > Dan
>> > > --
>> > > Dan Garry
>> > > Lead Product Manager, Discovery
>> > > Wikimedia Foundation
>> >
>> >
>> > So it seems all work on Maps, Graphs and other interactive features is
>> > going to be halted pretty soon. I was directed at this notification
>> after a
>> > Maps ticket mentioned:
>> >
>> > With the team winding down
>> >
>> >
>> > To which I asked:
>> >
>> > > Why is the team winding down ?
>> >
>> >
>> > To which Dan Garry responded:
>> >
>> > > There were expectations that were set regarding things such as team
>> > goals,
>> > > working collaboratively with stakeholders, and advance notice to
>> > > communities, that were repeatedly not met by the team.
>> >
>> >
>> > And he pointed me to this discovery mailing list announcement, which
>> well
>> > isn't really an explanation as much as a statement on the effect that
>> > 'winding down' will have.
>> >
>> > My interpretation of the information up to here was: "we are dissolving
>> > this team because it didn't perform and by posting to discovery mailing
>> > list we did the minimal effort required to notify people, but lets hope
>> > nobody notices what the notification really means"
>> > At the same time Dan's words are a rather hefty review on the
>> performance
>> > of a team, which I'm not used to seeing from WMF. Refreshing, but
>> unusual.
>> >
>> > This annoys me and I answer:
>> >
>> > > 1: I'd expect this to be announced on wikimedia-l, if we start a team
>> we
>> > > always seem more than anxious to do so.
>> > > 2: I'd like some details. I thought we had left behind all the "let's
>> try
>> > > and hide this and hope no one notices it"-shit in 2016.
>> > > 3: Thank you team ! You did some great work, and it was more
>> productive
>> > > and groundbreaking than many other teams have been able to do in 5
>> years.
>> >
>> >
>> > A bit hyperbolic on all fronts, I admit.
>> >
>> > To which Dan responds with:
>> >
>> > > I am not the person who made this decision. I do not know all of the
>> > > reasons it was made. The person who made the decision is on vacation
>> for
>> > > the next few weeks. I am trying my best to communicate as much as I
>> can
>> > in
>> > > her absence, which is why I made a public announcement of all that I
>> know
>> > > now rather than waiting weeks for my manager to return. I am afraid
>> that
>> > > some patience is required until Katie gets back from vacation.
>> >
>> >
>> > So now Dan doesn't know enough to be able to discuss this, even though
>> he
>> > gave a rather destructive team review earlier.
>> >
>> > 1: This is exactly the kind of communication that 'the community' keeps
>> > complaining about. Reactive instead of proactive. Evasive instead of
>> > transparent. Now volunteers need to spend time to figure out what is
>> > happening here ? This has cost me over 3 hours today. I would have
>> liked to
>> > have spent that time differently.
>> > 2: It shouldn't matter that Katie is on holidays, I'd assume/hope
>> someone
>> > takes over her duties while she is away (Likely Dan himself and/or Wes
>> > Moran). Providing information on topics like this shouldn't have to wait
>> > until someone returns from a (likely well deserved) holiday.
>> > 3: Why do I have to write this email ? It's really not that hard: Make a
>> > decision, explain it.
>> >
>> > DJ
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
>> > wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
>> > New messages to: [hidden email]
>> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
>> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> "If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." - Margaret
>> Fuller
>>
>> Anna Stillwell
>> Director of Culture
>> Wikimedia Foundation
>> 415.806.1536
>> *www.wikimediafoundation.org <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>*
>> _______________________________________________
>> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wik
>> i/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
>> New messages to: [hidden email]
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
>> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>>
>
>
>
> --
> Lane Rasberry
> user:bluerasberry on Wikipedia
> 206.801.0814 <(206)%20801-0814>
> [hidden email]
>



--
Lane Rasberry
user:bluerasberry on Wikipedia
206.801.0814
[hidden email]
_______________________________________________
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New messages to: [hidden email]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

Tim Landscheidt
In reply to this post by Anna Stillwell
Anna Stillwell <[hidden email]> wrote:

> […]

> I also hear that the pause on the interactive work is temporary. I’ve heard
> them request time. I am comfortable granting that request, but no one is
> required to agree with me. They’ve also said that the person with the most
> information is on vacation. As someone who has seen employees go through
> considerable stress in the last years, the entire executive team is working
> to establish some cultural standards around supporting vacations. We want
> people here to feel comfortable taking proper vacations and sometimes that
> can even need to happen in a crisis. People often plan their vacations well
> in advance and may not know that something tricky will come up. Just so you
> understand one bias I bring to this conversation.

> […]

I concur with DJ in his initial mail that this is not a use-
ful practice, and I doubt very much that it relieves employ-
ees' stress.  It conveys the organizational expectation that
employees are SPOFs without any backup.  An employee should
not experience their time off as a period where his work
load is just temporarily buffered until his return, but
where colleagues will step in and take care of business.
Especially such a major decision like "pausing" a team
should not depend on the inner thoughts of one employee, but
be backed and explainable by others.

Tim


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

Anna Stillwell
You make substantive points, Tim. Thank you.

"An employee should not experience their time off as a period where his
[her/they] work load is just temporarily buffered until his [her/they]
return, but where colleagues will step in and take care of business."

I take this point seriously and don't wish you to think otherwise. In
theory, I absolutely agree. In practice, sometimes we all face constraints.
There are roughly 300 of us (order of magnitude). Every now and then, there
are not enough of us to go around on everything on a timeline that meets
the legitimate need that you present here. We'll continue to work on this.
But, to clarify, no one ever said it was a "useful practice" nor did anyone
suggest that it was generalized across the org.

What I was wondering about in my previous email and now reiterating in this
one too, are people willing to grant their request: a bit of time and allow
for one person to return to work?

Does that seem like a way to move forward?

Warmly,
/a

On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 2:50 PM, Tim Landscheidt <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Anna Stillwell <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > […]
>
> > I also hear that the pause on the interactive work is temporary. I’ve
> heard
> > them request time. I am comfortable granting that request, but no one is
> > required to agree with me. They’ve also said that the person with the
> most
> > information is on vacation. As someone who has seen employees go through
> > considerable stress in the last years, the entire executive team is
> working
> > to establish some cultural standards around supporting vacations. We want
> > people here to feel comfortable taking proper vacations and sometimes
> that
> > can even need to happen in a crisis. People often plan their vacations
> well
> > in advance and may not know that something tricky will come up. Just so
> you
> > understand one bias I bring to this conversation.
>
> > […]
>
> I concur with DJ in his initial mail that this is not a use-
> ful practice, and I doubt very much that it relieves employ-
> ees' stress.  It conveys the organizational expectation that
> employees are SPOFs without any backup.  An employee should
> not experience their time off as a period where his work
> load is just temporarily buffered until his return, but
> where colleagues will step in and take care of business.
> Especially such a major decision like "pausing" a team
> should not depend on the inner thoughts of one employee, but
> be backed and explainable by others.
>
> Tim
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
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--
"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." - Margaret
Fuller

Anna Stillwell
Director of Culture
Wikimedia Foundation
415.806.1536
*www.wikimediafoundation.org <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>*
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

jmh649
In reply to this post by Tim Landscheidt
Agree with Tim, one would image that a fair bit of thought would have gone
into a decision such as this. That it would have occurred over multiple
meetings with substantial input from various parts of the organization. I
think it is reasonable to give the WMF some time to comment on this further.

Yuri Astrakhan is still listed as "Interactive Tech Team Lead"
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Yurik Further clarification around that
including comments from him would be useful. I know from my meetings with
Yuri over the years he is very dedicated to the work of developing tools
that help Wiki(m)pedia build rich content.

J

On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 2:50 PM, Tim Landscheidt <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Anna Stillwell <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > […]
>
> > I also hear that the pause on the interactive work is temporary. I’ve
> heard
> > them request time. I am comfortable granting that request, but no one is
> > required to agree with me. They’ve also said that the person with the
> most
> > information is on vacation. As someone who has seen employees go through
> > considerable stress in the last years, the entire executive team is
> working
> > to establish some cultural standards around supporting vacations. We want
> > people here to feel comfortable taking proper vacations and sometimes
> that
> > can even need to happen in a crisis. People often plan their vacations
> well
> > in advance and may not know that something tricky will come up. Just so
> you
> > understand one bias I bring to this conversation.
>
> > […]
>
> I concur with DJ in his initial mail that this is not a use-
> ful practice, and I doubt very much that it relieves employ-
> ees' stress.  It conveys the organizational expectation that
> employees are SPOFs without any backup.  An employee should
> not experience their time off as a period where his work
> load is just temporarily buffered until his return, but
> where colleagues will step in and take care of business.
> Especially such a major decision like "pausing" a team
> should not depend on the inner thoughts of one employee, but
> be backed and explainable by others.
>
> Tim
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>



--
James Heilman
MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian

The Wikipedia Open Textbook of Medicine
www.opentextbookofmedicine.com
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

Pete Forsyth-2
In reply to this post by Anna Stillwell
Anna,

Your points are valid and well taken. If I may summarize what I think I
heard, it's basically: "Getting things right can be hard, and if full
preparations weren't made ahead of time, thorough answers may not be
readily available. Be compassionate/patient." Is that about right? If so, I
agree in principle and in spirit, but I think the point is in tension with
another one:

Community and public enthusiasm for software can be a rare and important
thing. The conditions that make it grow, shrink, or sustain are complex,
and largely beyond the influence of a handful of mailing list participants.
The recent outputs of the Interactive Team have generated enthusiasm in a
number of venues, and many on this list (both volunteers and staff) would
like to see it grow or sustain, and perhaps throw a little weight behind an
effort to make it grow or sustain.

But that enthusiasm has a half-life. What is possible today may not be
possible next week or next month. The zeitgeist may have evolved or moved
on by then.

-Pete
--
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 3:53 PM, Anna Stillwell <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> You make substantive points, Tim. Thank you.
>
> "An employee should not experience their time off as a period where his
> [her/they] work load is just temporarily buffered until his [her/they]
> return, but where colleagues will step in and take care of business."
>
> I take this point seriously and don't wish you to think otherwise. In
> theory, I absolutely agree. In practice, sometimes we all face constraints.
> There are roughly 300 of us (order of magnitude). Every now and then, there
> are not enough of us to go around on everything on a timeline that meets
> the legitimate need that you present here. We'll continue to work on this.
> But, to clarify, no one ever said it was a "useful practice" nor did anyone
> suggest that it was generalized across the org.
>
> What I was wondering about in my previous email and now reiterating in this
> one too, are people willing to grant their request: a bit of time and allow
> for one person to return to work?
>
> Does that seem like a way to move forward?
>
> Warmly,
> /a
>
> On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 2:50 PM, Tim Landscheidt <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > Anna Stillwell <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > > […]
> >
> > > I also hear that the pause on the interactive work is temporary. I’ve
> > heard
> > > them request time. I am comfortable granting that request, but no one
> is
> > > required to agree with me. They’ve also said that the person with the
> > most
> > > information is on vacation. As someone who has seen employees go
> through
> > > considerable stress in the last years, the entire executive team is
> > working
> > > to establish some cultural standards around supporting vacations. We
> want
> > > people here to feel comfortable taking proper vacations and sometimes
> > that
> > > can even need to happen in a crisis. People often plan their vacations
> > well
> > > in advance and may not know that something tricky will come up. Just so
> > you
> > > understand one bias I bring to this conversation.
> >
> > > […]
> >
> > I concur with DJ in his initial mail that this is not a use-
> > ful practice, and I doubt very much that it relieves employ-
> > ees' stress.  It conveys the organizational expectation that
> > employees are SPOFs without any backup.  An employee should
> > not experience their time off as a period where his work
> > load is just temporarily buffered until his return, but
> > where colleagues will step in and take care of business.
> > Especially such a major decision like "pausing" a team
> > should not depend on the inner thoughts of one employee, but
> > be backed and explainable by others.
> >
> > Tim
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> > wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> >
>
>
>
> --
> "If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." - Margaret
> Fuller
>
> Anna Stillwell
> Director of Culture
> Wikimedia Foundation
> 415.806.1536
> *www.wikimediafoundation.org <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>*
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
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> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

Chris Koerner-2
In reply to this post by Derk-Jan Hartman
Today marks my 1 year anniversary with the WMF. What a ride it's been!

A little clarification, or a timeline if you will.

Work on Interactive was led by very energetic and talented technical folks
for a good chunk of time with out a lot structure around the work. Then,
about a quarter ago, the team tried to start with more planning - a
roadmap, team roles, checklists for deployment - the usual stuff. It didn't
go well. The structure was too burdensome for some team members and lacking
for others. It caused a bit of stress to all members of the team, myself
included. But, to be good stewards of our resources we need some structure.

Lacking that structure it was decided to put a pause on things, rethink the
approach, and figure out how this all fits into planning and strategy for
the comping months/years. In the middle of this was the holiday, dev summit
and WMF all-hands (a solid week away from the office for the WMF), then
Yuri's departure, and Katie's scheduled (and deserved) vacation. Looking
back at it, a mess of bad timing.

So, Dan posted the message on discovery-l. I can't speak for him, but my
interpretation was, "Hey, just a head's up. We're going to pause things
while we work some stuff out and we'll let you know more in the future". An
honest attempt to do what so many of us ask for - quick communication in
the open. Personal note, I really didn't expect so many people would
care/notice! I'm happy to see that I was wrong.

It's hard to talk about these things. It's a sign of vulnerability to do so
and this information puts you at risk for criticism and embarrassment
(deserved or otherwise!). We're professionals, we never make mistakes,
right? Nope. We do, and it's hard to talk about. It's also hard with
professional and legal reasons when talking about individual staff. Heck,
even writing this reply I'm worried I'm going to say something wrong. :)

Now a few of the folks in Discovery are coming up with a plan, to be
discussed with our director upon their return from vacation. I personally
believe it would be wrong to make a decision without their involvement. I,
like many of you, personally hope we figure out a good way to keep the work
the interactive team has done moving forward. Once we have a plan, we'll
let you all know.

At this point I feel like I'm repeating what others have already said. :) I
don't expect this will put all minds at ease, but I too ask for your
patience and assume good faith.

I’ve always respected Derk-Jan's perspective and thoughts in the community.
I appreciate his concerns and I hope he continues bring them forth.


Yours,
Chris Koerner
Community Liaison - Discovery
Wikimedia Foundation
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

Anna Stillwell
In reply to this post by Pete Forsyth-2
On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 4:53 PM, Pete Forsyth <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Anna,
>

Pete,

>
> Your points are valid and well taken. If I may summarize what I think I
> heard, it's basically: "Getting things right can be hard, and if full
> preparations weren't made ahead of time, thorough answers may not be
> readily available. Be compassionate/patient." Is that about right?


I appreciate that you are trying to understand what I mean. Thanks.

No, I didn’t say getting things right can be hard. I said, “This
communication thing is hard, especially when people are involved. Sometimes
there are laws that constrain what we say. Sometimes we don’t know whether
we are right yet and we need a further unpacking of the facts. The truth is
that there can be a whole host of reasons for partial communication that
aren’t related to competence or the intent to deceive.”

As for the preparations, it seems that a lot of assumptions are being made.
As for thorough answers, some might already be known and others known once
more planning is completed. However, it could be that the explanations you
want are not legal to share. There are many issues where employment law and
worker protections are crystal clear, as they should be.

As for compassion, I don’t require it. That seems like extra to me. I
usually prefer just paying attention, but that’s my personal choice.

The team asked for some time. I wondered if that would be a reasonable
request to grant them.

If so, I agree in principle and in spirit, but I think the point is in

> tension with
> another one:
>
> Community and public enthusiasm for software can be a rare and important
> thing. The conditions that make it grow, shrink, or sustain are complex,
> and largely beyond the influence of a handful of mailing list participants.
> The recent outputs of the Interactive Team have generated enthusiasm in a
> number of venues, and many on this list (both volunteers and staff) would
> like to see it grow or sustain, and perhaps throw a little weight behind an
> effort to make it grow or sustain.
>

Good points. I mean that. Glad to hear of these recent outputs generate
excitement. I’m personally also getting quite excited about ORES
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Objective_Revision_Evaluation_Service> and
what’s going on with the Community Tech Wish List, Labs, and New Readers.
But I also get that you want to be clear: you'd like to see the interactive
team’s work grow or sustain. Makes sense.

The only thing I heard is that the team said that they needed to pause,
have a bit of time, and get back to everybody. “The team's aim during this
period is to get its work to a stable and maintainable state.”

>
> But that enthusiasm has a half-life. What is possible today may not be
> possible next week or next month. The zeitgeist may have evolved or moved
> on by then.
>

I'm not in disagreement with your main point about enthusiasm for software.
I think it's a very good one. Enthusiasm with a half life of a week,
however, sounds more like a passing crush. Nevertheless, your point still
stands.

>
> -Pete
> --
> [[User:Peteforsyth]]
>

/a
[[User:Annaproject]]

>
> On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 3:53 PM, Anna Stillwell <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > You make substantive points, Tim. Thank you.
> >
> > "An employee should not experience their time off as a period where his
> > [her/they] work load is just temporarily buffered until his [her/they]
> > return, but where colleagues will step in and take care of business."
> >
> > I take this point seriously and don't wish you to think otherwise. In
> > theory, I absolutely agree. In practice, sometimes we all face
> constraints.
> > There are roughly 300 of us (order of magnitude). Every now and then,
> there
> > are not enough of us to go around on everything on a timeline that meets
> > the legitimate need that you present here. We'll continue to work on
> this.
> > But, to clarify, no one ever said it was a "useful practice" nor did
> anyone
> > suggest that it was generalized across the org.
> >
> > What I was wondering about in my previous email and now reiterating in
> this
> > one too, are people willing to grant their request: a bit of time and
> allow
> > for one person to return to work?
> >
> > Does that seem like a way to move forward?
> >
> > Warmly,
> > /a
> >
> > On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 2:50 PM, Tim Landscheidt <[hidden email]
> >
> > wrote:
> >
> > > Anna Stillwell <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > >
> > > > […]
> > >
> > > > I also hear that the pause on the interactive work is temporary. I’ve
> > > heard
> > > > them request time. I am comfortable granting that request, but no one
> > is
> > > > required to agree with me. They’ve also said that the person with the
> > > most
> > > > information is on vacation. As someone who has seen employees go
> > through
> > > > considerable stress in the last years, the entire executive team is
> > > working
> > > > to establish some cultural standards around supporting vacations. We
> > want
> > > > people here to feel comfortable taking proper vacations and sometimes
> > > that
> > > > can even need to happen in a crisis. People often plan their
> vacations
> > > well
> > > > in advance and may not know that something tricky will come up. Just
> so
> > > you
> > > > understand one bias I bring to this conversation.
> > >
> > > > […]
> > >
> > > I concur with DJ in his initial mail that this is not a use-
> > > ful practice, and I doubt very much that it relieves employ-
> > > ees' stress.  It conveys the organizational expectation that
> > > employees are SPOFs without any backup.  An employee should
> > > not experience their time off as a period where his work
> > > load is just temporarily buffered until his return, but
> > > where colleagues will step in and take care of business.
> > > Especially such a major decision like "pausing" a team
> > > should not depend on the inner thoughts of one employee, but
> > > be backed and explainable by others.
> > >
> > > Tim
> > >
> > >
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> > > wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > "If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." - Margaret
> > Fuller
> >
> > Anna Stillwell
> > Director of Culture
> > Wikimedia Foundation
> > 415.806.1536
> > *www.wikimediafoundation.org <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>*
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> > wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> >
> _______________________________________________
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> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>



--
"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." - Margaret
Fuller

Anna Stillwell
Director of Culture
Wikimedia Foundation
415.806.1536
*www.wikimediafoundation.org <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>*
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

Kelly Battles
In reply to this post by Anna Stillwell
Anna thank you so much for handling all of this.
You do a great job and I am very appreciative of that...

> On Jan 25, 2017, at 3:53 PM, Anna Stillwell <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> You make substantive points, Tim. Thank you.
>
> "An employee should not experience their time off as a period where his
> [her/they] work load is just temporarily buffered until his [her/they]
> return, but where colleagues will step in and take care of business."
>
> I take this point seriously and don't wish you to think otherwise. In
> theory, I absolutely agree. In practice, sometimes we all face constraints.
> There are roughly 300 of us (order of magnitude). Every now and then, there
> are not enough of us to go around on everything on a timeline that meets
> the legitimate need that you present here. We'll continue to work on this.
> But, to clarify, no one ever said it was a "useful practice" nor did anyone
> suggest that it was generalized across the org.
>
> What I was wondering about in my previous email and now reiterating in this
> one too, are people willing to grant their request: a bit of time and allow
> for one person to return to work?
>
> Does that seem like a way to move forward?
>
> Warmly,
> /a
>
> On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 2:50 PM, Tim Landscheidt <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
>> Anna Stillwell <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>> […]
>>
>>> I also hear that the pause on the interactive work is temporary. I’ve
>> heard
>>> them request time. I am comfortable granting that request, but no one is
>>> required to agree with me. They’ve also said that the person with the
>> most
>>> information is on vacation. As someone who has seen employees go through
>>> considerable stress in the last years, the entire executive team is
>> working
>>> to establish some cultural standards around supporting vacations. We want
>>> people here to feel comfortable taking proper vacations and sometimes
>> that
>>> can even need to happen in a crisis. People often plan their vacations
>> well
>>> in advance and may not know that something tricky will come up. Just so
>> you
>>> understand one bias I bring to this conversation.
>>
>>> […]
>>
>> I concur with DJ in his initial mail that this is not a use-
>> ful practice, and I doubt very much that it relieves employ-
>> ees' stress.  It conveys the organizational expectation that
>> employees are SPOFs without any backup.  An employee should
>> not experience their time off as a period where his work
>> load is just temporarily buffered until his return, but
>> where colleagues will step in and take care of business.
>> Especially such a major decision like "pausing" a team
>> should not depend on the inner thoughts of one employee, but
>> be backed and explainable by others.
>>
>> Tim
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
>> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
>> New messages to: [hidden email]
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
>> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>>
>
>
>
> --
> "If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." - Margaret
> Fuller
>
> Anna Stillwell
> Director of Culture
> Wikimedia Foundation
> 415.806.1536
> *www.wikimediafoundation.org <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>*
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

Pine W
Thanks for the summary, Chris.

Communications problems with WMF are a sore spot for me, as I've suffered
through a number of them. Despite years of talking about improving
communication, I've seen mixed results to date. I think that the community
liaisons have been valuable, but there is still much room for improvement,
particularly when it comes to how unpredictable WMF staff are in responding
to talk page and email inquiries.

Narrowing focus a little bit to to expand on my earlier point on the value
of having the decision-maker available to answer questions: if the
decision-maker is unavailable for a good reason (and I don't mean a
scheduled vacation, as a decision to pause the work for a team should have
been thoughtfully considered prior to its announcement, and there is every
good reason to budget an hour or two to prepare communications before
announcing decisions like this), I think it's reasonable to expect that
someone else with full access to the facts should be available for Q&A.
That might be a communication person or a technical liaison, or the
person's supervisor. The impression I get is that Dan was making a
good-faith effort to answer questions but did not have access to all of the
facts. I hope that in future cases where the decision-maker is unavailable,
that there will be better planning so that someone who does have access to
all of the facts is available for Q&A.

I'm going to be frank. A scheduled vacation isn't an excuse for poor
planning. I don't mean to say that in a punitive way (I've made planning
errors myself), but rather in the sense that I hope that there will be
thought invested in how to do better planning in the future for
communications surrounding significant decisions when the decision-maker
will be unavailable. Looping back to the beginning of this thread, I agree
with DJ: "2: It shouldn't matter that Katie is on holidays, I'd assume/hope
someone takes over her duties while she is away (Likely Dan himself and/or
Wes Moran). Providing information on topics like this shouldn't have to
wait until someone returns from a (likely well deserved) holiday." I've had
similar frustrations with unresponsiveness from other staff, and I'd like
to see some meaningful effort invested in ensuring that every good-faith
inquiry gets a timely and well-informed answer.

This email is probably a little harsher than I would like it to sound. I
admit to being frustrated -- not so much about this particular case, but
the general situation of the very mixed levels of WMF staff responsiveness
to requests for information.

Pine
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

Anna Stillwell
In reply to this post by Kelly Battles
Hey Kelly,

Nice to hear from you. Glad you've chimed in.

I know a lot of people on this team. They have all seemed reasonable to me
in addition to being well intentioned. They're competent people. My bet is
that they have this handled, but there's a lag in communication time for
some reason and that they are working on that.

And contributors are enthusiastic about software. Claro que si! This is
obviously a good thing and we very much want to listen to what they have to
say and understand their needs.

I just stepped in at the last minute to see if people were willing to give
them a bit of time. The credit belongs elsewhere, but it's nice to hear
your voice and I hope your new role is going well.

Warmly,
/a



On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 7:33 PM, Kelly Battles <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Anna thank you so much for handling all of this.
> You do a great job and I am very appreciative of that...
>
> > On Jan 25, 2017, at 3:53 PM, Anna Stillwell <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> >
> > You make substantive points, Tim. Thank you.
> >
> > "An employee should not experience their time off as a period where his
> > [her/they] work load is just temporarily buffered until his [her/they]
> > return, but where colleagues will step in and take care of business."
> >
> > I take this point seriously and don't wish you to think otherwise. In
> > theory, I absolutely agree. In practice, sometimes we all face
> constraints.
> > There are roughly 300 of us (order of magnitude). Every now and then,
> there
> > are not enough of us to go around on everything on a timeline that meets
> > the legitimate need that you present here. We'll continue to work on
> this.
> > But, to clarify, no one ever said it was a "useful practice" nor did
> anyone
> > suggest that it was generalized across the org.
> >
> > What I was wondering about in my previous email and now reiterating in
> this
> > one too, are people willing to grant their request: a bit of time and
> allow
> > for one person to return to work?
> >
> > Does that seem like a way to move forward?
> >
> > Warmly,
> > /a
> >
> > On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 2:50 PM, Tim Landscheidt <[hidden email]
> >
> > wrote:
> >
> >> Anna Stillwell <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >>
> >>> […]
> >>
> >>> I also hear that the pause on the interactive work is temporary. I’ve
> >> heard
> >>> them request time. I am comfortable granting that request, but no one
> is
> >>> required to agree with me. They’ve also said that the person with the
> >> most
> >>> information is on vacation. As someone who has seen employees go
> through
> >>> considerable stress in the last years, the entire executive team is
> >> working
> >>> to establish some cultural standards around supporting vacations. We
> want
> >>> people here to feel comfortable taking proper vacations and sometimes
> >> that
> >>> can even need to happen in a crisis. People often plan their vacations
> >> well
> >>> in advance and may not know that something tricky will come up. Just so
> >> you
> >>> understand one bias I bring to this conversation.
> >>
> >>> […]
> >>
> >> I concur with DJ in his initial mail that this is not a use-
> >> ful practice, and I doubt very much that it relieves employ-
> >> ees' stress.  It conveys the organizational expectation that
> >> employees are SPOFs without any backup.  An employee should
> >> not experience their time off as a period where his work
> >> load is just temporarily buffered until his return, but
> >> where colleagues will step in and take care of business.
> >> Especially such a major decision like "pausing" a team
> >> should not depend on the inner thoughts of one employee, but
> >> be backed and explainable by others.
> >>
> >> Tim
> >>
> >>
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> >> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> >> New messages to: [hidden email]
> >> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> >> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> >>
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > "If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." - Margaret
> > Fuller
> >
> > Anna Stillwell
> > Director of Culture
> > Wikimedia Foundation
> > 415.806.1536
> > *www.wikimediafoundation.org <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>*
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
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> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
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> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>



--
"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." - Margaret
Fuller

Anna Stillwell
Director of Culture
Wikimedia Foundation
415.806.1536
*www.wikimediafoundation.org <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>*
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

Anna Stillwell
In reply to this post by Pine W
Pine,

>
> This email is probably a little harsher than I would like it to sound. I
> admit to being frustrated -- not so much about this particular case, but
> the general situation of the very mixed levels of WMF staff responsiveness
> to requests for information.
>

Heard.

I'll be ready to talk ideas about this at the end of Q3, but not before.
I'm not promising a course of action yet, I'd like to understand a lot more
first. Might I reach out to you at that time and understand your thoughts?
Anyone else willing to let me ring them and ask them questions?

/a

>
> Pine
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>



--
"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." - Margaret
Fuller

Anna Stillwell
Director of Culture
Wikimedia Foundation
415.806.1536
*www.wikimediafoundation.org <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>*
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

Pete Forsyth-2
In reply to this post by Anna Stillwell
Anna,

I've now read what you quoted for a third time, and can confirm I did
understand, and agree with, what you said. I'm sorry my summary was
inadequate, and may have made it seem otherwise.

As for planning, I am not making assumptions, but perhaps interpreting
differently from you. I'm happy to defer to Pine on the details; their
recent message captures the gist of what I intended.

I can't give a solid estimate of the "half-life," but I do not think the
enthusiasm I've seen (and the metrics I cited in my initial message on
this thread) constitute a passing crush. I do think a "pause" that
necessitates addressing uncertainty when discussing popular features can
have a significant impact, and therefore should be minimized to whatever
degree is attainable. I could be wrong, but that's my belief.

As for the request for more time, I guess I'm just not sure what to make
of it. I make no demands, and I'm not sure I've heard Pine, James, DJ,
or anybody in this thread make demands. Is there somebody with standing
to grant such a request? I've heard it, and it makes sense. It's
worthwhile to know that the team needs more time, and plans to share
more on a scale that sounds like days-to-weeks. But if there's something
specific being asked of me (or others on this list), I'm not clear on
what it is.

I'd be happy to chat if you come back to it at the end of Q3, if you'd like.

-Pete

[[User:Peteforsyth]]


On 01/25/2017 06:38 PM, Anna Stillwell wrote:

> On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 4:53 PM, Pete Forsyth <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Anna,
>>
> Pete,
>
>> Your points are valid and well taken. If I may summarize what I think I
>> heard, it's basically: "Getting things right can be hard, and if full
>> preparations weren't made ahead of time, thorough answers may not be
>> readily available. Be compassionate/patient." Is that about right?
>
> I appreciate that you are trying to understand what I mean. Thanks.
>
> No, I didn’t say getting things right can be hard. I said, “This
> communication thing is hard, especially when people are involved. Sometimes
> there are laws that constrain what we say. Sometimes we don’t know whether
> we are right yet and we need a further unpacking of the facts. The truth is
> that there can be a whole host of reasons for partial communication that
> aren’t related to competence or the intent to deceive.”
>
> As for the preparations, it seems that a lot of assumptions are being made.
> As for thorough answers, some might already be known and others known once
> more planning is completed. However, it could be that the explanations you
> want are not legal to share. There are many issues where employment law and
> worker protections are crystal clear, as they should be.
>
> As for compassion, I don’t require it. That seems like extra to me. I
> usually prefer just paying attention, but that’s my personal choice.
>
> The team asked for some time. I wondered if that would be a reasonable
> request to grant them.
>
> If so, I agree in principle and in spirit, but I think the point is in
>> tension with
>> another one:
>>
>> Community and public enthusiasm for software can be a rare and important
>> thing. The conditions that make it grow, shrink, or sustain are complex,
>> and largely beyond the influence of a handful of mailing list participants.
>> The recent outputs of the Interactive Team have generated enthusiasm in a
>> number of venues, and many on this list (both volunteers and staff) would
>> like to see it grow or sustain, and perhaps throw a little weight behind an
>> effort to make it grow or sustain.
>>
> Good points. I mean that. Glad to hear of these recent outputs generate
> excitement. I’m personally also getting quite excited about ORES
> <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Objective_Revision_Evaluation_Service> and
> what’s going on with the Community Tech Wish List, Labs, and New Readers.
> But I also get that you want to be clear: you'd like to see the interactive
> team’s work grow or sustain. Makes sense.
>
> The only thing I heard is that the team said that they needed to pause,
> have a bit of time, and get back to everybody. “The team's aim during this
> period is to get its work to a stable and maintainable state.”
>
>> But that enthusiasm has a half-life. What is possible today may not be
>> possible next week or next month. The zeitgeist may have evolved or moved
>> on by then.
>>
> I'm not in disagreement with your main point about enthusiasm for software.
> I think it's a very good one. Enthusiasm with a half life of a week,
> however, sounds more like a passing crush. Nevertheless, your point still
> stands.
>
>> -Pete
>> --
>> [[User:Peteforsyth]]
>>
> /a
> [[User:Annaproject]]
>
>> On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 3:53 PM, Anna Stillwell <[hidden email]>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> You make substantive points, Tim. Thank you.
>>>
>>> "An employee should not experience their time off as a period where his
>>> [her/they] work load is just temporarily buffered until his [her/they]
>>> return, but where colleagues will step in and take care of business."
>>>
>>> I take this point seriously and don't wish you to think otherwise. In
>>> theory, I absolutely agree. In practice, sometimes we all face
>> constraints.
>>> There are roughly 300 of us (order of magnitude). Every now and then,
>> there
>>> are not enough of us to go around on everything on a timeline that meets
>>> the legitimate need that you present here. We'll continue to work on
>> this.
>>> But, to clarify, no one ever said it was a "useful practice" nor did
>> anyone
>>> suggest that it was generalized across the org.
>>>
>>> What I was wondering about in my previous email and now reiterating in
>> this
>>> one too, are people willing to grant their request: a bit of time and
>> allow
>>> for one person to return to work?
>>>
>>> Does that seem like a way to move forward?
>>>
>>> Warmly,
>>> /a
>>>
>>> On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 2:50 PM, Tim Landscheidt <[hidden email]
>>>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Anna Stillwell <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> […]
>>>>> I also hear that the pause on the interactive work is temporary. I’ve
>>>> heard
>>>>> them request time. I am comfortable granting that request, but no one
>>> is
>>>>> required to agree with me. They’ve also said that the person with the
>>>> most
>>>>> information is on vacation. As someone who has seen employees go
>>> through
>>>>> considerable stress in the last years, the entire executive team is
>>>> working
>>>>> to establish some cultural standards around supporting vacations. We
>>> want
>>>>> people here to feel comfortable taking proper vacations and sometimes
>>>> that
>>>>> can even need to happen in a crisis. People often plan their
>> vacations
>>>> well
>>>>> in advance and may not know that something tricky will come up. Just
>> so
>>>> you
>>>>> understand one bias I bring to this conversation.
>>>>> […]
>>>> I concur with DJ in his initial mail that this is not a use-
>>>> ful practice, and I doubt very much that it relieves employ-
>>>> ees' stress.  It conveys the organizational expectation that
>>>> employees are SPOFs without any backup.  An employee should
>>>> not experience their time off as a period where his work
>>>> load is just temporarily buffered until his return, but
>>>> where colleagues will step in and take care of business.
>>>> Especially such a major decision like "pausing" a team
>>>> should not depend on the inner thoughts of one employee, but
>>>> be backed and explainable by others.
>>>>
>>>> Tim
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
>>>> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
>>>> New messages to: [hidden email]
>>>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
>>>> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> --
>>> "If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." - Margaret
>>> Fuller
>>>
>>> Anna Stillwell
>>> Director of Culture
>>> Wikimedia Foundation
>>> 415.806.1536
>>> *www.wikimediafoundation.org <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>*
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
>>> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
>>> New messages to: [hidden email]
>>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
>>> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
>> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
>> New messages to: [hidden email]
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
>> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>>
>
>


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Fwd: [discovery] Interactive Team putting work on pause

Anna Stillwell
On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 9:14 PM, Pete Forsyth <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Anna,
>
> I've now read what you quoted for a third time, and can confirm I did
> understand, and agree with, what you said. I'm sorry my summary was
> inadequate, and may have made it seem otherwise.
>
> As for planning, I am not making assumptions, but perhaps interpreting
> differently from you. I'm happy to defer to Pine on the details; their
> recent message captures the gist of what I intended.
>
> I can't give a solid estimate of the "half-life," but I do not think the
> enthusiasm I've seen (and the metrics I cited in my initial message on this
> thread) constitute a passing crush. I do think a "pause" that necessitates
> addressing uncertainty when discussing popular features can have a
> significant impact, and therefore should be minimized to whatever degree is
> attainable. I could be wrong, but that's my belief.
>

Got it.  (I add color so I can see. I think I need better glasses. Sad!).

>
> As for the request for more time, I guess I'm just not sure what to make
> of it. I make no demands, and I'm not sure I've heard Pine, James, DJ, or
> anybody in this thread make demands. Is there somebody with standing to
> grant such a request? I've heard it, and it makes sense. It's worthwhile to
> know that the team needs more time, and plans to share more on a scale that
> sounds like days-to-weeks. But if there's something specific being asked of
> me (or others on this list), I'm not clear on what it is.
>

I was just asking whether you thought it was reasonable to give them the
time that they asked for.  It wasn't a governance question, or a discussion
about authority. I was just asking if those who commented, who all seemed
to have legitimate concerns, were willing to have the team get back to them
with any answers that they could fairly, justly, respectfully and legally
provide, but more likely they would talk about the future work.

In my mind I've been clear and consistent: "Hey, do you guys think it is
reasonable to give these guys some time?" But it seems like I've not made
this point clear. Would singing it at karaoke help?

>
> I'd be happy to chat if you come back to it at the end of Q3, if you'd
> like.
>

Thanks. I'll reach out.

>
> -Pete
>
> [[User:Peteforsyth]]
>
>
>
> On 01/25/2017 06:38 PM, Anna Stillwell wrote:
>
>> On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 4:53 PM, Pete Forsyth <[hidden email]>
>> wrote:
>>
>> Anna,
>>>
>>> Pete,
>>
>> Your points are valid and well taken. If I may summarize what I think I
>>> heard, it's basically: "Getting things right can be hard, and if full
>>> preparations weren't made ahead of time, thorough answers may not be
>>> readily available. Be compassionate/patient." Is that about right?
>>>
>>
>> I appreciate that you are trying to understand what I mean. Thanks.
>>
>> No, I didn’t say getting things right can be hard. I said, “This
>> communication thing is hard, especially when people are involved.
>> Sometimes
>> there are laws that constrain what we say. Sometimes we don’t know whether
>> we are right yet and we need a further unpacking of the facts. The truth
>> is
>> that there can be a whole host of reasons for partial communication that
>> aren’t related to competence or the intent to deceive.”
>>
>> As for the preparations, it seems that a lot of assumptions are being
>> made.
>> As for thorough answers, some might already be known and others known once
>> more planning is completed. However, it could be that the explanations you
>> want are not legal to share. There are many issues where employment law
>> and
>> worker protections are crystal clear, as they should be.
>>
>> As for compassion, I don’t require it. That seems like extra to me. I
>> usually prefer just paying attention, but that’s my personal choice.
>>
>> The team asked for some time. I wondered if that would be a reasonable
>> request to grant them.
>>
>> If so, I agree in principle and in spirit, but I think the point is in
>>
>>> tension with
>>> another one:
>>>
>>> Community and public enthusiasm for software can be a rare and important
>>> thing. The conditions that make it grow, shrink, or sustain are complex,
>>> and largely beyond the influence of a handful of mailing list
>>> participants.
>>> The recent outputs of the Interactive Team have generated enthusiasm in a
>>> number of venues, and many on this list (both volunteers and staff) would
>>> like to see it grow or sustain, and perhaps throw a little weight behind
>>> an
>>> effort to make it grow or sustain.
>>>
>>> Good points. I mean that. Glad to hear of these recent outputs generate
>> excitement. I’m personally also getting quite excited about ORES
>> <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Objective_Revision_Evaluation_Service>
>> and
>>
>> what’s going on with the Community Tech Wish List, Labs, and New Readers.
>> But I also get that you want to be clear: you'd like to see the
>> interactive
>> team’s work grow or sustain. Makes sense.
>>
>> The only thing I heard is that the team said that they needed to pause,
>> have a bit of time, and get back to everybody. “The team's aim during this
>> period is to get its work to a stable and maintainable state.”
>>
>> But that enthusiasm has a half-life. What is possible today may not be
>>> possible next week or next month. The zeitgeist may have evolved or moved
>>> on by then.
>>>
>>> I'm not in disagreement with your main point about enthusiasm for
>> software.
>> I think it's a very good one. Enthusiasm with a half life of a week,
>> however, sounds more like a passing crush. Nevertheless, your point still
>> stands.
>>
>> -Pete
>>> --
>>> [[User:Peteforsyth]]
>>>
>>> /a
>> [[User:Annaproject]]
>>
>> On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 3:53 PM, Anna Stillwell <[hidden email]
>>> >
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>> You make substantive points, Tim. Thank you.
>>>>
>>>> "An employee should not experience their time off as a period where his
>>>> [her/they] work load is just temporarily buffered until his [her/they]
>>>> return, but where colleagues will step in and take care of business."
>>>>
>>>> I take this point seriously and don't wish you to think otherwise. In
>>>> theory, I absolutely agree. In practice, sometimes we all face
>>>>
>>> constraints.
>>>
>>>> There are roughly 300 of us (order of magnitude). Every now and then,
>>>>
>>> there
>>>
>>>> are not enough of us to go around on everything on a timeline that meets
>>>> the legitimate need that you present here. We'll continue to work on
>>>>
>>> this.
>>>
>>>> But, to clarify, no one ever said it was a "useful practice" nor did
>>>>
>>> anyone
>>>
>>>> suggest that it was generalized across the org.
>>>>
>>>> What I was wondering about in my previous email and now reiterating in
>>>>
>>> this
>>>
>>>> one too, are people willing to grant their request: a bit of time and
>>>>
>>> allow
>>>
>>>> for one person to return to work?
>>>>
>>>> Does that seem like a way to move forward?
>>>>
>>>> Warmly,
>>>> /a
>>>>
>>>> On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 2:50 PM, Tim Landscheidt <
>>>> [hidden email]
>>>>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> Anna Stillwell <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>> […]
>>>>>> I also hear that the pause on the interactive work is temporary. I’ve
>>>>>>
>>>>> heard
>>>>>
>>>>>> them request time. I am comfortable granting that request, but no one
>>>>>>
>>>>> is
>>>>
>>>>> required to agree with me. They’ve also said that the person with the
>>>>>>
>>>>> most
>>>>>
>>>>>> information is on vacation. As someone who has seen employees go
>>>>>>
>>>>> through
>>>>
>>>>> considerable stress in the last years, the entire executive team is
>>>>>>
>>>>> working
>>>>>
>>>>>> to establish some cultural standards around supporting vacations. We
>>>>>>
>>>>> want
>>>>
>>>>> people here to feel comfortable taking proper vacations and sometimes
>>>>>>
>>>>> that
>>>>>
>>>>>> can even need to happen in a crisis. People often plan their
>>>>>>
>>>>> vacations
>>>
>>>> well
>>>>>
>>>>>> in advance and may not know that something tricky will come up. Just
>>>>>>
>>>>> so
>>>
>>>> you
>>>>>
>>>>>> understand one bias I bring to this conversation.
>>>>>> […]
>>>>>>
>>>>> I concur with DJ in his initial mail that this is not a use-
>>>>> ful practice, and I doubt very much that it relieves employ-
>>>>> ees' stress.  It conveys the organizational expectation that
>>>>> employees are SPOFs without any backup.  An employee should
>>>>> not experience their time off as a period where his work
>>>>> load is just temporarily buffered until his return, but
>>>>> where colleagues will step in and take care of business.
>>>>> Especially such a major decision like "pausing" a team
>>>>> should not depend on the inner thoughts of one employee, but
>>>>> be backed and explainable by others.
>>>>>
>>>>> Tim
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
>>>>> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
>>>>> New messages to: [hidden email]
>>>>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
>>>>> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> --
>>>> "If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." -
>>>> Margaret
>>>> Fuller
>>>>
>>>> Anna Stillwell
>>>> Director of Culture
>>>> Wikimedia Foundation
>>>> 415.806.1536
>>>> *www.wikimediafoundation.org <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>*
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
>>>> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
>>>> New messages to: [hidden email]
>>>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
>>>> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>>>>
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/
>>> wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
>>> New messages to: [hidden email]
>>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
>>> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>>>
>>>
>>
>>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wik
> i/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>



--
"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." - Margaret
Fuller

Anna Stillwell
Director of Culture
Wikimedia Foundation
415.806.1536
*www.wikimediafoundation.org <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>*
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
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