risker.wp at gmail
Jun 25, 2012, 6:55 PM
Post #5 of 13
On 25 June 2012 13:56, Steven Walling <steven.walling [at] gmail> wrote:
Re: [Wikimedia-l] IRC office hours "The future of e-mail usage in Wikimedia projects" 2012-07-18 16:30 UTC
[In reply to]
> On Sun, Jun 24, 2012 at 5:54 PM, Risker <risker.wp [at] gmail> wrote:
> > Excuse me. Just about a month ago, we had a discussion about spreading
> > the times during which office hours would be hosted. Instead of increased
> > diversity in times, it seems ALL office hours are now being scheduled
> > during a very narrow window of time from roughly 1530 UTC to 1800 UTC.
> > Now, I don't have a problem with *some* office hours being scheduled
> > But I can't remember the last time an office hour was scheduled outside
> > that narrow window. So...if you wish to have diverse opinions, you need
> > engage people who aren't available during normal business hours
> > the Western world. At this point, office hours have essentially become
> > same group of people meeting at about the same time to discuss whatever
> > topic of the day is. Now, maybe that's the objective here, and I'm
> > misunderstanding.
> I'm glad you brought this up Risker, but to be fair, Siebrand can't speak
> for everyone scheduling office hours, since there is no one person who
> coordinates them all -- each team is responsible for their own, and some
> are not associated with the WMF.
> Anyway, I'm willing to test out doing this at a different time that's not
> during North American working hours. The editor engagement experiments team
> is due for another office hours. How does 10:00 UTC next Monday sound?
Well, let's see - that's 7 a.m. Eastern time, and 4 a.m. Pacific, so it's
certainly not North American business hours. Perhaps the bigger question
is who the target audience is, and whether or not you're likely to attract
it during that time.
Now, it's entirely possible that the WMF staff and those of other projects
using the "usual" timeslot have decided that their target audience is the
people who are available during that timeslot (I don't think Wikidata's
ever had an office hours outside of the same slot, for example). However,
I know that a very significant percentage of Wikimedians are not able to
participate during those hours, and the effect is strongly exclusionary. In
many cases, those office hours are really the only way to keep current and
participate in the discussion of various projects, unless one has a direct
pipeline to one or more of the project co-ordinators.
I'm the world's worst wikitable creator, and even I can see how these
constant overlaps can be avoided by creating a table on Meta to map out
which office hours will occur when and having rules about how many office
hours can be in a given two- or three-hour period. For example, the rule
could be "only 50% of office hours can start between 1600 and 1830 each
month" or "no more than two office hours in a row can start between 1600
and 1830, if you're the third one then you have to choose another time", or
"unless you are trying to reach a specific identified target audience, half
of any project's office hours must be held outside of North
American/European business hours of 0800 UTC to 2000 UTC".
There are sometimes good reasons for holding office hours consistently at a
specific time, most particularly if there is a desire to draw in editors
from a certain geographic area, or if that is the time that a specific
language group finds most convenient. But if the subject is intended to
have global effects, then there needs to be variety in the timing so that a
wider range of voices can participate. If it's something primarily focused
at English Wikipedia, the office hours have to be late enough for North
Americans to attend outside of business hours, at least some of the time,
and some thought should also be given to ensuring our ANZA editors can also
be included, at least some of the time.
Now, none of this is specifically about Siebrand's office hours. It's about
the fact that this consistent scheduling implies nobody's interested in
hearing from those who aren't available during the San Francisco mornings.
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