Wikipedia to be free on mobiles in Africa, Middle East (SciDev.net)

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Wikipedia to be free on mobiles in Africa, Middle East (SciDev.net)

Frederick Noronha
 

Wikipedia to be free on mobiles in Africa, Middle East

Maina Waruru

13 February 2012 | EN

A mobile phone

Millions in Africa and the Middle East will get free access to Wikipedia via mobile phones

Flickr/whiteafrican

[NAIROBI] Millions of people in Africa and the Middle East will be able to benefit from free, unlimited access to the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia through their mobile phone, starting later this year.

The scheme targets the region's 70 million customers of the mobile network provider Orange, who will be given free access to Wikipedia on their internet-enabled 'smart' phones.  

The deal struck between Orange and the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organisation that operates Wikipedia, will allow Orange customers to read and download information from Wikipedia without the usual data usage charges.

"Price is a strong barrier to people accessing the Internet, particularly in Africa," said Vanessa Clarke, spokesperson for Orange.

But the project will face several challenges, according to local experts.

Catherine Ngahu, chair of the Kenya ICT Board, said few people in the region own a 'smart' phone that can connect to the internet.

"Although there is increasing ownership of smart phones, there is still a large number of people who cannot afford them," she told SciDev.Net. "In order to widen reach, Orange should consider marketing lower cost smart phones."

Michael Njuku of the Kenya Revenue Authority said obstacles will range from low quality mobile handsets people own to a network provider's ability to handle the increased Internet traffic as customers try to access Wikipedia, sometimes millions at a time.

"Governments in Africa must also do more to ensure that poor quality counterfeit gadgets are not imported into their countries," he said.

Clarke said the scheme will be rolled out in mid-2012, initially in about eight countries, and by December some 20 countries will benefit.

She said between seven and 15 per cent of Orange customers in Africa and the Middle East currently have phones that access the Internet, but the company plans to increase the proportion to 50 per cent by 2015.

Kul Wadhwa, head of Mobile and Business Development at the Wikimedia Foundation, said he expects the scheme to encourage more people in Africa to read, contribute and download information from Wikipedia. 

http://www.scidev.net/en/new-technologies/icts/news/wikipedia-to-be-free-on-mobiles-in-africa-middle-east.html

Wikipedia is the world's largest online encyclopaedia, maintained by a global community of volunteers. It contains explanations of many scientific terms and issues, and some have suggested it could be used to share scientific knowledge.

More mobile network operators are expected to follow suit in the coming months, according to Wadhwa.



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Re: Wikipedia to be free on mobiles in Africa, Middle East (SciDev.net)

Ashwin Baindur
I'd much rather see India Programs arrange such deals than waste time doing things that normal editors can do themselves.

Ashwin

2012/4/11 Frederick FN Noronha फ्रेड्रिक नोरोन्या *فريدريك نورونيا <[hidden email]>
 

Wikipedia to be free on mobiles in Africa, Middle East

Maina Waruru

13 February 2012 | EN

A mobile phone

Millions in Africa and the Middle East will get free access to Wikipedia via mobile phones

Flickr/whiteafrican

[NAIROBI] Millions of people in Africa and the Middle East will be able to benefit from free, unlimited access to the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia through their mobile phone, starting later this year.

The scheme targets the region's 70 million customers of the mobile network provider Orange, who will be given free access to Wikipedia on their internet-enabled 'smart' phones.  

The deal struck between Orange and the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organisation that operates Wikipedia, will allow Orange customers to read and download information from Wikipedia without the usual data usage charges.

"Price is a strong barrier to people accessing the Internet, particularly in Africa," said Vanessa Clarke, spokesperson for Orange.

But the project will face several challenges, according to local experts.

Catherine Ngahu, chair of the Kenya ICT Board, said few people in the region own a 'smart' phone that can connect to the internet.

"Although there is increasing ownership of smart phones, there is still a large number of people who cannot afford them," she told SciDev.Net. "In order to widen reach, Orange should consider marketing lower cost smart phones."

Michael Njuku of the Kenya Revenue Authority said obstacles will range from low quality mobile handsets people own to a network provider's ability to handle the increased Internet traffic as customers try to access Wikipedia, sometimes millions at a time.

"Governments in Africa must also do more to ensure that poor quality counterfeit gadgets are not imported into their countries," he said.

Clarke said the scheme will be rolled out in mid-2012, initially in about eight countries, and by December some 20 countries will benefit.

She said between seven and 15 per cent of Orange customers in Africa and the Middle East currently have phones that access the Internet, but the company plans to increase the proportion to 50 per cent by 2015.

Kul Wadhwa, head of Mobile and Business Development at the Wikimedia Foundation, said he expects the scheme to encourage more people in Africa to read, contribute and download information from Wikipedia. 

http://www.scidev.net/en/new-technologies/icts/news/wikipedia-to-be-free-on-mobiles-in-africa-middle-east.html

Wikipedia is the world's largest online encyclopaedia, maintained by a global community of volunteers. It contains explanations of many scientific terms and issues, and some have suggested it could be used to share scientific knowledge.

More mobile network operators are expected to follow suit in the coming months, according to Wadhwa.



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Warm regards,

Ashwin Baindur
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Re: Wikipedia to be free on mobiles in Africa, Middle East (SciDev.net)

Srikanth Ramakrishnan-2
I agree wholeheartedly with Ashwin. India Programs need not focus on
Outreach as long as the Chapter is there. In India, we see mobile
operators giving free Facebook and Twitter access but not to Wiki.

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Srikanth Ramakrishnan.

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Re: Wikipedia to be free on mobiles in Africa, Middle East (SciDev.net)

Barry Newstead
Hi all,

On mobile: We are working on this. Deals take time to consummate and are confidential until they are finalized with partners, but there is work going on in India and we hope to have some good stuff soon.

@Ashwin: At one level I agree, but another way to think about this is as follows...It is useful to differentiate between things an editor "can" do and what an editor "actually chooses to do".  There may be thing that an editor can do, but chooses not to do that is still worth doing and India Programs can fill that gap.  On Outreach, India Programs is a) helping to cross-pollinate learning across the community and take more of an analytical approach to assessing Outreach than had been done before Nitika started to really focus on this; and b) bring added capacity to help us all reach more groups (look at the volume of outreach that has happened since Nitika started pushing on this theme - not pure coincidence).[1]

@Srikanth: I don't think we should be ready to say there is no need for group X to focus on activity area Y, since group Z exists. Existence does not equate with "satisfying all of the needs in India". India Programs will stop supporting outreach the moment the chapter or local communities feel they are fully able to met all of the demand for learning about the Wikimedia projects from groups across India.  Even today, the India Program team seeks ways to support community members or the chapter to do the outreach and does outreach sessions when a) they are asked to provide support; or b) where there aren't community members ready to take the lead.

General point: IMO the debates which crop up regularly on this list over "who should do what" is tangential to the goals we all share of strengthening our community and realizing our mission in India. The capacity represented by Existing Community + Chapter + India Programs is nowhere near the need required to reach the full potential of the movement in India, so what is there to fight over?  The more appropriate question IMO to ask is: "How best to work together in a way that we utilize the differing capabilities to maximum effective, given we're a long way from reaching a point where we are "finished with our mission"? It would also be cool if we celebrate what people actual "do" and debate the efficacy based on the results (since all of our work is experimental in nature and unproven at this time) rather than debate "who" should do the work.

My 2 paise. ;)

[1] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Program/Outreach_Programs

Kind regards,
Barry

On Tue, Apr 10, 2012 at 11:09 PM, Srikanth Ramakrishnan <[hidden email]> wrote:
I agree wholeheartedly with Ashwin. India Programs need not focus on
Outreach as long as the Chapter is there. In India, we see mobile
operators giving free Facebook and Twitter access but not to Wiki.

--
Regards,
Srikanth Ramakrishnan.

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--
Barry Newstead
Chief Global Development Officer
Wikimedia Foundation

Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge.  Help us make it a reality!

http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate


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Re: Wikipedia to be free on mobiles in Africa, Middle East (SciDev.net)

Srikanth Lakshmanan
On Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 04:22, Barry Newstead <[hidden email]> wrote:
It would also be cool if we celebrate what people actual "do" and debate the efficacy based on the results (since all of our work is experimental in nature and unproven at this time)

Since we are talking something related to outreach, let me remind the talk[1] is still open and am unaware about the analysis on outreach / metrics, since they haven't been figured out in the discussion.

A quick comment on the style of getting community input. While I appreciate IP for trying hard to get sound feedback from community which is good and very important, but sometimes I feel tired by just looking at things they ask for. Just look at the questions here[1][2], community is NOT a group of survey takers who have loads of free time(This has been mentioned somewhere in meta for research as well IIRC). It is quite obvious that they were unanswered(may remain so) because it will turn off most people. Lastly, when we ask for something to be worked upon[3], there is a difference between seeking input and getting the work done. If only I had the time and skill to do what I suggested, I would have proposed an RfC myself, why would I even ask IP to work on it.


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Re: Wikipedia to be free on mobiles in Africa, Middle East (SciDev.net)

Hisham-7
Hi Srikanth 

Comments inline.

On Apr 12, 2012, at 11:38 AM, Srikanth Lakshmanan wrote:

On Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 04:22, Barry Newstead <[hidden email]> wrote:
It would also be cool if we celebrate what people actual "do" and debate the efficacy based on the results (since all of our work is experimental in nature and unproven at this time)

Since we are talking something related to outreach, let me remind the talk[1] is still open and am unaware about the analysis on outreach / metrics, since they haven't been figured out in the discussion.

We are working on trying to analyse the editing trends of newbies who have attended sessions.  It's in this context, we've been in touch with nearly 20 community members across the country to gather the usernames of newbies who have recently attended outreach sessions.  We wanted a couple of months of data to be available so that we could run an analysis of editing trends using some tools that are being developed. I can also imagine the need to finetune elements of the analysis once we see the first round of output.


A quick comment on the style of getting community input. While I appreciate IP for trying hard to get sound feedback from community which is good and very important, but sometimes I feel tired by just looking at things they ask for. Just look at the questions here[1][2], community is NOT a group of survey takers who have loads of free time(This has been mentioned somewhere in meta for research as well IIRC). It is quite obvious that they were unanswered(may remain so) because it will turn off most people.

IP is - and will continue to be for the foreseable future - in experimentation mode.  We would love to have the answers to everything - be we won't.  The questions I mention were meant to elicit suggestions, generate debate and indicate IP's thinking and the challenges we are working on.  

To share with you how these evolve, a question like "Can we introduce story-telling as a effective means of sharing the work that is done by community members such that we are able to cross-pollinate ideas?" has already evolved into a story like http://blog.wikimedia.in/2012/04/04/realizing-the-dreams-of-communities-3-years-6-users-1000-articles-counting-the-source-of-gujarati-wikisource/ and I know that there is another story from another community on another project that will be out rather soon.  A pilot design for story telling has also been put up here http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Program/Pilot_Designs/Storytelling

Similarly, "How do we build a toolkit for media/PR/social media such that community members are able to rapidly deploy to support specific initiatives such as Wikiprojects or to celebrate community or project milestones?" is being discussed with interested Odia community based on the following initial draft http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Program/Pilot_Designs/Social_Media

Something like. "How do we support a community initiative like Wikipatrika in a manner that it remains entirely owned by the individual community members - but we are still able to help them? How do we do this without taking away credit and also without building dependence?" is governing the way that we are doing the support work for Wikipatrika.  It's being done with nearly 15 community members across communities.  A pilot design for this has been put up here http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Program/Pilot_Designs/Wikipatrika

Lastly, when we ask for something to be worked upon[3], there is a difference between seeking input and getting the work done. If only I had the time and skill to do what I suggested, I would have proposed an RfC myself, why would I even ask IP to work on it.

With regard post [3], I mentioned at the bottom of that post the kind of sensitives that we work within - and we will continue to be exceedingly aware of them.  Over the past few days, Shiju has been working on a particularly sensitive community matter but he is doing it in the manner that is most appropriate for it - quietly and 1-on-1.  

hisham





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Re: Wikipedia to be free on mobiles in Africa, Middle East (SciDev.net)

wheredevelsdare
In reply to this post by Barry Newstead
Barry, I think the moot point is being missed here. There is a general feeling (atleast from what I understand) that IP should focus on what the community cannot do - and the community should be more involved in deciding what IP should do. Other chapters that have hired staff have hired people on the same basis (for doing what the community cannot do). We do need to debate this because what is the point of paying people for things that volunteers can do for free? I have mentioned this on this mailing list a few weeks back as well.

We must also remember, IP has something major which the chapter or the community does not: An assured large money flow. This is why they are asked for help - because the chapter is not in a position to provide the same. This helps them to conduct outreach with ease without having to worry about filing tedious grant requests for travel or stay, they can just book a flight ticket and go off, while community members have to go through red tape - which kills their zeal. If community members are assured of flight and hotel costs the way IP staff is, Im pretty sure there will never be a shortage of volunteers for outreach :)

Despite my request for a detailed report on what IP is upto on a monthly basis [1], there is no report for March whatsoever so far. On the same talk page, Pradeep spoke of IP detailing what it intends to do in the month at the beginning of the month so it can be compared to the final report for auditing what IP has done. Hisham agreed and provided the same for March [2], but where is April? Do we have to send monthly reminders for this?

Links:
[1] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:India_Program/Reports/Community_Monthly_Reports/Feb_2012#Detail
[2] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Program/Reports/Community_Monthly_Reports/Mar_2012


Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2012 15:52:42 -0700
From: [hidden email]
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [Wikimediaindia-l] Wikipedia to be free on mobiles in Africa, Middle East (SciDev.net)

Hi all,

On mobile: We are working on this. Deals take time to consummate and are confidential until they are finalized with partners, but there is work going on in India and we hope to have some good stuff soon.

@Ashwin: At one level I agree, but another way to think about this is as follows...It is useful to differentiate between things an editor "can" do and what an editor "actually chooses to do".  There may be thing that an editor can do, but chooses not to do that is still worth doing and India Programs can fill that gap.  On Outreach, India Programs is a) helping to cross-pollinate learning across the community and take more of an analytical approach to assessing Outreach than had been done before Nitika started to really focus on this; and b) bring added capacity to help us all reach more groups (look at the volume of outreach that has happened since Nitika started pushing on this theme - not pure coincidence).[1]

@Srikanth: I don't think we should be ready to say there is no need for group X to focus on activity area Y, since group Z exists. Existence does not equate with "satisfying all of the needs in India". India Programs will stop supporting outreach the moment the chapter or local communities feel they are fully able to met all of the demand for learning about the Wikimedia projects from groups across India.  Even today, the India Program team seeks ways to support community members or the chapter to do the outreach and does outreach sessions when a) they are asked to provide support; or b) where there aren't community members ready to take the lead.

General point: IMO the debates which crop up regularly on this list over "who should do what" is tangential to the goals we all share of strengthening our community and realizing our mission in India. The capacity represented by Existing Community + Chapter + India Programs is nowhere near the need required to reach the full potential of the movement in India, so what is there to fight over?  The more appropriate question IMO to ask is: "How best to work together in a way that we utilize the differing capabilities to maximum effective, given we're a long way from reaching a point where we are "finished with our mission"? It would also be cool if we celebrate what people actual "do" and debate the efficacy based on the results (since all of our work is experimental in nature and unproven at this time) rather than debate "who" should do the work.

My 2 paise. ;)

[1] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Program/Outreach_Programs

Kind regards,
Barry

On Tue, Apr 10, 2012 at 11:09 PM, Srikanth Ramakrishnan <[hidden email]> wrote:
I agree wholeheartedly with Ashwin. India Programs need not focus on
Outreach as long as the Chapter is there. In India, we see mobile
operators giving free Facebook and Twitter access but not to Wiki.

--
Regards,
Srikanth Ramakrishnan.

_______________________________________________
Wikimediaindia-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from the list / change mailing preferences visit https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediaindia-l



--
Barry Newstead
Chief Global Development Officer
Wikimedia Foundation

Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge.  Help us make it a reality!

http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate


_______________________________________________ Wikimediaindia-l mailing list [hidden email] To unsubscribe from the list / change mailing preferences visit https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediaindia-l

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Re: Wikipedia to be free on mobiles in Africa, Middle East (SciDev.net)

Hisham-7
<base href="x-msg://792/">

On Apr 12, 2012, at 12:57 PM, <[hidden email]> <[hidden email]> wrote:

<snip>
there is no report for March


<snip>

but where is April?

<snip>


hisham


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Re: Wikipedia to be free on mobiles in Africa, Middle East (SciDev.net)

Ashwin Baindur
In reply to this post by Barry Newstead
Thank you for your responding to me, Barry.  I would like to point out a few issues, if I may, to set the context to my stated wish about what India Programs should be doing.

A significant proportion of the events listed in your reference were community events and if we consider only those conducted by the India Program team we would see a smaller list which is not so impressive. Some of these events had minimal help from India Programs. For example in the GNUNIFY Wikipedia event conducted in February by the Pune community, Nitika's presentation was used and that was all. (Since I had myself added the entry to this page thinking it to be a collation of India outreach events, I am not protesting its inclusion). There are other such events where the involvement was low and these need to be excluded, keeping only those conducted primarily by India Program personnel.

I see your point about value being added by these activities. Any outreach is useful. However, India Program resources are scarce and valuable ( both in the point of view of your multi-100,000$ budgets and limited capacity of the very small team). In this context, it is the mix of activities carried out and the proportion of its components that worry me and the community.

The presence of a small outreach activity is definitely justifiable as keeping a pulse on the overall community and in touch with reality. IMO the conduct of two events a month by India Program staff is more than adequate - it still means 24 events a year, a very sizeable contribution. Hence, events should be carefully chosen for maximum impact deriveable and maximum diversity of experiences. It should be driven by only one staff member, assisted by volunteers, and Hisham should appear there to enthuse the participants, as per the time he can spare from his main agenda, not get involved in the training himself. (More on this later).

Comments on Roles

* From what I have seen, the community will concur with me that adding Shiju to India Program staff is definitely the right way to go. Shiju has identified the "state of the nation" very well. He needs to keep working on this field without being distracted by other things. But now the need is to build the Indic language infrastructure - community building beyond a certain point is the business of the community itself, not India Programs. India Programs needs to tackle programs/seed projects/tasks which cannot be easily done by the Indic community and which will lead to empowerment/growth/development of the entire Indic movement.

* There is considerable confusion of roles of Noopur, Nikita & Subhashish. The roles are nebulous and the explanations/justification for their activities not convincing. Noopur had, to my mind, potential to be a great GLAM resource. Yet she is doing suboptimal activities. So we have three people working but the responsibilities/areas are not what the community feels are required. Of the three resource people, one is more than enough for the outreach, outreach handbook, WikiPatrika & communication roles required. The other two and Hisham should be addressing things that are not being addressed. These activities could be done by Subhasish.

* IEP - Gives the impression of prematurely being abandoned by the India Program, the IEP version 2 is terribly behind schedule. It gives the impression that Hisham and his team are once bitten, twice shy. The ghost of IEP can only be laid by struggling through to a successful model, not by trying to do other activities to make up the lack of success. At least, one person should be deployed full time on this -  Nitika. We need IEP, Hisham & Nitika to make a good success of IEP 2. In no other way, can we retrieve our reputation. I say, our. because the Indian community feels let down, unhappy and involved in this program, it is nt a matter of the IEP & the CAs/Students only.

* Liaison with government, academia, industry, Institutes of learning, NGOs, etc. The aim is to familiarise, educate and create opportunities which are beyond the reach of the common wikipedian. Sadly, this is not being pursued with any sincerity, much less any purpose. Some of the community members feel, it is not happening at all. The nation's top movers & shakers need to be engaged by Hisham, not the newbies & Indic editors. This should be Hisham's primary agenda - vision, leadership & engagement at the highest levels.

* GLAM & preservation of Indian Culture. This requires a full-time commitment. Part-time responsibility, and one-off projects simply wont do. Noopur is well-suited for this and it should be one of her major commitments. WikiPatrika & some other smaller commitments may be part of her responsibilities.

In the absence of concrete action on things that really need doing, and the far too large emphasis on community building by India programs, which is frankly in my opinion, none of their business, Barry, I feel skeptical about the cost to value derived by this multi-hundred thousand dollar India Program program.

People in the general community may disagree with me on individual issues, but the general unhappiness of most concerned editors on Indian community are based on these lines.

You would do well to consider from a Project Management perspective, what are the goals of the complete year for the India Program, where we want to be and the exact activities & events needed for this. As of now, Hisham/India Programs seems to be functioning month-to-month, in a reactive mode.

On my side, I have only a desire to see the community, chapter and India Program all succeed and prosper. And my support for this wish of mine is assured to all concerned.

Warm regards,

Ashwin Baindur


On Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 4:22 AM, Barry Newstead <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi all,

On mobile: We are working on this. Deals take time to consummate and are confidential until they are finalized with partners, but there is work going on in India and we hope to have some good stuff soon.

@Ashwin: At one level I agree, but another way to think about this is as follows...It is useful to differentiate between things an editor "can" do and what an editor "actually chooses to do".  There may be thing that an editor can do, but chooses not to do that is still worth doing and India Programs can fill that gap.  On Outreach, India Programs is a) helping to cross-pollinate learning across the community and take more of an analytical approach to assessing Outreach than had been done before Nitika started to really focus on this; and b) bring added capacity to help us all reach more groups (look at the volume of outreach that has happened since Nitika started pushing on this theme - not pure coincidence).[1]

@Srikanth: I don't think we should be ready to say there is no need for group X to focus on activity area Y, since group Z exists. Existence does not equate with "satisfying all of the needs in India". India Programs will stop supporting outreach the moment the chapter or local communities feel they are fully able to met all of the demand for learning about the Wikimedia projects from groups across India.  Even today, the India Program team seeks ways to support community members or the chapter to do the outreach and does outreach sessions when a) they are asked to provide support; or b) where there aren't community members ready to take the lead.

General point: IMO the debates which crop up regularly on this list over "who should do what" is tangential to the goals we all share of strengthening our community and realizing our mission in India. The capacity represented by Existing Community + Chapter + India Programs is nowhere near the need required to reach the full potential of the movement in India, so what is there to fight over?  The more appropriate question IMO to ask is: "How best to work together in a way that we utilize the differing capabilities to maximum effective, given we're a long way from reaching a point where we are "finished with our mission"? It would also be cool if we celebrate what people actual "do" and debate the efficacy based on the results (since all of our work is experimental in nature and unproven at this time) rather than debate "who" should do the work.

My 2 paise. ;)

[1] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Program/Outreach_Programs

Kind regards,
Barry



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Re: Wikipedia to be free on mobiles in Africa, Middle East (SciDev.net)

Barry Newstead
Dear Ashwin,

Thanks for your message. I have to say that specific comments are much more useful than vague generalisations, because these are actionable for us and we can correct misperceptions (of which there are some significant ones below).  I'd like to respond to your points below. Please don't read my responses too personally, as I'm more focused on the themes in your comments that are persistent rather than responding personally.

Thanks for the constructive comments and questions.

Best,
Barry

On Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 7:35 AM, Ashwin Baindur <[hidden email]> wrote:
Thank you for your responding to me, Barry.  I would like to point out a few issues, if I may, to set the context to my stated wish about what India Programs should be doing.

A significant proportion of the events listed in your reference were community events and if we consider only those conducted by the India Program team we would see a smaller list which is not so impressive.

Who really cares, seriously! The purpose of any list is to share information openly and encourage community members to participate. It is not a credit taking exercise.
 
Some of these events had minimal help from India Programs. For example in the GNUNIFY Wikipedia event conducted in February by the Pune community, Nitika's presentation was used and that was all. (Since I had myself added the entry to this page thinking it to be a collation of India outreach events, I am not protesting its inclusion). There are other such events where the involvement was low and these need to be excluded, keeping only those conducted primarily by India Program personnel. 

I see your point about value being added by these activities. Any outreach is useful. However, India Program resources are scarce and valuable ( both in the point of view of your multi-100,000$ budgets and limited capacity of the very small team). In this context, it is the mix of activities carried out and the proportion of its components that worry me and the community.

If you look more deeply, you'll see the IP team is doing work that helps move us forward. They aren't simply replicating what the community can do (note:  I will still take issue with the point that there is some invisible community being held back from doing copious amounts of outreach or other work because the IP team is crowding out their activity).  I think the value that the IP team can and is bringing is more about the overall support of outreach and the improvement of outreach work to increase impact. The sad fact about a lot of outreach work is that it doesn't produce that much community growth in its current form. Ask yourself honestly, Ashwin, how much has your Pune community grown as a result of your excellent and dedicated efforts to conducting outreach?  What Nitika (yes, I think it should be clear to all that she is working hard on this) is doing is really investigating the efficacy of outreach and trying to identify things that will improve the results for the tireless work that you and other community members are doing.  The link that I pointed to has a handbook for outreach that is evolving and would benefit from a collaborative, wiki-style partnership to share learning in which Nitika  can be the facilitator and doer of the heavy work.  In addition, Nitika and Subhashish in partnership with the Global Development research team is piloting a tool that will help with follow-up after events with attendees to encourage actual editing. The tool also allows us to measure whether attendees ever actually edit.  This is a small pilot that they are investing a lot of time in and has the potential to dramatically improve outreach (or tell us conclusively that it is not an effective way to build community, which I hope isn't true).  IMO this is the kind of work that adds real value to the community and will help us achieve our shared mission in India.


The presence of a small outreach activity is definitely justifiable as keeping a pulse on the overall community and in touch with reality. IMO the conduct of two events a month by India Program staff is more than adequate - it still means 24 events a year, a very sizeable contribution. Hence, events should be carefully chosen for maximum impact deriveable and maximum diversity of experiences. It should be driven by only one staff member, assisted by volunteers, and Hisham should appear there to enthuse the participants, as per the time he can spare from his main agenda, not get involved in the training himself. (More on this later).

Thanks for the advice. I think that is already largely the case. Nitika is the main resource focused on outreach with some support from Subhashish.  Hisham involves himself as the manager of the work and has been instrumental in guiding us toward a more analytical and learning-oriented approach that we hope will be fruitful.

Comments on Roles

* From what I have seen, the community will concur with me that adding Shiju to India Program staff is definitely the right way to go. Shiju has identified the "state of the nation" very well. He needs to keep working on this field without being distracted by other things. But now the need is to build the Indic language infrastructure - community building beyond a certain point is the business of the community itself, not India Programs. India Programs needs to tackle programs/seed projects/tasks which cannot be easily done by the Indic community and which will lead to empowerment/growth/development of the entire Indic movement.

Thanks. He is indeed focused here and is doing excellent work.  It is useful to note that he partners very closely with Hisham, who provides a lot of silent support and guidance and gets useful input from the rest of the team (and he contributes to the work of the team as well).  We believe (and most organizational effectiveness research supports) that teaming is an effective approach to  getting things done. It isn't about putting people in silos and leaving them there to figure it out.

* There is considerable confusion of roles of Noopur, Nikita & Subhashish. The roles are nebulous and the explanations/justification for their activities not convincing. Noopur had, to my mind, potential to be a great GLAM resource. Yet she is doing suboptimal activities. So we have three people working but the responsibilities/areas are not what the community feels are required. Of the three resource people, one is more than enough for the outreach, outreach handbook, WikiPatrika & communication roles required. The other two and Hisham should be addressing things that are not being addressed. These activities could be done by Subhasish.

I've explained Nitika's work above and she will also play an important role in future education work.  Noopur has been on the job for a month and her role will become clearer as she settles in and starts getting some communications-focused initiatives going.  Subhashish's role is by definition less simple to express. He is there to support the team and handle administrative elements. He is playing a valuable support role to Nitika and Shiju. He also frees Hisham from some of the burden of administration.

* IEP - Gives the impression of prematurely being abandoned by the India Program, the IEP version 2 is terribly behind schedule. It gives the impression that Hisham and his team are once bitten, twice shy. The ghost of IEP can only be laid by struggling through to a successful model, not by trying to do other activities to make up the lack of success. At least, one person should be deployed full time on this -  Nitika. We need IEP, Hisham & Nitika to make a good success of IEP 2. In no other way, can we retrieve our reputation. I say, our. because the Indian community feels let down, unhappy and involved in this program, it is nt a matter of the IEP & the CAs/Students only.

So, we are taking this slowly on purpose. It is not because of shyness on Hisham and Nitika's part. They are ready to go for it again and are excited to lay the ghosts to rest as you say.  We did wait a bit to let everyone have some time to reflect on the pilot lessons (including us). We want to get the conversation going again, soon, though there is nothing stopping you from starting it yourself if you like. I will say I'm really encouraged by part of your remark, as we haven't really heard anyone say that the Indian community is committed to trying again to make this kind of program work in the Indian context. We too, particularly Hisham and Nitika, remain committed to education work in India.  We are also looking forward to incorporating the lessons we are garnering in our work in Brazil and Egypt at the moment into future designs. We'll be getting back on the elephant, for sure.

* Liaison with government, academia, industry, Institutes of learning, NGOs, etc. The aim is to familiarise, educate and create opportunities which are beyond the reach of the common wikipedian. Sadly, this is not being pursued with any sincerity, much less any purpose. Some of the community members feel, it is not happening at all. The nation's top movers & shakers need to be engaged by Hisham, not the newbies & Indic editors. This should be Hisham's primary agenda - vision, leadership & engagement at the highest levels.

You are incorrect, actually, so you might reflect on use of terms like "sincerity", since this speaks to motivations that you don't really have insights into. Hisham has been engaged with institutions and is developing a valuable network, though not as much as he would like as these efforts take serious time. Hisham would love to have even more time to do this.

Do note that as the leader of a team of people he does a lot to help them be effective - this is a core role in team leadership - and is a valuable use of time, even if it isn't always visible.  He also has had to carry significant administrative duties that we are working to get off his shoulders.  Finally, he spends an inordinate among of time on "India politics" (the other IP) - fighting off accusations of malintent, attacks on himself and his team members, and arguments that go nowhere about who is the "boss of X".  The guy is working is butt off...often seven days a week and is available at odd hours to engage with colleagues in the US and with community members around the country.  It is worth stepping back and reflecting before offering personal critiques of Hisham and the IP team. One might ask oneself: "do I understand the full context of the situation that this person is dealing with?" There is some great research on "attribution bias" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attributional_bias) that is worth keeping in mind when you think you have things all figured out and are comfortable ascribing motives to people or commenting on what you think they are doing.

* GLAM & preservation of Indian Culture. This requires a full-time commitment. Part-time responsibility, and one-off projects simply wont do. Noopur is well-suited for this and it should be one of her major commitments. WikiPatrika & some other smaller commitments may be part of her responsibilities.

In the absence of concrete action on things that really need doing, and the far too large emphasis on community building by India programs, which is frankly in my opinion, none of their business, Barry, I feel skeptical about the cost to value derived by this multi-hundred thousand dollar India Program program.

People in the general community may disagree with me on individual issues, but the general unhappiness of most concerned editors on Indian community are based on these lines.

I respect your concerns, but I would prefer that you speak for yourself rather than invoking "most concerned editors".  Let's not pretend that we have any special authority to speak for the community.

My view of the IP is that it will not be built in a day. We committed to a multi-year investment because it will take time to build and we would need to do a range of pilots (some successful, some not), learn from them and then build programs that work.  If this work was easy, it would have been done already. I'd like nothing more than to have "figured it all out" in India, so that we could move on to other challenges, but that isn't what we signed up for. This is a long, hard road with elusive rewards and a lot of difficult work along the way (including building community support), but the rewards are pretty huge if we can find solutions that help build our projects in India and expand access and contribution to the sum of all knowledge. 


You would do well to consider from a Project Management perspective, what are the goals of the complete year for the India Program, where we want to be and the exact activities & events needed for this. As of now, Hisham/India Programs seems to be functioning month-to-month, in a reactive mode.

You might refer to the India Program plans on Meta (http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Program), which have been there for people to contribute to for about a year and is evolving as we learn. The team is working to this plan and is adjusting as needed based on learning from their engagement on the issues and discussions with people in the community. If you have better ideas or think that their plans can be improved, then click edit. I'm actually serious about this.  There has been a ton of keys clicked in the mailing lists criticizing, but not many on contributing to the plans  and helping improve them. They are on a public wiki for a reason.


On my side, I have only a desire to see the community, chapter and India Program all succeed and prosper. And my support for this wish of mine is assured to all concerned.

I don't doubt your sincerity. You make a lot of valuable contributions including this note. I would say that we all would benefit if you (and others) would ascribe the same sincerity to the IP team, recognize that what they (and all of us) are engaged in isn't exactly straight-forward and their goals are the same as yours.

Warm regards,

Ashwin Baindur


On Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 4:22 AM, Barry Newstead <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi all,

On mobile: We are working on this. Deals take time to consummate and are confidential until they are finalized with partners, but there is work going on in India and we hope to have some good stuff soon.

@Ashwin: At one level I agree, but another way to think about this is as follows...It is useful to differentiate between things an editor "can" do and what an editor "actually chooses to do".  There may be thing that an editor can do, but chooses not to do that is still worth doing and India Programs can fill that gap.  On Outreach, India Programs is a) helping to cross-pollinate learning across the community and take more of an analytical approach to assessing Outreach than had been done before Nitika started to really focus on this; and b) bring added capacity to help us all reach more groups (look at the volume of outreach that has happened since Nitika started pushing on this theme - not pure coincidence).[1]

@Srikanth: I don't think we should be ready to say there is no need for group X to focus on activity area Y, since group Z exists. Existence does not equate with "satisfying all of the needs in India". India Programs will stop supporting outreach the moment the chapter or local communities feel they are fully able to met all of the demand for learning about the Wikimedia projects from groups across India.  Even today, the India Program team seeks ways to support community members or the chapter to do the outreach and does outreach sessions when a) they are asked to provide support; or b) where there aren't community members ready to take the lead.

General point: IMO the debates which crop up regularly on this list over "who should do what" is tangential to the goals we all share of strengthening our community and realizing our mission in India. The capacity represented by Existing Community + Chapter + India Programs is nowhere near the need required to reach the full potential of the movement in India, so what is there to fight over?  The more appropriate question IMO to ask is: "How best to work together in a way that we utilize the differing capabilities to maximum effective, given we're a long way from reaching a point where we are "finished with our mission"? It would also be cool if we celebrate what people actual "do" and debate the efficacy based on the results (since all of our work is experimental in nature and unproven at this time) rather than debate "who" should do the work.

My 2 paise. ;)

[1] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Program/Outreach_Programs

Kind regards,
Barry



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Re: Wikipedia to be free on mobiles in Africa, Middle East (SciDev.net)

Ashwin Baindur
Dear Barry, 

thank you for taking the trouble to provide a comprehensive and timely response to my critique. 

There is no doubt that India Programs is putting in hard work, and there are definitely good results as you pointed out and I agree with. All your points are well taken, though I am not in agreement with all of them.  The direction that work should go in is a moot point of disagreement between us which could be debated further but that is not what I would like to argue about. It was basically to present a point-of-view as to how I, as an editor, see and judge things. In a sense, it is feedback.

Your point about the efficacy of outreach is well taken. Pune community has indeed grown somewhat from outreach, but this has primarily been in the Marathi Wikipedia side. We have had few English editors as a result of outreach but barely enough to keep us going and definitely not enough to feel happy about. Personal experience has shown me that outreach itself is more a tool of education of the community and less that of recruitment.  But it is also a little unfair to compare the efforts of we few community members doing outreach all in our precious spare time and under far greater constraints than India Program.

The outreach handbook is definitely a positive step in the right direction but I am not quite happy about the way the outreach survey is being done. Ostensibly to measure the efficacy of the community-led outreach, no discussion of the outreach survey was done prior to it. No instructions have been given to us to follow during outreach which will provide the intellectual rigour of such an exercise. Since we have not been asked for only user names of outreach attendees but no other data, the factors affecting outreach cannot be judged.  Since the methodology of carrying out outreach for this survey, has not been communicated to us, the deductions  may be faulty and the data samples we provide will be skewed. The size of the sample may also be statistically inadequate. Survey is a serious business and involves all stakeholders and a proper plan is needed and executed if we are to get unbiased results.

You mention that Hisham is doing the kind of engagement of higher bodies & decision-makers that I have been wishing for. Perhaps this aspect has not been communicated well. We do understand that some ongoing interactions may be only referred to briefly as a matter of discretion. but definitely, the community would like to know more on these issues, and we would appreciate more information on this.   

As regards representing the voice of the community, I did not mean to imply that the community had empowered me explicitly or implicitly to represent them. That was my personal understanding of what the community feels. You are free to judge and form your own opinion based on your experience, knowledge of things and inputs from me and all other sources.  In the final analysis, my views are there as feedback for you to take cognisance of or not. Hopefully, they may lead to better decisions on your side, whatever those decisions may be.

As mentioned previously, I remain a well-wisher of all Wikipedia activity, including India Program, though it may/may not be evident from my discussions above.

Warm regards, 

Ashwin Baindur

------------------------------

On Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 11:37 PM, Barry Newstead <[hidden email]> wrote:
Dear Ashwin,

Thanks for your message. I have to say that specific comments are much more useful than vague generalisations, because these are actionable for us and we can correct misperceptions (of which there are some significant ones below).  I'd like to respond to your points below. Please don't read my responses too personally, as I'm more focused on the themes in your comments that are persistent rather than responding personally.

Thanks for the constructive comments and questions.

Best,
Barry

On Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 7:35 AM, Ashwin Baindur <[hidden email]> wrote:
Thank you for your responding to me, Barry.  I would like to point out a few issues, if I may, to set the context to my stated wish about what India Programs should be doing.

A significant proportion of the events listed in your reference were community events and if we consider only those conducted by the India Program team we would see a smaller list which is not so impressive.

Who really cares, seriously! The purpose of any list is to share information openly and encourage community members to participate. It is not a credit taking exercise.
 
Some of these events had minimal help from India Programs. For example in the GNUNIFY Wikipedia event conducted in February by the Pune community, Nitika's presentation was used and that was all. (Since I had myself added the entry to this page thinking it to be a collation of India outreach events, I am not protesting its inclusion). There are other such events where the involvement was low and these need to be excluded, keeping only those conducted primarily by India Program personnel. 

I see your point about value being added by these activities. Any outreach is useful. However, India Program resources are scarce and valuable ( both in the point of view of your multi-100,000$ budgets and limited capacity of the very small team). In this context, it is the mix of activities carried out and the proportion of its components that worry me and the community.

If you look more deeply, you'll see the IP team is doing work that helps move us forward. They aren't simply replicating what the community can do (note:  I will still take issue with the point that there is some invisible community being held back from doing copious amounts of outreach or other work because the IP team is crowding out their activity).  I think the value that the IP team can and is bringing is more about the overall support of outreach and the improvement of outreach work to increase impact. The sad fact about a lot of outreach work is that it doesn't produce that much community growth in its current form. Ask yourself honestly, Ashwin, how much has your Pune community grown as a result of your excellent and dedicated efforts to conducting outreach?  What Nitika (yes, I think it should be clear to all that she is working hard on this) is doing is really investigating the efficacy of outreach and trying to identify things that will improve the results for the tireless work that you and other community members are doing.  The link that I pointed to has a handbook for outreach that is evolving and would benefit from a collaborative, wiki-style partnership to share learning in which Nitika  can be the facilitator and doer of the heavy work.  In addition, Nitika and Subhashish in partnership with the Global Development research team is piloting a tool that will help with follow-up after events with attendees to encourage actual editing. The tool also allows us to measure whether attendees ever actually edit.  This is a small pilot that they are investing a lot of time in and has the potential to dramatically improve outreach (or tell us conclusively that it is not an effective way to build community, which I hope isn't true).  IMO this is the kind of work that adds real value to the community and will help us achieve our shared mission in India.


The presence of a small outreach activity is definitely justifiable as keeping a pulse on the overall community and in touch with reality. IMO the conduct of two events a month by India Program staff is more than adequate - it still means 24 events a year, a very sizeable contribution. Hence, events should be carefully chosen for maximum impact deriveable and maximum diversity of experiences. It should be driven by only one staff member, assisted by volunteers, and Hisham should appear there to enthuse the participants, as per the time he can spare from his main agenda, not get involved in the training himself. (More on this later).

Thanks for the advice. I think that is already largely the case. Nitika is the main resource focused on outreach with some support from Subhashish.  Hisham involves himself as the manager of the work and has been instrumental in guiding us toward a more analytical and learning-oriented approach that we hope will be fruitful.

Comments on Roles

* From what I have seen, the community will concur with me that adding Shiju to India Program staff is definitely the right way to go. Shiju has identified the "state of the nation" very well. He needs to keep working on this field without being distracted by other things. But now the need is to build the Indic language infrastructure - community building beyond a certain point is the business of the community itself, not India Programs. India Programs needs to tackle programs/seed projects/tasks which cannot be easily done by the Indic community and which will lead to empowerment/growth/development of the entire Indic movement.

Thanks. He is indeed focused here and is doing excellent work.  It is useful to note that he partners very closely with Hisham, who provides a lot of silent support and guidance and gets useful input from the rest of the team (and he contributes to the work of the team as well).  We believe (and most organizational effectiveness research supports) that teaming is an effective approach to  getting things done. It isn't about putting people in silos and leaving them there to figure it out.

* There is considerable confusion of roles of Noopur, Nikita & Subhashish. The roles are nebulous and the explanations/justification for their activities not convincing. Noopur had, to my mind, potential to be a great GLAM resource. Yet she is doing suboptimal activities. So we have three people working but the responsibilities/areas are not what the community feels are required. Of the three resource people, one is more than enough for the outreach, outreach handbook, WikiPatrika & communication roles required. The other two and Hisham should be addressing things that are not being addressed. These activities could be done by Subhasish.

I've explained Nitika's work above and she will also play an important role in future education work.  Noopur has been on the job for a month and her role will become clearer as she settles in and starts getting some communications-focused initiatives going.  Subhashish's role is by definition less simple to express. He is there to support the team and handle administrative elements. He is playing a valuable support role to Nitika and Shiju. He also frees Hisham from some of the burden of administration.

* IEP - Gives the impression of prematurely being abandoned by the India Program, the IEP version 2 is terribly behind schedule. It gives the impression that Hisham and his team are once bitten, twice shy. The ghost of IEP can only be laid by struggling through to a successful model, not by trying to do other activities to make up the lack of success. At least, one person should be deployed full time on this -  Nitika. We need IEP, Hisham & Nitika to make a good success of IEP 2. In no other way, can we retrieve our reputation. I say, our. because the Indian community feels let down, unhappy and involved in this program, it is nt a matter of the IEP & the CAs/Students only.

So, we are taking this slowly on purpose. It is not because of shyness on Hisham and Nitika's part. They are ready to go for it again and are excited to lay the ghosts to rest as you say.  We did wait a bit to let everyone have some time to reflect on the pilot lessons (including us). We want to get the conversation going again, soon, though there is nothing stopping you from starting it yourself if you like. I will say I'm really encouraged by part of your remark, as we haven't really heard anyone say that the Indian community is committed to trying again to make this kind of program work in the Indian context. We too, particularly Hisham and Nitika, remain committed to education work in India.  We are also looking forward to incorporating the lessons we are garnering in our work in Brazil and Egypt at the moment into future designs. We'll be getting back on the elephant, for sure.

* Liaison with government, academia, industry, Institutes of learning, NGOs, etc. The aim is to familiarise, educate and create opportunities which are beyond the reach of the common wikipedian. Sadly, this is not being pursued with any sincerity, much less any purpose. Some of the community members feel, it is not happening at all. The nation's top movers & shakers need to be engaged by Hisham, not the newbies & Indic editors. This should be Hisham's primary agenda - vision, leadership & engagement at the highest levels.

You are incorrect, actually, so you might reflect on use of terms like "sincerity", since this speaks to motivations that you don't really have insights into. Hisham has been engaged with institutions and is developing a valuable network, though not as much as he would like as these efforts take serious time. Hisham would love to have even more time to do this.

Do note that as the leader of a team of people he does a lot to help them be effective - this is a core role in team leadership - and is a valuable use of time, even if it isn't always visible.  He also has had to carry significant administrative duties that we are working to get off his shoulders.  Finally, he spends an inordinate among of time on "India politics" (the other IP) - fighting off accusations of malintent, attacks on himself and his team members, and arguments that go nowhere about who is the "boss of X".  The guy is working is butt off...often seven days a week and is available at odd hours to engage with colleagues in the US and with community members around the country.  It is worth stepping back and reflecting before offering personal critiques of Hisham and the IP team. One might ask oneself: "do I understand the full context of the situation that this person is dealing with?" There is some great research on "attribution bias" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attributional_bias) that is worth keeping in mind when you think you have things all figured out and are comfortable ascribing motives to people or commenting on what you think they are doing.

* GLAM & preservation of Indian Culture. This requires a full-time commitment. Part-time responsibility, and one-off projects simply wont do. Noopur is well-suited for this and it should be one of her major commitments. WikiPatrika & some other smaller commitments may be part of her responsibilities.

In the absence of concrete action on things that really need doing, and the far too large emphasis on community building by India programs, which is frankly in my opinion, none of their business, Barry, I feel skeptical about the cost to value derived by this multi-hundred thousand dollar India Program program.

People in the general community may disagree with me on individual issues, but the general unhappiness of most concerned editors on Indian community are based on these lines.

I respect your concerns, but I would prefer that you speak for yourself rather than invoking "most concerned editors".  Let's not pretend that we have any special authority to speak for the community.

My view of the IP is that it will not be built in a day. We committed to a multi-year investment because it will take time to build and we would need to do a range of pilots (some successful, some not), learn from them and then build programs that work.  If this work was easy, it would have been done already. I'd like nothing more than to have "figured it all out" in India, so that we could move on to other challenges, but that isn't what we signed up for. This is a long, hard road with elusive rewards and a lot of difficult work along the way (including building community support), but the rewards are pretty huge if we can find solutions that help build our projects in India and expand access and contribution to the sum of all knowledge. 


You would do well to consider from a Project Management perspective, what are the goals of the complete year for the India Program, where we want to be and the exact activities & events needed for this. As of now, Hisham/India Programs seems to be functioning month-to-month, in a reactive mode.

You might refer to the India Program plans on Meta (http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Program), which have been there for people to contribute to for about a year and is evolving as we learn. The team is working to this plan and is adjusting as needed based on learning from their engagement on the issues and discussions with people in the community. If you have better ideas or think that their plans can be improved, then click edit. I'm actually serious about this.  There has been a ton of keys clicked in the mailing lists criticizing, but not many on contributing to the plans  and helping improve them. They are on a public wiki for a reason.


On my side, I have only a desire to see the community, chapter and India Program all succeed and prosper. And my support for this wish of mine is assured to all concerned.

I don't doubt your sincerity. You make a lot of valuable contributions including this note. I would say that we all would benefit if you (and others) would ascribe the same sincerity to the IP team, recognize that what they (and all of us) are engaged in isn't exactly straight-forward and their goals are the same as yours.

Warm regards,

Ashwin Baindur

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Re: Wikipedia to be free on mobiles in Africa, Middle East (SciDev.net)

Barry Newstead
Thanks Ashwin for this additional response.  A couple of quick notes to close this one out.
Best,
Barry

On Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 12:37 PM, Ashwin Baindur <[hidden email]> wrote:
Dear Barry, 

thank you for taking the trouble to provide a comprehensive and timely response to my critique. 

There is no doubt that India Programs is putting in hard work, and there are definitely good results as you pointed out and I agree with. All your points are well taken, though I am not in agreement with all of them.  The direction that work should go in is a moot point of disagreement between us which could be debated further but that is not what I would like to argue about. It was basically to present a point-of-view as to how I, as an editor, see and judge things. In a sense, it is feedback.

Taken as feedback.

Your point about the efficacy of outreach is well taken. Pune community has indeed grown somewhat from outreach, but this has primarily been in the Marathi Wikipedia side. We have had few English editors as a result of outreach but barely enough to keep us going and definitely not enough to feel happy about. Personal experience has shown me that outreach itself is more a tool of education of the community and less that of recruitment.  But it is also a little unfair to compare the efforts of we few community members doing outreach all in our precious spare time and under far greater constraints than India Program.

The outreach handbook is definitely a positive step in the right direction but I am not quite happy about the way the outreach survey is being done. Ostensibly to measure the efficacy of the community-led outreach, no discussion of the outreach survey was done prior to it. No instructions have been given to us to follow during outreach which will provide the intellectual rigour of such an exercise. Since we have not been asked for only user names of outreach attendees but no other data, the factors affecting outreach cannot be judged.  Since the methodology of carrying out outreach for this survey, has not been communicated to us, the deductions  may be faulty and the data samples we provide will be skewed. The size of the sample may also be statistically inadequate. Survey is a serious business and involves all stakeholders and a proper plan is needed and executed if we are to get unbiased results.

I'll ask that Mani and Nitika gets some documentation up on the approach to evaluation as well as the tool over the next couple of weeks. It is still very much a first step and there is plenty of opportunity for refinement and hope you and others will add to it.

You mention that Hisham is doing the kind of engagement of higher bodies & decision-makers that I have been wishing for. Perhaps this aspect has not been communicated well. We do understand that some ongoing interactions may be only referred to briefly as a matter of discretion. but definitely, the community would like to know more on these issues, and we would appreciate more information on this.   
I'm sure the info will be forthcoming as these conversations develop.

As regards representing the voice of the community, I did not mean to imply that the community had empowered me explicitly or implicitly to represent them. That was my personal understanding of what the community feels. You are free to judge and form your own opinion based on your experience, knowledge of things and inputs from me and all other sources.  In the final analysis, my views are there as feedback for you to take cognisance of or not. Hopefully, they may lead to better decisions on your side, whatever those decisions may be.

Indeed, I (we) take the feedback into account and are looking for more feedback not less.  I will say that there are some techniques to giving feedback that are more effective than others.  Generally, focusing on specifics rather than generalities helps; avoid assumptions about motivation or state of mind, since you can't really know someone's intentions; where possible, suggest solutions; and finally to slightly reposition the point of the old song from Mary Poppins[1]: "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down"...it is nice to  give appreciation/praise in good balance with criticism. That helps people hear you and avoid feeling attacked.

As mentioned previously, I remain a well-wisher of all Wikipedia activity, including India Program, though it may/may not be evident from my discussions above.

IMO it is evident, even if it might not be elegantly put all the time. ;)

Warm regards, 

Ashwin Baindur

Best,
Barry
------------------------------


On Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 11:37 PM, Barry Newstead <[hidden email]> wrote:
Dear Ashwin,

Thanks for your message. I have to say that specific comments are much more useful than vague generalisations, because these are actionable for us and we can correct misperceptions (of which there are some significant ones below).  I'd like to respond to your points below. Please don't read my responses too personally, as I'm more focused on the themes in your comments that are persistent rather than responding personally.

Thanks for the constructive comments and questions.

Best,
Barry

On Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 7:35 AM, Ashwin Baindur <[hidden email]> wrote:
Thank you for your responding to me, Barry.  I would like to point out a few issues, if I may, to set the context to my stated wish about what India Programs should be doing.

A significant proportion of the events listed in your reference were community events and if we consider only those conducted by the India Program team we would see a smaller list which is not so impressive.

Who really cares, seriously! The purpose of any list is to share information openly and encourage community members to participate. It is not a credit taking exercise.
 
Some of these events had minimal help from India Programs. For example in the GNUNIFY Wikipedia event conducted in February by the Pune community, Nitika's presentation was used and that was all. (Since I had myself added the entry to this page thinking it to be a collation of India outreach events, I am not protesting its inclusion). There are other such events where the involvement was low and these need to be excluded, keeping only those conducted primarily by India Program personnel. 

I see your point about value being added by these activities. Any outreach is useful. However, India Program resources are scarce and valuable ( both in the point of view of your multi-100,000$ budgets and limited capacity of the very small team). In this context, it is the mix of activities carried out and the proportion of its components that worry me and the community.

If you look more deeply, you'll see the IP team is doing work that helps move us forward. They aren't simply replicating what the community can do (note:  I will still take issue with the point that there is some invisible community being held back from doing copious amounts of outreach or other work because the IP team is crowding out their activity).  I think the value that the IP team can and is bringing is more about the overall support of outreach and the improvement of outreach work to increase impact. The sad fact about a lot of outreach work is that it doesn't produce that much community growth in its current form. Ask yourself honestly, Ashwin, how much has your Pune community grown as a result of your excellent and dedicated efforts to conducting outreach?  What Nitika (yes, I think it should be clear to all that she is working hard on this) is doing is really investigating the efficacy of outreach and trying to identify things that will improve the results for the tireless work that you and other community members are doing.  The link that I pointed to has a handbook for outreach that is evolving and would benefit from a collaborative, wiki-style partnership to share learning in which Nitika  can be the facilitator and doer of the heavy work.  In addition, Nitika and Subhashish in partnership with the Global Development research team is piloting a tool that will help with follow-up after events with attendees to encourage actual editing. The tool also allows us to measure whether attendees ever actually edit.  This is a small pilot that they are investing a lot of time in and has the potential to dramatically improve outreach (or tell us conclusively that it is not an effective way to build community, which I hope isn't true).  IMO this is the kind of work that adds real value to the community and will help us achieve our shared mission in India.


The presence of a small outreach activity is definitely justifiable as keeping a pulse on the overall community and in touch with reality. IMO the conduct of two events a month by India Program staff is more than adequate - it still means 24 events a year, a very sizeable contribution. Hence, events should be carefully chosen for maximum impact deriveable and maximum diversity of experiences. It should be driven by only one staff member, assisted by volunteers, and Hisham should appear there to enthuse the participants, as per the time he can spare from his main agenda, not get involved in the training himself. (More on this later).

Thanks for the advice. I think that is already largely the case. Nitika is the main resource focused on outreach with some support from Subhashish.  Hisham involves himself as the manager of the work and has been instrumental in guiding us toward a more analytical and learning-oriented approach that we hope will be fruitful.

Comments on Roles

* From what I have seen, the community will concur with me that adding Shiju to India Program staff is definitely the right way to go. Shiju has identified the "state of the nation" very well. He needs to keep working on this field without being distracted by other things. But now the need is to build the Indic language infrastructure - community building beyond a certain point is the business of the community itself, not India Programs. India Programs needs to tackle programs/seed projects/tasks which cannot be easily done by the Indic community and which will lead to empowerment/growth/development of the entire Indic movement.

Thanks. He is indeed focused here and is doing excellent work.  It is useful to note that he partners very closely with Hisham, who provides a lot of silent support and guidance and gets useful input from the rest of the team (and he contributes to the work of the team as well).  We believe (and most organizational effectiveness research supports) that teaming is an effective approach to  getting things done. It isn't about putting people in silos and leaving them there to figure it out.

* There is considerable confusion of roles of Noopur, Nikita & Subhashish. The roles are nebulous and the explanations/justification for their activities not convincing. Noopur had, to my mind, potential to be a great GLAM resource. Yet she is doing suboptimal activities. So we have three people working but the responsibilities/areas are not what the community feels are required. Of the three resource people, one is more than enough for the outreach, outreach handbook, WikiPatrika & communication roles required. The other two and Hisham should be addressing things that are not being addressed. These activities could be done by Subhasish.

I've explained Nitika's work above and she will also play an important role in future education work.  Noopur has been on the job for a month and her role will become clearer as she settles in and starts getting some communications-focused initiatives going.  Subhashish's role is by definition less simple to express. He is there to support the team and handle administrative elements. He is playing a valuable support role to Nitika and Shiju. He also frees Hisham from some of the burden of administration.

* IEP - Gives the impression of prematurely being abandoned by the India Program, the IEP version 2 is terribly behind schedule. It gives the impression that Hisham and his team are once bitten, twice shy. The ghost of IEP can only be laid by struggling through to a successful model, not by trying to do other activities to make up the lack of success. At least, one person should be deployed full time on this -  Nitika. We need IEP, Hisham & Nitika to make a good success of IEP 2. In no other way, can we retrieve our reputation. I say, our. because the Indian community feels let down, unhappy and involved in this program, it is nt a matter of the IEP & the CAs/Students only.

So, we are taking this slowly on purpose. It is not because of shyness on Hisham and Nitika's part. They are ready to go for it again and are excited to lay the ghosts to rest as you say.  We did wait a bit to let everyone have some time to reflect on the pilot lessons (including us). We want to get the conversation going again, soon, though there is nothing stopping you from starting it yourself if you like. I will say I'm really encouraged by part of your remark, as we haven't really heard anyone say that the Indian community is committed to trying again to make this kind of program work in the Indian context. We too, particularly Hisham and Nitika, remain committed to education work in India.  We are also looking forward to incorporating the lessons we are garnering in our work in Brazil and Egypt at the moment into future designs. We'll be getting back on the elephant, for sure.

* Liaison with government, academia, industry, Institutes of learning, NGOs, etc. The aim is to familiarise, educate and create opportunities which are beyond the reach of the common wikipedian. Sadly, this is not being pursued with any sincerity, much less any purpose. Some of the community members feel, it is not happening at all. The nation's top movers & shakers need to be engaged by Hisham, not the newbies & Indic editors. This should be Hisham's primary agenda - vision, leadership & engagement at the highest levels.

You are incorrect, actually, so you might reflect on use of terms like "sincerity", since this speaks to motivations that you don't really have insights into. Hisham has been engaged with institutions and is developing a valuable network, though not as much as he would like as these efforts take serious time. Hisham would love to have even more time to do this.

Do note that as the leader of a team of people he does a lot to help them be effective - this is a core role in team leadership - and is a valuable use of time, even if it isn't always visible.  He also has had to carry significant administrative duties that we are working to get off his shoulders.  Finally, he spends an inordinate among of time on "India politics" (the other IP) - fighting off accusations of malintent, attacks on himself and his team members, and arguments that go nowhere about who is the "boss of X".  The guy is working is butt off...often seven days a week and is available at odd hours to engage with colleagues in the US and with community members around the country.  It is worth stepping back and reflecting before offering personal critiques of Hisham and the IP team. One might ask oneself: "do I understand the full context of the situation that this person is dealing with?" There is some great research on "attribution bias" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attributional_bias) that is worth keeping in mind when you think you have things all figured out and are comfortable ascribing motives to people or commenting on what you think they are doing.

* GLAM & preservation of Indian Culture. This requires a full-time commitment. Part-time responsibility, and one-off projects simply wont do. Noopur is well-suited for this and it should be one of her major commitments. WikiPatrika & some other smaller commitments may be part of her responsibilities.

In the absence of concrete action on things that really need doing, and the far too large emphasis on community building by India programs, which is frankly in my opinion, none of their business, Barry, I feel skeptical about the cost to value derived by this multi-hundred thousand dollar India Program program.

People in the general community may disagree with me on individual issues, but the general unhappiness of most concerned editors on Indian community are based on these lines.

I respect your concerns, but I would prefer that you speak for yourself rather than invoking "most concerned editors".  Let's not pretend that we have any special authority to speak for the community.

My view of the IP is that it will not be built in a day. We committed to a multi-year investment because it will take time to build and we would need to do a range of pilots (some successful, some not), learn from them and then build programs that work.  If this work was easy, it would have been done already. I'd like nothing more than to have "figured it all out" in India, so that we could move on to other challenges, but that isn't what we signed up for. This is a long, hard road with elusive rewards and a lot of difficult work along the way (including building community support), but the rewards are pretty huge if we can find solutions that help build our projects in India and expand access and contribution to the sum of all knowledge. 


You would do well to consider from a Project Management perspective, what are the goals of the complete year for the India Program, where we want to be and the exact activities & events needed for this. As of now, Hisham/India Programs seems to be functioning month-to-month, in a reactive mode.

You might refer to the India Program plans on Meta (http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Program), which have been there for people to contribute to for about a year and is evolving as we learn. The team is working to this plan and is adjusting as needed based on learning from their engagement on the issues and discussions with people in the community. If you have better ideas or think that their plans can be improved, then click edit. I'm actually serious about this.  There has been a ton of keys clicked in the mailing lists criticizing, but not many on contributing to the plans  and helping improve them. They are on a public wiki for a reason.


On my side, I have only a desire to see the community, chapter and India Program all succeed and prosper. And my support for this wish of mine is assured to all concerned.

I don't doubt your sincerity. You make a lot of valuable contributions including this note. I would say that we all would benefit if you (and others) would ascribe the same sincerity to the IP team, recognize that what they (and all of us) are engaged in isn't exactly straight-forward and their goals are the same as yours.

Warm regards,

Ashwin Baindur

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Re: Wikipedia to be free on mobiles in Africa, Middle East (SciDev.net)

theo10011
In reply to this post by Barry Newstead
Hi Barry

I have to say I'm a bit surprised reading this mail from you. I really don't care about what the issue is, and what side you or anyone is, but this is not the way to address and answer feedback and queries that I've heard from others a hundred times. This is not the kind of professional tone I expected from you, some of your inline responses are uncharacteristic of you. You conflicted yourself questioning Ashwin's definition of "sincerity", and then ending the email with "I don't doubt your sincerity..", It seems you do. You question Ashwin's insight and motivation. I haven't read a single thing in Ashwin's email that I already didn't hear from others over the years, even before you were hired, on what the IP should focus on, what should it do, etc.. Those are still common points, and general feedback. I fail to see what provoked this kind of response.

I don't know about Ashwin but I would have expected an apology after that. I took umbrage with a couple of things you said, and how you said them. My responses inline are in reaction to yours.

On Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 11:37 PM, Barry Newstead <[hidden email]> wrote:
Who really cares, seriously! The purpose of any list is to share information openly and encourage community members to participate. It is not a credit taking exercise.

Err...You should? Someone from IP attended Wikimania and the chapters meeting last year, why not add those to the list, or the ones from 2004. Global south has been the rallying cry for WMF fundraising for a few years, is this how that focus is going to get translated into? by blurring the lines between where the money is actually going. I'm not sure about your community organizing experience, but these events take a bit of effort to organize and put on, to just have them claimed by someone else, is not in the good spirit of things either.
 

If you look more deeply, you'll see the IP team is doing work that helps move us forward. They aren't simply replicating what the community can do (note:  I will still take issue with the point that there is some invisible community being held back from doing copious amounts of outreach or other work because the IP team is crowding out their activity).  I think the value that the IP team can and is bringing is more about the overall support of outreach and the improvement of outreach work to increase impact. The sad fact about a lot of outreach work is that it doesn't produce that much community growth in its current form. Ask yourself honestly, Ashwin, how much has your Pune community grown as a result of your excellent and dedicated efforts to conducting outreach?  What Nitika (yes, I think it should be clear to all that she is working hard on this) is doing is really investigating the efficacy of outreach and trying to identify things that will improve the results for the tireless work that you and other community members are doing.  The link that I pointed to has a handbook for outreach that is evolving and would benefit from a collaborative, wiki-style partnership to share learning in which Nitika  can be the facilitator and doer of the heavy work.  In addition, Nitika and Subhashish in partnership with the Global Development research team is piloting a tool that will help with follow-up after events with attendees to encourage actual editing. The tool also allows us to measure whether attendees ever actually edit.  This is a small pilot that they are investing a lot of time in and has the potential to dramatically improve outreach (or tell us conclusively that it is not an effective way to build community, which I hope isn't true).  IMO this is the kind of work that adds real value to the community and will help us achieve our shared mission in India.

See, there is a difference, it is not Ashwin's *job*. By your own admission the spending within India has not been able to achieve any growth.  Ashwin is a community member, who got even a laggard like me to edit an India related article for his collaboration. WMF didn't raise money in the name of Global south, to have it fall on Ashwin to be responsible for the growth - That's just you.


Thanks for the advice. I think that is already largely the case. Nitika is the main resource focused on outreach with some support from Subhashish.  Hisham involves himself as the manager of the work and has been instrumental in guiding us toward a more analytical and learning-oriented approach that we hope will be fruitful.

Thanks. He is indeed focused here and is doing excellent work.  It is useful to note that he partners very closely with Hisham, who provides a lot of silent support and guidance and gets useful input from the rest of the team (and he contributes to the work of the team as well).  We believe (and most organizational effectiveness research supports) that teaming is an effective approach to  getting things done. It isn't about putting people in silos and leaving them there to figure it out.

I've explained Nitika's work above and she will also play an important role in future education work.  Noopur has been on the job for a month and her role will become clearer as she settles in and starts getting some communications-focused initiatives going.  Subhashish's role is by definition less simple to express. He is there to support the team and handle administrative elements. He is playing a valuable support role to Nitika and Shiju. He also frees Hisham from some of the burden of administration.

So, we are taking this slowly on purpose. It is not because of shyness on Hisham and Nitika's part. They are ready to go for it again and are excited to lay the ghosts to rest as you say.  We did wait a bit to let everyone have some time to reflect on the pilot lessons (including us). We want to get the conversation going again, soon, though there is nothing stopping you from starting it yourself if you like. I will say I'm really encouraged by part of your remark, as we haven't really heard anyone say that the Indian community is committed to trying again to make this kind of program work in the Indian context. We too, particularly Hisham and Nitika, remain committed to education work in India.  We are also looking forward to incorporating the lessons we are garnering in our work in Brazil and Egypt at the moment into future designs. We'll be getting back on the elephant, for sure.

Oh we are ready for the IEP. I'm not sure what the community needs to learn from the failures. It's great you can still blame the Indian community for not showing its commitment to make your program a success. I and others pointed out several times in Tory's report, that this is the perspective that is one of the problems - Not admitting mistakes, not taking responsibility and working together on correcting them. Do you still want to blame the Indian community for IEP failure.

We'll keep an eye out for the elephant when you finally get on it, until then he's going to be in the room.
 

You are incorrect, actually, so you might reflect on use of terms like "sincerity", since this speaks to motivations that you don't really have insights into. Hisham has been engaged with institutions and is developing a valuable network, though not as much as he would like as these efforts take serious time. Hisham would love to have even more time to do this.

I took umbrage with this part. Is this how you address a senior editor? Questioning his motivation and insight? I don't see a single thing in his comment that I haven't already heard from others about partnerships and cultural outreach. You are free to defend Hisham as much as you like, but not at the cost of denigrating a community member, not like this. What insights and motivations does anyone have, in the end.
 

Do note that as the leader of a team of people he does a lot to help them be effective - this is a core role in team leadership - and is a valuable use of time, even if it isn't always visible.  He also has had to carry significant administrative duties that we are working to get off his shoulders.  Finally, he spends an inordinate among of time on "India politics" (the other IP) - fighting off accusations of malintent, attacks on himself and his team members, and arguments that go nowhere about who is the "boss of X".  The guy is working is butt off...often seven days a week and is available at odd hours to engage with colleagues in the US and with community members around the country.  It is worth stepping back and reflecting before offering personal critiques of Hisham and the IP team. One might ask oneself: "do I understand the full context of the situation that this person is dealing with?" There is some great research on "attribution bias" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attributional_bias) that is worth keeping in mind when you think you have things all figured out and are comfortable ascribing motives to people or commenting on what you think they are doing.

I respect your concerns, but I would prefer that you speak for yourself rather than invoking "most concerned editors".  Let's not pretend that we have any special authority to speak for the community.

Why? Is "the movement" a whipping stick only for the staff. Don't believe there is any authority when you use terms like these either. When a simple long-term editor uses these terms they should carry more weight. If you have any doubts, please consider me as one of the concerned editor, and feel free to question my authority and motivation.
 

My view of the IP is that it will not be built in a day. We committed to a multi-year investment because it will take time to build and we would need to do a range of pilots (some successful, some not), learn from them and then build programs that work.  If this work was easy, it would have been done already. I'd like nothing more than to have "figured it all out" in India, so that we could move on to other challenges, but that isn't what we signed up for. This is a long, hard road with elusive rewards and a lot of difficult work along the way (including building community support), but the rewards are pretty huge if we can find solutions that help build our projects in India and expand access and contribution to the sum of all knowledge. 

You might refer to the India Program plans on Meta (http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Program), which have been there for people to contribute to for about a year and is evolving as we learn. The team is working to this plan and is adjusting as needed based on learning from their engagement on the issues and discussions with people in the community. If you have better ideas or think that their plans can be improved, then click edit. I'm actually serious about this.  There has been a ton of keys clicked in the mailing lists criticizing, but not many on contributing to the plans  and helping improve them. They are on a public wiki for a reason.

I don't doubt your sincerity. You make a lot of valuable contributions including this note. I would say that we all would benefit if you (and others) would ascribe the same sincerity to the IP team, recognize that what they (and all of us) are engaged in isn't exactly straight-forward and their goals are the same as yours.

That is all I have to say on the matter. I was disappointed by the tone you employed in the response above, my inline responses were in reaction to what you had to say.

Regards
Theo

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Re: Wikipedia to be free on mobiles in Africa, Middle East (SciDev.net)

Barry Newstead
Hi Theo,

Look, this is a two-way street. Ashwin made rather robust assertions along side his feedback and I think I am entitled to both clarify points and call out assertions that are unfair or unfounded IMO. The fact that I did that, shouldn't be interpreted as disrespect for a senior editor or ignoring the valid feedback in the post.  It is quite possible to both respond, call out assertions AND still hear feedback. 

As I said at the beginning of the post to Ashwin, "Please don't read my responses too personally, as I'm more focused on the themes in your comments that are persistent rather than responding personally." [1] I was seeking to illustrate these themes.

In recent months, many a post on this mailing list have had some or all of the following themes (as I read them):
a) assert either deep knowledge of the work that the IP team (or other groups) is doing, make demands of the team based on this incomplete knowledge and/or in a tone that asserts that the writer is somehow "an authority" and the team should jump at their command;
b) make assumptions about people's motivations on the basis of rumour or pretty limited personal knowledge of that person
c) seek to speak for community rather than for themselves when sharing opinions (I believe the norm in our movement is to speak for yourself, unless you are acting as an official spokesperson for a group)
d) a general focus on criticism without the "constructive" element of building bridges/relationships as well as contribution to generating solutions and balancing negative feedback with positive

My post sought to highlight these issues as all four came through in the post and make a few suggestions on how one might engage more constructively IMO.

General thought:I belive it is time that the focus return toward more constructive engagement about the program work and challenges that we face in India and the work that many of us want to accomplish together.  This can and should include engagement and feedback on the work that the IP team is doing. In this vain, I've created two new pages on Meta within the India Program area to provide a space for suggestions[2] and for appreciations/feedback[3].  This will hopeful provide a new outlet for sharing of information on a wiki, where the environment is designed for constructing work products rather than the ping-pong style of a mailing list, which IMO encourage personal squabbles that more often end in ill will than in a good exchange of ideas that help people learn and advance our shared agenda.

[1] For the record, despite your assertion Theo, I do not doubt Ashwin's sincerity. He asked if I doubted and I confirmed that I did not doubt it. I felt it was useful to say that rather than ignore him and leave it ambiguous.
[2] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Program/Suggestions
[3] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Programs/Appreciations_and_Feedback

Best,
Barry



On Fri, Apr 13, 2012 at 3:10 AM, Theo10011 <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Barry

I have to say I'm a bit surprised reading this mail from you. I really don't care about what the issue is, and what side you or anyone is, but this is not the way to address and answer feedback and queries that I've heard from others a hundred times. This is not the kind of professional tone I expected from you, some of your inline responses are uncharacteristic of you. You conflicted yourself questioning Ashwin's definition of "sincerity", and then ending the email with "I don't doubt your sincerity..", It seems you do. You question Ashwin's insight and motivation. I haven't read a single thing in Ashwin's email that I already didn't hear from others over the years, even before you were hired, on what the IP should focus on, what should it do, etc.. Those are still common points, and general feedback. I fail to see what provoked this kind of response.

I don't know about Ashwin but I would have expected an apology after that. I took umbrage with a couple of things you said, and how you said them. My responses inline are in reaction to yours.

On Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 11:37 PM, Barry Newstead <[hidden email]> wrote:
Who really cares, seriously! The purpose of any list is to share information openly and encourage community members to participate. It is not a credit taking exercise.

Err...You should? Someone from IP attended Wikimania and the chapters meeting last year, why not add those to the list, or the ones from 2004. Global south has been the rallying cry for WMF fundraising for a few years, is this how that focus is going to get translated into? by blurring the lines between where the money is actually going. I'm not sure about your community organizing experience, but these events take a bit of effort to organize and put on, to just have them claimed by someone else, is not in the good spirit of things either.
 

If you look more deeply, you'll see the IP team is doing work that helps move us forward. They aren't simply replicating what the community can do (note:  I will still take issue with the point that there is some invisible community being held back from doing copious amounts of outreach or other work because the IP team is crowding out their activity).  I think the value that the IP team can and is bringing is more about the overall support of outreach and the improvement of outreach work to increase impact. The sad fact about a lot of outreach work is that it doesn't produce that much community growth in its current form. Ask yourself honestly, Ashwin, how much has your Pune community grown as a result of your excellent and dedicated efforts to conducting outreach?  What Nitika (yes, I think it should be clear to all that she is working hard on this) is doing is really investigating the efficacy of outreach and trying to identify things that will improve the results for the tireless work that you and other community members are doing.  The link that I pointed to has a handbook for outreach that is evolving and would benefit from a collaborative, wiki-style partnership to share learning in which Nitika  can be the facilitator and doer of the heavy work.  In addition, Nitika and Subhashish in partnership with the Global Development research team is piloting a tool that will help with follow-up after events with attendees to encourage actual editing. The tool also allows us to measure whether attendees ever actually edit.  This is a small pilot that they are investing a lot of time in and has the potential to dramatically improve outreach (or tell us conclusively that it is not an effective way to build community, which I hope isn't true).  IMO this is the kind of work that adds real value to the community and will help us achieve our shared mission in India.

See, there is a difference, it is not Ashwin's *job*. By your own admission the spending within India has not been able to achieve any growth.  Ashwin is a community member, who got even a laggard like me to edit an India related article for his collaboration. WMF didn't raise money in the name of Global south, to have it fall on Ashwin to be responsible for the growth - That's just you.


Thanks for the advice. I think that is already largely the case. Nitika is the main resource focused on outreach with some support from Subhashish.  Hisham involves himself as the manager of the work and has been instrumental in guiding us toward a more analytical and learning-oriented approach that we hope will be fruitful.

Thanks. He is indeed focused here and is doing excellent work.  It is useful to note that he partners very closely with Hisham, who provides a lot of silent support and guidance and gets useful input from the rest of the team (and he contributes to the work of the team as well).  We believe (and most organizational effectiveness research supports) that teaming is an effective approach to  getting things done. It isn't about putting people in silos and leaving them there to figure it out.

I've explained Nitika's work above and she will also play an important role in future education work.  Noopur has been on the job for a month and her role will become clearer as she settles in and starts getting some communications-focused initiatives going.  Subhashish's role is by definition less simple to express. He is there to support the team and handle administrative elements. He is playing a valuable support role to Nitika and Shiju. He also frees Hisham from some of the burden of administration.

So, we are taking this slowly on purpose. It is not because of shyness on Hisham and Nitika's part. They are ready to go for it again and are excited to lay the ghosts to rest as you say.  We did wait a bit to let everyone have some time to reflect on the pilot lessons (including us). We want to get the conversation going again, soon, though there is nothing stopping you from starting it yourself if you like. I will say I'm really encouraged by part of your remark, as we haven't really heard anyone say that the Indian community is committed to trying again to make this kind of program work in the Indian context. We too, particularly Hisham and Nitika, remain committed to education work in India.  We are also looking forward to incorporating the lessons we are garnering in our work in Brazil and Egypt at the moment into future designs. We'll be getting back on the elephant, for sure.

Oh we are ready for the IEP. I'm not sure what the community needs to learn from the failures. It's great you can still blame the Indian community for not showing its commitment to make your program a success. I and others pointed out several times in Tory's report, that this is the perspective that is one of the problems - Not admitting mistakes, not taking responsibility and working together on correcting them. Do you still want to blame the Indian community for IEP failure.

We'll keep an eye out for the elephant when you finally get on it, until then he's going to be in the room.
 

You are incorrect, actually, so you might reflect on use of terms like "sincerity", since this speaks to motivations that you don't really have insights into. Hisham has been engaged with institutions and is developing a valuable network, though not as much as he would like as these efforts take serious time. Hisham would love to have even more time to do this.

I took umbrage with this part. Is this how you address a senior editor? Questioning his motivation and insight? I don't see a single thing in his comment that I haven't already heard from others about partnerships and cultural outreach. You are free to defend Hisham as much as you like, but not at the cost of denigrating a community member, not like this. What insights and motivations does anyone have, in the end.
 

Do note that as the leader of a team of people he does a lot to help them be effective - this is a core role in team leadership - and is a valuable use of time, even if it isn't always visible.  He also has had to carry significant administrative duties that we are working to get off his shoulders.  Finally, he spends an inordinate among of time on "India politics" (the other IP) - fighting off accusations of malintent, attacks on himself and his team members, and arguments that go nowhere about who is the "boss of X".  The guy is working is butt off...often seven days a week and is available at odd hours to engage with colleagues in the US and with community members around the country.  It is worth stepping back and reflecting before offering personal critiques of Hisham and the IP team. One might ask oneself: "do I understand the full context of the situation that this person is dealing with?" There is some great research on "attribution bias" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attributional_bias) that is worth keeping in mind when you think you have things all figured out and are comfortable ascribing motives to people or commenting on what you think they are doing.

I respect your concerns, but I would prefer that you speak for yourself rather than invoking "most concerned editors".  Let's not pretend that we have any special authority to speak for the community.

Why? Is "the movement" a whipping stick only for the staff. Don't believe there is any authority when you use terms like these either. When a simple long-term editor uses these terms they should carry more weight. If you have any doubts, please consider me as one of the concerned editor, and feel free to question my authority and motivation.
 

My view of the IP is that it will not be built in a day. We committed to a multi-year investment because it will take time to build and we would need to do a range of pilots (some successful, some not), learn from them and then build programs that work.  If this work was easy, it would have been done already. I'd like nothing more than to have "figured it all out" in India, so that we could move on to other challenges, but that isn't what we signed up for. This is a long, hard road with elusive rewards and a lot of difficult work along the way (including building community support), but the rewards are pretty huge if we can find solutions that help build our projects in India and expand access and contribution to the sum of all knowledge. 

You might refer to the India Program plans on Meta (http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Program), which have been there for people to contribute to for about a year and is evolving as we learn. The team is working to this plan and is adjusting as needed based on learning from their engagement on the issues and discussions with people in the community. If you have better ideas or think that their plans can be improved, then click edit. I'm actually serious about this.  There has been a ton of keys clicked in the mailing lists criticizing, but not many on contributing to the plans  and helping improve them. They are on a public wiki for a reason.

I don't doubt your sincerity. You make a lot of valuable contributions including this note. I would say that we all would benefit if you (and others) would ascribe the same sincerity to the IP team, recognize that what they (and all of us) are engaged in isn't exactly straight-forward and their goals are the same as yours.

That is all I have to say on the matter. I was disappointed by the tone you employed in the response above, my inline responses were in reaction to what you had to say.

Regards
Theo

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Re: Wikipedia to be free on mobiles in Africa, Middle East (SciDev.net)

theo10011
Hi Barry

Thanks for the response. A couple of things, while I do agree on some of your observations about the trends on this list, I would like to point out I have rarely seen Ashwin partake in those discussions, either on the list or on IRC. To highlight general trends on a list, and use him to point out the said trends as if he is responsible for propagating them, felt a bit unfair. Merely prefacing the critique with, "don't take it personally...." didn't resonate the real intention you might have had. You can have another look at this thread in a week, and tell me if I am wrong or being too sensitive here.

I haven't been following the lists closely for the past couple of weeks, or what is going on, so I might be a bit out of touch on what happened recently. My earlier point was his feedback and assertions weren't that out-of-line or uncommon, to be only evident of his own view. I am not sure they all originated from him, or from the perspective he had formed over the last year. Either way, he is still entitled to voice them, and not be considered representative of any large trends. You are of course, more than free to call them out, and correct them, but the way it was handled seemed a bit out-of-character.

Anyway, this is the kind of reasoned response I would have expected earlier. Not the one, that had "Who really cares, seriously!..." and  
"you might reflect on use of terms like "sincerity"" and "I would prefer that you speak for yourself rather than invoking "most concerned editors".  Let's not pretend that we have any special authority to speak for the community." - As I said they seemed uncharacteristic of what I've come to expect from you. I was surprised to read those comments originating from you, they reminded me of someone else, on another list a couple of months ago. ;)

Regards
Theo

On Fri, Apr 13, 2012 at 11:59 PM, Barry Newstead <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Theo,

Look, this is a two-way street. Ashwin made rather robust assertions along side his feedback and I think I am entitled to both clarify points and call out assertions that are unfair or unfounded IMO. The fact that I did that, shouldn't be interpreted as disrespect for a senior editor or ignoring the valid feedback in the post.  It is quite possible to both respond, call out assertions AND still hear feedback. 

As I said at the beginning of the post to Ashwin, "Please don't read my responses too personally, as I'm more focused on the themes in your comments that are persistent rather than responding personally." [1] I was seeking to illustrate these themes.

In recent months, many a post on this mailing list have had some or all of the following themes (as I read them):
a) assert either deep knowledge of the work that the IP team (or other groups) is doing, make demands of the team based on this incomplete knowledge and/or in a tone that asserts that the writer is somehow "an authority" and the team should jump at their command;
b) make assumptions about people's motivations on the basis of rumour or pretty limited personal knowledge of that person
c) seek to speak for community rather than for themselves when sharing opinions (I believe the norm in our movement is to speak for yourself, unless you are acting as an official spokesperson for a group)
d) a general focus on criticism without the "constructive" element of building bridges/relationships as well as contribution to generating solutions and balancing negative feedback with positive

My post sought to highlight these issues as all four came through in the post and make a few suggestions on how one might engage more constructively IMO.

General thought:I belive it is time that the focus return toward more constructive engagement about the program work and challenges that we face in India and the work that many of us want to accomplish together.  This can and should include engagement and feedback on the work that the IP team is doing. In this vain, I've created two new pages on Meta within the India Program area to provide a space for suggestions[2] and for appreciations/feedback[3].  This will hopeful provide a new outlet for sharing of information on a wiki, where the environment is designed for constructing work products rather than the ping-pong style of a mailing list, which IMO encourage personal squabbles that more often end in ill will than in a good exchange of ideas that help people learn and advance our shared agenda.

[1] For the record, despite your assertion Theo, I do not doubt Ashwin's sincerity. He asked if I doubted and I confirmed that I did not doubt it. I felt it was useful to say that rather than ignore him and leave it ambiguous.
[2] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Program/Suggestions
[3] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Programs/Appreciations_and_Feedback

Best,
Barry



On Fri, Apr 13, 2012 at 3:10 AM, Theo10011 <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Barry

I have to say I'm a bit surprised reading this mail from you. I really don't care about what the issue is, and what side you or anyone is, but this is not the way to address and answer feedback and queries that I've heard from others a hundred times. This is not the kind of professional tone I expected from you, some of your inline responses are uncharacteristic of you. You conflicted yourself questioning Ashwin's definition of "sincerity", and then ending the email with "I don't doubt your sincerity..", It seems you do. You question Ashwin's insight and motivation. I haven't read a single thing in Ashwin's email that I already didn't hear from others over the years, even before you were hired, on what the IP should focus on, what should it do, etc.. Those are still common points, and general feedback. I fail to see what provoked this kind of response.

I don't know about Ashwin but I would have expected an apology after that. I took umbrage with a couple of things you said, and how you said them. My responses inline are in reaction to yours.

On Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 11:37 PM, Barry Newstead <[hidden email]> wrote:
Who really cares, seriously! The purpose of any list is to share information openly and encourage community members to participate. It is not a credit taking exercise.

Err...You should? Someone from IP attended Wikimania and the chapters meeting last year, why not add those to the list, or the ones from 2004. Global south has been the rallying cry for WMF fundraising for a few years, is this how that focus is going to get translated into? by blurring the lines between where the money is actually going. I'm not sure about your community organizing experience, but these events take a bit of effort to organize and put on, to just have them claimed by someone else, is not in the good spirit of things either.
 

If you look more deeply, you'll see the IP team is doing work that helps move us forward. They aren't simply replicating what the community can do (note:  I will still take issue with the point that there is some invisible community being held back from doing copious amounts of outreach or other work because the IP team is crowding out their activity).  I think the value that the IP team can and is bringing is more about the overall support of outreach and the improvement of outreach work to increase impact. The sad fact about a lot of outreach work is that it doesn't produce that much community growth in its current form. Ask yourself honestly, Ashwin, how much has your Pune community grown as a result of your excellent and dedicated efforts to conducting outreach?  What Nitika (yes, I think it should be clear to all that she is working hard on this) is doing is really investigating the efficacy of outreach and trying to identify things that will improve the results for the tireless work that you and other community members are doing.  The link that I pointed to has a handbook for outreach that is evolving and would benefit from a collaborative, wiki-style partnership to share learning in which Nitika  can be the facilitator and doer of the heavy work.  In addition, Nitika and Subhashish in partnership with the Global Development research team is piloting a tool that will help with follow-up after events with attendees to encourage actual editing. The tool also allows us to measure whether attendees ever actually edit.  This is a small pilot that they are investing a lot of time in and has the potential to dramatically improve outreach (or tell us conclusively that it is not an effective way to build community, which I hope isn't true).  IMO this is the kind of work that adds real value to the community and will help us achieve our shared mission in India.

See, there is a difference, it is not Ashwin's *job*. By your own admission the spending within India has not been able to achieve any growth.  Ashwin is a community member, who got even a laggard like me to edit an India related article for his collaboration. WMF didn't raise money in the name of Global south, to have it fall on Ashwin to be responsible for the growth - That's just you.


Thanks for the advice. I think that is already largely the case. Nitika is the main resource focused on outreach with some support from Subhashish.  Hisham involves himself as the manager of the work and has been instrumental in guiding us toward a more analytical and learning-oriented approach that we hope will be fruitful.

Thanks. He is indeed focused here and is doing excellent work.  It is useful to note that he partners very closely with Hisham, who provides a lot of silent support and guidance and gets useful input from the rest of the team (and he contributes to the work of the team as well).  We believe (and most organizational effectiveness research supports) that teaming is an effective approach to  getting things done. It isn't about putting people in silos and leaving them there to figure it out.

I've explained Nitika's work above and she will also play an important role in future education work.  Noopur has been on the job for a month and her role will become clearer as she settles in and starts getting some communications-focused initiatives going.  Subhashish's role is by definition less simple to express. He is there to support the team and handle administrative elements. He is playing a valuable support role to Nitika and Shiju. He also frees Hisham from some of the burden of administration.

So, we are taking this slowly on purpose. It is not because of shyness on Hisham and Nitika's part. They are ready to go for it again and are excited to lay the ghosts to rest as you say.  We did wait a bit to let everyone have some time to reflect on the pilot lessons (including us). We want to get the conversation going again, soon, though there is nothing stopping you from starting it yourself if you like. I will say I'm really encouraged by part of your remark, as we haven't really heard anyone say that the Indian community is committed to trying again to make this kind of program work in the Indian context. We too, particularly Hisham and Nitika, remain committed to education work in India.  We are also looking forward to incorporating the lessons we are garnering in our work in Brazil and Egypt at the moment into future designs. We'll be getting back on the elephant, for sure.

Oh we are ready for the IEP. I'm not sure what the community needs to learn from the failures. It's great you can still blame the Indian community for not showing its commitment to make your program a success. I and others pointed out several times in Tory's report, that this is the perspective that is one of the problems - Not admitting mistakes, not taking responsibility and working together on correcting them. Do you still want to blame the Indian community for IEP failure.

We'll keep an eye out for the elephant when you finally get on it, until then he's going to be in the room.
 

You are incorrect, actually, so you might reflect on use of terms like "sincerity", since this speaks to motivations that you don't really have insights into. Hisham has been engaged with institutions and is developing a valuable network, though not as much as he would like as these efforts take serious time. Hisham would love to have even more time to do this.

I took umbrage with this part. Is this how you address a senior editor? Questioning his motivation and insight? I don't see a single thing in his comment that I haven't already heard from others about partnerships and cultural outreach. You are free to defend Hisham as much as you like, but not at the cost of denigrating a community member, not like this. What insights and motivations does anyone have, in the end.
 

Do note that as the leader of a team of people he does a lot to help them be effective - this is a core role in team leadership - and is a valuable use of time, even if it isn't always visible.  He also has had to carry significant administrative duties that we are working to get off his shoulders.  Finally, he spends an inordinate among of time on "India politics" (the other IP) - fighting off accusations of malintent, attacks on himself and his team members, and arguments that go nowhere about who is the "boss of X".  The guy is working is butt off...often seven days a week and is available at odd hours to engage with colleagues in the US and with community members around the country.  It is worth stepping back and reflecting before offering personal critiques of Hisham and the IP team. One might ask oneself: "do I understand the full context of the situation that this person is dealing with?" There is some great research on "attribution bias" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attributional_bias) that is worth keeping in mind when you think you have things all figured out and are comfortable ascribing motives to people or commenting on what you think they are doing.

I respect your concerns, but I would prefer that you speak for yourself rather than invoking "most concerned editors".  Let's not pretend that we have any special authority to speak for the community.

Why? Is "the movement" a whipping stick only for the staff. Don't believe there is any authority when you use terms like these either. When a simple long-term editor uses these terms they should carry more weight. If you have any doubts, please consider me as one of the concerned editor, and feel free to question my authority and motivation.
 

My view of the IP is that it will not be built in a day. We committed to a multi-year investment because it will take time to build and we would need to do a range of pilots (some successful, some not), learn from them and then build programs that work.  If this work was easy, it would have been done already. I'd like nothing more than to have "figured it all out" in India, so that we could move on to other challenges, but that isn't what we signed up for. This is a long, hard road with elusive rewards and a lot of difficult work along the way (including building community support), but the rewards are pretty huge if we can find solutions that help build our projects in India and expand access and contribution to the sum of all knowledge. 

You might refer to the India Program plans on Meta (http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/India_Program), which have been there for people to contribute to for about a year and is evolving as we learn. The team is working to this plan and is adjusting as needed based on learning from their engagement on the issues and discussions with people in the community. If you have better ideas or think that their plans can be improved, then click edit. I'm actually serious about this.  There has been a ton of keys clicked in the mailing lists criticizing, but not many on contributing to the plans  and helping improve them. They are on a public wiki for a reason.

I don't doubt your sincerity. You make a lot of valuable contributions including this note. I would say that we all would benefit if you (and others) would ascribe the same sincerity to the IP team, recognize that what they (and all of us) are engaged in isn't exactly straight-forward and their goals are the same as yours.

That is all I have to say on the matter. I was disappointed by the tone you employed in the response above, my inline responses were in reaction to what you had to say.

Regards
Theo

_______________________________________________
Wikimediaindia-l mailing list
[hidden email]
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--
Barry Newstead
Chief Global Development Officer
Wikimedia Foundation

Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge.  Help us make it a reality!

http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate


_______________________________________________
Wikimediaindia-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from the list / change mailing preferences visit https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediaindia-l



_______________________________________________
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