[Wikimedia-l] [strategy process] Fwd: I decided to leave the working group

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[Wikimedia-l] [strategy process] Fwd: I decided to leave the working group

Itzik - Wikimedia Israel
Hi,

Two weeks ago I sent this email to my strategy working group (resource
allocation). I didn't plan to send a public email, just to share with the
rest of the group my reason to leave and just to disappear.
I receive feedbacks with many of the group members and also requesting
permissions to transfer it with others outside of the group, which leads to
more conversations that I had around it.

Last week we had our weekly phone call, during which we discussed our
feelings and opinions about the process so far. From our long conversation
and the conversations with the others, I learned that many of these
feelings exist among the other members, as well some ideas on how to make
it easier and less demanding and at the same time publishing the
conclusions sooner.
Yesterday, following a good conversation with one of the WMF's board
members about it, I was asked to share these thoughts with the movement's
list, so that it may also involve the community's feedback as well.



*Itzik Edri*
Chairperson (volunteer)
[hidden email]
+972-54-5878078



---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Itzik - Wikimedia Israel <[hidden email]>
Date: Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 2:08 PM
Subject: I decided to leave the working group
To: <[hidden email]>

Dear friends,

For a long time I have been considering leaving the working group but each
time I decided to give it another chance. Yesterday, after long
consideration, I decided to write this email.

I must be honest - I was skeptical from the first moment about this
process. The huge amount of money which the board allocated to this process
together with the complicated and (very) long process planned for it - make
me doubt the ability to really have a real outcome in a reasonable time.
For the past two years, it seems to me like the strategy took over almost
every movement event and activity. I feel bad for investing millions of
dollars from our donations and uncounted hours of volunteer time into this
process.

I also felt hypocritical in the way the foundation acts - while "freezing"
grant programs (such as APG) and holding affiliates from increasing their
programs and budgets, "because of the strategy process" while
simultaneously approving itself to increase its budget and staff year after
year by tens of percentage.

Despite my distrust of the chances of this process and the criticism I felt
for it, I instructed my organization to give it the full support we been
asked, as all our movement did. Later on, I decided to join this working
group as I felt we almost reached the final step of the process and I
wanted to help shape the recommendations. I was totally wrong.

In the first months of the workgroups, I felt it was completely wasted of
time. I saw how wonderful volunteers tried to lead the process within each
group (thank you Daria!) - but it wasn't their job, nor none of us. I felt
like I was returning to university, and every few weeks I received
instructions and homework from the lecturer, with assignments to the
following week - and in between, that we need to lead it and solve things
by ourselves. It took the core team a few months to change it and bring
external support, but even after the (right) change, it continues to feel
like I came *to work for *the strategic process, not with.

I felt like nothing happened for the past year(or years?) before the
working groups started to operate. As if we didn't have hundreds of
meetings around the world, with a total of tens of thousands of people and
an enormous amount of hours of conversations - and aside from a short few
sentences of a strategic direction, we started from scratch. A completely
new process.
From scratch to have discussions about what this process is, definitions
and concepts. What is the problem with the current system? What are the
challenges? What people shared during the first phase? Information which
wasn't available and ready for the group, and still isn't. Eight months
after we start, the real conversation about the subject which I joined to
discuss about and help shape recommendations around it, is far, far away
from even to start.

The more I spoke to more and more people who are part of the process, I
realized that this despair is not only with me but with many. But we are a
real Wikimedians, and we are committed to the things we start. We are bad
with stopping things when they don't work or have real reviews of the
things we do when we have the belief that this is the right thing. I
completely stopped thinking it is the right thing to our movement.

Last month, in our in-person meeting in Berlin, one of the opening
activities was to sum up the number of years we were all members of the
movement. Just think about doing the same, and sum up the number of
volunteer (and staff) hours invested until now in this process. We are
talking about tens of thousands of hours of work not even taking into
consideration the huge amount of money involved.
And the end of the process is very far away.

In one of our discussions, we doubt if to include volunteers as a resource
which can be allocated. We decided at the end it can't as such, but just
try to imagine it was, and try to think about a future whatever-will-be the
resource allocation body/structure: how he would deal with the decision
whether to approve such a huge amount of volunteer time and money in the
process. Did the WMF's board even consider and discuss these resources and
how it will affect the movement during the process years? I doubt.

We tend to say that the movement newest project is WikiData. I think we may
need to start address WikiStrategy as the newest project. Just think about
what we could do with that amount of resources.

The idea to massively involve the wide community within this process was
the right decision  - but the implementations from my point of view were
wrong.
If the last strategy process was totally handled by outsiders - we took
this one completely to its opposite, without finding the right balance.

A strategy process is important, there is no doubt. And our movement needs
one, there is no doubt.
But a strategy process can't take over the organization' activities for
*years.*

I want to warmly thank you, my teammates. It is heartwarming to see the
commitment and amazing energy of all the members of this process, and of
course, the core team which is dedicated to bringing a change. I have no
doubt that we all want to secure the future of our movement to years to
come and I don't know of such a high level of engagement and commitment
anywhere else. But at the same time, I think we should put limits to it and
reconsider it - and think how to make it shorter, lighter, less demanding
and expensive - both from the perspective of staff/volunteer time and money.


Yours,
Itzik.



*Itzik Edri*
Chairperson
[hidden email]
+972-54-5878078
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [strategy process] Fwd: I decided to leave the working group

Yaroslav Blanter
Hello Itzik,

thanks for sharing this.

I actually did not want to react, because I presumably sound too critical
on this list in the last couple of years. However, 24h passed, and nobody
reacted, and It would be unfortunate if we let this go.

My own experience brought me to the same conclusions, even though I have a
very different background. I am a project contributor, highly active on
several WMF projects and having some advanced permissions there. I belong
to the category which became common to refer to as "unorganized volunteers"
(which we actually read as a derogatory name). I participated in the 2010
strategy consultation, which was pretty much community driven, and I liked
that one. My name is on the final document. However, I did not like the
current process from the very beginning. In the first stage, facilitators
were hired, and some of them genuinely wanted to do things but did not know
how to activate the communities, and others did not even make an effort. As
I already shared on this list, on one of the projects I am active in we
took the challenge seriously and formulated quite a few of strategic
directions - just to be told by the facilitator that this is not what we
were expected to do. The final document had no trace of our suggestions. I
was one of those who opposed the final document and signed for this on Meta
- about 70 people signed and were duly ignored. I was not looking forward
to the second round, but when I saw a call, I though "ok, I was criticizing
the process a lot, but did I do enough to fix it", and I applied. My
application was rejected, and a couple of days later there was a second
call stating that the first one did not get enough applicants. Then I was
sure I am happy that whatever final document would be there in the end is
no way my name could be associated with it. Whatever else would happen
around the strategy discussion this round, I am not going to be available
to help. The strategy discussion is smth that happens in a different
galaxy. The process is hopelessly broken and should have been killed at an
earlier stage. I know that a lot of people I respect (and quite a few I do
not) were and still are involved, but apparently the process design was not
appropriate from the very beginning.

I am generally very disappointed by an inability of many people at WMF and
thematic organizations to realize what "strategy" actually means.
Apparently, they really think that they are the movement, and volunteers at
the projects ("unorganized volunteers") would do what they decide for them.
We had already enough calls showing that the communities are not going to
do what they are told if they do not think it is reasonable. And if
somebody has forgotten the Wikitravel story, which tells us what happened
if you push volunteers too much, it could be useful to read it again. I
have an impression that some people really forget where their salary is
coming from, that other people are working for free, and if they stop
working for free, there is not going to be any salary any more. And if you
can not understand what communities want, then you need to ask again, and
not just write a few generic sentences and take it to another level. There
are enough real challenges before the movement which, if inappropriately
handled or not responded to, can just kill the whole Wikimedia universe. To
write a text in which a lot of money and a lot of time is invested but
which is not even specific about anything is not one of them.

And if you ask me I would say that the strategy can not be determined
solely by people who are not working in projects on a daily basis.

Cheers
Yaroslav

On Wed, Mar 27, 2019 at 2:06 PM Itzik - Wikimedia Israel <
[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi,
>
> Two weeks ago I sent this email to my strategy working group (resource
> allocation). I didn't plan to send a public email, just to share with the
> rest of the group my reason to leave and just to disappear.
> I receive feedbacks with many of the group members and also requesting
> permissions to transfer it with others outside of the group, which leads to
> more conversations that I had around it.
>
> Last week we had our weekly phone call, during which we discussed our
> feelings and opinions about the process so far. From our long conversation
> and the conversations with the others, I learned that many of these
> feelings exist among the other members, as well some ideas on how to make
> it easier and less demanding and at the same time publishing the
> conclusions sooner.
> Yesterday, following a good conversation with one of the WMF's board
> members about it, I was asked to share these thoughts with the movement's
> list, so that it may also involve the community's feedback as well.
>
>
>
> *Itzik Edri*
> Chairperson (volunteer)
> [hidden email]
> +972-54-5878078
>
>
>
> ---------- Forwarded message ---------
> From: Itzik - Wikimedia Israel <[hidden email]>
> Date: Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 2:08 PM
> Subject: I decided to leave the working group
> To: <[hidden email]>
>
> Dear friends,
>
> For a long time I have been considering leaving the working group but each
> time I decided to give it another chance. Yesterday, after long
> consideration, I decided to write this email.
>
> I must be honest - I was skeptical from the first moment about this
> process. The huge amount of money which the board allocated to this process
> together with the complicated and (very) long process planned for it - make
> me doubt the ability to really have a real outcome in a reasonable time.
> For the past two years, it seems to me like the strategy took over almost
> every movement event and activity. I feel bad for investing millions of
> dollars from our donations and uncounted hours of volunteer time into this
> process.
>
> I also felt hypocritical in the way the foundation acts - while "freezing"
> grant programs (such as APG) and holding affiliates from increasing their
> programs and budgets, "because of the strategy process" while
> simultaneously approving itself to increase its budget and staff year after
> year by tens of percentage.
>
> Despite my distrust of the chances of this process and the criticism I felt
> for it, I instructed my organization to give it the full support we been
> asked, as all our movement did. Later on, I decided to join this working
> group as I felt we almost reached the final step of the process and I
> wanted to help shape the recommendations. I was totally wrong.
>
> In the first months of the workgroups, I felt it was completely wasted of
> time. I saw how wonderful volunteers tried to lead the process within each
> group (thank you Daria!) - but it wasn't their job, nor none of us. I felt
> like I was returning to university, and every few weeks I received
> instructions and homework from the lecturer, with assignments to the
> following week - and in between, that we need to lead it and solve things
> by ourselves. It took the core team a few months to change it and bring
> external support, but even after the (right) change, it continues to feel
> like I came *to work for *the strategic process, not with.
>
> I felt like nothing happened for the past year(or years?) before the
> working groups started to operate. As if we didn't have hundreds of
> meetings around the world, with a total of tens of thousands of people and
> an enormous amount of hours of conversations - and aside from a short few
> sentences of a strategic direction, we started from scratch. A completely
> new process.
> From scratch to have discussions about what this process is, definitions
> and concepts. What is the problem with the current system? What are the
> challenges? What people shared during the first phase? Information which
> wasn't available and ready for the group, and still isn't. Eight months
> after we start, the real conversation about the subject which I joined to
> discuss about and help shape recommendations around it, is far, far away
> from even to start.
>
> The more I spoke to more and more people who are part of the process, I
> realized that this despair is not only with me but with many. But we are a
> real Wikimedians, and we are committed to the things we start. We are bad
> with stopping things when they don't work or have real reviews of the
> things we do when we have the belief that this is the right thing. I
> completely stopped thinking it is the right thing to our movement.
>
> Last month, in our in-person meeting in Berlin, one of the opening
> activities was to sum up the number of years we were all members of the
> movement. Just think about doing the same, and sum up the number of
> volunteer (and staff) hours invested until now in this process. We are
> talking about tens of thousands of hours of work not even taking into
> consideration the huge amount of money involved.
> And the end of the process is very far away.
>
> In one of our discussions, we doubt if to include volunteers as a resource
> which can be allocated. We decided at the end it can't as such, but just
> try to imagine it was, and try to think about a future whatever-will-be the
> resource allocation body/structure: how he would deal with the decision
> whether to approve such a huge amount of volunteer time and money in the
> process. Did the WMF's board even consider and discuss these resources and
> how it will affect the movement during the process years? I doubt.
>
> We tend to say that the movement newest project is WikiData. I think we may
> need to start address WikiStrategy as the newest project. Just think about
> what we could do with that amount of resources.
>
> The idea to massively involve the wide community within this process was
> the right decision  - but the implementations from my point of view were
> wrong.
> If the last strategy process was totally handled by outsiders - we took
> this one completely to its opposite, without finding the right balance.
>
> A strategy process is important, there is no doubt. And our movement needs
> one, there is no doubt.
> But a strategy process can't take over the organization' activities for
> *years.*
>
> I want to warmly thank you, my teammates. It is heartwarming to see the
> commitment and amazing energy of all the members of this process, and of
> course, the core team which is dedicated to bringing a change. I have no
> doubt that we all want to secure the future of our movement to years to
> come and I don't know of such a high level of engagement and commitment
> anywhere else. But at the same time, I think we should put limits to it and
> reconsider it - and think how to make it shorter, lighter, less demanding
> and expensive - both from the perspective of staff/volunteer time and
> money.
>
>
> Yours,
> Itzik.
>
>
>
> *Itzik Edri*
> Chairperson
> [hidden email]
> +972-54-5878078
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [strategy process] Fwd: I decided to leave the working group

Paulo Santos Perneta
I subscribe what Yaroslav wrote, line by line.

My personal impression is that for the people who are at the onwiki
communities, in which I include myself till 2018, this whole Strategy 2030
thing looks indeed like something happening in a distant galaxy, led by
people with very little notion of what is actually happening in the
projects. And there is also this notion that sometime in the near/mid
future vogons would came in to impose whatever they had decided there, and
that they will have to be chased off.

I attended Iberoconf 2019[1] early this year in Santiago, where Strategy
2030 was supposed to be very much in focus, and I was hoping to have a
better idea of what it was over there. However, we ended up never talking
about it (at least that I can remember), so the idea I got was that it is
something of no importance or of very little importance, but on which, for
some reason, huge amounts of WMF funding is being thrown in.

I do not care about the money - it's their money, they do whatever they
want with it. But it kind of annoys me that Strategy 2030, while being
apparently useless, tends to pervade all Wikimedia events and spaces. It
kind of stays there, doing nothing and occupying space that could be better
used for more practical stuff.

Nothing against the people that is on the Working Groups, I'm sure most of
them are doing their best, as Itzik, but this whole thing at this point is
really looking as some failed experiment, and it would probably be better
to salvage what is possible from this and the other past "strategy"
experiments, look at what failed and start something new and better thought.

[1] -https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:Conference/WMCL/Iberoconf_2019

Best,
Paulo (DarwIn)


Yaroslav Blanter <[hidden email]> escreveu no dia quinta, 28/03/2019 à(s)
15:38:

> Hello Itzik,
>
> thanks for sharing this.
>
> I actually did not want to react, because I presumably sound too critical
> on this list in the last couple of years. However, 24h passed, and nobody
> reacted, and It would be unfortunate if we let this go.
>
> My own experience brought me to the same conclusions, even though I have a
> very different background. I am a project contributor, highly active on
> several WMF projects and having some advanced permissions there. I belong
> to the category which became common to refer to as "unorganized volunteers"
> (which we actually read as a derogatory name). I participated in the 2010
> strategy consultation, which was pretty much community driven, and I liked
> that one. My name is on the final document. However, I did not like the
> current process from the very beginning. In the first stage, facilitators
> were hired, and some of them genuinely wanted to do things but did not know
> how to activate the communities, and others did not even make an effort. As
> I already shared on this list, on one of the projects I am active in we
> took the challenge seriously and formulated quite a few of strategic
> directions - just to be told by the facilitator that this is not what we
> were expected to do. The final document had no trace of our suggestions. I
> was one of those who opposed the final document and signed for this on Meta
> - about 70 people signed and were duly ignored. I was not looking forward
> to the second round, but when I saw a call, I though "ok, I was criticizing
> the process a lot, but did I do enough to fix it", and I applied. My
> application was rejected, and a couple of days later there was a second
> call stating that the first one did not get enough applicants. Then I was
> sure I am happy that whatever final document would be there in the end is
> no way my name could be associated with it. Whatever else would happen
> around the strategy discussion this round, I am not going to be available
> to help. The strategy discussion is smth that happens in a different
> galaxy. The process is hopelessly broken and should have been killed at an
> earlier stage. I know that a lot of people I respect (and quite a few I do
> not) were and still are involved, but apparently the process design was not
> appropriate from the very beginning.
>
> I am generally very disappointed by an inability of many people at WMF and
> thematic organizations to realize what "strategy" actually means.
> Apparently, they really think that they are the movement, and volunteers at
> the projects ("unorganized volunteers") would do what they decide for them.
> We had already enough calls showing that the communities are not going to
> do what they are told if they do not think it is reasonable. And if
> somebody has forgotten the Wikitravel story, which tells us what happened
> if you push volunteers too much, it could be useful to read it again. I
> have an impression that some people really forget where their salary is
> coming from, that other people are working for free, and if they stop
> working for free, there is not going to be any salary any more. And if you
> can not understand what communities want, then you need to ask again, and
> not just write a few generic sentences and take it to another level. There
> are enough real challenges before the movement which, if inappropriately
> handled or not responded to, can just kill the whole Wikimedia universe. To
> write a text in which a lot of money and a lot of time is invested but
> which is not even specific about anything is not one of them.
>
> And if you ask me I would say that the strategy can not be determined
> solely by people who are not working in projects on a daily basis.
>
> Cheers
> Yaroslav
>
> On Wed, Mar 27, 2019 at 2:06 PM Itzik - Wikimedia Israel <
> [hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > Hi,
> >
> > Two weeks ago I sent this email to my strategy working group (resource
> > allocation). I didn't plan to send a public email, just to share with the
> > rest of the group my reason to leave and just to disappear.
> > I receive feedbacks with many of the group members and also requesting
> > permissions to transfer it with others outside of the group, which leads
> to
> > more conversations that I had around it.
> >
> > Last week we had our weekly phone call, during which we discussed our
> > feelings and opinions about the process so far. From our long
> conversation
> > and the conversations with the others, I learned that many of these
> > feelings exist among the other members, as well some ideas on how to make
> > it easier and less demanding and at the same time publishing the
> > conclusions sooner.
> > Yesterday, following a good conversation with one of the WMF's board
> > members about it, I was asked to share these thoughts with the movement's
> > list, so that it may also involve the community's feedback as well.
> >
> >
> >
> > *Itzik Edri*
> > Chairperson (volunteer)
> > [hidden email]
> > +972-54-5878078
> >
> >
> >
> > ---------- Forwarded message ---------
> > From: Itzik - Wikimedia Israel <[hidden email]>
> > Date: Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 2:08 PM
> > Subject: I decided to leave the working group
> > To: <[hidden email]>
> >
> > Dear friends,
> >
> > For a long time I have been considering leaving the working group but
> each
> > time I decided to give it another chance. Yesterday, after long
> > consideration, I decided to write this email.
> >
> > I must be honest - I was skeptical from the first moment about this
> > process. The huge amount of money which the board allocated to this
> process
> > together with the complicated and (very) long process planned for it -
> make
> > me doubt the ability to really have a real outcome in a reasonable time.
> > For the past two years, it seems to me like the strategy took over almost
> > every movement event and activity. I feel bad for investing millions of
> > dollars from our donations and uncounted hours of volunteer time into
> this
> > process.
> >
> > I also felt hypocritical in the way the foundation acts - while
> "freezing"
> > grant programs (such as APG) and holding affiliates from increasing their
> > programs and budgets, "because of the strategy process" while
> > simultaneously approving itself to increase its budget and staff year
> after
> > year by tens of percentage.
> >
> > Despite my distrust of the chances of this process and the criticism I
> felt
> > for it, I instructed my organization to give it the full support we been
> > asked, as all our movement did. Later on, I decided to join this working
> > group as I felt we almost reached the final step of the process and I
> > wanted to help shape the recommendations. I was totally wrong.
> >
> > In the first months of the workgroups, I felt it was completely wasted of
> > time. I saw how wonderful volunteers tried to lead the process within
> each
> > group (thank you Daria!) - but it wasn't their job, nor none of us. I
> felt
> > like I was returning to university, and every few weeks I received
> > instructions and homework from the lecturer, with assignments to the
> > following week - and in between, that we need to lead it and solve things
> > by ourselves. It took the core team a few months to change it and bring
> > external support, but even after the (right) change, it continues to feel
> > like I came *to work for *the strategic process, not with.
> >
> > I felt like nothing happened for the past year(or years?) before the
> > working groups started to operate. As if we didn't have hundreds of
> > meetings around the world, with a total of tens of thousands of people
> and
> > an enormous amount of hours of conversations - and aside from a short few
> > sentences of a strategic direction, we started from scratch. A completely
> > new process.
> > From scratch to have discussions about what this process is, definitions
> > and concepts. What is the problem with the current system? What are the
> > challenges? What people shared during the first phase? Information which
> > wasn't available and ready for the group, and still isn't. Eight months
> > after we start, the real conversation about the subject which I joined to
> > discuss about and help shape recommendations around it, is far, far away
> > from even to start.
> >
> > The more I spoke to more and more people who are part of the process, I
> > realized that this despair is not only with me but with many. But we are
> a
> > real Wikimedians, and we are committed to the things we start. We are bad
> > with stopping things when they don't work or have real reviews of the
> > things we do when we have the belief that this is the right thing. I
> > completely stopped thinking it is the right thing to our movement.
> >
> > Last month, in our in-person meeting in Berlin, one of the opening
> > activities was to sum up the number of years we were all members of the
> > movement. Just think about doing the same, and sum up the number of
> > volunteer (and staff) hours invested until now in this process. We are
> > talking about tens of thousands of hours of work not even taking into
> > consideration the huge amount of money involved.
> > And the end of the process is very far away.
> >
> > In one of our discussions, we doubt if to include volunteers as a
> resource
> > which can be allocated. We decided at the end it can't as such, but just
> > try to imagine it was, and try to think about a future whatever-will-be
> the
> > resource allocation body/structure: how he would deal with the decision
> > whether to approve such a huge amount of volunteer time and money in the
> > process. Did the WMF's board even consider and discuss these resources
> and
> > how it will affect the movement during the process years? I doubt.
> >
> > We tend to say that the movement newest project is WikiData. I think we
> may
> > need to start address WikiStrategy as the newest project. Just think
> about
> > what we could do with that amount of resources.
> >
> > The idea to massively involve the wide community within this process was
> > the right decision  - but the implementations from my point of view were
> > wrong.
> > If the last strategy process was totally handled by outsiders - we took
> > this one completely to its opposite, without finding the right balance.
> >
> > A strategy process is important, there is no doubt. And our movement
> needs
> > one, there is no doubt.
> > But a strategy process can't take over the organization' activities for
> > *years.*
> >
> > I want to warmly thank you, my teammates. It is heartwarming to see the
> > commitment and amazing energy of all the members of this process, and of
> > course, the core team which is dedicated to bringing a change. I have no
> > doubt that we all want to secure the future of our movement to years to
> > come and I don't know of such a high level of engagement and commitment
> > anywhere else. But at the same time, I think we should put limits to it
> and
> > reconsider it - and think how to make it shorter, lighter, less demanding
> > and expensive - both from the perspective of staff/volunteer time and
> > money.
> >
> >
> > Yours,
> > Itzik.
> >
> >
> >
> > *Itzik Edri*
> > Chairperson
> > [hidden email]
> > +972-54-5878078
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [strategy process] Fwd: I decided to leave the working group

Fæ
In reply to this post by Yaroslav Blanter
On Thu, 28 Mar 2019 at 15:38, Yaroslav Blanter <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hello Itzik,
>
> thanks for sharing this.
>
> I actually did not want to react, because I presumably sound too critical
> on this list in the last couple of years. However, 24h passed, and nobody
> reacted, and It would be unfortunate if we let this go.
...

Ditto.

I have been asked in private, three different times by three different
people if I would like to take part in the strategy process. My most
recent decline and explanation was pretty much identical.

I simply do not believe in the process being followed. So it would be
a poor use of my volunteer time to try to take part, as whatever I had
to contribute I am convinced would have zero measurable impact on the
eventual outcome. These thoughts are sad ones, as the money and
significant amount of volunteer time and goodwill being invested,
could be directed to very productive open knowledge projects. Let us
hope that I will be proven wrong, soon.

Fae
--
[hidden email] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [strategy process] Fwd: I decided to leave the working group

Anders Wennersten-2
In reply to this post by Itzik - Wikimedia Israel
There is a Swedish expression "har man tagit fan i båten får man ro
honom i land" (If you have taken the devil into your boat you must row
him ashore"

Independent if this process has been bad or not, I see it is as just
some six month left of it. And it is important to do the best of it. It
would be a bad move to stop it at thois point in time, and would also be
too late to correct the process if it has been flawed.

Anders


Den 2019-03-27 kl. 14:05, skrev Itzik - Wikimedia Israel:

> Hi,
>
> Two weeks ago I sent this email to my strategy working group (resource
> allocation). I didn't plan to send a public email, just to share with the
> rest of the group my reason to leave and just to disappear.
> I receive feedbacks with many of the group members and also requesting
> permissions to transfer it with others outside of the group, which leads to
> more conversations that I had around it.
>
> Last week we had our weekly phone call, during which we discussed our
> feelings and opinions about the process so far. From our long conversation
> and the conversations with the others, I learned that many of these
> feelings exist among the other members, as well some ideas on how to make
> it easier and less demanding and at the same time publishing the
> conclusions sooner.
> Yesterday, following a good conversation with one of the WMF's board
> members about it, I was asked to share these thoughts with the movement's
> list, so that it may also involve the community's feedback as well.
>
>
>
> *Itzik Edri*
> Chairperson (volunteer)
> [hidden email]
> +972-54-5878078
>
>
>
> ---------- Forwarded message ---------
> From: Itzik - Wikimedia Israel <[hidden email]>
> Date: Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 2:08 PM
> Subject: I decided to leave the working group
> To: <[hidden email]>
>
> Dear friends,
>
> For a long time I have been considering leaving the working group but each
> time I decided to give it another chance. Yesterday, after long
> consideration, I decided to write this email.
>
> I must be honest - I was skeptical from the first moment about this
> process. The huge amount of money which the board allocated to this process
> together with the complicated and (very) long process planned for it - make
> me doubt the ability to really have a real outcome in a reasonable time.
> For the past two years, it seems to me like the strategy took over almost
> every movement event and activity. I feel bad for investing millions of
> dollars from our donations and uncounted hours of volunteer time into this
> process.
>
> I also felt hypocritical in the way the foundation acts - while "freezing"
> grant programs (such as APG) and holding affiliates from increasing their
> programs and budgets, "because of the strategy process" while
> simultaneously approving itself to increase its budget and staff year after
> year by tens of percentage.
>
> Despite my distrust of the chances of this process and the criticism I felt
> for it, I instructed my organization to give it the full support we been
> asked, as all our movement did. Later on, I decided to join this working
> group as I felt we almost reached the final step of the process and I
> wanted to help shape the recommendations. I was totally wrong.
>
> In the first months of the workgroups, I felt it was completely wasted of
> time. I saw how wonderful volunteers tried to lead the process within each
> group (thank you Daria!) - but it wasn't their job, nor none of us. I felt
> like I was returning to university, and every few weeks I received
> instructions and homework from the lecturer, with assignments to the
> following week - and in between, that we need to lead it and solve things
> by ourselves. It took the core team a few months to change it and bring
> external support, but even after the (right) change, it continues to feel
> like I came *to work for *the strategic process, not with.
>
> I felt like nothing happened for the past year(or years?) before the
> working groups started to operate. As if we didn't have hundreds of
> meetings around the world, with a total of tens of thousands of people and
> an enormous amount of hours of conversations - and aside from a short few
> sentences of a strategic direction, we started from scratch. A completely
> new process.
>  From scratch to have discussions about what this process is, definitions
> and concepts. What is the problem with the current system? What are the
> challenges? What people shared during the first phase? Information which
> wasn't available and ready for the group, and still isn't. Eight months
> after we start, the real conversation about the subject which I joined to
> discuss about and help shape recommendations around it, is far, far away
> from even to start.
>
> The more I spoke to more and more people who are part of the process, I
> realized that this despair is not only with me but with many. But we are a
> real Wikimedians, and we are committed to the things we start. We are bad
> with stopping things when they don't work or have real reviews of the
> things we do when we have the belief that this is the right thing. I
> completely stopped thinking it is the right thing to our movement.
>
> Last month, in our in-person meeting in Berlin, one of the opening
> activities was to sum up the number of years we were all members of the
> movement. Just think about doing the same, and sum up the number of
> volunteer (and staff) hours invested until now in this process. We are
> talking about tens of thousands of hours of work not even taking into
> consideration the huge amount of money involved.
> And the end of the process is very far away.
>
> In one of our discussions, we doubt if to include volunteers as a resource
> which can be allocated. We decided at the end it can't as such, but just
> try to imagine it was, and try to think about a future whatever-will-be the
> resource allocation body/structure: how he would deal with the decision
> whether to approve such a huge amount of volunteer time and money in the
> process. Did the WMF's board even consider and discuss these resources and
> how it will affect the movement during the process years? I doubt.
>
> We tend to say that the movement newest project is WikiData. I think we may
> need to start address WikiStrategy as the newest project. Just think about
> what we could do with that amount of resources.
>
> The idea to massively involve the wide community within this process was
> the right decision  - but the implementations from my point of view were
> wrong.
> If the last strategy process was totally handled by outsiders - we took
> this one completely to its opposite, without finding the right balance.
>
> A strategy process is important, there is no doubt. And our movement needs
> one, there is no doubt.
> But a strategy process can't take over the organization' activities for
> *years.*
>
> I want to warmly thank you, my teammates. It is heartwarming to see the
> commitment and amazing energy of all the members of this process, and of
> course, the core team which is dedicated to bringing a change. I have no
> doubt that we all want to secure the future of our movement to years to
> come and I don't know of such a high level of engagement and commitment
> anywhere else. But at the same time, I think we should put limits to it and
> reconsider it - and think how to make it shorter, lighter, less demanding
> and expensive - both from the perspective of staff/volunteer time and money.
>
>
> Yours,
> Itzik.
>
>
>
> *Itzik Edri*
> Chairperson
> [hidden email]
> +972-54-5878078
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [strategy process] Fwd: I decided to leave the working group

Chris Keating-2
In reply to this post by Paulo Santos Perneta
Hello,

I just want to chime in here. Like Itzik I'm a working group member with a
community and chapter background, unlike him I am not resigning  :)

I certainly identify with many of the frustrations he shares. Everything in
the process is slow and that is very frustrating for those of us who just
want to get on with the work.

Some of that is because the scope and breadth of what the process is trying
to achieve. Some is because of the amount of the governance equivalent of
"technical debt" the movement has accumulated as decision after decision
has been put off and ultimately swept into this process to resolve. Some of
the slowness is due to the particular way the process is being aporoached
and the supporting resources that are available (it seems while WMF can
spend immense amounts of money on this process, it can't make any quick
decisions on how to spend that money because of an ossiffied procurement
process... *shrugs*). I won't say any more about the process now because I
expect there to be many discussions at the WMSummit about how it works from
here.

In spite of these frustrations, I think it's likely that the outcomes of
the process will be a significant, lasting, positive  change for the
movement.

Chris


On Thu, 28 Mar 2019, 17:09 Paulo Santos Perneta, <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> I subscribe what Yaroslav wrote, line by line.
>
> My personal impression is that for the people who are at the onwiki
> communities, in which I include myself till 2018, this whole Strategy 2030
> thing looks indeed like something happening in a distant galaxy, led by
> people with very little notion of what is actually happening in the
> projects. And there is also this notion that sometime in the near/mid
> future vogons would came in to impose whatever they had decided there, and
> that they will have to be chased off.
>
> I attended Iberoconf 2019[1] early this year in Santiago, where Strategy
> 2030 was supposed to be very much in focus, and I was hoping to have a
> better idea of what it was over there. However, we ended up never talking
> about it (at least that I can remember), so the idea I got was that it is
> something of no importance or of very little importance, but on which, for
> some reason, huge amounts of WMF funding is being thrown in.
>
> I do not care about the money - it's their money, they do whatever they
> want with it. But it kind of annoys me that Strategy 2030, while being
> apparently useless, tends to pervade all Wikimedia events and spaces. It
> kind of stays there, doing nothing and occupying space that could be better
> used for more practical stuff.
>
> Nothing against the people that is on the Working Groups, I'm sure most of
> them are doing their best, as Itzik, but this whole thing at this point is
> really looking as some failed experiment, and it would probably be better
> to salvage what is possible from this and the other past "strategy"
> experiments, look at what failed and start something new and better
> thought.
>
> [1] -https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:Conference/WMCL/Iberoconf_2019
>
> Best,
> Paulo (DarwIn)
>
>
> Yaroslav Blanter <[hidden email]> escreveu no dia quinta, 28/03/2019
> à(s)
> 15:38:
>
> > Hello Itzik,
> >
> > thanks for sharing this.
> >
> > I actually did not want to react, because I presumably sound too critical
> > on this list in the last couple of years. However, 24h passed, and nobody
> > reacted, and It would be unfortunate if we let this go.
> >
> > My own experience brought me to the same conclusions, even though I have
> a
> > very different background. I am a project contributor, highly active on
> > several WMF projects and having some advanced permissions there. I belong
> > to the category which became common to refer to as "unorganized
> volunteers"
> > (which we actually read as a derogatory name). I participated in the 2010
> > strategy consultation, which was pretty much community driven, and I
> liked
> > that one. My name is on the final document. However, I did not like the
> > current process from the very beginning. In the first stage, facilitators
> > were hired, and some of them genuinely wanted to do things but did not
> know
> > how to activate the communities, and others did not even make an effort.
> As
> > I already shared on this list, on one of the projects I am active in we
> > took the challenge seriously and formulated quite a few of strategic
> > directions - just to be told by the facilitator that this is not what we
> > were expected to do. The final document had no trace of our suggestions.
> I
> > was one of those who opposed the final document and signed for this on
> Meta
> > - about 70 people signed and were duly ignored. I was not looking forward
> > to the second round, but when I saw a call, I though "ok, I was
> criticizing
> > the process a lot, but did I do enough to fix it", and I applied. My
> > application was rejected, and a couple of days later there was a second
> > call stating that the first one did not get enough applicants. Then I was
> > sure I am happy that whatever final document would be there in the end is
> > no way my name could be associated with it. Whatever else would happen
> > around the strategy discussion this round, I am not going to be available
> > to help. The strategy discussion is smth that happens in a different
> > galaxy. The process is hopelessly broken and should have been killed at
> an
> > earlier stage. I know that a lot of people I respect (and quite a few I
> do
> > not) were and still are involved, but apparently the process design was
> not
> > appropriate from the very beginning.
> >
> > I am generally very disappointed by an inability of many people at WMF
> and
> > thematic organizations to realize what "strategy" actually means.
> > Apparently, they really think that they are the movement, and volunteers
> at
> > the projects ("unorganized volunteers") would do what they decide for
> them.
> > We had already enough calls showing that the communities are not going to
> > do what they are told if they do not think it is reasonable. And if
> > somebody has forgotten the Wikitravel story, which tells us what happened
> > if you push volunteers too much, it could be useful to read it again. I
> > have an impression that some people really forget where their salary is
> > coming from, that other people are working for free, and if they stop
> > working for free, there is not going to be any salary any more. And if
> you
> > can not understand what communities want, then you need to ask again, and
> > not just write a few generic sentences and take it to another level.
> There
> > are enough real challenges before the movement which, if inappropriately
> > handled or not responded to, can just kill the whole Wikimedia universe.
> To
> > write a text in which a lot of money and a lot of time is invested but
> > which is not even specific about anything is not one of them.
> >
> > And if you ask me I would say that the strategy can not be determined
> > solely by people who are not working in projects on a daily basis.
> >
> > Cheers
> > Yaroslav
> >
> > On Wed, Mar 27, 2019 at 2:06 PM Itzik - Wikimedia Israel <
> > [hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > > Hi,
> > >
> > > Two weeks ago I sent this email to my strategy working group (resource
> > > allocation). I didn't plan to send a public email, just to share with
> the
> > > rest of the group my reason to leave and just to disappear.
> > > I receive feedbacks with many of the group members and also requesting
> > > permissions to transfer it with others outside of the group, which
> leads
> > to
> > > more conversations that I had around it.
> > >
> > > Last week we had our weekly phone call, during which we discussed our
> > > feelings and opinions about the process so far. From our long
> > conversation
> > > and the conversations with the others, I learned that many of these
> > > feelings exist among the other members, as well some ideas on how to
> make
> > > it easier and less demanding and at the same time publishing the
> > > conclusions sooner.
> > > Yesterday, following a good conversation with one of the WMF's board
> > > members about it, I was asked to share these thoughts with the
> movement's
> > > list, so that it may also involve the community's feedback as well.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > *Itzik Edri*
> > > Chairperson (volunteer)
> > > [hidden email]
> > > +972-54-5878078
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > ---------- Forwarded message ---------
> > > From: Itzik - Wikimedia Israel <[hidden email]>
> > > Date: Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 2:08 PM
> > > Subject: I decided to leave the working group
> > > To: <[hidden email]>
> > >
> > > Dear friends,
> > >
> > > For a long time I have been considering leaving the working group but
> > each
> > > time I decided to give it another chance. Yesterday, after long
> > > consideration, I decided to write this email.
> > >
> > > I must be honest - I was skeptical from the first moment about this
> > > process. The huge amount of money which the board allocated to this
> > process
> > > together with the complicated and (very) long process planned for it -
> > make
> > > me doubt the ability to really have a real outcome in a reasonable
> time.
> > > For the past two years, it seems to me like the strategy took over
> almost
> > > every movement event and activity. I feel bad for investing millions of
> > > dollars from our donations and uncounted hours of volunteer time into
> > this
> > > process.
> > >
> > > I also felt hypocritical in the way the foundation acts - while
> > "freezing"
> > > grant programs (such as APG) and holding affiliates from increasing
> their
> > > programs and budgets, "because of the strategy process" while
> > > simultaneously approving itself to increase its budget and staff year
> > after
> > > year by tens of percentage.
> > >
> > > Despite my distrust of the chances of this process and the criticism I
> > felt
> > > for it, I instructed my organization to give it the full support we
> been
> > > asked, as all our movement did. Later on, I decided to join this
> working
> > > group as I felt we almost reached the final step of the process and I
> > > wanted to help shape the recommendations. I was totally wrong.
> > >
> > > In the first months of the workgroups, I felt it was completely wasted
> of
> > > time. I saw how wonderful volunteers tried to lead the process within
> > each
> > > group (thank you Daria!) - but it wasn't their job, nor none of us. I
> > felt
> > > like I was returning to university, and every few weeks I received
> > > instructions and homework from the lecturer, with assignments to the
> > > following week - and in between, that we need to lead it and solve
> things
> > > by ourselves. It took the core team a few months to change it and bring
> > > external support, but even after the (right) change, it continues to
> feel
> > > like I came *to work for *the strategic process, not with.
> > >
> > > I felt like nothing happened for the past year(or years?) before the
> > > working groups started to operate. As if we didn't have hundreds of
> > > meetings around the world, with a total of tens of thousands of people
> > and
> > > an enormous amount of hours of conversations - and aside from a short
> few
> > > sentences of a strategic direction, we started from scratch. A
> completely
> > > new process.
> > > From scratch to have discussions about what this process is,
> definitions
> > > and concepts. What is the problem with the current system? What are the
> > > challenges? What people shared during the first phase? Information
> which
> > > wasn't available and ready for the group, and still isn't. Eight months
> > > after we start, the real conversation about the subject which I joined
> to
> > > discuss about and help shape recommendations around it, is far, far
> away
> > > from even to start.
> > >
> > > The more I spoke to more and more people who are part of the process, I
> > > realized that this despair is not only with me but with many. But we
> are
> > a
> > > real Wikimedians, and we are committed to the things we start. We are
> bad
> > > with stopping things when they don't work or have real reviews of the
> > > things we do when we have the belief that this is the right thing. I
> > > completely stopped thinking it is the right thing to our movement.
> > >
> > > Last month, in our in-person meeting in Berlin, one of the opening
> > > activities was to sum up the number of years we were all members of the
> > > movement. Just think about doing the same, and sum up the number of
> > > volunteer (and staff) hours invested until now in this process. We are
> > > talking about tens of thousands of hours of work not even taking into
> > > consideration the huge amount of money involved.
> > > And the end of the process is very far away.
> > >
> > > In one of our discussions, we doubt if to include volunteers as a
> > resource
> > > which can be allocated. We decided at the end it can't as such, but
> just
> > > try to imagine it was, and try to think about a future whatever-will-be
> > the
> > > resource allocation body/structure: how he would deal with the decision
> > > whether to approve such a huge amount of volunteer time and money in
> the
> > > process. Did the WMF's board even consider and discuss these resources
> > and
> > > how it will affect the movement during the process years? I doubt.
> > >
> > > We tend to say that the movement newest project is WikiData. I think we
> > may
> > > need to start address WikiStrategy as the newest project. Just think
> > about
> > > what we could do with that amount of resources.
> > >
> > > The idea to massively involve the wide community within this process
> was
> > > the right decision  - but the implementations from my point of view
> were
> > > wrong.
> > > If the last strategy process was totally handled by outsiders - we took
> > > this one completely to its opposite, without finding the right balance.
> > >
> > > A strategy process is important, there is no doubt. And our movement
> > needs
> > > one, there is no doubt.
> > > But a strategy process can't take over the organization' activities for
> > > *years.*
> > >
> > > I want to warmly thank you, my teammates. It is heartwarming to see the
> > > commitment and amazing energy of all the members of this process, and
> of
> > > course, the core team which is dedicated to bringing a change. I have
> no
> > > doubt that we all want to secure the future of our movement to years to
> > > come and I don't know of such a high level of engagement and commitment
> > > anywhere else. But at the same time, I think we should put limits to it
> > and
> > > reconsider it - and think how to make it shorter, lighter, less
> demanding
> > > and expensive - both from the perspective of staff/volunteer time and
> > > money.
> > >
> > >
> > > Yours,
> > > Itzik.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > *Itzik Edri*
> > > Chairperson
> > > [hidden email]
> > > +972-54-5878078
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [strategy process] Fwd: I decided to leave the working group

Kiril Simeonovski
In reply to this post by Anders Wennersten-2
Hi Anders,

There is an expression in Macedonian that says „Секое вештачко нешто се
распаѓа на природен начин.“ (Every artificial creation breaks down
naturally.). This is exactly what is going to happen with this strategy.

Best regards,
Kiril

On Thu, Mar 28, 2019 at 7:05 PM Anders Wennersten <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> There is a Swedish expression "har man tagit fan i båten får man ro
> honom i land" (If you have taken the devil into your boat you must row
> him ashore"
>
> Independent if this process has been bad or not, I see it is as just
> some six month left of it. And it is important to do the best of it. It
> would be a bad move to stop it at thois point in time, and would also be
> too late to correct the process if it has been flawed.
>
> Anders
>
>
> Den 2019-03-27 kl. 14:05, skrev Itzik - Wikimedia Israel:
>
> > Hi,
> >
> > Two weeks ago I sent this email to my strategy working group (resource
> > allocation). I didn't plan to send a public email, just to share with the
> > rest of the group my reason to leave and just to disappear.
> > I receive feedbacks with many of the group members and also requesting
> > permissions to transfer it with others outside of the group, which leads
> to
> > more conversations that I had around it.
> >
> > Last week we had our weekly phone call, during which we discussed our
> > feelings and opinions about the process so far. From our long
> conversation
> > and the conversations with the others, I learned that many of these
> > feelings exist among the other members, as well some ideas on how to make
> > it easier and less demanding and at the same time publishing the
> > conclusions sooner.
> > Yesterday, following a good conversation with one of the WMF's board
> > members about it, I was asked to share these thoughts with the movement's
> > list, so that it may also involve the community's feedback as well.
> >
> >
> >
> > *Itzik Edri*
> > Chairperson (volunteer)
> > [hidden email]
> > +972-54-5878078
> >
> >
> >
> > ---------- Forwarded message ---------
> > From: Itzik - Wikimedia Israel <[hidden email]>
> > Date: Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 2:08 PM
> > Subject: I decided to leave the working group
> > To: <[hidden email]>
> >
> > Dear friends,
> >
> > For a long time I have been considering leaving the working group but
> each
> > time I decided to give it another chance. Yesterday, after long
> > consideration, I decided to write this email.
> >
> > I must be honest - I was skeptical from the first moment about this
> > process. The huge amount of money which the board allocated to this
> process
> > together with the complicated and (very) long process planned for it -
> make
> > me doubt the ability to really have a real outcome in a reasonable time.
> > For the past two years, it seems to me like the strategy took over almost
> > every movement event and activity. I feel bad for investing millions of
> > dollars from our donations and uncounted hours of volunteer time into
> this
> > process.
> >
> > I also felt hypocritical in the way the foundation acts - while
> "freezing"
> > grant programs (such as APG) and holding affiliates from increasing their
> > programs and budgets, "because of the strategy process" while
> > simultaneously approving itself to increase its budget and staff year
> after
> > year by tens of percentage.
> >
> > Despite my distrust of the chances of this process and the criticism I
> felt
> > for it, I instructed my organization to give it the full support we been
> > asked, as all our movement did. Later on, I decided to join this working
> > group as I felt we almost reached the final step of the process and I
> > wanted to help shape the recommendations. I was totally wrong.
> >
> > In the first months of the workgroups, I felt it was completely wasted of
> > time. I saw how wonderful volunteers tried to lead the process within
> each
> > group (thank you Daria!) - but it wasn't their job, nor none of us. I
> felt
> > like I was returning to university, and every few weeks I received
> > instructions and homework from the lecturer, with assignments to the
> > following week - and in between, that we need to lead it and solve things
> > by ourselves. It took the core team a few months to change it and bring
> > external support, but even after the (right) change, it continues to feel
> > like I came *to work for *the strategic process, not with.
> >
> > I felt like nothing happened for the past year(or years?) before the
> > working groups started to operate. As if we didn't have hundreds of
> > meetings around the world, with a total of tens of thousands of people
> and
> > an enormous amount of hours of conversations - and aside from a short few
> > sentences of a strategic direction, we started from scratch. A completely
> > new process.
> >  From scratch to have discussions about what this process is, definitions
> > and concepts. What is the problem with the current system? What are the
> > challenges? What people shared during the first phase? Information which
> > wasn't available and ready for the group, and still isn't. Eight months
> > after we start, the real conversation about the subject which I joined to
> > discuss about and help shape recommendations around it, is far, far away
> > from even to start.
> >
> > The more I spoke to more and more people who are part of the process, I
> > realized that this despair is not only with me but with many. But we are
> a
> > real Wikimedians, and we are committed to the things we start. We are bad
> > with stopping things when they don't work or have real reviews of the
> > things we do when we have the belief that this is the right thing. I
> > completely stopped thinking it is the right thing to our movement.
> >
> > Last month, in our in-person meeting in Berlin, one of the opening
> > activities was to sum up the number of years we were all members of the
> > movement. Just think about doing the same, and sum up the number of
> > volunteer (and staff) hours invested until now in this process. We are
> > talking about tens of thousands of hours of work not even taking into
> > consideration the huge amount of money involved.
> > And the end of the process is very far away.
> >
> > In one of our discussions, we doubt if to include volunteers as a
> resource
> > which can be allocated. We decided at the end it can't as such, but just
> > try to imagine it was, and try to think about a future whatever-will-be
> the
> > resource allocation body/structure: how he would deal with the decision
> > whether to approve such a huge amount of volunteer time and money in the
> > process. Did the WMF's board even consider and discuss these resources
> and
> > how it will affect the movement during the process years? I doubt.
> >
> > We tend to say that the movement newest project is WikiData. I think we
> may
> > need to start address WikiStrategy as the newest project. Just think
> about
> > what we could do with that amount of resources.
> >
> > The idea to massively involve the wide community within this process was
> > the right decision  - but the implementations from my point of view were
> > wrong.
> > If the last strategy process was totally handled by outsiders - we took
> > this one completely to its opposite, without finding the right balance.
> >
> > A strategy process is important, there is no doubt. And our movement
> needs
> > one, there is no doubt.
> > But a strategy process can't take over the organization' activities for
> > *years.*
> >
> > I want to warmly thank you, my teammates. It is heartwarming to see the
> > commitment and amazing energy of all the members of this process, and of
> > course, the core team which is dedicated to bringing a change. I have no
> > doubt that we all want to secure the future of our movement to years to
> > come and I don't know of such a high level of engagement and commitment
> > anywhere else. But at the same time, I think we should put limits to it
> and
> > reconsider it - and think how to make it shorter, lighter, less demanding
> > and expensive - both from the perspective of staff/volunteer time and
> money.
> >
> >
> > Yours,
> > Itzik.
> >
> >
> >
> > *Itzik Edri*
> > Chairperson
> > [hidden email]
> > +972-54-5878078
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
_______________________________________________
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [strategy process] Fwd: I decided to leave the working group

Philip Kopetzky
Hi Itzik,

I'm sorry you feel this way and would hope you would still feel inclined to
provide a critical point of view on the process. I agree with you that
we're bad at changing processes that are evidently broken, but don't you
think that we are exactly changing this fact by moving on from an affiliate
system that has been broken for at least 3-4 years now and are finally
prioritising measures that will support our communities in becoming
healthier and more fun to work in?

Best,
Philip

On Thu, 28 Mar 2019 at 19:09, Kiril Simeonovski <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Hi Anders,
>
> There is an expression in Macedonian that says „Секое вештачко нешто се
> распаѓа на природен начин.“ (Every artificial creation breaks down
> naturally.). This is exactly what is going to happen with this strategy.
>
> Best regards,
> Kiril
>
> On Thu, Mar 28, 2019 at 7:05 PM Anders Wennersten <
> [hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > There is a Swedish expression "har man tagit fan i båten får man ro
> > honom i land" (If you have taken the devil into your boat you must row
> > him ashore"
> >
> > Independent if this process has been bad or not, I see it is as just
> > some six month left of it. And it is important to do the best of it. It
> > would be a bad move to stop it at thois point in time, and would also be
> > too late to correct the process if it has been flawed.
> >
> > Anders
> >
> >
> > Den 2019-03-27 kl. 14:05, skrev Itzik - Wikimedia Israel:
> >
> > > Hi,
> > >
> > > Two weeks ago I sent this email to my strategy working group (resource
> > > allocation). I didn't plan to send a public email, just to share with
> the
> > > rest of the group my reason to leave and just to disappear.
> > > I receive feedbacks with many of the group members and also requesting
> > > permissions to transfer it with others outside of the group, which
> leads
> > to
> > > more conversations that I had around it.
> > >
> > > Last week we had our weekly phone call, during which we discussed our
> > > feelings and opinions about the process so far. From our long
> > conversation
> > > and the conversations with the others, I learned that many of these
> > > feelings exist among the other members, as well some ideas on how to
> make
> > > it easier and less demanding and at the same time publishing the
> > > conclusions sooner.
> > > Yesterday, following a good conversation with one of the WMF's board
> > > members about it, I was asked to share these thoughts with the
> movement's
> > > list, so that it may also involve the community's feedback as well.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > *Itzik Edri*
> > > Chairperson (volunteer)
> > > [hidden email]
> > > +972-54-5878078
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > ---------- Forwarded message ---------
> > > From: Itzik - Wikimedia Israel <[hidden email]>
> > > Date: Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 2:08 PM
> > > Subject: I decided to leave the working group
> > > To: <[hidden email]>
> > >
> > > Dear friends,
> > >
> > > For a long time I have been considering leaving the working group but
> > each
> > > time I decided to give it another chance. Yesterday, after long
> > > consideration, I decided to write this email.
> > >
> > > I must be honest - I was skeptical from the first moment about this
> > > process. The huge amount of money which the board allocated to this
> > process
> > > together with the complicated and (very) long process planned for it -
> > make
> > > me doubt the ability to really have a real outcome in a reasonable
> time.
> > > For the past two years, it seems to me like the strategy took over
> almost
> > > every movement event and activity. I feel bad for investing millions of
> > > dollars from our donations and uncounted hours of volunteer time into
> > this
> > > process.
> > >
> > > I also felt hypocritical in the way the foundation acts - while
> > "freezing"
> > > grant programs (such as APG) and holding affiliates from increasing
> their
> > > programs and budgets, "because of the strategy process" while
> > > simultaneously approving itself to increase its budget and staff year
> > after
> > > year by tens of percentage.
> > >
> > > Despite my distrust of the chances of this process and the criticism I
> > felt
> > > for it, I instructed my organization to give it the full support we
> been
> > > asked, as all our movement did. Later on, I decided to join this
> working
> > > group as I felt we almost reached the final step of the process and I
> > > wanted to help shape the recommendations. I was totally wrong.
> > >
> > > In the first months of the workgroups, I felt it was completely wasted
> of
> > > time. I saw how wonderful volunteers tried to lead the process within
> > each
> > > group (thank you Daria!) - but it wasn't their job, nor none of us. I
> > felt
> > > like I was returning to university, and every few weeks I received
> > > instructions and homework from the lecturer, with assignments to the
> > > following week - and in between, that we need to lead it and solve
> things
> > > by ourselves. It took the core team a few months to change it and bring
> > > external support, but even after the (right) change, it continues to
> feel
> > > like I came *to work for *the strategic process, not with.
> > >
> > > I felt like nothing happened for the past year(or years?) before the
> > > working groups started to operate. As if we didn't have hundreds of
> > > meetings around the world, with a total of tens of thousands of people
> > and
> > > an enormous amount of hours of conversations - and aside from a short
> few
> > > sentences of a strategic direction, we started from scratch. A
> completely
> > > new process.
> > >  From scratch to have discussions about what this process is,
> definitions
> > > and concepts. What is the problem with the current system? What are the
> > > challenges? What people shared during the first phase? Information
> which
> > > wasn't available and ready for the group, and still isn't. Eight months
> > > after we start, the real conversation about the subject which I joined
> to
> > > discuss about and help shape recommendations around it, is far, far
> away
> > > from even to start.
> > >
> > > The more I spoke to more and more people who are part of the process, I
> > > realized that this despair is not only with me but with many. But we
> are
> > a
> > > real Wikimedians, and we are committed to the things we start. We are
> bad
> > > with stopping things when they don't work or have real reviews of the
> > > things we do when we have the belief that this is the right thing. I
> > > completely stopped thinking it is the right thing to our movement.
> > >
> > > Last month, in our in-person meeting in Berlin, one of the opening
> > > activities was to sum up the number of years we were all members of the
> > > movement. Just think about doing the same, and sum up the number of
> > > volunteer (and staff) hours invested until now in this process. We are
> > > talking about tens of thousands of hours of work not even taking into
> > > consideration the huge amount of money involved.
> > > And the end of the process is very far away.
> > >
> > > In one of our discussions, we doubt if to include volunteers as a
> > resource
> > > which can be allocated. We decided at the end it can't as such, but
> just
> > > try to imagine it was, and try to think about a future whatever-will-be
> > the
> > > resource allocation body/structure: how he would deal with the decision
> > > whether to approve such a huge amount of volunteer time and money in
> the
> > > process. Did the WMF's board even consider and discuss these resources
> > and
> > > how it will affect the movement during the process years? I doubt.
> > >
> > > We tend to say that the movement newest project is WikiData. I think we
> > may
> > > need to start address WikiStrategy as the newest project. Just think
> > about
> > > what we could do with that amount of resources.
> > >
> > > The idea to massively involve the wide community within this process
> was
> > > the right decision  - but the implementations from my point of view
> were
> > > wrong.
> > > If the last strategy process was totally handled by outsiders - we took
> > > this one completely to its opposite, without finding the right balance.
> > >
> > > A strategy process is important, there is no doubt. And our movement
> > needs
> > > one, there is no doubt.
> > > But a strategy process can't take over the organization' activities for
> > > *years.*
> > >
> > > I want to warmly thank you, my teammates. It is heartwarming to see the
> > > commitment and amazing energy of all the members of this process, and
> of
> > > course, the core team which is dedicated to bringing a change. I have
> no
> > > doubt that we all want to secure the future of our movement to years to
> > > come and I don't know of such a high level of engagement and commitment
> > > anywhere else. But at the same time, I think we should put limits to it
> > and
> > > reconsider it - and think how to make it shorter, lighter, less
> demanding
> > > and expensive - both from the perspective of staff/volunteer time and
> > money.
> > >
> > >
> > > Yours,
> > > Itzik.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > *Itzik Edri*
> > > Chairperson
> > > [hidden email]
> > > +972-54-5878078
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
_______________________________________________
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [strategy process] Fwd: I decided to leave the working group

Itzik - Wikimedia Israel
Hi Philip and all,

I debated whether to respond and continue this discussion. Finally, I
decided to do it first to apologize. I stand behind my feedback about the
process, but I'm afraid it was sent at the wrong time, a few days before
the Wikimedia Summit. It wasn't my intention to cause a storm a moment
before the summit and especially not during it, and I didn't take that it
into consideration when I sent the email. It would have been more
appropriate if this mail had been sent long enough before, or after, the
summit.

If my email wasn't clear, let me clarify it: I think the strategy process
is one of the most important steps we had so far as a movement. And I truly
believe (or at least desire to) it will bring change. Saying that, I think
we should also look more deeply and review how we bring these
recommendations, asking ourselves if this is the only way. In the Friday
morning session, two extreme directions were presented as to how the
process could take place. That's exactly the point that bothered me, the
look of black or white only. There are so many ways in between that can
combine the good in both ways.

What saddens me the most is our fear of having an open conversation. I
received many responses to this email, some off-list, but so many in-person
during the last weekend in Berlin (and because I talked about it two days
ago with someone, here is a screenshot just for an example:
https://imgur.com/FM1naPJ).

I told many of them and I say it publicly, I didn't look for any public
support for what I wrote. Each of us has a different opinion or feedback.
Good and bad. And all these deserve to be said. It saddens me that we keep
things in our stomachs. We do things that we don't feel comfortable with
just because [enter your reason].

In one of the conversations, someone told me that he thinks that the
process is problematic, but they are his friends, and he doesn't want to
criticize them. That's one of the things that hurt me more and bothered me
during the whole weekend, wonder to myself if maybe I did something wrong.

The criticism is not personal towards anyone. Or at least that wasn't the
intention. There are questions that I think we as a movement, who
responsible together to this process, should ask about it. This is our duty
as a movement. Are we using the money correctly? Do we manage the work time
of the staff and volunteers right? It may be that everything is fine, but
it may not be. If we don't ask ourselves the questions from time to time,
we will not do our job. Assessment should be done all along, not just at
the end of a process. The fact this process is SUPER important is obvious
to everyone. But you can not go blind because of it.

It doesn't change the fact that the people behind it are my friends too,
some of them for many years. I love them all. And I know, and sure with all
my heart, that they do the best they can for the sake of movement. I
believe feedback, comments, are also important to them to adjust and
change. To talk about them and criticize their work behind their back it's
probably the most non-friendship thing to do.

Have a great weekend.



*Itzik Edri*
Chairperson (volunteer)
[hidden email]
+972-54-5878078



On Mon, Apr 1, 2019 at 3:19 PM Philip Kopetzky <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Hi Itzik,
>
> I'm sorry you feel this way and would hope you would still feel inclined to
> provide a critical point of view on the process. I agree with you that
> we're bad at changing processes that are evidently broken, but don't you
> think that we are exactly changing this fact by moving on from an affiliate
> system that has been broken for at least 3-4 years now and are finally
> prioritising measures that will support our communities in becoming
> healthier and more fun to work in?
>
> Best,
> Philip
>
> On Thu, 28 Mar 2019 at 19:09, Kiril Simeonovski <
> [hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > Hi Anders,
> >
> > There is an expression in Macedonian that says „Секое вештачко нешто се
> > распаѓа на природен начин.“ (Every artificial creation breaks down
> > naturally.). This is exactly what is going to happen with this strategy.
> >
> > Best regards,
> > Kiril
> >
> > On Thu, Mar 28, 2019 at 7:05 PM Anders Wennersten <
> > [hidden email]>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > There is a Swedish expression "har man tagit fan i båten får man ro
> > > honom i land" (If you have taken the devil into your boat you must row
> > > him ashore"
> > >
> > > Independent if this process has been bad or not, I see it is as just
> > > some six month left of it. And it is important to do the best of it. It
> > > would be a bad move to stop it at thois point in time, and would also
> be
> > > too late to correct the process if it has been flawed.
> > >
> > > Anders
> > >
> > >
> > > Den 2019-03-27 kl. 14:05, skrev Itzik - Wikimedia Israel:
> > >
> > > > Hi,
> > > >
> > > > Two weeks ago I sent this email to my strategy working group
> (resource
> > > > allocation). I didn't plan to send a public email, just to share with
> > the
> > > > rest of the group my reason to leave and just to disappear.
> > > > I receive feedbacks with many of the group members and also
> requesting
> > > > permissions to transfer it with others outside of the group, which
> > leads
> > > to
> > > > more conversations that I had around it.
> > > >
> > > > Last week we had our weekly phone call, during which we discussed our
> > > > feelings and opinions about the process so far. From our long
> > > conversation
> > > > and the conversations with the others, I learned that many of these
> > > > feelings exist among the other members, as well some ideas on how to
> > make
> > > > it easier and less demanding and at the same time publishing the
> > > > conclusions sooner.
> > > > Yesterday, following a good conversation with one of the WMF's board
> > > > members about it, I was asked to share these thoughts with the
> > movement's
> > > > list, so that it may also involve the community's feedback as well.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > *Itzik Edri*
> > > > Chairperson (volunteer)
> > > > [hidden email]
> > > > +972-54-5878078
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > ---------- Forwarded message ---------
> > > > From: Itzik - Wikimedia Israel <[hidden email]>
> > > > Date: Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 2:08 PM
> > > > Subject: I decided to leave the working group
> > > > To: <[hidden email]>
> > > >
> > > > Dear friends,
> > > >
> > > > For a long time I have been considering leaving the working group but
> > > each
> > > > time I decided to give it another chance. Yesterday, after long
> > > > consideration, I decided to write this email.
> > > >
> > > > I must be honest - I was skeptical from the first moment about this
> > > > process. The huge amount of money which the board allocated to this
> > > process
> > > > together with the complicated and (very) long process planned for it
> -
> > > make
> > > > me doubt the ability to really have a real outcome in a reasonable
> > time.
> > > > For the past two years, it seems to me like the strategy took over
> > almost
> > > > every movement event and activity. I feel bad for investing millions
> of
> > > > dollars from our donations and uncounted hours of volunteer time into
> > > this
> > > > process.
> > > >
> > > > I also felt hypocritical in the way the foundation acts - while
> > > "freezing"
> > > > grant programs (such as APG) and holding affiliates from increasing
> > their
> > > > programs and budgets, "because of the strategy process" while
> > > > simultaneously approving itself to increase its budget and staff year
> > > after
> > > > year by tens of percentage.
> > > >
> > > > Despite my distrust of the chances of this process and the criticism
> I
> > > felt
> > > > for it, I instructed my organization to give it the full support we
> > been
> > > > asked, as all our movement did. Later on, I decided to join this
> > working
> > > > group as I felt we almost reached the final step of the process and I
> > > > wanted to help shape the recommendations. I was totally wrong.
> > > >
> > > > In the first months of the workgroups, I felt it was completely
> wasted
> > of
> > > > time. I saw how wonderful volunteers tried to lead the process within
> > > each
> > > > group (thank you Daria!) - but it wasn't their job, nor none of us. I
> > > felt
> > > > like I was returning to university, and every few weeks I received
> > > > instructions and homework from the lecturer, with assignments to the
> > > > following week - and in between, that we need to lead it and solve
> > things
> > > > by ourselves. It took the core team a few months to change it and
> bring
> > > > external support, but even after the (right) change, it continues to
> > feel
> > > > like I came *to work for *the strategic process, not with.
> > > >
> > > > I felt like nothing happened for the past year(or years?) before the
> > > > working groups started to operate. As if we didn't have hundreds of
> > > > meetings around the world, with a total of tens of thousands of
> people
> > > and
> > > > an enormous amount of hours of conversations - and aside from a short
> > few
> > > > sentences of a strategic direction, we started from scratch. A
> > completely
> > > > new process.
> > > >  From scratch to have discussions about what this process is,
> > definitions
> > > > and concepts. What is the problem with the current system? What are
> the
> > > > challenges? What people shared during the first phase? Information
> > which
> > > > wasn't available and ready for the group, and still isn't. Eight
> months
> > > > after we start, the real conversation about the subject which I
> joined
> > to
> > > > discuss about and help shape recommendations around it, is far, far
> > away
> > > > from even to start.
> > > >
> > > > The more I spoke to more and more people who are part of the
> process, I
> > > > realized that this despair is not only with me but with many. But we
> > are
> > > a
> > > > real Wikimedians, and we are committed to the things we start. We are
> > bad
> > > > with stopping things when they don't work or have real reviews of the
> > > > things we do when we have the belief that this is the right thing. I
> > > > completely stopped thinking it is the right thing to our movement.
> > > >
> > > > Last month, in our in-person meeting in Berlin, one of the opening
> > > > activities was to sum up the number of years we were all members of
> the
> > > > movement. Just think about doing the same, and sum up the number of
> > > > volunteer (and staff) hours invested until now in this process. We
> are
> > > > talking about tens of thousands of hours of work not even taking into
> > > > consideration the huge amount of money involved.
> > > > And the end of the process is very far away.
> > > >
> > > > In one of our discussions, we doubt if to include volunteers as a
> > > resource
> > > > which can be allocated. We decided at the end it can't as such, but
> > just
> > > > try to imagine it was, and try to think about a future
> whatever-will-be
> > > the
> > > > resource allocation body/structure: how he would deal with the
> decision
> > > > whether to approve such a huge amount of volunteer time and money in
> > the
> > > > process. Did the WMF's board even consider and discuss these
> resources
> > > and
> > > > how it will affect the movement during the process years? I doubt.
> > > >
> > > > We tend to say that the movement newest project is WikiData. I think
> we
> > > may
> > > > need to start address WikiStrategy as the newest project. Just think
> > > about
> > > > what we could do with that amount of resources.
> > > >
> > > > The idea to massively involve the wide community within this process
> > was
> > > > the right decision  - but the implementations from my point of view
> > were
> > > > wrong.
> > > > If the last strategy process was totally handled by outsiders - we
> took
> > > > this one completely to its opposite, without finding the right
> balance.
> > > >
> > > > A strategy process is important, there is no doubt. And our movement
> > > needs
> > > > one, there is no doubt.
> > > > But a strategy process can't take over the organization' activities
> for
> > > > *years.*
> > > >
> > > > I want to warmly thank you, my teammates. It is heartwarming to see
> the
> > > > commitment and amazing energy of all the members of this process, and
> > of
> > > > course, the core team which is dedicated to bringing a change. I have
> > no
> > > > doubt that we all want to secure the future of our movement to years
> to
> > > > come and I don't know of such a high level of engagement and
> commitment
> > > > anywhere else. But at the same time, I think we should put limits to
> it
> > > and
> > > > reconsider it - and think how to make it shorter, lighter, less
> > demanding
> > > > and expensive - both from the perspective of staff/volunteer time and
> > > money.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Yours,
> > > > Itzik.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > *Itzik Edri*
> > > > Chairperson
> > > > [hidden email]
> > > > +972-54-5878078
> > > > _______________________________________________
> > > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > > > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > > > Unsubscribe:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> > >
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
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> > _______________________________________________
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [strategy process] Fwd: I decided to leave the working group

bobby shabangu
Hi,

   1. Everyone keeps on mentioning the word " money". How much was spent on
   the strategy thus far by WMF here? I keep on searching for this information
   I can't find it.
   2. I totally agree with Anders Warnnersten
   3. I believe Itzik you are doing it the right way, this is the right
   platform and you don't have to apologise for voicing your opinion, it's
   what you feel and the TRUTH, in fact I believe this conversation itself
   should form part of the Strategy and the WMF need to think about and
   address these issues you are raising honestly.
   4. I hear what you are saying Itzik regarding criticising the way WMF
   are going about implementing the strategy movement 2030, but I don't hear
   what you suggest WMF or we as the Wikimedia community should do to
   correctly go about doing or implementing the strategy the right way. You
   are saying " There are so many ways in between that can combine the good in
   both ways."  I want to hear about those* many ways*.
   5. Just to be clear I'm not taking WMF side or Itzik side. I agree with
   Itzik and think Paulo Santos Perneta made some valid points as well, my
   question is can we remedy what Itzik has pointed out, how do we move
   forward as a movement and actually reach a place where we totally agree
   that what will come out of this strategy process truly represents what
   everyone feels and where we want to go.

Regards,
Bobby Shabangu





On Sat, 6 Apr 2019 at 11:30, Itzik - Wikimedia Israel <
[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi Philip and all,
>
> I debated whether to respond and continue this discussion. Finally, I
> decided to do it first to apologize. I stand behind my feedback about the
> process, but I'm afraid it was sent at the wrong time, a few days before
> the Wikimedia Summit. It wasn't my intention to cause a storm a moment
> before the summit and especially not during it, and I didn't take that it
> into consideration when I sent the email. It would have been more
> appropriate if this mail had been sent long enough before, or after, the
> summit.
>
> If my email wasn't clear, let me clarify it: I think the strategy process
> is one of the most important steps we had so far as a movement. And I truly
> believe (or at least desire to) it will bring change. Saying that, I think
> we should also look more deeply and review how we bring these
> recommendations, asking ourselves if this is the only way. In the Friday
> morning session, two extreme directions were presented as to how the
> process could take place. That's exactly the point that bothered me, the
> look of black or white only. There are so many ways in between that can
> combine the good in both ways.
>
> What saddens me the most is our fear of having an open conversation. I
> received many responses to this email, some off-list, but so many in-person
> during the last weekend in Berlin (and because I talked about it two days
> ago with someone, here is a screenshot just for an example:
> https://imgur.com/FM1naPJ).
>
> I told many of them and I say it publicly, I didn't look for any public
> support for what I wrote. Each of us has a different opinion or feedback.
> Good and bad. And all these deserve to be said. It saddens me that we keep
> things in our stomachs. We do things that we don't feel comfortable with
> just because [enter your reason].
>
> In one of the conversations, someone told me that he thinks that the
> process is problematic, but they are his friends, and he doesn't want to
> criticize them. That's one of the things that hurt me more and bothered me
> during the whole weekend, wonder to myself if maybe I did something wrong.
>
> The criticism is not personal towards anyone. Or at least that wasn't the
> intention. There are questions that I think we as a movement, who
> responsible together to this process, should ask about it. This is our duty
> as a movement. Are we using the money correctly? Do we manage the work time
> of the staff and volunteers right? It may be that everything is fine, but
> it may not be. If we don't ask ourselves the questions from time to time,
> we will not do our job. Assessment should be done all along, not just at
> the end of a process. The fact this process is SUPER important is obvious
> to everyone. But you can not go blind because of it.
>
> It doesn't change the fact that the people behind it are my friends too,
> some of them for many years. I love them all. And I know, and sure with all
> my heart, that they do the best they can for the sake of movement. I
> believe feedback, comments, are also important to them to adjust and
> change. To talk about them and criticize their work behind their back it's
> probably the most non-friendship thing to do.
>
> Have a great weekend.
>
>
>
> *Itzik Edri*
> Chairperson (volunteer)
> [hidden email]
> +972-54-5878078
>
>
>
> On Mon, Apr 1, 2019 at 3:19 PM Philip Kopetzky <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > Hi Itzik,
> >
> > I'm sorry you feel this way and would hope you would still feel inclined
> to
> > provide a critical point of view on the process. I agree with you that
> > we're bad at changing processes that are evidently broken, but don't you
> > think that we are exactly changing this fact by moving on from an
> affiliate
> > system that has been broken for at least 3-4 years now and are finally
> > prioritising measures that will support our communities in becoming
> > healthier and more fun to work in?
> >
> > Best,
> > Philip
> >
> > On Thu, 28 Mar 2019 at 19:09, Kiril Simeonovski <
> > [hidden email]>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > Hi Anders,
> > >
> > > There is an expression in Macedonian that says „Секое вештачко нешто се
> > > распаѓа на природен начин.“ (Every artificial creation breaks down
> > > naturally.). This is exactly what is going to happen with this
> strategy.
> > >
> > > Best regards,
> > > Kiril
> > >
> > > On Thu, Mar 28, 2019 at 7:05 PM Anders Wennersten <
> > > [hidden email]>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > There is a Swedish expression "har man tagit fan i båten får man ro
> > > > honom i land" (If you have taken the devil into your boat you must
> row
> > > > him ashore"
> > > >
> > > > Independent if this process has been bad or not, I see it is as just
> > > > some six month left of it. And it is important to do the best of it.
> It
> > > > would be a bad move to stop it at thois point in time, and would also
> > be
> > > > too late to correct the process if it has been flawed.
> > > >
> > > > Anders
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Den 2019-03-27 kl. 14:05, skrev Itzik - Wikimedia Israel:
> > > >
> > > > > Hi,
> > > > >
> > > > > Two weeks ago I sent this email to my strategy working group
> > (resource
> > > > > allocation). I didn't plan to send a public email, just to share
> with
> > > the
> > > > > rest of the group my reason to leave and just to disappear.
> > > > > I receive feedbacks with many of the group members and also
> > requesting
> > > > > permissions to transfer it with others outside of the group, which
> > > leads
> > > > to
> > > > > more conversations that I had around it.
> > > > >
> > > > > Last week we had our weekly phone call, during which we discussed
> our
> > > > > feelings and opinions about the process so far. From our long
> > > > conversation
> > > > > and the conversations with the others, I learned that many of these
> > > > > feelings exist among the other members, as well some ideas on how
> to
> > > make
> > > > > it easier and less demanding and at the same time publishing the
> > > > > conclusions sooner.
> > > > > Yesterday, following a good conversation with one of the WMF's
> board
> > > > > members about it, I was asked to share these thoughts with the
> > > movement's
> > > > > list, so that it may also involve the community's feedback as well.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > *Itzik Edri*
> > > > > Chairperson (volunteer)
> > > > > [hidden email]
> > > > > +972-54-5878078
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > ---------- Forwarded message ---------
> > > > > From: Itzik - Wikimedia Israel <[hidden email]>
> > > > > Date: Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 2:08 PM
> > > > > Subject: I decided to leave the working group
> > > > > To: <[hidden email]>
> > > > >
> > > > > Dear friends,
> > > > >
> > > > > For a long time I have been considering leaving the working group
> but
> > > > each
> > > > > time I decided to give it another chance. Yesterday, after long
> > > > > consideration, I decided to write this email.
> > > > >
> > > > > I must be honest - I was skeptical from the first moment about this
> > > > > process. The huge amount of money which the board allocated to this
> > > > process
> > > > > together with the complicated and (very) long process planned for
> it
> > -
> > > > make
> > > > > me doubt the ability to really have a real outcome in a reasonable
> > > time.
> > > > > For the past two years, it seems to me like the strategy took over
> > > almost
> > > > > every movement event and activity. I feel bad for investing
> millions
> > of
> > > > > dollars from our donations and uncounted hours of volunteer time
> into
> > > > this
> > > > > process.
> > > > >
> > > > > I also felt hypocritical in the way the foundation acts - while
> > > > "freezing"
> > > > > grant programs (such as APG) and holding affiliates from increasing
> > > their
> > > > > programs and budgets, "because of the strategy process" while
> > > > > simultaneously approving itself to increase its budget and staff
> year
> > > > after
> > > > > year by tens of percentage.
> > > > >
> > > > > Despite my distrust of the chances of this process and the
> criticism
> > I
> > > > felt
> > > > > for it, I instructed my organization to give it the full support we
> > > been
> > > > > asked, as all our movement did. Later on, I decided to join this
> > > working
> > > > > group as I felt we almost reached the final step of the process
> and I
> > > > > wanted to help shape the recommendations. I was totally wrong.
> > > > >
> > > > > In the first months of the workgroups, I felt it was completely
> > wasted
> > > of
> > > > > time. I saw how wonderful volunteers tried to lead the process
> within
> > > > each
> > > > > group (thank you Daria!) - but it wasn't their job, nor none of
> us. I
> > > > felt
> > > > > like I was returning to university, and every few weeks I received
> > > > > instructions and homework from the lecturer, with assignments to
> the
> > > > > following week - and in between, that we need to lead it and solve
> > > things
> > > > > by ourselves. It took the core team a few months to change it and
> > bring
> > > > > external support, but even after the (right) change, it continues
> to
> > > feel
> > > > > like I came *to work for *the strategic process, not with.
> > > > >
> > > > > I felt like nothing happened for the past year(or years?) before
> the
> > > > > working groups started to operate. As if we didn't have hundreds of
> > > > > meetings around the world, with a total of tens of thousands of
> > people
> > > > and
> > > > > an enormous amount of hours of conversations - and aside from a
> short
> > > few
> > > > > sentences of a strategic direction, we started from scratch. A
> > > completely
> > > > > new process.
> > > > >  From scratch to have discussions about what this process is,
> > > definitions
> > > > > and concepts. What is the problem with the current system? What are
> > the
> > > > > challenges? What people shared during the first phase? Information
> > > which
> > > > > wasn't available and ready for the group, and still isn't. Eight
> > months
> > > > > after we start, the real conversation about the subject which I
> > joined
> > > to
> > > > > discuss about and help shape recommendations around it, is far, far
> > > away
> > > > > from even to start.
> > > > >
> > > > > The more I spoke to more and more people who are part of the
> > process, I
> > > > > realized that this despair is not only with me but with many. But
> we
> > > are
> > > > a
> > > > > real Wikimedians, and we are committed to the things we start. We
> are
> > > bad
> > > > > with stopping things when they don't work or have real reviews of
> the
> > > > > things we do when we have the belief that this is the right thing.
> I
> > > > > completely stopped thinking it is the right thing to our movement.
> > > > >
> > > > > Last month, in our in-person meeting in Berlin, one of the opening
> > > > > activities was to sum up the number of years we were all members of
> > the
> > > > > movement. Just think about doing the same, and sum up the number of
> > > > > volunteer (and staff) hours invested until now in this process. We
> > are
> > > > > talking about tens of thousands of hours of work not even taking
> into
> > > > > consideration the huge amount of money involved.
> > > > > And the end of the process is very far away.
> > > > >
> > > > > In one of our discussions, we doubt if to include volunteers as a
> > > > resource
> > > > > which can be allocated. We decided at the end it can't as such, but
> > > just
> > > > > try to imagine it was, and try to think about a future
> > whatever-will-be
> > > > the
> > > > > resource allocation body/structure: how he would deal with the
> > decision
> > > > > whether to approve such a huge amount of volunteer time and money
> in
> > > the
> > > > > process. Did the WMF's board even consider and discuss these
> > resources
> > > > and
> > > > > how it will affect the movement during the process years? I doubt.
> > > > >
> > > > > We tend to say that the movement newest project is WikiData. I
> think
> > we
> > > > may
> > > > > need to start address WikiStrategy as the newest project. Just
> think
> > > > about
> > > > > what we could do with that amount of resources.
> > > > >
> > > > > The idea to massively involve the wide community within this
> process
> > > was
> > > > > the right decision  - but the implementations from my point of view
> > > were
> > > > > wrong.
> > > > > If the last strategy process was totally handled by outsiders - we
> > took
> > > > > this one completely to its opposite, without finding the right
> > balance.
> > > > >
> > > > > A strategy process is important, there is no doubt. And our
> movement
> > > > needs
> > > > > one, there is no doubt.
> > > > > But a strategy process can't take over the organization' activities
> > for
> > > > > *years.*
> > > > >
> > > > > I want to warmly thank you, my teammates. It is heartwarming to see
> > the
> > > > > commitment and amazing energy of all the members of this process,
> and
> > > of
> > > > > course, the core team which is dedicated to bringing a change. I
> have
> > > no
> > > > > doubt that we all want to secure the future of our movement to
> years
> > to
> > > > > come and I don't know of such a high level of engagement and
> > commitment
> > > > > anywhere else. But at the same time, I think we should put limits
> to
> > it
> > > > and
> > > > > reconsider it - and think how to make it shorter, lighter, less
> > > demanding
> > > > > and expensive - both from the perspective of staff/volunteer time
> and
> > > > money.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > Yours,
> > > > > Itzik.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > *Itzik Edri*
> > > > > Chairperson
> > > > > [hidden email]
> > > > > +972-54-5878078
> > > > > _______________________________________________
> > > > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > > > > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > > > > Unsubscribe:
> > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > > > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> > > >
> > > > _______________________________________________
> > > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > > > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > > > Unsubscribe:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > > > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
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> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > New messages to: [hidden email]
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