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Advisory Board/Meeting August 2007/Notes

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Understanding and Sharing[edit]

Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees and Advisory Board Meeting[edit]

Taipei, August 2007[edit]


  • Access to production / collaboration
  • Commitment to diversity
  • Community
  • Diversity
  • Freedom
  • Friendliness
  • Inclusiveness
  • Objectivity (strive to)
  • Openness
  • Participating
  • Pioneering
  • Quality (factual, relevant, valuable)
  • Respect for the editing community
  • Right to knowledge (knowledge without borders)
  • Transparency
  • Trust


  • Enhance perceptions and reality of quality
  • Scaling the organization - planned control and growth.
  • Fundraising/stable fundraising/grant writing
  • Build awareness in the media and in developing countries
  • Build capacity
  • Use the Advisory Board to its full capacity
  • Increase use in all contexts
  • Increase diversity
  • Relationships with other groups
  • Increase ratio of editing to reading
  • Increase the participation of certain groups
  • Increase usability
  • Technical innovations
  • Get better at ending failed experiments
  • Measurement-driven metrics (sampling)
  • Quantify where the problems are

Get people to recognize what we are - not just an encyclopedia

What we stand for - user-generated content, free content
Why? To encourage people to contribute and donate, to promote our ideology
  • Invest in technology ecosystem
  • Differentiate goals - vision & operational
  • 4 goal topics for discussion were media awareness, quality, developing countries, organization and growth & fundraising



  • Ideology (free culture)
  • "nerds"
  • Community
  • Goodwill - of volunteers, donors, and press
  • Independence
  • Non-commercial
  • Language diversity
  • Participatory (democracy)


  • Too many opportunities
  • Unfocused
  • Bureaucracy (not easy to use, rules for rules sake)
  • Preserving status quo
  • Communication
  • Quality assurance for educational purposes
  • Credibility
  • User interface
  • New user needs
  • Western / geek perspectives


  • iCommons to work with Wikimedia communities. Especially useful for smaller countries to work with similar groups.
    Why isn't it happening? Capacity, organizational structure
  • Creative Commons
  • OSI
  • Expansion of use
    Non-Internet based
  • Discover the real purpose of community content
  • Reliable sources (quality)
  • Showcase of free culture


  • Decreased search rankings /not reaching people
  • Competitors (therefore: free culture value is important)
  • Lack of innovation allowing others to launch our projects in a "better" way
  • Limited infrastructure preventing expansion of use
  • Reluctance to innovate
  • Stagnation and tunnel vision
  • Decreased good will (PR crises)
  • Conflict between focus and tunnel vision
  • Legal issues - enforcing licenses versus helping people to use the content correctly


Evolving the Organization[edit]

  • Need to be able to access deals and handle business development in a more structured way
  • Could learn from groups like Ubuntu. Ubuntu has 100 teams - alternative to chapters. Based around locality, but mostly around subject areas (art, documentation, etc). Mako is very involved in this. Tasks teams can do include building relationships with entitles through meetings and events. Annual creation of work groups with campaign for volunteers to join and a guide to such groups. Groups can apply for a one-off logo use license. HQ sends merchandise to the teams - like conference supplies.
  • Group coordinator.

Outreach Need an entrepreneurs' guide to Wikipedia.

One idea was to encourage grant-givers to add a Wikipedia clause (grantees have to add info to Wikipedia related to their research being funded). Would need a pilot to show it works, and information on how it works.

Offline version creation outreach - a pilot to show people how to do that.

Communications - need a newsletter.


Everyone's a Wikipedian... they just don't know it yet -- Ward Cunningham

Encourage media literacy and critical thinking skills (instead?)(makes quality not such a problem).

"Edit Wikipedia Day"

give people info on how and where to edit (no writing about yourself)
admins would need to be prepared (and friendlier)
see also the German Wikipedia Academy < http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Academy>
could be sponsored (fundraising opportunity)
global, or on different special days locally.

Participation - need more cross-project integration (Wikipedia hardly links to Wikinews let alone the other projects).

Speaker database

Erik's notes on this session are at Advisory Board/Volunteerism.

Developing countries[edit]

Advisory Board needs to be more diverse

Find people to help launch a version in their local language. Local organizations can help that person. They would attract users, not just write the whole thing themselves.

Libraries in developing countries could tie in with "Edit Wikipedia Day"

Mission and function of the Advisory Board[edit]

How to advise Wikimedia more generally. Filter communication and staff requests through Sue and Angela.

Get information to the board in a shorter way rather than through participation on too many mailing lists.

Comment on documents - useful to point out internal discussions.

Involvement in communications

Current communication methods include
Advisory Board mailing list
Advisory board wiki at advisory.wikimedia.org
Board mailing list
initialSurname@wikimedia.org for staff and Board of Trustees
planet.wikimedia.org - add your blog!
Related mailing lists like wiki-research

An informal manual with these details is needed on the wiki along with roles and expectations.

A process is needed for the addition and removal of members.

Groups need to be enabled to continue their discussions after this meeting.Need to avoid micromanagement. Not involved in operational issues.

In person meetings are worthwhile, especially in conjunction with Wikimania, to learn about the organization.

Concern is that people won't have time to carry out what they're suggesting.

Need recommendations for more diverse members.

Need a list of area people can be contacted on.

With working groups around those areas.

Need for more legal (esp making international chapters) & tech expertise on the Advisory Board.