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erik at wikimedia

Feb 23, 2012, 5:43 PM

Post #1 of 7 (506 views)
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Wikimedia Foundation Mid-Year Presentation to the Board of Trustees

Hi folks,

on February 3, the Wikimedia Foundation senior staff gave a
presentation to the Board of Trustees as part of its Board meeting in
San Francisco, recapping the fiscal year so far (our year begins July
1) and looking ahead. The slide deck is now available here:

https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/File:Wikimedia_Foundation_Mid-Year_Review_February_2012.pdf

All best,
Erik
--
Erik MŲller
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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meta.sj at gmail

Mar 3, 2012, 12:25 AM

Post #2 of 7 (482 views)
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Re: Wikimedia Foundation Mid-Year Presentation to the Board of Trustees [In reply to]

I didn't say so last week, but thank you for sharing this, Erik!
I found the review very helpful at the meeting, and hope publishing
them becomes standard practice - it should be useful for the whole
movement.

Sam.

On Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 8:43 PM, Erik Moeller <erik [at] wikimedia> wrote:
> Hi folks,
>
> on February 3, the Wikimedia Foundation senior staff gave a
> presentation to the Board of Trustees as part of its Board meeting in
> San Francisco, recapping the fiscal year so far (our year begins July
> 1) and looking ahead. The slide deck is now available here:
>
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/File:Wikimedia_Foundation_Mid-Year_Review_February_2012.pdf
>
> All best,
> Erik
> --
> Erik MŲller
> VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation
>
> Support Free Knowledge: https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l [at] lists
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l



--
Samuel Klein† † † † † identi.ca:sj †† † † †† w:user:sj † † † † †+1 617 529 4266

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chriskeatingwiki at gmail

Mar 3, 2012, 2:34 AM

Post #3 of 7 (483 views)
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Re: Wikimedia Foundation Mid-Year Presentation to the Board of Trustees [In reply to]

>
> 23, 2012 at 8:43 PM, Erik Moeller <erik [at] wikimedia> wrote:
> > Hi folks,
> >
> > on February 3, the Wikimedia Foundation senior staff gave a
> > presentation to the Board of Trustees as part of its Board meeting in
> > San Francisco, recapping the fiscal year so far (our year begins July
> > 1) and looking ahead. The slide deck is now available here:
> >
> >
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/File:Wikimedia_Foundation_Mid-Year_Review_February_2012.pdf
> >
>

Thanks for this - very interesting :-)

For me, the most reassuring part is at the end. (It feels a bit odd
highlighting this, given the amount of cool stuff in the report, but I
suppose it's cool stuff I already knew about). I am very glad to hear that
these issues are on peoples' minds and I think identifying them is a really
helpful step.

Everybody at all levels of the WMF needs to stop spending
social & political capital accidentally, or on stuff that doesn't
matter;
‚óŹ We need to stop surprising the community: we need to
acknowledge that time works differently for volunteers, and
they need lots of advance notice for everything. Overtransparency has never
harmed us, but lack of transparency
has;
‚óŹ Internally in the organization we need to shift from the
assumption that our scarcest resource is money, to the
acknowledgement that it's time. We need to get better at
conserving energy, focusing and saying no;
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cimonavaro at gmail

Mar 6, 2012, 12:13 AM

Post #4 of 7 (473 views)
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Re: Wikimedia Foundation Mid-Year Presentation to the Board of Trustees [In reply to]

On Sat, Mar 3, 2012 at 12:34 PM, Chris Keating
<chriskeatingwiki [at] gmail> wrote:
>
> Thanks for this - very interesting :-)
>
> For me, the most reassuring part is at the end. (It feels a bit odd
> highlighting this, given the amount of cool stuff in the report, but I
> suppose it's cool stuff I already knew about). I am very glad to hear that
> these issues are on peoples' minds and I think identifying them is a really
> helpful step

I hope you will accept that I am not talking to you personally. Just want to
clarify a few things to people who share similar attitudes to save a
bit of time...
I will put "you" in scare quotes throughout, just to emphasize I am not talking
to you personally, But to the "you" of the attitude.
.
>
> Everybody at all levels of the WMF needs to stop spending
> social & political capital accidentally, or on stuff that doesn't
> matter;

To be blunt. Again, to help you acclimatize "you". No this is *not*
how we tend to operate here. "You" may think it should be that way.
But can "you" honestly argue with the results? This not my private
view on this issue. It isn't set in stone either. There is a metaphor
that is quite central to our movement and ones even remotely
like it. It is that we are "herding cats". Any number of our people
will explain that to "you".I'll do it, if "you" send me a personal E-Mail.
But it is such fundamental short hand that I would be wasting
space and peoples time explaining it here.

> ‚óŹ We need to stop surprising the community: we need to
> acknowledge that time works differently for volunteers, and
> they need lots of advance notice for everything. Overtransparency has never
> harmed us, but lack of transparency
> has;

That is one thirds + 1/6th right. The volunteers are always ahead of
"you", and surprising them *will* fail. "You" will be surprised that they
know much more about what "you" suggest, because they have
all been there, done that, and have the T-Shirt. Or a whole
suitcase full of them. The governance side does need to learn
to be honest (or transparent). And it has to stop thinking it *can*
take the community by surprise.

> ‚óŹ Internally in the organization we need to shift from the
> assumption that our scarcest resource is money, to the
> acknowledgement that it's time. We need to get better at
> conserving energy, focusing and saying no;

Focusing on saying "maybe" gets much better results in the
long run, and lots of less time gets wasted.

--
--
Jussi-Ville Heiskanen, ~ [[User:Cimon Avaro]]

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liamwyatt at gmail

Mar 6, 2012, 1:57 AM

Post #5 of 7 (473 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikimedia Foundation Mid-Year Presentation to the Board of Trustees [In reply to]

On 3 March 2012 10:34, Chris Keating <chriskeatingwiki [at] gmail> wrote:

> >
> > 23, 2012 at 8:43 PM, Erik Moeller <erik [at] wikimedia> wrote:
> > > Hi folks,
> > >
> > > on February 3, the Wikimedia Foundation senior staff gave a
> > > presentation to the Board of Trustees as part of its Board meeting in
> > > San Francisco, recapping the fiscal year so far (our year begins July
> > > 1) and looking ahead. The slide deck is now available here:
> > >
> > >
> >
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/File:Wikimedia_Foundation_Mid-Year_Review_February_2012.pdf
> > >
> >
>
> Thanks for this - very interesting :-)
>
> For me, the most reassuring part is at the end. (It feels a bit odd
> highlighting this, given the amount of cool stuff in the report, but I
> suppose it's cool stuff I already knew about). I am very glad to hear that
> these issues are on peoples' minds and I think identifying them is a really
> helpful step.
>
> ‚óŹ Everybody at all levels of the WMF needs to stop spending
> social & political capital accidentally, or on stuff that doesn't
> matter;
> ‚óŹ We need to stop surprising the community: we need to
> acknowledge that time works differently for volunteers, and
> they need lots of advance notice for everything. Overtransparency has never
> harmed us, but lack of transparency
> has;
> ‚óŹ Internally in the organization we need to shift from the
> assumption that our scarcest resource is money, to the
> acknowledgement that it's time. We need to get better at
> conserving energy, focusing and saying no;


I too agree that this was a very interesting reading. Much of it I knew
from being an avid reader of the Signpost but it's very good to be able to
see an overview like this. I appreciate the honest about the failure of the
Indian Education Program (slide 37) and learned a lot from the Technology
section (slides 9-22). I, like Chris, found the three points on slide 56
(quoted above) under the heading "stop doing this" to be very enlightening.
There are also some related points on the subsequent slides (under the
leading "start doing this") that are also related, which include:
‚óŹAssign other resources to explicitly earning social & political
capital for the org, so it can be spent on editor retention;
‚óŹActively monitor the bank balance (social & political
capital);
‚óŹAssess community views and factor them into the total cost
of projects before green-lighting. In some cases, community
opposition will be a dealbreaker;
‚óŹDevelop easy routinized methods for assessing community
sentiment (RfCs, polls) in multiple languages, and routinely
dedicate resources to community input-seeking and
facilitation of discussions (TOU, AFT);
‚óŹBetter support editors along language lines and activity lines
(e.g., page patrollers, ArbComs, OTRS workers): find out what they need and
give it to them;

In all the focus on reversing the downward trend of new-user retention
(which I wholeheartedly agree with, don't misunderstand me), I've been
feeling a bit like the WMF has seen the existing community as "the problem"
rather than part of "the solution". I think that these points that Chris
and I have quoted are pertinent because they seem to be aimed at trying to
reverse that feeling. They argue for the WMF to dedicate resources
specifically to support the existing community, to make their work easier,
and to take the time to bring the community along with changes rather than
announcing 'surprises'. But most of all, I'm interested in the repeated
phrase "social and political capital". If I read the text cynically that
phrase could look manipulative, but I don't believe that to be the case.
Rather, I'm pleased to see that the WMF is overtly addressing the fact that
*trust* is the most valuable form of currency in a volunteer project - and
that Chapter-WMF-Community trust levels have been less than ideal lately...
So - I look forward to seeing this proactive effort to build "social and
political capital" with the existing community put into practice :-) After
all, there's no point in increasing the number of new users if the existing
community is so frustrated that they're unwilling to train and acclimatise
the newbies.

However, on a different note, I note with interest (though not surprise)
that it seems the exec have decided that the recent fundraising debates
between Chapters-WMF have already been concluded and that the decision for
the WMF to centrally manage all future fundraising is now a *fait accompli*:
- From slide 28 "Collaborated more closely with *remaining* payment
processing chapters to improve their donors' experience" and "Improved
experience for donors in several countries where chapters processed
payments last year".
- From slide 40 "*Reposition* the grants process as a core funds
dissemination mechanism for the movement with strong community ownership
and tight accountability"
[*my emphasis*]

Finally, a question. Slide 31 says that in the future the WMF will run
"Worldwide convenings of highly active contributors in mature Wikipedias".
I know the noun "a convention" and I know the verb "to convene" but I don't
recognise the noun "a convening". What is it? Is it the same as "a
conference"?

-Liam
wittylama.com/blog
peace, love & metadata
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abbasjnr at hotmail

Mar 6, 2012, 2:31 AM

Post #6 of 7 (476 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikimedia Foundation Mid-Year Presentation to the Board of Trustees [In reply to]

Liam,

Regarding the word convening, WMF has held one with the Arabic Wikipedia folks in Qatar. Check this blog to better understand the term/context: http://blog.wikimedia.org/2011/10/23/arabic-wikipedia-convening/

--Abbas.

> From: liamwyatt [at] gmail
> Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2012 09:57:27 +0000
> To: foundation-l [at] lists
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Wikimedia Foundation Mid-Year Presentation to the Board of Trustees
>
> On 3 March 2012 10:34, Chris Keating <chriskeatingwiki [at] gmail> wrote:
>
> > >
> > > 23, 2012 at 8:43 PM, Erik Moeller <erik [at] wikimedia> wrote:
> > > > Hi folks,
> > > >
> > > > on February 3, the Wikimedia Foundation senior staff gave a
> > > > presentation to the Board of Trustees as part of its Board meeting in
> > > > San Francisco, recapping the fiscal year so far (our year begins July
> > > > 1) and looking ahead. The slide deck is now available here:
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> > https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/File:Wikimedia_Foundation_Mid-Year_Review_February_2012.pdf
> > > >
> > >
> >
> > Thanks for this - very interesting :-)
> >
> > For me, the most reassuring part is at the end. (It feels a bit odd
> > highlighting this, given the amount of cool stuff in the report, but I
> > suppose it's cool stuff I already knew about). I am very glad to hear that
> > these issues are on peoples' minds and I think identifying them is a really
> > helpful step.
> >
> > $B!|(B Everybody at all levels of the WMF needs to stop spending
> > social & political capital accidentally, or on stuff that doesn't
> > matter;
> > $B!|(B We need to stop surprising the community: we need to
> > acknowledge that time works differently for volunteers, and
> > they need lots of advance notice for everything. Overtransparency has never
> > harmed us, but lack of transparency
> > has;
> > $B!|(B Internally in the organization we need to shift from the
> > assumption that our scarcest resource is money, to the
> > acknowledgement that it's time. We need to get better at
> > conserving energy, focusing and saying no;
>
>
> I too agree that this was a very interesting reading. Much of it I knew
> from being an avid reader of the Signpost but it's very good to be able to
> see an overview like this. I appreciate the honest about the failure of the
> Indian Education Program (slide 37) and learned a lot from the Technology
> section (slides 9-22). I, like Chris, found the three points on slide 56
> (quoted above) under the heading "stop doing this" to be very enlightening.
> There are also some related points on the subsequent slides (under the
> leading "start doing this") that are also related, which include:
> $B!|(BAssign other resources to explicitly earning social & political
> capital for the org, so it can be spent on editor retention;
> $B!|(BActively monitor the bank balance (social & political
> capital);
> $B!|(BAssess community views and factor them into the total cost
> of projects before green-lighting. In some cases, community
> opposition will be a dealbreaker;
> $B!|(BDevelop easy routinized methods for assessing community
> sentiment (RfCs, polls) in multiple languages, and routinely
> dedicate resources to community input-seeking and
> facilitation of discussions (TOU, AFT);
> $B!|(BBetter support editors along language lines and activity lines
> (e.g., page patrollers, ArbComs, OTRS workers): find out what they need and
> give it to them;
>
> In all the focus on reversing the downward trend of new-user retention
> (which I wholeheartedly agree with, don't misunderstand me), I've been
> feeling a bit like the WMF has seen the existing community as "the problem"
> rather than part of "the solution". I think that these points that Chris
> and I have quoted are pertinent because they seem to be aimed at trying to
> reverse that feeling. They argue for the WMF to dedicate resources
> specifically to support the existing community, to make their work easier,
> and to take the time to bring the community along with changes rather than
> announcing 'surprises'. But most of all, I'm interested in the repeated
> phrase "social and political capital". If I read the text cynically that
> phrase could look manipulative, but I don't believe that to be the case.
> Rather, I'm pleased to see that the WMF is overtly addressing the fact that
> *trust* is the most valuable form of currency in a volunteer project - and
> that Chapter-WMF-Community trust levels have been less than ideal lately...
> So - I look forward to seeing this proactive effort to build "social and
> political capital" with the existing community put into practice :-) After
> all, there's no point in increasing the number of new users if the existing
> community is so frustrated that they're unwilling to train and acclimatise
> the newbies.
>
> However, on a different note, I note with interest (though not surprise)
> that it seems the exec have decided that the recent fundraising debates
> between Chapters-WMF have already been concluded and that the decision for
> the WMF to centrally manage all future fundraising is now a *fait accompli*:
> - From slide 28 "Collaborated more closely with *remaining* payment
> processing chapters to improve their donors' experience" and "Improved
> experience for donors in several countries where chapters processed
> payments last year".
> - From slide 40 "*Reposition* the grants process as a core funds
> dissemination mechanism for the movement with strong community ownership
> and tight accountability"
> [*my emphasis*]
>
> Finally, a question. Slide 31 says that in the future the WMF will run
> "Worldwide convenings of highly active contributors in mature Wikipedias".
> I know the noun "a convention" and I know the verb "to convene" but I don't
> recognise the noun "a convening". What is it? Is it the same as "a
> conference"?
>
> -Liam
> wittylama.com/blog
> peace, love & metadata
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l [at] lists
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l

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steven.walling at gmail

Mar 11, 2012, 8:27 AM

Post #7 of 7 (460 views)
Permalink
Re: Wikimedia Foundation Mid-Year Presentation to the Board of Trustees [In reply to]

On Tuesday, March 6, 2012, Liam Wyatt <liamwyatt [at] gmail> wrote:
> Finally, a question. Slide 31 says that in the future the WMF will run
> "Worldwide convenings of highly active contributors in mature Wikipedias".
> I know the noun "a convention" and I know the verb "to convene" but I
don't
> recognise the noun "a convening". What is it? Is it the same as "a
> conference"?
>
> -Liam

Even though it is unusual, we have used the word convening intentionally,
in order to differentiate from a conference (which can imply a whole host
of styles of gathering, usually with multiple tracks) or a simple meetup
(which sounds too unstructured). There is more documentation on Meta.[1]

It's serendipitous that you should mention having the community be the
solution to editor retention issues, because that is precisely our purpose
with these convenings. In addition to the Arabic Wikipedia convening Abbas
mentioned, Maryana and I are on the last day of a four city trip to Brazil
to hold discussions with Portuguese-speaking Wikipedians.

We have met with dozens of the most active contributors to PT WP and
created a set of the issues everyone felt were the biggest barriers to a
healthy and growing project -- focusing on things the community controls
locally, such as policy, mentoring of new editors, anti vandalism work,
etc., as opposed to purely technical solutions or large scale programs like
the global education work.

This is our first pilot convening in the Community Dept, so whether we do
more is really dependent on our retrospective for this Brazil work. There's
lots more forthcoming, but for now the most discussion is on Portuguese
Wikipedia's *Esplanada*.[2]

Steven

1. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Community_convenings
2.
https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikip%C3%A9dia:Esplanada/geral/Wikip%C3%A9dia_Encontros,_Brasil_(24jan2012)
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