[Wikimedia-l] Reducing stress and friction in interactions between WMF, affiliates, and community

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
4 messages Options
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

[Wikimedia-l] Reducing stress and friction in interactions between WMF, affiliates, and community

Pine W
Hi,

Recent events have brought to mind the recurring challenges of stress and
friction in the Wikiverse that can happen in interactions, or lack of
interactions, between WMF, affiliates, and community members.

I realize that some friction is inevitable, but the feeling that I get is
that the levels of stress regarding these interactions are, on average,
fairly high.

This stress can happen on both sides. My understanding is that some staff
are afraid to communicate in public because they worry about making people
angry for unpredictable reasons. Affiliates and community people may feel
frustrated or ignored.

For me, this situation is painful and frustrating, and I'm currently
feeling worn by the friction of our groups.

The Wikiverse will probably always have a some friction, and some of that
friction may lead to insightful conversations and good refinement of ideas,
but the average level of WMF-affiliate-community friction feels high.

I'm not saying that there should be no conflicts or no difficult
conversations. Sometimes I think that being frank is the best thing to do,
and a high level of stress is difficult to avoid in certain situations.
However, I would like for the average level of stress and friction in our
interactions to be more moderate. I would like for staff to feel generally
okay regarding communicating in public, and I would like for affiliates and
community members (in which I include myself) to feel less pain.

I think that the mission to share verifiable and reliable knowledge with
the world is amazing, and I'm grateful that we do this. However, the stress
level regarding WMF-affiliate-community interactions feels high in a way
that I think that this is a problem. Maybe a question to ask about our
interactions is, "How can improve the quality of our interactions in a way
that is generally beneficial for all groups and beneficial for our common
goals?"

Would anyone like to make suggestions?

Thanks,

Pine
( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Reducing stress and friction in interactions between WMF, affiliates, and community

Paulo Santos Perneta
More transparency from the side of the WMF (and often, from affiliates as
well) seems like a good way of considerably reducing mistrust, stress and
friction between the Wikimedia communities, affiliates and the WMF. The
fact is that more than often the WMF seem to be at odds with the principles
of transparency and accountability that generally rule our Wikimedia
communities (for the worst and for the better). Take that paradigm of
obscurity that AffCom has become in the last years, for instance - without
any hint it would change (quite the opposite, indeed). Also, when people
know about the WMF (and a LOT of people in the projects do not have any
idea it even exists, let alone in the civil society that surrounds us),
often it is not for the good reasons. I would say the WMF is in dire need
of an efficient PR operation, specially on the points of contact between
itself and affiliates (such AffCom) and the communities.

Best,
Paulo - darwIn
Wikimedia Portugal


Pine W <[hidden email]> escreveu no dia sexta, 22/02/2019 à(s) 19:01:

> Hi,
>
> Recent events have brought to mind the recurring challenges of stress and
> friction in the Wikiverse that can happen in interactions, or lack of
> interactions, between WMF, affiliates, and community members.
>
> I realize that some friction is inevitable, but the feeling that I get is
> that the levels of stress regarding these interactions are, on average,
> fairly high.
>
> This stress can happen on both sides. My understanding is that some staff
> are afraid to communicate in public because they worry about making people
> angry for unpredictable reasons. Affiliates and community people may feel
> frustrated or ignored.
>
> For me, this situation is painful and frustrating, and I'm currently
> feeling worn by the friction of our groups.
>
> The Wikiverse will probably always have a some friction, and some of that
> friction may lead to insightful conversations and good refinement of ideas,
> but the average level of WMF-affiliate-community friction feels high.
>
> I'm not saying that there should be no conflicts or no difficult
> conversations. Sometimes I think that being frank is the best thing to do,
> and a high level of stress is difficult to avoid in certain situations.
> However, I would like for the average level of stress and friction in our
> interactions to be more moderate. I would like for staff to feel generally
> okay regarding communicating in public, and I would like for affiliates and
> community members (in which I include myself) to feel less pain.
>
> I think that the mission to share verifiable and reliable knowledge with
> the world is amazing, and I'm grateful that we do this. However, the stress
> level regarding WMF-affiliate-community interactions feels high in a way
> that I think that this is a problem. Maybe a question to ask about our
> interactions is, "How can improve the quality of our interactions in a way
> that is generally beneficial for all groups and beneficial for our common
> goals?"
>
> Would anyone like to make suggestions?
>
> Thanks,
>
> Pine
> ( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> 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 and https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Reducing stress and friction in interactions between WMF, affiliates, and community

Pine W
I like the idea of more transparency, and I think that opening processes
can often help to reduce surprises and increase the quality of decisions.

I wonder whether a reason that people hide information, including drafts
and plans, is that they are afraid that if they share information then
someone will criticize them bluntly for perceived shortcomings.

I think that some courage is necessary to publish work while knowing that
the work may be criticized. Public speaking is a common fear, and I wonder
whether we should do more to encourage people and to train people how to
present in public even when there is a risk of criticism. I have drafted
some additional comments regarding this point that I may share later.

At the same time, I understand that the level of frustration in the
Wikiverse can be high, and it's easy to snap at someone else who may be
generally competent and have had good intentions when they share something,
make a comment, or ask a question. (My guess is that if I review my own
emails then I will find a few emails that I wish that I had worded
differently.)

I also wonder if, collectively, we should work on improving our listening
and one on one conversation skills. By listening I do not necessarily mean
"create a survey and obtain analytics", although surveys and analytics can
be useful tools. Listening includes hearing comments that are unpleasant,
and hearing criticism that may be delivered coldly. Listening may
difficult, but my guess is that improving our collective listening skills
would decrease the average level of stress and frustration in the
Wikiverse. People who feel heard and are given a chance to shape decisions,
in my experience, sometimes become more understanding and accepting, while
people who feel ignored may also feel frustrated and resentful.

Regarding WMF specifically, I think that some teams in WMF do a good job of
listening, while others seem to regard listening as something that is best
done exclusively through surveys and analytics. I think that surveys and
analytics can be good, but also that one on one conversations are often
necessary for enriching mutual understanding, for the greatest chance of
producing good outcomes, and for decreasing the average level of
frustration and stress in our shared environment.

Pine
( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Reducing stress and friction in interactions between WMF, affiliates, and community

Chris Keating-2
In reply to this post by Pine W
On this note, here's an essay I wrote along similar lines in 2016. I think
things have improved significantly since then, but most of the observations
are still true...

https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:The_Land/Why_do_They_always_do_It_wrong

On Fri, Feb 22, 2019 at 7:01 PM Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi,
>
> Recent events have brought to mind the recurring challenges of stress and
> friction in the Wikiverse that can happen in interactions, or lack of
> interactions, between WMF, affiliates, and community members.
>
> I realize that some friction is inevitable, but the feeling that I get is
> that the levels of stress regarding these interactions are, on average,
> fairly high.
>
> This stress can happen on both sides. My understanding is that some staff
> are afraid to communicate in public because they worry about making people
> angry for unpredictable reasons. Affiliates and community people may feel
> frustrated or ignored.
>
> For me, this situation is painful and frustrating, and I'm currently
> feeling worn by the friction of our groups.
>
> The Wikiverse will probably always have a some friction, and some of that
> friction may lead to insightful conversations and good refinement of ideas,
> but the average level of WMF-affiliate-community friction feels high.
>
> I'm not saying that there should be no conflicts or no difficult
> conversations. Sometimes I think that being frank is the best thing to do,
> and a high level of stress is difficult to avoid in certain situations.
> However, I would like for the average level of stress and friction in our
> interactions to be more moderate. I would like for staff to feel generally
> okay regarding communicating in public, and I would like for affiliates and
> community members (in which I include myself) to feel less pain.
>
> I think that the mission to share verifiable and reliable knowledge with
> the world is amazing, and I'm grateful that we do this. However, the stress
> level regarding WMF-affiliate-community interactions feels high in a way
> that I think that this is a problem. Maybe a question to ask about our
> interactions is, "How can improve the quality of our interactions in a way
> that is generally beneficial for all groups and beneficial for our common
> goals?"
>
> Would anyone like to make suggestions?
>
> Thanks,
>
> Pine
> ( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> 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 and https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>