[Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

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[Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

theo10011
Hi

Sue Gardner started working on this document on Meta a couple of weeks ago
- http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Sue_Gardner/Narrowing_focus The
document outlines some rather big changes in the priority for WMF and
future responsibilities it will agree to keep. I am surprised by how little
attention this is getting from the larger community. There are comments but
mostly from the same individuals on Meta, little to none from some of the
most active voices and the larger English Wikipedia community.

This is the new direction being considered by the WMF, to basically abandon
or cut back on majority of activities from the last few year. Here are some
points-
1) No more Fellowships.
2) No more direct work in the developing markets (aka Global South- India,
Brazil, MENA)
3) No more support for International events, and cutting back on Wikimania

Instead of these, things like Editor engagement, Mobile and FDC/grant
making are being made priorities for WMF in the future. A large majority of
editors have had no interaction with grants and are unlikely to have so
with FDC as well, same with some of the mobile initiatives like Wikipedia
Zero which are limited to certain developing markets. A lot of these
changes will have a lasting impact, its not just relevant to those
interested in governance issues. Some of the implications are - Fellowships
would be removed all together, little to no spending on Hackathons,
possibly GLAM camps and other international events all together, less
spending on Wikimania and scholarships, the work in India and Brazil will
be moved away from WMF completely for a "partner" organization to take over
with a grant from WMF. If you do find some time, please consider taking a
look and commenting on these developments before they are approved.
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Sue_Gardner/Narrowing_focus

Regards
Theo

The document has some interesting quotes -

"The Wikimedia Foundation is not a think tank or a research institute.
We're not an advocacy organization or a lobbyist, and our core mission
isn't to keep the internet free and open. We are not a general educational
non-profit. (We are a website, or set of sites, and everything we do needs
to be understood through that lens.) We don't just reactively "support the
community"—responding to requests from editors and doing what they ask us
to do. Our purpose isn't to provide MediaWiki support for third parties
(but it's in our interest to ensure that a healthy third party ecosystem
develops around MediaWiki). We're not, ourselves, content creators. Our
purpose is not to ensure the chapters grow and develop, nor is it to
support the chapters in their growth and development: rather, chapters are
our partners in supporting editors and other content creators.

The Wikimedia Foundation is not the only fish in the sea of free knowledge;
not everything that needs to be done must be done by the Wikimedia
Foundation, and it's not our job to do work that other individuals or
entities are better positioned or mandated to do, however important that
work may be. When we try to do work that more properly belongs to other
individuals or groups, we imperil our ability to get our own core work
done, and we arguably make it less possible for other entities to do what
they're supposed to be doing."
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

Nathan Awrich
Other than the fellowships, which I'll come back to in a moment, I
think Sue's new course for the WMF makes a lot of sense. The WMF has
been the subject of a lot of valid criticism in the last few years
around its goals, spending and achievements. Despite soaring budgets
and an FTE trend to delight any bureaucrat, measurable positive
impacts have been few and far between. Glamorous international efforts
and experiments in organizational management might please their
respective stakeholders and beneficiaries, but they have had
questionable benefit for what is supposed to be the WMF's core
mission. Perhaps in an attempt to be all things in this "movement",
the WMF has lagged at being what it truly ought to be - an effective,
innovative manager for an ecosystem of web-based knowledge references.

There's no margin in ignoring the fact that steadily dropping editor
involvement is a serious challenge for the future of Wikimedia. We
don't really understand what's causing this drop, and we're suffering
from a lack of ideas on how to solve it. There's a place for
small-bore efforts like training small groups of people on how to use
our projects, but they are too low impact for a big scale problem. Yet
I haven't seen big efforts at innovating solutions.  Beyond Vector and
the abuse filter, what attempts have been made to solve the big
problems? Or even to understand them? Why can Reddit and other
massive userbase sites keep their community and continue to grow,
while Wikimedia can't? Is it that we're too hard to use? Too much has
already been done? Are the communities not open enough? Too bound by
rules and standards and a conservative ethic of interaction? This is
where I think fellowships are useful and should continue; they are an
opportunity to incubate innovative solutions and improvements to the
problems we face, and to generate insight into what those problems
are. I don't have the answers, and I don't think Wikimedia does
either. Narrowing the organizational focus to more tightly concentrate
on these issues sounds like a great idea; keeping on as it has been
sounds like arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

theo10011
On Thu, Oct 18, 2012 at 7:47 PM, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Other than the fellowships, which I'll come back to in a moment, I
> think Sue's new course for the WMF makes a lot of sense. The WMF has
> been the subject of a lot of valid criticism in the last few years
> around its goals, spending and achievements. Despite soaring budgets
> and an FTE trend to delight any bureaucrat, measurable positive
> impacts have been few and far between. Glamorous international efforts
> and experiments in organizational management might please their
> respective stakeholders and beneficiaries, but they have had
> questionable benefit for what is supposed to be the WMF's core
> mission. Perhaps in an attempt to be all things in this "movement",
> the WMF has lagged at being what it truly ought to be - an effective,
> innovative manager for an ecosystem of web-based knowledge references.
>
> There's no margin in ignoring the fact that steadily dropping editor
> involvement is a serious challenge for the future of Wikimedia. We
> don't really understand what's causing this drop, and we're suffering
> from a lack of ideas on how to solve it. There's a place for
> small-bore efforts like training small groups of people on how to use
> our projects, but they are too low impact for a big scale problem. Yet
> I haven't seen big efforts at innovating solutions.  Beyond Vector and
> the abuse filter, what attempts have been made to solve the big
> problems? Or even to understand them? Why can Reddit and other
> massive userbase sites keep their community and continue to grow,
> while Wikimedia can't? Is it that we're too hard to use? Too much has
> already been done? Are the communities not open enough? Too bound by
> rules and standards and a conservative ethic of interaction? This is
> where I think fellowships are useful and should continue; they are an
> opportunity to incubate innovative solutions and improvements to the
> problems we face, and to generate insight into what those problems
> are. I don't have the answers, and I don't think Wikimedia does
> either. Narrowing the organizational focus to more tightly concentrate
> on these issues sounds like a great idea; keeping on as it has been
> sounds like arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
>

I disagree with your interpretation, but it still deserves to be said. The
talk page has mostly resounding opposition. You are basing a lot of your
interpretation that WMF has been the subject of a lot of criticism in the
past, and this move might help ameliorate some of the tension. I actually
don't recall the fellowship program, presence in the developing world or
Wikimania itself, as being subject of criticisms being directed at WMF. The
education program is still there, as is the "community advocacy"
department, and mostly the same structure that brought you fine ideas like
the filter and took away chapter fundraising, so are the initiatives that
brought us tools like the AFT and Wikilove/Moodbar. It's highly debatable
if any of the area WMF was criticized on, is removed in this move. It is
arguably also abandoning duties and expenses it was able to maintain once
at a budget of $6-8 million, at the current level of $40 Million. If you
look at this in context, first the chapter fundraising ability was taken
away so there is just one source of funding, then decisions are being taken
to shut down programs which would be absolute in this scenario.

I have no idea how properties like reddit still maintain and keep growing.
Perhaps, it's because they are not emaciated bodies anemic for constant
fresh blood, as WMF seems to have been convinced Wikipedia is. Perhaps,
it's also because one is a social website that creates memes and posts
funny pictures that their members find and the other is an Encyclopedia,
with rules, citations, and all the serious stuff that might require more of
a commitment. Not everyone likes to edit an encyclopedia, fewer still do it
well, maybe comparing our community with Facebook and reddit is the
problem.*

As far as "Movement" goes, that's what we actually raise money in the name
of, we don't ask to support "an effective, innovative manager of an
ecosystem of web-based knowledge references". Movement, I suppose was hard
to characterize, in different context it could mean different things, it
could be organizing an event on one end of the world one day, doing
something like WLM the next or opposing something like SOPA the day after,
all the while running the largest, online encyclopedia. Something was
needed to bind those common threads, I suppose Movement was the word they
chose, I don't like it any more than you do, but it fits. There just
doesn't seem to be a lot tying all this together, more and more threads are
being cut and manipulated.

Last point about fundraising, It was perhaps worth striving to achieve a
distant abstract goal that will not be met in the near future like "End
world hunger" or "No bombs, No wars", as far as those go, perhaps
"Gathering the sum of all human knowledge" is in that same distant vein,
not likely to be achieved any time soon or perhaps ever. It might become a
bit harder if the larger goal was to be specified, instead of "Support our
community", "Support our editors" Jimmy would be asking this year to "help
support our FDC grants program and mobile development for the year", for
those who know, it should affect the perception at least. The most sanguine
of disposition from community members about fundraising should consider,
that WMF is actually suggesting to do less while raising more money.

Regards
Theo

(*partially borrowed from something MzMcbride said in a similar context.)
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

MZMcBride-2
In reply to this post by theo10011
Theo10011 wrote:
> Sue Gardner started working on this document on Meta a couple of weeks ago
> - http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Sue_Gardner/Narrowing_focus

Well, there's your problem. You're reading the talk page! You want the
subject-space page, of course:
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Sue_Gardner/Narrowing_focus>.

I've read (or skimmed) your posts to the talk page and to this list and I'm
a bit lost why you seem to be hostile to the document. Were you a big fan of
the fellowships or India programs? Do you think Wikimania can't sustain
itself? I think you have been pretty vocally critical of programs like these
in the past and I would think you would be pleased with the narrowed focus.
I am. And I think the Board will be. Is it a perfect plan? No. Is there more
work to do? Of course.

But I'm sincerely confused about which parts you're upset with and why. If
your intent is to rabble-rouse, you're doing it wrong. :-)

MZMcBride



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

MZMcBride-2
MZMcBride wrote:
> Theo10011 wrote:
>> Sue Gardner started working on this document on Meta a couple of weeks ago
>> - http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Sue_Gardner/Narrowing_focus
>
> Well, there's your problem. You're reading the talk page! You want the
> subject-space page, of course:
> <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Sue_Gardner/Narrowing_focus>.

Sorry, one more thing that I think deserves a follow-up e-mail: huge props
to Sue for drafting this on-wiki. I know that there were a number of
alternate private venues available (such as the office wiki) and it isn't
always easy to draft a document, particularly a document like this, in
public. In keeping with our values, I hope we continue to encourage everyone
to use the public venues whenever possible. Thank you, Sue!

MZMcBride



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

Rodrigo Tetsuo Argenton
Narrowing the focus... target locked on Wikipedia... hunf sad... very sad.

Thanks board...
On 18 October 2012 19:07, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:

> MZMcBride wrote:
> > Theo10011 wrote:
> >> Sue Gardner started working on this document on Meta a couple of weeks
> ago
> >> - http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Sue_Gardner/Narrowing_focus
> >
> > Well, there's your problem. You're reading the talk page! You want the
> > subject-space page, of course:
> > <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Sue_Gardner/Narrowing_focus>.
>
> Sorry, one more thing that I think deserves a follow-up e-mail: huge props
> to Sue for drafting this on-wiki. I know that there were a number of
> alternate private venues available (such as the office wiki) and it isn't
> always easy to draft a document, particularly a document like this, in
> public. In keeping with our values, I hope we continue to encourage
> everyone
> to use the public venues whenever possible. Thank you, Sue!
>
> MZMcBride
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
>



--
Rodrigo Tetsuo Argenton
[hidden email]
+55 11 97 97 18 884
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

James Salsman-2
In reply to this post by theo10011
>... We are not a general educational non-profit....

The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage
people around the world to collect and develop educational content
under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it
effectively and globally.

How is it possible for an educational non-profit to be any more general?

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

Juergen Fenn-3
In reply to this post by Nathan Awrich
2012/10/18 Nathan <[hidden email]>:

> Why can Reddit and other
> massive userbase sites keep their community and continue to grow,
> while Wikimedia can't? Is it that we're too hard to use? Too much has
> already been done? Are the communities not open enough? Too bound by
> rules and standards and a conservative ethic of interaction?

That's easy to answer. Apart from the commercial social network sites
for the populace being non-educational: Much has already been done,
and what we are doing is good enough to most people. Also, they do not
perceive Wikipedia as a community to become a part of, but basically
as an online encyclopaedia they can use for looking up something they
are interested in --- after all, that's what it's supposed to be,
isn't it. And then, the situation is quite different for the language
communities. German Wikipedia grows constantly by some 400 new
articles per day. No change over time. No loss of productivity. So
what?

Regards,
Jürgen.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

theo10011
In reply to this post by MZMcBride-2
On Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 3:28 AM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Well, there's your problem. You're reading the talk page! You want the
> subject-space page, of course:
> <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Sue_Gardner/Narrowing_focus>.
>

Ah darn. And there I was so lost, you saved us.


>
> I've read (or skimmed) your posts to the talk page and to this list and I'm
> a bit lost why you seem to be hostile to the document. Were you a big fan
> of
> the fellowships or India programs? Do you think Wikimania can't sustain
> itself? I think you have been pretty vocally critical of programs like
> these
> in the past and I would think you would be pleased with the narrowed focus.
> I am. And I think the Board will be. Is it a perfect plan? No. Is there
> more
> work to do? Of course.
>

Well, you seem to be singling me out as if I'm the only one. As of writing
this, there is Liam, Bence, Pine, Ocaasi, DGG and several others
criticizing these developments, some even started before me. I wasn't a fan
of the what preceded these changes, and no, I'm not happy about some of the
things replacing them including what's being done with the India program. I
also don't think Wikimania can sustain itself without constant WMF support,
and fellowships have become an integral part of the annual program. These
changes will affect a lot of things - GLAM, Wikimania scholarships, events
around the world - there is also a lot more that money could have gone
to. My post here was just to bring the discussion in view, just like Pine
did a week or so ago, and hopefully get more participation, maybe the
rhetoric got a bit heavy somewhere along the line.

Perhaps, you can assume that I have a different set of concerns than yours.
Understandably, most of these changes don't interest you (beyond the
concern you displayed for the term 'Global South'), but it shouldn't be
hard to understand that they might concern others. If you see the talk page
again, I'm certainly not alone in some of these thoughts. If this seems
uninteresting, fine, I'm sure there is a Jimmy conspiracy not far from
here, that usually interests the majority. You see, I'm also not as
detached as you are, after spending the better part of the decade following
this, you can look at it with a mixture of amusement and apathy, I can't. I
expect to burn out soon and not care, but until then I'm certainly going to
rage against the dying of that light. (tl;dr version - Whatever, brah!)


> But I'm sincerely confused about which parts you're upset with and why. If
> your intent is to rabble-rouse, you're doing it wrong. :-)
>

Heh, you'd know. ;) I think I can be a bit more effective, if my only
intention was to rabble-rouse - it wasn't.

Regards
Theo
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

Виктория-6
This proposal reminds me of "management buyout", which Wikipedia defines as
"form of acquisition where a company's existing managers acquire a large
part or all of the company from either the parent company or from the
private owners".

There always been ambiguity to the roles of WMF - does it have right to
interfere with Community decisions, especially highly controversial ones?
In what form it should communicate with highly dispersed, varied community.
I cannot say that I completely agreed with "5 year plan", but at least it
have given a clear directions and even (some, not all) achievable goals:
attraction of new editors, including women, helping the Global South to
access free knowledge.  Of course, not all initiatives were working, but at
least the was movement in the right direction.

I understand that it wasn't easy for the WMF employees, but we all hope
that working for a non-profit organisation is not just a day, 9 to 5 job
(which are disappearing fast anyway). And now the management found how to
end all this - curtail awkward, highly demanding activities on the ground
in less civilised world and concentrate on relatively easy, structured
work, which can be done in sunny San Francisco - engineering and "grant
making".

I cannot say anything against engineering, this is a cornerstone, although
I cannot see how management, Legal etc. engagement with "people on the
ground" have interfered with programmers work and how "refocusing" will
help to create Visual Editor. My worry is about "grant making", forgive
me, I am not a native speaker, so I can just guess that this means "grant
distributing".

When the chapters started appearing, I thought  they will be local WMF,
which will build bridges between WMF and local communities. This is not
what happened. I don't want to go into details as to why, but Fir WMF had
already withdrawn support for the Chapter fundraising through the banner,
and now if I understand correctly the Chapters re supposed to fend for
themselves completely - they want to do it anyway, but this is a different
story.

So WMF will collect the money and then will distribute it by the means
unknown.  As a former member of the Grant Committee I can say that the
current process is not very efficient and there is no alternative proposed.
 And  if WMF focus on distributing grants instead of helping directly, it
will become incredibly difficult for people with no experience in a highly
specific task of grant-writing (=community members) to get their
initiatives off the ground, and the money will go to third parties.  During
the "restructuring time" WMF will stop supporting really working things
such as Wikimania, leaving it to fend for itself, just like chapters.

I wonder at what point European Chapters, lead by highly efficient German ,
will realise that they don't need WMF, buy servers and fork.

I can only hope that the Board will not agree with this proposal and WMF
will find some other way to reduce work-related stress.

Victoria
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

Mono mium
I find this rather frightening, as it implies that the programs undertaken
by the Wikimedia Foundation recently were not successful and wasted funds.
This is open to debate, but if these programs were successful in 'editor
engagement' why would we get rid of them?

(It seems like they weren't.)

Meanwhile, the proposal shown seems to favor product development. But the
funds being spent on extremely basic improvements that other top websites
did years ago is alarming too. It seems like the WMF needs to streamline
development for rapid deployment.

Finish the visual editor, design a new interface for reading and such, and
get people editing and uploading with an awareness campaign. Google is
perfecting Wikipedia's purpose (see
https://www.google.com/?q=paul%20ryanon the right).

The WMF should spend less time thinking about what to do and more time
doing it. That means they can't do everything under the moon. But everyone
knows that big things need to happen.

On Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 5:01 AM, Виктория <[hidden email]> wrote:

> This proposal reminds me of "management buyout", which Wikipedia defines as
> "form of acquisition where a company's existing managers acquire a large
> part or all of the company from either the parent company or from the
> private owners".
>
> There always been ambiguity to the roles of WMF - does it have right to
> interfere with Community decisions, especially highly controversial ones?
> In what form it should communicate with highly dispersed, varied community.
> I cannot say that I completely agreed with "5 year plan", but at least it
> have given a clear directions and even (some, not all) achievable goals:
> attraction of new editors, including women, helping the Global South to
> access free knowledge.  Of course, not all initiatives were working, but at
> least the was movement in the right direction.
>
> I understand that it wasn't easy for the WMF employees, but we all hope
> that working for a non-profit organisation is not just a day, 9 to 5 job
> (which are disappearing fast anyway). And now the management found how to
> end all this - curtail awkward, highly demanding activities on the ground
> in less civilised world and concentrate on relatively easy, structured
> work, which can be done in sunny San Francisco - engineering and "grant
> making".
>
> I cannot say anything against engineering, this is a cornerstone, although
> I cannot see how management, Legal etc. engagement with "people on the
> ground" have interfered with programmers work and how "refocusing" will
> help to create Visual Editor. My worry is about "grant making", forgive
> me, I am not a native speaker, so I can just guess that this means "grant
> distributing".
>
> When the chapters started appearing, I thought  they will be local WMF,
> which will build bridges between WMF and local communities. This is not
> what happened. I don't want to go into details as to why, but Fir WMF had
> already withdrawn support for the Chapter fundraising through the banner,
> and now if I understand correctly the Chapters re supposed to fend for
> themselves completely - they want to do it anyway, but this is a different
> story.
>
> So WMF will collect the money and then will distribute it by the means
> unknown.  As a former member of the Grant Committee I can say that the
> current process is not very efficient and there is no alternative proposed.
>  And  if WMF focus on distributing grants instead of helping directly, it
> will become incredibly difficult for people with no experience in a highly
> specific task of grant-writing (=community members) to get their
> initiatives off the ground, and the money will go to third parties.  During
> the "restructuring time" WMF will stop supporting really working things
> such as Wikimania, leaving it to fend for itself, just like chapters.
>
> I wonder at what point European Chapters, lead by highly efficient German ,
> will realise that they don't need WMF, buy servers and fork.
>
> I can only hope that the Board will not agree with this proposal and WMF
> will find some other way to reduce work-related stress.
>
> Victoria
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

Steven Walling
On Oct 20, 2012 6:36 PM, "Mono" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>

> The WMF should spend less time thinking about what to do and more time
> doing it. That means they can't do everything under the moon. But everyone
> knows that big things need to happen.
>

Well said. That is precisely why these changes are being proposed: taking
some things off the table will help us get shit done. It's not the only
part of being able to more rapidly ship new products, by far, but being
clear about our scope as an organzation will go a long way.

On Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 5:01 AM, Виктория <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > This proposal reminds me of "management buyout", which Wikipedia
defines as
> > "form of acquisition where a company's existing managers acquire a large
> > part or all of the company from either the parent company or from the
> > private owners".
> >
> > There always been ambiguity to the roles of WMF - does it have right to
> > interfere with Community decisions, especially highly controversial
ones?
> > In what form it should communicate with highly dispersed, varied
community.
> > I cannot say that I completely agreed with "5 year plan", but at least
it
> > have given a clear directions and even (some, not all) achievable goals:
> > attraction of new editors, including women, helping the Global South to
> > access free knowledge.  Of course, not all initiatives were working,
but at
> > least the was movement in the right direction.
> >
> > I understand that it wasn't easy for the WMF employees, but we all hope
> > that working for a non-profit organisation is not just a day, 9 to 5 job
> > (which are disappearing fast anyway). And now the management found how
to
> > end all this - curtail awkward, highly demanding activities on the
ground
> > in less civilised world and concentrate on relatively easy, structured
> > work, which can be done in sunny San Francisco - engineering and "grant
> > making".
> >
> > I cannot say anything against engineering, this is a cornerstone,
although
> > I cannot see how management, Legal etc. engagement with "people on the
> > ground" have interfered with programmers work and how "refocusing" will
> > help to create Visual Editor. My worry is about "grant making", forgive
> > me, I am not a native speaker, so I can just guess that this means
"grant
> > distributing".
> >
> > When the chapters started appearing, I thought  they will be local WMF,
> > which will build bridges between WMF and local communities. This is not
> > what happened. I don't want to go into details as to why, but Fir WMF
had
> > already withdrawn support for the Chapter fundraising through the
banner,
> > and now if I understand correctly the Chapters re supposed to fend for
> > themselves completely - they want to do it anyway, but this is a
different
> > story.
> >
> > So WMF will collect the money and then will distribute it by the means
> > unknown.  As a former member of the Grant Committee I can say that the
> > current process is not very efficient and there is no alternative
proposed.
> >  And  if WMF focus on distributing grants instead of helping directly,
it
> > will become incredibly difficult for people with no experience in a
highly
> > specific task of grant-writing (=community members) to get their
> > initiatives off the ground, and the money will go to third parties.
 During
> > the "restructuring time" WMF will stop supporting really working things
> > such as Wikimania, leaving it to fend for itself, just like chapters.
> >
> > I wonder at what point European Chapters, lead by highly efficient
German ,

> > will realise that they don't need WMF, buy servers and fork.
> >
> > I can only hope that the Board will not agree with this proposal and WMF
> > will find some other way to reduce work-related stress.
> >
> > Victoria
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

Виктория-6
Why when we talk about "editor engagement"  we think exclusively about new
editors?  How about retaining people, who   already  made Wikipedia (= the
product) and keep maintaining it?  Wikimania and Community Fellows, and
other initiatives  do exactly this, providing incentives  for people to
look beyond the text and extend the Community  off-line - the Movement.

Any scientist would tell you that maintaining - and returning to - the
exponential growth is unrealistic, as unrealistic to expect that new Visual
Editor will suddenly attract a wave of the new editors. The bubble burst,
the fashion to edit Wikipedia has gone where most of the personal pages,
blogs  etc.  gone, contributing to Wikipedia is a niche hobby, so it is
important to help people who are already engaged - including and doubly
important in the Global South.

If the management prefers to concentrate on "the product development" (very
corporate speak, a bit strange if we talking about free Encyclopaedia), it
will eventually lose the community. The product (content) is
underdeveloped  - working parts, not just shiny bits and only Community can
develop it.

It's as if  Wikitravel story did not teach anything beyond "we win again".


Victoria

On Sun, Oct 21, 2012 at 1:44 AM, Steven Walling <[hidden email]>wrote:

> On Oct 20, 2012 6:36 PM, "Mono" <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
>
> > The WMF should spend less time thinking about what to do and more time
> > doing it. That means they can't do everything under the moon. But
> everyone
> > knows that big things need to happen.
> >
>
> Well said. That is precisely why these changes are being proposed: taking
> some things off the table will help us get shit done. It's not the only
> part of being able to more rapidly ship new products, by far, but being
> clear about our scope as an organzation will go a long way.
>
> On Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 5:01 AM, Виктория <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > > This proposal reminds me of "management buyout", which Wikipedia
> defines as
> > > "form of acquisition where a company's existing managers acquire a
> large
> > > part or all of the company from either the parent company or from the
> > > private owners".
> > >
> > > There always been ambiguity to the roles of WMF - does it have right to
> > > interfere with Community decisions, especially highly controversial
> ones?
> > > In what form it should communicate with highly dispersed, varied
> community.
> > > I cannot say that I completely agreed with "5 year plan", but at least
> it
> > > have given a clear directions and even (some, not all) achievable
> goals:
> > > attraction of new editors, including women, helping the Global South to
> > > access free knowledge.  Of course, not all initiatives were working,
> but at
> > > least the was movement in the right direction.
> > >
> > > I understand that it wasn't easy for the WMF employees, but we all hope
> > > that working for a non-profit organisation is not just a day, 9 to 5
> job
> > > (which are disappearing fast anyway). And now the management found how
> to
> > > end all this - curtail awkward, highly demanding activities on the
> ground
> > > in less civilised world and concentrate on relatively easy, structured
> > > work, which can be done in sunny San Francisco - engineering and "grant
> > > making".
> > >
> > > I cannot say anything against engineering, this is a cornerstone,
> although
> > > I cannot see how management, Legal etc. engagement with "people on the
> > > ground" have interfered with programmers work and how "refocusing" will
> > > help to create Visual Editor. My worry is about "grant making", forgive
> > > me, I am not a native speaker, so I can just guess that this means
> "grant
> > > distributing".
> > >
> > > When the chapters started appearing, I thought  they will be local WMF,
> > > which will build bridges between WMF and local communities. This is not
> > > what happened. I don't want to go into details as to why, but Fir WMF
> had
> > > already withdrawn support for the Chapter fundraising through the
> banner,
> > > and now if I understand correctly the Chapters re supposed to fend for
> > > themselves completely - they want to do it anyway, but this is a
> different
> > > story.
> > >
> > > So WMF will collect the money and then will distribute it by the means
> > > unknown.  As a former member of the Grant Committee I can say that the
> > > current process is not very efficient and there is no alternative
> proposed.
> > >  And  if WMF focus on distributing grants instead of helping directly,
> it
> > > will become incredibly difficult for people with no experience in a
> highly
> > > specific task of grant-writing (=community members) to get their
> > > initiatives off the ground, and the money will go to third parties.
>  During
> > > the "restructuring time" WMF will stop supporting really working things
> > > such as Wikimania, leaving it to fend for itself, just like chapters.
> > >
> > > I wonder at what point European Chapters, lead by highly efficient
> German ,
> > > will realise that they don't need WMF, buy servers and fork.
> > >
> > > I can only hope that the Board will not agree with this proposal and
> WMF
> > > will find some other way to reduce work-related stress.
> > >
> > > Victoria
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Wikimedia-l mailing list
> > > [hidden email]
> > > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
> > >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

Andrea Zanni-2
I'm kind sad to see the my personal view of the Wikimedia movement
increasingly distant from Sue's view...

I believe sister projects are deeply important and potential (we have a
Universal Library (Wikisource), a Universal Media Archive (Commons), a
Universal Dictionary (Wiktionary), etc.) They are worth some attention and
WMF has never given it to them.
I believe WMF should understand that his job focus it's not English
Wikipedia. There are other Wikipedias and there are other projects. Oh,
there are other languages too.
I believe the Movement to be deeply international and diverse, and that
keeping and enjoying this diversity is hugely hard but hugely important.
Both fellowships, attention to developing countries and Wikimania cover
that.
I believe Wikimania is a awesome occasion to become a WikiMedian, and to
fell being part of a Movement. It is wonderful to get new ideas, to talk to
people, to understand and learn, and to take back this experience in
Chapters and Wikiprojects. Ask anyone who participated in a Wikimania
event.
I feel that keeping the Fellowhip Program open would be a way to let the
community express itself, propose original and innovative ideas and focused
projects. I do believe that some of them had an impact (GLAM, anyone?), and
will have for years. We just scratched the surface.
I regret deeply the distance between WMF and Chapters: they were not
allowed to participant in the fundraiser, put in the uncomfortable
situation to ask the grants in a burocratic way staying under stricts
agreements (ie, California laws AND national laws). It is a complex topic
(accountability and so on), but could have be dealt with much better.
I believe that money should be much better distributed that centralized, I
believe that ''no one, neither the Chapters nor the Foundation, is really
entitled to get the money.'' No one really deserve the donations we get as
Wikimedia. We did not earn them. They are for Wikipedia, and Wikipedia is a
commons, and is common-produced. If we could distribute the money to all
the editors around the globe, as a reward, we should do it.. It's
impossible, so it's OK, but, still, I hope you get the idea that we are not
entitled, we just get them. And we should be aware of that.

Aubrey

PS: full disclosure: I had in mind to ask for a fellowship about
Wikisource, and I'm a chapter member. So there is some personal
disappontment, going exactly in the opposite direction of WMF.
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

James Salsman-2
In reply to this post by theo10011
> Why when we talk about "editor engagement" we think exclusively about new
> editors?  How about retaining people, who already made Wikipedia (= the
> product) and keep maintaining it?

Retention of people who have made dozens of edits is about the same as
it's ever been. Retention of people who've made a handful of edits has
declined substantially since 2005, even though new users still show up
at the same rate.

> I believe sister projects are deeply important....

All of them have much more popular alternatives doing the same thing
they do. For example, PeerWise is vastly more popular than
Wikiversity, and is being integrated into thousands of existing
institutions' courses far faster than the
http://peerwise.cs.auckland.ac.nz site can keep up with. On the other
hand, the many commercial Commons alternatives are doing fine on their
own. It would be more appropriate to reach out to existing non-profit,
wiki-like organizations such as PeerWise and simply offer them hosting
support than try to pour resources into Wikiversity.

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

Dan Rosenthal
I too have to say that while I agree with a narrowing focus, I disagree
with the tabling of Fellowships. Not only have they brought a lot of great
talent into the foundation (as I saw when I worked there, as well as
after), but more than anything the WMF is an agent of disruptive
innovation, and I feel strongly that encouraging Fellows to explore things
that might not be viable for the rest of the staff (whether due to
resources or interest) serves that innovation, and thus the foundation
itself. I believe at one point there was a Fellow working on studying ways
to improve en.wp's internal governance. After witnessing the utter debacle
that is going on in the clarifications on Malleus' ban, I'm more convinced
than ever that such a review is critical and that the WMF should actually
be devoting MORE resources to this. Editor engagement comes not just
through things like Visual Editor (which is awesome), but also creating a
conducive environment for new editors from a policy standpoint. I'm afraid
we're going to lose that in a narrowing focus.

Dan Rosenthal
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

Mono mium
In reply to this post by Andrea Zanni-2
At this rate, I think the communities could run some of these sites better
than the WMF. It's better than letting them sit forever.

On Sun, Oct 21, 2012 at 7:45 AM, Andrea Zanni <[hidden email]>wrote:

> I'm kind sad to see the my personal view of the Wikimedia movement
> increasingly distant from Sue's view...
>
> I believe sister projects are deeply important and potential (we have a
> Universal Library (Wikisource), a Universal Media Archive (Commons), a
> Universal Dictionary (Wiktionary), etc.) They are worth some attention and
> WMF has never given it to them.
> I believe WMF should understand that his job focus it's not English
> Wikipedia. There are other Wikipedias and there are other projects. Oh,
> there are other languages too.
> I believe the Movement to be deeply international and diverse, and that
> keeping and enjoying this diversity is hugely hard but hugely important.
> Both fellowships, attention to developing countries and Wikimania cover
> that.
> I believe Wikimania is a awesome occasion to become a WikiMedian, and to
> fell being part of a Movement. It is wonderful to get new ideas, to talk to
> people, to understand and learn, and to take back this experience in
> Chapters and Wikiprojects. Ask anyone who participated in a Wikimania
> event.
> I feel that keeping the Fellowhip Program open would be a way to let the
> community express itself, propose original and innovative ideas and focused
> projects. I do believe that some of them had an impact (GLAM, anyone?), and
> will have for years. We just scratched the surface.
> I regret deeply the distance between WMF and Chapters: they were not
> allowed to participant in the fundraiser, put in the uncomfortable
> situation to ask the grants in a burocratic way staying under stricts
> agreements (ie, California laws AND national laws). It is a complex topic
> (accountability and so on), but could have be dealt with much better.
> I believe that money should be much better distributed that centralized, I
> believe that ''no one, neither the Chapters nor the Foundation, is really
> entitled to get the money.'' No one really deserve the donations we get as
> Wikimedia. We did not earn them. They are for Wikipedia, and Wikipedia is a
> commons, and is common-produced. If we could distribute the money to all
> the editors around the globe, as a reward, we should do it.. It's
> impossible, so it's OK, but, still, I hope you get the idea that we are not
> entitled, we just get them. And we should be aware of that.
>
> Aubrey
>
> PS: full disclosure: I had in mind to ask for a fellowship about
> Wikisource, and I'm a chapter member. So there is some personal
> disappontment, going exactly in the opposite direction of WMF.
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

Yaroslav M. Blanter
In reply to this post by Dan Rosenthal
On Sun, 21 Oct 2012 19:19:59 +0300, Dan Rosenthal wrote:

> I too have to say that while I agree with a narrowing focus, I
> disagree
> with the tabling of Fellowships. Not only have they brought a lot of
> great
> talent into the foundation (as I saw when I worked there, as well as
> after), but more than anything the WMF is an agent of disruptive
> innovation, and I feel strongly that encouraging Fellows to explore
> things
> that might not be viable for the rest of the staff (whether due to
> resources or interest) serves that innovation, and thus the
> foundation
> itself. I believe at one point there was a Fellow working on studying
> ways
> to improve en.wp's internal governance. After witnessing the utter
> debacle
> that is going on in the clarifications on Malleus' ban, I'm more
> convinced
> than ever that such a review is critical and that the WMF should
> actually
> be devoting MORE resources to this. Editor engagement comes not just
> through things like Visual Editor (which is awesome), but also
> creating a
> conducive environment for new editors from a policy standpoint. I'm
> afraid
> we're going to lose that in a narrowing focus.
>
> Dan Rosenthal
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l


Hi Dan,

whereas I can agree or disagree with you on your points, I fail to see
the connection to the Malleus's ban debate. Could you please elaborate?
I am not sure I would like to see WMF involved there, if this is your
point (probably not).

Cheers
Yaroslav

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

Dan Rosenthal
On Sun, Oct 21, 2012 at 11:30 PM, Yaroslav M. Blanter <[hidden email]>wrote:

> On Sun, 21 Oct 2012 19:19:59 +0300, Dan Rosenthal wrote:
>
>> I too have to say that while I agree with a narrowing focus, I disagree
>> with the tabling of Fellowships. Not only have they brought a lot of great
>> talent into the foundation (as I saw when I worked there, as well as
>> after), but more than anything the WMF is an agent of disruptive
>> innovation, and I feel strongly that encouraging Fellows to explore things
>> that might not be viable for the rest of the staff (whether due to
>> resources or interest) serves that innovation, and thus the foundation
>> itself. I believe at one point there was a Fellow working on studying ways
>> to improve en.wp's internal governance. After witnessing the utter debacle
>> that is going on in the clarifications on Malleus' ban, I'm more convinced
>> than ever that such a review is critical and that the WMF should actually
>> be devoting MORE resources to this. Editor engagement comes not just
>> through things like Visual Editor (which is awesome), but also creating a
>> conducive environment for new editors from a policy standpoint. I'm afraid
>> we're going to lose that in a narrowing focus.
>>
>> Dan Rosenthal
>> ______________________________**_________________
>> Wikimedia-l mailing list
>> [hidden email].**org <[hidden email]>
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/**mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l<https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l>
>>
>
>
> Hi Dan,
>
> whereas I can agree or disagree with you on your points, I fail to see the
> connection to the Malleus's ban debate. Could you please elaborate? I am
> not sure I would like to see WMF involved there, if this is your point
> (probably not).
>
> Cheers
> Yaroslav
>
>
>
>

The connection is that it is an example of the significantly more
negative/hostile environment and failure of en.wp's governance structure
that harms editor retention; this is something that could have been studied
and reported on by the Fellowship program. Basically, it's a specific
example of a broader problem that would be perfect for Fellows to look at,
were the program to continue. I was not advocating that the WMF be involved
in Malleus's specific debate.

-Dan
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] The new narrowed focus by WMF

Thomas Dalton
On 21 October 2012 22:29, Dan Rosenthal <[hidden email]> wrote:
> The connection is that it is an example of the significantly more
> negative/hostile environment and failure of en.wp's governance structure
> that harms editor retention; this is something that could have been studied
> and reported on by the Fellowship program. Basically, it's a specific
> example of a broader problem that would be perfect for Fellows to look at,
> were the program to continue. I was not advocating that the WMF be involved
> in Malleus's specific debate.

As I understand it, the biggest problem with editor retention at the
moment is the second edit. By that point, they haven't had any
interaction with our governance structure, so that can't really be the
cause.

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