[Wikimedia-l] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

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[Wikimedia-l] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

Pete Forsyth-2
All:

Now that Wikimedia's Executive Director is leaving, a central point of
contention has been resolved. But as many have said, the "real work" of
getting back on track comes next. I have been thinking about what the next
specific steps should be, and I have some suggestions here. I present these
points very directly, in order to be concise and in the hopes of hearing
the perspectives of others. In other words -- I think this is a good list,
but I'm open to persuasion -- as I think we all are in this community. I
look forward to hearing from others who take a broad view of where this
movement and organization are, and where we need to go. And of course, much
of what I say below is inspired by previous messages from people like
Brion, Delphine, Asaf, Milos, etc. Anyhow, on to some specifics suggestions:

1. The Board of Trustees should clearly establish that the interim
Executive Director position is NOT a fast-track to the long-term position.
While it may be tempting to ease the search for a long-term ED, I think the
greatest need from an interim is that they will bring some stability and
order back to the organization. An interim shouldn't be introducing big new
ideas, and shouldn't be distracted that they might need to introduce big
new ideas once the position becomes permanent; they will have enough work
to do just getting things back on track. This point should be made clear to
interim candidates, and also to the staff and volunteer communities at
large.

2. The Board should rethink the job listing of the long-term ED. As I
argued in an op-ed in 2014,[2] the single most important quality in an ED
for our movement is an ability to deal with broad and diverse groups of
stakeholders. This is a skill that exists in the world, it is not unique to
Wikimedia; many people who have been successful in roles like running a
university, a hospital system, working for change in a broad social
movement, etc. will have developed this kind of skill. Technical
proficiency would be valuable if a good candidate happens to have it; same
with an existing familiarity with Wikimedia. But neither technical
proficiency nor Wikimedia experience should be regarded as requirements.
The former can be delegated, and the latter can be learned (by a person
with the right kind of background).

3. The Board should set up the next long-term ED for success. Any good
candidate for the ED position will research what happened the last time
around, and will have pointed questions about how they are being set up for
success. It might be tempting for some to place the entire blame for where
we are with the departing ED; but that would be neither fair nor accurate,
and any smart candidate will be able to see that from the news coverage and
other public records and any private discussions they may have. So,
specifically:

3a. Changes to Board composition: Are there remaining members of the Board
whose approach to the last job search, and/or whose engagement with the
departing ED, pointed things in the wrong direction? If so, it might be
best for them to step aside and make room for other Trustees to try a
different direction. I make this suggestion mainly because of the tiny
number of individuals who populate the Board -- not as a personal criticism
of individuals. Stepping aside need not be equated with "guilt" or other
negative judgments; but since there are very few Board seats, it might be
more important for it to forge ahead with different membership, than to
attempt to adjust its internal relationships and deliberative dynamics AND
to adjust the external perceptions (whether accurate or not) of who is
driving the train.

3b. The Board should consider changes to its hiring process. How are
candidates moved through the process? How are they evaluated? Are these
processes respectful of their time and efforts? Good candidates can be
lost, or the evaluation of them can be flawed, if (for instance) the
process is not respectful of their time and effort; if there are changes
during the process in the expectations, or in who will be making decisions
to narrow the field or making the final choice.

3c. The Board should thoroughly and publicly debrief the problems of the
last year or so. I believe this will only be possible if the Board -- which
clearly made some errors in judgment -- is not driving the process. Many
questions remain, not least of which is why Dr. James Heilman was ousted
shortly after being elected with strong community support. I believe an
external entity should be engaged, in a way that makes it clear that their
purpose is to support healing and learning generally, not to appease the
current Board. We have some experience in the movement around this; the
Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia UK, for instance, commissioned a report
by an external entity a few years ago.[3c] Some were happier than others
with that outcome, but if nothing else it establishes a precedent to
consider, and perhaps improve upon. Also, the FDC's strong critiques of the
WMF in November 15 provide a good example of what a somewhat external
entity can do; I think it is a good thing that its critiques have been
heard by WMF, and it seems there is progress on addressing the issues. So
this, too, might provide some good food for thought about how to debrief
the present collection of issues.

3d. The Board should consider changes to its structure. This has been under
much discussion elsewhere; I think these discussions are important, so I
include it here, but I don't think it's *as* important as what I've
mentioned above. Trustees, regardless of how they get to the Board, are
obligated to work in the best interests of the organization (and therefore,
as many of us believe, in the interests of the volunteer community, without
whom the organization could not survive in anything like its current form).
The problems that have gotten us to where we are result from poor
decisions, not from the wrong structure. So, while this may be a good
opportunity to make some structural changes, we should not allow that
project to distract from careful evaluation of the specific decisions. The
one change that I most hope for is that we can eliminate the Founder's Seat
in favor of another community-(s)elected seat. I think the idea of a
permanent seat, with reappointment that looks (at least from the outside)
like a mere formality, is not consistent with our movement's values. This
point is not about who occupies the seat -- if Jimmy Wales were to run for
a Community seat I think it is very likely he would win. But it would be
worthwhile for everybody involved to have a reminder that his ongoing
service to the movement is the basis of his position, rather than something
he did in the past.

4. The Wikimedia Foundation should continue its efforts to build a
strategic plan and annual plans, and should pay particular attention to the
dynamics that caused so much strife in recent months -- and whether there
are adjustments to these documents that can help avoid similar problems in
the future.

5. Those of use who care about the future direction of the Wikimedia
movement should build a long-term strategic vision *for the movement*, now
that the one produced in 2010 has expired. This process should be
independent of the organizational strategy, though strong overlap will be a
good indicator that we are moving in the right direction. As a movement, we
gained some skills in thinking about long-term strategy back in 2010, and
we should continue to exercise those muscles, and deliberate what are the
most important issues we face, and how we want to think about them. SJ
recently created a page on Meta Wiki to support these efforts.[5]

As stressful as the last few months have been, it seems clear that there is
a silver lining: we are in a good position to make positive changes. I have
been impressed -- and I have heard the same from others -- with the ability
of our community (staff members, volunteers, etc.) to keep their focus on
moving forward, in spite of the obvious stress of recent events. Most of
the communication on this list and elsewhere has been thoughtful,
diplomatic, and (even when critical) focused not on insults and derision,
but on what should happen to improve things in the future. I am very
hopeful that this ethos can survive, so that we can make some changes that
will support the continued health of the projects that bring us together. I
look forward to hearing more about the next steps from others.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

[2]
http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/03/31/wikipedia-google-internet-information-column/7116155/
[3c] https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Review_of_Governance_of_Wikimedia_UK
[5] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Strategy/Future
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

Yaroslav M. Blanter
On 2016-02-26 21:20, Pete Forsyth wrote:

> All:
>
> Now that Wikimedia's Executive Director is leaving, a central point of
> contention has been resolved. But as many have said, the "real work" of
> getting back on track comes next. I have been thinking about what the
> next
> specific steps should be, and I have some suggestions here. I present
> these
> points very directly, in order to be concise and in the hopes of
> hearing
> the perspectives of others. In other words -- I think this is a good
> list,
> but I'm open to persuasion -- as I think we all are in this community.
> I
> look forward to hearing from others who take a broad view of where this
> movement and organization are, and where we need to go. And of course,
> much
> of what I say below is inspired by previous messages from people like
> Brion, Delphine, Asaf, Milos, etc. Anyhow, on to some specifics
> suggestions:
>

Hi Pete,

thanks for excellent suggestions, which hopefully will give us all food
for thought.

I was searching your mail for the keyword "transparency" and did not
find a single usage. I think this is an important point, which should
possibly be considered as #6. Many of our troubles from the last year
arose because people have acted untransparently. Whereas it is clear
that some issues are privacy sensitive, and full disclosure would not be
possible, we should agree that for every important decision it should be
clear who made it, what was the motivation, and preferably important
stkeholders (including the community) should have been contacted before
the decision has been made, not after that.

Cheers
Yaroslav

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

Pete Forsyth-2
Thank you Yaroslav for this very important addition. Yes, let's call it #6
(even if it should be higher :) In terms of specific next steps, Anthony
Cole offered a very compelling point about transparency on Meta Wiki:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_noticeboard&curid=1537440&diff=15384280&oldid=15383429

In short, Wikimedia current Code of Conduct includes the following:
"People acting on the Foundation’s behalf must respect and maintain the
confidentiality of sensitive information ...[including] information about
the internal workings of the Foundation..."

This could easily be misinterpreted to having Trustees or staff default to
opacity even in cases where transparency would be beneficial. The Code of
Conduct should be amended to give clearer guidance on this point -- and
Board and staff onboarding processes should address it as well.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 12:41 PM, Yaroslav M. Blanter <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> On 2016-02-26 21:20, Pete Forsyth wrote:
>
>> All:
>>
>> Now that Wikimedia's Executive Director is leaving, a central point of
>> contention has been resolved. But as many have said, the "real work" of
>> getting back on track comes next. I have been thinking about what the next
>> specific steps should be, and I have some suggestions here. I present
>> these
>> points very directly, in order to be concise and in the hopes of hearing
>> the perspectives of others. In other words -- I think this is a good list,
>> but I'm open to persuasion -- as I think we all are in this community. I
>> look forward to hearing from others who take a broad view of where this
>> movement and organization are, and where we need to go. And of course,
>> much
>> of what I say below is inspired by previous messages from people like
>> Brion, Delphine, Asaf, Milos, etc. Anyhow, on to some specifics
>> suggestions:
>>
>>
> Hi Pete,
>
> thanks for excellent suggestions, which hopefully will give us all food
> for thought.
>
> I was searching your mail for the keyword "transparency" and did not find
> a single usage. I think this is an important point, which should possibly
> be considered as #6. Many of our troubles from the last year arose because
> people have acted untransparently. Whereas it is clear that some issues are
> privacy sensitive, and full disclosure would not be possible, we should
> agree that for every important decision it should be clear who made it,
> what was the motivation, and preferably important stkeholders (including
> the community) should have been contacted before the decision has been
> made, not after that.
>
> Cheers
> Yaroslav
>
> _______________________________________________
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> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

Keegan Peterzell-2
(slightly indirect to the topic, but not worth its own thread)

Hey Pete,

Thanks for your time and reflection, and that extend to everyone else, with
this and related topics over the past month. Wikimedia-l has actually been
a refreshing kind of place, where cautious respect and rational discourse
has been taking place. I've appreciated it greatly as events progressed as
they did. These conversations are what meatballwiki[0] is made of, and what
built Wikimedia in the first place.

I look forward to these conversations continuing here, on meta, privately,
Facebook, and all the other mediums, which is getting to my point: let's
please keep all these much-needed discussions at a measured pace. I know
that I'm shell-shocked[1] to a good extent from the recent past, with the
burnout that comes with it as well, and I know I'm not the only one. I'd
like to participate in, and not just read, these conversations, but I know
it's going to take me some time to get back into the spirit of
meta-discussions about Wikimedia. Othes as well.

So please, continue talking, sharing, misunderstanding and then working it
out, and all those other wonderful things, but please do remember that
there are some of us who are going to be silent a bit in our reflection,
and hopefully we'll be speaking again in the future.

Everything else (for me, at least) is back to business/volunteering as
usual.

0. http://meatballwiki.org
1. https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q15061465#sitelinks-wikipedia

--
Keegan Peterzell
Community Liaison, Product
Wikimedia Foundation
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

Oliver Keyes-5
+1. It's difficult without breaking fifteen NDAs to underscore exactly
how shellshocked and traumatised staff are right now, dealing with all
of this for 8 hours a day for 3-18 months, depending on the nature of
their concerns. As the people most impacted by negative or positive
changes to the organisation it is imperative that their perspectives
be involved in these conversations, and at the moment I don't think
there's the emotional energy to do that. The emotional energy people
have is much better spent healing as people, and as teams, and as an
entity.

This isn't to say these points aren't valuable (they are!) merely that
at the moment they're probably most valuable as an airing of opinions
without consequence - a committee of the house, in parliamentary
terms. I wouldn't expect any of them to immediately result in changes,
and I think we'd be poorer if they did right now with such a big chunk
of the affected parties not in a space to contribute.

On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 4:49 PM, Keegan Peterzell
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> (slightly indirect to the topic, but not worth its own thread)
>
> Hey Pete,
>
> Thanks for your time and reflection, and that extend to everyone else, with
> this and related topics over the past month. Wikimedia-l has actually been
> a refreshing kind of place, where cautious respect and rational discourse
> has been taking place. I've appreciated it greatly as events progressed as
> they did. These conversations are what meatballwiki[0] is made of, and what
> built Wikimedia in the first place.
>
> I look forward to these conversations continuing here, on meta, privately,
> Facebook, and all the other mediums, which is getting to my point: let's
> please keep all these much-needed discussions at a measured pace. I know
> that I'm shell-shocked[1] to a good extent from the recent past, with the
> burnout that comes with it as well, and I know I'm not the only one. I'd
> like to participate in, and not just read, these conversations, but I know
> it's going to take me some time to get back into the spirit of
> meta-discussions about Wikimedia. Othes as well.
>
> So please, continue talking, sharing, misunderstanding and then working it
> out, and all those other wonderful things, but please do remember that
> there are some of us who are going to be silent a bit in our reflection,
> and hopefully we'll be speaking again in the future.
>
> Everything else (for me, at least) is back to business/volunteering as
> usual.
>
> 0. http://meatballwiki.org
> 1. https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q15061465#sitelinks-wikipedia
>
> --
> Keegan Peterzell
> Community Liaison, Product
> Wikimedia Foundation
> _______________________________________________
> 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] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

Pete Forsyth-2
To Oliver and Keegan -- I hear you guys loud and clear, and I am very aware
that the trauma of the last few months has taken this kind of toll.
Although there is of course much I don't know, I have been talking with a
number of staff, board, etc. for many months now about this. So to whatever
degree it's possible to empathize without "being there," I do.

However, I'm not trying to push things forward at a pace that's comfortable
*for me*, I'm trying to focus on things that will impact *what it's
possible to do*.

The prospect of a drawn-out, even multi-year search for the next long-term
Executive Director is not a good one. The way the organization rebuilds
itself and sets expectations will have a huge impact on that. The impact on
fund-raising will be felt, as well; high-profile contention around a grant
is being discussed throughout the philanthropy world, and will impact the
way individual donors respond to banners, as well.

I am confident that the Board is already turning its attention to issues
like these. Many things need to be done whenever an executive director
leaves an organization, and there are many reasons to attend to them in a
timely fashion -- without rushing through and making bad decisions.

Individual Trustees have expressed interest and gratitude for the ideas
under discussion, and I appreciate knowing that they are considering input.
This list may not be the best way to reach the board, but it's a good place
to see whether there is consensus around certain ideas.

That's what I'm trying to do. I know that forging ahead while exhausted
sucks, and I am not trying to push anybody faster than they want to go. But
I also think that this moment for careful deliberation shouldn't be missed;
some of the opportunities will pass by very quickly if nothing is done.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

Keegan Peterzell-2
On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 6:44 PM, Pete Forsyth <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> However, I'm not trying to push things forward at a pace that's comfortable
> *for me*, I'm trying to focus on things that will impact *what it's
> possible to do*.
>

Oh absolutely, forge ahead. My message was in no way asking anyone to slow
down, just a nod to the list that some of us are going to sit back for a
bit, so please save a seats at the table :)

--
Keegan Peterzell
Community Liaison, Product
Wikimedia Foundation
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

Risker
In reply to this post by Pete Forsyth-2
I think in fairness that it is not just staff who are feeling this is all
moving too fast.  The overwhelming majority of community members, and in
particular community members who don't read and speak English fluently, are
likely to be pretty overwhelmed right now too.


I am concerned that what we are seeing right now are a whole pile of
solutions when we haven't yet worked out what the actual problems are.
This is actually quite a bad thing, because it creates a climate where
people come to a conclusion about what to do before they have worked out
whether or not it is solving a problem, creating a different problem,
"fixing" a non-existent problem, or immaterial to the actual problems.

Let's work out what went wrong before we really start pushing what we think
will make things right.  The foundation is not a wiki where quick and easy
corrections are considered the norm; in fact, based on the concerns of some
that strategy changed practically on a quarterly basis, some slow
considered thinking is probably called for.  The Wikimedia movement has not
had time to catch up with current events and certainly doesn't need
solutions before it's barely worked out why there's a trainwreck on the
mailing list.  And...perhaps most importantly.... we are talking about real
people here. The board and executives, the staff, the community
members....we're all people. Moving too fast without figuring out what the
actual issues are is harmful to the human beings here.

The collective "we" have not had time to understand the problems. Quite a
few of the "solutions" I've seen on this list in the last 24-48 hours are
nothing much more than personal wishlists; almost all of them are proposing
to solve problems that may or may not even exist.

Let's work more on problem identification first.


Risker/Anne

On 26 February 2016 at 19:44, Pete Forsyth <[hidden email]> wrote:

> To Oliver and Keegan -- I hear you guys loud and clear, and I am very aware
> that the trauma of the last few months has taken this kind of toll.
> Although there is of course much I don't know, I have been talking with a
> number of staff, board, etc. for many months now about this. So to whatever
> degree it's possible to empathize without "being there," I do.
>
> However, I'm not trying to push things forward at a pace that's comfortable
> *for me*, I'm trying to focus on things that will impact *what it's
> possible to do*.
>
> The prospect of a drawn-out, even multi-year search for the next long-term
> Executive Director is not a good one. The way the organization rebuilds
> itself and sets expectations will have a huge impact on that. The impact on
> fund-raising will be felt, as well; high-profile contention around a grant
> is being discussed throughout the philanthropy world, and will impact the
> way individual donors respond to banners, as well.
>
> I am confident that the Board is already turning its attention to issues
> like these. Many things need to be done whenever an executive director
> leaves an organization, and there are many reasons to attend to them in a
> timely fashion -- without rushing through and making bad decisions.
>
> Individual Trustees have expressed interest and gratitude for the ideas
> under discussion, and I appreciate knowing that they are considering input.
> This list may not be the best way to reach the board, but it's a good place
> to see whether there is consensus around certain ideas.
>
> That's what I'm trying to do. I know that forging ahead while exhausted
> sucks, and I am not trying to push anybody faster than they want to go. But
> I also think that this moment for careful deliberation shouldn't be missed;
> some of the opportunities will pass by very quickly if nothing is done.
>
> -Pete
> [[User:Peteforsyth]]
> _______________________________________________
> 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] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

Brion Vibber-4
Strong +1 to Risker.

Collecting ideas to work more on as we move forward: YES. Keeping the
constructive attitude and opened comm channels I've seen here and and among
staff internally: YES.

But let's be deliberate, and considerate. We do have to learn and process
before we implement anything.

That all said I think I'm approaching my monthly list message quota, so I'm
probably going to quiet down on list for a bit as I talk to people in SF. :)

I'll be making public-side notes on meta under my user page.

-- brion
On Feb 26, 2016 4:59 PM, "Risker" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I think in fairness that it is not just staff who are feeling this is all
> moving too fast.  The overwhelming majority of community members, and in
> particular community members who don't read and speak English fluently, are
> likely to be pretty overwhelmed right now too.
>
>
> I am concerned that what we are seeing right now are a whole pile of
> solutions when we haven't yet worked out what the actual problems are.
> This is actually quite a bad thing, because it creates a climate where
> people come to a conclusion about what to do before they have worked out
> whether or not it is solving a problem, creating a different problem,
> "fixing" a non-existent problem, or immaterial to the actual problems.
>
> Let's work out what went wrong before we really start pushing what we think
> will make things right.  The foundation is not a wiki where quick and easy
> corrections are considered the norm; in fact, based on the concerns of some
> that strategy changed practically on a quarterly basis, some slow
> considered thinking is probably called for.  The Wikimedia movement has not
> had time to catch up with current events and certainly doesn't need
> solutions before it's barely worked out why there's a trainwreck on the
> mailing list.  And...perhaps most importantly.... we are talking about real
> people here. The board and executives, the staff, the community
> members....we're all people. Moving too fast without figuring out what the
> actual issues are is harmful to the human beings here.
>
> The collective "we" have not had time to understand the problems. Quite a
> few of the "solutions" I've seen on this list in the last 24-48 hours are
> nothing much more than personal wishlists; almost all of them are proposing
> to solve problems that may or may not even exist.
>
> Let's work more on problem identification first.
>
>
> Risker/Anne
>
> On 26 February 2016 at 19:44, Pete Forsyth <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > To Oliver and Keegan -- I hear you guys loud and clear, and I am very
> aware
> > that the trauma of the last few months has taken this kind of toll.
> > Although there is of course much I don't know, I have been talking with a
> > number of staff, board, etc. for many months now about this. So to
> whatever
> > degree it's possible to empathize without "being there," I do.
> >
> > However, I'm not trying to push things forward at a pace that's
> comfortable
> > *for me*, I'm trying to focus on things that will impact *what it's
> > possible to do*.
> >
> > The prospect of a drawn-out, even multi-year search for the next
> long-term
> > Executive Director is not a good one. The way the organization rebuilds
> > itself and sets expectations will have a huge impact on that. The impact
> on
> > fund-raising will be felt, as well; high-profile contention around a
> grant
> > is being discussed throughout the philanthropy world, and will impact the
> > way individual donors respond to banners, as well.
> >
> > I am confident that the Board is already turning its attention to issues
> > like these. Many things need to be done whenever an executive director
> > leaves an organization, and there are many reasons to attend to them in a
> > timely fashion -- without rushing through and making bad decisions.
> >
> > Individual Trustees have expressed interest and gratitude for the ideas
> > under discussion, and I appreciate knowing that they are considering
> input.
> > This list may not be the best way to reach the board, but it's a good
> place
> > to see whether there is consensus around certain ideas.
> >
> > That's what I'm trying to do. I know that forging ahead while exhausted
> > sucks, and I am not trying to push anybody faster than they want to go.
> But
> > I also think that this moment for careful deliberation shouldn't be
> missed;
> > some of the opportunities will pass by very quickly if nothing is done.
> >
> > -Pete
> > [[User:Peteforsyth]]
> > _______________________________________________
> > 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] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

Pete Forsyth-2
Risker and Brion:

I very much agree with the principles you're stating, and am coming to
realize I should have framed my message differently. There has actually
been quite a lot of discussion of what the problems are, and I am basing my
suggestions on the ones that I've personally seen a lot of attention to.
Namely (as I stated, in part, above):
* It might take a very long time to get a new ED, which would be bad
* We might get an ED who does not effectively absorb information and values
from staff and community
* Appointing an interim ED in a hurry (one month) might not bring us
somebody who's best for the long term
* Funders (both institutions and individuals) might be skeptical about
giving, due to recent issues
* On Point #6, a great deal of work has already been done on identifying
problems here, and I look forward to seeing more synthesis etc. on wiki:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_transparency_gap

There is, I agree, much more work to be done in identifying and clarifying
further problems we should be looking to address. But from what I've read
and heard, there seems to be some pretty strong consensus around the
problems I've identified above; and ideally, I would have stated that out
in an intro to my message. If there is *disagreement* on those issues, I
think it would be good to hear it.

Along with you, I welcome further deliberation of what the problems are
that should be solved, and if I suggested otherwise I regret giving that
impression.

I strongly hope and believe, though, that the Board is already working to
address the subset of rather obvious problems that is at least similar to
what I listed above. Those problems need to be addressed quickly, and I
believe it's best if various stakeholders in the Wikimedia vision -- not
just the 9 members of the Board -- weigh in on the best way to address
them. If there is a consensus that we shouldn't do that here in public, I
can take it off this list; but speaking for myself, I'd like to see some
public deliberation and consensus-building about more immediate steps,
rather than a bunch of individual efforts to lobby the Board.

I don't intend any of this to be a total solution. Regarding Keegan's
response, of course there is always a seat at the table! But I appreciate
your speaking up about it. Still, my list is very much influenced by what I
have heard from staff, board, etc. over many months -- so it's not like
your seat is getting cold without you. :)

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 5:27 PM, Brion Vibber <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Strong +1 to Risker.
>
> Collecting ideas to work more on as we move forward: YES. Keeping the
> constructive attitude and opened comm channels I've seen here and and among
> staff internally: YES.
>
> But let's be deliberate, and considerate. We do have to learn and process
> before we implement anything.
>
> That all said I think I'm approaching my monthly list message quota, so I'm
> probably going to quiet down on list for a bit as I talk to people in SF.
> :)
>
> I'll be making public-side notes on meta under my user page.
>
> -- brion
> On Feb 26, 2016 4:59 PM, "Risker" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > I think in fairness that it is not just staff who are feeling this is all
> > moving too fast.  The overwhelming majority of community members, and in
> > particular community members who don't read and speak English fluently,
> are
> > likely to be pretty overwhelmed right now too.
> >
> >
> > I am concerned that what we are seeing right now are a whole pile of
> > solutions when we haven't yet worked out what the actual problems are.
> > This is actually quite a bad thing, because it creates a climate where
> > people come to a conclusion about what to do before they have worked out
> > whether or not it is solving a problem, creating a different problem,
> > "fixing" a non-existent problem, or immaterial to the actual problems.
> >
> > Let's work out what went wrong before we really start pushing what we
> think
> > will make things right.  The foundation is not a wiki where quick and
> easy
> > corrections are considered the norm; in fact, based on the concerns of
> some
> > that strategy changed practically on a quarterly basis, some slow
> > considered thinking is probably called for.  The Wikimedia movement has
> not
> > had time to catch up with current events and certainly doesn't need
> > solutions before it's barely worked out why there's a trainwreck on the
> > mailing list.  And...perhaps most importantly.... we are talking about
> real
> > people here. The board and executives, the staff, the community
> > members....we're all people. Moving too fast without figuring out what
> the
> > actual issues are is harmful to the human beings here.
> >
> > The collective "we" have not had time to understand the problems. Quite a
> > few of the "solutions" I've seen on this list in the last 24-48 hours are
> > nothing much more than personal wishlists; almost all of them are
> proposing
> > to solve problems that may or may not even exist.
> >
> > Let's work more on problem identification first.
> >
> >
> > Risker/Anne
> >
> > On 26 February 2016 at 19:44, Pete Forsyth <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> >
> > > To Oliver and Keegan -- I hear you guys loud and clear, and I am very
> > aware
> > > that the trauma of the last few months has taken this kind of toll.
> > > Although there is of course much I don't know, I have been talking
> with a
> > > number of staff, board, etc. for many months now about this. So to
> > whatever
> > > degree it's possible to empathize without "being there," I do.
> > >
> > > However, I'm not trying to push things forward at a pace that's
> > comfortable
> > > *for me*, I'm trying to focus on things that will impact *what it's
> > > possible to do*.
> > >
> > > The prospect of a drawn-out, even multi-year search for the next
> > long-term
> > > Executive Director is not a good one. The way the organization rebuilds
> > > itself and sets expectations will have a huge impact on that. The
> impact
> > on
> > > fund-raising will be felt, as well; high-profile contention around a
> > grant
> > > is being discussed throughout the philanthropy world, and will impact
> the
> > > way individual donors respond to banners, as well.
> > >
> > > I am confident that the Board is already turning its attention to
> issues
> > > like these. Many things need to be done whenever an executive director
> > > leaves an organization, and there are many reasons to attend to them
> in a
> > > timely fashion -- without rushing through and making bad decisions.
> > >
> > > Individual Trustees have expressed interest and gratitude for the ideas
> > > under discussion, and I appreciate knowing that they are considering
> > input.
> > > This list may not be the best way to reach the board, but it's a good
> > place
> > > to see whether there is consensus around certain ideas.
> > >
> > > That's what I'm trying to do. I know that forging ahead while exhausted
> > > sucks, and I am not trying to push anybody faster than they want to go.
> > But
> > > I also think that this moment for careful deliberation shouldn't be
> > missed;
> > > some of the opportunities will pass by very quickly if nothing is done.
> > >
> > > -Pete
> > > [[User:Peteforsyth]]
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > 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/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] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

Risker
No, I think we've actually done a very superficial identification of the
problems.  Some of them are so obvious that they are overwhelming the less
obvious but equally serious issues.

Honestly, "we need a new board" is probably not an issue. 40% of the board
has been seated for less than a year, and another seat is empty and
awaiting someone who probably won't have been a WMF board member before.
Two more seats are currently being contested.  It is entirely conceivable
that by the time we get to Wikimania we will only have two people with more
than 14 months' experience on the board.  No, "new board" isn't an issue,
despite how many people keep saying it is; transfer of information at the
hand-off last Wikimania probably was an issue, and new board member
orientation definitely was (and is).  The issues with the appointment of
one of the "board selected" members recently was at least partly because,
as I understand it, there has never been a written process for how to vet
potential board members for most of the things we all assumed board members
were screened for. WHile I'll be the first to admit I rolled my eyes too,
I'm hard-pressed to openly condemn a bunch of people who'd never done a
task before for not getting it perfectly right.  (Note that even the WMF
staffer assigned to assist in the vetting, Boryana Dineva, had been an
employee for only a few days when handed the assignment, knowing almost
nothing about the community, the organization, the board, or even what to
look for when vetting a potential board member.)

So, "let's restructure the board" is a wish-list item. The structure of the
board wasn't a root cause.  The processes of the board, including the
orientation process, and the lack of documentation or clarity of the
process, were much closer to root causes here.

That's just one example.

Risker/Anne



On 26 February 2016 at 21:04, Pete Forsyth <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Risker and Brion:
>
> I very much agree with the principles you're stating, and am coming to
> realize I should have framed my message differently. There has actually
> been quite a lot of discussion of what the problems are, and I am basing my
> suggestions on the ones that I've personally seen a lot of attention to.
> Namely (as I stated, in part, above):
> * It might take a very long time to get a new ED, which would be bad
> * We might get an ED who does not effectively absorb information and values
> from staff and community
> * Appointing an interim ED in a hurry (one month) might not bring us
> somebody who's best for the long term
> * Funders (both institutions and individuals) might be skeptical about
> giving, due to recent issues
> * On Point #6, a great deal of work has already been done on identifying
> problems here, and I look forward to seeing more synthesis etc. on wiki:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_transparency_gap
>
> There is, I agree, much more work to be done in identifying and clarifying
> further problems we should be looking to address. But from what I've read
> and heard, there seems to be some pretty strong consensus around the
> problems I've identified above; and ideally, I would have stated that out
> in an intro to my message. If there is *disagreement* on those issues, I
> think it would be good to hear it.
>
> Along with you, I welcome further deliberation of what the problems are
> that should be solved, and if I suggested otherwise I regret giving that
> impression.
>
> I strongly hope and believe, though, that the Board is already working to
> address the subset of rather obvious problems that is at least similar to
> what I listed above. Those problems need to be addressed quickly, and I
> believe it's best if various stakeholders in the Wikimedia vision -- not
> just the 9 members of the Board -- weigh in on the best way to address
> them. If there is a consensus that we shouldn't do that here in public, I
> can take it off this list; but speaking for myself, I'd like to see some
> public deliberation and consensus-building about more immediate steps,
> rather than a bunch of individual efforts to lobby the Board.
>
> I don't intend any of this to be a total solution. Regarding Keegan's
> response, of course there is always a seat at the table! But I appreciate
> your speaking up about it. Still, my list is very much influenced by what I
> have heard from staff, board, etc. over many months -- so it's not like
> your seat is getting cold without you. :)
>
> -Pete
> [[User:Peteforsyth]]
>
> On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 5:27 PM, Brion Vibber <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > Strong +1 to Risker.
> >
> > Collecting ideas to work more on as we move forward: YES. Keeping the
> > constructive attitude and opened comm channels I've seen here and and
> among
> > staff internally: YES.
> >
> > But let's be deliberate, and considerate. We do have to learn and process
> > before we implement anything.
> >
> > That all said I think I'm approaching my monthly list message quota, so
> I'm
> > probably going to quiet down on list for a bit as I talk to people in SF.
> > :)
> >
> > I'll be making public-side notes on meta under my user page.
> >
> > -- brion
> > On Feb 26, 2016 4:59 PM, "Risker" <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > > I think in fairness that it is not just staff who are feeling this is
> all
> > > moving too fast.  The overwhelming majority of community members, and
> in
> > > particular community members who don't read and speak English fluently,
> > are
> > > likely to be pretty overwhelmed right now too.
> > >
> > >
> > > I am concerned that what we are seeing right now are a whole pile of
> > > solutions when we haven't yet worked out what the actual problems are.
> > > This is actually quite a bad thing, because it creates a climate where
> > > people come to a conclusion about what to do before they have worked
> out
> > > whether or not it is solving a problem, creating a different problem,
> > > "fixing" a non-existent problem, or immaterial to the actual problems.
> > >
> > > Let's work out what went wrong before we really start pushing what we
> > think
> > > will make things right.  The foundation is not a wiki where quick and
> > easy
> > > corrections are considered the norm; in fact, based on the concerns of
> > some
> > > that strategy changed practically on a quarterly basis, some slow
> > > considered thinking is probably called for.  The Wikimedia movement has
> > not
> > > had time to catch up with current events and certainly doesn't need
> > > solutions before it's barely worked out why there's a trainwreck on the
> > > mailing list.  And...perhaps most importantly.... we are talking about
> > real
> > > people here. The board and executives, the staff, the community
> > > members....we're all people. Moving too fast without figuring out what
> > the
> > > actual issues are is harmful to the human beings here.
> > >
> > > The collective "we" have not had time to understand the problems.
> Quite a
> > > few of the "solutions" I've seen on this list in the last 24-48 hours
> are
> > > nothing much more than personal wishlists; almost all of them are
> > proposing
> > > to solve problems that may or may not even exist.
> > >
> > > Let's work more on problem identification first.
> > >
> > >
> > > Risker/Anne
> > >
> > > On 26 February 2016 at 19:44, Pete Forsyth <[hidden email]>
> > wrote:
> > >
> > > > To Oliver and Keegan -- I hear you guys loud and clear, and I am very
> > > aware
> > > > that the trauma of the last few months has taken this kind of toll.
> > > > Although there is of course much I don't know, I have been talking
> > with a
> > > > number of staff, board, etc. for many months now about this. So to
> > > whatever
> > > > degree it's possible to empathize without "being there," I do.
> > > >
> > > > However, I'm not trying to push things forward at a pace that's
> > > comfortable
> > > > *for me*, I'm trying to focus on things that will impact *what it's
> > > > possible to do*.
> > > >
> > > > The prospect of a drawn-out, even multi-year search for the next
> > > long-term
> > > > Executive Director is not a good one. The way the organization
> rebuilds
> > > > itself and sets expectations will have a huge impact on that. The
> > impact
> > > on
> > > > fund-raising will be felt, as well; high-profile contention around a
> > > grant
> > > > is being discussed throughout the philanthropy world, and will impact
> > the
> > > > way individual donors respond to banners, as well.
> > > >
> > > > I am confident that the Board is already turning its attention to
> > issues
> > > > like these. Many things need to be done whenever an executive
> director
> > > > leaves an organization, and there are many reasons to attend to them
> > in a
> > > > timely fashion -- without rushing through and making bad decisions.
> > > >
> > > > Individual Trustees have expressed interest and gratitude for the
> ideas
> > > > under discussion, and I appreciate knowing that they are considering
> > > input.
> > > > This list may not be the best way to reach the board, but it's a good
> > > place
> > > > to see whether there is consensus around certain ideas.
> > > >
> > > > That's what I'm trying to do. I know that forging ahead while
> exhausted
> > > > sucks, and I am not trying to push anybody faster than they want to
> go.
> > > But
> > > > I also think that this moment for careful deliberation shouldn't be
> > > missed;
> > > > some of the opportunities will pass by very quickly if nothing is
> done.
> > > >
> > > > -Pete
> > > > [[User:Peteforsyth]]
> > > > _______________________________________________
> > > > 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/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] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

Pete Forsyth-2
On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 6:17 PM, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Honestly, "we need a new board" is probably not an issue.


Risker, perhaps you missed this in my original message -- I did not express
that we need a new board.

Item #3 on my list was entirely under the heading:

"The Board should set up the next long-term ED for success"

I do not have strong opinions about whether or not substantial changes to
the board composition are in order. (Apparently you do.) But I DO think the
Board should be asking itself that question, alongside the other items (3a
through 3d).

That is what I suggested. Nothing more.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

Anders Wennersten-2
In reply to this post by Risker
Or perhaps a key problem is the recruitment process to the Board .

Fort the community elected seats, wanted criteria were identified by the
Board and clearly communicated (non-western, non English speakers) but
was in practice ignores by the voters and where 3 out of the five
getting most votes were US-based. This could be fixed with a more active
election committee, who could either give a go/nogo for candidates or
any way give a clear feedback of the nominated candidates in how well
they fit into.

For the chapters based seats the original intention was to enable
excellent candidates to turn up if less well known by the community in
general. In practice though the process favours the well known
candidates. Also here a more active election committee could make a
difference.

Anders












Den 2016-02-27 kl. 03:17, skrev Risker:

> No, I think we've actually done a very superficial identification of the
> problems.  Some of them are so obvious that they are overwhelming the less
> obvious but equally serious issues.
>
> Honestly, "we need a new board" is probably not an issue. 40% of the board
> has been seated for less than a year, and another seat is empty and
> awaiting someone who probably won't have been a WMF board member before.
> Two more seats are currently being contested.  It is entirely conceivable
> that by the time we get to Wikimania we will only have two people with more
> than 14 months' experience on the board.  No, "new board" isn't an issue,
> despite how many people keep saying it is; transfer of information at the
> hand-off last Wikimania probably was an issue, and new board member
> orientation definitely was (and is).  The issues with the appointment of
> one of the "board selected" members recently was at least partly because,
> as I understand it, there has never been a written process for how to vet
> potential board members for most of the things we all assumed board members
> were screened for. WHile I'll be the first to admit I rolled my eyes too,
> I'm hard-pressed to openly condemn a bunch of people who'd never done a
> task before for not getting it perfectly right.  (Note that even the WMF
> staffer assigned to assist in the vetting, Boryana Dineva, had been an
> employee for only a few days when handed the assignment, knowing almost
> nothing about the community, the organization, the board, or even what to
> look for when vetting a potential board member.)
>
> So, "let's restructure the board" is a wish-list item. The structure of the
> board wasn't a root cause.  The processes of the board, including the
> orientation process, and the lack of documentation or clarity of the
> process, were much closer to root causes here.
>
> That's just one example.
>
> Risker/Anne
>
>
>
> On 26 February 2016 at 21:04, Pete Forsyth <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Risker and Brion:
>>
>> I very much agree with the principles you're stating, and am coming to
>> realize I should have framed my message differently. There has actually
>> been quite a lot of discussion of what the problems are, and I am basing my
>> suggestions on the ones that I've personally seen a lot of attention to.
>> Namely (as I stated, in part, above):
>> * It might take a very long time to get a new ED, which would be bad
>> * We might get an ED who does not effectively absorb information and values
>> from staff and community
>> * Appointing an interim ED in a hurry (one month) might not bring us
>> somebody who's best for the long term
>> * Funders (both institutions and individuals) might be skeptical about
>> giving, due to recent issues
>> * On Point #6, a great deal of work has already been done on identifying
>> problems here, and I look forward to seeing more synthesis etc. on wiki:
>> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_transparency_gap
>>
>> There is, I agree, much more work to be done in identifying and clarifying
>> further problems we should be looking to address. But from what I've read
>> and heard, there seems to be some pretty strong consensus around the
>> problems I've identified above; and ideally, I would have stated that out
>> in an intro to my message. If there is *disagreement* on those issues, I
>> think it would be good to hear it.
>>
>> Along with you, I welcome further deliberation of what the problems are
>> that should be solved, and if I suggested otherwise I regret giving that
>> impression.
>>
>> I strongly hope and believe, though, that the Board is already working to
>> address the subset of rather obvious problems that is at least similar to
>> what I listed above. Those problems need to be addressed quickly, and I
>> believe it's best if various stakeholders in the Wikimedia vision -- not
>> just the 9 members of the Board -- weigh in on the best way to address
>> them. If there is a consensus that we shouldn't do that here in public, I
>> can take it off this list; but speaking for myself, I'd like to see some
>> public deliberation and consensus-building about more immediate steps,
>> rather than a bunch of individual efforts to lobby the Board.
>>
>> I don't intend any of this to be a total solution. Regarding Keegan's
>> response, of course there is always a seat at the table! But I appreciate
>> your speaking up about it. Still, my list is very much influenced by what I
>> have heard from staff, board, etc. over many months -- so it's not like
>> your seat is getting cold without you. :)
>>
>> -Pete
>> [[User:Peteforsyth]]
>>
>> On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 5:27 PM, Brion Vibber <[hidden email]>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> Strong +1 to Risker.
>>>
>>> Collecting ideas to work more on as we move forward: YES. Keeping the
>>> constructive attitude and opened comm channels I've seen here and and
>> among
>>> staff internally: YES.
>>>
>>> But let's be deliberate, and considerate. We do have to learn and process
>>> before we implement anything.
>>>
>>> That all said I think I'm approaching my monthly list message quota, so
>> I'm
>>> probably going to quiet down on list for a bit as I talk to people in SF.
>>> :)
>>>
>>> I'll be making public-side notes on meta under my user page.
>>>
>>> -- brion
>>> On Feb 26, 2016 4:59 PM, "Risker" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>
>>>> I think in fairness that it is not just staff who are feeling this is
>> all
>>>> moving too fast.  The overwhelming majority of community members, and
>> in
>>>> particular community members who don't read and speak English fluently,
>>> are
>>>> likely to be pretty overwhelmed right now too.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> I am concerned that what we are seeing right now are a whole pile of
>>>> solutions when we haven't yet worked out what the actual problems are.
>>>> This is actually quite a bad thing, because it creates a climate where
>>>> people come to a conclusion about what to do before they have worked
>> out
>>>> whether or not it is solving a problem, creating a different problem,
>>>> "fixing" a non-existent problem, or immaterial to the actual problems.
>>>>
>>>> Let's work out what went wrong before we really start pushing what we
>>> think
>>>> will make things right.  The foundation is not a wiki where quick and
>>> easy
>>>> corrections are considered the norm; in fact, based on the concerns of
>>> some
>>>> that strategy changed practically on a quarterly basis, some slow
>>>> considered thinking is probably called for.  The Wikimedia movement has
>>> not
>>>> had time to catch up with current events and certainly doesn't need
>>>> solutions before it's barely worked out why there's a trainwreck on the
>>>> mailing list.  And...perhaps most importantly.... we are talking about
>>> real
>>>> people here. The board and executives, the staff, the community
>>>> members....we're all people. Moving too fast without figuring out what
>>> the
>>>> actual issues are is harmful to the human beings here.
>>>>
>>>> The collective "we" have not had time to understand the problems.
>> Quite a
>>>> few of the "solutions" I've seen on this list in the last 24-48 hours
>> are
>>>> nothing much more than personal wishlists; almost all of them are
>>> proposing
>>>> to solve problems that may or may not even exist.
>>>>
>>>> Let's work more on problem identification first.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Risker/Anne
>>>>
>>>> On 26 February 2016 at 19:44, Pete Forsyth <[hidden email]>
>>> wrote:
>>>>> To Oliver and Keegan -- I hear you guys loud and clear, and I am very
>>>> aware
>>>>> that the trauma of the last few months has taken this kind of toll.
>>>>> Although there is of course much I don't know, I have been talking
>>> with a
>>>>> number of staff, board, etc. for many months now about this. So to
>>>> whatever
>>>>> degree it's possible to empathize without "being there," I do.
>>>>>
>>>>> However, I'm not trying to push things forward at a pace that's
>>>> comfortable
>>>>> *for me*, I'm trying to focus on things that will impact *what it's
>>>>> possible to do*.
>>>>>
>>>>> The prospect of a drawn-out, even multi-year search for the next
>>>> long-term
>>>>> Executive Director is not a good one. The way the organization
>> rebuilds
>>>>> itself and sets expectations will have a huge impact on that. The
>>> impact
>>>> on
>>>>> fund-raising will be felt, as well; high-profile contention around a
>>>> grant
>>>>> is being discussed throughout the philanthropy world, and will impact
>>> the
>>>>> way individual donors respond to banners, as well.
>>>>>
>>>>> I am confident that the Board is already turning its attention to
>>> issues
>>>>> like these. Many things need to be done whenever an executive
>> director
>>>>> leaves an organization, and there are many reasons to attend to them
>>> in a
>>>>> timely fashion -- without rushing through and making bad decisions.
>>>>>
>>>>> Individual Trustees have expressed interest and gratitude for the
>> ideas
>>>>> under discussion, and I appreciate knowing that they are considering
>>>> input.
>>>>> This list may not be the best way to reach the board, but it's a good
>>>> place
>>>>> to see whether there is consensus around certain ideas.
>>>>>
>>>>> That's what I'm trying to do. I know that forging ahead while
>> exhausted
>>>>> sucks, and I am not trying to push anybody faster than they want to
>> go.
>>>> But
>>>>> I also think that this moment for careful deliberation shouldn't be
>>>> missed;
>>>>> some of the opportunities will pass by very quickly if nothing is
>> done.
>>>>> -Pete
>>>>> [[User:Peteforsyth]]
>>>>> _______________________________________________
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>>>>>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

Keegan Peterzell-2
In reply to this post by Pete Forsyth-2
On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 8:04 PM, Pete Forsyth <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Still, my list is very much influenced by what I
> have heard from staff, board, etc. over many months -- so it's not like
> your seat is getting cold without you. :)
>

My seat without me in it would be the very definition of it getting cold
without me in it, not to be glib. Your presumptions are starting to be
offensive.

I am a person. I am a Wikimedian on my own,[0] apart from my role in my
signature line.

I think what we need to *first* do is stop pigeonholing individuals, and
then presuming to know their opinions based on said hole placement, which
was the point of my initial email: do not presume to know what those who
are not speaking right now are thinking, and wait to hear from them. But I
guess you're missing the point.

I know you're going to say that's not what you're intending to do, but it's
exactly what you're saying.

Slow down. There are plenty of leaders with thoughts in this movement, give
everyone space.

0.
https://tools.wmflabs.org/xtools-ec/?user=Keegan&project=en.wikipedia.org&uselang=en

--
Keegan Peterzell
Community Liaison, Product
Wikimedia Foundation
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

George William Herbert
In reply to this post by Risker



> On Feb 26, 2016, at 6:17 PM, Risker <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> No, I think we've actually done a very superficial identification of the
> problems.  Some of them are so obvious that they are overwhelming the less
> obvious but equally serious issues.
>
> Honestly, "we need a new board" is probably not an issue. 40% of the board
> has been seated for less than a year, and another seat is empty and
> awaiting someone who probably won't have been a WMF board member before.
> Two more seats are currently being contested.  It is entirely conceivable
> that by the time we get to Wikimania we will only have two people with more
> than 14 months' experience on the board.  No, "new board" isn't an issue,
> despite how many people keep saying it is; transfer of information at the
> hand-off last Wikimania probably was an issue, and new board member
> orientation definitely was (and is).  The issues with the appointment of
> one of the "board selected" members recently was at least partly because,
> as I understand it, there has never been a written process for how to vet
> potential board members for most of the things we all assumed board members
> were screened for. WHile I'll be the first to admit I rolled my eyes too,
> I'm hard-pressed to openly condemn a bunch of people who'd never done a
> task before for not getting it perfectly right.  (Note that even the WMF
> staffer assigned to assist in the vetting, Boryana Dineva, had been an
> employee for only a few days when handed the assignment, knowing almost
> nothing about the community, the organization, the board, or even what to
> look for when vetting a potential board member.)
>
> So, "let's restructure the board" is a wish-list item. The structure of the
> board wasn't a root cause.  The processes of the board, including the
> orientation process, and the lack of documentation or clarity of the
> process, were much closer to root causes here.
>
> That's just one example.
>
> Risker/Anne

I have not been on the WMF board, and it (collectively, the members) is being fairly opaque about its activities and processes.

That said, it is not clear to me that it was doing what the board of trustees of an organization is required to do (legally, morally, organizationally), and I am not at all comfortable having to say that.

At the beginning of the week, my TLDR message ended with challenging the board to consider if they were up for the job.

It is evident that at least at times it needs to really be a board and not just a group of advisors.  It needs to challenge and find out not just be told.  It has a fiduciary duty to keep the organization on sound footing.  That means something.

That means standing up to each other, to broken process, to management, even to the movement.  It's the Board.

I don't know that anyone isn't able to do that, but everyone should be asking.  And if anyone can't or won't they're not doing the job.

I am not comfortable asking that, but it needs to be asked.


George William Herbert
Sent from my iPhone


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

Oliver Keyes-5
In reply to this post by Keegan Peterzell-2
+1 to Keegan. I am glad you have spoken to staffers, Pete. I promise I
can identify at least 300 other people that fall into that category
too.

On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 9:40 PM, Keegan Peterzell
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 8:04 PM, Pete Forsyth <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Still, my list is very much influenced by what I
>> have heard from staff, board, etc. over many months -- so it's not like
>> your seat is getting cold without you. :)
>>
>
> My seat without me in it would be the very definition of it getting cold
> without me in it, not to be glib. Your presumptions are starting to be
> offensive.
>
> I am a person. I am a Wikimedian on my own,[0] apart from my role in my
> signature line.
>
> I think what we need to *first* do is stop pigeonholing individuals, and
> then presuming to know their opinions based on said hole placement, which
> was the point of my initial email: do not presume to know what those who
> are not speaking right now are thinking, and wait to hear from them. But I
> guess you're missing the point.
>
> I know you're going to say that's not what you're intending to do, but it's
> exactly what you're saying.
>
> Slow down. There are plenty of leaders with thoughts in this movement, give
> everyone space.
>
> 0.
> https://tools.wmflabs.org/xtools-ec/?user=Keegan&project=en.wikipedia.org&uselang=en
>
> --
> Keegan Peterzell
> Community Liaison, Product
> Wikimedia Foundation
> _______________________________________________
> 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] What should happen next? My 5 ideas

Pete Forsyth-2
Keegan and Oliver (again),

I've communicated a bit with Keegan off list, and I appreciate the feedback
from both of you. I intended to say something conciliatory, I didn't put
much thought into how I put it, and I achieved the opposite effect. I'm
sorry. I should have known better.

For whatever it's worth, I don't presume to speak for anybody, and I don't
have any illusion that my personal communication gives me special insights
unavailable to others. I can see how my message would give that impression
though.

What I DO believe is that currently, we have stronger lines of
communication among a lot of people than we're used to, and I think that
can be a positive force in both finding common cause and hearing individual
voices. Suggesting that anything would compensate for somebody not actively
representing themselves, though, was a mistake. The two points don't really
connect, and I shouldn't have tried.

Anyhow -- this thread was never meant to be about me, so I'll leave it at
that. (The subject line I chose was bad as well -- it puts way too much
emphasis on "my" role.) If either of you, or anybody else who was offended
by my words, feels that I'm still missing something, please let me know
offlist.

-Pete
[[User:Peteforsyth]]

On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 7:33 PM, Oliver Keyes <[hidden email]> wrote:

> +1 to Keegan. I am glad you have spoken to staffers, Pete. I promise I
> can identify at least 300 other people that fall into that category
> too.
>
> On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 9:40 PM, Keegan Peterzell
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > On Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 8:04 PM, Pete Forsyth <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> >
> >> Still, my list is very much influenced by what I
> >> have heard from staff, board, etc. over many months -- so it's not like
> >> your seat is getting cold without you. :)
> >>
> >
> > My seat without me in it would be the very definition of it getting cold
> > without me in it, not to be glib. Your presumptions are starting to be
> > offensive.
> >
> > I am a person. I am a Wikimedian on my own,[0] apart from my role in my
> > signature line.
> >
> > I think what we need to *first* do is stop pigeonholing individuals, and
> > then presuming to know their opinions based on said hole placement, which
> > was the point of my initial email: do not presume to know what those who
> > are not speaking right now are thinking, and wait to hear from them. But
> I
> > guess you're missing the point.
> >
> > I know you're going to say that's not what you're intending to do, but
> it's
> > exactly what you're saying.
> >
> > Slow down. There are plenty of leaders with thoughts in this movement,
> give
> > everyone space.
> >
> > 0.
> >
> https://tools.wmflabs.org/xtools-ec/?user=Keegan&project=en.wikipedia.org&uselang=en
> >
> > --
> > Keegan Peterzell
> > Community Liaison, Product
> > Wikimedia Foundation
> > _______________________________________________
> > 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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