for the future...

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for the future...

Jimmy Wales

It seems pretty clear to me that it would be reasonable for the  
Foundation to send out an official election reminder by email in all  
languages (or as many as we can muster) next time around.  Thoughts?

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Re: for the future...

Ayelie (Editor at Large)
On 7/3/07, Jimmy Wales <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
> It seems pretty clear to me that it would be reasonable for the
> Foundation to send out an official election reminder by email in all
> languages (or as many as we can muster) next time around.  Thoughts?
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>

Sounds like spam to me. There are already notices on all sites which you
have to click on to get rid of, and it's been in the air on mailing lists
and on IRC for a while; are e-mails really necessary for *everyone*? Perhaps
if there was a preference for users where they could opt in or out of
foundation e-mails or site e-mails altogether if they so wish.

I think the e-mails will be considered spam by many (especially those who
can't vote anyway) and will get a lot  more people annoyed than it will be
appreciated by a few.

--
Ayelie
  ~Editor at Large
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Re: for the future...

Andrew Gray
On 03/07/07, Ayelie <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I think the e-mails will be considered spam by many (especially those who
> can't vote anyway) and will get a lot  more people annoyed than it will be
> appreciated by a few.

Interestingly, Greg's discussion of his responses shows pretty much
the converse - many thanks, and only a small handful of objections.
Remember the bulk of the community don't go near IRC or read a mailing
list.

[Frankly, sitenotice is never going to be the best method. It either
implies people who can't vote that they can, or  that people who can
vote can't - and if it manages to explain it clearly, it'll be seven
lines long with two footnotes and no-one will read it. Good reminder
if you know about it, *but*...]

[And, yes, it's possible to target the mails to only eligible users,
with a small margin of error over "spare" accounts and edge cases]

I think it might be worth restating my proposal in a nice succinct
form. - drop the central aspect. Have the Foundation run the voting
and the candidacies and so on, but leave the 'promotional' aspect up
to the communities, get the projects themselves to drum up votes -
whether this be by email, by local newsletters, by sitenotice,
whatever. Heck, turn it into a contest if you want, that always works
well.

Have a few basic rules - no specific promotion of candidates, etc, no
massive unrelenting barrages - but otherwise, leave them to it. Let us
see what works, what doesn't; what people like or don't like. If one
project has a neat idea, another can copy them; be innovative, be
decentralised, be energetic. Maybe appoint an "election committee" on
each project, maybe a respected neutral figure to coordinate,
whatever.

This is, after all, the community's election. It's their
responsibility to get each other to vote, and we should encourage them
in that.

And the best of all? If we end up with wildly skewed contribution
statistics, well, that's life. If a project was told "please go
electioneer" and sat on its hands, it can't really complain about a
lack of voice in the results.

--
- Andrew Gray
  [hidden email]

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Re: for the future...

Dan Rosenthal
In reply to this post by Ayelie (Editor at Large)
Ayelie:

Not everyone can see those site notices. Not everyone is on IRC or a  
mailing list, nor should they be. Emails are already opt-in, you do  
NOT have to provide your email. If you choose to do so, you  
essentially are consenting to receive email from other users, such as  
this. And I believe fewer people will be annoyed by a single letter  
than will be happily reminded of their ability to vote in something  
that drastically affects them.

-Dan
On Jul 3, 2007, at 3:53 PM, Ayelie wrote:

> On 7/3/07, Jimmy Wales <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>
>> It seems pretty clear to me that it would be reasonable for the
>> Foundation to send out an official election reminder by email in all
>> languages (or as many as we can muster) next time around.  Thoughts?
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> foundation-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>>
>
> Sounds like spam to me. There are already notices on all sites  
> which you
> have to click on to get rid of, and it's been in the air on mailing  
> lists
> and on IRC for a while; are e-mails really necessary for  
> *everyone*? Perhaps
> if there was a preference for users where they could opt in or out of
> foundation e-mails or site e-mails altogether if they so wish.
>
> I think the e-mails will be considered spam by many (especially  
> those who
> can't vote anyway) and will get a lot  more people annoyed than it  
> will be
> appreciated by a few.
>
> --
> Ayelie
>   ~Editor at Large
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l


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Re: for the future...

Pill-2
In reply to this post by Jimmy Wales
Jimmy Wales wrote:
> It seems pretty clear to me that it would be reasonable for the  
> Foundation to send out an official election reminder by email in all  
> languages (or as many as we can muster) next time around.  Thoughts

I, quite frankly, don't think that there is a special need to do that.
In my opinion those who are interested in the organization of the
foundation and the development of the projects see the announcements of
the vote in any case. On every Wikimedia Wiki it's in the sitenotice,
there are discussions on mailing lists, IRC channels, village pumps ...
For my taste, that is enough. I agree with Ayelie that for most it would
be rather annoying than useful.


Greetings,

    -- Pill


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Re: for the future...

Ayelie (Editor at Large)
In reply to this post by Andrew Gray
On 7/3/07, Andrew Gray <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> On 03/07/07, Ayelie <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > I think the e-mails will be considered spam by many (especially those
> who
> > can't vote anyway) and will get a lot  more people annoyed than it will
> be
> > appreciated by a few.
>
> Interestingly, Greg's discussion of his responses shows pretty much
> the converse - many thanks, and only a small handful of objections.
> Remember the bulk of the community don't go near IRC or read a mailing
> list.
>
> [Frankly, sitenotice is never going to be the best method. It either
> implies people who can't vote that they can, or  that people who can
> vote can't - and if it manages to explain it clearly, it'll be seven
> lines long with two footnotes and no-one will read it. Good reminder
> if you know about it, *but*...]
>
> [And, yes, it's possible to target the mails to only eligible users,
> with a small margin of error over "spare" accounts and edge cases]


Targeted e-mails such as Greg is sending out are one thing; what I meant by
people considering them spam was regarding mass e-mails sent out to everyone
regardless of whether they could vote or not, which would mean that for
*many* people they would be unapplicable and thus more of a bother than
anything else. Yes, if the e-mails are targeted there will be far fewer
complaints and more positive results. "send out an official election
reminder by email in all languages" just seems to indicate a notice that the
election is going on which will be sent to everyone rather than specifically
targeted letters to those who are eligible to vote.

On 7/3/07, Dan Rosenthal <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Ayelie:
>
> Not everyone can see those site notices. Not everyone is on IRC or a
> mailing list, nor should they be. Emails are already opt-in, you do
> NOT have to provide your email. If you choose to do so, you
> essentially are consenting to receive email from other users, such as
> this. And I believe fewer people will be annoyed by a single letter
> than will be happily reminded of their ability to vote in something
> that drastically affects them.
>
> -Dan


That is all true, and I am certainly not saying that e-mails of any sort are
unwanted or a bad idea. However, do people know when they activate their
e-mail that they will get reminders and notices that may not be applicable
to them from the foundation or the particular site? Personally, the only
reason I activate my e-mail is so that other users who need to contact me
off-wiki for whatever reason or users on Commons who wish to discuss a block
with me may do so. I would have no problem with foundation notices being
sent to my e-mail *if I chose to recieve them*, and would much appreciate it
if there were an opt-out option for notices. I use one e-mail address
for important wiki matters and another for mailing lists and personal
e-mail, and spam sent to my other address (which is the one activated on all
of my wikimedia accounts) is not wanted.

I think notices are a great idea, especially for very important matters such
as these elections; but it is always nice to have options.

--
Ayelie
  ~Editor at Large
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Re: for the future...

Anthony-73
In reply to this post by Jimmy Wales
On 7/3/07, Jimmy Wales <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> It seems pretty clear to me that it would be reasonable for the
> Foundation to send out an official election reminder by email in all
> languages (or as many as we can muster) next time around.  Thoughts?
>
Sounds reasonable.  If it was done by the Foundation officially I
don't think I would have had a problem with it.  Note the privacy
policy specifically says that "The email address may be used by the
Wikimedia Foundation to communicate with users on a wider scale."

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Re: for the future...

George William Herbert
On 7/3/07, Anthony <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 7/3/07, Jimmy Wales <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > It seems pretty clear to me that it would be reasonable for the
> > Foundation to send out an official election reminder by email in all
> > languages (or as many as we can muster) next time around.  Thoughts?
> >
> Sounds reasonable.  If it was done by the Foundation officially I
> don't think I would have had a problem with it.  Note the privacy
> policy specifically says that "The email address may be used by the
> Wikimedia Foundation to communicate with users on a wider scale."

I agree that it seems reasonable for this to be an official,
all-projects-wide thing to do.

We've had a few vocal "it's entirely inappropriate to do this"
complaints, and a lot of vocal "it was inappropriate to do this only
for a few projects" complaints.  In my opinion, the latter has a good
point, but the former are a sufficiently small minority.  It's at
worst a minor annoyance to some few, and the real, significant
benefits to the Foundation as a whole are clear to me.


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]

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Re: for the future...

Jon Harald Søby
In reply to this post by Anthony-73
(This is my personal opinion and does not reflect that of the election
committee, etc, etc.)

On 7/3/07, Anthony <[hidden email] > wrote:

>
> On 7/3/07, Jimmy Wales < [hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > It seems pretty clear to me that it would be reasonable for the
> > Foundation to send out an official election reminder by email in all
> > languages (or as many as we can muster) next time around.  Thoughts?
> >
> Sounds reasonable.  If it was done by the Foundation officially I
> don't think I would have had a problem with it.  Note the privacy
> policy specifically says that "The email address may be used by the
> Wikimedia Foundation to communicate with users on a wider scale."
>

I was about to suggest the same thing, but technically slightly different;
instead of having such notification as part of the standard email yes/no
option, create a separate option saying "Allow the Wikimedia Foundation to
notify me of important events (only used once or twice annually)", or
something like it. It should, however, be quite clear that you will not get
a lot of emails from this feature, and that it should only be used in
"emergencies" (in lack of a better word).

This would allow people to choose to receive notifications, but not be
emailed by other members, or to be emailed by other members but not receive
notifications.

--
Jon Harald Søby
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jon_Harald_S%C3%B8by
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Re: for the future...

geni
In reply to this post by Jimmy Wales
On 7/3/07, Jimmy Wales <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> It seems pretty clear to me that it would be reasonable for the
> Foundation to send out an official election reminder by email in all
> languages (or as many as we can muster) next time around.  Thoughts?

As long as it was done after a few days rather than at the start of
elections and as long as the practice doesn't spread to other
foundation activities it shouldn't be too much of a problem.


--
geni

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Re: for the future...

Robert S. Horning
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
George Herbert wrote:

>
> I agree that it seems reasonable for this to be an official,
> all-projects-wide thing to do.
>
> We've had a few vocal "it's entirely inappropriate to do this"
> complaints, and a lot of vocal "it was inappropriate to do this only
> for a few projects" complaints.  In my opinion, the latter has a good
> point, but the former are a sufficiently small minority.  It's at
> worst a minor annoyance to some few, and the real, significant
> benefits to the Foundation as a whole are clear to me.
>
>
>  

I'm curious by what statistical methodology you determined this
quantifiable figure of "a sufficiently small minority"?  Those who voice
their opinions here on this list can't be counted upon to represent the
much, much larger Wikimedia community, and that fact seems to get
forgotten quite frequently on this list, except perhaps on a
philosophical camp basis.

You may be correct, but I am challenging you on this point of research
when I have strong doubts that you used anything approaching a
scientific study to find this fact out.  Especially when you are using
this statement to establish a policy guideline.  Particularly one that
represents a significant change in (defacto) policy from what has been
done in the past, which is not to send any e-mail communications at all
in the form of mass-mailings.

--Robert Horning

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Re: for the future...

Robert S. Horning
In reply to this post by geni
geni wrote:

> On 7/3/07, Jimmy Wales <[hidden email]> wrote:
>  
>> It seems pretty clear to me that it would be reasonable for the
>> Foundation to send out an official election reminder by email in all
>> languages (or as many as we can muster) next time around.  Thoughts?
>>    
>
> As long as it was done after a few days rather than at the start of
> elections and as long as the practice doesn't spread to other
> foundation activities it shouldn't be too much of a problem.
>
>
>  
What is wrong with a very low traffic opt-in mailing list called
"Announcement-l" or something similar?  Where you can receive general
announcements about things like Wikimania, upcoming elections, changes
in board membership/leadership, and other significant issues of interest
to the larger community?

There is more than one way to deal with this issue.

-- Robert Horning

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Re: for the future...

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Robert S. Horning
> I'm curious by what statistical methodology you determined this
> quantifiable figure of "a sufficiently small minority"?  Those who voice
> their opinions here on this list can't be counted upon to represent the
> much, much larger Wikimedia community, and that fact seems to get
> forgotten quite frequently on this list, except perhaps on a
> philosophical camp basis.

Out of hundreds of people that have commented (on this list and,
apparently, in individual replies) only a handful have had anything
negative to say. Since people are generally much more vocal when
complaining than they are when saying thank you, I think that's
statistically significant.

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Re: for the future...

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Robert S. Horning
> What is wrong with a very low traffic opt-in mailing list called
> "Announcement-l" or something similar?  Where you can receive general
> announcements about things like Wikimania, upcoming elections, changes
> in board membership/leadership, and other significant issues of interest
> to the larger community?
>
> There is more than one way to deal with this issue.

Most of the people that would sign up to such a list are already
signed up to various mailing lists. The fact that it is low-traffic is
not likely to result in many more people signing up (it will probably
result in fewer people unsubscribing later, though). I think people
generally sign up to mailing lists if they find out about them and are
interested in the subject matter. The level of traffic doesn't usually
play a part until they come to decide if they should remain signed up.
I doubt many people that aren't already subscribed to one of the many
mailing lists (all of the ones I'm subscribed to have seen election
related content) would even find out about a new list without some
kind of major publicity. A simple check box would be much more likely
to get people on board.

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Re: for the future...

Andrew Gray
In reply to this post by Robert S. Horning
On 04/07/07, Robert Horning <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I'm curious by what statistical methodology you determined this
> quantifiable figure of "a sufficiently small minority"?  Those who voice
> their opinions here on this list can't be counted upon to represent the
> much, much larger Wikimedia community, and that fact seems to get
> forgotten quite frequently on this list, except perhaps on a
> philosophical camp basis.

Well, Greg did say that he had only a small handful of objections or
complaints in response to the email, which seems a good indication
that most actual recipients weren't outraged...

--
- Andrew Gray
  [hidden email]

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Re: for the future...

Jesse (Pathoschild)
In reply to this post by Jon Harald Søby
On 7/3/07, Jon Harald Søby <[hidden email]> wrote:
> instead of having such notification as part of the standard email yes/no
> option, create a separate option saying "Allow the Wikimedia Foundation to
> notify me of important events (only used once or twice annually)", or
> something like it.


This seems like the best solution to me. I'm already aware of such
events, and most editors are probably not interested in the Foundation
in the background beyond, well, editing. This is particularly true
considering that such events are common: Wikimania, fund raisers,
board elections, steward elections, local arbitration committee
elections, et cetera.

Consider the site notices, for example. Originally intended for
similar important announcements, they now regularly announce routine
events like arbitration committee elections. If special:emailuser is
routinely used in this manner, I'd like the option to disable
notifications and keep the email feature for users who actually need
to contact me.

Yours cordially,
Jesse Martin (Pathoschild)

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Re: for the future...

Dan Rosenthal
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
I think most people on english wikipedia who are eligible voters are  
not likely to be mailing list subscribers.

-Dan Rosenthal
On Jul 3, 2007, at 7:37 PM, Thomas Dalton wrote:

>> What is wrong with a very low traffic opt-in mailing list called
>> "Announcement-l" or something similar?  Where you can receive general
>> announcements about things like Wikimania, upcoming elections,  
>> changes
>> in board membership/leadership, and other significant issues of  
>> interest
>> to the larger community?
>>
>> There is more than one way to deal with this issue.
>
> Most of the people that would sign up to such a list are already
> signed up to various mailing lists. The fact that it is low-traffic is
> not likely to result in many more people signing up (it will probably
> result in fewer people unsubscribing later, though). I think people
> generally sign up to mailing lists if they find out about them and are
> interested in the subject matter. The level of traffic doesn't usually
> play a part until they come to decide if they should remain signed up.
> I doubt many people that aren't already subscribed to one of the many
> mailing lists (all of the ones I'm subscribed to have seen election
> related content) would even find out about a new list without some
> kind of major publicity. A simple check box would be much more likely
> to get people on board.
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l


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Re: for the future...

Thomas Dalton
> I think most people on english wikipedia who are eligible voters are
> not likely to be mailing list subscribers.

No one has claimed the opposite. I said most people who would sign up
to such a list would already be subscribers, not most people who the
list is targeted at. There is a big difference.

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Re: for the future...

George William Herbert
In reply to this post by Robert S. Horning
On 7/3/07, Robert Horning <[hidden email]> wrote:

> George Herbert wrote:
> >
> > I agree that it seems reasonable for this to be an official,
> > all-projects-wide thing to do.
> >
> > We've had a few vocal "it's entirely inappropriate to do this"
> > complaints, and a lot of vocal "it was inappropriate to do this only
> > for a few projects" complaints.  In my opinion, the latter has a good
> > point, but the former are a sufficiently small minority.  It's at
> > worst a minor annoyance to some few, and the real, significant
> > benefits to the Foundation as a whole are clear to me.
> >
> >
> >
>
> I'm curious by what statistical methodology you determined this
> quantifiable figure of "a sufficiently small minority"?  Those who voice
> their opinions here on this list can't be counted upon to represent the
> much, much larger Wikimedia community, and that fact seems to get
> forgotten quite frequently on this list, except perhaps on a
> philosophical camp basis.
>
> You may be correct, but I am challenging you on this point of research
> when I have strong doubts that you used anything approaching a
> scientific study to find this fact out.  Especially when you are using
> this statement to establish a policy guideline.  Particularly one that
> represents a significant change in (defacto) policy from what has been
> done in the past, which is not to send any e-mail communications at all
> in the form of mass-mailings.

This is not a thesis project problem; we're trying to determine
foundation policy going forwards.

No, I have not gathered and do not intend to gather rigorous
statistical information regarding people's response to the email
notices.

I don't think that's necessary or useful.  I've seen people's
comments, and I believe that I'm adequately summarizing the sense of
the community.  I don't have time for a semantical argument.  If
people feel that I'm mis-stating the sense of the community, feel free
to ignore me...  or send feedback.


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]

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Re: for the future...

Robert S. Horning
In reply to this post by Dan Rosenthal
Dan Rosenthal wrote:
> I think most people on english wikipedia who are eligible voters are  
> not likely to be mailing list subscribers.
>
> -Dan Rosenthal
>  

With many foundation mailing lists having hundreds (thousands for
Wikipedia-en-l?) of postings, no wonder they don't want to sign up for
them.  S/N level can be quite low in many cases, especially if you
aren't interested in policy matters.

This sounds to me like trying to fix the symptom rather than the
cause.... that many Wikipedians who may be eligible to vote don't like
the current communications systems and are uninterested in being
involved with community forums.  One particular system that is intended
primarily for other uses is instead being proposed here to be used for
mass communication, without the consent of those who are having this
method of communication.

E-mail spam has a notoriously low acceptance rate (I've seen figures as
low as of 1 in 1,000,000 as examples for response rates), but it is
still done because of the incredible low cost.

Andrew Gray wrote:

> On 04/07/07, Robert Horning <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>  
>> I'm curious by what statistical methodology you determined this
>> quantifiable figure of "a sufficiently small minority"?  Those who voice
>> their opinions here on this list can't be counted upon to represent the
>> much, much larger Wikimedia community, and that fact seems to get
>> forgotten quite frequently on this list, except perhaps on a
>> philosophical camp basis.
>>    
>
> Well, Greg did say that he had only a small handful of objections or
> complaints in response to the email, which seems a good indication
> that most actual recipients weren't outraged...
>
>  
That is a small handful of objections by those who bothered to not
simply hit the delete button when they saw the message.  And the small
handful of those who also were glad to have received the message, no doubt.

Mind you with all this, I'm not really complaining about this particular
message that was sent out, because I did not receive the spam in spite
of the fact that I am eligible to vote using my en.wikipedia account and
did not vote that way.  Perhaps the filters mentioned earlier caught my
name and culled it out as I did vote using another project.

What I'm objecting to here is the idea that this could be tried again,
and I would like to put forward the idea that I'm not alone with the
idea that I don't want to have my e-mail address on project accounts
used for mass mailings.  That technical means could also be used to help
disable this, I would hope that any such feature added to the user
preferences page is automatically set in the "disabled" position to
force this to be explicitly an "opt-in" function for users that may want
this sort of communication.  I also fail to see why developer time to
implement this feature and add extra bugs to MediaWiki is required when
a very simply solution, a low-volume mailing list of Foundation
announcements, is currently available as a significant alternative which
is being discounted immediately after it is proposed.  Nor is this even
the only solution.

-- Robert Horning

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